There's no better marketing advice than to "fish where and when the fish are biting." In other words, identify where consumers and real estate transaction professionals look for information about the services you offer, and know when they might be the most receptive to specific messages.
Where To Fish?
Cost of entry today: Website and email marketing
A functioning website and email capability are essential for successfully marketing your serv-ices. Even when you've been recommended, in all likelihood, a potential client or real estate practitioner will Goggle you before contacting you. It might be to learn more about you, to get your email address or for some other reason; nevertheless, it's what people do today. Consumers also look to the Internet when they have questions about their homes — questions a home inspector might help them answer. Be sure they find you.
So, the most important fishing spot is the Internet. It may be worthwhile to hire a professional to create your site and to help optimize it so it comes up in searches, but be sure to own your domain name and know how to update your own site so you can keep it current and fresh.
Add the ASHI Virtual Home Inspection to your website and help yourself to the ASHI press releases found on ashi.org to boost your content. While links to information about current hot topics can enrich your site, all links should open in a new window, not take your visitor away from your site.
Use your site to provide information about your business that will attract consumers and appeal to realty agents, bankers, real estate attorneys and other professionals who are involved in real estate transactions.
Email is an excellent tool for receiving messages from your website, keeping in touch with past clients, and marketing to new ones and the real estate community.
A FEW TIPS ON TAKING ADVANTAGE OF WHAT EMAIL HAS TO OFFER
– Respond to all messages from your website as quickly and completely as possible.
– Send an email newsletter
- Analyze your targets and tailor the message to each.
- Send information, not fluff. For an example of the kind of content that appeals to your target audience, visit "The Money Pit" website.
- Send the newsletter on a regular schedule.
- Provide links to your social media.
KEEP ON FISHING
– Social media
- Learn how to use Facebook and LinkedIn for your business. Consider blogging. Social media is fast becoming as much a marketing staple as a website and email.
– Take advantage of local sponsorships, e.g., area school sports.
– Get to know people with growing families.
– Visit the Senior Center
- Become a trusted source for home maintenance or downsizing questions.
- Ads cost money, but the local paper or radio station may welcome someone who will speak about common problems with a house, and who better to do that than you?
– Home Shows
- People come to home shows because they're interested in their homes. Promote all your services in your booth, and take extra step of advertising in the show program. Attendees often take it home to refer to when they are in need of home-related services.
- Get to know the local real estate professionals.
- Offer to do presentations at the shows or in the office.
FISH WHEN THE FISH ARE BITING
– Always think seasonally.
- What are consumers interested in at this time of the year?
- What type of sponsorships are the most rewarding in the spring, summer, winter and fall?
- Is the local newspaper or real estate publication looking for material for a special issue or section?
- Is there a local hot topic that you can speak about, such as problem drywall, radon testing, energy audits, ice dams or what to be aware of when buying a foreclosed home? If so, use that information in your social media, newsletters, interviews and presentations.
MARKET YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR MEMBERSHIP
Through your attire, your marketing materials and your professional approach to your job, market yourself as a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Share what that means and reap the rewards of belonging to the oldest and most respected of any home inspection organization.
This article was adapted from the ASHI website "Marketing Recommendations and Tips."