Land specialists bring plenty to the table when it comes to selling land. However, besides experience and local knowledge, one of the most important advantages is the marketing power they can put behind your rural land for sale.
"Great marketing is the key to the success of any real estate practice," said William McOwen of Mossy Oak Properties NC Land & Farms in Greenville, North Carolina. "The playing field today is very complex, so having a solid game plan to pollinate your brand and services across a diverse mixed media platform is essential for promoting your listings and attracting buyer clients. You also have to be willing to try new and innovative approaches and move outside of your comfort zone."
This can be a risky and expensive process for land owners trying to market their own land. However, land brokers have plenty of tools at their disposal to help track metrics, adapt to new technology and ultimately create a successful campaign. However, some of the most effective techniques land brokers use are tried and true classics.
The technology toolbox
First and foremost, McOwen highlighted the importance of a great website.
"Everything begins on the Web - 93 percent of all our inquiries start there, so number one on our list is a really well-produced website," he said. "One that is ergonomic, easy for anyone to use, and most importantly, has a backend that is completely scalable."
Scalability is essential, as it allows land brokers to upgrade, grow and fine-tune their websites over time.
McOwen also spotlighted how effective maps can be.
"There are some great advances in mapping software and subscription-based property identification applications like Parlay for Google Earth," he continued. "Providing top notch branded aerials and topographical maps is one of the most important elements to successfully marketing a piece of property. Clients want to see what the 'lay of the land' looks like, so we use the aerial as the lead photo on all our listings and include a digital copy of both the aerial and the [topography] on our website so a client can download them to review at their convenience."
McOwen went on to say his practice also makes KMZ or GPX files available to clients so they can open them up on their own computers and "fly" the tract themselves.
"When showing properties, we download those files to a handheld device like an iPad and carry them with us," McOwen said. "Utilizing the blue locator icon, we can show a client where we are on the property in relationship to the boundary lines. It offers a real-time, on the ground perspective and provides for a very professional presentation of the property."
Olden but golden
In addition to new tech, land brokers can enhance your marketing efforts through more traditional yet no less important methods. Perhaps the most vital boils down to simple strategy.
"A really smart guy told me once, 'If your not making a plan to succeed, then you're planning to fail,' and I believe him," McOwen continued.
No matter how many fancy gadgets a land specialist has, marketing success ultimately comes down to careful planning. And great pictures, of course.
"Again, everything begins on the Web, so we believe having great photos of our listings is paramount to making the phone ring and filling our inboxes with property inquiries," McOwen said. "What good does a well placed ad do if the photos don't do the property justice? This should go without saying, but everyday I'm shocked at the photos I see posted on the Internet, some taken with a phone, or worse."
Oftentimes it can be the little things that make or break a marketing campaign, which is why it's vital to work with professionals experienced in handling all the details.
"Taking the time to pick the right day, with the right light and getting out on the property to explore all its best features is critical to telling the best story possible," McOwen said.
At the end of the day, modern land marketing is a mixture of new mechanics and vintage strategy. By working with a land specialist who understands these different aspects, you can give yourself a better chance of securing the right deal at the right time.