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Dream Big!

How to Become a Marketing Dynamo

Judy Eaves
Want to stand out from the crowd without breaking the bank? Take some tips from this marketing dynamo, who sold $11.8million in properties during her first year in real estate by putting her name and likeness in front of the masses.

A sales associate’s first year in the business can be demanding and stressful. New-agent trainingis intense and time consuming, farming is seemingly endless and commission checks are few and far between. The good news is that there are ways to rise above the clutter and stand out as a knowledgeable professional, even if you don’t have decades of experience under your belt. By creating a marketing game plan early, even the greenest of associates can meet and exceed their sales goals during those first12 months.

I’m proof that the best-laid marketing plans really do pay off. Armed with a marketing degree from the University of Tennessee, I spent 12 years working as a vice president of sales and marketing in corporate America before getting my real estate license in May 2004. During my first full year in the business (2005), I closed $11.8 million in property transactions.

By putting my name, face and “Judy Eaves Means Sold” slogan on bus benches and in television ads and direct mail, and by getting involved with fund-raisers and other community events, I was able to quickly establish myself as the go-to person for anyone looking to buy or sell a home. Last year I invested $30,000 in marketing, and I plan to spend even more this year, thanks to an increase in sales volume. My strategy isn’t new: it’s a multifaceted campaign that gets my name out.

Here’s what I do:

1. Create an Illusion
Today’s home buyers and sellers are savvy, and they gravitate toward sales associates who have their names out there in lights. That means even a newer associate has a shot if he or she is willing to invest the necessary time, energy and money in creating the kind of multifaceted campaign that I’ve been using successfully for just over two years.

Prospective clients and customers didn’t know if I’d been in the business for six months or six years, so I basically took the “fake it until you make it” stance by creating the perception that I’d been around forever. It’s Face-to-Face Marketing 101: the more they see your face, the more successful they’ll think you are. By taking 25 percent of your income and investing it back into your marketing, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of these strategies.

2. Please Be Seated
Taking out ads on bus benches was one of my earliest strategies. I just always felt that the more people who saw my face (on benches, on TV, etc.), the better chance I would have of being recognized when the time came to help someone list or sell a home.

For $100 per bench, per month, I made myself known to drivers, who admittedly don’t pick up the phone to call me from their cars when they see the ads, but do recognize me when I meet them in person at listing appointments, open houses or other functions.

I currently have seven benches with my picture and slogan on them, all situated along major throughways in my market area. I enjoy great name and face recognition in return for this fairly minor investment, and I’ve had more than one successful appointment happen as a result of someone seeing one of my bus bench ads.

3. Reach Out Via Mail
With an eye on working in the $500,000-plus market in Pinellas County, I send out monthly newsletters to seven different upscale neighborhoods in my market area. My feeling is that if I get just one phone call from one area during that month, then my time and money investment has paid off. I don’t get that every month, but I do get calls from prospective clients who tell me that they’ve received my newsletter and that they’d like me to come out and talk with them about putting their homes on the market. Those appointments often turn into listings.

An office employee creates the newsletter using statistics, news stories and market information that help to educate and inform current and prospective clients. I don’t push my services, but I do include my name, company name and photo on the mailing—to introduce myself to these prospects. That way, when the time comes to work with them, I’m already working “warm” prospects who feel as if they already know me. The newsletter is one page (back and front) and costs about 50 cents each to produce and send.

4. Help Your Community
To give back to a community that’s played such a major role inmy success, I help children in the area by working on annual fund-raisers designed to help needy families during the holidays. In October, I’ll start working on an event I created called “Santa With Love III” by soliciting donations of toys and money from past clients, customers and other individuals. I obtain the names of financially challenged families from area schools, and then I match up the donations with those who can use support during the holidays. I spend about 10 hours a week on this project from October through December, and in doing so, I reap much goodwill and appreciation from the community.

5. Put Your Face on TV
I’ve had my name on benches since I started in the business, but this year I took that strategy a step further by putting my face on television. I hired a camera crew to shoot a 30-second spot, which highlights my listings and includes promotional information about my services. Produced by Bayou Productions of Tarpon Springs, the spot currently runs 28 times per week on Bay News 9 (Tampa Bay’s 24-hour local news station). Right now, I pay about $675 a week for the spots (in addition to the $30,000 annual marketing budget), but I’m looking to increase it this year.

I’ve been on TV for two months, and have already picked up one listing as a result of the ads. People tell me they saw my TV ad, which supports my other efforts (direct mail, bus benches, etc.) by further ingraining my face, name and slogan into the minds of prospective clients and customers.

Remember, it takes a year for any marketing strategy to run its course, so don’t be quick to pull the plug on a new tool that isn’t paying off as fast as you’d like. It takes more than three to six months to find out whether a campaign is working, so give it time to produce results before replacing it with something new.

Judy Eaves is a sales associatewith Coldwell Banker Wikle Properties in Palm Harbor. She services the area from Indian Rocks Beachand Clearwater Beach north to New Port Richey.