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Effective Content Marketing Online For Realtors.
The majority of your Realtor / Buyer / Seller relationship in 2019 takes place through online channels. Yes, you still have a lot of personal interaction, but social media, email, websites and blogs, live chat and messaging, all make up the majority of ways you engage with clients. Your online relationship is where you will:
Make your first impression
Acquire a potential client
Activate your relationship
Deliver the payoff
Turn your client into an advocate
You need to ensure that at each point in this online communication you are positively influencing your relationship with your client. You need to translate that in person charm and charisma you have into these new digital channels.
"Researchers observed 1,000 people during three-minute speed-dating sessions. The results showed that people formed their opinions in a fraction of a second. It didn't matter what evidence was presented to undermine their opinions. In the end, appearance trumped facts."
Josh Altman - CNBC Make-It
In short, you need to make your online content impressive.
Understanding How Client Engagement Happens Online For Realtors
A well understood strategy for communicating online will do three things for you: reduce the costs of communications, build a richer relationship with clients, and free up your time to make your high value personal contact time more effective.
Let's start with a bird's eye view of the steps your relationship goes through online with a client. We map the realtor/client relationship over a series of five stages.
Each stage requires unique content to make sure both you and the client keep moving forward and achieve your mutual payoff. If you don't understand the stage you are at with your client, you can easily spoil the relationship before it even has a chance to get going.
Your goal through this journey is not to get a commission, but to turn this client into an advocate for your business. To do that, you need to make sure your client's experience is positive right until and after the payoff occurs.
Building awareness of your business online is all about going to where your clients hang out. A Realtor's clients are found on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks. They are also prowling real estate websites like Zillow and Craigslist. They are also heavily influenced by personal recommendations from their peer group.
Your goal is to create or promote content that grabs a potential client's attention and delivers an elevator pitch on a single topic.
Content that builds Awareness:
Showcase Listing Do you have a property in your inventory that you know is top notch? Not just any listing, but ones you think attract the kind of clients you want for your business, whether buying or selling. It shows you represent quality. You want to make a concise piece of content that holds a client's attention. You aren't selling you, you are selling what you represent.
Educational Content Top three ways to prepare your house for sale. What's in a real estate contract. What's important to look for in a neighborhood. These are all examples of educational content that shows you want to impart your wisdom to potential clients. This builds trust and confidence that you aren't just out to tell them what they want to hear, but show you are an expert in your area.
Personal Vision and Mission Who you are and why you love doing what you do. Think of it like a baseball card that can get across your authenticity.
Testimonials Your last clients are huge advocates for your abilities. Get permission to share the praises of an existing client to your accounts. Announcing a completed sale with a positive testimonial will go a long way to convincing someone they should work with you in the future.
Newsletters These are great for building awareness and acquisition because they let you highlight your expertise, provide a platform to showcase your personal style and approach, and showcase listings you represent. Newsletters are also a regular excuse to maintain communication and are easily shared to a potential client's social network.
All of these content pieces are part of a long tail of content. What I mean by that is this content can be online for years and bring you new client relationships without requiring any maintenance or updates. People will discover it from searches, old bookmarks, and peers resharing it on social networks.
What is critical to all content produced for building awareness is that it has a clear call to action, as your goal is to add them to your sales funnel.
If you've gotten a potential client to view your content, then you've got an opportunity to put them in your lead funnel. These are clients that haven't signed up to your service yet but are definitely interested in what you offer. They may be clients who are ready to buy now or in a few years, but each are valuable and you want to build relationships with them now for the future.
You need that call to action to identify who that prospective client is and work to acquire them as a new client. Clear calls to action could be:
Join your mailing list for a newsletter, general updates, an education series.
Learn more use this to get a potential client to give you their email or phone number.
Contact us this menu in your simplebooklet microsite passively provides channels to make a connection between you and the potential client.
These calls to action can be unobstrusive and natural. You are offering additional support to the potential client, not forcing it upon them. You want to make it feel like a natural extension of the message you just communicated.
Once you have gotten their approval to proactively contact them, it's time to activate your more personal relationship.
You've started a dialogue with the client because they've reached out through some of your online content. But most importantly is they have given you tacit approval that they want to learn more from you. This is your opportunity to tell them a story over a period of time.
It takes time to build the trust and confidence to see a relationship to it's successful conclusion. Now is the phase where you use all the channels available to you to keep them as your client as they go through a stressful decision making process.
First, you need to determine a timeframe for their decision. Are they looking to make an immediate transaction or are they just exploring their options? Both are valid clients, but the way you communicate with them will be different.
Content that Activates:
Support Documents Making sure they have access to the localized legal and process workflow files is critical to keeping them feeling confident that you are covering all the bases for them.
Neighborhood Summaries As you put new listings in front of a potential client, keep them aware of all the other benefits around the property.
Guides Provide more indepth content that is related to the client's current situation. This could be the steps in closing a real estate deal in your municipality, frequently asked questions, a marketing worksheet, a powerpoint of your branding strategy, and more. The more content you have, the better prepared you are to use it to keep your client happy and engaged.
Complimentary Case Study Share relevant case studies that highlight your experience going through specific situations. If you are in a slow market, share a case study about a successful outcome from a previous client. If you are marketing a unique property, share a case study on how markets react to something different and the positive outcome.
Encourage patience; Everyone likes to catch their breath, so gently nudge, don't press. Make sure your client is getting this information because you are being helpful, not trying to close a sale. A client can tell when your interests are taking priority over theirs.
Remember, each client has a different pace to get to their desired payoff. It's up to you to keep your communications authentic, valuable, and timely.
No one likes to be sold or hustled. They want to be respected and understood.
This is where both you and the client come to a satisfying outcome on your relationship. The client feels like they received authentic, honest value from your participation in their purchase or sale of a property and you have a new advocate of your abilities to deliver. Your payoff is more than a commission check. It's the positive emotions you engender in your client.
Most of this engagement will be personal. That's good, nothing is better than a phone call or face to face meeting for that last 100 feet in bringing a deal home. Step away from online communications as much as possible and be there for your client.
After the deal is completed, you should:
Exit Interview Send your client a short questionnaire asking for honest feedback. You might find ways to improve your business and find out what unique parts of your approach really resonated for the client.
Positive Testimonials Ask if you can use a photo of the owner or the property that you could create a testimonial to share on social media and in a newsletter.
Thank You Send an email, a small gift, or other token of recognition that you appreciate how much they trusted you to deliver the positive outcome that everyone wanted.
Welcome Package Send your client a list of trusted resources in the neighborhood for services (plumbers, roofers, doctors, dentists, restaurants, pharmacies) and activities (theatres, sports venues, hikes, bike trails). These lists help a person find their bearings in a new place. Give it your personal touch with recommendations and things they should try.
Your contact with this client will drop off significantly after you've achieved the transaction. You may think that there isn't much value in maintaining this relationship, but that would be wrong. This client is an advocate (or an antagonist if it was a bad experience) for you and can become a major driver of getting new clients in the first stage of awareness.
Keeping them in the loop on changes in value, new initiatives in the neighborhood, or checking in on how their move to another location has worked out. Remember, these old clients have significant relationships with your potential client base.
Map Your Strategy, Then Build Content Over Time
Remember, these steps will all be taking place at different paces and overlapping with hundreds of potential clients every week. You need this content to be at your fingertips, being sent at the right time to the right people. Some you can automate, but a lot, if you've prepared it, is ready to go with a few clicks at the start of your day.
Don't stress that you need everything all at once. Just a single or couple pieces in each stage is enough to start building better client relationships. Over time, you'll have an effective collection of resources you can share with clients that represent your authenticity and help you close more business as a trusted partner.