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Facebook ads. Pinterest. Content marketing and SEO. Sometimes it feels like the more time you spend diving into these newer real estate marketing strategies, the easier it is to get overwhelmed.

All you want to know is an effective—and sustainable—way to attract more clients.

Related: Should you hire a real estate marketing agency?

Whether you're a fledgling business or an established realtor looking to climb off a growth plateau, the thought might have crossed your mind: Shouldn't we just hire out this marketing stuff?

Before you contact that real estate marketing company that everyone has been talking about, here are a few things to consider as you move through the evaluation process and make your shortlist.

Clarity of vision

If you've been putting a ton of energy into marketing and still aren't getting the results you want, lack of effort isn't the issue.

The true culprit? Lack of clarity.

It's hard to develop a winning real estate marketing strategy if you don't know what is (and isn't) working, your growth goals, or where the bottlenecks are. This is where a marketing agency can help... but not in ways you might expect. Instead of investing in a pricey monthly retainer, consider starting with a few consulting sessions.

You can get expertise and guidance without a huge financial commitment. In some situations, you'll come away with the clarity (and confidence) you need to handle marketing yourself. In others, it might make more sense to outsource your real estate marketing. You might even find ways to get the best of both worlds. For example, many brokerages use Lucidpress to customize & localize marketing materials — without breaking brand.

Real estate marketing directors talk Lucidpress

With this crucial first step accomplished, you'll be in the best position to assess which services, traits and qualifications to look for when hiring someone.

A local touch

Marketing in a red-hot real estate market like Las Vegas is a completely different challenge than in an economically troubled area.

Even if you're considering a real estate marketing firm based in a different city or around the world, it's crucial for them to have a presence in—or at least a deep understanding of—the unique conditions in your local area.

Does the marketing company have a local photographer who can come in and snap appealing photos for virtual listings? Can they help guide prospects toward certain neighborhoods with great schools and easy commutes? Do they understand the zoning laws?

These are all important factors to think about now, before you hire anyone. You've spent years or decades developing a wealth of local knowledge, and you should expect expertise from your marketers.

Bottom line: Look for proof that real estate marketing agencies understand the nuances of your local area.

Play to your unique strengths

What unique advantages do you already bring to the table?

Most realtors are warm and personable. But you might be a uniquely good writer, photographer, or great in front of a camera. Handling certain tasks yourself lets you play to your strengths and ensure your brand conveys a personal touch.

Real estate is a face-to-face, high-trust industry. It's important your marketing conveys a personal feel. One potential solution is to focus on tactics that tap into your strengths and hire out the rest piecemeal.

For this to work, your marketing partner must be flexible with their services offered. Don't get locked into a contract where you're paying for things you could have done better yourself.

Simple (and transparent) metrics

Terms like "increased brand exposure" or "better visibility" sound great... but only if they translate into a healthier pipeline of leads and clients. What can't be measured can't be improved.

You might not understand all the technologies or tactics a marketing agency might use, but tracking results should be simple. Look for partners with a regular reporting deliverable, or at least access to a dashboard that helps you see new contacts being made and how well they're responding.

Don't buy into one of those promised "hands-off" solutions. At a minimum, you'll want to check the metrics to make sure your investment is justified.

Making the best decision for you

Between all those open houses, impromptu photo shoots and stressful closings, you can't let marketing fall by the wayside.

Whether you decide to hire a marketing agency or handle it yourself is a personal decision. It also isn't a completely binary one. You might find that, after experimenting for a few months, a balanced solution—where you handle the parts of marketing you enjoy and hire out the rest—works best.

Have you struggled with this dilemma before? What did you decide to do, and why? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

Your brand matters. Learn how to protect and elevate your real estate brand in this branding essentials guidebook.

The ultimate guide to real estate branding

Author Bio

Corey Pemberton is the founder of Copy Arc. Plays with words so you don't have to. Believes in great stories, quality over quantity, and the simple things. Work hard, but play hard too. Stares at the clouds a lot.