By Tres Labs
Shared needs, common interests and similar lifestyles create lucrative niche markets, which allow Realtors to show off their marketing skills. Identifying an unserved niche is exciting because it means you’ve found a virgin market that may be especially profitable or have an attractive growth trajectory.
Finding and developing a niche market doesn’t need to be a lot of work. Consider that one of the tools in your kit is the ability to segment a data feed and show listings in any combination of price, type and features that you can imagine. For example, one client specialized in mobile homes because nobody in her area wanted the listings. The herd was busy following the standard 3+2 rancher demographic. She eventually became a top agent in her brokerage and was recognized for her encyclopedic knowledge of the mobile home transaction. She owned the niche and her mobile homes website paid dividends for years. Here are two examples of data feed segmentation, presented as case studies, that may give you some ideas.
Salesperson Mary lives in a suburban area near a major city. She services the general market and enjoys a healthy referral rate from past customers and her personal website. Near her office, there is a quality townhouse and low-rise condo complex called Green Meadows. She has accumulated a collection of management documents, multimedia and floor plans for the development. She decides that it might be a good idea to put some of these things online so that people who may want to live in the complex can do some research on their own.
Mary registers GreenMeadows.com, includes a data feed of listings just from that complex and uploads her multimedia archive. The sales copy emphasizes her in-depth knowledge of the development and assures potential clients that she can make a fiduciary recommendation based on her experience with the condo association. Mary sends a mailer to the owners four times a year to remind them that she provides the Green Meadows portal at no cost to their association and that she is responsible for many sales in their complex. With each transaction, her reputation for being the No.1 agent in that condo community is reinforced, trust builds, traffic grows and Mary’s small investment begins to pay off.
Cody lives in a rural area that features a beautiful lake where people within a few hundred miles like to go on holiday. His clients are mostly from the city and are either retiring to his community or buying a vacation property. Sometimes they ask him to recommend a management service for summer rentals, and in the past he has supplied a list. He thinks that a part-time vacation rental business would fit nicely with his existing operations.
Cody registers LakeVacationRentals.com and invites the owners of cottages to list their properties on his site for free. The listings are mixed in with his own clients’ rentals and there is a handsome selection to choose from with lots of photos. He’s using WordPress so everything is automated and fits together nicely. On a separate page, he shows homes and land for sale around the lake by using a segmented data feed. He’s added some aerial photos and provides helpful information on campgrounds and local amenities. The presentation of community information with a mix of rentals and listings makes people curious and he begins to receive inquiries. Cody thinks that the vacation rental site would make a nice retirement business if he gives up sales one day.
Both of these agents are marketing to sub-groups by using a second website that is focused on a target audience. The properties from the data feed are tailored to suit the niche market and displayed along with relevant information that helps the niche audience understand the whole product.
Presenting a whole product is critical for a niche site to work. If the presentation is heavily themed toward shared needs, common interests and similar lifestyles, so much the better. The result is a positioning message from the agent that says, “I have exactly what you’re looking for and that’s why this website exists.”
Here is one more example of niche marketing from our client archives that you may find amusing. On a small island popular with summer tourists, a budding webmaster started an online community portal and business directory. Artisans and B&Bs purchased banner ads to support her efforts and promote their ventures.
The niche market was anyone who wanted to learn more about the island and its quirky lifestyle. Its only realty brokerage manually posted listings to the real estate page and dutifully kept them up to date. This went on for 10 years, and over that time, the portal regularly generated leads that converted to sales: the portal was crucial to their business and if something happened to it, they would lose a profitable advertising venue. It was a fluke that the brokerage discovered the perfect marketing channel for their target audience. They realized that they had to buy it – and did.