Are you successfully farming an area for your real estate business?
Geographic farming — or geographic marketing — is the practice of making yourself well-known in a local area. There are a few ways to go about doing this.
Is it Worth It?
Before we get into the knitty-gritty, keep in mind that you should go after neighborhoods that have a high turnover rate. You don't want to be trying to farm an area that only has a 4% turnover rate, unless the listing commissions are huge. If that’s the case, it might make sense.
It's all about the math. What are you spending to get the lead and get the listing? What is the commission you're going to earn? If that math doesn't make sense, you're not going to be profitable. Always run the math before you go into a geographical farm to ensure you’re making a wise move.
Additionally, make sure the area you’re going to farm is close to your office or home so it's convenient for you. You should also check to see if there is any pre-existing competition. If there's already a well-established, go-to agent in the area, are you willing to spend the money and expend the energy to knock them off their pedestal, so to speak? If the answer is no, find a less competitive area to get business.
Once you've established where you want to do some geographical farming, there are a lot of ways to pursue it. If you live in the neighborhood, you are already a few steps ahead because you can go to things like HOA meetings, community events, block parties, etc.
I know a real estate agent who lives three doors down from me, and she hustles the crap out of my street. She is out there networking even when she’s doing simple things like walking her dog. Since she is around all the time, I’m sure when people in the neighborhood think about real estate, they probably think of her.
So if you do live in the neighborhood you’re hoping to work, you have a huge advantage over somebody who does not. Regardless, if you’re looking to do some geographical farming, there are a few things you can do to make your efforts as effective as possible.
Marketing Methods for Geographic Farming
Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM for short, is a wholesale way to mail postcards. They don’t even have to be postcards — you can send out flat mail or even magazines. The cool part is that you don’t pay the normal rate for those mailings. For example, I’ve done bulk mailings of a 24-page magazine for about $0.18 each.
This is a great method to farm an area. You can print postcards in bulk, or you can print a flyer, a magazine, or a newsletter filled with information specifically catered to that neighborhood. It's a really good way to get in front of people in your neighborhood or in your farm area.
Ads Online Like Facebook or Google Geo-Targeted Ads
If you prefer online methods, running geographically targeted ads on platforms like Facebook or Google is a great idea. Just like you would connect with potential clients using postcards, you can hit them with ads on Facebook and Google.
If you have listings in the neighborhood, run an ad and present your open house as a really big deal. Include a photo of the house with lots of balloons and a big “For Sale” sign in the front yard. That’s just one example of what you could do.
Calls and Door-Knocking ***
When you get a listing in a farm area, you should be knocking on all of the neighbors' doors. Introduce yourself and say, "Hey, I'm selling this home over here. Do you know anyone who's looking to buy in this neighborhood? I'd love to introduce them to this home." Ask them if they have any questions about the home or have any questions about the value of their own home. This is a great way to get in front of people.
***Due to many new changes in laws around the country, you need to be careful with things like cold-calls, door-knocking, and door hangers. Check with your local or state government to ensure you are legally able to use these methods.
Voicemail Drops ***
One of our book members, David, recently told us about a marketing strategy he uses. He loads phone numbers of FSBO prospects into a database, which sends selected prospects a message that goes directly to their voicemails at whatever time David schedules. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes to set up each morning, and he says it’s absolutely worth the time and effort:
"The response has been phenomenal. People are calling back. I’m right at about 55 percent call back right now. It’s amazing!"
The software he uses is through a company called SlyBroadcast, though there are lots of other companies that offer similar products.
The message he leaves is conversational and compelling. In it, he mentions that he has a free book he’d like to give out. When people call him back, sometimes they ask about the book, but often, they forget. So, as a final measure at the end of the conversation, David asks if they’d like him to send them a copy, and they enthusiastically say yes.
*** The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, otherwise known as the TCPA, protects consumers from automated dialing systems, fax machines, SMS messages, and voicemails. There is contention at the Federal level about whether ringless voicemails fall under this protection. Many states, including Florida, have declared them an illegal practice. The state courts have consistently ruled that voicemail messages are in fact calls, and subject to the same TCPA restrictions as automated dialers or other pre-recorded messages.