4 Marketing Principles You Should Always Keep in Mind

March 13, 2017 - 17 minutes read

marketing principles

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple marketing trick that consistently produced results every month? Of course!

Unfortunately, I’ve never found it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that no such thing exists. However, what I have learned is that there are fundamental marketing principles or unwritten rules that control your success. Follow the rules and you’ll find consistent results. Try to cheat and you’ll fail almost every time. These are the marketing principles my business partner and I have discovered over 10 years of trial and error. Let’s get started!

Marketing Principle 1: Define your position

Competition is heavy in most industries. It’s not even funny. We do marketing for real estate agents and there are more than 8,000 licensed real estate agents in the Greater St. Louis Area alone. That’s a lot of competition.

As a homeowner, why should I choose Realtor A over Realtor B or Realtor C?

choosing an option

Your answer to that question is your position. What truly makes you different from your competition? You need to first define this and then educate each prospect on your unique value in the marketplace.

I’m not talking about using phrases like “great customer service,” “good communication,” and “detail-oriented work.” Everyone makes those assertions in their marketing. Why should I believe that you do that better than the other guy?

Be Number One in Your MarketProper positioning is ultimately about dominating a niche or emphasizing a value that nobody else has mastered. You want to be NUMBER ONE in a particular market. This can be difficult to do in a marketplace with thousands of competitors; luckily for you, most businesses stick with the generic positions like the ones I mentioned above (i.e. excellent customer service) and end up competing with one another over positions that are impossible to win.

Be smart and stray from the pack by defining a position that is actually unique. Then, use that position as the backbone of your marketing messaging.

Position Yourself as #1 in a Geographic Area

Being the top or #1 professional in a particular market is a powerful message. It makes you look like an impressive expert and builds trust amongst your audience. You can be #1 in a marketplace by defining your position as narrowly as is necessary.

One way to define a position is by geographic area. Do you tend to get listings or work with buyers in a particular area of town? Did you sell more homes in a particular area of town than any other agent?

Create a position focused on a geographic area and in time, you will be known as the go-to expert in that area. Just make sure it is true. Don’t say you are the #1 agent in Chesterfield when that really is not the case and someone else can back up their position as #1.

Start small if necessary. You may not be #1 in Chesterfield yet, but perhaps you are the #1 agent in the Baxter Ridge neighborhood in Chesterfield. You can always expand your positioning as your foothold grows!

Furthermore, use your actual stats in your marketing messaging to back up your position (i.e. “In 2016, I sold 23 homes in the _____ neighborhood, which is more than any other St. Louis Realtor”).

Position Yourself as #1 in a Niche

Another great way to define a position is through a niche audience or a unique service. Do you work with a particular group of people (i.e. military families, international business people, doctors, first-time buyers, empty nesters, etc) more frequently? Do you have a skill (i.e. bilinguality, counseling experience, mortgage lending experience) that most other agents do not possess? Speak to those niches in your positioning.

military familyFor example, you could position yourself as #1 at helping military families find homes in the St. Louis area. Just make sure you can back it up and that no one else is using similar messaging. A Google search should help you determine if a position is already occupied by someone else.

It can be scary to position yourself specifically. After all, if you advertise that you primarily work with military families, will other families shy away from working with you? In some cases yes, but you will also attract more of the right type of prospect for you: military families. Real estate agents are a dime a dozen so it is always better to be specific than a jack of all trades.

Your specific messaging will help trigger thoughts and referrals more easily! Think about it. When an individual in your Sphere of Influence (SOI) hears that a friend is moving, multiple agent names may come to mind. Who will they choose to refer? However, when an individual in your SOI hears about a military family moving, they will immediately think of and refer YOU. Specific messaging that differentiates you from the competition sticks in people’s minds.

If you would like to learn more about positioning, I’d suggest reading “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by By Al Ries & Jack Trout. It’s a classic and renowned book on the matter.

Marketing Principle 2: Clearly understand your audience

Once you have solidified your position, the next step is to define and understand your audience. You will understand a few of your audience’s traits based on your position (i.e. where they live, profession, etc) but you will need a more thorough understanding to create accurate messaging.

Your marketing messages should speak to your audience to get their attention and favorable opinion. You need to write for your audience, not for yourself. Is your audience highly educated or not? What makes them tick? What do they like and dislike?

The answers to all these questions and more will help you craft the right messaging.

I suggest creating a customer avatar. A customer avatar is a very detailed overview of a specific (fake) person. The idea is to develop a clear profile of the needs and wants of your perfect client. We understand that not all your customers are the same; however, creating a customer avatar will help you determine what your best customers have in common and hone in on the most important demographic information. Once you have a specific person to consider, it becomes much easier to create focused content and target your advertisements.

customer avatar

Go through the following list of questions from a popular Click Funnels article about creating a customer avatar. Try to choose specific answers to create a profile of one individual.

  1. Job Role
  2. Typical Day
  3. Skills required for their job
  4. Who they report to or who reports to them
  5. What industry do they work in
  6. How big is the company they work for
  7. What are they responsible for in their job
  8. What do they think it means to be successful
  9. How do they learn about new information
  10. What blogs or news sites do they read
  11. What social networks and forums do they use
  12. How old they are
  13. Whether they are married
  14. Whether they have children
  15. Their education and what they studied
  16. How they found the career path they are on
  17. How they prefer to communicate with businesses
  18. What recent purchases they have made
  19. Their pain points
  20. Their goals

Marketing Principle 3: Consistently market to the same audience

After you understand your audience, you can strategically choose marketing methods and platforms that truly fit that audience. If your audience is young, you may want to spend your advertising time and budget on popular new platforms like Snapchat or Instagram. Older audiences may be more apt to read the newspaper or direct mail. You can target a whole range of people on Facebook or through Google advertising.

The main rule here is to start advertising to one audience and stick with them for a while! Businesses have the tendency to try marketing methods a couple times (i.e. send out a round or two of mailers) and then give up if they don’t see a response right away. That is actually the most financially wasteful thing to do!

Marketing is rarely (if ever) quick and easy. It’s about making your audience know, like and trust you…and that does not happen quickly. Sure, you may send out a mailer or put an ad on Zillow and get a few hits from “low hanging fruit.” There are always people with immediate needs who may see your ad at the right time and jump at it. Those opportunities run out quickly though, especially since everyone is vying for those easy leads.

Long-term marketing systems require time and patience. But you will reap the benefit as long as you choose your audience strategically (Laws 1 & 2) and then stick with them!

One of the most important marketing principles is to target the same people consistentlyI’d suggest identifying a small but reasonably sized audience (500-2000 individuals) and nurturing the same folks over time. I am talking about consistent marketing for a minimum of 6 months. You need to give people time to first learn your name, then understand your position, your services and your value. Marketing studies suggest that it takes 7+ touches on average to get people to the point of being sales-ready.  

There are many ways to define your audience. You could create a target audience on platforms like Facebook (i.e. through Ads Manager), choose specific neighborhoods in town (i.e. geographic farming), or base your audience on another marketing strategy (i.e. the subscription base for a niche magazine).

Once the audience is defined, I’d suggest advertising to those folks in different ways. A mix of online and other types of marketing keeps things fresh and also makes it look like you are everywhere!

Marketing Principle 4: Serve your audience

The last of the 4 marketing principles is something that is intuitive but often overlooked. The rule is simple: use your marketing to serve your audience.

Once again, the goal of marketing is to make people know, like and trust you. A lot of marketing methods are naturally disruptive and therefore obnoxious. Is that going to make people think favorably of you? Probably not.

People will be less frustrated and perhaps even pleased with your marketing, though, if you find a way to make it useful for them.

Serve your audience by giving freelyContent marketing is the practice of distributing valuable, useful or entertaining information to your audience without asking for much in return. The idea is to give freely and without being too promotional. People will appreciate that approach and ultimately like and trust you.

For example, you could create an informative blog post or video about the real estate market trends and use that for an ad. It lets people know that you are a knowledgeable expert in your field but isn’t as blatantly promotional as an ad that screams “I want to sell your house.”

There are a ton of fun directions to go with content marketing once you get started. You can disseminate educational information, relevant fun information that would appeal to your audience (i.e. a calendar of local events), content related to your audience’s hobbies and so much more!

Don’t get me wrong. You can occasionally mix into your advertising more promotional ads. However, your overall emphasis should be mostly on serving your audience and making them see you as an interesting, fun and knowledgable professional and friend.

We all know that sales are largely about relationships. Don’t ruin your relationship with your audience by beating them over the head with aggressive ads and forgetting that these people are more than just a sale.

Conclusion

Learning about a list of marketing principles isn’t that fun. In fact, a lot of us take pride in breaking them! Just remember that the marketing world is full of fresh ideas that don’t work. No matter how creative your advertising might seem, it won’t work if it violates too many of these rules. If you keep these marketing principles in mind, though, you’ll see the consistent results you’ve always wanted. That’s all we really want to help you do. 🙂