Free Marketing Tools for Real Estate Agents
In our globalized world, you are no longer competing with the agency across the street. The internet gave people access to products and services all around the world. Any given person can order a piece of furniture, a clothing item, or even a pet from a different city, state, or country. Real estate is no exception.
Your clients are no longer forced to work with you purely because of their geographic location. They can choose to work with you or one of your competitors. What helps them make their decision is marketing. When the market is oversaturated, you couldn’t sell the greatest house without marketing. Now imagine trying to sell an average one!
Some people believe that there should be a human for every job, including marketing. That’s no longer true, and you don’t need to hire a marketing agency to put yourself out there and advertise your services. As a real estate agent, you are your own boss in many ways. You have your own clients and listings that you need to take care of. Believe that you can do your own marketing too!
Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or confusing, especially when done on a small scale. You can do it yourself, and you can even do it (mostly) for free. If you’re just discovering marketing tools, don’t worry about planning and running a whole campaign across multiple platforms. Start slow by learning about the right tools.
We’ve gathered some free marketing tools you can add to your virtual toolbox. Master them if you want to be a marketing pro for your own brand. Don’t overwhelm yourself and try to understand everything in one day. Take it step by step, and remember that marketing is a creative process. Enjoy the ride!
The easiest way to describe Trello is as a tool for making lists. Those aren’t your regular to-do lists, but they can be! The tool gives you an overview of all the tasks on your lists. Keep track of your progress all in one page. Clicking on one item will give you a greater overview of it, with its description, attached documents, and links.
You can use Trello for tracking progress on your content marketing. To make it simple, you can make 4 lists: Ideas, Copy, Visuals, and Platform. Your piece of content will start in the Ideas list, where you will outline what the copy will be about, which segment it will target, and so on. When you’re done with that, you can move it to Copy, thus signifying its readiness for the copywriting process. Then, you can work on the Visual aspect of the piece. Finally, it can move to Platform, where you will work on sharing your post.
Apply this model to the process of posting an Instagram ad, blog article, Facebook post, or any other content. Trello can come in handy when you are working on several pieces of content for different platforms at the same time, and it’s hard to keep track of them. It’s not only relevant for marketing processes, but for any other processes in your professional life!
Every business needs a website. If you’re not online, do you even exist? Jokes aside, a great website will improve the overall experience of working with you and provide customers all the information they need before they choose to contact you. Building a website with WordPress is easier than building one from scratch, though it can still be challenging at times. The user interface is pretty self-explanatory and even newbies can find their way around it.
The initial services WordPress provides are free, though you have to pay for add-ons if you want them. Yoast, for example, is a useful add-on for SEO. You can use it to write blog articles and increase your reach. SEO can help direct more traffic to your website and make you easier to find. In addition to that, you can add links to your listings in your blogs and invite readers to join your community.
Overall, WordPress can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it. A professional website is the first step to acquiring a strong client base. It is no longer a nice add-on, but a necessity.
Though marketing content relies heavily on visuals, copy is important too. Certain marketing texts, like guest posts and blog articles, require more preparation and work. You might not need to run your Instagram caption or open house invitation through Hemingway App, but it’s certainly useful for longer copy.
As you already know, people don’t enjoy reading too much, especially if the content you’re creating is, at its core, sales copy. Most readers prefer a variety of simple sentences and short paragraphs. Whether you’re an excellent writer or not, you can benefit from Hemingway App. All you have to do is paste your copy into the app and it will help you make it easier to read.
The app will highlight the sentences that are hard to read and you can break them up. It will also give you simpler alternatives for phrases and encourage you to use fewer adverbs. You don’t have to take every single suggestion seriously. In fact, take it with a grain of salt and apply your critical thinking to the suggestions made by the app. The app is meant to help you create simple and readable copy, like blog articles. If you’re speaking to an educated audience and want to maintain your quality of writing, you can disregard some of the app’s suggestions.
With time, you’ll find yourself writing more readable copy automatically, without the help of Hemingway App. For now, if you’re not confident in your copywriting skills, this tool can come in handy!
Grammarly is not only a great marketing tool, but also an example of great marketing. By now, most people are familiar with Grammarly. Grammarly caters to everyone, from high school students proofreading their essays to professional marketers perfecting their copy. It doesn’t matter what type of copy you’re writing; it should be well-written.
As a real estate agent, you are probably no stranger to newsletters, sales copy, blog posts, and so on. Grammarly will ensure you make no mistakes along the way. Just like with Hemingway App, all you have to do is paste your copy into the app. Grammarly will make suggestions regarding grammar, syntax, and spelling. It will highlight anything that can be improved.
Don’t think of Grammarly and Hemingway App as competitors; the two go hand in hand. If you want to write outstanding copy, it’s best to run your texts through both apps. Even if it’s a short Instagram caption. Run it through Grammarly just to make sure you didn’t make a silly mistake.
No matter how great your copy is, you can’t get by on just that. You need a visual to spice things up. Unsplash is a great source of stock photos and icons. Whether you’re posting on social media, sharing articles on your blog, or writing an article for an affiliate website, you need to include pictures.
Readers easily get bored of long chunks of text. You can break your text up into smaller pieces using images. Moreover, they can help you convey your message! Even if you have a good amount of your own photos for publishing, you will always need more. Besides, if you want to provide quality content, you need high-quality images too. Buying images will cost you a pretty penny, so you might want to opt for a free stock photo website like Unsplash.
Pixabay is another stock photo website that works in the same way as Unsplash. You type in your theme in the search bar and choose from a list of free images. Use the images you find on your website, social media, and in promotional posts. You can even use an image as a background or put your own text and elements over it.
Opt for a paid account if you use stock photos very frequently. If you’re just looking for some pictures for your website, you’ll do just fine with a free account.
Stock photos are great, but they won’t always be enough. Sometimes you need to create a flyer for your open house or an invitation for your mailing list. Many people don’t know how to use Photoshop, and designs in Keynote and PowerPoint are too simple and generic. If you’re on a tight budget, there is really no need to pay someone to design a poster for you.
In situations like these, Canva has got your back. Canva is an application with free (and paid) templates. The easiest way to work Canva is to search for the template that you need. Type “open house invitation” or “real estate newsletter” in the search bar, as an example. You will get a whole list of templates you can choose from.
Each template is fully customizable. You can change the text, font, text size, colorway, elements, icons, and images. Adjust the template to your needs or get inspired and create your own from scratch. Use Canva’s templates for social media posts, blogs, website visuals, infographics, and anything else you can think of.
Many graphic designers admit to using Canva, as it’s much easier and quicker than Photoshop. Why would you pay someone to do something you can do yourself. Feel like a graphic design guru with Canva’s unique templates!
Kapwing is a tool that helps you take care of the visual aspect of your content. This time, video is included. With the help of Kapwing you can combine videos, create montages, add audio and subtitles, and resize and trim individual clips.
Kapwing’s flagship product is Studio, also known as its meme maker. It’s not limited to making memes, though the product is widely known for that. There is also a separate meme generator feature, which allows you to make memes using popular templates. You can take advantage of this tool to advertise new listings or communicate with your audience.
Humor is appealing to people of all ages, especially if it’s presented in a visual format. With humor, you can catch people’s attention and gain a larger following. And if humor is not for you, take advantage of Kapwing’s video editing tools!
IGTV is a tool designed specifically for Instagram videos. You can record videos in the Instagram app directly or upload videos from your camera roll, but IGTV takes it to the next level. If you’re using Instagram as a promotional tool, you might want to give IGTV a try.
Instagram allows you to post videos up to a minute long to your feed. IGTV, on the other hand, lets you post longer, “movie-like” videos. Many content creators have moved away from short videos towards longer and more professional videos. Viewers seem to enjoy those too, as IGTV has been thriving for around two years now.
If you have a lot to say, say it with IGTV. Use this tool to record a micro-movie for your Instagram account. Give a virtual house tour or invite a guest speaker to talk about the benefits of home ownership. The possibilities are endless! Viewers are especially appreciative of this type of content in times of Covid, when people can’t attend house viewings or schedule one-on-one meetings as easily as before.
One special feature of IGTV is that it favors videos that are shot vertically. We’ve been taught to shoot horizontally, so the video is more suitable for YouTube and the medium-sized screen, or your laptop. More and more people are moving their online activity to smartphones. Cater to this audience by providing videos in a vertical format.
Boomerang is another application developed specifically for Instagram. It is an app you can make use of too! Boomerang allows you to record short video loops that are also called boomerangs. Since the videos only last a few seconds, they’re not meant to be informative, like IGTV videos. They have no sound, but can be accompanied with a short text.
You can use this tool to show off your new listings. Boomerangs look best when something in the picture is moving. Get a boomerang of the ocean view from the master bedroom of a new mansion you’re putting on the market. Real estate is a rich area for photography. You’ll have many opportunities to make boomerangs.
Buffer is a software application that lets you schedule posts for social media. It works with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The free version lets you manage 3 of your social media accounts and schedule 10 posts or less.
If you want to keep your audience engaged, you should stay active on social media. Post about new listings, update your followers on open houses and the real estate industry in general. A common misconception about social media is that it’s easy to work with. It can be, but only if you master the art of scheduling your posts.
Planning your posts in advance takes all the stress out of posting. You can give yourself a day in the week when you plan all the posts for the week. It won’t take you longer than a few hours to do, and you’re done for the week! Buffer will take care of the rest. You can use the analytics tool in Buffer to keep track of your results. Don’t forget to stay active and engage with your audience too. The purpose of posting is to spark conversation in the comment section!
In a society where brevity is valued, you rarely have an opportunity to share all of your contacts in one place. You simply can’t fit a link to every single platform of yours in your Instagram bio, and dedicating a big chunk of text to it on your website would look awkward. LinkTree is a great solution. You can put all of your important links under one singular link.
Put this link anywhere and invite people to click on it to find the link to your website, Facebook page, and so on. You can link any number of websites in your LinkTree. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Visitors can decide which platform to reach you on; all the choices are right in front of them. This solution is especially useful for social media bios, where you don’t have a lot of space to talk about your business.
Remember email marketing? Get ready for text marketing! Text marketing is very widespread and just as effective. In this day and age, everyone always has their smartphone on them. Because of that, text messages manage to get closer to the recipient than emails. Sometimes a person will wait until they have access to their computer to view their mailbox. Texts get opened almost immediately.
If you want to send bulk text messages about new listings or open houses, use SlickText. Instead of sending messages one by one, you can send them all at once and even add pictures. Allow your recipients to opt out of receiving messages. Use your platform to invite people to join your messaging list and learn about updates as soon as they happen.
Are you still relying on third-party portal sites like Zillow and Realtor.com to create a listing website for you to use in your marketing? Stop the madness!
Take control of your lead generation and exposure by leveraging listing websites. Most real estate photography companies should include this service with every shoot. If yours doesn’t, you should consider partnering with Virtuance as every shoot includes a free listing website with lead generation, SEO tools, and robust viewing analytics!
You are your most valuable tool!
With the help of marketing you can reach new heights in your career as a real estate agent. Use these tools to create valuable content, connect with your customer base on a personal level, and invite them to follow you on your journey. Whatever you do, stay true to yourself. Let your brand voice speak!