Marketing on a Budget

By Kelly Leighton | Dec. 2, 2022 | 3 min. read

“Marketing dollars should not be what is leftover in your budget,” said Melissa Harrison, the CEO and founder of Allee Creative. “It has to be something that is planned for, like everything else you plan in your year.”

Whether you consider yourself a pro at marketing, or don’t even know where to begin, Harrison has advice for you. “You need to back up and ask yourself if you are OK with how are things are going.” Harrison advised spending 7-9% of your revenue to connect with the number of clients and leads you have had in the past few years. If you need more leads, more clients and more revenue, Harrison suggested spending 10-14% of revenue on marketing.

Where to spend the money? Your website is a top choice, Harrison said. But don’t discount social media. Just because most of it is free does not mean you cannot spend marketing money on getting more views for your content.

“You can have the most amazing content,” said Harrison. “But these days, you may not be seen if all you are doing is organic. Making space for paid social media is beneficial. You also need to be really transparent. The channels are free, but paid gets more eyes. It’s not about what we are comfortable doing. You are supposed to be talking to your potential clients. For first-time buyers, especially Gen Z and millennials, Facebook is not the way to do that, they are not there.”

Harrison suggested asking yourself what buyers you are trying to reach and determining where they are online. “Seeing is believing. For some Realtors®, who may think they aren’t comfortable doing social media, look at the metrics, where is your business coming from? How did that happen? Digital media is networking. You can go to in-person networking events and that is great. Gen Z and younger millennials are not joiners. They do not spend their time doing that in-person, they get most things online.”

“The biggest thing is to be authentic and trustworthy,” she added. “It’s rarely about the sale on digital. Show why someone should trust you.”

If you are looking to add more marketing in your real estate career, but are on a tight budget, Harrison said to look to DIY.

“Think about what you want to do to stand out with current clients,” she said. “It’s easier to retain current clients and rely on them to be brand ambassadors. Make sure you are on point with thank you letters, emails and phone calls, and year-end gift items that stand out to show that you value who you are already doing business with.”

Harrison also said setting up an online class for homebuyers, offering an open house Q&A and educating consumers on buying and selling lets you be their voice for real estate at low to no cost for you.

“We want to be great at a few things instead of mediocre at all things. Don’t be afraid to pick two or three things from a marketing perspective and be really good at them,” she said. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Find your niche and your channels.”

Harrison is presenting three sessions at Triple Play in Atlantic City. Join her on Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for 10-Step Marketing Plan and Digital Communication Budget and from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for Empathy in Marketing: Digital Strategies for the Year Ahead. She will close out Tuesday with Time is Money. How to Streamline Your Digital Media Strategy for Success from 2-3 p.m. 

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