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In my hometown of Chicago, October is a time of transition, when the days get shorter and the nights get colder. Unless you live and work in the Sun Belt, you’re probably seeing similar shifts in the weather—along with slower real estate markets.

Even though it’s tempting to take a break in October, especially after a hectic summer season, it’s also the perfect time to fine-tune your lead generation efforts and rebuild your pipeline. After all, you want to make sure your firm is positioned as a top-of-mind resource when things pick up again.

Here are five ways to do it:

  1. Don’t scale back. This is not the time to trim your budget. Consumers need to see your ads again and again. In fact, the Rule of 7 says that a prospect must see or hear your message at least seven times before they’re prompted to take action. By sticking it out during the slower months, you’ll be more likely to capture buyers’ and sellers’ interest later, when they’re closer to taking action.
  1. Tag along. In addition to holding the course on your current ads, explore ways to create additional impressions with your prospects by advertising on other online platforms. For example, if you always use Google AdWords, try adding Facebook ads to your campaign. Retargeting ads is another way to travel with prospects as they visit other sites. Google AdWords offers this option, and Facebook recently launched a similar product specifically for real estate brokerages.
  1. Tweak your message. Instead of running generic real estate ads, get creative. Consider what will appeal to buyers and sellers, especially during the off-season. This includes holiday themes or focusing on a particular niche market. One caveat: If your ads include graphic design elements (photography, fonts, logos, etc.), it’s best to maintain some visual consistency to reinforce and build upon your brand image.
  1. Test and evaluate results. Not sure your new headline will work better than the old one? Try testing them side by side. Called A/B testing, both Google AdWords and Facebook ads have built-in tools that make it easy to set this up. (Most email marketing platforms let you do the same thing: send an initial distribution testing two subject lines, then complete the mailing using the headline that garnered the higher open rate.)
  1. Make adjustments. The best part about testing and evaluating is that it allows for constant refinements and stronger results. Yes, it may be faster and easier to keep doing what works, but that approach eliminates the possibility of discovering new and better advertising tactics. Besides, in a constantly changing marketing landscape, standing still actually translates into falling behind.

In addition to fine-tuning your online advertising, talk to your agents about ways they can use their “off-season” leads more effectively. After all, what’s the point of ramping up your lead generation efforts without comparable efforts to nurture those leads?

Marc D. Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

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