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RISMEDIA, August 16, 2008-With so many Realtors facing a more challenging market, the agents who best differentiate themselves, will be the ones to ultimately lead the pack and obtain the most business. To get started, here are a few tips from Simon Payn, founder of Ready to Go Newsletters, for agents who are looking to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

1. Decide which niche you want to dominate. For example, become the dog-loving Realtor who is an expert at helping dog-owners find their ideal home-or helping dog owners sell their home with a resident pooch. Alternatively, become the empty-nesters’ Realtor, who specializes in helping empty-nesters downsize or relocate. Naturally, it helps if you already have knowledge about or passion for a niche.

2. Prepare a basic written report on the needs of homeowners in your niche. This written information will form the basis of all your marketing efforts in the future. The act of writing will help you determine the needs of your niche and help you find out if you have enough knowledge to serve them. If you feel you lack knowledge, set about learning what you need to learn.

3. Develop and implement your marketing strategy. The plan you create will include deciding how to reach out to your niche and how to develop a strong presence within that niche.

To plan your marketing strategy, Payn suggests:

– Develop a strong USP within that niche. Decide exactly what makes you special-what makes you different from every other Realtor-and put that into words-your Unique Selling Proposition. For example, your USP could be as simple as “The Springfield Realtor who specializes in helping dog-lovers find the perfect home for their family pet and helping dog-owners sell their home,” or “The ‘Now We are Two Again’ Realtor: the expert in helping empty nesters find the perfect home.”

– Figure out how to reach homeowners in your niche. Discover the “touchpoints” for your niche-where homeowners in your niche hang out, what publications they read and which websites they visit. Find out which keywords they are searching for in Google and what they are really looking for in a Realtor. Discover their most common questions and their most important needs. Instead of marketing to everyone (and wasting a lot of money) you will be able to market just to the people most likely to need you.

– Write the ultimate guide for homeowners in your niche. Develop a written report that answers all the common questions that homeowners in your niche will have. This report will form the basis of your marketing efforts because you will be able to give it away to interested homeowners, thereby reinforcing your position as an expert in your niche.

– Become a published expert in your niche. Write as much as you can about your niche and publish these articles in as many forms as possible. You can use some of the content from the guide you prepared earlier, ‘re-purposing’ it for articles on your website or blog, in your real estate newsletter or for other publications. The dog-loving Realtor, for example, might be able to publish an article in the local kennel club magazine. Write articles for your website which contain the keywords homeowners in your niche are using so that you are more likely to show up in a high position within the search engines. At the end of each article, make sure you include a call to action, encouraging people to contact you. For example, the dog-loving Realtor would say: “Attention dog-lovers: Call me at 555-5555 for my free report on finding the ideal home for your pet.” When people contact you, send them the report and ask if you would like to receive your monthly newsletter.

– Develop a relationship with your niche. Keep educating and informing your farm on a regular basis, using printed real estate newsletters, real estate e-zines, blog posts and postcards. Include articles about topics in your niche to reinforce your position as an expert who delivers reliable, useful advice over the long term.

– Be consistent in your branding and your message. Don’t deviate from your position in the marketplace. Make sure everything you do, the words you use and the images you choose are consistent with your position.