You may be one of those real estate agents who figures that holiday marketing is primarily for other small business owners—owners of retail shops or whatnot—but you send your holiday greeting cards anyway because . . . well, it’s the thing to do.
But here’s the deal. Done well, creative holiday marketing ideas can lay the groundwork for a highly profitable spring season. If you start connecting with your sphere now and commit to staying in touch, by the time spring rolls around you could garner a tidy number of new leads and repeat business.
And it doesn’t matter if you haven’t reached out in a while—the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect because it’s a period when it won’t seem forced or awkward to do so. Old friends and distant family members use the holidays as the reason to get back in touch and renew relationships. When they do, it’s a joyful occasion, and your outreach will be equally welcomed.
This season, use the five holiday marketing ideas below to connect or reconnect with clients, and strengthen the relationships you have with the people in your sphere.
1. Post a holiday greeting video on social media
Posting to social media is an easy way for you to reach out to all your followers, but without a little flare, your post is not likely to be memorable. And marketing needs to be memorable.
A quick internet search makes it obvious that there is no shortage of creative video marketing ideas for real estate agents. But for your holiday video to be memorable, I suggest it needs to be not only creative but also personal.
Sharing aspects of your authentic self—your personality, your family, and your emotional side—is what will draw people to you. People want to be able to relate to others in ways that feel sincere. If people in your sphere can relate to you, they’ll be more inclined to know, like, and trust you. And when people feel they can trust you, they’ll do business with you.
Here is a brief list of ideas you can use as the backdrop for your holiday greeting video. They’re intended to inspire your creative side and to invite people to relate to you:
- You and your children baking holiday treats.
- You and your family performing a holiday tradition.
- A video collage of your clients at this year’s closings.
- You at the office with your team wearing various holiday costumes.
- You in a quiet moment with a festive background.
2. Host a client event
Hosting a festive client event during the holidays is a gracious way to show clients how much you appreciate their business. And if you plan your event well and ensure everyone has a good time, you might consider planning an annual event that your clients will anticipate attending again.
For your core clients, you’ll want to provide a special evening. A catered event at your home or another venue—like a stadium box or a country club—will allow you to mingle with your guests, make introductions, and participate in conversations. Be sure you make time to speak with everyone.
A less extravagant but no less enjoyable event can be planned for your more distant connections.
Consider renting a room at a local restaurant and bar for an early evening happy hour. You can arrange for appetizers and decide whether to issue a couple of tokens per person for drinks at the bar or have guests purchase their drinks. Work with the manager or event planner at the venue to arrange for decorations and music.
If you live in a warmer climate, consider hosting an outdoor event like a barbecue. Fire up the grill, set out some lawn games, invite the kids, chill the drinks, and you’ve got a party. Ensure a holiday theme with decorated paper plates and cups; holiday colors for the tables, balloons, or streamers; and music in the background.
If alcohol is served at any of your events, it’s prudent to have ready access to a car service for any guests that may overindulge. It will protect them and in the states that have laws to hold hosts accountable for alcohol-related accidents and injuries, you as well.
Food and drink are reliable options, but if want to venture outside the box, then consider any of these ideas:
- Paint-your-own pottery and paint-a-picture parties. There are businesses devoted to helping people release their creativity. They provide the needed materials, and some will offer wine, cheese, and other small snacks. Alternatively, you can plan a family-friendly event and invite your clients to bring their children.
- Invite clients to go bowling or ice-skating. These ideas can also be planned for adults or for parents and their children. Bowling alleys and ice-skating rinks are especially fun because of what can be done with lighting and music. And don’t forget the hot chocolate.
- Create a party theme. Will it be ugly Christmas sweaters? Pajamas and pancakes with Santa? Cookies and cocoa while watching holiday movies? Wrapping presents? Provide the essentials needed to support the theme, and watch the fun!
3. Sponsor a neighborhood event
- Charitable giving. During a holiday of abundance, we are compelled to support the less fortunate. You can support charitable giving with a toy drive, food drive, or coat drive. There are also less well-known needs such as socks, undershirts, and underwear for homeless shelters; personal hygiene products for domestic-violence shelters; and food, toys, and bedding for animal shelters. Work with local businesses to serve as drop-off points, and ask for volunteers to help deliver what’s donated.
- Be the local expert. Consider working with your town council to organize and publicize a tour of decorated homes or to invite town residents to a holiday sing-along. Similarly, partner with local restaurants serving special holiday dinners for mutual advertising. Create a calendar of events in the area and post it on social media, include it in your newsletter, or print it on a custom postcards and mail them to your farm.
- Promote your expertise. After winter comes spring, and with spring comes the spring market season. Hold a free class, and share important information with homebuyers or sellers. Invite local experts like mortgage brokers, insurance agents, home inspectors, appraisers, and professional stagers to explain their roles and processes and to answer questions. Advertise your events on social media, and create a landing page for registrations so you can collect contact information and start nurturing leads.
4. Promote a contest
Whether they participate, enthusiastically serve as judges, or watch from the sidelines, everyone enjoys a good contest.
The favorite contest that never seems to grow old is the best-dressed pet contest. Invite your social media followers to dress up their pets in their holiday best, and post them to your page. The pet who gathers the most likes wins!
Partner with businesses for first-, second-, and third-place winners. Prizes don’t have to be extravagant—the fun to be had and the thrill of the win will motivate people to participate.
You can take this same basic idea and have photo contests for the best holiday decorations, the goofiest family picture, the prettiest holiday scene, the best of the worst holiday sweaters, the most pathetic child scared of Santa, or the best throwback holiday.
But don’t wait for December! Try it for Halloween and Thanksgiving too.
Be sure to advertise your contest on all your social media platforms.
5. Send a personally branded magazine
I’ve saved the best of my holiday marketing idea for agents for last—a personally branded magazine.
A personally branded magazine is the best gift because there is nothing else you can give that will provide you with as many benefits and offer your clients as much enjoyment for such an affordable price.
You can check out other companies’ products, but, not surprisingly, I recommend you check out ReminderMedia’s publications first. You see, I not only work for ReminderMedia, but I’m also a client 😉.
Last year and for the first time, I sent one of ReminderMedia’s magazines, American Lifestyle, for the holidays to my own sphere—including my friends and family.
The response I got was totally unexpected.
Every person I sent it to—including an old college friend I wanted to reconnect with and my financial advisor—either called me, sent me a text, or wrote me an email to thank me for my gift and to tell me how much they like it.
Let me be clear . . . I do marketing for this company, so I am very familiar with what we tell our clients and prospective clients to convince them to purchase our magazines and other products. Still, I was not prepared for the effusive reactions I got.
I’ve since experienced a renewed enthusiasm for the work I do because I truly understand—based on my own experience—how valuable these magazines are.
- Each of these 48-page, beautifully produced publications makes a lasting impression that will easily stand above and apart from the holiday cards sent by other (apparently) less dedicated and grateful businesses. And because we’ve spent nearly two decades perfecting and streamlining our production process, each copy costs less than the price of a typical Hallmark® card—and that includes shipping to your exclusive list of addresses!
- Each copy is branded in six locations with your photo, logo, business, and contact information, making you and your brand highly visible. High visibility promotes greater awareness and recognition of your business.
- The quality of these magazines is second to none. Gorgeous photos, glossy pages, thick covers, and exceptionally engaging writing give these publications a coffee-table quality. This quality becomes associated with you, and it encourages recipients to perceive you as a superior agent.
- These magazines look like they came from your office, an impression you can solidify by including a personalized letter. You can personalize every copy to each person at no additional cost. Some businesses don’t even sign their greeting cards, so imagine what it will mean to a client and the feelings they will have for you when they open your magazine and see a letter written just for them printed on the front inside cover with their name in the greeting. Use the details you’ve collected in your database to include inquiries and comments in your letter about their family, occupation, recreational activities, and dreams, and your relationship status will be instantly elevated!
- The benefit of including a personalized letter is HUGE, not just because it produces feelings of goodwill toward you, but because those feelings also spark the instinctive, almost impossible-to-resist human reaction to reciprocate one kindness with another. What type of kindness, you ask? Repeat business and referrals!
I know I’m gushing, but I promise that everything I’m saying is true and not the least bit exaggerated. All you need to do is look at what people have said about our products on social media to know I’m not simply writing as a marketer. Here’s one review to give you a quick taste:
Okay—back to the benefits of sending a personally branded magazine for the holidays:
- Your magazine is perceived as a gift—it’s marketing your recipients want to receive. It makes it past the trash can and literally onto the coffee or kitchen table, where readers report it stays for an average of three to four weeks.* That means with every issue you’re in your clients’ homes and in prime locations for everyone to see—family, friends, hired workers—for up to a month.
- Your magazine allows you to connect with your clients and prospective clients about subjects other than business. If all you ever did when you spoke with a client was talk shop and try to pitch a sale, your relationship with them would be reduced to nothing but a transaction—and that gets old fast. But, depending on which magazine you select, you’ll be sending them content about food, travel, interior design, home and garden, healthy living, and more! Content like this is educational, entertaining, and endearing, which makes it useful and valuable to your clients.
- Finally, the content in these magazines is so valuable and their quality so extraordinary that people readily share them with others—giving your brand even wider exposure. They especially like to share the two tear-out cards include in each issue (also branded to you) that often include delicious recipes and DIY tips.
You need to see these magazines for yourself, so click here and we’ll send a free PDF sample of one of our most recent issues to your inbox.
Here’s a final quick but important tip: to maximize the relationship-building power of these creative holiday marketing ideas, you need to follow up with everyone you sent something to.
Gifts don’t build relationships—even a personally branded magazine won’t do that. But what it will do is give you an organic reason to place a call. It’s the follow-up conversation that’s the critical component needed to strengthen relations.
Simply call to ask if they got your magazine—that’s if they don’t call you first! 😀
When they say yes, mention an article that connects with one of their interests. If a conversation develops, great. If not, wish them happy holidays, thank them for being a client, and let them know you’re available to help them, their families, or their friends if they need an agent. No sales pitch required!
Let me wish you a happy holiday and continued success in the new year!
*2019 ReminderMedia Reader Study; conducted by GfK MRI