In the “olden days”, a business could only reach new customers through advertising – in newspapers, TV, radio, Yellow Pages, bulletin boards, flyers and brochures.
This is called outbound marketing and it worked because customers expected it. But that’s no longer the case. It’s now harder to reach customers and they have simply tuned out to advertising and mass media.
Print advertising is not immuned either. Industry-wide advertising expenditure on newspapers is expected to drop almost 11 per cent to $US14.4 billion this year, which will bring its slide over the past 10 years to about 71 per cent, according to MagnaGlobal.
Consumers today use social media recommendations, review websites, self-serve educational videos and reports, as well as various other online research all before they even think about talking to a salesperson. I’m not saying you should stop advertising altogether – for certain situations, advertising still works. But if advertising and pushing your product is all that you are doing, you are missing out on more business than you think.
Today’s consumer is smart and they’re getting much smarter.
The reality is that people today don’t want to hear about how great you are, how many years you’ve been selling houses, how quickly sell properties, how much commission you charge or how many awards you’ve won – they want educational, helpful information to solve their problems. In return, they’ll reward you with their trust and ultimately the job of selling or managing their property.
Whenever someone subscribes to our Real Estate Pros podcast and before they leave our site, we ask them this question:
“What is ‘one thing’ you would love to know more about (or a challenge you’d like to solve) when it comes to digital, content marketing or social media?”
The hundreds of answers we receive each week dictate everything in our business – from the content we create to the products we build and topics about which we speak. This one simple technique helps us understand the unique challenges that you as real estate professionals have in your businesses right now so we can set out to solve them.
You can adopt a similar approach and start creating marketing that people want, instead of the same old mindless advertising that most real estate agents think they need.
Go to your email inbox right now. Type a question mark into the search bar and hit go. Create a folder for every question you’ve been asked that relates to the process of listing, selling, auctioning, managing, buying or renting a property. For extra points, go around to the rest of your team and ask them to do the same thing with their email inbox.
Film yourself and your staff answering each question in a video. These should be no longer than 90 seconds. Don’t worry too much about quality and you don’t need a professional videographer with all the flash gear and exorbitant pricing. The latest iPhones have fantastic camera quality and they will suffice for this exercise.
Don’t read from a script. Your clients and prospects will reward you for being real. If you can’t answer these questions confidently without a script, you should probably be thinking about a new career.
Publish your videos to Youtube, Wistia or Vimeo and embed them on your website. This part is critical. You want people to watch these on your site where you have the ability to show them all of the other wonderful things you do. Send someone a link to Youtube and you’ll have little chance of keeping their attention over a funny cat video.
Distribute your videos across your social channels and have your staff do the same on their networks. Make sure to include a link in your social media posts that sends people back to your site where they can watch more.
Extra Tip: Instead of replying to someone’s email with the same old standard response, send them a link to your videos.
Include your videos in your regular newsletters to clients and prospects, ensuring you direct them to your own website. Make sure your site is optimised to make it easy for viewers and readers to subscribe to your helpful videos and regular e-newsletters. By creating helpful content that people actually want can dramatically improve your search rankings – Google favours quality content. You can spend hours creating fantastic content that attracts tonnes of traffic, but if your site doesn’t guide your visitors through the sales funnel – or convert them into leads – you’re missing a huge opportunity.
This is just one of many content marketing ideas we help real estate businesses implement that helps guide their prospects and clients through the sales funnel. While this technique above will not only create brand awareness, it serves other parts of the sales cycle as well.
One of our clients has taken the above approach one step further and they turn every video into a blog post using Speechpad, as well as using the audio from their videos in a podcast on iTunes. This particular business produces 20 videos every month – all very helpful, educational and highly relevant to their community. The results speak for themselves by way of new subscribers to their e-newsletters and the amount of seller and investor leads they receive through their website consistently each month.
The golden years of advertising and mass media are now over.
The dawn of content marketing is about to begin. It’s not hard to get started – but it will be almost impossible to catch up if you don’t.