How to Create a Real Estate Marketing Plan for 2024 (+ Template)

How to Create a Real Estate Marketing Plan for 2024 (+ Template)


Creating a real estate marketing plan can be harder than it sounds. It’s important to be intentional and choose strategies that give you the highest likelihood of meeting and connecting with your ideal clients. If your marketing isn’t aligned with your niche, personal brand, and skills, you’ll waste time, money and effort pursuing it.

I put together this guide to help you find your niche and create a real estate marketing plan aligned with your brand, personality, and local market. I’ll explain why a detailed plan is crucial for every agent in 2024, and I’ll walk you through the actionable, step-by-step guide I’ve used with hundreds of agents to help you create your own unique plan. Finally, I’ll wrap up with the three marketing tools every agent needs to hit the ground running in 2024.

Why every agent needs a strategic real estate marketing plan 

With so many possible ways to find business, many agents (myself included in my first few years!) fall into the same pattern: trying too many things at once, not doing any of them at a high level or consistently enough, not seeing results, and then feeling like a failure. The most successful agents have a marketing plan that’s specific and focused.

Here are four reasons why a specific and focused real estate marketing plan will set you up for success in 2024 and beyond:

1. The compound interest effect

Focusing on fewer marketing activities (and those that are proven to work) allows you to use your time more wisely, strategically, and effectively. Rather than wasting time and money trying many different tactics to find clients, a detailed plan allows you to focus on just a few. I usually recommend sticking to no more than two or three.

2. You can use your time more strategically

If you’re familiar with compound interest, you know that it scales exponentially and builds on itself over time. The same applies to agents who put effort into one to three marketing strategies. Consistency is key, of course. The compound effect happens over time, yet if you don’t have a concrete marketing plan in place, you won’t see the results you hope for.

3. The freedom to say “no” to everything else

Most of us default to saying “yes” to too many things. If you’ve ever walked through a vendor hall at a real estate conference, you know what I mean. We say “yes” to any new shiny object we find, and that typically leads to wasting time, money, and energy. Instead, use your real estate marketing plan as a guide. Ask yourself if this tool you’re considering buying or tactic you’re about to try is aligned with your plan. From there, the decision is made for you!

4. It will help you choose your ideal client and build your ideal business

We all say we want to work with any client who’s willing to hire us. But the reality is most of us prefer working within a specific niche. Your niche could be anything from first-time buyers to downsizers or investors. By identifying your ideal client before you create your plan, you can tailor your activities to your audience. Doing so will help you build your ideal business, working with clients you enjoy, in the niche you love.

Pro tip:

NAR reports that in 2023, 19% of homebuyers were single women and 16% were unmarried couples. A strategic real estate marketing plan will help you target these growing niches in the industry.

How to create your real estate marketing plan 

Now that you understand why it’s so critical to have a concrete marketing plan for your real estate business, let’s dive into the tactical steps to creating your unique plan.

1. Carve out time and change up your physical space

Planning time usually doesn’t occur naturally in a busy real estate agent’s calendar. In my experience, planning doesn’t happen at all unless it’s purposefully scheduled and protected. This means saying no to other things to allow yourself the time to plan. 

How much time you’ll need varies from person to person, but I’d generally allocate anywhere from a few hours to two days to work on your real estate marketing plan. My two-day approach looks like this:

Day one:

You complete all the steps listed here and create a rough draft of your plan. Then sleep on it.

Day two:

Revisit it and make any adjustments. Sometimes, stepping away from a project for a bit helps you see it even more clearly.

Why where you work on your plan matters

I always recommend changing your physical location. A quiet spot to think, analyze, and plan will make a huge difference. I like to take myself on a short retreat once or twice each year. Creativity and clarity flourish when we aren’t in our everyday spaces (home, office, etc), and even one night in a hotel (even in your own city!) can provide the space you need to create your marketing plan.

2. Audit your past marketing strategies and results

Once you have the time and space to create your plan, start with an audit of everything you’ve tried in the past. Write down every lead generation and marketing strategy you’ve tried. Then, write down how much time, money, and energy each strategy took. You’ll also want to keep in mind how much you enjoy each strategy! Finally, write down the results from each one. You can do this on paper or with a simple Excel or Google Sheet. You can download the real estate marketing plan template I use with my coaching clients here:

Here’s an example of an audit one of my clients recently completed for their Chamber of Commerce membership:

Example marketing strategy audit

Marketing Strategy: Annual Chamber of Commerce membership
Dues: $360
Time investment: 2 hours per month
Energy investment: tiring but fun
Results (units): 5 referrals, 3 closings
Results (GCI): $30,000

Analyzing the results 

If you were this agent, would you continue your membership with the chamber? Is the return worth it? For me, I’d say absolutely yes! The financial ROI is incredibly high, and the time ROI is also very high; it breaks down to $1,250/hour ($30k divided by 24 hours). The energy expended takes a toll, yet the agents are still having fun even if they find it a bit tiring.

Completing this exercise for all of your marketing strategies can be time-consuming and tedious (not all of us love the data collection and math involved here; it’s not the sexiest task), yet it’s vital for your success going forward if you want to maximize your results. 

3. Decide which marketing strategies to delete, delegate, or double down on     

Now that you have a clear picture of your past marketing activities, it’s time to make some decisions about which specific marketing strategies you’ll focus on this year. I call this the 3 D’s: delete, delegate, or double-down. For each activity, you’ll decide if you want to: 

Delete  

Get rid of it entirely. If the marketing strategy is not working at all or costing more than you’re making, delete. Eliminate this strategy from your new real estate marketing plan. And give yourself permission to get rid of it without feeling guilty! I’m telling you now: it’s ok to stop doing anything that’s not working as long as you’ve given the strategy enough time. 

I know this sounds extreme and maybe a little scary, but remember: you can always return to a deleted strategy at a later point in your career when you have more time or money to invest or when you can hire someone else to do it for you.

Delegate  

If the marketing activity is bringing results but you can’t stand doing it, then delegate. Pay someone else to do it for you. This can be structured as an hourly rate or a referral fee on closed business. Or you can hire another company to help you streamline your efforts.

Example 1: Hire an ISA to make cold calls and set appointments for you. This is a great task to delegate to another agent in your office who’s awesome on the phone.

Example 2: Hire a graphic designer or marketing company to help you with your social media content. I see a lot of agents struggle with this, and the convenience of having access to pre-designed templates is usually worth the cost.

Marketing-social-media

If you can’t afford to hire a designer or marketing company, Coffee and Contracts is an excellent option. They offer gorgeous templates (like the one above) and done-for-you viral content for Instagram posts, Reels and stories. The best part is they’re all created by top-producing agents and designed to actually generate leads and build your brand.

Double-down

For everything that is generating a positive ROI (and that you enjoy), double-down. This is where the best results are found! By deleting and delegating everything else, you’ve created more time, money, and energy to pour into the right strategies for you. This is what alignment looks like, and this is where I see agents really find their greatest success. 

Not sure what to delete? As I’m coaching agents, I notice many of them yield positive results from cold calling — but they dread every second of it. If reading that sentence just now resonated with you, I can confidently say that’s a glaring signal that cold calling is not aligned with your personality. Be careful not to commit to any marketing strategy that’s too much of an energy-suck! You need to reserve enough energy to serve your clients well.

If you’d like some help brainstorming your marketing strategies, check out The Quiet Success Club. We meet twice a month via Zoom and mastermind various marketing ideas to help you find more business.

Pro tip:

There are some marketing strategies that take more time to see results than others. Farming a neighborhood with direct mail is a good example. In general, I recommend giving each strategy 6 months to one year before deciding to delete it.

4. Determine your goals  

Every real estate coach and training company has their own advice about goal-setting, and there’s no right or wrong way to set goals, as long as they are specific and measurable. I advise agents to set several goals: how many people you want to help (units), how much money you desire to earn (GCI), and how much you want to work (days off). Maybe your goal is to sell 20 properties, make $150,000 this year, and work five days per week. That’s specific and measurable, so as the months pass, you can track whether you’re on pace to meet your goals. 

5. Define your ideal client and niche  

Think about who you’d like to work with, who you naturally encounter in your personal life, and where you live. It’s also worth considering the latest trends. The more narrow your niche, the better. You can be very strategic here.

I know It sounds counterintuitive, but think about it: if we met at a real estate conference, and I told you I work with buyers and sellers in the Boston area, you may or may not remember that in a few months. But if I said, “I work with retired seniors who don’t want the hassle of maintaining a large property anymore, who want more time and freedom to spend with their grandchildren, and who would appreciate having the entire downsizing process managed for them. I specialize in Newton, MA and cover the greater Boston area,” — that would be much more memorable.

Exercise: Look at your calendar from the past month. Where have you spent time? Where are you meeting with and talking to other people who might be close to buying or selling a home? It could be a social group, somewhere you volunteer, other parents at your kids’ school, church, another job you’re working, or simply your neighbors you run into when you’re out for a walk. Maybe you have a strong college alumni network or a large extended family who would be happy to refer you some business. Chances are you’re talking to more people every day than you realize! Now you’ll have some data to work with, and you can choose a niche that makes sense.

Example: For almost a decade, millennials have been the largest demographic group buying homes. That changed in 2023, though. According to NAR, baby boomers purchased more homes than any other group last year — making up 39% of all home sales! This would be a smart niche to work with if you live in an area heavily populated by baby boomers.

6. Brainstorm marketing strategies that are best suited to that audience     

When creating your real estate marketing plan, be intentional and strategic about which strategies give you the highest likelihood of meeting and connecting with your ideal clients. If it’s not aligned with your niche, don’t waste your time, energy, and money on it. Consider:

  • Where they spend their time: golf courses, local parents’ groups, church, etc.
  • Hobbies and interests: hiking groups, gardening, book clubs, etc.
  • Social media channels: the person who’s on TikTok all day is likely not the same person who’s on Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Life stage : Are they young families who have kids in school and are part of the local parents’ groups? Are they active seniors who spend time at the senior center? 

Here are some examples of marketing strategies that are aligned with each audience:

  • New buyers: Use Instagram reels or TikTok videos to find new buyers, as it’s typically younger people using those social media platforms
  • Baby boomers: Run Facebook ads offering a home valuation to find baby boomers looking to sell, as they’re the majority of homeowners, and many still use Facebook daily
  • Buyers trading up: Join a parents’ group to find clients who are outgrowing their starter home and need a larger property  

7. Make sure your strategies are aligned with your personal brand and skill set

I see agents make this mistake all the time: they learn about a marketing strategy that worked well for someone else and decide to give it a try. After a few months, they’re discouraged and frustrated. They ask themselves: why did this work for them but not for me?

It’s all about alignment. When considering different marketing strategies (and there are literally hundreds of options out there), be sure whichever ones you choose make sense for your personality and your brand. If you enjoy networking more than cold calling, create your marketing plan around networking events. If you love writing, start a blog. Being aligned will make everything so much easier and generate much better results. 

8. Choose your budgets: money, time, and energy 

Usually the word “budget” is synonymous with money alone. I’d encourage you to set a financial budget, of course, but also set budgets for your time and your energy. Each of these is a valuable resource that needs to be tracked and measured to determine if they yield the desired results.

A note on energy management: Many agents don’t think about the importance of energy management. In my experience, managing energy is critical to avoiding burnout, staying healthy (physically and mentally), and enjoying your day-to-day life.

A quick way to assess the energy you expend working on a marketing strategy is to give yourself a score of one to 10, both before and after each marketing activity. Ask yourself before you walk into that networking event: “How’s my energy right now, from one to 10?” then ask the same question when you leave. This is simply data collection to help you start to see trends. So, when you do your next marketing strategy audit, you’ll be able to make better decisions about which strategies are worth keeping. 

9. Break down your marketing activities into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks  

Okay, now you have your marketing activities chosen, your goals set, and your budget determined. Now, it’s time to get into the action part of the plan! Start with the month — what will your monthly tasks be to get you to your goal? Then break those down into weekly and daily tasks, keeping in mind your vacations and days off (don’t forget to take time off!).

Remember to start small, with manageable daily tasks. It’s like starting any new habit. When you start small, you set yourself up for success — for an easy win. That win will motivate you to do more. Momentum will build, and over time, you’ll get into a steady rhythm with your new habit. 

10. Put your daily tasks in your calendar  

The calendar is key! This is your accountability and your reminder to do the tasks you’ve planned to do — and do them consistently. You can use a paper calendar, Google calendar, or any other tool that works for you. To stay on track, consider setting a daily, recurring reminder in your phone or using your CRM to alert you to your daily tasks (most CRMs have a task functionality with alerts).

Pro tip:

I like to color-code my calendar, and I use green for all money-making activities.

11. Systematize tracking your output and results  

Tracking data isn’t sexy, I know. Yet it’s one of the most important parts of a solid marketing plan and will set your business up for success in future years, as you collect more and more of your own data. It’s the key to understanding at a high level what’s working and what’s not. It will allow you to save money, time, and energy down the road, as well!

Pro tip:

My real estate marketing plan template includes a section where you can track your results. And yes, I made it simple on purpose. The simpler the tracking tool, the more likely you are to keep it updated. Remember, just like the best CRM, the best tracking tool is the one you will actually use.

12. Assess your results and tweak as necessary 

I’d recommend reviewing your results tracker quarterly, but definitely review it once per year at a minimum. Again, the goal is to save time, money, and energy and to maximize results. Don’t be afraid to pivot and adjust as you go along. 

In deciding when to pivot and adjust your marketing plan, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time, money, and energy have I invested so far?
  • What’s the return been?
  • Have I given it enough time to see results? Keep in mind some things take longer than others. Geographic farming tends to take longer when you’re building a database and working by referral, whereas cold-calling and door-knocking tend to generate results faster.
  • Am I enjoying this enough to continue, or is it making me miserable?

No matter which marketing strategies you choose to include in your plan, there are three crucial tools that you’ll need. Your tools will evolve as your business evolves, of course, but these three will get you started on the right path: 

1. A scalable CRM that’s easy to use

Most brokerages provide a CRM, but you can usually purchase your own if you prefer. When selecting the right one for you, consider how easy it is to navigate (if it’s too complicated, you likely won’t use it) and whether it provides the functionality you need.

Most agents don’t need a CRM to do anything but provide a way to communicate with their database, set up task reminders, and host a website. I’ve always used KW Command, but I’d also recommend Sierra Interactive, as it offers a powerful CRM, as well as custom-designed, SEO-driven websites.

2. Graphic design and social media tools 

I love Canva for all things design. It’s what I use for my coaching and real estate businesses. The ability to upload my brand colors and fonts for easy access makes creating social media content, Eventbrite banners, and all my marketing pieces so easy. 

For an even more comprehensive tool, Coffee & Contracts is an excellent choice for a suite of social media marketing tools that’s easy to use and also incredibly beautiful. Agent Image is one of the top website builders used by luxury agents; plus, it allows you to own your website and bring it with you if you ever change brokerages.

3. A powerful end goal and a “why” to fuel your daily grind  

To keep you going through the mundane and frustrating days, your end goal should be your ultimate dream life — how you wish to spend your days, the freedom you want, and the work you’d most enjoy. Marketing to find business to make that dream come true can be mundane, and there will be frustrating days. If your real estate marketing plan includes cold calling, there will inevitably be times when you simply don’t want to deal with another irate expired seller who’s already been called 20 times that morning.  

When your “why” is powerful enough, though, you stick with it. A “why” is that strong gut feeling, that ultimate motivation to get to your dream life. Vision boards are powerful tools to help you articulate your end goal and keep it top-of-mind. The easiest way to create a vision board is to collect words and images from magazines or printed from online that capture your goal, your “why.” Then, paste the images and words on a poster board and keep them in front of you, maybe on a wall in your office or bedroom. It’s a little old school, yes, but it works!

The full picture: Creating a real estate marketing plan that works

Creating an effective real estate marketing plan can be challenging, but if you focus on strategies that are aligned with your personal brand, skill set, and niche, you can create a plan that will carry you through your entire career.



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