Why is real estate agent marketing all the same? 

realtor marketing  

Real estate agent marketing

For the past few years I’ve been keeping track of all of the real estate postcards and notepads and other so-called marketing paraphernalia that arrives in my daily mail at this time of year. My thought is that this type of agent marketing must work, otherwise why would real estate agents do it, right? 


Maybe not. 

I’ve been around long enough to see the rise and fall of agents and their teams. Some big names from a decade ago are still in business but they are not on every bus bench up and down Fischer-Hallman, they don’t have eight or twelve team members anymore and their giant faces on bus wraps have been replaced by new giant faces of other Realtors following in the footsteps of those who came before them. 

I like to think that they have seen the errors of their ways. I like to think that they tried it and it worked but wasn’t worth it in the long run. For marketing to work it has to be 

  1. long term and 
  2. consistent. 

But that is an aside. 

It is the sameness of the marketing that is ironic. With so many Realtors vying for real estate clients, successful agents need a way to stand out from the crowd yet so many agents do what has always been done, spending boatloads of money on print media, billboards, buses, bench signage…and it all looks alike, it all says the same thing. I’m #1. I’m professional. You can count on me.

The sameness of real estate marketing is something that I have been quietly fighting against for over a decade. My thought is “if everyone else is doing it, then do something else”. Why fight a battle in the middle, when there is so much room on the edge. I’m not here ranting or pontificating. They can fight their fight, doing it the way it’s always been done. I find it wasteful and unimaginative.

New innovation

Innovating agents in real estate are not that rare. When a new technology arrives, there are always a few agents who embrace it and often can carve out a little niche for themselves.

Here are some examples:

  • Postcards: 20 years ago
  • Blogs: 15 years ago 
  • Youtube videos: 10 years ago
  • Drones photography: 5 years ago     
  • Sold price data: this year

After the initial innovation, in many cases the rest of the agents pile on and whatever it is becomes the industry norm. And sometimes whatever it is fades away as a gimmick, a flash in the pan — remember QR codes? Remember text for house data on signs and in print?  

Why do we do these things?

Why are there agent photos on business cards?

Name one other profession that you expect to find a headshot of the service professional on their business card. I suppose it is effective as a marketing tool except the best and most professional headshots tend to make every agent look alike – professional, trustworthy, businesslike — same, same, same. 

Why do logos have to be rooflines?

Have you noticed that agent and team real estate logos tend to feature a roofline (often over the name of the agent). Of course it makes sense, but again the lack of imagination is notable.

Why are slogans so weak?

The problem with slogans is that they aren’t specific enough to be useful. As Realtors we are hobbled by our real estate council so we are left with weak claims:

Your #1 real estate team

A step above

Expert excellence

Guaranteed sold*

A local expert

Two final thoughts

Growing your business one past client at a time

As a real estate agent who generated 70% of my revenue last year from past clients and referrals, I smugly believe that if agents always have to advertise for new clients, then maybe they didn’t treat their past clients right.

Welcome to the machine   

Working at big box brokerages, buying expensive display advertising and sending out marketing material to thousands and thousands of homes costs money. Big spending realtors have to sell two, three or maybe more homes every month just to pay for what they spend. I wouldn’t want to be under this kind of pressure.


*Read the small print

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