Real estate farming is a marketing technique used by many successful real estate agents to develop business in a specific area or market demographic. They "farm" the area for leads and contacts, as the name suggests. This can involve direct mail, door knocking, postcards, newsletters, email, or any other form of targeted advertising.
Homeowners like to keep up with what their home is probably worth in the current market climate even if they aren't seriously considering selling...yet. They'll remember you when they do consider it if you've successfully farmed their business.
What Is Real Estate Farming?
The term "farm" implies growing something, and that's exactly what you do when you farm a local subdivision or neighborhood. You're planting the seeds of future business, then nurturing them with marketing. Hopefully, you'll reap the rewards in commissions.
Real estate farming involves establishing an ongoing relationship with potential clients and community involvement. They'll think of you first when they have real estate needs.1
The key to farming an area is to do it with regularity and to keep to your message.
How Real Estate Farming Works
Go to your multiple listing service (MLS) and check out the types of reports you can output. There should be sold property reports by timeframe. You can position yourself as the local expert with this statistical information if do a mailer, postcard, letter, or email newsletter.
Be sure to put your phone number and contact info on all mailers. Give people a few stats in your mailer and a simple link they can use to get to the full report page on your website. This will get them to your site so you can work them as productive leads.
You could also include a QR code that they could scan to get to your website.
Offer prospects a monthly or quarterly report via email if they sign up for it. The ones with the most interest will do so because they'll want the information without having to go to the site again to get it. This process moves your mailer recipients to your website, then into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.2
You can send out postcards with your newest listing, but use this plan and leverage current statistics for the long haul and the most leads.
How to Set Up a Farming Plan
Farming works much like any other marketing plan. You don't want to just jump in and start spending money by arbitrarily mailing out postcards or refrigerator magnets. Do your research first so you can specifically tweak your efforts to a certain demographic.
Identify Your Target Audience
It's easy to say that your target will be the XYZ Subdivision, and maybe that's enough. But would you be spending money marketing to the wrong demographic in that overall area? Perhaps there are homes there in two or more price ranges.
You might want to only farm the homes with higher prices. Do enough research to know that you're marketing to a viable audience that's worth your investment.
Quantify Your Market
Do a count or go to a database or mailing list marketer to determine the size of your marketing target. This is necessary for budgeting. You might want to refine your target more carefully if your potential audience is too big for your budget.
Know What Will Work
Who are these people you're targeting? Do they have any commonalities other than where they live? Is the area full of retirees or empty nesters, or are the majority of residents younger families? It can also be a good idea to attend county and city council meetings now and again to identify the concerns of the community.3
A general marketing plan and campaign might be fine if it's a broad mix, or if it's a mix but only two major groups, such as young families and mid-life career people.
- Real estate farming involves cultivating leads and future business within a certain demographic.
- Farming can be an ongoing process of remaining in touch with residents in the area and maintaining a presence so they think of you when they’re ready to sell.
- Identify your target audience and aim your approach at what’s most likely to work with your key demographic.
- Consider making use of the internet and setting up a website where they can always reach out to you or look for further information.