There’s no doubt that a well-designed, functional website with beautiful photos will catch a buyer or seller’s eye. Likewise, sending regular e-mails or posting social media updates will boost awareness of your business and services. But these tools alone won’t guarantee sales. “The key,” says Business.com, “is to use content marketing and social media to nurture your leads.”
If you’ve heard the term content marketing but aren’t sure exactly what it is, you’re not alone. It’s just a fancy term for a simple concept, and refers to placing useful or entertaining—not directly promotional—information in front of the right audience, on a regular basis. This not only helps with keeping digital content fresh, but encourages customers to develop an ongoing relationship with you and your agency, so you’re “top of mind” when it comes time to buy or sell.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a “strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
With our 24/7 news cycle and always-on digital culture, how can real estate professionals you consistently come up with valuable, informative content to share with your audience?
Start by planning around your own original ideas. Jot down a handful of topics that are of personal interest to you as a real estate professional: curb appeal, staging a home for sale, best pre-listing home improvements, financing tips, lifestyle topics or content about the Hudson Valley region. Do you have an interesting new listing? It’s fine ot include one. These are topics you can share on your website, blog, newsletter, or social media. Needs some ideas? Try NAR for some content ideas and actual content.
Create a calendar. If you can build an editorial calendar for three to four months at a time, you’ll remove a lot of the stress from your marketing effort; you’ll never be sitting in front of the computer, stumped over what to post next week or month. Remember to think seasonally, and plan your content in advance. For example, you wouldn’t want to share tips on spring cleaning in June, or advice on holiday decorating in late December. Anticipate your audience’s needs. View a sample editiorial calendar and download a blank template for creating your own monthly or a weekly editorial calendar.
Keep it simple–use your blog. Use your website’s blog page as your go-to location for creating and “hosting” your content. Once posted, this content can be easily shared across your website, social media, and email marketing—often with just a click of the mouse. Even if you don’t get to the next step — email marketing — you will have a home and a “go-to” location for your news.
Set up a regular e-newsletter. E-mail offers the highest return on investment of and digital marketing platform, including social media. Make the most of your contact list by offering a biweekly or monthly newsletter that includes practical home buying and selling tips and shares links to articles on financing, moving, and the local community. Include event listings for upcoming fun or educational activities. Don’t forget to include a featured listing or two, and make sure your contact information is prominently displayed.
It’s easy to set up an e-mail list with Mailchimp (their pre-designed templates are pictured below), Constant Contact and Robly, all of which offer free versions or trials of their services. No graphic design experience? No problem. All of these e-mail distribution services provide dozens of attractive, user-friendly drag-and-drop templates that make it easy to put together a professional-looking e-mail.
Share articles/posts on trending topics from leading industry sites and social media. On days when you’re not providing original content, look to industry leaders for quality content. For example, NAR’s Blogs Directory, sites like like Trulia, Zillow and Houzz also offer a great way to connect with customers through entertaining and informative content. You can search easily for topics that support your own expertise and interests.
Share content from influencers on social media. Influencers are people with large followings on social media and may wield influence over popular opinion, trends, and even purchasing decisions. In the real estate realm, influencers can include well-known real estate agents, architects, house flippers, interior designers, home organizers, and even furniture and home-product designers. TV personalities usually have massive social media followings, but don’t underestimate the power of popular blogs like DesignSponge, Coco + Kelley, Decor8 or The Inspired Room.
Install a news-sharing widget on your website. We like this top-headlines version from HouseLogic, which displays two to four recent headlines at a time. The content refreshes automatically—the ultimate hands-of way of keeping your digital content fresh—so you don’t have to keep updating it.
Now, return to Step 1, and keep it simple!
Next up: Shortcuts to a simple monthly marketing newsletter