Are you successfully farming an area for your real estate business?
Geographical farming — or geographical marketing — is the practice of making yourself well-known in a local area. There are a few ways to go about doing this.
Is it Worth It?
Before we get into the knitty-gritty, keep in mind that you should go after neighborhoods that have a high turnover rate. You don't want to try to farm an area that only has a 4% turnover rate, unless the listing commissions are huge. If that’s the case, it might make sense.
It's all about the math. What are you spending to get the lead and get the listing? What is the commission you're going to earn? If that math doesn't make sense, you're not going to be profitable. Always run the math before you go into a geographical farm to ensure you’re making a wise move.
You should also consider whether the area you’re planning to farm is convenient to your office or home. Do your homework to see if there is any pre-existing competition in the area. If there's already a well-established, go-to agent, are you willing to spend the money and expend the energy to knock them off their pedestal, so to speak? If the answer is no, find a less competitive area to do business.
Once you've established which area you want to farm, there are a lot of ways to move forward. If you live in the neighborhood, you have the advantage of being able to attend HOA meetings, community events, block parties, etc.
Even doing simple things like walking your dog can get you in front of more people in your neighborhood and help you establish yourself.
But regardless of whether or not you live in the neighborhood you’re looking to farm, there are a few paths you can take to build a successful geographical marketing campaign.
Marketing Methods for Geographic Farming
Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM for short, is a wholesale way to mail postcards and other marketing materials, like flat mail or even magazines. The best part is that you don’t pay the normal rate for those mailings. For example, a 24-page magazine could be shipped for about $0.18 each. You can print postcards in bulk, a flyer or a newsletter filled with information specifically catered to that neighborhood.
Ads Online Like Facebook or Google Geo-Targeted Ads
If you prefer online advertising, running geographically targeted ads on platforms like Facebook or Google is a great idea. Just like you would connect with potential clients using postcards, you can target them with ads on Facebook and Google.
If you have listings in the neighborhood, run an ad and present your open house as a really big deal. Include a photo of the house with lots of balloons and a big “For Sale” sign in the front yard. That’s just one example of a way to stand out and show the extra effort you take for your clients.
Calls and Door-Knocking ***
When you get a listing in a farmed area, you should be knocking on all of the neighbors' doors. Introduce yourself and say, "Hey, I'm selling this home over here. Do you know anyone who's looking to buy in this neighborhood? I'd love to introduce them to this home." Ask them if they have any questions about the home or have any questions about the value of their own home. This is a great way to casually get in front of people.
***Due to many new changes in laws around the country, you need to take careful consideration with things like cold-calls, door-knocking, and door hangers. Check with your local or state government to ensure you are legally allowed to use these methods.
Voicemail Drops ***
There are services that allow you to load phone numbers into a database, which sends selected prospects a message that goes directly to their voicemails at whatever time you schedule. Depending on the service, the whole process should only take about 15 minutes to set up each time.
One such company is called SlyBroadcast, though there are lots of other companies that offer similar products.
The key with this method is to leave a message that is conversational and compelling. Offer an incentive that will get people to call you back, like a free home valuation or a copy of a helpful home-selling book or pamphlet.
*** The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, otherwise known as the TCPA, protects consumers from automated dialing systems, fax machines, SMS messages, and voicemails. There is contention at the Federal level about whether ringless voicemails fall under this protection. Many states have declared them an illegal practice, but others currently allow them. The state courts have consistently ruled that voicemail messages are in fact calls, and subject to the same TCPA restrictions as automated dialers or other pre-recorded messages. Check the regulations in your state before proceeding with one of these services.