Real Estate & Chill Blog
|Posted on September 26, 2016 at 2:05 PM|
When to Hire Help for Your Real Estate Marketing
By John Doherty
About Agent Basics, Inbound Marketing
real estate marketing servicesYou’re a small business owner, and with that comes all the challenges of running a business: lead flow, accounting, employee management, and growth. At the end of the day, you desire to provide a great service for your customers and make a decent living yourself.
As a digital marketing professional myself, I am often asked when someone should hire help to generate more business from their digital marketing. There is no one-size-fits-all answer … though I believe there are some tried and true guidelines to work through to determine if it’s time pay someone to handle your real estate marketing strategy and execution for you.
Before we get into those reasons, allow me to also say that, even when you hire someone to do your marketing for you, you still need to be involved in the process. As the face of the business — and especially in a face-to-face, high-trust industry like real estate — your marketing needs to be personal. Thus, it needs to sound like your voice and reflect your approach to working with clients — whether informal, full of data, or the other reasons people use you as their agent.
Secondly, you need to understand what the marketing agency you ultimately employ does to drive your business. You may not be well-versed in digital marketing, but you should ask questions around why the firm you end up working with suggests the strategies they do so you can understand the implications and potential risks.
Marketing is similar to accounting in this way. You may not be an accountant or an accounting expert, but you should know where your money is going and ask questions of your accountant to make sure you are within the bounds of the law and that your business can continue to operate.
With all that said, here are the primary reasons you should hire help for your real estate marketing.
When You’re Unsure of How to Enhance Your Marketing
You’re a business owner and real estate expert, not an online marketing authority. While you can learn a lot about SEO, content marketing, or other ways to drive traffic and customers to your website, it’s likely digital marketing is not your main area of expertise.
When you reach the point in your business where you are considering hiring help for your marketing, you do what any successful real estate agent does: You ask yourself what the best use of your time and talents are. What you should also ask yourself, though, is what you enjoy doing and want to do — it’s these answers that will help you realize you can achieve so much more with a little help from outside resources.
Here’s my recommendation: Even if you love doing the work with your real estate marketing plan and become pretty good at it over time, to really take your business to the next level, you need mentorship. If you are able to hire an expert either as a consultant or full-time with your business, it may be smart to do so, because you can learn a great deal from them.
Rarely do you see a business owner in any industry also be the head of their marketing for the long haul. It’s more common in small businesses (where we as owners wear many hats) to take on that responsibility. For long-term sustainability, however, it is far more fruitful to hire someone to focus on building and evolving your real estate marketing strategy full-time while you continue to educate yourself and help out where you can.
When You Need to Grow Your Business Faster
If you already make the income you need to make because you generate the revenue you want to generate, you’re at an exciting time in your business. Now you get to decide whether to really double down and grow your business or maintain it at its current level since you’re happy.
If you decide to do the former and double down on growth, you’ll need more hands on deck. What got you to where you are now will, in all likelihood, not get you to where you want to go. You’ll need new processes, new ways of thinking, and new skills to take it to that next level.
Think of it this way: More than half of all B2C marketers (including real estate agents) describe themselves as being in the “adolescent,” “young,” or “first steps” stage of their digital marketing strategies. That means there’s plenty of room for these professionals to augment their marketing strategies — and many of them accomplish this by hiring external marketing resources and agencies.
In short, you need to decide what your time is worth and how much you want or need your brand to progress financially. When growth is paramount, you need assistance. If you’re ready to grow your business much bigger than it is at the moment, it’s time to hire help.
When You Just Don’t Have the Time for Marketing
As we’ve already said, you’re busy. You are responsible for business development, customer service and fulfillment, marketing planning and execution, payroll management, and so much more. With all of these responsibilities on your plate, it’s tempting to let marketing fall to the wayside. There is so much to do, and, as you should be, you worry about paying the bills and taking care of existing clients.
Pulling on your decisions from the section above, the lack of availability to focus your time, energy, and resources on your marketing scheme is a great forcing mechanism for automating or outsourcing some (or many) of the tasks on your plate. Marketing may be one of those — especially when you are not an expert.
The goal of subcontracting is to free up your time so you can focus on the things that really matter by eliminating the mundane tasks that someone else could do for you at a lower cost to you and, in certain cases, do more efficiently (e.g. research long-tail, local-market keywords to help your real estate website rank better).
Time is the ultimate currency, so reclaiming your time to work on revenue-generating activities is always a win for your business. As a side note, I recommend Tim Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Work Week” as a great place to start thinking about ways to automate and outsource some of your mundane business processes.
When You’re Unsure of the Next Steps to Take
Even professionals who are very good at their craft eventually come to the point where they are not sure what to do next to move their company forward. If you reach the point where you struggle to identify effective means to improve your real estate lead generation, client conversion, and bottom line, it’s time to find someone to help you.
To start, reach out to a marketing pro from whom you can get initial (and oftentimes free) advice on where to take your marketing next. For instance, you can pinpoint one of these marketers on Clarity.fm, a website for those who run startups or SMBs that connects these business-runners with someone who can offer marketing and general business guidance.
Regardless of where you find a business consultant to chat with, conduct a 30-minute phone call with them to discuss your brand and get some fresh real estate marketing ideas. If you then realize that you do not have the time or expertise (or time to get the expertise), then the decision is made for you: Search for a marketing firm or pro to take on some of your core marketing duties.
When Your Business Growth Stalls or Suffers
As a marketing consultant, sometimes I feel like a dentist: People only come to see me when they have a problem. Some people are good about their twice-yearly dental checkups just like some people are proactive in their marketing and keep a marketer either on staff or on retainer.
If your growth has gone the wrong way and you don’t know why, it’s time to hire an expert to help you diagnose the issue, put together a strategy to bring your business back to its former levels, and then help you further advance your business beyond that.
Marketers are surgeons, and good digital marketers make their decisions based on data and their past experience. This is why you should employ someone who focuses on your data, gathers data from your competitors using a myriad of tools, and makes recommendations and decisions based on what the data tells them. Relying on your gut or intuition in marketing is a fool’s errand, and if you hear this from a potential consultant or agency, you should immediately head in the other direction.
How to Hire the Right Real Estate Marketing Services
If you’re not familiar with modern marketing techniques and approaches, you might not know the questions to ask a marketing services provider to gauge if they’re a good fit for you or your company. For deeper reading on this subject, check out this post I wrote for Infusionsoft about specific questions to ask a potential marketer.
The first decision you need to make is whether you should hire someone full-time or as a part-time consultant/contractor to help you. This is both a personal and business decision, depending on the kind of company you want to run.
A full-time employee may or may not be more expensive than a consultant from a pure salary point of view, but you also must take into account working space (if you have a physical office, they need a desk, phone, supplies, etc.), payroll, benefits, and more. If you enjoy running your business solo and the freedom to work from anywhere (or on the go as a busy agent), this might not be the right direction for you to go.
The goal of subcontracting is to free up your time so you can focus on the things that really matter.
— JOHN DOHERTY
Consultants can be relatively expensive as well, potentially more so than a full-time employee (minus benefits, office space, etc.), but since you can typically hire these professionals on a limited-time, as-needed basis, that provides a level of flexibility for your business.
Begin your search by asking colleagues in your industry if they’ve worked with a marketing consultant or agency and who they would recommend. Then, search for marketing firms and pros that specialize in real estate marketing. Have conversations with multiple agencies and experts, and learn about:
Their process for doing work
Who you’d be working with directly
How much they usually cost
If they require a minimum engagement length
What they’d do to get started on your account
Once you’ve narrowed down your list based on the needs of your brand, you can make the hire and work side by side with your new marketing partner to take your real estate marketing to new heights.