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Carving Out a Niche in Your Marketplace

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By David Sobel

RISMEDIA, April 11, 2007-In my 10 years in the real estate marketplace, I have noticed that successful real estate professionals have defined their niche in the market, and they have a clear picture of whom they are marketing to and what message they relay to their customers. I've also noticed that some agents waste their marketing dollars on advertising and activities which are not specifically targeted.

The first thing I can say is, do not fear creating a niche for yourself in the market. Many agents think that this will narrow their sales volume, but on the contrary, they see an increase in commissions because they are establishing themselves as a leader in that category.

Being unique in the marketplace today is imperative for a real estate professional; with so much competition for the same sellers and buyers, your goal should be to carve out a niche or two and market yourself like crazy – but in an intentional, targeted way.

During a listing presentation, do you always dread the question, "So, why should we hire you instead of another agent? What can you offer us that your colleagues can't?"

A well-defined niche will help you answer these questions and will impress your potential clients.

The key to being unique and successful is to assess yourself and determine in what areas of life you are most interested. Ask yourself, what do my current clients have in common? Get to know what is important to your clients and provide it to them, often. This will lead to more referrals within the niche and help you establish yourself as the leader. The more interesting your niche is to you, the better service you will give to your clients and the more fun you will have doing it.

Do some research in your community. Talk to the public, attend community activities, and give surveys. This will help you carve out your niche. Do you like to go boating on the weekends? A good niche for you would be to establish yourself as the real estate expert for sales on or near the water in your community. Are you patient and like to explain the real estate process? Establish yourself as the expert for first time home buyers. What niche is the best fit for you? Get started with ideas here: (http://www.hwahomewarranty.com/). If you find more than one niche that you are interested in, it's ok, you can have more than one but remember to market yourself in all of them. I would recommend creating a couple niches so you aren't relying solely on one.

Before you begin to roll out your plan, please remember to be careful-don't base your marketing decisions on the classes protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act or by your state or local fair housing laws.

Creating a highly-focused marketing campaign often raises the question of fair housing violations. The Fair Housing Act prohibits advertising that either discriminates or indicates a preference for any protected group: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familiar status, or handicap. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm) has information on laws and advertising guidelines that you can review before you begin your marketing campaign. I would recommend that you read this information, even if you aren't trying to carve out a niche for yourself. You can never be too careful.

Estimate how many sales this niche could give you in the next year and create a marketing and advertising plan around it. Is it worth your time and energy pursuing it? You will have the ability to maximize your marketing budget by targeting your defined niche market. You'll know exactly where to advertise. You'll be able to find relevant Web sites targeting your niche. Your personal Web site should also reflect that. If you have more than one niche, it would probably be a good idea to have two separate Web site URL's so each could target your niches. Your site can also be optimized for search engines so that your niche market can find you very easily.

Niche marketing requires time, effort, and research on your part, but the results will be worthwhile. When you concentrate your special brand of service to your niche, you will increase your chance of success and have more fun the process.

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