Do you farm real estate and you need tips that will help you succeed? If YES, here are 50 real estate farming ideas & strategies for smart realtors.
Real estate farming is simply the process where agents confine their marketing efforts to one geographic area. This area may include specific neighborhoods, towns, and counties. The main agenda of real estate farming is to help agents create local awareness of their services.
Below are 50 real estate farming ideas you can leverage to target specific neighborhoods and become the agent of choice.
50 Best Real Estate Farming ideas & Strategies for Realtors
- Attend and Participate in Neighborhood Events
When you have chosen a geographic area to farm in, and a target audience, do a Google search to find events taking place at local community centers, libraries, churches, etc. Although it all depends on what you find, ask if you can attend as a vendor or a speaker.
As a vendor, set up a table with promotional materials that explain who you are, what experience you have in the neighborhood, and what services you offer. As a speaker, share real estate tips, trends, and other insights specific to the neighborhood; the goal is to present yourself as a well-informed resource.
There are two main opportunities with this approach. First, by participating in local events, you are able to speak with attendees and do basic market research. Secondly, participation helps you explain the service you offer in more detail.
- Set Up a Social Profile
Always make sure you have social media accounts on all the big networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and even Instagram if you snap a lot of house pics). Interact with users, share good press, and promote your properties.
- Neighborhood Market Updates
You can also consider sending a monthly or quarterly comparative market analysis (CMA) of the community to its members not only shows that you stay aware of the neighborhood’s sales activity, it provides residents with something of value that they will look forward to receiving regularly.
- Add Social Sharing to Property Pages.
There is a huge chance that home shoppers are eager to share their top housing pics with friends and family, so make it easy for home buyers to email and share various properties online by adding social sharing buttons. It brings an effect that endears you to the heart of your clients.
- Knock on Doors
We all know that door knocking is a free way to market yourself in your real estate farm area. Especially if you are not local, or you are new to the area, this is the perfect way to get some face time with potential shoppers. Leave them with a unique business card or informational brochure so they have a way to contact you when they’re ready.
- Watch Out for Competition
You have to find out what other agents in your area doing. What do their websites look like? How active are they on social media? Take note of what competitors are doing – then avoid their mistakes and replicate their success. Competition can propel you to create innovative ways to outshine them and win market value.
- Run Targeted Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are a powerful way to reach people you can’t connect with in person. With a few clicks in Ad Manager, you can reach thousands of people at the same time. To reach your farm area, change the location targeting specs during ad creation so that your ads are visible only to people who were either in a specific area recently or are currently in the area.
Also, to further hone in on your specific audience, consider uploading a list of your contacts from your farm area. Some agents maintain a database of names, addresses and other contact info that can be used to create a custom audience. Facebook will attempt to match the records from your list to Facebook user accounts and reach them with your ad as part of your campaign. Make sure you adhere to Facebook’s special guidelines for housing-related ads.
- Be Easy to Contact
Don’t forget to put your contact info on every page of your website. Ideally, make an impressive contact us page that grabs attention. Your contacts need to be where you clients can easily see them and your Call to Action should be explicit in all marketing programs.
- Leave Informational Door Hangers
If the homeowner is away or you don’t feel comfortable knocking, leave a door hanger with some information on real estate events you are hosting. Be sure to include your website and phone number on the hanger. Make sure it can directly attract the attention of the homeowner.
- Make Use of Local Images
In many ways, you are not just selling a house, you are selling a whole town or area. Showcase the best that your area has to offer, with high-quality, beautiful photos of local town landmarks and familiar sites. But first you have to be conversant with them all and know how important they can be when attracting buyers or enticing clients.
- Partner with Local Businesses
Developing relationships with other local businesses will be key for your real estate marketing efforts. See if you can get local breakfast joints to let you buy them a set of new coffee mugs with your logo on them, or buy a place on their paper placemat setting. Don’t be afraid to get creative with local partnerships.
Local businesses offer great partnership opportunities because of the connection they have with residents. Businesses like grocery stores, boutiques, salons, medical offices, and restaurants cater to the needs of neighborhood residents every day. With this real estate farming idea, partnerships help you get repeat exposure.
In exchange for these partnerships, offer to include these businesses as part of a community resource list you share in welcome baskets for new buyers. To figure out which businesses to connect with, join the local chamber of commerce. This will give you access to the names of local businesses so you can conduct research when needed.
- Create an Irresistible Content Offer to Capture Leads
Consider producing an eBook like “X number of things new home owners should consider before buying” or “X most valuable features of a new home.” Offering free eBooks in exchange for an email address (and zip code, in the case of real estate) is a great way to capture leads. It will show your clients that you are an expert in your field and you thoroughly understand their needs.
- Leverage a Photo Pro
In this modern era, successful real estate relies heavily on great photography. Bad photos will diminish interest in even the greatest of properties. It is absolutely important that you have gorgeous photos of your properties.
Hire a professional photographer (preferably with experience photographing homes and architecture), or, if you have sophisticated equipment and are confident in your abilities, have your own hand at it. Just remember this is one of those scenarios when it pays to bring in the professionals.
- Just Listed & Just Sold Flyers
You can choose to distribute them by foot directly to door steps or sent in the mail, just understand that flyers that market your new listings in the neighborhood as Just Listed / Sold are very necessary to evidencing your success to other residents.
Don’t forget that frequency of contacts is the key to farming success, so additional flyers for Coming Soon, Price Reduced, back on Market and Open Houses just give you more ways to stay first of mind with the neighbors and show how hard you work to get homes sold.
- Create a Virtual Tour
Always remember that your clients’ time is precious, and they want to understand as much as possible about a property prior to visiting in person. Virtual tours are a great way to give a comprehensive, accurate preview of the property for potential buyers. Here, you have to be wise in your choice of pictures and music’s, so as not to further push away your clients.
- Local Sponsorship
Consider helping sponsor local festivals, sports teams, or school events. Signing up as a local sponsor often means getting your business a spot on t-shirts, program pamphlets, or flyers. Don’t forget to check with your CPA to see if sponsorships are tax deductible. If you need help with funding, consider partnering with a lender. Co-marketing with a lender (including adding their contact information to your farming materials) is a great way to reduce expenses.
- Send Real Estate Farming Materials via Direct Mail
Note that having the right materials is a crucial part of knowing how to farm a neighborhood in real estate. They can include newsletters, postcards, flyers, market reports, just-listed and just-sold notices, and more.
Experts suggest sending real estate farming materials out monthly — you can expect to do this for a year before seeing any consistent results. Sharing your specific knowledge about the area will convey that you are a real estate expert. Remember to include your website, phone and email information along with a pertinent call to action.
- Animated Video
You should also consider outsourcing a quality animated video for your real estate businesses. Short, cute, high-quality cartoon videos can help establish your brand as well as give a touch of personality. You may even want to consider featuring local landmarks or sites in your animated video to make it ultra-unique and targeted.
- Share Advice in Local Neighborhood Newspapers
Coupled with city-wide newspapers, many neighborhood households either receive or have access to local community newspapers. These publications aren’t long — typically, just a few pages in length — but they contain information such as details about upcoming events, coverage of past events, and short yet informative articles that residents find interesting.
Partner with these publications by offering to write a monthly column that features real estate tips and resources. The focus of these articles should be on providing value to your audience rather than trying to sell your services.
Buying and selling real estate is a large transaction, so people have to feel they can trust you and that you understand their needs before they choose to work with you. Include a call to action (CTA) at the end of each article to turn readers into leads. Ask them to email or call you with questions, or invite them to an upcoming open house.
- Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Have it in mind that tech-savvy consumers spend tons of time on their mobile devices. In fact, a recent study has shown that 80 percent of Internet users use their mobile devices for online activity. It is paramount that your website is mobile friendly. Even better, consider creating a mobile app that potential buyers can use to review listings.
- Telephone Calls to Neighbors
Telephone calls to the residents of the farm advertising your new listing as Just Listed or Just Sold typically result in more new listing appointments than any other real estate farming ideas. As with flyers, calls around the neighborhood to advertise listings as Coming Soon, Price Reduced, back on Market and Open Houses just increase an agent’s chances of getting new listing appointments.
With it being far more difficult to get phone numbers, pounding the pavement and getting residents to opt-in to your communications is even more important than ever.
- Establish a Newsletter
Note that email marketing is one of the best strategies for building client relationships. Collect emails from your website, local outreach, or any other methods you can think of.
Send your email subscribers the stuff they’re looking for – notices about upcoming open houses, new houses on the market, news about seminars you are offering in the area, etc. (Note: if you work in different geographical areas, you’ll want to segment your newsletter subscribers based on their location, ensuring that they only get relevant emails and updates from you).
- Collect Emails with Automated Real Estate Farming Postcards
Use an automated direct mail service to send personalized postcards every month. A good tactic is to direct users to a market report that requires them to enter their email before viewing, which lets you follow up with your new lead to see if they’d like to connect.
- Build Your Google My Business Page
Google My Business is the latest in Google location-based pages. If you are feeling confused, don’t worry – it is basically the same idea as Google Places for Businesses and Google+ Pages. Setting up a Google My Business account makes it easy for users to find you in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+.
You’ll notice that there’s also a section for people to ask questions. This is helpful for local residents because, as they research, they can ask questions to gauge an agent’s experience before booking an appointment.
This real estate farming idea helps increase your exposure because your listing will appear on the right panel of a Google search. Instead of being buried as part of other search results, it is up front, where users can quickly find out more.
- Consider Choosing a Niche
Once you notice you have got some real estate marketing competition in your area, you may want to consider making yourself stand out by going niche. Become the go-to real estate agent for dog owners, families with kids, divorced individuals, whatever. Making a name for yourself in regards to a specific niche need can make you memorable, especially in saturated zip codes.
- Use Mobile Messaging to Share Updates
Note that with mobile messaging, you get the “right message to the right people at the right time.” Compared to email marketing, 95 percent of texts are opened and read within three minutes. Based on your current list of qualified leads — for example, people who visited an open house — segment them to show who’s interested in your target neighborhood and who aims to buy or sell a home in the next six months.
Use a mobile messaging app to create and send SMS campaigns that remind these leads of upcoming open houses or scheduled appointments. You can even use proximity marketing to target people who are within a few miles of your real estate office.
- Use Emotional Storytelling
Utilize emotional storytelling with compelling copy and powerful visual elements. Humans respond to stories – tell a good one and clients will flock to you. It is believed that only through efficient Storytelling can we bring facts, data and reasons to life.
- Host a Webinar
If you feel comfortable enough, hosting a webinar can be a great way to garner attention for your business. Host a “20 Well-Known Things to Look for in A New Home” webinar, providing a Q&A at the end for questions. Webinars can also be repurposed as YouTube videos, which can serve as valuable video content that can live permanently on your website.
- FSBOs & Expired Listings
You should consider staying in contact with for Sale by Owner (FSBO) sellers and owners of expired listings. It might turn out to be the most lucrative real estate farming idea since these residents typically have their hand up wanting to sell their home right now. Stay in continuous contact with FSBO sellers by showing how hard you work to market your listings while building relationships by helping them market their home along with your listings.
Show the FSBO homes to buyers as much as you can to prove how much more buyer traffic you can generate. Make sure to create a list in MLS to notify you of expired listings. That way you can call them and drop off a marketing packet on their doorstep for a chance to interview for the job the first day the listing expires.
- Old School Mailers
The web is where it is at, but that is not to say traditional advertising doesn’t have its place, especially when you have targeted audiences. Consider sending out postcards to qualified leads or potential buyers in the specific zip codes you are active in.
Whatever you choose, the idea with this approach is to send creative mail to catch and hold the attention of local residents. These residents might even share an image of the mailer on social media, which would help boost your agency’s exposure.
- Become a Zillow Premier Agent
Zillow Premier Agent offers a digital solution to ensure the audience you are farming offline will see and connect with you online. In addition to connections with active home shoppers searching in the ZIP codes of your choice, you also get a built-in contact management system, insights into the homes your buyers are looking at, training and more.
This allows you to not only meet home shoppers in your market, but also provides you with the tools you need to stay two steps ahead of today’s on-demand marketplace.
- Host Free Seminars for Home Buyers
Make yourself and your knowledge available to the community by hosting mini-seminars. Consider providing basic 101 seminars about the basics of home buying and mortgages. Remember, marketing today is all about inbound, and that doesn’t just apply online.
Users want you to share some of your knowledge for free before investing time and money in you. A home buying seminar is the local equivalent of a webinar. Yes, it will take time and energy, but attendees will walk away impressed and will have established a relationship with you. That relationship will be worth its weight in gold when they’re ready to shop for a home.
- Use Local Display Advertising
This approach can include outdoor hubs like bus shelters or indoor ads in subway, bus, and train stations and vehicles. Anyone who’s walking or driving by and traveling on public transit will see these ads. For large poster display ads, include contact details, a head shot, and a catchy tagline. For smaller posters that appear in buses or trains, state a pain point your audience faces and a short tagline with how you help solve the problem.
This approach to real estate farming also targets people who rely on public transit and might be thinking about how nice it would be to not commute so far for work and other activities. Regardless of the time or day people commute, your ads are visible 24/7.
- Don’t Forget Branding
Branding is your best friend – it can mean pens, drink cups, and all those other freebies people love. Give out some branded goodies at local festivals and events to spread your brand. Your brand will be what people remember when you are not around. It will remind them of your business, empathy and good will.
- Open Houses
Note that open houses don’t just attract buyers, they give you an opportunity to meet neighbors. Owners that are thinking about selling love to check out open houses in their neighborhood prior to putting their homes up for sale, and hopefully they know that you are the area’s expert by now.
So they will want to not only check out what other competition on the market looks like, but they will also want to meet and see what you do too. So holding successful open houses is critical to real estate farming.
- Ask for Testimonials from Former Clients
Testimonials are massive trust signals. Showing that real, live people endorse your services means the world to potential clients. When a homebuyer has had a great experience with you, reach out to them and ask for a testimonial. If possible, try to get a photo of them as well. Make the most of these testimonials by placing them strategically on your website and sharing them now and then on social networks.
- Organize Free Meetups for FSBO sellers
You can choose to share your real estate expertise with the community by hosting a free event on how to sell your home or how to understand your home’s value. This is especially relevant in younger communities — 36 percent of millennials and 26 percent of Gen Xers try to sell on their own, but many become overwhelmed with the process.
Hosting an event or meetup is a great real estate agent farming technique because it establishes you as the area expert. Be sure to provide your email, phone number and website so potential leads can follow up.
- Create an Awesome Website
Today’s consumers like to do a lot of legwork themselves online when making major purchases, and that includes home buying as well. Even when renting a property, most people Google Map the address, use Street View to get a feel for the area, see which businesses are within walking distance, look at home photos, and, ideally take a virtual tour of the property.
Make it easy for users to access all this information – make sure all your property pages have great photos, virtual tours, and easy access to Google Maps and Google Earth. List the hot spots nearby and their respective walking distances (mention the bus stop that is just a five-minute walk, or the Starbucks at the end of the block).
- Attend Networking Events
As a real estate agent, networking is a must. It gets you in front of other agents, which helps you grow your professional contact list. If you subscribe to any real estate publications or receive emails about the latest trends and industry news, look for mentions of real estate conferences and events.
By attending these events, you are able to promote yourself to other agents who may have more experience and can share tips on your real estate farming ideas.
Also, as you prepare for upcoming open houses, host an agent caravan, and invite the agents you have met at events. They may know people who are interested in buying in your chosen area. To strengthen your relationship with other agents, offer to send them referrals.
- Ensure Your Site is Easy to Navigate
Even if you have the greatest property pages in the world, it won’t mean much if your site is quite hard to navigate. Your visitors need to have a good experience on your website, so take the time to brush up on user experience design skills and information architecture. Make it joyful and easy to assess, even for less tech savvy clients.
- Use Pay-per-click Advertising
An alternative to Facebook ads is Google Ads. Once you sign up for a free Google Ads account, create campaigns that target local audiences. The benefit of using Google to run ads is that you can use the Keyword Planner tool to research which keywords to use in your ads.
That way, when people search Google for listings or agents, your ads appear at the top of search results. To make sure your ads appear in relevant searches, use keywords that have medium volume — between 1,000 and 4,000 searches per month — and low competition. This combination ensures that your ads receive a lot of traffic and have minimal competition from other ads.
- Block Parties
Immediately you have established as the neighborhood expert, hold block party events at a community pool, park or common area. These can even be held at one of your listings in conjunction with an open house.
Bring in a bouncy house, cook hot dogs or hamburgers on a grill, blow up balloons with a helium tank, provide face-painting and etc. to show you are giving back to the community. The key here is to market the event in advance with mailers, emails and telephone calls to again make more touches and invite everyone in the neighborhood.
- Give a Local Care Package After Closing
Note that your relationship with a client doesn’t end right after they close. You want them to remember your name so that hopefully they’ll share your info with friends, family, and acquaintances who might consider moving in the future. Send a local care package to clients after they close, with local movie or theater tickets, restaurant gift cards, etc.
- Participate in Local Online Real Estate Forums
Almost all communities have an online forum, Facebook group or message board. Earn trust by joining in the conversation and introducing yourself as a member of the community and a real estate agent. You can throw in a listing or market update every now and again to keep your name associated with real estate in their area.
- Don’t Forget to Keep in Touch
Stay in touch (even months and years later) with past buyers in order to build that good relationship. Send anniversary cards, holiday cards, etc. to stay fresh in their minds. When they have a friend who is ready to buy, they’ll pass along your info.
- Localize your website’s SEO
Note that your website is one of the best ways to generate leads for your business — but people have to find it first. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to make sure your website contains the information your audience is searching for.
That way, when Google indexes web content, your site is included and becomes easier for people to find. Incorporate local keywords that relate to the amenities, attractions, and schools that are important to your audience.
Use a paid tool, such as Ahrens, or a free one, such as Google Keyword Planner, to find keywords, their search volume, and their competitiveness. When you have a list of keywords, do a Google search to see what sites appear on the first page of Google.
- Leverage Call Tracking
Real estate is one of those industries that absolutely must use call tracking in their paid search campaigns. Most people use the phone when trying to find a realtor or make an appointment to view an apartment, condo or house. If those calls come about because someone saw your PPC ad, you want to be able to track which ads and keywords are driving calls.
- Share Your Real Estate Farming Area’s Growth on Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are wonderful for sharing charts, maps and even memes on how the neighborhood has grown or changed over the years. Remember to target your demographic with information that is relevant and in their preferred format. Your followers’ responses and reactions will help you shape your communication strategy.
- Blog About the Best Places to Visit in Your Farming Area
Consider highlighting the best restaurants, entertainment venues or parks in your real estate farming area in blog posts, and then share those posts on social media and your website. Blogging about new or exciting places is a great way to get people to share your post, which exposes you to more potential leads.
- Volunteer with Local Charities
One other way to get involved with the community you serve is to participate in food drives at food banks, prepare and serve meals at local shelters, and more. These opportunities let you give back to your community while gaining exposure for your business. Share where you and your team will be, and invite social media followers or email subscribers to join you.
Take pictures and videos of the event to share on social media or on your website. Get food bank staff, shelter employees, and the people they serve involved. This tactic isn’t just about advertising your business, it shows that you care about the community and have an interest in its success.