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76: Josh Cobb: How Real Estate Agents Are Using Data To Earn More Clients

By |April 27, 2016| No Comments


Traditionally, only big brands and publishers had access to consumer data to sell their products or services. They use that data to be more specific for the people that actually matter to their business instead of what we typically do in real estate, which is we try to convince everyone that now is the time to sell.

Today, small businesses like yours have this data at your fingertips but, sadly, very few real estate professionals are tapping into it.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we’ll explore how real estate agents are using data as their ultimate marketing advantage.

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This is a story about Jason. Jason is a salesperson in an agency with five other salespeople, a property management department with 300 properties under management and he earns $120,000 a year in a market where the average sale price is $550,000.

Jason does all the things a salesperson is taught to do. He has his trails set up, he makes 10 calls before 10am every day and he works six days a week.

Jason’s marketing is a mixture of letterbox drops, email alerts for properties ‘just sold’ and ‘just listed’, he sponsors the local football team and uses social media to promote his profile.

Jason attends all of the major conferences, he listens to how other real estate professionals are marketing themselves or their business, and he takes that knowledge back to his office and implements it.

Jason does all the things a real estate agent should. He’s systemised, he’s focused on his numbers and tracks his results.

Jason is a fictional character for the purposes of this episode of the podcast but a fictional character, nonetheless, who probably resonates with you.

You see, Jason is the typical real estate agent earning what the typical real estate agent earns and he sells the amount of properties that a typical agent sells – at least here in Australia.

But the challenge for Jason now is that he’s up against a new breed of agent. An agent who is focused not only on his numbers, but one who craves insight. An agent who understands that data is the key to unlocking the ultimate marketing advantage. Unfortunately for Jason, this kind of agent already exists.

While Jason was sending out his 10,000 letterbox drops last month about his recently listed or recently sold properties – at a cost of a few thousand dollars – a local competing agent, let’s call him Tom, was marketing the hottest new apartment complex in town. Close to all the popular restaurants, bars and cafes, and easy access to the CBD, this new apartment complex was perfect for the working couple who commute to the CBD.

So Tom spent a few hundred dollars on Facebook Ads targeted at couples with no kids, a combined annual income of more than $200,000, who travel four weeks of the year overseas, they spend $2500 a month on eating out at local restaurants and have a keen interest in the arts. Tom was able to be that specific with his marketing for this new apartment complex simply because he could.

Tom understands a very important lesson in marketing today.

If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.

He used insight from Facebook to target people he knew for a fact would be interested in the product he was selling. Although he might be marketing to fewer people than Jason, Tom’s marketing was far more effective and cheaper.

While Tom’s laser-like approach to marketing doesn’t necessarily replace the kind of traditional methods that Jason is applying, Tom has the ultimate business advantage today – insight.

It used to be that only big brands and publishers had access to this kind of data to sell their products.

If I want to target my marketing to people in a specific age group, I can. If I want to target my marketing at people who are renovating their home and are watching TV shows like The Block or following brands online such as Bunnings, I can. If I want to let couples with kids in a 3km radius of my office know about a promotion I’m running for Easter, I can do that too. All for a small fraction of the cost compared with traditional marketing methods.

This is how big brands have sold products and services for decades. They use data to be more specific to the people that actually matter to their business instead of what we typically do in real estate, which is try to convince everyone that now is the time to sell.

The people who understood data in an organisation used to be called geeks. It’s certainly not the case any more. Data analysts and data-driven marketers are in hot demand across the globe, and organisations – big and small – have these positions at the top of their priority list.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that you need to become a data scientist – you are a real estate professional at the end of the day and you list and sell properties. But you do need to know a little about the kind of data that is available at your fingertips. There are agents in marketplaces just like yours who are already leveraging data like this to earn more clients.

I recommend reading, watching or listening to as many digital marketers as you can find – there are plenty out there on the web today. They are easy to find and just 1 hour a week spent researching the latest in digital marketing trends can be the difference between good and outstanding results.

I remember a real estate conference recently where a successful agent stood on the stage in front of thousands of people and talked about the importance of what he called “saturation marketing” – this notion that the more you shout, the better you’ll be heard when it comes to earning clients in real estate.

I understand what this agent was trying to say, but I think he missed the mark. The common misconception in real estate is that the louder you shout, the better you’ll be heard and while that might have worked 10 years ago, it couldn’t be further from the truth today. I believe, deep down, that saturating your area is a result of your marketing – it shouldn’t be the driving force.

Data not only gives you the insight to create marketing people actually want, but it allows you to compete on the same level as some of our biggest brands at a fraction of the cost.

Next time you’re spending thousands on the same old marketing you’ve always done, I want to you stop and think for a second.

Is this the best use of my time and money?

Is there a smarter way to get a far better return from my marketing dollars?

How can I put my marketing in front of people who matter most?

A famous marketer by the name of Howard Luck Gossage once said:

“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them and sometimes it’s an ad.”

Applying that quote to what we’re talking about – data gives you a unique advantage over your competitors to create marketing that people actually want, even if it’s an ad. You don’t need me to tell you that the more relevant you are to the people that matter to your business, the more successful you’ll be. While that might sound so simple, sadly very few real estate professionals apply that thinking.

I believe in 2016 and beyond, data is what the winners in real estate will use to keep playing while the second place-getters – the ones with the batch and blast approach – will pack up their ball and go home.

I certainly hope you’re not part of the latter group.

Good luck.

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