One of the hardest things to do as a real estate professional when it comes to marketing is to keep coming up with new content ideas for our blogs, social media and email marketing campaigns.
In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we look at four ideas for creating more relevant marketing in real estate.
One of the hardest things to do as a real estate professional when it comes to marketing is to keep coming up with new content ideas for our blog, social media and email marketing.
If you’ve been in the real estate industry for some time, you’ll remember when newsletters became fashionable to send to our database contacts. Agents got pretty creative with things like cake recipes or colouring in contests for the kids.
But, like all things in marketing, the key to success is consistency. While newsletters seemed like a good idea, many agents stopped after just a few months. Why? Because it’s difficult not only to keep coming up with new ideas for content, but it takes a lot of time to create the content, edit it, create graphics or images to accompany it and then publish it. That process, for many, is simply not dollar productive, so they stop. For the ones who continued, frustration set in as they realised that no-one was really engaging with their content anyway.
But today, in 2016, it couldn’t be easier to create highly relevant and effective content for the communities in which we serve and the opportunity for you reading this right now, is what I’m about to share with you is being done by very few real estate professionals – not only here in Australia, but around the world.
Back in late 2015, we surveyed hundreds of buyers and renters from around Australia in all different marketplaces and asked them how they search for property. We wanted to know where and how they start their search and ultimately where they end up when looking for a home to buy or rent.
Firstly we asked where they started their search and not surprisingly, 94% named either one of our two major portals as the place where they started looking for properties. We followed that by asking did they visit a real estate agent’s website at any stage during their search for a new home to buy or rent and 84% said no.
Almost 9 out of 10 buyers and renters never visit a real estate agent’s website at any stage during their search for a new home.*
Instinctively, every real estate agent we’ve shared these statistics with has known that our major online portals have the lion’s share of the audience when it comes to buyers and renters. We visited 100 real estate websites during our study and found that 9 in 10 real estate agency websites in Australia prioritise their listings. What I mean by that is if you visit a real estate agency website, it’s all about property.
But if 84% of buyers and renters never visit a real estate agency website at any stage during their search for a new home, but are going to the major portals to search for property, it makes little sense – does it not – to have a website that is essentially just a mini version of realestate.com.au or domain.com.au.
It’s an interesting thought and something I urge you to think about.
The agents and agencies winning the battle for attention online today, are those who are focused not only on information about their listings, but are equally, if not more, focused on publishing inherently helpful content that real estate consumers are searching for on the web.
But how do you know what content to create? What questions are people asking? What content will resonate with your current and prospective clients? What content will people share with their own family and friends?
There are four very simple strategies that I’d like to share with you that we’ve seen real estate agents all over the world use to stand out online. They’re all right under your nose.
1. Ask your staff
Instead of talking just about results and what leads are coming in during your next team meeting, spend 10 minutes coming up with the top local news story of the week. It doesn’t have to be anything to do with real estate necessarily – but by publishing local news on your own website instead of simply sharing something written by the local paper, people are coming to your website where – after a little while – they’ll see all of the other relevant content you’ve produced.
2. Hire a journalist
I recently met with a husband and wife team who run a successful agency in Melbourne who have hired the real estate journalist from their local paper to write content for them part-time. The content is highly researched, hyper-local and they publish around four to five new articles per week to their website and push it out to social media – bringing thousands of readers back to their own website where this particular agency turns their readers into subscribers to build their database and drive leads into their sales and property management departments.
Now please don’t fall for what many real estate professionals do – which is outsource their blog writing to other countries through websites who say they can write content for you. While this might appear a cost effective solution to create content, I’m sorry to say that you are simply throwing your money away if you think a blog article written by someone in another country is going to be relevant to your audience. I’m yet to meet a real estate agent who can show me that by outsourcing their content overseas has delivered them a solid return on investment.
On the other hand, we’ve met many agents who have engaged a local real estate journalist and are generating not only thousands of new visitors to their website every month, but multiple six figures in potential revenue as a result of having highly relevant local content on their website.
Find out who the real estate journalist is for your local paper and ask if they’re available. You’d be surprised at just how many real estate journalists are also freelancers outside of their full-time job.
3. Build an army of content creators
The third way you can create more relevant content for your clients and prospects involves the very people who are best placed to create content for your business – the people on the frontline. That means your salespeople, your property managers, your BDM’s, your leasing staff and anyone who is face to face with people in your community on a daily basis. These are the people in your business with the real insights.
These are the people best placed to educate your current and prospective customers. These are the people in your business with the answers.
A business that knows this all too well is Brad Bell Real Estate in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Starting their content strategy over 12 months ago, each month their team compiles a list of the top five questions they had been asked during the month. The staff member who had been asked that question would then feature in a short 60-90 second video answering the question they had been asked. They would upload the video to their website along with the transcript of their video where their clients and prospects could discover all of their helpful content.
If they ever were asked the same question again, staff would simply send that client or prospective client to their website where they had a video answering that question along with all of the other videos that they team have created.
Before their meeting to compile their list of the top five questions for the month, staff would search their email inbox, notes from open homes or questions they’d written down after a listing presentation. The team at Brad Bell Real Estate are essentially reporters – always thinking of creative ways to simply answer the questions their clients and prospects have. If you watch back some of the earlier videos, you can tell staff were nervous about getting in front of a camera. But given time, they got better and better.
You as a real estate professional have the answers to the questions that people are asking. By creating a library of answers, either on video or via written blog articles on your website, you will build a library of helpful content that people will love and your prospects will find the next time they Google something relating to real estate – just like what happens at Brad Bell.
4. Keep asking. Keep answering.
Last but not least, the single most effective way to create more relevant marketing is a strategy that we ourselves started years ago and still apply today.
Our goal, since starting our podcast in October 2014, is to create content that helps real estate professionals – that’s you – become better marketers. So every time someone subscribers to our podcast, just after they enter their email address, we ask them one simple question: “What is one thing you’d like to learn more about when it comes to digital marketing, content marketing or social media”?
This strategy alone has generated tens of thousands of responses and helps us create content that we know for a fact you as real estate professionals want. Instead of always guessing what our next podcast or blog articles might be about.
Every new website we build for our clients today has this feature built in as standard – we believe deep down that it needs to be if real estate professionals are to create content that we know for a fact people are interested in.
So there you have it, four ways to be more relevant in your marketing.
Are you already trying some of these ideas in your own business? If you are, please send an email to [email protected] and tell me how it’s working for you.
If you’re not working on any ideas to be more relevant in your digital and social marketing, I’ll ask you this question:
“What would you do, if one of your competitors was doing this stuff right now.”
Would you start? Would you dismiss them for something you believe doesn’t work?
I can assure you from our travels, that companies like Brad Bell Real Estate who are all in with content marketing are winning the game of attention online.
Are you ready to get started?
Help Us Spread the Word
If you enjoyed this episode of the Real Estate Pros podcast, please head over to iTunes, leave us a review and subscribe. If you have any feedback for us on how we can improve, we would love to hear from you because this show is all about helping you, the real estate pro. Please email us at [email protected].