While the real estate market might be cooling off during the holidays, this is the perfect time of year to heat up your marketing efforts. Even if potential clients aren’t ready to buy or sell just yet, they are often thinking about it and are likely to pick up on your marketing tactics during this season. Equally important, sending cheer to your current and past clients will make them feel special and send more referrals your way. Here are three creative marketing ideas that you can easily implement during the holidays to stand apart from your competition.

1) Create a Fun Contest

This is a simple way to help your community get into the holiday spirit while spreading your name at the same time. Everyone loves a little competition, especially when it’s through popular holiday activities and involves prizes. One possibility is a house decorating contest; this is likely to attract many entrants, especially since several households already decorate their homes for the holidays. In addition, you have full control of where this contest is held. Whether you’re looking to gain clients from your own neighborhood or surrounding communities, you can close this contest off to any area in which you want to grow your business. After deciding on location, allow people to enter the contest through an online form or by emailing you so that you have access to their contact information. Then, let the decorating begin! Once the deadline hits, you can either take on the task of judging participants’ homes or recruit outside sources. When you’ve decided on your winners, be prepared to reward them for their hard work. Prizes don’t have to be incredibly fancy, and often a simple gift card will do the trick. However you choose to structure this contest, it’s sure to spark conversation and competition among your community.

If you prefer hosting a contest where participants can gather together at a specified time and place, consider a simple and fun activity like decorating gingerbread houses. You can reserve a meeting room or event space in your community, buy some gingerbread house kits, and choose some attractive prizes to draw people into the event. While this may be a larger time and financial investment than a house decorating contest, there’s nothing quite like bringing people together and communicating with them in person. You’ll likely make a stronger impression; families will remember the fun they had making a gingerbread house, which will then remind them of the part you played in their fond memory.

2) Make a Difference through Donations

The holidays are all about giving, and you can promote this idea within your community by setting up donation locations or hosting a fundraiser toward a meaningful cause. For example, consider holding a canned food or winter clothes drive and making your office a drop-off spot. And don’t stop the relationship once people have come in to drop off their items; make your office has an inviting atmosphere with holiday decorations, get to know your visitors when they come in, and perhaps, give them some cookies or Christmas candy as a token of your appreciation. If you’d rather not host a donation drive, consider holding a fundraiser that gives people other ways to get involved. You can host an event in your office or home to make meals for the homeless, as an example. Additionally, you can get a group together and visit a local food pantry or shelter to make a direct contribution to your community. However you give back to the community, you’ll be boosting your name while making a positive contribution to the lives of others.

3) Give the Gift of Thanks

Finally, the holidays are a time to show gratitude for those we care about. By sending your past and prospective clients a small gift of appreciation, you’ll be remembered as a thoughtful agent who sees your clients as more than just numbers. The gift you choose to send clients can be inexpensive; you can send a simple holiday card, a $5 Starbucks gift card, some branded merchandise from your brokerage or Christmas candy canes or Chanukah gelt to show your thanks. The gift itself won’t matter as much as the impression you leave on your clients. To your past and current clients, consider including a note not only thanking them for their business, but also encouraging them to send referrals your way. To prospective clients, you can promote your business in a creative way––for example: “Don’t get wrapped up in the holiday stress. Stick with me for your holiday needs!”

The holiday season provides endless opportunities to market yourself, no matter the current status of your business. By using the joy of the season and giving back to your clients and the community, you’re certain to leave a lasting impact that will boost your business in the long-run.

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