Real estate is an exciting and dynamic profession. It’s also one of the hardest careers in which to succeed. With so many real estate agents competing for listings, how do you get noticed and create a successful business?
I have been helping entrepreneurs and businesses succeed online through digital marketing for over 25 years. One of the first things we do when we sit down with a new client is dive deep into their business goals and objectives and help them identify their ideal customer or target audience – their niche.
There are many articles about the benefits of niching – carving out a specific market to focus your efforts on. While the theory of niching makes perfect sense, relatively few agents do it. It’s where I’ve found the most resistance within our strategic process.
Why? Identifying a niche and building your entire business around it comes with a huge perceived risk attached. What if the niche doesn’t generate enough business? I’ll miss out on listings if I’m too focused. I’ll be limiting my reach – I need to be seen by as many people as possible!
There are many reasons agents avoid niching, but fear is the biggest. If you could take that fear away, it becomes a much easier strategy to implement.
How do you take the fear out of niching? By focusing on a process and doing your homework.
Here are eight key steps to identify your niche:
1. Write down what you are passionate about.
Take a blank piece of paper, a whiteboard or open a blank document on your computer and start writing down things that you love. Don’t worry about relating them to real estate; this is a simple brainstorming exercise. Make it as big and broad and bold as you can.
2. Look for opportunities.
Review your list and start to look for patterns or ideas that have niche potential. Don’t get too caught up in specifics at this point. One idea may spark another. Let your creativity flow.
3. Narrow down your list to two or three potential niches.
It may be helpful to elicit some input from family, friends and colleagues to get your list down to some strong candidates.
This is the most important step of the process and is key to beating your fears. There are many ways to research the viability of a niche. However you go about it, you want to determine the following:
Size of potential market – is there enough potential business in it?
Competition for the market – are other real estate agents in your area focusing on the same market?
If there is competition, how good are they? If the niche is not being served well, is there an opportunity to stand out or offer something different?
If there is no competition for the niche, why not?
Does it have longevity? Is it a niche that will be around for a long time or a fad that could fade?
Is it a market you can reac h? Are the buyers and sellers in this niche easy to find within the geographic area you work in?
5. Choose the niche with the greatest potential.
Once you have a good picture of your options, now it’s time to pick the one that has the most business appeal and potential. The important thing to remember here is that everything you do in your business will be focused around this niche. So, all other things being equal, pick the niche that you are most passionate about.
6. Create your marketing plan.
This is a topic in itself, but the most important exercise here is developing your story and message. Why have you chosen this niche? Where did your passion for it come from? Why should someone come to you instead of someone else? Your success will be directly tied to how well you can relate to your target audience.
7. Test it out.
What you don’t want to do is spend a ton of money designing and developing marketing materials and throwing money into advertising. Take some time and test the waters. If you have a website, update the content so that it is focused on your niche and conveys your story. Write a few blog posts that showcase your expertise in your niche. Consider creating a piece of content or free download that offers value specific to your target audience or addresses a specific pain point or problem in your niche. You can then use this bit of content to get noticed – share on social media, run a Facebook ad campaign, get coverage in a niche-specific publication.
8. Build and expand.
As you start to gain some traction in your niche, you can start to expand your marketing efforts, develop your brand and dominate!
Niche marketing may not be for everyone. But if you’re struggling to make a living in a very competitive industry, focusing your efforts on a segment of the market may be the key to your survival.