How to reduce advertising and marketing costs for your estate agency

Steve TraskBy Steve Trask in Marketing

Advertising is an essential cog in your estate agency’s system for increasing business. There are many key drivers that atone for how your agency achieves more instructions, but none of them can afford you exposure quite like advertising and marketing can.

It comes at a cost, of course, and even for the biggest agency, advertising budgets can end up being up a particular sharp thorn in their side. For smaller agency’s, a budget set aside for marketing and advertising each month can almost be non-existent.

But there are ways in which you can still have an effective advertising plan, yet keep the costs down so you can distribute funding to other areas of your agency. Here are our top tips for how to reduce marketing and advertising costs for your estate agency.

Create campaign plans

One of the best ways to streamline your costs is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your advertising and how you go about it. Having a structure in place is essential, so you don’t end up randomly committing to multiple practices that have no cohesion.

Think about your business goals and curate a program that reflects them, focusing on specific events throughout the year. This also ties in with your content calendar, and the two can work hand-in-hand to provide you a clearer insight.

Retain the same people to reduce costs

There’s a good chance that you will outsource a fair portion of your creative to graphic designers and web developers. You may come up with ideas in-house, but unless you have these skillsets covered within your team, you will need to hire externally.

By building up a relationship with the same person, you will ultimately save costs in the long run. If you decide to outsource each project, the majority of the time will be spent negotiating the price, which is time and cost consuming. Negotiate a favourable rate structure in advance and build a relationship with that person.

With knowing your campaign plans you can foresee how much work is involved, therefore you can set a steady retainer level with freelancers. A retainer is the guaranteed level of work, normally in time, for a freelance contractor this gives the an assurance of a set amount of committed work. Therefore they are willing to do it at a much lower than their normal hourly rate.

Review your magazine and newspaper ads

We understand the need for estate agents to have a profile within the local market, and advertising through area magazines and newspapers is one of the key ways to do it. But are you spending unnecessary money on full-size pages when you could convey the same message in half of the space?

Newspaper advertising is sometimes also about position, if your advert is on the right page you will normally get more traction with it *as* people see it more than the left page, speak to your account manager and try and adjust your advertising package to only be in certain positions or at least test different ones.

If your business goal is to get more instructions and selling properties is not an issue, why would you run adverts packed with properties for sale? You could work on an advert that might appeal to people potentially ready to put their property on the market or an advert to increase your email database.

You could also test frequency, does running an advert every other week have a noticeable decline in business? Imagine the cost savings in reducing your newspaper advertising by half or even further by adjusting your sizes to be more efficient.

Explore local partnerships

Partnering with other local business goes without saying, especially since you will be hyper focused on your local market. Look for nearby removal companies, solicitors – any type of business that has something in common with an estate agent.

Build relationships with them and offer discounts for people who came to you through one of these companies. If you’re a lettings agent, for example, a potential idea could be to offer the first 10 customers who come through a local partner a percentage off tenant fees. Of course, once they’ve been filled, you’ll have to come up with a new idea. The less said about those fees, the better, right?

Co-ops

We don’t mean the co-operative company. Although, if they’re open to a team-up, why not? We’re talking about official partnerships. This is a bit like having local partnerships, but slightly more formal. If you can find a business to officially partner with, it would mean splitting advertising costs, thus saving you money or giving you a wider reach with your shared advertising.

It’s a win/win, right? Well, it will be as long as you pick a good partner to work with. Again, strategy should be behind everything that you do and you should make sure you approach a partner that makes viable sense to your business model.

Network/word of mouth

Sometimes there is no advertising like word of mouth, or in a professional sense, referrals. They’re often free, too, and come about through the good work you and your staff are already doing. One of the best ways to spread the all important word of mouth is through content marketing, which often comes at a minimal cost.

Another way is to network at events, both free and paid. Of course, from a ‘reducing costs’ point of view, the free events are the best ones, but it’s also worth exploring the paid ones and weighing up whether they’re worth attending. If you can speak at an event it’s even better, as this provides thought leadership and puts you in good stead to be your local market’s thought leader.

For example you could give a property market overview at a local business breakfast meeting, this would get people thinking about your information. If you use strong data examples they will retain that information and know you are the go to estate agent when anyone asks them as they will be influencers themselves.

Social

It’s practically impossible to ignore the importance of advertising through social media. 88 per cent of businesses are using social media to promote their company. Don’t be one of the 12 per cent who aren’t. It’s a free platform to communicate your message, although it is possible to use paid campaigns, too.

The advantage of paid campaigns, especially when compared to more traditional methods, is that you set your budget, so you’re completely in control of advertising costs. Whether you want to spend £20 or £2,000 it is entirely up to you.

Email is one of the most cost effective media

Another one for the content marketing column, writing a blog is a key way to increase thought leadership while providing valuable insight to your audience. Write about property, cover local happenings in your area, and tie everything together.

Soon as you have this content you can email this content out to your email database, these normally cost around 0.0162p per email (Mailchimp pricing). The key is to get the process setup right and be consistent in delivering. If it’s too much work get a freelancer or small company to send it out for you, there are optimisations they can do to make sure you are sending it out efficiently. (We will cover that in another article!).

Because Google places such a high emphasis on in-depth, rich content that is evergreen, by doing one blog post every week/month filled with valuable information, your SEO rankings should also improve. For maximum affect make sure you structure your blog properly so Google reads it correctly and you achieve the best results you can.

Money, money, money, money, money

We bet you’ve already saved £500 just by reading this blog, right? Ok, not quite but maybe. But by following these tips, you can have a solid advertising and marketing strategy while saving some money. That saved dosh can be reinvested into other areas of the company, helping you to create the best agency possible.

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