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In my role as chief strategy officer at Realty ONE Group, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling around the country training thousands of agents on all kinds of proven marketing strategies that helped me as a broker generate more listings and higher quality buyer leads. At Realty ONE Group, we empower agents with the most effective tech tools available to generate their own leads, which is why we focus so much attention on helping them convert those leads.

It’s important to remember that you only get paid on conversions, a process that begins well before the prospect ever contacts you. That’s why you need to consider following the 40/40/20 rule. This is a proven formula for generating effective, conversion-friendly real estate marketing whether it be online or offline. The 40/40/20 rule suggests the following when it comes to measuring the success of your marketing, advertising and branding:

  • Forty percent of your success is based on knowing your audience. How well do you know the audience you’re marketing to? At its simplest level, we’re continuously marketing to three very different and distinct generational groups: baby boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers. To illustrate this portion of the rule, I often ask agents who they sent a direct mail piece to or who they’re talking to with their most recent Facebook or blog post. Besides which generational group they belong to, it’s important to know if the message recipient is a seller, buyer, empty nester, investor, renter, married, single, etc. The more you know about your audience, the more effective your marketing will be, the higher your conversion rates, and the more closings you’ll see.
  • Forty percent of your success is based on the value of your message. How valuable is your message? Are you constantly posting pictures of houses or celebrating recent sales successes? Or are you simply posting links to articles? While there’s nothing wrong with posting links, people want your two cents, so anytime you post a comment or link, think about who you’re talking to and why you’re putting the message out there. A great way to measure the effectiveness of this portion of the rule would be how it helps generate listing leads. For example, too many agents advertise, “Contact me for a free home evaluation,” which doesn’t offer the prospect much value. By following this 40 percent of the rule, you might instead advertise the following: “If you’re thinking of selling your home, anybody can tell you how much your home is worth. Contact us and we will coach you on how to make your home worth more.”
  • Twenty percent of your success is based on the look. Whatever you put out there has to look good. But long gone are the days where you have to worry about getting your headshot, the sunset, the dogs, the neighborhood and your contact info all in the same image. The look also includes the consistency of your online and offline brand images. Are you trying to be one thing offline and another thing online? Since 92 percent of real estate consumers will go online, the image they find must be consistent with what they see offline.

That’s the 40/40/20 rule. This is an example of one of hundreds of free coaching and training tutorials offered to Realty ONE Group agents. If you’re interested in finding out more about when and where our next free live seminar or webinar will be, please visit or email me at

Burke Smith is chief strategy officer at Realty ONE Group.

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