In Part I of this series, we talked about why you need to use real estate farming as a marketing strategy, and how to choose a farm location. In Part II, we’ll discuss ways you can nurture a farm to get it producing leads.
Real Estate Farming Tip: How to Nurture Your Farm
The biggest challenge for many agents is to communicate with their farm on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that farming is a long-term marketing strategy. Don’t expect that you will receive leads after the first time you send a mailing to your farm. You’ll need to earn people’s trust, and being consistent in reaching out is one way to do that.
The problem many agents have with farming is that they get discouraged and stop trying to develop a farm. On the other hand, some agents reach out to their farm on a very random basis, and they don’t stay anywhere near top of mind with their prospects. Create a marketing plan and budget that includes consistent communication and stick to it. Here are some ways to stay in touch.
Make sure that you change the topic of your postcards frequently. And, keep in mind that a postcard all about you isn’t going to help. Send things that are of value that will keep people informed about what’s happening in real estate in their neighborhood. For example:
- Just listed/just sold cards
- Market updates
- Neighborhood news
- Free home valuation offers
- Discount coupons for professionals you work with
Before you mail out an offer that includes a discount or free gift, make sure your state’s real estate commission allows that type of marketing. If it is legal in your state, you could partner with a house cleaning service, for example. Negotiate a discount for people using your coupon, then pass that discount on to your farm. Just about everyone loves to have someone else clean their home, and you’ll come out the hero.
Don’t forget to use the principles of direct response marketing for real estate agents. Postcards are an excellent vehicle for that strategy. Besides that, if you’re doing postcard mailings for the first time, experiment with different types of mail. Your post office will send in bulk to a neighborhood at a reduced rate, although the postcard can’t be personally addressed. Determine if the response is significantly different if you use personally addressed cards.
Some agents love door knocking, which involves taking time to walk through your farm area and knock on doors to introduce yourself and leave something of value to the homeowner. Some agents would rather shoot themselves than use this type of real estate farming.
You need to determine which group you belong to. Door knocking can be very effective if you enjoy it. If you don’t, you may end up alienating people, so better to employ other strategies.
Get to know the people in your farm in informal gatherings at local events. Look for events including neighborhood garage sales, Easter Egg Hunts and charity drives. Consider sponsoring a local athletic team for adults or children. Make sure that you display a banner with your name and face on it at all events where it’s allowed.
Final Thoughts on Real Estate Farming
To dominate a real estate farm, you need to be seen as the go-to person for everything real estate. Try establishing a neighborhood page on Facebook. You can greet new homeowners when they move into the area and introduce yourself as the neighborhood specialist. Tell the homeowner that they’ll be seeing you around the neighborhood, and to look for postcards that contain useful real estate information.
Do a walk through of every home that comes on the market. Then, start building a personal directory of all the homes you see. You will become the neighborhood expert fairly easily!
Finally, don’t forget to keep track of the homeowners in your farm area with CRM software for real estate. It’s an easy way to keep track of the people you meet and to keep notes about their homes.