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The first thing I thought about when I sat down to write this article is how much money I’ve wasted on marketing over the years. Hopefully after you read this, I can save you from doing the same. I’ve found that I get a much better return on my investment from all my marketing if I consistently follow these five steps.

1. Understand where you are now.

How many leads are you generating, and how much are you spending? I generally strive for a 10-to-1 return on my investment in my real estate marketing. That means if I spend $1, I want to make $10 back.

2. Know what you want to accomplish.

You must have a goal and measure your progress. Is it more seller leads? More buyer leads? How many? Remember to look at your current workload, as well as your support staff if you have a team, and ask whether or not you can handle the amount of volume necessary to achieve your goal.

3. Create a budget.

I remember my first year in business. I made $32,000 and spent $32,000. I didn’t have a marketing budget. Know how much you’re spending short term and long term. Make sure you lead with revenue, have the money to spend, and that it’s budgeted at the right ratio based on your income. Again, 10 percent is preferable, not 100 percent like I did in my first year.

 4. Do your research.

Success leaves clues, so you don’t have to waste your money finding out if a specific marketing campaign will work. If you’re considering using a mailer, find others who have used it and ask what their return on investment has been. If you’re wanting to farm a neighborhood, find out if someone else has that neighborhood wrapped up and if at least 7 percent of the residents move out each year. If you’re considering expanding your social media presence, get educated and find examples that are working. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take the tested and proven path.

 5. Measure and track everything.

This is probably the most important thing to do. You want to know where every single lead comes from and track your ROI. The general rule is you need to test a process for six months to a year, and sometimes longer, to determine if a campaign is working. Other times, you might have a campaign on autopilot and then realize it isn’t as effective as it once was. The idea is that you always want an up-to-date snapshot of how your marketing dollars are working for you.

As always, having systems in place is critical. One of my favorite tools I use in my business is a lead tracker. If you would like a copy, please call me at 918-665-8559 or email

Workman Success Systems’ Team Coach Paul Wheeler started Accent REALTORS® as a licensed agent and broker in 1992. Leading the Accent Team with energy, experience and a vision for the future, as well as a better business model in the real estate industry, Wheeler and his team strive to continually improve their processes with a focus on learning and staying on top of market trends. His passion for real estate is only surpassed by his commitment to community service and his family. Contact him at For more information, please visit