Inbound marketing is not a fad or a trend but an approach that is here to stay in our modern digital world. No longer is marketing about broadcasting to a wide audience and hoping your message gets to your intended audience.
While much marketing can be performed by the layperson with a solid plan; it is not as easy as one imagines. A wide range of skills are required to do it well. One needs to be a graphic designer, a prolific writer, a videographer, a photographer and an analyst just to name a few. Is your time better spent with clients rather than trying to master all these skill sets?
Brokers need to decide on a strategy. Most try to do a little bit of everything and are disappointed by the results. The place to start is by defining your ideal customer or persona. While you may work with both buyers and sellers, most agents have a preference. Is there a niche that you are passionate about? Maybe you are awesome negotiating Short Sales or downsizing retirees or finding investment properties. Promoting yourself as an expert in a niche and writing content to answer questions particular to the niche will attract those clients to your services.
Your marketing needs to focus on what your customers need. Customers don’t really care about your designations, awards or how much money you have made. Anticipate and answer questions your customer will have in the beginning, middle and end of the purchase or sale. Learn as much as you can about your clients—their needs and their pain points but also their interests. Keeping a conversation going involves more than the intricacies of a purchase or sale. Informing clients about community events, design trends and other common interest will keep the conversation going long after the sale or purchase is complete. Providing content in a variety of formats; graphically, video or writing and publishing on channels your ideal client frequents is key.
I don’t need a website (or my 10 year old website is good enough).
Your listings go on MLS and you have an agency website. Is your website a template that several other realtors in your market also have… down to using the same exact pictures? This will not make you stand out from the crowd. Maybe you have a great track record and receive lots of referrals from past clients. That’s great, but why don’t you use the recommendations on your website? An easy to update website will allow you to do more than the competition and allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Your website is an asset and a central hub for you and a resource for your clients. You can leverage your website with CRM software to fully realize the benefits and better connect with your customers.
Not only do you need a website but it must be responsive to support mobile and tablet devices. Your website should not be static. It should be added to continually through helpful blog posts and additional tips and advice for buyers and sellers. The content should be designed to attract your ideal customer or persona.
Getting more people to my website will solve all my lead generation needs.
While getting additional traffic to your website is a good thing, it is more important to get the right traffic to your website. Knowing your ideal customer persona is key to attracting this person. Build your content, tools and site to make it easy for your ideal customer to get answers.
Which is better, getting a 1,000 visits to your site where only 5 will contact you or only a hundred visits and the same 5 contacts. Getting the right people to your site and having them interact is key. A lead nurture process can be used to keep in touch with buyers and sellers who are just beginning on their journey so you can stay top of mind once they get serious.
You website is only one piece of the puzzle. Social media, direct mail and PPC advertising will also play a role in your overall strategy.
I don’t need a separate Social Media account for my real estate business.
You may really love your customers like your friends but the business must have its own social media accounts. Your social media postings are an integral part of the overall marketing strategy. If you are just randomly posting to multiple sites, you likely do not see any results for your effort.
Your clients are using social media. Find out which one is preferred by your ideal customer. You do not have to be on every social media site. In fact, posting the same thing across all social media platforms is a good way to be ignored. Make sure you are interesting and adding value. Participate in conversations, build trust. Only posting your listings or announcing a sale doesn’t serve your customers as much as it inflates our own ego.
Video is too expensive.
Video is compelling and an ideal match with real estate. While drone video or 360 degree video can tell a compelling story, a strong story produced on a mobile phone and published on social media is perfectly acceptable and will not bust your marketing budget. A decent smartphone camera is enough to allow you to shoot your own videos and share them via social. According to Hubspot, real estate listings that include a video receive 403% more inquiries than those without.
I have a few blog posts so I can stop writing.
I get it. You think you have covered all the bases and have nothing left to say. Not true. Dig a little deeper. Find a story that could be helpful to another client. It is important to be consistent and publish frequently. Not all content has to be written blog posts. Try creating a graphic for noteworthy statistics in your market and make an info graphic. Record a podcast. Record a video. Experiment to find what works best with your customers.
Inbound marketing involves so many skill sets under one umbrella. It’s SEO, social media, content writing, design, development, strategy, project management, data analysis, audio/video production, and much more. It’s is extremely unlikely to have one person to have the time or the skill to handle everything. If you’re going to implement an inbound marketing program, you need a team. That team can either be in-house or it can be from a marketing agency but it takes more than one person. It is a dedicated effort that pays off over time.