Inbound marketing describes a business building strategy that, when successful, will attract buyers and sellers to you and your services. Examples include advertising on a local bus bench, in the Yellow Pages or on shopping carts. With this type of marketing strategy, you are trying to place your ad where you suspect your clients are, so when they have a need for the services you offer, you are right there to remind them that you can help.

Inbound marketing has evolved to a whole new level over the past several years. As consumers have embraced social media, online reviews, blogs and video, older mediums like bus benches, shopping carts and the Yellow Pages no longer provide the same exposure that they once did.

Today, the most effective inbound marketing means educating and empowering consumers by publishing your expertise and experience in places where consumers will go for answers to their real estate questions.

An outbound marketing strategy is any effort you make to get in front of a specific prospect for the purposes of either asking for their business or building trust through repetition and consistency.

Examples of outbound marketing would be knocking on doors, calling expired or FSBO listings, or sending direct mail. The identifying characteristic of outbound marketing is that a specific prospect is already identified, and you are trying to get the attention of this specific prospect in an attempt to convert them into a client.

Skilled inbound marketers have a distinct advantage over outbound marketers when they provide their online tools and resources as an extension of the conversations they are having with outbound marketing prospects. You can use online technologies and tools to manage your outbound marketing strategies, but it continues to be the more expensive approach to growing your business compared with inbound marketing.

Once upon a time, the marketer with the biggest budget had the greatest exposure. In today’s business environment, it’s the professional consistently educating consumers about the market and the process who is creating an advantage in terms of exposure and opportunity with online consumers.

There are some powerful inbound marketing strategies available at little or no cost to you, the marketer. Also known as blogging, content marketing is for all of the aspiring authors (or daring competent typists) who translate their personal connections to their local market, as well as their professional competency as a real estate expert, into content. Online consumers turn to Google to find answers to their questions. When your content is delivered as a possible answer to a specific question being asked by an online consumer, your inbound marketing strategy is working.

One of the best examples of inbound marketing is the referrals you receive from past clients. The marketing medium is the client who has gone through the process with you and has benefited from your expertise and experience, with homeownership (or sales price) as the evidence of your professionalism. During the sales process, you shared your expertise and experience with your client, educating and empowering them throughout the process. Throughout the process, your words and actions created and reinforced a level of trust that now compels your client to tell others about your services.

Every time you have a conversation with someone about real estate, you are using inbound marketing tactics. The ability to make this knowledge and experience available to your potential clients — without you having to be physically present — is the trick to expanding your current inbound marketing efforts. Using technology to make your local expertise more accessible to online consumers is an effort to amplify your message.

You already employ inbound marketing tactics in your business now, so don’t be afraid to explore how technology-supported channels can amplify your good reputation and local expertise. Having an online presence is no longer an option for most of us, and the learning curve has been straightened out by the thousands before you that are currently using technology to take their inbound marketing to the next level.

You have extensive local expertise. You already have the knowledge and experience required to escalate your inbound marketing business — the only thing left to do now is to stop keeping it a secret.

Scott Schang is a branch manager at Broadview Mortgage in Long Beach, California.

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