FloorPop  - Interactive Marketing Best Practices, October 5, 2005

Vol. 5, Issue 8: Copyright (C) 2005 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved.

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4 Ways to Use the Internet to Juice Your Realtor Marketing

Realtors can be hugely important to a builder's success, but many builders neglect to include Realtors in their website and interactive marketing plans. With Realtors involved in 30%-80% of builders' closings, they can be a huge portion of the business. However, not all agents are created equal.

When you look at your Realtor sales you may learn that your Realtor business is very fragmented. You may have a hundred different Realtors who participated in sales, but it may be only 5-10% of these that were involved in more than one transaction. Builders with effective Realtor programs identify, nurture, and grow loyalty among these Realtors. One key to this development are Web technologies.

Some builders are effectively leveraging their websites to maintain and enhance Realtor relations. This is one area of marketing that is largely under the competitive radar screen. However, getting one more Realtor-related sale per community per month can make a dramatic impact on you gross profit. The Web can play an important role.

Here are a few straight-forward ideas to put in place today:

  1. Add a Realtor's Welcome page to your website. You don't have to spell out your complete policy and incentive structure, but do make it clear how Realtors will be treated and how much your company values their participation. Don't take the risk of turning away Realtors by lack of clarity or past rumors when your company may have been less than Realtor-friendly.

    In this example from D.R. Horton's Central Florida Division, they make it very clear how much they value Realtors: http://cfl.drhorton.com/promotion.aspx?PromotionId=53

  2. Offer an interest list for Realtors on your website and encourage on-site agents to register their key agents to receive your Realtor newsletter. Let Realtors know the benefits of being on your distribution list. Be explicit about what you will be sending them and allow them to sign up for other advance notification lists you may have. Also, make sure you can segment Realtors from your main lead database. Keep it simple, as Buescher Homes does in this example: http://www.buescherhomes.com/realtorswelcome.aspx?MetroId=1

  3. Create a regular Realtor email newsletter that is refreshed and updated religiously. A good place to start for content is your inventory and any discounts tied to inventory units. The key is to have content your top Realtors need and want to know. Add Realtor incentives, consumer incentives, and other information that they may want to know. Also, make sure to have a link to the registration page within the email and encourage Realtors to forward the email to their friends. You will see your list consistently grow and you should experience extremely low opt-out rates so long as your content is up-to-date and relevant to your Realtors. One of my favorite examples is the weekly Realtor email newsletter sent by Centex Homes tailored to each division. View this link from their Richmond, VA Division: http://www.centexhomes.com/Realtor.asp?DivisionID=1070

    In this case, the inventory and links back to the website are embedded in the email drawing Realtors back to the website. Making this programmatic can be somewhat expensive, but there is nothing that prevents you from adding a link in your email directly to your inventory page on your website just by pasting the URL in the email as I have done so below: http://www.homebfc.com/inventory.aspx?MetroId=1

  4. Create a Realtor loyalty program to reward Realtors involved in multiple transactions and those who provide you with greater permission. What do I mean by greater permission? In your email newsletter, you can offer access to the club for those who may not have made multiple transactions, but have expressed a willingness to receive relevant communication in the hope of increasing their transaction volume with you. Make these Realtors part of your club and reward them for their loyalty and access. How to reward them? I leave that up to you and your market.

    Once you have this Realtor Insider's Club, you have something that can be very effective for doing numerous things. For example, when you have a closeout incentive, you can email these Realtors first so both of you can benefit from situation. In a large market you may not want to do mass mailings to your larger Realtor database about individual lot specials, but your select Realtor group will welcome the communication.

    Okay, it's not rocket science. So give it a try. If you need help or tools, we are but a phone a call away. I would be glad to show you how the Focus Marketing System can help you make your Realtor marketing program more effective. Please call me at 817-658-7698 or email me at kuhnen@earthlink.net for a personal discussion and/or demonstration.

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    FloorPop is published on the first Wednesday of each month. We welcome your comments, thoughts, and questions. Please write or call anytime. kuhnen@earthlink.net.

    Blair Kuhnen is the publisher of FloorPop and can be reached at 817-658-7698 or via email at kuhnen@earthlink.net.