MarketingTechnology

How content marketing can drive bottom-line results

Creating Web content in various forms is your best bet for a thriving business

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Takeaways:

  • Blogging is the most effective channel for generating leads, and it allows potential customers to get an authentic feel for who you are.
  • Podcasting takes loyalty to an intimate bond — no other content marketing medium can drive a bond with customers.
  • Audiences are 10 times more likely to share, embed and comment on videos, and video is a sure way to let potential clients see you in action.

I’ve written a lot about content marketing in the past, mostly because it’s one of the few ways that a business can differentiate themselves online. But in real estate, this is doubly important, as we’re all selling the same inventory.

From a consumer perspective, deciding on which real estate professional to work with still comes down to finding someone you know, like and trust. And now that most of the consumer journey happens online, you need to build that trust on the Web — long before the customer wants to talk to you.

That’s where content marketing comes in. Ann Handley, one of my favorite content marketers, said it best: “Our online words are emissaries — they tell the world who we are.”

In this post, I’ll provide a road map on how to create online words that drive bottom-line results for your real estate business.

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Some of you might ask, “Why is content marketing for your real estate business crucial to the bottom line?”

The short answer: It works.

The slightly longer reason is it drives down the cost of customer leads while increasing the efficiency of closing sales. When done correctly, your content becomes a digital asset that works on your behalf by building trust and nurturing your customers online without your presence.

Let’s look at some of the different content marketing activities that can help put your real estate business or brokerage further into the green.

ContentMarketing

Why should you blog?

“Each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. And the way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call to action to every blog post.” —@Corey_bos

It’s a more efficient channel for getting in front of potential customers. They say you should give the people what they want, and what they want is content.

Of consumers, 70 percent say they prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads, while 78 percent believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.

As for more traditional marketing tactics, 40 percent of real estate agents say they still use direct mail, despite 44 percent of that mail never being opened.

Blogging is cheaper than conventional marketing. Content marketing costs 62 percent less per lead than outbound marketing methods such as cold calling, mailers and print ads.

Per dollar, content marketing produces roughly three times as many leads as paid search.

Blogging gets results. Sure, consumers like blogs. But do they get results? Companies that blog actively generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that do not blog.

Blogging also pays off more over time: Small companies that have published 200 or more blog posts get over eight times the traffic of companies with 10 posts or less.

It increases leads and repeat customers. It’s easy to say you’re an expert. Look at any agent website, and you’ll find a bio or an About Us section touting their years of experience and unparalleled service.

But a good blog provides proof that even the best home page can’t touch. Plus, by publishing new and interesting content all the time, you give visitors a reason to come back. That means more opportunities to convert.

Why should you podcast?

“The proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices with broadband connections has made podcasting an ideal channel for claiming the attention of targeted prospects and getting them to buy from you.” –@mitchmeyerson

Podcasting takes loyalty to an intimate bond. No other content marketing medium can drive a bond with customers like podcasting.

Leveraging this can drive a direct line to increasing your revenues. Previous studies have found that building customer loyalty even 5 percent can lead to an increased average profit per customer of between 25 and 100 percent.

Each podcast cuts the cost of creating marketing content. When real estate agents and brokerages first think about creating a podcast, they think that’s too much work.

Although getting a podcast off the ground does take a lot of upfront work and resource allocation, once it’s running it cuts down on the cost of producing marketing content.

How, you ask? It’s often difficult to get great thought leaders in any market to contribute guest content that you can turn around and package to your potential customers.

For instance, if you ask someone to write a guest post for your blog, they might respond saying they’re just too busy to take it on. And, if they do agree to do it, they might want to be compensated.

Sitting down and talking, on the other hand, for 15-20 minutes — often simply over Skype — sounds much more doable to many, and it takes the content creation out of your hands.

Podcasts make it more efficient to market across different channels. The greatest benefit of podcasting is that it’s a powerful audio tool, but the content can also be utilized across channels.

By transcribing a podcast on your own or using a service such as Rev.com, which can turn around lengthy transcriptions in less than 24 hours, podcasting content can be turned into both blog and social content.

Turning audio word into written word also increases the potential SEO value of your podcast content based on keywords that are likely showing up in the audio recording.

Why should you produce video?

“It set the stage for more human interactions between brands and consumers. Interactions that don’t feel like marketing. And what better medium to propel this new wave of humanized marketing than video.” —@carlystec

Consumers watching video can take on the selling for you. Research has found that audiences are about 10 times more likely to share, embed and comment on online video content versus regular blogs or social posts.

How great is that? Cut your new business development costs and crowdsource leads by taking on video production.

Video builds brand awareness while increasing the efficiency of a sale. With 90 percent of the consumer journey happening before they want to speak to an agent or broker, video is a tool to build personal and brokerage brand awareness before a potential consumer ever walks into your office or calls you up on the phone.

If you put yourself in front of the camera rather than just creating listing videos, you can create even more of an impact on a potential future customer in terms of building your trustworthiness.

What’s even better? Film an unscripted event or open house where viewers can see you in the act of working.

With the introduction of Vine, Periscope and Meerkat, video is now mobile and real time, and real-time marketing is more efficient.

Given consumers’ use of home-related searches on mobile and tablets hit 60 percent last year, shorter real estate videos that are optimized for mobile can be used in real time to answer questions or take them inside open houses.

It’s more effective to market where prospective buyers are already asking questions and video is poised to be a tool to reach them in real time.

A domino effect

All of these content marketing activities drive bottom-line benefits, but when used well together their potential for increasing revenues and lowering sales costs grows exponentially.

Furthermore, they create a domino effect for the rest of your sales and marketing efforts. SEO is improved, the cost of paid search goes down, and email, as well as retargeting, becomes more useful.

Whether you’re an agent with a high closing percentage on low deal flow or a brokerage with a low closing percentage on high deal flow, content marketing can assist in turning your real estate business into an efficient sales machine.

Seth Price is VP of marketing at Placester, a passionate content creator and host of the Craft of Marketing Podcast. You can connect with him on Twitter @sethstuff or LinkedIn.

Email Seth Price.