WHY NICHE MARKETING?
Becoming a succesful real estate agent can be tricky especially in the beginning. Most new agents hustle for business wherever they can, overlooking the bigger picture. If you’re serious about a sustainable career in real estate, niche marketing is something you should implement as early as possible.
Chasing commissions is a short-term game doomed to disappointment. There is no shortcut to a long-term career in real estate, but a niche focus can quickly turn your fortunes around.
By focusing on a smaller, niche market, you actually maximize your efforts. You significantly reduce competition, and it’s much easier to network strategically.
Digital home shoppers represent a diverse market, each with different needs. Choosing the appropriate one for your skills and expertise is vital to your success. Follow our guide and learn our 4 great strategies for dominating your real estate niche!
NICHE MARKETING – FOR SPECIALISTS ONLY
If you specialize in a certain type of property, demographic or location, you’ll benefit from a thoughtful, well-researched marketing strategy. Agents with accreditations will also find our strategies useful for launching your real estate brand as the local expert.
A good niche marketing strategy focuses on a granular subsection of the real estate market. Demographics, location, property type, and other crucial factors should be researched thoroughly before you begin your search for listings.
Most importantly, be sure of your expertise and qualifications. Branding yourself as an expert is one thing, but you need to deliver actual value as well. Whether you’re an accredited NAR member or an independent agent/broker, prospects and competitors will be scrutinizing you carefully.
DO I NEED A REAL ESTATE DESIGNATION?
Ok so, the short answer is no. You can specialize and choose a niche without a designation. Buyers and sellers value credentials, but proof is even more convincing.
In reality, it’s all about perception. Buyers and sellers are becoming more educated about the options available to them. They are increasingly becoming niche-oriented in their home search. Including your accreditation in your bio gives buyers and sellers more confidence in your credentials and level of expertise.
But don’t let your lack of designation hold you back. If you study your market and apply yourself consistently each day to serving them with passion, you’ll build trust as THE local expert in your chosen niche.
Real estate expert Marcy Ruberto in Castle Rock, CO, is a great example of how agents can start to build their brand serving a niche with thoughtful content:
Awesome job Marcy! Keep up the great videos!
Ultimately, the important thing is to specialize in a specific way. Sure, you can focus on sellers, but get granular and define the type of seller you could serve best, given your resources, knowledge, and expertise.
NAR – SHOULD I BECOME A MEMBER?
NAR membership is a contentious issue. As the largest lobbying group for professionals in the US, they wield a lot of power but are often criticized for being ineffective.
For some, the chief reason for joining NAR is to distinguish yourself from other agents who don’t have the designation. Others find the training and education provided by NAR superior to non-affiliates that don’t have a code of ethics.
Buyers and sellers are hardly aware of the difference. The decision to join NAR, however, should be based on your professional needs.
A new agent can potentially benefit from the networking and education NAR provides. More experienced agents with a wide sphere of influence, on the other hand, may not find as much value in membership.
REAL ESTATE DESIGNATIONS
Licensed members and non-members alike can receive accreditation through several different NAR affiliates.
These are the ones we would recommend for our strategies:
- ABR – Accredited Buyers Rep
- ALC – Accredited Land Consultant
- CCIM – Certified Commercial Investment Member
- CRS – Certified Residential Specialist
- GAA General Accredited Appraiser
- SRES – Senior Real Estate Specialist
- GREEN – NAR’s Green Designation
- SRS – Seller Representative Specialist
- SIOR-Society of Industrial And Office Realtors
- RENE – Real Estate Negotiator Skills
The NAR website provides a more complete list of available designations.
HOW TO CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE NICHE
Consider these questions before choosing a niche:
- What is your annual income goal?
- What is the turnover rate for your niche?
- How much competition exists in your niche?
- What expenses will you incur specific to your niche (ie travel, technology, labor)?
- Does your broker support your niche?
Bottom line is, do the math before you go to class. Consider what your goals are, then choose a niche that supports your goals, rather than the other way around. Your niche marketing will only work if you are working it passionately and consistently.
4 REAL ESTATE NICHE MARKETING STRATEGIES TO DOMINATE YOUR FARM
1) GREEN HOMES
Homes that are LEED-certified by the US Green Building Council are a budding niche market. Interest in sustainable housing has grown considerably since the LEED program was initiated.
In fact, between 2005 – 2008, the sustainable green building market grew drastically from under $10bn to $81bn in value (USD).
“The green building market is anticipated to be among the fastest growing industries worldwide. The number of LEED-certified projects in the United States rose from 296 certifications in 2006 up to over 65,000 in 2017.” (USGCB)
By focusing on sustainable, energy-efficient homes exclusively, you’ll know exactly what buyers and sellers in this market are looking for. You can optimize all your online content to build organic traffic targeted specifically at green home buyers and sellers.
On the downside, Green Homes still comprise a very small percentage of the housing market.
Depending on where you live, the perpetually low inventory of energy-efficient homes may be too small to sustain your business.
That being said, the LEED market is global. There are plenty of foreign buyers seeking a LEED-certified home.
GREEN HOMES NICHE MARKETING STRATEGY
Calculate the current turnover rate for energy-efficient homes in your selected farm. If it isn’t somewhere between 7 – 10 green homes, minimum, you don’t have a sustainable business.
You can also research the total market share for green homes in your city or state. If the market share is big enough, say 20%, it may be worth zoning in on sellers. If you find sellers, you’ll meet buyers, other agents, and your networking can grow from there.
Once you assess the market, research 10 – 20 keywords trending with Green home buyers and sellers. Use Google Trends to find out which topics are of interest to your audience and write them down. Include them strategically in all your metadata to build organic traffic.
Write down 20 of the most common questions about green homes based on your Google Trends research. Then, record a batch of short, 3 – 5mn. videos answering each question. Check out other videos on YouTube and you’ll find lots of inspiration, as well as warnings!
Create your YouTube Channel and upload all 20 videos. Write a blog post for each one and release them on your social media once a week for 20 weeks!
While you’re releasing the first batch, plan your second series as a follow-up. Booyah!
If you follow this strategy, you’ll generate organic traffic from buyers and sellers interested specifically in green homes. The traffic you get will be more targeted and better qualified.
Your videos will provide proof that you are a green home expert. They will also be shared and attract followers/subscribers. These can be added to your CRM and nurtured for referrals.
(2) FSBO MARKETING STRATEGY
FSBO’s aren’t hard to find. They’re on the MLS, but they’re also on Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist – even the local paper. Reaching them won’t be as difficult as trying to reach buyer leads with fake email addresses! Many of them publish their contact information.
Since most agents would rather avoid FSBO’s, your competition will be much smaller than it would be chasing residential listings.
FSBO’s comprise a very small percentage of the national housing market. They are usually wary of agents and tend to be very hands-on with the sale. You’ll need to micro-manage the entire process and keep them tactfully in line to help them succeed.
FSBO NICHE MARKETING STRATEGY
A popular strategy to convert reluctant FSBO’s into listings is a Sell My Home For Cash Funnel.
An FSBO may have an urgent need to sell their property for several reasons:
- Recently divorced
- Too many costly repairs needed
- Wants to downsize quickly
- Behind on mortgage payments
- Bad tenants
So, you can connect FSBO’s with a professional house buying company. Offer to appraise their home for free. Provide the seller with a comprehensive CMA so they can make an informed decision.
Why would you do this? Referrals and repeat business.
While every other agent is trying to solicit FSBO’s with their listing presentation, you are actually helping your client reach THEIR goal. If you help them with your knowledge to sell their house, they may turn to you when they need to buy a house. They may also provide you with a relative or friend who’s considering a move too!
In any case, be of service first and you’ll build their trust.
(3) PRE-CONSTRUCTION HOMES, APARTMENTS, AND CONDOS
Pre-construction condos and homes appeal to a specific market segment. Quite often, preconstruction buyers are seeking an investment property that can be rented once completed.
As a pre-construction expert, you can appeal to their desire to invest wisely and avoid the pitfalls they may encounter before and after closing.
The pre-construction market can be difficult for new agents to break into. Housing starts and building permit levels still haven’t recovered to the levels they were at before the 2008 financial crisis.
You’ll also face competition from more established agents who can get VIP access to new homes. Platinum agents tend to have an established relationship with a developer through a brokerage. It will take time to develop these relationships.
Payment structures, closing costs, Purchase Agreements – there are so many details your clients can lose sight of. Pre-construction sales are considerably riskier than existing home sales. Delays in construction and unethical developers frequently lead to costly litigation and loss of investment.
Buyers need to be informed and educated regarding the risks, and you need a reputable developer you can have confidence in.
PRE-CONSTRUCTION NICHE MARKET STRATEGY
Brand yourself on Facebook with a business page that showcases you as a Pre-construction specialist. Having accreditation here is a bonus.
Research 10 – 20 developers in your farm online. Don’t just read their website. Read user reviews to find out what past clients say about them. Every developer will promise you sunshine and rainbows. Your job as an expert is to ferret out the frauds for your clients.
Once you identify the developers you want to connect with, follow them on social media consistently. Many developers post minute-to-minute updates on building projects.
You’ll learn important details ahead of your clients like:
- Upcoming events or newly announced projects
- The latest block, model, and phase releases
- Construction updates and photos from the site
- Updated floor plans, renderings, and other helpful visuals
Attend as many launch invitations as you can. Introduce yourself at these events and network with the individuals on your list. Impress developers with your knowledge of their projects. Connect with their sales team and
Create your own branded Pre-Construction Buyer’s Guide for your geographic farm. Offer it for free to prospects online. Publish a few copies give out in person at every launch.
You can hire a writer to polish your prose, or recruit one with real estate expertise to ghostwrite the book for you. Ideally, you’ll want someone with knowledge of the local market.
Your digital guide can be updated and published year after year. Physical copies will serve as powerful brand reminders and position you as an expert. You can also plan a series of videos based on your book, and release them on social media to generate more leads!
(4) HOME SELLERS
Unlike buyers, sellers don’t need a mortgage lender or a downpayment. Hence, you don’t need to qualify sellers in the same way. Plus, focusing exclusively on sellers will lead you to buyers as well.
The sellers market is extremely competitive. New agents have to network relentlessly in the beginning, since leads are likely to come through your referrals.
HOME SELLER NICHE MARKET STRATEGY
A real estate referral network is the best way for agents to cultivate referrals that lead to listings. Homeowners in your farm may not be ready to sell immediately, but if you nurture your relationship with them before the ‘zero moment of truth’, you’ll be first in line when they’re ready to sell.
Determine the turnover rate for your farm using MLS data. Check previous sales and active listings as well and review your competition. It will be much harder to build referrals in a niche already dominated by a local brokerage or agent.
If your farm doesn’t have enough turnover or too much competition, drill down deeper and find a subsection of the seller’s market you can serve in your city or town.
Research demographics and zone in on a subsegment of the local sellers market:
- Single parent
- New Homes
Choose a segment that you can relate to. Probe your audience for feedback on social media. Learn about their needs using questionnaires and surveys. Use Google Trends to find out which topics are trending with your audience on Google and YouTube.
Focus your efforts in a geographic location as well. The more targeted and hyperlocal your audience, the more successful your advertising will be.
Launch a Facebook Business Page and research real estate groups in your farm you can join. Choose groups that attract agents with a similar niche focus. Referrals can come from agents you meet with online.
Join a community group or launch a neighborhood website of your own. Brand it with original content that caters to local homeowners. Update your website with local news, events, and business listings sellers would find useful.
You can also find a service that builds neighborhood websites.
Publish a weekly newsletter for your neighborhood and build subscribers through your website/blog. Include an offer for a free CMA as well as a weekly report on local market trends.
Launch a Home Seller Campaign on Google Adwords. Create a landing page designed to qualify prospects who register for the free CMA. There are several landing page creators available with affordable options online.
CMA TIP: MOST SELLERS DON’T KNOW WHAT A CMA IS, BUT THEY ARE CURIOUS ABOUT THE VALUE OF THEIR HOME. IT’S USUALLY THE FIRST STEP A SELLER TAKES.
Instead of labeling your offer as a free CMA, position it in a way that appeals to a seller’s desire.
- Find Out What Your Home Is Worth Today
- Your Home May Be Worth More Than You Know
- Is This The Right Time To Sell My Home
- Price Your Home Right Before You Sell
Be prepared to nurture the seller leads generated from your Adwords campaign. Segment these leads in your database and create a drip campaign to stay top-of-mind with these prospects.
Whether you decide to specialize in green homes or vacation beachfront properties, don’t wait to get your designation. Start branding yourself as an expert in your chosen niche now!
There are dozens of real estate niche markets to explore. Adapt the strategies in our guide to suit your needs and circumstances. And be open to experimenting with your marketing efforts.
What’s your biggest marketing challenge? Leave a comment or get in touch with us for help dominating your niche.