September 30, 2013 3 Comments

Content Marketing Strategies for the Real Estate Industry

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While the real estate industry can heavily benefit from a content marketing strategy, many real estate agencies cling heavily to traditional outbound marketing tactics.

This guide is for any real estate agent or agency who wants to intrigue potential consumers with good content and is ready to add modern strategy to a repertoire of marketing tactics.

And yes, you can keep distributing your notepads and magnets with pretty headshot photos and real estate logos. Content marketing isn’t meant to replace tactics that may be working for you.

Content marketing is a strategy to add to your existing marketing plan while replacing some outdated tactics.When done correctly, content marketing will greatly improve the amount of eyeballs that fall on to your business and the amount of buyers who favor your brand over your competitor’s.

Content marketing for the real estate industry involves strategically placed content all over the digital web that appeals to a consumer who are about to make the most important purchasing decision of their life.  Your content helps them through this decision and attracts buyers who may in fact not be buyers for another year or so. Hence this strategy being a slow build but worth every minute of it.

The most important thing to grasp about content marketing for real estate is that this type of marketing is created to help any potential home buyer or future home buyer. This marketing doesn’t shout how cool your brand is. In fact, your content should hardly mention your brand.

When creating a new marketing tactic or piece of content for your agency, ask yourself the following questions before hitting the “okay” button:

  • Going off of my buyer personas, would they seek out this information?
  • Does this content help my target consumers?
  • Does this come across as self-promotional?

(Helpful hint: the answer should be yes to the first two and no to the last)

Become a Trustworthy Source of Information

Out of all professions, real estate agents to need be trusted. Becoming an authority and a familiar face in search results creates trust as buyers choose a reliable real estate agent to work with.

From your website to your blog to the resources you provide to potential buyers, your content marketing strategy will provide a strong and trusted image for your brand. Check out the following “must dos” before you implement your own content marketing plan.

Maximize Your Store Front

Your website is your agency’s virtual store front. Spending the money and time to maximize the professional appearance and desirability should not be something you consider, it should just be something that you do before anything else.

The first place a consumer will check out is your website. Provide easy access to all of your marketing assets aka materials that help your consumers along their buying process. Have easy to find links to your blog and social media profile pages so that visitors to your website can stay engaged.

Whether you’re an agency or a one person shop, provide headshots and bios to ensure that your website had a personal touch and that consumers can get the feel of connecting with a human instead of another automated brand. The real estate industry is one of the few industries left where human communication is still a crucial piece of the puzzle so don’t leave this part out!

Develop a Really Strong Blog Strategy

Your blog. This is one of the most important pieces of your strategy. You want to write about a topic that targets your consumer no matter where they are in the sales process. Even if they’re not ready to buy a home. This may sound crazy but in a year or two or three when this changes, you’ll be glad that your agency’s name will be the one that pops in their head when considering who to work with.

A few real estate agencies make the mistake of writing a company focused blog. The goal of a blog is to attract a potential consumer’s interest and writing about your company doesn’t make potential buyers want to keep visiting your blog, let alone subscribe to it.

The strongest blog strategy is to write about something that attracts people in your area. Whether it’s a site where you keep people up to date with community events, it’s a coupon site or it features a new local business each week, make sure it’s a blog that attracts people in your area.

If you were to write about buying a home—which is great to do for website content—you would be attracting people from all over the country when in reality you’re just trying to keep up with a certain region.

Resources on Your Homepage

It’s very important to create resources to walk your potential buyers through the buying process and any other pain points they may encounter during this lengthy purchase.

Guides on the buying process, the local area, finance options and loan information are common topics that a consumer closing in on the buying process would research.

Though a blog should not be about these topics because it doesn’t retain readers, you should have this information easily available on your agency’s website.

Whether you create the content for the guides yourself or you hire someone, make sure all resources are laid out in easy to digest pieces and don’t read like technical manuals.

Create a Wide Variety of Creative Content to be Uncovered

We’ve covered the most important digital channels—your website and your blog. But make sure that you’re using a variety of other social media channels to display your homes for sale, brand information and your blog and site content.

Keep up with a Pinterest board to display all of your properties for sale and photos of the community. I do caution that if you want this channel to be successful and utilized by buyers, then you need to plan to put the time into it to maintain it. That means as properties are sold, pins are removed and as new properties go up a new pin goes up.

Keep up with your Facebook page. Post everything from new homes to community events to congratulatory posts when someone buys their first home. Remember to maintain the human image of your brand—Facebook really helps with this.

Utilize video for home tours and create a YouTube channel. Remember to your videos from your other social media channels.

Online communities are great. Create a central place such as a G+ community where past and future buyers can interact with each other and your brand.

Remember, good content marketing helps your consumer so don’t keep posting content that only talks about your brand. Post content about the community, interesting housing articles, etc.

Follow the 1/3 rule. For every three pieces of content that you tweet or post on social media, one can be about your brand, one should be your blog content and the other should be a resource from a source other than your brand.

Use Content to Perpetuate Those Word of Mouth Recommendations

Word of mouth is what works. Consumers don’t trust what your own agency says about you, they want to find what past consumers, in their shoes, say about your agency. Makes sense, right?

So, harness these word of mouth recommendations and make them easy to find by incentivizing consumers to pass along their recommendations. Don’t forget to share their testimonials on all of your own digital outlets.

Contact all past happy consumers and ask them for a 1-3 sentence testimonial of their experience with your agency. Write up testimonials and display them on your homepage and in the sidebars of your blog.

Study How the Big Guys are Doing It

When developing a marketing strategy, no matter the industry, it’s always a good idea to look to the “big brands” to see how they’re doing it. Figure, they got big for a reason and often it’s partly because of their smart marketing tactics.

So check out how the following recognizable real estate agencies have implemented content marketing and see if you something they’ve done inspires a tactic or change in your own strategy.

  • Remax has a whole section of guides on their homepage for anyone thinking about buying a home.
  • Keller Williams’ has a great Pinterest presence. From pictures of dream homes to charity they donate to, it’s really well put together.
  • Keller Williams also has a great app for consumers to look for homes “on the go.” Remember, it’s all about being a helpful resource to your buyers!
  • Coldwell banker does a great job providing content marketing resources to appeal to potential customers. They have a whole space on the site for new buyers. From a calculator for consumers to see what they can afford to resources for someone to determine whether they should rent or buy—it really is a gold mine of tools for anyone thinking about buying a new home.
  • Coldwell Banker’s blog is the most non self-promotional of all the big real estate blogs that I’ve seen. They just focus on interesting articles and movies about homes in general, not the homes they sell.
  • Coldwell Banker’s current YouTube contest is a great example utilizing both video content and consumer generated content. They are having a contest where past buyers make a video of their favorite part of their home and submit it for a chance to win $25,000.

Do you have any questions or want to talk about taking your real estate company in to the world of content marketing? I’m here to chat, contact me at pratik@bouncr.com for any help you may need.

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About Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder and VP of Marketing of E2M, OnlyDesign, and Moveo. Pratik has been featured on sites like Forbes, Moz, SEW, SEJ, KISSmetrics, Entrepreneur, ContentMarketingInstitute and FastCompany to name a few. He's passionate about fitness, entrepreneurship, start-ups, and all things digital marketing. Hit him up on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik or on web@pratikdholakiya.com to chat on any of these topics.

  1. Pingback: Content Marketing For Real Estate Agents | LGE KnowledgeBase Wiki

  2. ManuJeevanPrakas

    Hi Pratik,
    Awesome post . But big brands will have big marketing budgets for their campaigns .So how do you think a small or medium size business can replicate it ??

    Cheers!!

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