Learning about real estate marketing is probably one of the most important activities an agent can do with his or her time. Although some would argue prospecting is more important, I would challenge that. Because you can spend a lot of time prospecting the WRONG way. Real estate marketing know how will enable you to become very efficient in your prospecting. To be successful, you must pick a niche market and speak to that niche's needs, wants and desires.
Smart real estate marketing starts with education. You must learn the pros and cons of each type of marketing. You have online real estate marketing and then you have off line real estate marketing. Both should play an important role in your over all real estate marketing plan.
Off line real estate marketing uses advertising mediums like classified ads, homes magazines, signs, etc. Online real estate marketing focuses on generating business via the internet.
Depending on the community in which you are looking to market your services, one can be better then the other. For example, if you live in a smaller community that is very rural, your real estate marketing plan should focus on off line marketing mediums because there probably won't be enough internet traffic (people performing searches online for your communities main keyword) to justify an internet marketing campaign. However, if you live in a popular city where there are a lot of internet searches for homes in that area, the internet is definitely the way to go. Generating leads off the internet is the MOST efficient way to market. Everything is trackable and you can control costs - you know how effective your campaigns are and you can keep track of your real estate marketing metrics.
If you do live in a smaller community, one smart thing you can do is take off line traffic and drive it online. For example, advertise your lead capture website on your signs and print ads. Say something like, "Get the most up to date MLS listings for free at [http://www.AnyTownHomes.com]". This works very well as it will allow you to offer information to prospects in a baby step.They will go online before they will pick up the phone and call.
To find out the amount of searches that are being done for your community, go to http://WordTracker.com. WordTracker has stats on how many times a certain search phrase was entered for any given keyword. If it looks like your area is getting a lot of searches, set up a lead capture web site, drive traffic to it via pay per click, and make that your main real estate marketing campaign.
We live in a community where we use both off line and online real estate marketing. To see how we incorporate the two and generate a steady flow of leads to our Inbox, check out our free real estate marketing guide, the "Smart Agent's Lead Generation Confidential".
The bottom line is do your due diligence and learn all you can about real estate marketing especially internet real estate marketing. It is the smartest thing you can spend your time on. Without the proper education, you can get real busy yet generate no business.