|Interactive Exchange |
|Associates Share Ideas on Creating Marketing Budgets |
It's getting close to the time when many RE/MAX Associates start planning their marketing budget for the coming year. How will you approach this task and determine how much you'll spend in next year? Here is how several RE/MAX Associates answered that question.
"Track all your marketing ventures so you know."
"I base my budget on how well I do the year before - and on where I got most of my business from that year. The most important thing is to track all of your marketing ventures so that you know where your business is coming from and so you don't make the same mistakes year after year. When I determine which method is most effective, I allot more of my marketing budget to it. In my market, it fluctuates from year to year. Right now, because the market is so hot, the Sunday paper works better than it ever has."
Geeta Khana-Gorwara, RE/MAX Real Estate Enterprises, Wyckoff, N.J.
"I don't start off the year by asking myself, `What am I going to spend?'"
"When I first started selling real estate I realized there were two approaches to creating business. One was to go after it - with prospecting - and the other was to have the business come to you - with marketing. I chose the latter, creating an image of success around me and my listing inventory, and having consumers call me for my services rather than me calling them to ask for their business. In 1989 (when I started in the business) I had a very limited budget, so I started small and took a building block approach. I added newspaper advertising, geographical farming, sponsorship and community events to the roots of my business. Today I have increased the types of advertising and promotions that I do on an annual basis. I have increased my budget over the years, but my business has also grown proportionately. I don't start off the year by asking myself, 'What am I going to spend?' Instead, my thinking is if I spend the same as last year, I should make the same as last year - provided I put the time and effort in to make it work for me."
Steve Peroff, RE/MAX Keswick Realty, Keswick, Ontario
"I ask myself two questions."
"I determine what I am going to spend on marketing each November for the following year. I ask myself two questions: How successful was my marketing plan for the present year? And, what parts of my marketing plan got me the most business? I look at the business I received from TV ads, 1-800 number ads, client newsletters and mail outs, Internet Web pages, farming mail outs, local newspaper ads, directional arrow/signs, client gifts, FSBO and expired campaigns and everything else. I look at my source of business and cost to get each transaction and then I do up my budget keeping all factors in mind. I try to stay around 10 percent of my gross for marketing. Over the last four years, the Internet has been a major area of focus for my budget. Client follow-up, client parties and client newsletters have been second and direct mail is my third area of focus. We have started doing virtual tours with all listings and these create a lot of traffic to our Web site. We have virtually eliminated print advertising for the last six months of 2001."
Carver Fraser (RRS), RE/MAX Camosun, Victoria, British Columbia
"As for a budget, this will be relative to how much money you make."
To understand what it is that makes marketing work you have to study it. Pick up a few books that will give you the understanding needed to write ads, target markets and media, and, most importantly, count your results. I have personally read more than 25 books on the subject and one book that I read over and over is "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Chaples.
Once you understand that there is a formula for advertising and remove some of the guesswork, you can zero in on the things that work best in your area. For instance, I run ads in three print media, the Internet and use a 24-hour talking ad system.
As for a budget, this will be relative to how much money you make. I can only suggest that you increase the percentage of your budget leading up to and during the busy seasons in your market and scale back during the holiday and slower periods. This will enable you to achieve the biggest bang for your buck.
James Osmar (ABR), RE/MAX Centre City Realty, London, Ontario
Copyright ) 2001 RE/MAX International Inc. 9/26/01
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