When I first heard the words "Inbound Marketing," I really had no idea what it was. My understanding of marketing was always to project messaging out to the masses in hopes that it would inspire consumers to buy your products or use your services. After researching what inbound marketing is and why it works, a light bulb when off in my head. Duh. It was quite obvious why it works. Then I really dug in to statistics and starting watching my social news feeds and realized that I was constantly being marketed to and didn't know it. All along I thought I was educating myself about products, ideas, activities or services. So what is inbound marketing, how does it work and how can you use it for your real estate office?
What is Inbound Marketing?
"Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletters, white papers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel."
It is the process in which businesses offer helpful content that both educates visitors and builds a level of trust that draws them into the sales process. Here are a few examples of different ways companies are using inbound marketing:
Zendesk Uses Video to Tell a Story
Zendesk uses a video to demonstrate their cloud-based customer service platform and how an interaction between a customer and a business can easily solve issues and strengthen a company’s reputation. The video is found on a landing page that talks about their service and leads right into content offers that include white papers, case studies, and webinars which bring people into the sales funnel. Check out Zendesk's video.
Evernote Flexes Their Blog Muscles
Evernote offers a multi-device solution for users and teams to organize notes and research to increase productivity. They have a solid blog that provides helpful content without being too “sales-y.” Some of their recent blog topics include, "How Great Writers use Evernote,” “How to Stay Inspired and Turn Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Into Reality,” and “Stuck In The Middle: Conquering Writers Block.” All great topics and content to help and inspire users while building a relationship with readers. Each blog also offers more content, the ability to sign up, and the ability to ask a question; all of which are lead capture opportunities. See Evernote's Blog.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
The main objective of inbound marketing is to provide engaging content that draws readers in at all levels of the buyer's journey, helps them and then offers them more content or brings them to a lead capture funnel. Once the lead is captured the business continues to market to the lead by providing further helpful information to nurture them along in their sales process. It is a more organic approach to selling and fits very well with today's buyer habits. With how much information is available on the internet, buyers are spending more time doing their own due diligence to educate themselves before ever talking to a sales person.
Think about a large purchase you recently made. How much time did you spend on the internet comparing prices, answering questions, looking through reviews, or reading blogs? All of this information is readily available to buyers these days, so if you are not providing engaging content or helpful information, you are missing an opportunity to capture the attention of potential clients and they are probably going somewhere else to get it. You are also missing a huge opportunity to drive traffic to your real estate office's website and capture the leads. These days we are constantly bombarded with over 5,000 marketing messages a day and we have learned to ignore those messages that don't offer any value to our personal needs. To provide information that engages and inspires potential clients is far more valuable than any ad placement or media buy.
How Can You Use Inbound Marketing For Your Real Estate Office?
Inbound marketing offers a great opportunity in the real estate industry to answer common questions and build the relationship with potential clients prior to them contacting an agent. If your real estate office can lead the way with thoughtful and insightful content it can go a long way to building the company's reputation and delivering quality leads. So how to do you go about utilizing inbound marketing? The first step would be to identify a primary target and determine common questions, pain points, or frequent issues that arise with that type of client. They could be first time home buyers, down-sizers, investors, retirees, builders, or people relocating. Each of the different client types has their own set of challenges that you can build content around. The next thing would be to determine what your content offer is going to be for that client type. You could create a guide, a checklist, or it could be some type of access to listings. It will need to be something of value for your specific client type that inspires them to provide their name and contact information. From there you will want to develop a content strategy and calendar to help you know who is writing, when they are writing, what they are writing about, and who they are targeting. Once you start blogging you will use a call to action to drive readers to your content offer where they can provide their contact info in exchange for downloading the offer. This is the basis of capturing leads through inbound marketing.
To help inspire you we've developed some resources including 30 Real Estate Blog Ideas, 3 Ways to Generate Real Estate Blog Ideas, and Inbound Marketing for Real Estate Offices. With these blogs you should have the tools to get your inbound marketing strategy off the ground.