If you are new to the world of real estate, you may get an odd impression of what real estate farming means. Put simply, it is consistent, repetitive marketing to a consistent audience. The goal of farming is to continually be at the top of your target audience’s minds so, when they time is right and they are ready to sell, they immediately think of you.
Many agents get restless and figure any contact is a good contact. They aimlessly jump from neighborhood to neighborhood, seller type to seller type and experiment too often with different marketing strategies, hoping they strike gold. Here are the problems with this plan (or lack thereof):
- You Become Forgettable. We are continuously bombarded with images, messages and products that one impression is simply not enough to keep you permanently ingrained in people’s minds.
- Jack of All Trades, Master of None. If you are constantly jumping between audiences and areas, then how will you ever become good at understanding and marketing to any one audience?
- Wasted Time, Effort and Money. Three things we all hate to lose! But if you aren’t building relationships with one audience, you could be flushing down precious dollars down the drain and wasting unmeasurable effort.
- Weakened Foundation. You may start to lose focus and therefore aim. You have nothing to build on, no lessons to apply after you learn them and no solid footing from which you can make wise decisions on what to do next.
Why Farming Works
It’s clear how not farming can do more harm than good. But even more compelling is why farming works!
- Builds Trust Between You and Your Target Audience. Your consistent, long-term engagement with your target audience, no matter what means you use, is what will help them see you as a part of their neighborhood and someone they can turn to in all matters real estate. Even if the market shifts, for example, they will feel comfortable coming to you first.
- Establish Your Area Expertise. The more information you consistently share with people about what you know about the area, the more they will see you as the expert in the neighborhood. It’s only a matter of time before people needing an answer to a local question will feel compelled to call you as the resident expert. They may then feel comfortable calling you one day for real estate help!
- Build Relationships in Advance. Think about when you see someone famous or see a face over and over again, especially when they are associated with consistent information. Don’t you feel like you know that person when you meet them for the first time? That’s what geographic farming can do for you, too. You might not have bona fide star status, but your familiarity will be more thant just a “ Do I know you from somewhere?” to an “I love that last article you did in your newsletter!” (more on that later). So when it comes to a listing appointment, it won’t be as a hard a sell.
Ways to Farm
Great, so you understand how important farming is in real esate. Now, how do you actually farm? Consistent communication with your farming area can take so many forms. It’s up to you which ones you choose.
- Newsletters: What better way to share your knowledge and build your reputation as an expert of your geographic farm than with a monthly newsletter? Have designated sections that focuses on a pet of the month, shares home values (or your Home Value Leads page!), highlights upcoming events or past month’s events and provides home improvement or holiday house tips. Keep most of the focus away from your real esate business and onto the community.
- Develop a brand and stick to it: Nothing worse than sending out a consistent communication, only to confuse an audience with constanly changing branding. If you’re not in love with your logo, newsletter or other rmarketing asset, then work hard on the front end to establish your brand and let that pervade all communications. If you want to be an expert in a certain niche of home sale or type of seller, then make a clever tagline out of it and remind people constantly of it. Once you develop a focus, be sure to build on it and it alone.
- Focus on the Local Community: Besides newsletters, find ways to get involved in your community. Remember, marketing is not just about tangible assets but also the intangible opportunities! Sponsor a local event, participate in a sports league, volunteer for a local clothing drive, ask your neighborhood newsletter if you can be a monthly contributor to their publication. Whatever it is, don’t limit your interaction with your geographic farm to direct mailers, emails and calls. Get out there amongst them and organically build those relationships.
As you concentrate on building your geographic farm, remember to have patience and to pay close attention to what does and does not work. With a focus on farming over the long-term, you may never have to leave that area ever again!