10 Ways Agents Can Use Content Marketing
Content marketing is a longer-term marketing strategy that seeks to build relationships by delivering helpful and useful content to your clients and potential clients.
Its primary focus is to provide information that is relevant and insightful that helps your client solve problems and answer common questions. This builds trust making them more likely to choose you, while at the same time, providing you with useful insights into their motivation and readiness to act.
Content marketing differentiates you as an agent by providing opportunities to share your expertise, advice and ideas that property sellers and buyers will appreciate.
You have countless stories to tell and advice to give, so here are a few topics from Real Content to get you started:
Great reasons to sell or buy Opportunity always exists is the property market, regardless of whether it’s going up or down. Share your thoughts on smart buying and you’ll develop trust with your audience. You may inspire them to rethink their perceptions.
How to choose a real estate agent Educate your readers on the questions to ask prospective agents and how to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you walk your talk, then articles on this topic will put you on top of their list.
How to prepare your home for sale We all know sellers need help with this. There’s more to preparing a home than simply putting the kids’ toys away and stacking the dishwasher. Build trust with prospective sellers by guiding them through this important process.
Hot buyer buttons Show sellers your knowledge of what buyers love in today’s market. Is the trend for un-renovated properties, carpets or floorboards, new or old properties? Show how your knowledge about buyer preferences will achieve top prices for sellers.
Popular rental styles Deliver valuable information to landlords and tenants or potential investors. Impress with your knowledge of how to prepare a property for rental, how to identify a good tenant, and many other rental-focused tips and hints.
Local architecture Articles about local building styles and architecture, and how they affect property prices and deliver a return on investment are always popular and you’re bound to have some great photos to go with them.
Off-the-plan tips If you’re representing a developer, articles that help prospective buyers understand how to buy off-the-plan and avoid key risks can be extremely powerful.
Financing and lending The Royal Commission into banking has changed lending which is changing the time it takes to get finance and the time it takes to achieve a sale. Providing helpful advice in this area builds your credibility.
Popular interior design styles Design is a great topic to share with sellers, buyers, and even longer-term past clients that you just want to stay in touch with.
Difference between a conveyancer and solicitor The subtleties of buying property is often lost on buyers. What is conveyancing exactly, and who does it? Don’t assume your clients and prospects know, or have retained the information from their last purchase. Demonstrating that you understand the buying process from top to tail is a winning strategy.
Real Content has produced over a hundred articles focused on the property market to help you deliver these messages – and many more. They’re written in the voice of a real estate agent or mortgage broker and can be edited to suit your needs.
Who to call, when to call and why?
In the real estate industry, for most agents, the greatest daily challenge is knowing who to call, when to call and why. In most cases, having people to call is not a problem. The majority of agents these days have large databases, plenty of people available to contact.
But how can you know, out of all of those contacts, who will be ready to talk to you and what you should call them about?
Every person is different, their situation will be different and what they expect from you will be ever-changing, depending on when you talk to them.
You can’t call a contact and talk to them about selling when they are currently in the market for a rental.
So, how on Earth do you know?
Use the power of data
We pose this question, of course, with an answer in mind. While the database may seem to be a cause of all the calamity, it is the best tool agents have on hand to learn the intent of their prospects.
“One of your most important skills as an agent is to know how to use data in a powerful way.”
Josh Phegan, Real Estate Sales Trainer
Josh Phegan is an internationally renowned speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He has made a career out of guiding agents toward better performance, and his message is consistent: You need to become skilled at using your data.
So what does this mean?
Essentially, every agent has in their possession an insight gathering machine, which, when connected with the right tools and techniques can tell you who to call, when to call and why.
This is done through learning behavioural intent.
Learning Behavioural Intent
With tools like ActivePipe’s behavioural intent engine, agents can use their database to learn about their prospects, segment them into categories and gather insights as to where they may be in the buying or selling journey.
This is done either through an online survey or by identifying trends in their behaviour (how they interact with your brand online). With ActivePipe, this insight is then captured and analysed against typical behaviours in the real estate industry, to give us an indication of where your prospect may be in their journey, based on predictive analytics. Thus giving you:
Who to Call
When your database is optimised with ActivePipe, your team can start their day with a clear view of who is ready to talk to you. These contacts will be those that are seriously engaging with your information, whether it be a property or an article about how to prepare your home for a sale. Segment your contacts into buyers, potential sellers, landlords and past clients each with their own communication strategy. See how we segment your contacts for you based on their interaction with your content.
When to Call
Segmentation can now be so advanced that contacts can be ranked as a matter of priority. Those who are most likely to convert, and those who look like they will soon be ready. This allows your team to focus on the immediate opportunities while tailoring communication to the others that may help to nudge them closer to the warmest leads.
For example, you can make your potential buyers’ life easy by tailoring alerts just to them about relevant properties listed in the areas they have shown interest in. Once you’ve seen they’ve opened your email, that’s the perfect time to pick up the phone and add a human touch.
Analysing the content that your prospect interacts with, you can learn a lot about what their current interests may be. For example, if they’re opening that property page numerous times, that’s a good indicator that they’re interested in that property. If they’re reading about how to sell a property, you can assume that they may be considering selling.
Imagine stepping into your office, opening your computer and having a clear view of who wants you to call and what to talk to them about. Other prospects can move through the funnel via email communications and you, and your sales team can get to work closing those who are ready to close.
Better Experiences Will Drive Business Success in 2020
At the end of 2019, Salesforce released their third edition of the State of the Connected Customer. One of their key findings was that extraordinary experiences are becoming the driving force for better customer engagement.
The report found that:
- 73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs & expectations
- 62% of customers expect companies to adapt based on their actions & behaviour
So what does this mean for real estate?
The experiences you deliver are the driving force for business success in 2020, fees no longer drive consumer decisions, the value you provide does.
How well do you understand your customers? Your ability to create an outstanding connected experience lies in your ability to utilise your knowledge of a customer to deliver them relevant information.
I’m not the best story teller, but here’s an analogy…
If you make a routine of regularly going to your local coffee shop, you’ll notice that pretty soon all the staff will know your name, your order and you’ll likely start chatting about more than your order… This is a great experience for most customers!
There are many parallels between this situation and how a customer feels when they receive personalised property content from an agent. If the coffee shop attendant simply stood there and tried to guess what a customer would like to order, they’d have very little success. Similarly if you begin sending any listing to anyone regardless of their buying criteria, then it is an equally lacklustre customer experience.
What makes the relationship flourish between the shop attendant and the customer, is the growing understanding of one another. That understanding creates a more seamless and relevant customer experience, drawing the customer back for more rather than going to a competing coffee shop and having to endure a connectionless encounter.
Through their interaction the attendant may learn that the customer is interested in reusable coffee cups, so they decide to start selling a range of reusable cups whilst running promotions that drive engagement with their new offering.
This is no different to an agent learning and understanding the needs of their prospects (such as through ActivePipe’s behavioural intent engine), taking them into consideration and starting the relevant dialogue that drives action.
The reusable coffee cups are properties an agent knows a particular person will be interested in, based on the data. Such things as open house reminders, feature property updates or off-market listing updates are your personalised promotions that create real interest.
If an agent doesn’t consistently communicate with and engage their contacts with relevant property content, they’ll suffer the same fate as a coffee shop who doesn’t understand their customers – watching their prospects go elsewhere and transactions diminish.
Use the data, let it guide the experience you deliver.
Embracing Innovation in Real Estate With Sherry Chris
When I last caught up with Better Homes and Gardens(R) Real Estate (BHGRE) President and CEO Sherry Chris, I was thrilled to get an insight into her career and what has driven her success so far.
This week, I want to shift our focus to the future.
Sherry Chris is renowned for her innovative approach to business and for finding solutions to problems that agents don’t even know they have. As such, she is the perfect woman to chat with me about the future of real estate and what’s in-store for the technology that supports our industry.
In our conversation, she spoke of three key areas agents should keep in mind to make the best out of the ever changing technology landscape.
As you can imagine, we were pretty quick to get on the topic of social media and how important it is for staying relevant.
“It’s how we connect with one another, both personally and from a business perspective, but when I look across our industry, no-one is really doing it effectively.”
BHGRE made a strategic decision to align themselves with the wider Better Homes & Gardens brand, which includes a magazine with over 40 million monthly readers. As a result, their consumer channel has exploded, and they are able to share design and decorative ideas that help their brokers and agents connect with the consumer on a different level.
“Through the magazine, we have access to a huge database which we can market to directly and use for predictive modeling. This implementation of social media and technology has been very kind to us”, she says.
“I’m very active on social media. I manage two Facebook pages as well as one Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter page. This means I personally connect with thousands of people in our industry every day.”
It might take a little creative thinking, but there will always be ways an agent can leverage the power of social media and use it to drive the success of their business.
“The key isn’t a secret at all, you just have to be authentic and always keep the end consumer in mind”.
When it comes to tech, Sherry says it’s all about moving with the times.
“We continue to build technology, we continue to partner with technology. What we look for are the very best end-to-end solutions for our brokers and agents”, she says.
Three and a half years ago BHGRE’s parent company, Realogy, made the decision to buy ZipRealty, which they recreated into Zap, a technology platform that helps their affiliated agents and brokers stay in sync with their customers, grow their business and thrive in today’s real estate landscape.
“We build our own internal technology, including our digital marketing center, CRM and all of the tools and products that attach onto those. This helps our agents be more productive and connect with the consumer at a deeper a level”, she says.
So where do BHRGE’s savvy tech-heads want to go next?
“The buzzwords out there are AI and machine learning, both of which we are working on diligently”, she says.
These days, data is everything and Sherry’s team wants to effectively utilize the huge amount that they’ve amassed throughout the years.
“We are working on how to use data to predict when people are most likely buying and selling a home, and to get out in front of our competitors and be the ones who help them move into the next phase of their lives”, she says.
There’s nothing groundbreaking in the concept of keeping your customer front-of-mind, but as real estate moves forward and technology embeds itself further into our lives, it can be easy to forget that at the end of the day, this industry is about people.
What’s the point in building fancy new systems if they don’t improve the experience that your clients have working with you?
“I wanted our company to stand for something and that’s why we launched a values driven brand that celebrates Passion, Authenticity, Inclusion, Growth and Excellence (P.A.I.G.E.).These are our core values and they really mean something special to us”, she says.
“It means sending a handwritten note, picking up the phone and thanking somebody or doing something before you’re asked”, she says.
When I reflect on everything I’ve learned from Sherry, I feel grateful that she shared her time and wealth of knowledge with me.
I also feel incredibly proud to work for ActivePipe, where so many of the values Sherry spoke of are values that are hard-wired into the everyday running of the company. Hard-work, customer-centricity, and a focus on creating strong culture are the cornerstones of this business’ success.
When it comes to technology, we’re continuously striving to be at the cutting edge of predictive analytics and we are harnessing the power of data to enable customers and agents to have conversations that enrich both of their real estate journeys.
It seems we are on the right track and if we continue looking to Sherry Chris for inspiration, I’m sure we’re going to do just fine.
Check out part one of our interview with Sherry; “The Sky is the Limit” here.