The established and traditional marketing tools are all still working to some extent, some better than others.
- Post card mailing
- Other letter direct mail
- Promotional items, such as calendars and pens
- Ads in neighborhood and subdivision newsletters
- Ads on benches and shopping carts
There are probably other innovative ways that real estate professionals are using to promote their business in neighborhoods. The point is that, though they may still generate business, there are new ways to get the job done, and sometimes they're a lot less expensive.
Blogging and Neighborhood Associations - If you blog, or even if you have a website that you can update easily, offer to run neighborhood announcements and information for associations. They understand the value of Internet exposure, and will provide you with updates via email that will be excellent unique content for your site. It's just a copy/paste away from publishing. And, they'll remember your help.
Email Newsletters - Though direct mail is still producing, the vast majority of your real estate farming area residents use and prefer email. Begin to develop a list, sending regular newsletters via email instead of in an envelope. You'll definitely spend less, and you can do some great linking to your current listings in the area. If you couple blogging with the auto-generated newsletter approach, you'll be making regular contact without increasing your workload.
Regular Statistical Reporting - Use your MLS reporting systems to generate detailed reports of buying and selling for the real estate farming areas you work. Both buyers and sellers want a lot of information, and they love statistics about current markets, past sales, and your commentary on them builds your credibility as an expert. Use these reports in your emails, websites and blogs. I use teaser reports with good information, but not quite as thorough as the one they need to get via email. It gets a lot of leads and email addresses for a newsletter.
Statistics, Texting and Signs - If you're placing signs in the area, have a text link to get current market news and statistics. Using 4info.net, you can do it for free. Again, you're building your email lists as well with this tool. You can deliver an automated text with an email address to have detailed reports delivered. With 140+/- characters, you can give them a bit of data as well, such as: "Subdivision Name - 22 current listings - 7 sales last month - get detailed report at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Get creative with using technology to reach your real estate farming area residents. Text messaging is huge, so look into ways to use it. That refrigerator magnet may still work, but what's its ROI (return on investment) compared to these low cost technology tools for real estate farming.