How to generate new leads.
It’s a problem that every new real estate agent struggles with, guaranteed.
(Heck, it’s a problem that many seasoned vets have too!)
But how do you know which one will work for you?
And which one will be a waste of time?
If you want to hedge your bets and focus on one single tactic that you know for sure will help you succeed, then this is your answer:
Start a real estate blog.
Over 90% of homeowners look online for information during their home search process.
And as a result, online content marketing has become the new frontier for real estate agents.
It’s inexpensive, highly effective, and the competition is still low.
So I can almost guarantee that with a focused effort, you will be able to dominate your local area by this time next year.
If anybody Googles your area, then they’ll see you.
How does that sound?
Here are five reasons why you should start a real estate blog:
1. Pull in your leads, rather than push
Most real estate marketing tactics focus on pushing potential leads into a sales funnel.
What does this mean?
According to marketing-made-simple.com, a push strategy involves “taking the product to the customer”.
It’s sales 101.
Cold calls, billboards, bench ads, etc.
These are what most customers associate with real estate agents. And more often than not, they’re negative associations. (You don’t want this.)
Pull marketing, on the other hand, is typically a positive experience.
This is when you provide enough value for the customer to arrive at your product of their own free will.
This is sales 2.0.
Word of mouth, referrals, and (you guessed it) online content.
Inbound marketing begins with one crucial step, one that makes all the difference:
The customer reaching out.
They want to learn more about a specific topic.
They type their question into Google.
They go to you.
Why? Because you’re the one who has offered the best chance for a quality answer.
Because of this deep research process, they’re already further down the sales funnel. They’ve already expressed interest in some part of your business - selling, buying, renting, etc.
And now you have a chance to create a great first impression, which will keep them coming back and (hopefully) encouraging others to do so as well.
And it all begins with a real estate blog.
Pro-tip: present your content in a variety of formats - including both video and infographic - to pull in the most amount of traffic.
People enjoy consuming information in different ways, so the more you can diversify your content marketing approach, the larger segment of online homeshoppers you can reach.
Here’s another reason to start blogging:
2. Capture a younger generation of homebuyers
Generation Y - those born during the 80s and 90s - represent the largest demographic cohort since the Baby Boomers.
They’re tech-savvy and, according to Zillow, will soon emerge as the largest group of homebuyers.
And there are a few important behavioral traits that every real estate agent should know about them:
- First off, they don’t answer the phone.
(This means that cold calls won’t do a thing.)
- Secondly, they possess little to no brand loyalty.
(This means that traditional advertising won’t hold much sway.)
- And thirdly, they conduct lots of research before they ever contact an agent.
So how do you plan on attracting this new wave of first-time homebuyers?
Cold calls and mailers?
With online content, you can get in front of them where it matters most:
The authority that Google provides is indisputable.
So if a home shopper asks a question and you show up at the top with expert answer, then you’ve already far ahead of your competition.
You need to earn the trust of Gen Yers.
Not through ads, slogans, and professional headshots - but through your knowledge.
If you were to search “how to sell a home during the fall” then you would see this:
Out of 290 million possible results, Kyle Hiscock of Rochester ranks #1 with his great article.
He ranks above HGTV, if you didn’t notice.
That’s a large search.
But those who are conducting this type of research are most likely in the very early stages of home selling.
It’s impressive, but Kyle can do even better...
Remember, the goal isn’t always to rank high on large-volume searches.
It’s the quality of the search that matters.
Those who search “first time home buyer programs rochester ny” are much farther down the process.
The first article they find will lead them right to Kyle.
If you can attract this online audience, then half the work is already done for you!
You’ve tapped into a concentrated pool of home shoppers who are ready to take the next step towards home ownership.
As a result, Kyle can sit back and watch the leads roll in.
And on that note...
3. A real estate blog will bring closer engagement with potential leads
Yes, online content will provide answers to all those research-hungry home shoppers.
But on top of that, you can use your real estate blog to provide them with an outlet for any follow-up questions they may have as well.
A cleverly placed call-to-action can encourage page visitors to:
- Or send a text message
And I don’t need to explain the value of an open dialogue, do I?
The real estate landscape has changed.
Home shoppers no longer need your help to find listings and open houses.
But they do need your help with market research, knowledge of an area, and legal advice.
(Especially first-time homebuyers.)
And with a real estate blog, you can encourage this relationship to take place.
Plus, a deeper level of engagement with your customer will result in a much stronger connection. So even if they decide to not sell or purchase at that exact moment, when the time does come, your name will be recalled as the one who helped them out.
This can’t be accomplished through traditional marketing.
It can only take place through conversation. And this is precisely what a real estate blog will encourage.
Especially if you can build a loyal following…
4. Build a huge email subscription list
Maybe you’re already well aware of the benefits that an online presence can provide.
But you’re not convinced a blog will help.
Well, the one thing that online content can dramatically improve is the size of your email subscription list.
As Copyblogger says, “Email subscribers are the lifeblood of the online business.”
These are the folks who like your content so much that they want to be updated everytime you publish something new.
And you’ve got to keep them loyal and keep them coming back for more.
Through a powerful email marketing plan.
But without a large amount of subscribers interested in your content, then your email marketing strategy won’t amount to much.
Getting them to hand over their email is step one.
Simply asking them to sign up in order receive listings won’t suffice. They can do this on their own.
You need high-quality, educational content.
Ryan Fitzgerald is one agent in particular who continually publishes helpful articles on his blog.
And as a result he’s grown a sizeable audience.
In fact, his article “Strategies Realtors use to Make Sellers More Money” has been able to generate 2.2 thousand shares across Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest!
With this amount of traffic coming into his site, you know that his email subscription list has grown exponentially.
(If you’re serious about growing your email list, then you can take it a step further and offer downloadable content. Click here to learn how.)
Once you’ve captured all of these emails, then you can start to bring them back to your site with super-effective newsletters.
This is how you stay top-of-mind, folks.
5. Position yourself as a top expert
A real estate blog is a bonafide way to increase the authority you possess.
And your perceived authority is the main reason why a home shopper will want to work with you over someone else.
This authority can be established many ways.
Traditional marketing efforts that announce “#1 Realtor” target this very outcome, in fact.
But nowadays, this type of “marketese” holds little to no sway - especially among younger homebuyers, who have grown immune to this Mad Men approach.
Rather, authority has become reliant on social proof.
It needs to be gained through a display of your knowledge and it needs to be continuously affirmed.
Social networks will help you obtain a degree of social authority.
But a blog will solidify it.
Here is one agent in particular who has gained his status as a top real estate agent through a blog:
He is well-known among savvy agents as one of the best real estate bloggers.
Because he has absolutely nailed his content promotion tactics.
So much so, in fact, that he is able to generate thousands of views per article.
And more often than not, he is responsible for the top content on just about every real estate-related online publication as well.
To give you an idea as to the extent of his reach, his Twitter account alone has 27k followers.
That’s more than Sotheby’s International Realty.
Talk about influence!
Bill Gassett is a one-man content marketing empire.
(Read his latest article, “Who to Notify When You Are Moving,” to a get a sense of how he does it.)
As a real estate agent, you need to start a blog.
The cost of not doing so should be enough to propel you into action.
There is still just a small pool of dedicated realtors worldwide who have turned their blog into a sales machine.
So the competition in your area is slim to none.
First, gather some expert advice on how to generate business with your content.
Then develop a successful content marketing strategy and spend the next few months implementing it.
You’ll be surprised at how much traction you’ll gain.
(And maybe you’ll be a Real Estate Rockstar someday!)
Online shoppers are accustomed to hours and hours of research before any purchase, be it big or small.
A site that’s stock-full of knowledgeable articles will present you as the top dog.
Simple as that.
A real estate blog will help you:
- pull in leads, rather than push
- capture a younger demographic of home buyers
- bring closer engagement with potential leads
- build a huge email subscription list
- position yourself as a top expert
These are only five reasons, but I know for a fact that there are at least twice or three times that amount.
So for those of you with a real estate blog:
What is the single best benefit that you’ve seen as a result? Comment below!
Braden O'Neill is the Community Manager at RESAAS. He loves to read books that make him sound smart, go snowboarding with people who are better than him, and watch Liverpool FC. Check out his RESAAS profile ›