How to Win at Niche Marketing

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the benefits of niche marketing for real estate agents. Most top producing agents adopt a niche marketing strategy because it establishes them as an expert and reduces fatigue from being spread too thin. Plus, owning a niche is great for referrals. So whether you establish a niche by neighborhood, property type or client type, here’s our advice on how you can dominate your niche.


Get Social

Establish your presence as a niche expert by targeting your blogging and social media efforts. For example, if you work with first time buyers you can offer advice on pros & cons of renting vs. buying, steps to secure a mortgage, neighborhood profiles of popular areas for first time buyers and home maintenance tips. Providing great online content that’s relevant to your niche will establish your credibility and help potential clients connect.


Be a Resource

As a real estate agent, you’re a valuable source of knowledge about the local real estate market, home trends and buying & selling property. Giving market advice for your local paper, community newsletter or radio show is great for showing your expertise. Plus, local journalists are always searching for stories!


Network, Network, Network

An agent’s client list is directly proportional to the size of their network. Being involved in business associations, like your chamber of commerce or professional networking groups, is great for driving referrals from business contacts. You can also connect with potential clients and establish yourself as the niche expert by being involved in community associations and volunteer groups. For example, if you focus on homes in one neighborhood, get involved in the neighborhood’s community association.


What success have you had with niche marketing?


Building Your Referral Funnel

we love referralsSick of cold calls? Door knocking? Chasing unqualified internet leads? I’m always surprised to hear from sales professionals that they hate these prospecting methods but are still spending time on them. While there are so many strategies for building a client list, none are as effective referral selling.


Referral selling is when you leverage your client list and professional network to acquire new clients. It’s basing your sales funnel on relationships, instead of increasing advertising budgets. Referral selling has the ability to drastically improve your closing ratio – a referred client is 4X more likely to close – but it does require a few prerequisites. So if you’re ready to increase referrals, here’s our advice on adopting a referral selling mentality.


1.Be Referrable

If you want to increase referrals, the first step is providing an awesome client experience.


2. Make Referrals a Priority

Think of referrals as a constant business development strategy – not a one-time sales tactic. Developing networking and relationship skills should be center to your sales training.


3. Get Infrastructure in Place

Like any sales or marketing effort, you’ll need the infrastructure in  place to be successful. Have a simple, easy to use method for tracking referrals and keeping in contact with your referral network. Start tracking metrics – like new referrals, time to close, and average number of referrals received.


4. Reach Out

Start networking with clients and professional connections. Attend networking events, send newsletters to past & current clients, stay involved with your large accounts, and follow up with contacts that that have sent you referrals in the past.


5. Overcome Fear

So often sales professionals don’t ask for referrals because we’re afraid of rejection. Getting over this fear is fundamental to increasing referrals. Realize that most clients are comfortable making a referral – and if you’ve perfected #1, you have nothing to to worry about.

The Top 10 Things Your Real Estate Website Needs


websiteReal estate websites have become increasingly sophisticated as agents work to drive leads online. From listing data, online chat, videos and social media integration – the options can be endless. And with 90% of home buyers searching online, having a great website is a necessity for any agent. So, if you’re doing a website revamp or want to check in with how your site stacks up, here’s our list of the 10 website essentials for any real estate agent.


1.Have One

While this advice might seem obvious, 45% of small businesses in the US still don’t have a website. While your brokerage likely has a site, you shouldn’t rely on your broker’s website to increase leads. Every agent should also have their own site that they have full control of. Don’t lose out on the 90% of home buyers that are searching online.


2. Be Mobile

This year, mobile search will outpace desktop. Your site should be mobile optimized – ideally responsive – and have mobile features like click-to-call. Google and NAR have published that 89% of new home buyers use a mobile search engine for their research. Don’t give them a bad experience with a site that isn’t mobile friendly.


3. Optimize for Local Search

Local search is the when a search engine delivers results that are specific to a geographic region. This means that when you’re working to rank higher in search engines, you should focus on “Real Estate Agent Toronto” instead of “Real Estate Agent”.  Just how important is local search for real estate? 69% of home buyers that take action on a real estate website started with a local search term, like “Houston homes for sale”.

Local search 2


4. Display your Value

Your website is your opportunity to show potential clients how great of an agent you are. Have a clear value proposition displayed right on your homepage – ie Buying and Selling Luxury Properties in Houston since 2002 – and make sure to have a bio page that highlights your qualifications and experience. Testimonials from past clients are great for social proof!


5. Use Great Visuals

Does your website have “curb appeal”? Great images, design and videos are so important for keeping visitors from dropping off. Here’s one of our favorite examples.

the force realty

6. Make it Easy to Search Properties

The most important features of a real estate website? According to a recent survey of home buyers, photos and detailed information about properties for sale are the most important. Have easy-to-use property search functionality on your website with great listing descriptions.


7. Have a Blog

Blogging regularly is an effective and inexpensive digital marketing strategy. Blogs are great for showing yourself as an expert in the local real estate market, improving your local search ranking, providing info & tips for potential clients and converting visitors into clients. Whether you choose to have your blog on a  subdomain ( or as a subfolder (, blogging regularly is a definite must for any real estate website.


8. Integrate with Social Medialike box

Are you working to find leads and connect with clients on social media? Integrate your website with your social profiles by adding Activity Feeds that show recent Tweets & Facebook posts, a Like Box that let’s website visitors Like your Facebook page without leaving your site and Share buttons.



9. Be Referral Friendly

Add a Refer Us form to your website. Using separate forms for referrals from past clients and referrals from agents in other centers is a simple way deliver high quality leads from your website. With QuickLinkt, you can add Refer Us forms to your website and be automatically notified everytime you’re sent a referral.


10. Make Contact Info Easy to Find

At the end of the day, the goal of your website is to grow your client base and increase closings. To turn website visitors into revenue, have your contact info prominently displayed on each page of your site and have one-touch calling and email functionality on your mobile site.

Owned, Earned & Paid – What’s the Difference?

Any business wants to find the best marketing channel. But with more and more media sources available, it’s hard to determine which delivers the best ROI. So, if you’re allocating 2015’s advertising budget, here’s the rundown of Owner, Earned and Paid media.


Owned media are the channels that your company has complete control of and are unique to you. These include things like a company website, blog, social media profiles and company newsletters. Owned media is an extension of your brand – the more owned media sources you have, the more chances there are to connect with clients. The obvious benefits of owned media is that you have complete control and you aren’t reliant on 3rd parties. The downsides – owned media is difficult to scale and it’s hard to reach new or potential clients with owned media alone.


Paid media is when you leverage a third-party channel for promotion. Paid media ranges from billboards, tv commercials, advertising on social media, pay-per-click ads and sponsorships. It scales quickly and can guarantee reach. However, the paid media space is extremely cluttered – as the number of advertisers increase it becomes more and more difficult to get your message seen. More worrisome though is that paid media channels are the least trusted forms of advertising.


Earned media is based on word of mouth and  isn’t controlled by a marketer. They’re the most trusted forms of advertising, but can also be the most difficult to control – clients, customers & other influencers are in charge of the message. Earned media includes word of mouth, customer comments on social media, online reviews and referrals.

Forrester Ownerd, Earned & Paid

So…. What’s the best choice? Think about Owned, Paid & Earned as complimentary to each other. Paid media can introduce your brand to potential clients, direct them to owned media properties and encourage them to become customers/clients. Owned media properties help lower potentials through your sales funnel and are used for communicating with current clients. Then, your earned media leverages current clients to find new clients and grow your brand.


Whether you’ve thought about Owned, Earned and Paid marketing before, chances are you’ve used each type for your business. What channels do you find most effective?

Networking 101 – 7 Steps to Grow Your Contact List

networking 2

Let’s face it – meeting people face to face is a huge part of growing your client list. Whether you’re a real estate agent, mortgage broker or lender, your ability to network is paramount to generating leads and growing sales. SO, if you’re looking to become a great networker or brush up your skills, here’s some of our best networking advice.


1. Make a Plan

Growing your professional network won’t happen by luck. If you want to drastically improve prospecting, make a strategic plan for networking. First outline your goals, then create your plan. This could include a list of events to attend, organizations to join, types of business contacts you’d like to meet, specific people to meet, etc.


2. Prep Before Events

Always RSVP to networking events. If there’s an event on Facebook or group on LinkedIn- join it. Connect with the event host to thank them for inviting you and let them know you’re excited to attend. Most importantly, do a bit of research on who’s attending and consider reaching out to those that you especially want to meet with.


3. Remember your Etiquette

Don’t be glued to your Smartphone at events – while you’re responding to voice mails, the people you wanted to meet are talking to your competitors.


4. Focus on New Connections – Not the Ones You Already Have

If you want to grow your professional network, don’t spend all of your time at networking events talking to people you already know. Yes it’s great to catch up with friends and reconnect with current contacts, but the first priority of a networking event is to grow your network.


5. Quality, not Quantity

Collecting 100 business cards during an event isn’t useful if you didn’t actually have meaningful conversations with those people. Remember, networking is about relationships – not self promotion.


6. Keep Track

After you meet new people, make sure to update your contact lists. Enter names, contact info, where & when you met, what you discussed, who introduced you and any details of the conversation that you remember. Keeping track means you can follow up and keep building the relationship.


7. Follow Through

Have a plan for how you’ll communicate with new contacts after you meet. Maybe it’s connecting on LinkedIn with a personalized message and inviting them to sign up for your newsletter. If you had a longer conversation, maybe it’s an invite for lunch. Make sure to follow up quickly, so they remember who you are and what you discussed – marketing to them early will help to turn them into new clients or business contacts that send you referrals.


So while networking can seem intimidating, these 7 steps can improve your skills and grow your network. What are some of your favorite networking tips?



The 2015 Marketing To-Do List for Real Estate Agents

check listThe new year is always a time for reflecting on the past, planning for what’s to come and gearing up for success in the year ahead. For real estate agents, it’s a time to get organized before the craziness of the summer selling season. Planning your marketing efforts in January will help you to stay on track, measure your progress and exceed your marketing (and selling) goals in 2015. So if you want to increase leads AND sales, here’s a list of 7 initiatives to get you on track.


1. Organize your Contact Lists

If you want to reach potential buyers & sellers, engage with past clients and network with your sphere of influence you’ll need your contact lists organized. No matter what CRM you’re using, you should be keeping track of names, contact info and a brief history of communications.


2. Get Online

90% of home buyers search online for their home. Optimizing your online presence should be the foundation of your marketing efforts. Remember, your website is usually a potential client’s first impression of you – so make it memorable.


3. Focus on Google

While 3rd party websites like Zillow & Trulia are well-known in the real estate industry, the number 1 search engine is by far Google. See how you rank in local search results for Realtor, real estate agent, homes for sale, etc. Then work to improve your rankings with doing keyword research, adding keyword-rich content to your site, setting up a Google Places and Local Google+ page, and creating or claiming your profiles on directory sites.


4. Share Your Knowledge

Real estate agents are experts on real estate market trends, home decorating and maintenance, local events and neighborhood profiles. Use a blog to share your knowledge with potential clients and engage with past clients. By blogging on a regular basis, you’ll be seen as an expert and help increase your search engine ranking.


5. Create an Email Marketing Schedule

Email marketing is crucial for staying top of mind with your sphere of influence. Use January to create a schedule, pick an email template and start prepping your content. For example, you can decide to send your newsletter every 2nd Thursday. Then start building out your content with when local events are going on and home maintenance tips for the seasons.


6. Make Social Media a Habit

Start a new habit in January with regularly posting on social media and engaging with your followers. Ghost social media profiles can make potential clients think you’re no longer in business.  Plus, it’s an easy way to connect with young, first-time buyers and keep top of mind with past clients.


7. Cultivate Referrals

Did you know that referred clients are 4X more likely to close? If you aren’t engaging your sphere of influence for referrals, you’re missing out. Create a simple way for managing referrals (like getting a QuickLinkt account), and engaging with your professional network.

What are your marketing plans for 2015?

Referrals Found to Be the Most Valued Lead Source for Real Estate Agents

business deal shaking handsJohn Wanamaker famously said “I know half my advertising dollars are wasted… I just don’t know which half.”  Now, even though Wanamaker lived over 100 years ago, the same saying still runs true for real estate agents today.

A recent study published on Inman News showed that many real estate executives see little to no value in the marketing channels agents use. Executives were asked to rate the quality or ROI of lead sources. The executives interviewed were all leaders of real estate firms that accounted for ⅓ of home sales participating.

The results of the study were pretty blaring, showing that by far the best lead source is an agent’s Sphere of Influence. 86% of those interviewed said that referrals from agents’ Sphere of Influence had exceptional value, whereas less than 10% agreed that MLS/Associations, Zillow, and Trulia had exceptional value. Worse yet, more than 50% said  that MLS/Associations,, Trulia and had little to no value.



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What’s even more surprising is that these executives were only asked to rate lead sources that their agents use! So, the over 50% of executives that said MLS/Associations, Trulia and had little to no value are spending time and money using these sources to generate leads.

Looking at the results, it seems obvious that real estate agents should be spending more effort growing their Sphere of Influence and engaging with these referral sources instead of spending money on third-party websites. An agent’s contacts can send qualified leads that know how great the agent is and are ready to buy or sell, whereas third-party sites may be sending you the data on people that were curious about how much their co-worker spent or already have a real estate agent.

So, if you’re ready to start spending more time on referral leads and less on third-party sites, it might be time to shift your marketing efforts. To grow and engage your network, you can:

  • Participate in community associations
  • Network with other business professionals – like mortgage brokers and lenders
  • Send email newsletters to past clients with home advice and info on community events
  • Develop an editorial schedule for your blog and social media – remember that it isn’t just about selling!
  • Send personalized holiday cards or notes to past clients

If you’re sick of spending money and time on marketing efforts that don’t seem very valuable, maybe it’s time to start leverage your Sphere of Influence. How do you engage with your past clients?


5 Tips for New Real Estate Agents to Survive & Thrive

Real estate is a tough market. With 9 out of 10 agents leaving the industry in their first year, it can be especially intimidating for those getting started. Since we’re always looking for ways to help agents grow their business, we asked some of the experienced real estate agents using QuickLinkt what advice they’d give to those starting out in the industry.


1. Let People  Know You’ve Made a Career Change

You’ve likely heard your broker or other agents stress the importance of your Sphere of Influence – the personal and business connections that respect your expertise and know how great you are. These contacts can send you referrals and connect you with potential clients ready to buy or sell. Write a personalized note to let  connections know you’ve made a career change and why you’re passionate about real estate.

2. Learn from The Best

Agencies and professional associations are full of experienced & knowledgeable real estate agents. Take advantage of training initiatives and spend time helping out other agents as you build your client list. Your education doesn’t stop the day you pass your licensing exam, so be prepared to always keep learning. Remember, your broker WANTS you to succeed!

3. Get Involved in Your Community

As awesome as real estate agents are – you won’t meet many potential clients hanging out with other agents. Getting involved in your community is a great way to help your career. First, it helps you to become an expert in the neighborhoods that you work in which can be key for wowing your clients and closing transactions. Better yet, being involved in your community is also a great way to connect with potential buyer & sellers.

4. Go Online!

90% of home buyers use the internet in their home search process. If you don’t have a strong online presence – you’re missing out on 90% of potential leads. Learn how to edit and update your website, create social media pages for your personal real estate brand, start an editorial schedule for your blog and research how to create & manage online ads. It may seem daunting, but there’s lots of great advice on digital marketing for real estate.

5. Grow Your Referral Pipeline

Referred clients are 4X more likely to do business with you. When you’re working with clients and after sales have closed, let clients know that a referral is the best compliment. The home buying and selling process can be stressful – your happy clients will want you to help their friends and family with the process.


What advice would you give to new real estate agents? 

How Will You Drive Leads in 2015?

SURVEYAs 2014 winds down and planning for 2015 gets underway, is generating more referral leads part of your marketing plan? Part of your marketing budget?


Having clients, customers & professional contacts do your marketing for you is a simple way to increase leads, decrease acquisition costs and raise closing rates. But too often businesses don’t have a strategy for driving referrals and assume that they’ll just come their way. But like any marketing effort, driving leads from referrals won’t happen automatically. So if you’re spending thousands on advertising channels but not investing in a referral strategy, here’s some key steps you should take.

 1. Establish Your Goals

Like any marketing or advertising initiative, start your referral strategy with clear objectives tied to revenue. Goals such as the % of clients that refer, # of referrals per sales agent, closing rate of referred clients and average sale/purchase value of referred clients are good places to start. If you’ve never tracked referrals, this might seem like a shot in the dark, but comparing to your other marketing efforts is a good place to start.

2. Give Clients Something to Talk About

If you want to increase referrals, you’ll need to make sure your clients are more than just satisfied. Think about the difference between your promoters (clients that happily brag about you) and your passives (clients that can be wooed by your competition). A great client experience is the end-to-end journey from online research to after-sale follow up.

3. Make it Easy

Don’t make your customers & clients guess that you’d like them to send referrals or how they should send them. Create easy to use conduits, like a Referral form on your website and Facebook page.  Then promote your referral program when you meet with clients and in your other marketing efforts.

4. Track Referrals

You should track referrals the same way you’d track any other lead source and marketing effort. If your pipeline includes tracking leads from, open houses, AdWords and email marketing, you should also be tracking your referral funnel. What gets measured gets done – so start tracking!

5. Say Thank You

If referrals are an important part of your business – which I assume you want them to be – you should be letting your referral sources know your appreciation. Keep them updated as you work with the client they referred, and say thank you when the sale closes! Whether or not offering referral incentives is right for your business, a thank you can go a long way.


If you’d like to get started with a referral program for your business, visit for your 30-day Free Trial of our Referral Marketing Platform. 


The Financial Return on Referrals

If you ask any business, they’ll tell you that their best advertising comes from word of mouth. But despite this age-old wisdom, way too often referral programs become haphazard and companies chase cold leads.


One of the main reasons that businesses forget about their referral strategy is that they don’t know the value of a referred customer. While it may seem difficult to quantify word-of-mouth, a recent study from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania was able to measure the power of referrals and financial benefits of a referral program.


The study, entitled “Referral Programs and Customer Value”, set out to discover if there was a financial return on word of mouth. Researchers looked at the records of over 10,000 customers at a bank over a 3-year period. Half of the customers were acquired through the bank’s referral program and the other half through other marketing methods (direct mail, advertising, promotions, etc). The study asked:

  • If referred customers have higher profit margins
  • If referred customers are more loyal
  • If referred customers have a higher customer lifetime value.


The study found that the financial benefits of the referral program were quantifiable and significant. Referred customers generated 16% more profits than their non-referred counterparts. The researchers attributed this to better matching between the bank and the referred customer –  because the existing customer knew both the bank and the prospect, they could better assess if there was a good fit between the two. Essentially, current customers were better at finding qualified leads than the bank was.


The study also found that referred customers were 18% more likely to stay with the bank than non-referred customers. This was attributed to the fact that customers make referrals to friends and family that would truly benefit from the bank, and because people tend to have a stronger bond with organizations that their friends and family are also customers/members of.


Accounting for both the higher profits and greater loyalty of referred customers, the study found that the customer lifetime value of a referred customer can be up to 25% greater than the customer lifetime value of a non-referred customer.  Better yet, the ROI the bank earned on the investment in its referral program was 60%. Therefore, they weren’t guessing about advertising investments – they were running a highly profitable and quantifiable client acquisition strategy.


So, if your business wants to capitalize on social proof and leverage your best customers, there are clear financial benefits of a referral program. What creative ways do you use to increase referrals?




If you’re interested in starting a referral program for your business, Quicklinkt provides automated referral marketing and management tools. Visit for your 30-Day Free Trial.