Here are three essential things to ask before hiring any person or company to handle your professional marketing.

Marketing projects for your real estate career are ongoing, and hiring a professional can save you time and potentially help you reach your marketing goals more efficiently. However, marketing is a broad term, and I have found that agents often have different expectations than what their budget allows.

Here are three essential things to ask before hiring any person or company to handle your professional marketing.

Have you worked with real estate agents before, and may I see your portfolio of work? 

For some reason, agents like to roll the dice and hire just anyone who says they can use the “facespace” or “instatok” because it’s cheap and quickly solves a problem. Make sure you are hiring a professional who can show you tangible results of success. 

One key component is to bring your broker in to review that portfolio and the potential project to make sure it’s on base with compliance, ethics and fair housing. 

Beware of companies that claim to coach you to become an “SEO expert” or “social media influencer.” There are too many nuances to complete those courses, and if you are not tech-savvy, you are just throwing money out the window.  

How will you execute what I want? 

A great marketing company can show you what results it can provide based on your budget and timeframe. A great marketing company will not have a strategy that “tricks” consumers into signing up to work with you. I caution working with anyone who is using bait-and-switch tactics to build an audience for you. 

Results can look like several different things. Results might be graphics-based, analytics-based or project-based. Make sure you understand how much time they are working on each project, and ask for clear communication guidelines for project milestones.

When will we review and plan for our projects? 

How much time will I need to commit to getting you the information that the marketing team will require to be successful and get results? One of the biggest reasons marketing relationships fail is that the project’s scope is not understood by the person hiring. 

Many agents want to hire dedicated marketing to “handle” their marketing, but in that, they often trade authenticity for generic content. Once this happens, expectations are not met, and the relationship usually sours.

To get the most out of your marketing relationship, you need to be present. Maintaining relationships with current clients and building relationships and branding with potential clients need to have the one thing that no one else can do for you — your personal touch. 

Authenticity is what will make or break any successful marketing campaign. Do your homework, be available and practice ethical consumer interactions. 

Lastly, trust your gut. If it seems too good to be true, then you probably need to dig deeper into the portfolio. Ethical marketing teams will tell you the truth about whether your plans are realistic or if your ideas could be harmful to your business. They will not say yes to everything you want to do.

Your marketing is the storefront for your brand. Don’t cut corners. Don’t expect to go on autopilot, and you will get better results than what you planned. 

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging. Feel free to tweet her @rachaelhite.

IDX Real Estate