The real estate market is undoubtedly crowded, with about three million real estate agents currently active across the country today. It's no wonder, then, that so many agents don't know where to start to grow their successful business in real estate.
With this in mind, you could benefit from some expert advice and tips to point you in the right direction and get your new real estate business launched. To turn your existing agency into a highly competitive and successful one, we're bringing you great real estate business ideas that will get you set up for success.
Part One - Starting a real estate business from scratch
The first part of this guide focuses on starting a real estate business of your own from scratch. Admittedly, this isn't a venture for the faint-hearted. It's a highly competitive industry, and around 87% of all agents will fail in their first five years of operation. Nevertheless, starting a real estate business can bring enormous success and immense job satisfaction for those determined, organized, and driven.
So, how to get your new real estate business model off the ground?
Step 1 - Starting a real estate business is about planning
Before you can start a real estate business, you need to do a lot of planning. You know what they say - failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and that's especially true in the real estate industry.
There are several types of plans you need to come up with before you even think about launching your real estate business:
Your personal plan
Before you consider what to put in your business plan, you need to make a personal plan outlining your goals and ambitions.
Most people starting up real estate businesses overlook this element of planning, yet arguably, it's the most important.
You almost certainly decided to get your real estate license and start up your own business because you want the benefits of working for yourself. Don't forget to determine what those benefits will look like for you.
Every real estate agent has goals they want to achieve from their business. Perhaps it's financial, and you're reaching for a six-figure salary, or maybe your ambition is to spend more time with your family.
Either way, take the time to decide what you want your life to be like when you're running a successful real estate business.
- Your preferred working hours
- The salary you want to bring in
- How you want to feel after a day in the office
You'll find it much easier to put the necessary effort into making your real estate business a success if you know what you're doing it all for.
Create a business plan
It's time to work on your business goals and create your business plan.
Start by deciding what makes your real estate business stand out from its local competitors - establishing a solid brand and personal identity is the best way to get your business off to the best possible start.
- What is your mission, your principles, and your values?
- How do they make you stand out from your competitors?
- What will you be taking full responsibility for in your business?
- What will you be delegating to others, and who will those others be?
Having a clear vision of the bigger picture is vital for keeping your real estate team inspired and motivated, and it will help you avoid the pitfalls of unproductivity.
Build a marketing plan
Once you have your real estate license and are ready to launch your real estate business, you need to know how you're going to market it successfully.
One thing is for sure - you can't coast along in the real estate game. There are many other real estate business names in the marketplace that your prospects could choose instead of your brand. For that reason, you have to be ready to market your brand aggressively and firmly from the get-go.
Therefore, having a clear marketing plan in mind is essential to hit the ground running.
Consider all the possible marketing avenues your real estate business can take, from writing an engaging blog that will attract your target audience to your website to harnessing the power of social media to generate more leads.
Most importantly, think strategically about what value you can offer your audience.
Step 2 - Get a customer relationship management system (CRM)
All businesses need systems, and this equally applies to real estate businesses. Finding ways to improve efficiency overall will go a long way towards making your real estate company a success, so seek out technology that makes things as easy as possible to run your operation.
A Customer Relationship Management system (or CRM) is a perfect solution, helping you organize contacts and generate actionable insights. A CRM allows you to take your qualified leads through nurture campaigns that are most relevant to them and even enables you to automate the whole transaction process for ultimate convenience.
Step 3 - Set up your website
No real estate business today can achieve success without having a professional, functional, and attractive website. Almost half of all buyers will go online to search for their new home, so it's clear just how important it is that your business has a strong online presence.
Local marketing is one thing, but having a web presence is vital to engage with and attract more online leads.
While building a real estate professional website will cost you money upfront, it's an investment well worth making.
With a strong, SEO-focused website, you can target your market effectively, attract new leads, integrate listings, and bring prospective clients into your CRM.
You need to ensure that your web presence reflects your brand seamlessly, offering impressive functionality and ease of navigation while also giving every prospective customer what they want and need to find.
Treat your website as the centerpiece of your marketing strategy. It’s how you combine multi-marketing channels and turn them into leads. Your website should always be considered your best sales tool in today’s age.
With a well-designed website in place, it's possible to launch other elements of your online marketing strategy, which we'll look at shortly.
Part 2 - How to grow your real estate business
You've drawn up your business plan, launched your real estate business in your local area, and now you're ready to scale it.
Growing your real estate business takes a lot of effort, time, and patience, and you need to harness the power of creativity. If you aren't willing to pull out all the stops and explore every possible avenue, you won't reap maximum benefits from your efforts.
Let's take a look at some of the things you can implement to give your real estate business new opportunities to grow.
Leverage networking purposefully
Successful and extensive networking lies at the heart of every successful real estate business, but you need to take a targeted approach to maximize your success.
Connecting with people is critical, but spend your time focusing on the right people - those who can help your business the most.
Meet with and build up a group of diverse individuals who can assist you in reaching the specific goals outlined in your business plan.
When attending networking events, decide on your goals in advance and focus on them every time you speak with somebody new.
Don't be afraid to ask for introductions to individuals who can boost your business plan objectives.
Improve your time management
Time management can be the bane of any real estate agent's life. It's challenging to run a real estate business, and managing your days effectively can feel impossible.
Nevertheless, if you never get to the end of each day's to-do list, you'll never grow your company. You need sufficient free time to focus on getting your business to its next level of success, which means eliminating unnecessary distractions.
To this end, employ user-friendly time management tools so you can complete your specific tasks in a set period.
Set aside a certain amount of time for "distractions" every day and stay within those limits.
Hire some help
You need to recognize that it's impossible to run a real estate business on your own successfully.
It just isn't possible to manage everything on your own if you want to grow and expand. Hiring some help and developing your team is, therefore, the best course of action.
Delegating tasks that you don't need to focus on in person to a reliable assistant will free you up to deal with the more relevant and important aspects of your real estate business.
All successful business owners engage effectively with their leads. As a real estate business owner, you should capitalize on the potential that your CRM system has given you to track prospective leads by interacting with them to display your expertise and knowledge of your field.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Kinsta shows that 87% of businesses use email marketing as a form of content distribution. And, the same study also found that for every $1 spent, businesses made $42 in return.
Email marketing is a helpful tool when it comes to reaching out to prospective clients. You can inform prospects conveniently and simply about the services you offer and keep your brand top of mind.
When they're finally ready to take the plunge and buy or sell a property, they'll think of your business first before all others.
Don't forget to include calls-to-action in all the email marketing you send out - every one of your emails must have its own goal, so choose your CTA wisely.
Asking for referrals
Never underestimate the importance of referrals when it comes to growing your real estate business.
Around three-quarters of every real estate agent's business will come from word of mouth and referrals, so that means you need to drive up leads and referrals from past and current clients.
You can achieve this goal by simply requesting them on your website. But often, offering incentives or referral gifts will work best to persuade clients to pass on details of your brand to their friends and family members who would be interested in using your real estate services.
Use social media to its full advantage
Marketing your real estate business can be challenging, but if you harness the power of social media, you can make an enormous difference to your company's success.
Around three billion people use social media platforms, which makes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram powerful tools to use when you need to market your company to a broad audience.
At the very least, you need to ensure your real estate business is active on a minimum of one social network and preferably on multiple networks.
This will allow you to run ads, drive leads, and share content to a broad audience who could potentially be interested in using your services to buy or sell a property.
There are many ways in which you can use social media to its best advantage. Consider:
- Doing video tours of properties that have recently gone onto your listings
- Congratulating new homeowners via Instagram
- Marketing your listings on Facebook to win your next listing. This will show consumers how you market listings and reach out to say "I want this for my home, too"
- Exploring the possibility of Facebook ads
- Interacting with comments on your socials to show engagement and boost your company's reputation
Launch a blog on your website
Establishing your real estate business as a true authority in its field is imperative if you're to overcome your competition and persuade prospective clients that your company is the right choice for them when they're seeking out real estate services in their local area.
Blogging is a highly effective strategy when it comes to growing your real estate business.
By creating relevant, engaging, and interesting content for potential buyers and sellers in your area, you can establish your brand as a thought leader within your sector.
How can you gain more authority within your niche?
The key is to blog about a range of relevant topics, for example:
- Be the digital mayor of your town and/or city with blogs about your neighborhood, things to do, schools in the area
- What to look for when choosing a real estate agent
- Top features of your local area
- Simple DIY projects that increase the value of a home before adding it to real estate listings
- Successful seller and buyer insights
- Top tips for staging a property for sale
- How to obtain a home loan
These are just a few possible topics you could blog about as part of your long-term content marketing strategy.
While you're creating this valuable content, make sure that you use targeted keywords within it. This will boost your real estate business ranking in the Google search engine results.
Don't overlook direct mail
Direct mail may sound pointless in today's digital era, but in fact, it's still worth pursuing those tried and tested traditional marketing techniques.
Sending out flyers and postcards to prospective clients in the area that you serve can help reach those who are still unaware of your business.
You can also reach those waiting for an opportune moment to list their property on the market or search for a new home.
Evidence has shown that direct mailings may be old-school, but as long as you have targeted your materials carefully, they can produce the same return on investment as social media marketing.
A report from the United States Postal Service in 2019 showed that physical adverts have more psychological influence, and they are surprisingly cost-effective in terms of their response rate. Postcards, for example, can generate a response rate of 4.25% and catalogs a response rate of 3.9%.
While tracking the leads from your direct mailing strategies can be more challenging, there are ways to do this. While they will cost you some money, it could be worth the expense to increase your income in the long run.
Furthermore, evidence has shown that fewer businesses today are opting to use direct mailing for targeting customers, so this gives your real estate business the chance to really stand out from the crowd and get prospective clients' attention straight away.
Business cards still work
Business cards for your real estate company may also sound like relics from the past, but they still have a valuable role to play in getting your brand out there to prospective clients.
Networking is a vital element in your long term real estate marketing strategy. Handing out business cards at every event you attend will help get your company name recognized and remembered.
Bear in mind that there is a lot of competition in the industry. Investing in a well-designed and eye-catching business card bearing your logo will make your brand stand out from the competition.
When individuals keep your card in their wallet, they'll have it to hand the next time they're looking for an agent. Just make sure you've added all the key contact information prospective clients need to know.
Use digital tools to raise your real estate profile
Any real estate business can create a website or a blog, but not all of your competitors will have thought about writing an ebook!
Giving away a free ebook or guide to any customer who visits your website or responds to an email is a great way to establish your company as an industry expert and build trust among your target audience.
You could cover many potential topics, from top tips for investing in real estate to helpful advice about relocating to your local area.
You can also establish a strong digital presence by offering free online courses and webinars to customers.
Again, this will set you up as an authority, and the investment of time and effort in this idea will be paid back in the form of more clients and more business.
A third way to harness your full digital potential is to offer digital tools like free-to-use home loan calculators on your website.
Often, a prospective customer will search online for information about how much they can afford to spend or what it will cost to move. You can provide these tools for them on your site and, once they've used them, there's a good chance that they'll stick around and check out your blog or your listings.
Don't forget your professional development
As a real estate agent, you need to remember that you are your product. That means you need to work on yourself as well as the services you're offering.
Attending continuing education classes and seminars is part of the job, but you can do so much more to boost your knowledge and improve your skills.
Check out online learning platforms where you can attend informational classes, either for free or at a cost. Or take courses that give you additional certifications that will add to your reputation and make your business even more appealing than your competitors.
The value of these classes and courses is that they will give you greater expertise in analytics, social media, and marketing which can have a significant positive impact on your sales and profitability.
Consider branching out into commercial real estate
Investment in commercial real estate property can help significantly in your aim to grow your business. This field is often easier to manage in the long run than residential property, thanks to the long leases and professional relationships, so it's well worth considering.
Consider branching out into property management
Managing properties is another way to expand your real estate business. This gives you additional value for money from your investment due to your ability to cross-promote and gain new clients. Furthermore, since the rental sector is well-known to grow when the housing market is in a slump, you are future-proofing your real estate income in the event of a recession.
Use open houses for lead generation
Most real estate agents will tell you that open houses aren't the most effective option for marketing individual listings.
Nevertheless, they can bring additional value to your business in terms of lead generation and getting your brand noticed.
Getting the phone number and email address of people who attend real estate events is a valuable way to build up your mailing list.
Having your logo around the property will put your brand on the map and make it more memorable, not only in the minds of those attending the event but those who happen to pass by.
Most importantly, once you have those leads, nurture them carefully.
Generating leads is one thing, but bear in mind that most of those new leads won't be buying a property straight away.
That means you need to follow-up on those leads to achieve long-term conversions.
Around 70% of people who leave their contact details won't buy a home for around 180 days, so adopting a long-term approach is vital. Website optimization and blogging are part of this nurturing approach.
But it's also essential to keep in touch with those who have left their details and keep your brand fresh in their minds so that when they do finally decide to use a real estate agent's services (and they will at some point), yours will be the business that they turn to.
Consider staging properties for sale
For many prospective buyers, viewing a property they are interested in can be an emotional experience.
They imagine how their life could be if they decided to move in, and that's difficult if the property is an empty shell.
First impressions always count, and never more so than when viewing a property for the first time. If you're trying to sell a home that only has empty rooms, it's challenging to set the right tone from the start - something that's essential to move things along.
We've already pointed out that most people get started with their property search by going online, so when you're creating your listings, the photographs you use must make the property appear lived in.
It has been proven that homes staged by an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) are likely to be sold within just 33 days - that's far less than the typical 196 days for properties that go unstaged.
The bottom line is if you're struggling to sell an empty property, think about bringing some furniture in to give potential buyers a good idea of what the house could look like when it is lived in.
Get testimonials and promote them
We already looked at how word of mouth is vital in bringing in new leads to your business.
Testimonials and reviews from satisfied past clients are equally necessary. When prospective clients go online to search for reliable real estate agents nearby, they will automatically check out opinions from real-life customers.
This is where having reviews on your website can make all the difference.
After each successful transaction, send clients a link where they can leave a review online for your business.
Don't forget to ask for their permission to add their review to marketing materials such as your social posts and website. This will give you even more value for the investment you've made in terms of time and effort.
Use Curaytor and similar sites
Curaytor can completely transform your ability to grow your real estate business.
Curaytor will take the guesswork out of:
- Lead generation
- Email marketing
- Building a professional website
- Follow-ups and conversions
- Paid advertising on social media
It makes complete sense, then, to partner with us to grow your business.
Hiring professionals to grow your real estate business
You can go a long way towards growing your business independently, but sometimes you need a little extra assistance to go the extra distance.
Hiring professionals to help you out is the best course of action. Specialists in the marketing field will take the weight off your shoulders and the hard work out of your hands.
Thanks to their expertise, they can make sure that your real estate business gets noticed in all the right places, improving the image of your business through high-quality marketing campaigns and skilful use of social platforms.
By investing your time and effort in using the above tactics, you'll find that you can not only establish a successful real estate agency, but you can grow your business to a level beyond your expectations.
So, what have we discovered about growing a real estate business to success? Essentially, it’s all about starting with a well-crafted and well-defined plan, then going on to use every opportunity and avenue available to grow your business. From harnessing the power of digital tools, blogging, social media, and email marketing to ongoing networking and asking for referrals, a successful real estate agent is all about leveraging possibilities to achieve the ultimate goal - a business that is the go-to choice for buyers and sellers in your area.