Real estate farming is a marketing and prospecting technique that is an excellent strategy for attaining and attracting new leads, potential buyers and sellers. As a real estate professional, you know that standing out means reaching out. By targeting a highly specific area, like a neighborhood, street, or a specific set of houses within a zip code, real estate agents can build relationships and rapport with the clients they most want to work with.
In this article, we will break down the benefits of real estate farming for agents and brokers, steps to take to get started with your farming strategy, along with what it takes to be successful:
- What is real estate farming?
- Importance of real estate farming for agents and brokers
- Different methods for real estate farming
- Developing a farming strategy
What is real estate farming?
Simply put, farming is a form of real estate marketing that targets a specific segment to build a relationship by providing value; and ultimately, winning business. Geographic farming focuses on a specific location while demographic farming aims to reach a specific profile. So, why do they call it farming? Much like actual farming, real estate farming is a long-term investment that requires patience and hard work: sowing seeds, nurturing the crop, and eventually harvesting in the real estate farm area. In the case of real estate farming, the seeds that are sown are your prospecting efforts, real estate leads are nurtured and clients, sales, repeat business, and referrals are the harvest.
Farming differs from other lead generation strategies like content marketing, and cold outreach, by being equipped with crucial information about the prospects in your farming location before sending an email, mailer, or phone call. Personal information like demographics, years of ownership, income, education, family size, and market trends all provide insight into what may be relevant to the prospects in the farming location. Having this insight allows for a tailored marketing approach that asserts authority and credibility, making the agent the go-to agent when the time comes to sell or buy a home.
So, what makes farming so effective for real estate agents? It’s all about building a long-term relationship; one that pays off in multiple ways.
Importance of real estate farming for agents and brokers
Here are some key benefits of farming for agents and brokers:
- Consistent lead generation: Because farming can be done for several different attributes (think years of ownership, family size, age, property type, etc.) farming creates a consistent and diverse lead flow. Plus, if you’re working with a specific demographic, you can tailor your message and marketing campaigns to the needs of your client profile. If you feel like potential leads are drying up, make sure to include farming as a real estate prospecting strategy.
- Increased brand recognition and credibility: An effective farming strategy helps establish you as the agent that knows. Because you’re focusing on a certain area or demographic, you’re able to better speak to the needs of the individual and the realities of the local market. Also, regularly working in a certain place will provide more exposure to your brand for that area.
- More efficient use of time and resources: Farming is more efficient because the agent knows important information about their prospective client before making contact. This allows for a more meaningful connection and less time wasted on cold leads.
- Enhanced understanding of the market: Understanding your target market is the key to a successfully finding real estate clients. The success of farming is dependent on studying and understanding the market and the intricacies of market segments.
Different methods for real estate farming
You can build an effective real estate farming strategy using several different methods. Here are some real estate farming ideas:
- Direct mail marketing: This strategy involves sending physical mail to the homeowner in the form of postcards or newsletters. Valuable information like home value comparison analyses, and just listed/just sold mailers are a great way to assert your authority in your farming area.
- Digital marketing: online ads, blogs, newsletters, and social media are just a few types of digital marketing you can use for farming. Using the same principles of focusing on a specific geographic location or specific demographic, you can tailor your message, target your ads, and customize your content to reach the people you want to work with.
- Community events: hosting and participating in community events in the area you want to farm is crucial to staying top of mind. Events like fundraisers, volunteering, charity drives, sponsoring a local little league, or hosting a community BBQ are all great ways to get involved and recognized in your community.
- Email marketing: Informative, educational, or otherwise valuable content (market reports, e.g.) delivered straight to their inbox in the form of an email newsletter helps you stay top of mind. The more relevant the content, the more success you’ll have!
- Cold calls: More like lukewarm calls in this case. A good farming strategy involves plenty of research about your prospective client; their motivation, how long they’ve lived in their home, their income, family size, etc., effectively warming the conversation. Calling done in tandem with other methods also helps as potential leads will recognize your brand from other efforts.
The best farming strategies use a combination of physical and digital marketing techniques. Chances are your prospective client isn’t opening every email you send. It may seem like you’re sending a lot, but, on average, it takes five emails sent before someone opens one.
Now that you know what farming is, why it’s important, and the different marketing tools used in a farming strategy… it’s time to get started.
Developing a farming strategy
Since real estate farming focuses on building relationships with potential clients within a specific geographical location, long-term and recurring success depends on how much research an agent does about their prospective clients to deliver the best value and develop a meaningful relationship.
Here are specific steps that an agent should take to start their farming strategy strong before reaching out:
- Identify the target market
- Research the market and gather information
- Create a (multi-channel) marketing plan
- Harness the power of a CRM
Identify your target market
Farming is all about relationship building, demonstrating credibility, and gaining trust. The more specific the target market is defined, the better the value the agent can deliver to begin building credibility and authority in their farming area.
Identifying your target market can be broken down into these key steps:
- Determine your geographical area: Start defining your target market by first choosing your target farming location. A farming area can be as small as a single street within a neighborhood that is seeing a rise in property value, or as large as several neighborhoods within a zip code. Want a lead list based on this location? Cole Realty Resource gives you the ability to generate lead lists based on geographic and demographic information.
- Research the area: No matter the size of the farming area, consider the population growth, property demand, inventory, property value history, amenities and proximity to attractions, and competition in the area. You should be familiar with the area and its history and ideally have some existing clients within that area.
- Define your business niche: consider the type of clients you want to serve; first-time homebuyers, retirees, growing families, investors, etc. Once you know the business niche you serve, you can begin identifying demographic specifics about your target client.
- Identify demographic information: this can include age, gender, income, and education.
- Research your current clients: Identify and segment your top existing clients, what are their needs, and what are their pain points. How do they prefer to communicate? Your current real estate clients can provide insight into potential clients as well: think information such as behaviors, and preferences for communication and how they make purchasing decisions.
- Understand your ideal client: Now think of your ideal client. What are their goals, motivations, and pain points? Check out our post on building an ideal client profile.
- Create a buyer persona: A fictional profile of your ideal client, a buyer persona gives shape to the client you want to do business with. Here is an example of a buyer personas with fictional details:
- Name: Sarah Connor
- Age: 36
- Marital status: single
- Occupation: Waitress
- Income: $40k
- Education: Bachelor’s
Motivations and goals:
- Wants to purchase her first home
- Wants a safe neighborhood for herself and her son.
- Wants a home that is the perfect size for her and her son that she can grow old in.
Pain points and challenges:
- Not tech-savvy, and prefers to work face-to-face when making big decisions.
- Intimidated by the home-buying process and needs someone she trusts to guide her.
Preferences and behaviors:
- Does not own a car
- Prefers amenities, like the grocery store, to be within walking distance
- Spends time consulting friends and family before making decisions
Research the market and gather information
The more data you have about the area’s history, property values, market trends, and specific details about the homeowners, the more fruitful your farming efforts will be.
This is where a subscription to Cole Realty Resource comes in. The more you know about the client you want to do business with, the better value you can deliver in your marketing material and start having the right conversations. A Cole Realty Resource subscription gives you more than 250 unique attributes to find the right client and stop wasting time chasing the same leads as everyone else.
Why gather this information? It’s all about building authority, credibility, and recognition as the go-to agent in your farming area. Be known as the agent who knows the most about the area; the best food trucks, farmer’s markets, property values, and market trends; information prospective clients would find useful when it comes to buying or selling in a specific area and helps establish you as the expert.
Create a (multi-channel) marketing plan
The best marketing strategies leverage multiple communication channels to maximize reach and effectiveness. Using the information you’ve gathered about your target farming area and ideal clients, it’s time to create your marketing strategy. Multiple points of contact and being persistent and consistent in your efforts are keys to an effective strategy. Consider incorporating a mix of online and direct marketing tactics (some of this is a brief review of what was mentioned above):
- Direct mailers: Craft compelling and visually appealing direct mailers to grab the attention of potential clients in your farming area.
- Email newsletters: Keep your audience informed and engaged with regular email newsletters that provide valuable insights and updates.
- Flyers: Design eye-catching flyers to distribute within your farming area, showcasing your expertise on the real estate market and current real estate listings.
- Social media posts: Establish a strong online presence by sharing relevant content, market updates, and engaging with your audience on social media platforms.
- Online content: Create informative and valuable online content such as blogs and short-form videos to position yourself as one of the real estate experts.
- Website landing pages: Optimize your website with dedicated landing pages that cater to specific aspects of your services.
Harness the power of a CRM
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a game-changer for real estate agents. Utilize a CRM to:
- Manage contact lists: Segment your leads based on various criteria to tailor your marketing efforts effectively. Send the right campaigns to the right people
- Automate email campaigns: Implement automated email campaigns to ensure consistent communication and engagement with your prospects.
- Analyze campaign performance: Leverage key performance indicators (KPIs) like open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, and conversion rates to help fine-tune your real estate marketing strategies.
Now, you’re ready to begin! Put your plan into action and remember this: consistency and perseverance are key in your real estate marketing efforts.
Conclusion: Building a Thriving Real Estate Business
In conclusion, a well-executed marketing plan is the cornerstone of success for real estate agents. By understanding your target audience, utilizing a multi-channel approach, harnessing the power of a CRM, and staying informed and adaptable, you can create a thriving real estate business. Remember, success in the real estate industry is not just about selling properties; it’s about building lasting connections within your community.