Farming an Area or Market Segment in Real Estate

House sitting on pile of dollar bills
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Definition: There's one thing that almost all successful real estate agents have done to develop their business in a specific area or market demographic. They "farm" the area for business. The term farm implies growing something. That's what you do when you farm a local subdivision. You plant the seeds of future business, nurture them with marketing and then hopefully reap the rewards in commissions.

Farming can involve any or all of direct mail, door knocking, postcards, newsletters, email or any other form of advertising. The key to farming an area is to do it with regularity and keep on your message.

The Farming Game Plan

You don't just jump in and start spending money mailing out postcards or refrigerator magnets.  Well, maybe you do, but it's not going to be a very good return for your money and time invested.  As any corporation would, you need to develop a marketing plan for your farming.

Identify the target audience:

It's easy to say that your target is the XYZ Subdivision, and maybe that's enough.  However, will you be spending money marketing to the wrong demographic in the subdivision.  What if it's pretty large and was built in phases?  Perhaps there are homes in two or more price ranges.  If so, you may only want to farm the higher price range area.  The point is to do enough research to know that you're about to be marketing to a viable audience who you would want listing or buying through you.

Quantify your market:

OK, now you 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.  Perhaps you'll even want to refine your target more carefully if your audience is too big for your budget.  

Know your market & what will work:

Now that you have your list and you know something about them, who are they and are there commonalities other than just where they live?  Is the area full of retirees or empty nesters?  Or, are the majority of residents younger families?  If it's a mix, then a general marketing plan and campaign will be fine.  Maybe it's a mix, but only two major groups, such as young families and middle life career people.

Statistics always work:

No matter what you may find for common ground, the one thing everybody always wants to know about is how their home looks in the current market.  Even if they aren't thinking of selling, they like to keep up with what their home is probably worth in the current market climate.  

Go to your MLS and check out the type of reports you can output.  There should be sold property reports by time frame.  If you're going to do a mailer, postcard, letter or email newsletter, you can position yourself as the local expert with statistics.

Tease with a link.  If you want leads, sure put your phone number and contact info on all mailers.  But, if you really want to get them to your website and work them as productive leads, give them a few stats in your mailer and give them a simple link they can type in to get to the full report page on your site.

 There you do yet another expansion and offering.

Take them to the full report.  Then offer them a monthly or quarterly report via email if they'll sign up.  The ones with the greatest interest will, as they'll want the information without having to go to the site again to get it.  This is how you move your mailer recipients to your website and then into your CRM, Customer Relationship Management System.

Sure, you can send out postcards with your newest listing, but for the long haul and the most leads, use this plan and statistics.  You'll be glad you did.