According to Realtor.com, 45% of consumers still use open houses as part of their home search…Can you really afford to miss out on that 45%?
Why use online marketing for your next real estate open house?
Each year we hear the same things from agents. Real estate open houses are dead. When it comes to selling the home you are having the open house for, yes, open houses are not as effective as they use to be. But, when it comes to networking, lead generation, marketing and farming an area…open houses are still VERY important.
It’s important to note that to leverage a open house, for branding and lead generation, you must combine online and offline marketing tactics. We love technology as much as the next guy, but when it comes to real estate, the agent that combines offline and online marketing is the one that wins.
This particular post is about online marketing. There are many benefits to utilizing online real estate open house marketing, including:
- You get more bang for your marketing buck. You can get the message out about your open house online using fewer resources than direct/physical marketing
- More feedback and interaction. You can get 10 times more feedback, rsvps and interaction by marketing your open house online.
Now, for the good stuff, here are some unique strategies that will wow agents, buyers and sellers.
Before the open house:
- Gather the necessary marketing tools. To fully market your real estate open house on line you need a few things including mls information, amenity map, arial view, enhancement and improvement sheets, floor plans and a virtual tours.
- Create a single property website. Create a single property website in a number of places including your website and your favorite single property site tool, like ePropertySites. Use the marketing tools you gathered in #1.
- Create a Facebook Fan Page for the property.
- Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to create your page
- Choose “Local Business or Place”
- Choose “Real Estate” for the category
- For Business or place name use the house address. Add Open House or Home for Sell before the addrss (ex. Home for Sell 123 Jane St Anywhere USA 12345
- Fill out the address and phone number
- Agree to Facebook Pages and Terms and click Get Started
- Design your Facebook Page using the marketing tools from #1.
- Create an eflyer and distribute to all contacts. To create an eflyer you can simple use your favorite email client (mailchimp, aweber, constantcontact) and create a mail campaign for the open house and distribute it to everyone you know (friends, family, mortgage guys, title reps, agents, brokers, etc.). Include links to your single property website, facebook business page and more. Remember everybody knows somebody who knows somebody. Don’t miss out on any potential leads.
- Submit your open house to event websites. Submit your real estate open house dates to LinkedIn events, Facebook, Craigslist, local newsapers event submission, and more. Remember to use “Open House” or “Virtual Open House” in the title. For your craigslist add, do a nice html ad with a 640 x 480 photo.
- Create a press release about your open house and distribute it to press release websites, local online magazines and local home buyer blogs.
- Create blog posts on your website and on ActiveRain about the upcoming online and offline event.
- Submit to your real estate open house to open house sites including Realtor.com if possible
- Update your mls listing to include open house dates.
- Bonus – Create a magazine for your staged listing. Use online publishing platform like Issuu.com and create a glossy digital magazine for your listing. Instead of a letter form the Editor, put together a “Letter From The Home Sellers”, include images, highlights, neighborhood amenities, quotes from neighbors and more.
During the open house:
- Use Open Home Pro for digital registration on your iPad. Tools like this allow you to gather real email address. Plus they are conversation starters and they email open house visitors automatically saving you time.
- Offer prizes for Facebook Likes. Do a drawing after the open house for Facebook fans only. Give away gift certificates. Have a computer setup in the open house with the Facebook fan page set up, get people to like the page.
- Offer QR Code cookies for a snack. These allow open house visitors to scan the cookie and download your contact info before they eat. Another way to engage.
- Take tons of pictures for your Facebook and your single property website. These images show that your listing is getting traffic and is in high demand. This increases the sense of urgency in serious buyers.
- Get video feedback from real estate open house attendees. Get feedback from buyers, sellers and even agents. Ask them what they love about the home. Post the videos on the single property websites and Facebook.
- Create your own HGTV show and burn it to DVD. Have an introduction from the home sellers saying how much they loved living there. Show a virtual tour of the home with you as the host. Give the DVDs away at the open house.
After the open house:
- Create an email drip campaign for attendees. This is the easiest way to (1) follow up with potential buyers, (2) impress agents who could send you referral business and (3) wow sellers who are looking for an agent. Create bi-monthly emails that go through features, new videos, new upgrades, neighborhood amenties and more. Each week real estate open house attendees receive the email.
- Text message everyone who attended as a thank you. Send out an automatic text message to everyone who attended your open house one hour after it ends. Thanking them and sending them a link to the single property website.
- Blog about the event. After the event is over blog about how the event was, who you met and what was said about the house. Include images and videos. Do the same for press releases.
After the home sells:
- Video the home sellers after they receive their check for a video testimonial. If you are the buyers agent as well, video the home buyers right after close of escrow! This is when buyers are very happy, get them to talk about their experience
- Send thank you notes to everyone! Thank them for showing up and thank them for spreading the word, highlight the new owners and the selling price. Send this email to everyone including everyone you invited to the real estate open house, whether they attended or not.
- Update everything. Update the Single Property Website as sold, update the Facebook Business Page as sold, update all the blogs you wrote as sold. Don’t delete anything! Potential buyers, sellers and agents will land on those pages and contact you.
Things to consider:
I don’t have the time to do all this!
What’s the point? Open houses don’t sell the house.