Real estate inbound marketing was a central theme of an earlier blog post, real estate marketing 101. In this post, we discussed, at a high level, what marketing looks like for real estate agents in 2020. As you might expect, successful agents market much differently now than they did 10 or 20 years ago! These differences have led to many agents wondering what inbound marketing is and asking how to build the ultimate real estate inbound marketing strategy? We're going to dive deep into that very question in this post!
What Exactly Is Inbound Marketing?
In the past, real estate agents used to use "outbound" marketing techniques. The idea behind these strategies was to spread the word of your services as far as possible. Traditional advertising methods are all "outbound," meaning that you are going out, on TV, radio, etc., and looking for potential clients. Those advertising methods still have their place. Sending out a flyer is beneficial, for example, in certain use cases.
However, people have grown tired and weary of these outbound methods. As such, marketing professionals have needed to switch to "inbound" marketing. In this type of marketing, people are coming to you. You are not trying to sell them on a particular service. Instead, you're trying to showcase your expertise in a specific area. People then develop a rapport with you, and after enough trust, will contact you to try your services.
For a real estate agent, these marketing techniques typically involve talking about types of properties, showcasing phenomenal homes, and so on. The idea is for you to develop a rapport with a potential client in the hopes that they will contact you, not the other way around!
This marketing tactic is easy to conceptualize but incredibly tricky to master because the emphasis is less on having a catchy jingle and more on creating a comprehensive strategy that keeps prospective clients coming to you at all times. Fortunately, the steps of how to build the ultimate real estate inbound marketing strategy are not as complicated as you might think!
What Types Of Strategies Constitute Inbound Marketing?
Typically, there are four main content types to consider with inbound marketing.
The first is through content that establishes you as an authority. Blog posts, videos, and infographics all help establish you as a leading authority within your domain. You want content that people can read and watch so they can learn. You want these readers to trust you enough to come to you with their business!
Another strategy that inbound marketers consider is the hosting of events. For real estate agents, these events might be barbecues or ice cream trucks. Anything to get people to come to you, relax, and maybe ask you if now is a good time to sell their house (and, yes, it probably is).
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the third strategy. SEO overlaps a little with the first topic, but the focus is slightly different. The idea behind SEO is to make your pages rank higher when people type keywords into Google. Typically, this involves writing high-quality content that targets the keyword. For example, if you are in the Miami area, you might want to focus on a keyword like "Miami homes for sale." By ranking high on that search result, you will have prospective homebuyers coming directly to your site.
Finally, the last strategy that inbound marketers use extensively is social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other popular platforms are fantastic ways to post content and have people come to you for more information. Prospective clients can message or Tweet you to learn more about the real estate market!
How To Set Up A Real Estate Inbound Marketing Strategy
With all the strategies defined, the next step is to think about how to build the ultimate real estate inbound marketing strategy. The best plan is where you can have people consistently coming through your site, blog posts, and so forth. The key is consistency. If people come too fast, then you won't have time to handle them all correctly and provide them the best service. If they come too slow, then you won't have the money you want!
Fortunately, there is a concise set of steps that you need to do to succeed in inbound marketing!
Step #1: Post Content
The first step for any inbound marketing strategy is to post content. However, the type of content that you post needs to be structured so that it focuses on inbound marketing. As counterintuitive as this might sound, the goal of your content should not be to sell your real estate services! Generating content like "I can be your agent for this beautiful home" will not work.
Instead, you want to pick content topics that showcase your knowledge. Since real estate agents deal with local regions, these topics should reflect your understanding of the city. Typically, these content pieces should be a list like "five things you didn't know about Manhattan." Or, "five areas that are hidden gems when buying a home in Miami."
Videos make great content for two reasons. First, it creates a personal connection between you and the viewer. Instead of "just another real estate agent," you become "Bob," or "Betty," or whatever your name is. They know who you are, and you're not just some faceless entity! The second reason is that real estate is highly visual, and videos provide the opportunity to showcase that. A walkthrough of the five best neighborhoods in Miami is more potent as a video than as a blog post. This point especially applies to people looking to move to Miami from another city.
Focus on a particular type of prospective client for each content piece. Many people make the mistake of producing too generic content ("five ways to prepare your home for sale"), which isn't going to resonate with your prospects. Instead, if you're in the Miami area, for example, you want something like "five ways to prepare your Miami-area home for sale after hurricane season." That's much more likely to get traffic from local Miami prospects!
Although you are not selling your services directly, you can (and should) put a contact link in the content. You want people to ask you questions about the content you've made. The idea is that once they contact you, then you can learn more about their situation and see if there are any paid solutions that you can offer.
Step #2: Add A Lead Capturing Method To Each Piece Of Content
Every content piece you write should have a way to contact you. This dimension is critical for how to build the ultimate inbound marketing strategy. Whether that's a link to your contact form embedded within the article, the original contact form there, or you put a link in the comments section (for YouTube), the key is that people need to be able to discuss your content with you.
Preferably, the lead capturing method that you use should also integrate with an email software solution that you can use to put each prospective client on a distribution list. Take care to follow all relevant laws regarding spam in your particular jurisdiction (this web page from the Federal Trade Commission has quite a bit of detail on the CAN-SPAM act and its implications on businesses).
Step #3: Share That Content As Broadly As You Can
Once you have a few videos, blog posts, and you also have a fantastic website to go along with them, the next step is to share your content. Post it to every platform that you can, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Wherever your prospective clients are, you should also be there!
Again, take care not to be too pushy when it comes to the content. It would be best if you were sharing it for informational purposes only at this point. The goal still isn't to sell to the customer! Instead, your goal is to develop a following at this point. You want to produce fresh content that people want to read and follow you to learn more. The initial goal is to establish your thought leadership within the real estate market.
Step #4: Use Events To Both Gain Followers And Interact With Them
Once you start to get a decent following on social media, the next step is to interact with them. Consider hosting an event. For real estate agents, this can be an in-person event (like a barbecue). Or, it can be a virtual event like a Q&A session about the housing market.
No matter what you choose to do, the key here is to have a way to capture leads. If people login to watch your Q&A who were searching on YouTube aimlessly, then you need to have a way for them to drop you a note.
Turn each of these events into a subsequent content piece. That Q&A you did on YouTube can remain on the site as an archived version for anyone to see. Similarly, if you do a barbecue, make sure that people take lots of photos and record videos. Events make excellent blog posts later!
Step #5: Focus On SEO
Once you have people reading your content and you're hosting events, the next step is to focus on SEO for your website. Typically, this involves having a company work with you to analyze what your site is missing in terms of keywords and then writing content that will boost your ranking. You must work with a business that engages in white-hat SEO tactics since Google sanctions any site that does not follow proper guidelines.
Again, much of the optimization that you do for your site should focus on local keywords. Trying to rank high for "best real estate agent" isn't as beneficial as ranking highly for "best real estate agent Miami," assuming that you are in the Miami area. You want people that are searching for you because you are local!
Step #6: Keep The Conversation Going
As you begin to build your lead database, you should start to focus more on the sales funnel. The leads you get to sign up with you have some interest in real estate, but they probably aren't ready to buy or sell right now. However, in another month or so, that may all change! As such, you should send out a few emails a year (typically one email every two weeks or one month works well) with snippets and links to the latest content that you have written.
These emails should start more informational, but gradually work their way to being more oriented towards getting them to give you a call. A perfect example of this would be the case of having regular bi-weekly market updates. Then, you can have a separate set of emails that go out, once per week up to five weeks maximum, asking if there's anything that you can do to help with their decisions regarding the home.
Continuity Is The Key For How To Build The Ultimate Real Estate Inbound Marketing Strategy
Search engines detect cadence. If you have a flurry of posts and activity and then nothing at all, search engines will likely lower your site, which partially defeats the purpose of inbound marketing.
Instead, inbound marketing is all about continuity. People should see your YouTube tips, see the corresponding emails, go to your events, and see your site in search results. Then, they'll want to contact you to learn more about your services!
The beauty of inbound marketing is that every lead you receive is hot. If the person has taken the time to fill out the form with their email address, there's at least some interest there in the real estate services you provide. By nurturing that lead through the process of content and emails, you'll be able to turn them from a warm contact into a client!
Inbound marketing is tricky to get right the first time. As such, you will undoubtedly be tweaking your plan over the days and months ahead. That's ok! Eventually, you'll arrive at a lean, mean, marketing machine that will provide you with a regular stream of prospective clients!