Understanding the difference between expenses and investments and how to use both in your marketing campaigns.

Do you feel like you’re spending too much on marketing and getting nothing in return? Are you tempted to give up altogether and rely on referrals and networking to grow your real estate business?

Before you toss your marketing strategy altogether, you need to realize that marketing is an investment, not an expense. When you view it through this lens, you can combine certain strategies to play the long game and rise above your competition who has either given up on marketing or continues to pour their marketing dollars into the wrong places. Here’s how to get started.

Why Marketing Matters for Realtors

If you fall into the category of wondering if you should simply abandon your marketing campaigns and rely on good old word-of-mouth and referrals, think again. Marketing is crucial to building your real estate agency for a number of reasons, the most important being:

■ Most homebuyers look for homes first on the internet. If you are not marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and other online sources, you will miss the vast majority of buyers.

■ You need to tell your story. All realtors need to develop a unique selling proposition (or USP) that sets them apart from their competition. Once you know yours, you have to be able to get the message out to your ideal clients. You can only reach so many people in person. To get your message out there in an effective way, you need to market it.

■ Marketing helps you build trust. The more your ideal clients see and hear a consistent message from you, the more they will trust that you can help them with their real estate transaction. The only way to achieve this consistency is through marketing.

■ People rely on online reviews. Whether they are trying to decide where to eat for dinner or which realtor to hire to sell their home, consumers look at online reviews to help them make their decisions. If you are not effectively marketing your services, you will not have the positive reviews you need to gain new business.

■ You can track your results. If you aren’t tracking your efforts when it comes to getting new clients, you’re playing a guessing game and will never know where your efforts will be the most effective. Online marketing provides easy ways to track campaigns to ensure your dollars are being well-spent.

■ You can reach the right people. You’ll never know if the people you really want to work with will be at the events you attend or if word of mouth will reach them. In order to work with those in your niche, you have to find them. Online marketing allows you to target potential clients based on demographics like income levels, geographic area, and other interests. Once you’ve targeted them, you can craft a message that will speak directly to their wants and needs.

Understanding ROI

Understanding ROI, or return on investment, is the first step in creating a marketing strategy that blows your competition out of the water. ROI refers to the revenue you generate from your marketing after you subtract the money you spent on that marketing. For example, if you spend $2000 a month for a marketing service and receive $2700 in new business as a result of that marketing, your ROI is $700. Keep in mind that ROI on a fixed form of advertising, such as a single display ad, will only be one-time, while ROI on an investment form of advertising, such as database building, will continue to pay dividends long after the investment has been made.

Permanent Assets vs. Temporary Expenses

So what’s the difference between a permanent asset and a temporary expense when it comes to marketing? A marketing strategy can be considered an investment when it creates a permanent or at least semi-permanent asset that will continue to return dividends for your company long after it’s created (and paid for).

The best types of investment marketing strategies usually involve content marketing, SEO, and database creation and management. The articles you publish will remain long after you write them, the links you build will continue to send traffic your way, and your database will continue to be a source of leads, improving as you add more names to it. These types of assets give you the power of compounding returns, meaning that each piece you add to your strategy will make it even more valuable and increase your ROI.

Temporary expenses, or expense-based marketing strategies, involve paying a fixed amount of money to get a fixed amount of visibility or space. Expense-based marketing includes Facebook advertising, ads on traditional media like print, television, or radio, and billboard advertising. You don’t build anything and you won’t benefit from compounding returns — unless you combine these types of campaigns with investment-based strategies.

Finding the Balance

Successful marketing requires an investment of time, money, and energy. It also requires the know-how to choose the permanent asset-type strategies as well as temporary expenses that will create a robust and diversified plan to give you the leads you need. Once you master this, you’ll become known as an authority in your market, get more clients without having to work for it, and enjoy sustained success.

One of the best examples of balancing investment-based marketing with temporary expenses would be to do a pay-per-click campaign (temporary) for a quick return to boost your numbers quickly and combine this with a content marketing strategy that may not give you any leads in the short-term but will begin building your authority for the future.

Are you tired of wasting your money on marketing campaigns that never seem to deliver? Instead of throwing in the towel, change your mindset to view marketing as an investment rather than an expense. Work with an expert like those at Luxury Presence who can help you combine fixed-expense advertising with long-term marketing investments to rise above your competition.