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Good Marketing vs. Bad Marketing: The Real Estate Agent's Guide

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman

talking into tin canIt’s estimated that most people see tens of thousands of marketing messages a day, and you might see even more than that, depending on where you live in the world. That’s a lot of messages. And most of them are trying to convince you of something.

Marketing is neither good nor bad. It is simply the way a company speaks to us. People use their mouths, companies use marketing. It is subjective.

However, how companies choose to speak to us is another story. And in that case, how they market to us is mostly bad.

  • Bad marketing speaks at us.
  • Good marketing speaks for us.
  • Good marketing starts with a cause.
  • Bad marketing starts with a goal.
  • Good marketing drives loyalty.
  • Bad marketing drives transactions.
  • Good marketing promotes values.
  • Bad marketing values promotions.
  • Good marketing tells us exactly what a company really thinks.
  • Bad marketing tells us what the company thinks they want us to think they think.
  • Good marketing seduces.
  • Bad marketing targets.
  • Good marketing never mentions commission rates.
  • Bad marketing always does.
  • Good marketing uses clients and services to help tell a story.
  • Bad marketing tells stories about themselves.
  • Good marketing is about us.
  • Bad marketing is about them.
  • Bad marketing manipulates.
  • Good marketing inspires.


Less Marketing, More Listening

The shift that has occurred because of social media is marketing from a megaphone (mass email, advertising, canned messages) to a position of being able to simply LISTEN. Clients are sharing how their lives are unfolding on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, providing endless opportunities to communicate with meaning and authenticity. Let go of a social media ‘strategy or tactic’ and use tools that help you listen to your people base and communicate with them in the various layers (SMS text, email, tweets, FB), but always keep communications REAL. Remember the saying: Seek not to be understood...but to understand.

We are an industry of small business, paradoxically adopting the poor behavior and bad habits of big box brands. My advice: embrace being small, because big business can’t copy authentic one-on-one relationships. These relationships are the only path to building a sustainable real estate business, but it is what the industry struggles with the most.

The purpose of marketing is to get to a level of depth with your people base where traditional marketing is no longer required and is replaced instead with authentic communication. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands in marketing and advertising. It’s a vicious cycle with no end, and one you can break with authenticity.

Dave Crumby

Dave is the Chairman of Firepoint / Realvolve, a state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) platform built expressly for real estate agents. Dave began his real estate career as an agent in 1996. Dave authored in 2013 the book titled 'REAL: A Path to Passion, Purpose and Profits in Real Estate’ that has since become a best seller. The book features Dave's experience and the wisdom of other successful real estate leaders, such as the CEOs of Zillow, Trulia, Better Homes and Gardens, and many others.


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