Participating in a cleanse is like hitting a reset button. Cleanses help you break old habits and build healthy new ones. In business, as in life, there are lots of opportunities to slowly develop practices and processes that aren’t actually serving you. Hence the 5-Day Marketing Cleanse.

This marketing cleanse is designed to help you eliminate marketing efforts that aren’t generating opportunity – or are not generating enough of the right kind of opportunity. The cleanse will walk you through the process of determining which marketing activities are worth your time, energy, and mental bandwidth, and which ones you should eliminate.

Day 1. Take Stock

What’s working? What’s not? Today is the day you check the data. Where are your clients coming from?  More importantly, where are you getting your BEST business – the business you wish you could multiply?

The best way to do this is to sit down and review the transactions you’ve closed over the last twelve months.  List out every address you closed escrow on in the last year and what your commission income was from each. Note which side you represented on the transaction (buyers, sellers or both) and where the client came to you from.  Past client referrals, network referrals, Trulia leads, social media, open houses, newspaper ads, bus bench ads – get granular about detailing your sources.

(Side note: if you are aware that you have a lot of incoming leads that never turn into closes, you might want to consider those with the caveat that either the leads are bad or your responses to them are. That means you won’t want to continue investing resources in that lead generation source unless you can fine-tune your campaign or your adjust responses somehow.)

Now for a little analysis:

  • Assign a difficulty/delight level:  Who was gracious, responsive and easy to work with? Were there any clients that you would never work for again in life, even if they paid you?

  • Effort vs. outcome: Did you have to show a million houses to get the low-cost homes sold?  Were the easiest sales your mid-level ones?  Were those hard-to-win million dollar listings the ones you ended up having to give major concessions and rebates on?

Now, spot the trends.  Where did the best transactions and easy-to-work-with clients come from? Are there any patterns to where your hardest transactions or those which were the least lucrative came from? You get to decide who you work with and when you pursue relationships – this list makes it clear which of your marketing efforts and relationships yield the best results (and which yield the worst).

Day 2. Prune

Now that you know where your best clients came from, it’s time to make some decisions about which marketing methods to keep and which to scrap. Think about how a gardener prunes a rose bush – they trim dying branches as well as branches that are either producing less-than-great flowers  and those that are taking food and sunlight away from the really great limbs.

Approach your marketing cleanse the same way: don’t keep spending $5,000/year for a website that generated three, really awful clients last year.  Instead, think about how you can redirect those funds to your online advertising, which yielded 8 strong clients.

  • Prune your presence, profiles and patterns. Which ones generate the leads you love, or remind past clients to call you? Do more of those.  Which ones take a ton of time, or bring in those high-touch, low-reward leads you are tired of chasing?  Fix ‘em or trim ‘em.  Do you have a Twitter profile that has been inactive for months?  A blog to which you only ever posted a single, lonely post?  Put them to rest – and pull them down, so prospects don’t Google your name and find a social media ghost town.

On the other end of the spectrum, this is the time to stop excessive social media posts or verbiage  on your site, blog or social media profile that is confusing or unclear.  Scheduling posts, creating rules for what does and doesn’t go on your profiles and having an assistant or intern responsible for social media posts can be very helpful in limiting the time suck that can happen when you log into Facebook and get carried away.

  • Purge your inbox. If your inbox is full of brilliant newsletters and marketing material from once-inspiring business leaders that you will never use, declutter and unsubscribe en masse.  It reduces the onslaught of email so that when you get a good online lead, it’s more likely you’ll respond with all due quickness.  It also minimizes the energetic drain of having an inbox full of things someone is saying you “should” be doing that are never going to happen, and maximizes the attention you’ll pay to the newsletters that do regularly contain strong advice.

  • Trim your calendar. Scan your calendar for recurring  community meetings, marketing meetings, masterminds, referral groups, and  calendar reminders  for ad campaigns. Unless you just enjoy attending them for fun, cut the appointments, reminders and association meetings that no longer serve your needs, whether it be generating leads or cultivating market expertise.

  • Ditch the non-performing ads. Think back to the sources of great business you identified yesterday and compare it with your marketing calendar or the bank statement showing the expenses for advertisements you have out. Calendar an hour today to make all the calls and send all the emails to cancel campaigns that aren’t working – or at least to reconfigure them – and to dial up your investment in the ones that are bringing in leads.

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Day 3. Feed Your Marketing the Right Stuff

A cleanse is not just about expelling toxins, it is also about increasing your nutrient intake. Day three is your double wheatgrass shot of real estate micronutrients.

  • Take a Trulia webinar. Trulia webinars are highly relevant, free trainings you can watch from the comfort of home or office – and they are tailored specifically to the issues hundreds of thousands of agents have told us impact their businesses. Select one that speaks to a weakness in your business and tune in to level up your online marketing, business-building skills or tools.

  • Take the high performer in your office out to lunch. You don’t need a formal mentor relationship to glean great insights from someone whose success you admire. You might be surprised by how willing most people are to talk about how they got to where they are. This is your chance to take it all in simply by taking them out.

DAY 4: Craft (or Revise) Your Plan

For three days you have been diving deep to find out what works and eliminate what doesn’t. Today is the day to pull it all together in a revised, essentials-only marketing plan.

  • Build a new, streamlined marketing plan for the second half of the year. Level up your second half of 2013 by revising the marketing plan you started out with to eliminate the projects and initiatives you’ve pruned.

  • Calendar for execution. Rolling out a streamlined marketing plan is not a one and done project. Instead it maps a series of steps you’ll need to take to achieve your business goals. Set up appropriate calendar reminders now for the items you’ve decided to double down on, while you are energized and inspired. It’ll help reorient you when you get busy weeks down the line.

  • Branding, messaging and verbiage. Every agent is a business. And every business needs a brand: logo, look/feel and messaging that should be reflected and mirrored across all of your offline marketing materials  (e.g., business cards) and the powerful areas of your online presence that you didn’t prune. Develop yours, and in the spirit of the cleanse, don’t worry about trying to be all things to all people. Focus, instead, on creating a tagline and design elements that will speak and appeal to the specific target audiences that represented your best business (see Day 1).

Day 5. Show off the New You

Update all profiles, docs, flyers and templates to reflect your more streamlined and polished marketing priorities. No longer tweeting for business? Drop the bird from your card. Update your images. Use only current, professional photos of yourself – either the same one or multiple ones from the same shoot, so you have a consistent look and feel.

Update templates, forms, listing presentation materials and one-sheets with the latest version of your logo and points of contact. If you discovered duplicative or unhelpful processes during your Day One review, now is the time to do away with them.

Similarly, Update the profile images and descriptions on your online profiles, blog and website to align with your new brand tagline, areas in which you’re now going to focus on or specialize in and current photography.

So there you have it: the 5-Day Marketing Cleanse. Are you ready to get started?