Episode 363: Geographic Farming & Digital Marketing Advice for Real Estate Agents in 2023

Episode Timeline

Farming is the future! On the 363rd episode of Mail-Right Show, Robert Newnan and Jonathan Denwood invited Ryan Smith to discuss geographic farming and hyperlocal strategy. Ryan Smith has been in the industry for 15 years, coaching and training to help agents succeed through farming strategies, and is the creator and founder of Launch Your Farm. Robert Newman, the CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing firm, has spent the last decade in the real estate SEO business. Meanwhile, Jonathan Denwood, the joint founder and CEO of Mail Right, a platform that builds beautiful WordPress websites and combines a suite of digital marketing tools in a streamlined, user-friendly package. This episode highlights utilizing geographic farming combined with effective digital marketing to help agents take their business to the next level.

Geographic Farming

Geographic Farming is more about community positioning and relationships, where you start with a community. You have to put them ahead of the transaction and have that community you’re going to serve. After that, you learn to position yourself as an expert and an ambassador and then build relationships. However, many agents are focused on the transaction rather than the actual relationship itself.

The kind of byproduct of it is selling homes. But it would help if you learned to build relationships. How do you make a funnel or pipeline? That’s where you can start getting into digital marketing strategies and online and offline marketing. But you have to think about the relationship as a goal at the end. That makes it much easier to find marketing opportunities when you’re thinking about hyper-locals.

Geographic Farming: Hyperlocal Strategy When Building Launch Your Farm

When Launch Your Farm built the business for the first time, they created a neighborhood: a home price report— a monthly sales report. They had a binder containing the hard copy of the report and would go around asking people if they wanted to get a copy. They would doorknock it each month to the people that would put their hand up. They have about 3600 people and then ended up having about 450 people in their database in a report that they’re getting in, and they would drop the report off each month.

What Launch Your Farm is getting face-to-face is creating conversations and building relationships with people. The strategy created an educational and marketing piece as they promoted their business. They also partnered with local businesses to sponsor them and do community events they put into their newsletter. So it was a way to stand out and create value that people were looking forward to and wanted each month.

Launch Your Farm also runs online ads to drive people to get the report. Another thing they did was borrow listings from other agents who were in the area. So if another agent had a listing in their farm area that Launch Your Farm focused on, they would ask if they could borrow the listing and try to promote the agent’s listing and get buyer leads. When people in the community started to see the listings, it created a perception that Launch Your Farm was much more successful in the area and started generating leads turning into buyers. After generating leads and buyers, they will go to a listing appointment and tell the seller that they got buyers looking for homes in the agent’s focus area in their database. Launch Your Farm will bring a listing sheet with all the buyers they had if the agent lists with them.

Another significant part of the success of Launch Your Farm was that they branded themselves around the neighborhood rather than branding themselves around themselves. They leveraged that success, and it became even easier when they started getting even more listings.

How Launch Your Farm Did Partnership

Many agents make mistakes by trying to send valuable things to everyone. Launch Your Farm did the opposite when they started to build the business; they did not send reports to everyone. They went out and got people to put their hands up and ask for the report, went out and door knocked it, and cold-called the area asking anyone who would like a copy.

When they had the report and proof of concept, they went to businesses saying they would send the report out to x amount of people in the area. Or they would have a sponsorship page in the back of the binder and start partnering with events. They will do a blog or an article featuring the sponsors. They also did offline marketing, such as postcards, co-branding, and community events.

One of the things that agents need to consider is that there are other ways other than just cash to leverage and partner. Sometimes people may need more cash, or businesses may need more money upfront, but you can do cross-promotion.

Potential ROI From Geographic Farming

A few years ago, Ryan Smith of Launch Your Farm spent $11,000. Their first listing ended up doing 17 transactions over the 15 months since the listing came. At the time, they made $235,000, money since then from spin-offs and other things. So, from $235,000, their return on investment was 21 times.

In over three years, Ryan Smith’s first coaching client made multiple six figures from his farm. His client did about 500,000 GCI doing the same thing with the report and the binder without doing community events— he focuses on getting out there and building relationships. And that also came down to choosing the right farm area, the right price point, and the consistency with that was huge.

Launch Your Farm Marketing Plan Linked With Effective Digital Marketing

If you’re staying at hyper-local, think like a local person and create your marketing around the value that would add to that community. Today, Starting with video is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. The best way to do that and stand out is to do a community-based video; instead of just being all about you and real estate. Ryan Smith teaches agents to do local business interviews. They don’t have to be directly in your area. They may be a pool company or on the other side of town, but as long as they serve the area you’re working in, interview them.

You can also interview with an internet connection via Zoom and build an audience. And the great thing about doing something like that is that you can leverage that video in multiple ways. One, you have content for your audience if you want to create good quality content that they’ll appreciate, but it also gets you in front of that local business audience.

Leveraging Facebook groups is also the most underutilized medium, especially at the hyperlocal level. Facebook pages are more like push marketing, while Facebook groups are conversations. You could start conversations, connect with people, and build relationships you would never have in traditional marketing if you sent out postcards. Local Facebook groups have the people living in the area you’re serving, and they’re focusing on hyperlocal content. They’re hyper-aware of the local things happening in the news street by street, and you can share that message and content with them. Then you can become that digital mayor by being that ambassador and building relationships.