The online marketing toolkit for sales representatives hasn’t changed that much in the past 10 years. We have seen some improvements to reliability and automation. Online advertising seems to be sorting itself out, slowly. Websites are becoming more standardized, and continue to be centralized under major brands. Things will probably be much the same for 2022.
There is a large group of DIYers that still set the pace in many ways by finding new and innovative ways to reach consumers. This group isn’t necessarily tech savvy, either: they just know how to connect textbook principles of marketing with the tools they have available.
Personal branding took off around 2010 and it has become a mainstay for real estate marketing since then. Beautiful logos, professionally written website content, and digital sales funnels that joined with CRMs became a standard. The Harvard Business Review discussed successful digital brands as “adaptable.” How does one introduce flexibility into their brand?
Flexibility can be developed with four distinct processes: reward, accessibility, cadence, and lead development
Reward-for-purchase can take many forms. Consumers may ask for a discount or some other incentive to list or buy with your firm. However, many are happy to receive fulfilment of your promise of fiduciary duty, in all its dimensions. This opens the door to other forms of reward that may be more appreciated and more easily marketed. For example, offering moving discounts and coupons to clients from vendors that you have negotiated a discount. This might be more efficient when the whole office participates. A vendor is more likely to give a standing discount to a brokerage compared to an individual.
An accessible brand appeals to as many consumers as possible, through tiered service, for example. In some areas, advertising a mere listing service will attract sellers that, in time, may convert to a full commission contract. Make your website content appealing to young and first-time buyers. This cohort has the best long-term revenue compared to other groups. Discussing fiduciary in your marketing materials makes the unknown world of homeownership much more accessible.
Cadence requires a constant stream of news and relevant content for your website visitors. One way is to develop the blog area of a website. Blogs are sometimes called online magazines because they deliver regular content with cadence, or modulation. Cadence is the inflection that gives an article it’s ‘voice’. Increasing the variability of voice makes your content more appealing to a wider audience without abandoning the core group.
Sales representatives may complain that they don’t have enough time or the writing skills to create interesting posts. Hiring a college student for a few hours each month is win-win for a young English major and the time-constrained business person. Alternatively, licensed content can be an affordable option.
Lead development makes your brand sticky. The problem for most people is that it takes time to learn a CRM and some people feel that their list is too small to be effective. In the short term, that might be true but in the long-term, an email list is one of the least expensive content marketing strategies available. Google and Facebook ads are something like 10x more expensive for the same results.
One overlooked area of content marketing is often the listings themselves. Data opacity is the semi-transparent barrier between the consumer and the house they want. There is a tremendous demand for niche properties that consumers are unable to access due to opacity. By creating pages on your site for niche properties, such as log homes or modular subdivisions, you’re actually creating a powerful marketing campaign.
A real-life example is a sales person who created a page for a popular niche home search on Google. It became the most popular page on her site and all the traffic was free due to organic SEO. Some website providers will allow you to put content around the listings so they can be introduced and discussed on the basis of their merit. This is called personality marketing because you’re appealing to a certain demographic or lifestyle consumer.
The boom period for real estate websites has settled into a routine of try-it-and-dump-it in search of something that works. Consider that what you may already have will work with a few adjustments. A series of small improvements can affordably increase your content marketing and brand. Marketing is a long game so pace your inputs for long-term success.