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Nick Napoletano's Blog

By Nick Napoletano | Agent in Red Bank, NJ

Realtor Marketing on a Shoestring Budget - Part 1


It doesn't matter if you are a new agent or a twenty-year pro. If you don't market yourself you will go broke. And if you market yourself in the wrong way you won't get any results and you'll still go broke. A company goes bankrupt when it stops advertising, and so will you.

My point is, that in order to be successful as a real estate agent you need to get your name out. People need to know who you are, what you do, and what they will get out of doing business with you.

In this report I assume you have very little money for marketing. Some of the techniques I will tell you about cost no money. Some cost a little, but all are cheap. And all of them have worked in the past, are working for people across the country, and will continue to work for years to come.

When we talk about marketing, we are talking about finding people who are interested in buying or selling a house. We call these people leads. Every lead is a potential client. But as you probably know, the majority of leads do not turn into clients. That is why it is important to have as many leads coming in as possible.  It's a numbers game. Even if you are the most incompetent agent in history, you will still do business if enough people come and ask you for your help. And since you are not the most incompetent agent, the more leads the more money you will make.

 Once a lead comes in, you have to qualify it to determine the quality of it and whether to pursue it or drop it. In this report we will focus on getting as many leads as possible.

 The USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

What makes you different? Why should people do business with you? What is in it for them? The answer is your Unique Selling Proposition. Subway Subs advertises itself as a healthy alternative to fast food with fresh bread. Quizno's Subs advertises as having toasted bread. These two companies are trying to stand out from the crowd of all the other fast food and sandwich shops around.

How do you differentiate yourself?

It can't be price - everyone says they have the lowest rates.

It can't be service - everyone says they have the best and fastest service

Are you an expert in a niche, maybe first time home buyers, or investment properties?

Do you provide a moving service for your buyers?

Do you let the clients lower the commission if you can't sell their house in 3 months?

Do you provide credit counseling?

You need to develop your USP and have it on all your marketing pieces. People should know why they should do business with you. If they see something in you that will benefit them they will come to you automatically.

 The Business Card

The business card is the cornerstone of cheap marketing. If done well, your business card might be all the marketing you need. First, lets examine a typical business card. The card will be white with black ink, generally have the name of the company, the name of the person, address, phone, fax, and email. Maybe a logo or a picture.

This is not an effective use of a business card. When someone sees your card, we want him or her to instantly know what you do and who you are. You also want them to have a reason for keeping your card, and we want your card to stand out.

Depending on the company you work for, you might have to get permission to design your own cards. If your company prints the cards for you, they will be sure to put their name in the most memorable spot. We want people to remember you, not the company.

 The elements of a great, no-way anyone will ever forget you card are:

Printing on both sides

Your USP as the main element on the front

Two or three color inks

Background that is a bright attractive color - not white

Reason for people to keep your card. Example- "show this card at your listing appointment and get a free gift at closing"

A picture or caricature of you

Your name in large letters, it should stand out more than the company name or logo

A friend of mine is a property investor and his card is unforgettable. The front is glossy, bright yellow. Across the top in big, bright, red letters is says "We Buy Houses". It has his name and contact info along with what types of property he buys. When you look on the back, the first thing you read is "This card is worth $1000." The $1000 is in big, bright green. Then it goes on to say that if you refer him to someone whom he buys a house from, he will pay you $1000.


Now that you have your cards, (even if you weren't brave enough to get bright yellow ones), let's start using them. They might look pretty, but they will not do any good sitting in the box. You have to get them out and give them away.

 Another friend of mine has a great technique to give out cards. He and everyone that works for him, get 20 cards per day. It is their job to give away all 20 cards by the next day. 4 people in his office giving away 20 cards, times 5 days a week, equals 400 cards a week. Out of those 400 contacts, how many people do you think will ask about real estate? Maybe 10. Out of those 10, if he can convert 1 that's $4000 a week. Or $10 per card. If I paid you $10 for every card you gave away how many would you?

20 cards a day is not as bad as it sounds, if you're doing the things you need to be. If your office is in a shopping center, stand outside and give a card to everyone who walks by. When you go to the supermarket, give a card to everyone shopping. Give cards to everyone you come in contact with. Put them in all your outgoing mail. Just get them out.

When you give someone a card, you are making a personal contact. Use this opportunity to make a good impression. You could be doing this by making a short statement. "Hi my name is _____, our company has the perfect home for your family, and if you are ever in the need of a new home, please call me."

If they respond positively, you could continue by asking an open ended question like "When do you think you might consider moving to a better school zone?" or "Who do you know that could use my services right now?" Use a question that does not lead to a yes or no response.

We've gone over some ways to jump-start your business very cheaply and quickly. The purpose of this report was to get your mind flowing with ideas on how you can generate leads in a hurry. Take these techniques, use them, improve them, and succeed with them. They have worked, are working, and will continue to work.

Good Luck and Good Selling!



By Carolyn Schoemer,  Tue Jan 20 2009, 05:59
I am always looking for great inexpensive ideas to share with other agents in my office with respect to tech and marketing. We have a course called 36:12:3 which teaches everyone to make a USP, it really works. Think of it as an elevator speech. Thank you!! -Carolyn Schoemer, Associate Broker, Keller Williams Realty, White Plains, NY
By Donell Delgado,  Tue Jan 20 2009, 08:28
Another inexpensive way of marketing is working your sphere of influence. Making sure your past clients, family, friends know that your are in business. Open Houses are another way as well.
By Marjorie Duncan,  Sun Feb 15 2009, 12:42
Most agents do not keep in touch with their past clients. It's the truth-- just ask some of your friends who bought or sold a house BEFORE you were in the real estate business. Ask who the agent was when they bought/sold. They will not know the name, but may remember if it was a man or woman. What a waste-- all that agent had to do was stay in touch with people with whom he/she had done business, and yet chose not to.
By Karen Sluyk,  Sun Feb 15 2009, 13:06
Hi Nick
Flashy cards will definitely get more than one look. However, I have seen some that are over the top and would scare even me away. I believe first impressions speak volumes and our cards are usually our first impression.
We should all be remembered to stay focused on who we are and what message we really want to get across to our clients and potential clients. Everyone needs to remember that most states have rules about your business cards.
A possitive way of retaining client referrals over the years is to NEVER forget your old clients. They all remember the good or bad in your relationship. Keep in touch, I find they Love to hear from us especially when we remember their children.
Looking forward to reading your sequels. I love seeking out FREE advise and advertisement.
By Voices Member,  Sun Feb 15 2009, 13:50
I agree with some of the answers above. When I meet clients the first thing I ask them is how did you find me? This way I can keep track of what works and what isn't. Also keeping up with the follow ups. I can't tell you how many clients fall into my lap because the previous agent didn't follow up with a simple phone call. Keeping in touch before and after the deal guarantees income for as long as you are in the business.

One thing to add with cheap marketing. I was never a fan of handing out business cards to people in shopping centers. For some reason it doesn't work for me but I have seen it work for others. I'm more subtle. I created Youtube videos which are free, blogging is free, writing articles in local papers is free, etc. These things take time to create but increase your exposure to your market and have a little more longevity in the marketplace. Just my .02 cents.

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