According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) from the NAR Research Resource Guide the first step taken, among nearly all generations of home buyers, was to look online for properties.
In fact the NAR reported that 84% of all buyers used information found online a crucial part of their home search. Though, homes are typically still being purchased through an agent:
- 89% of Millennials
- 87% of Gen X buyers
- 85% Young Boomers
But, why does this matter?
You, the real estate agent, are still extremely beneficial to the buyer in negotiating and closing the deal. However, the internet is clearly a major part of your buyers journey. Your buyer needs to be able to find you on the internet during their journey.
This is where inbound marketing can help you:
- Attract new business
- Gain brand awareness
1. What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing uses many forms of pull marketing, versus push marketing. The goal of pull marketing is to get the customer to come to you. Or “pull” the customer in.
Versus push marketing, which is a promotional strategy where you attempt to take your product to the customer. Or “push” the product to the customer.
Examples of inbound marketing forms or tactics are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media
But how can you, a real estate agent, implement these tactics? Read on.
2. Create a blog to pull inbound marketing leads
Having a blog is hugely important for driving online traffic to your website and for attracting new clients because it allows your website to appear in search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) results for a wider variety of searches.
Rather than just writing blogs to write blogs, it’s important you have a strategy for which topics to write about.
Gain leads and create a digest
Before writing any content you should create a subscription form to begin collecting interested readers emails and names.
By collecting this information you can gain new leads and understand your clients interests better.
The form might look something like this:
With that information, you can begin to send a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly digest sharing your recent or top blogs for that time period.
If you are using ActiveCampaign this can be done with our RSS based automation trigger.
Also, once you have collected your prospective and current clients email addresses and begin sending RSS triggered automations, you can start learning their particular interests or behaviors. Some of the behaviors you can learn from are:
- Campaign (email) opens
- Page visits on your website
- Campaign link clicks
- Custom events you have defined using Event Tracking
Based on these behaviors you can begin understanding your client better and start sending them more automatic, personalized messages.
Depending on your audience and their specific goals, you should write short form or long form blogs. The key factors that determine which form you should write are:
- Who you are trying to reach?
- What you want to accomplish?
- Where the blog will be published?
Here are some resources to help you:
- Choosing Between Long-Form and Short-Form Content
- 6 Techniques to Become a Master at Writing Short Blogs
- 11 Brilliant Tips for Writing Better Long-Form Content
Your client comes first
Once you have determined the length of your blog it’s important that you begin to write with your prospective and current clients in mind. Because, ultimately, your goal is to pull them in.
What questions do they have? What problems do they face?
Those are good questions to consider when determining blog content.
Focus on how your client speaks – what are their keywords
This is twofold.
Firstly, you want to limit your real estate jargon depending on how technical your clientele is in real estate knowledge.
For instance, if you are working with experienced real estate investors, your clients would be more technical in knowledge. Whereas, if you were working with first time home buyers you would want your language to be much more simple and concise.
Secondly, focusing on how your client speaks will help with SEO.
In other words, you want to focus on what keywords your audience is using or searching.
When keywords are used in blogs it’s known as on-page SEO or keyword targeting. This will help your clients discover you.
On-page SEO can also be useful for internal linking. AKA linking to other blogs you have created to keep the reader on your blog or website.
A great site to research your keywords for free is: https://moz.com/explorer
Promote your blogs to generate inbound marketing leads
Once you have completed a blog it’s important to have a strategy on where you plan to promote your blogs. Some sites to consider are:
- LinkedIn & LinkedIn Articles
3. Maximize event marketing leads with inbound marketing
Think about the last open house you held… that is a form of event marketing.
But how do you maximize your leads gained from an open house?
Collect leads from your open house with ipad forms
Business cards are still often used in real estate, but what if there was an alternative to collecting business cards during open houses?
If you are using ActiveCampaign, you can collect lead forms offline, from your iPad.
Once the lead is submitted you can perform a variety of actions that moment, automatically – create a deal record, add them to a list, notify a real estate agent, or add a tag indicating the client’s status.
Collecting leads digitally can really help you streamline your process. It will also rid you of a mundane task like scanning or manually uploading business cards.
Follow up after the open house
Once the open house is over your work is just beginning.
However, if you collected the leads digitally you now have more free time to sell, rather than work on secretarial tasks.
Hopefully you also:
- Added all attendees to a list
- Created a deal for all attendees of the open house
- Assigned (added) a tag denoting their attendance ex. “Attended Lakeshore Drive Open House 3-15-17”
With the above completed, follow up is simple.
Follow up could be in the form of an automated email. That simply thanks the customer for signing up and for attending your open house. The trigger to automatically send this email might be once the tag “Attended Lakeshore Drive Open House 3-15-17” is applied to the contact. You could also send a more personalized one-on-one message post open house.
OR you could do a mixture of the two.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We touched on, on-site SEO for blogs, but let’s dig into SEO a bit more.
SEO is anything that would affect the online visibility of your website, or web page, in a web search engine’s unpaid results. Often also referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
Since blogging uses on-site SEO it would affect your online visibility. Hopefully resulting in your real estate blog showing up in organic results due to the keywords you have selected.
According to Moz’s guide to SEO, the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value.
Search engine traffic can make (or break) a real estate professionals success. This targeted traffic, as a result of good SEO, can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing.
For more information on how to get started with SEO check out these resources:
- What is Local SEO and How to Optimize Local SEO Effectively?
- Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
5. Social media is important to inbound marketing
Social media isn’t a well understood factor on Google ranking, though there is a strong correlation between social signals and ranking factor.
This makes sense given social media is used to gather many different types of content ideas. Content ideas that then become searchable by your current or prospective clients online.
Thus, social media is a powerful tool for content promotion and web presence if you have a strong plan in place.
So, what can you do to improve your social signals?
Develop a Reputation management program to help your organic ranking
For instance, following a real estate purchase you could send an automated email asking your client to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 10.
If they rated their experience a “9” or “10” you could have another automated email sent asking your client to leave you a review on Yelp, Zillow, and Google reviews.
Assume the client ends up writing you a review. This will help your prospective clientele find you online naturally and they will see that you are a rockstar at selling real estate property.
Also, your online reputation is almost as important as a referral in real estate, given 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation – if they meet their requirements, according to Search Engine Land.
Click here for more information on how to get started with reputation management.
Build a community on social media
Nearly 2 billion users have a Facebook.
This is a great opportunity for you to build a community around your niche real estate market.
If you specialize in “Wicker Park, Chicago” why not start a community for others who also live in Wicker Park, Chicago.
This will help you build a web presence and quickly build an audience in your niche market.
Google search engine results page (SERP) features
Moz describes SERP as a feature in any result on a Google SERP that is not a traditional organic result. This might include reviews, tweets, or video content.
SERPs matter because based on keyword search your reviews, tweets, or video content might be found. Thus leading to a new lead.
6. Be consistent with your inbound marketing tactics
Blogs, events, SEO, and social media are all important factors to inbound marketing. However, without consistency, similar to most things, a blog is just a blog and a social post is just a social post.
Consistency is about building trust and rapport with your real estate clients and the search engines. If you publish three blogs a week for a few months, they trust you will be publishing three blogs a week.
So, if you abandoned tha