- Write like a human, not like a brand. And you don’t need to close each blog with a hard sell. Useful content speaks louder than a sales pitch.
- Establishing credibility helps new website visitors feel confident in reaching out to you about working together.
Every successful real estate agent will tell you that nurturing a healthy pipeline of people who can lead to your next closing is crucial for survival in this business. But creating value during the nurturing process can be a huge challenge.
That’s where blogging comes in. If you already have a blog, you may be sitting on a gold mine of opportunity to nurture and convert your leads into closings.
In this article you’ll learn how to boost your lead nurturing with targeted blog content. But before we start, lets call out the elephant in the room.
What’s the point of blogging?
“Business people have been writing articles for trade publications for decades to become niche experts. That’s why blogging for business is such a no-brainer, as long as you realize that the content you create is a launch pad for other opportunities that build your brand,” said Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital.
And for real estate agents in the business of generating leads and nurturing them to a successful close, blogging is one of the best ways to create value during your follow-up process.
Hold on, though. You might be thinking that staying in touch with leads is really difficult. Unfortunately, you’re right. And this often leads to self-imposed limits for following up.
All too often, we give up on our follow-up too early when in reality we should continue the outreach until we figure out how we can best be of service. But even then, we still need to follow-up.
The data to support this is jaw-dropping: while 80 percent of sales leads require five follow-ups to make a connection, a whopping 44 percent of sales people call it quits after just one. This is a huge missed opportunity.
I’m a firm believer that we don’t need more leads; we need more connection with the leads we already have.
That’s why your blog is so important to the lead nurturing process. Every one of your follow-up communications is an opportunity to ask questions, share information that may be valuable to your new lead and showcase how you can help.
Take your hot leads as an example. Ask every seasoned real estate professional you know, “How often do you follow-up after you get a new lead?”
What you’ll discover is that they have a follow-up process with somewhere between seven to 14 follow-ups across various mediums — text, email, snail mail, call and voicemail. Most of these touches are focused on the first few days after initial contact and then spread out over the next 100 or so days after.
This might feel aggressive, but remember that the consumer has already proven his or her interest in what you have to offer. It’s your job to reach consumers in any way possible and prevent them from becoming distracted from the reason they made contact with you in the first place.
1. Align your lead nurturing and blogging goals
When you start creating content for your real estate blog, you’re bound to have a number of objectives besides lead nurturing. How you prioritize them will inform your publishing strategy.
Let’s examine some of the goals you can work toward with your blog.
- Establish authority: Your blog is the hub of your personal branding efforts where you share your expertise to establish authority in your niche.
- Connect with readers: By sharing useful, relevant information, you’ll connect with customers, partners, other bloggers and every conceivable constituent in your social and business circles.
- Win business: The majority of brands that blog acquire more customers.
- Inspire your social media: You’ll promote your blog posts regularly and take advantage of the amplification social networks can provide.
- Increase reach: Your blog will be shared and find new eyeballs daily.
- Grow your email database: Your blog should inspire people to signup for your email newsletter list, which, in turn, feeds traffic to your blog.
- Generate publicity: As previously mentioned, business bloggers establish authority. When you demonstrate you know your niche, you’ll get asked for interviews frequently.
- Give your brand a voice: A blog is your pulpit, your publication, your journal — the place where you talk about whatever you choose, however you choose.
- Get (and stay) customer focused: By blogging, you’ll learn how to speak in your customers’ terms and grow more in touch with your audience’s wants and needs.
2. Develop a strategic editorial plan
Your real estate blog needs to focus on specific topics, but be broad enough to allow you to perpetually create new and useful content.
Let’s get into some practical approaches for identifying topics and extracting ways to use them to publish relevant content regularly.
ID the questions prospects ask
You need to discover your prospects’ interests, concerns and challenges and interpret them as questions. What would they enter in search?
Your prospect’s questions might be uncovered in chat, email, phone calls, blog commentary, etc. Tune in closely to these channels, and document the questions.
Also, spend time on the social media channels your prospects use. Look for questions and conversations about business challenges. Make and maintain a list of them. You’re going to answer them on your blog.
Get in the habit of reading the content published in your niche: in blogs, social media and books.
When you discover something promising, swipe the idea and document it.
Of course, you don’t want to plagiarize headlines or copy, but you want great ideas to inspire yours. Create a “swipe file” of inspiring ideas.
Monitor your market
Stay plugged into what’s going on in the industry and your local market. You can keep tabs on industry news with alerts, feeds and media monitoring tools.
Don’t let a big idea be a singular idea. Use mind mapping apps, a whiteboard, flip chart, sticky notes or whatever you prefer to brainstorm subtopics and ideas that relate to the core idea and build a bigger story.
Ask your readers
Ask your readers how you can publish content that will help them succeed. You can do this via email invitations to surveys, with on-site survey tools, through groups and forums, and yes, in conversation.
Log your ideas
When you start blogging regularly, creative ideas will come at you constantly. You can’t get to them all, not immediately. Archive them. Whether it’s with a notepad, computer, cloud-based app or recorder, summarize the idea to the point where it will make good sense when you return to it.
3. Make time to post regularly
Chances are that you split your week between listing appointments, showings, open houses and tracking down your clients, attorneys and mortgage brokers to close deals.
Given all those priorities, making time to blog may feel impossible. Well, consider this: the majority of brands that blog acquire more customers.
Melanie Piche of the BREL Team in Toronto, Canada shared, “80 percent of our leads are generated online, and our blog is a big part of that. We consider the most valuable leads to be people who have already been following us for a while and have read our content. That is way more significant than someone who just requests information on a single property.”
Blogging provides valuable fuel for nurturing relationships at scale, allowing you to connect with your entire list beyond the calls, texts, emails and voicemail drops needed to keep in touch with somewhat fickle buyers and sellers.
You can share housing market trends, local events happening in your area, new listings, home improvement tips and much more — all through the content on your website.
By allocating consistent time to write useful content for your prospects, you are ensuring that when people arrive to your website, they discover information they both want and need. Establishing the credibility helps new visitors feel confident in reaching out to you about working together.
“You want to be the name that pops in a person’s head when a certain area of expertise is mentioned,” said Brian Clark.
4. Learn to speak your customer’s language
Now that you’re setting aside consistent time every week to blog, what are you going to write about?
Start by asking yourself, “What are the five questions I get most from new contacts?”
Maybe you get asked most about school districts or comps in a certain neighborhood. Use the questions you answer most as the starting point for your first five blog posts.
When you’re drafting the posts, be sure to set things up in a way that is accessible from the client’s perspective. The way you’d talk about a certain subject with your agent team is probably not the way you’d describe it to a buyer or seller.
Keep that in mind, and speak in terms the customer will understand and relate to. Write like a human, not like a brand.
Clark advises, “Focus on delivering value to others and less on self-promotion. You’ll find you end up with much more because people won’t care about you until you’ve given them a reason that transcends you.”
Ideally, your blog should be a place where you offer free advice and cement yourself as the expert in your market.
Pro tip: You don’t need to close each blog post with a hard sell. If the content is useful, readers will reach out to get connected. If you don’t have a specific CTA (call to action) in mind, consider ending your posts with a question.
Try, “Did you get the information you were looking for?” instead of, “If you have any additional questions, please let me know.”
5. Use the blog as part of your follow-up process
You’re setting aside time to blog; you’re drafting posts that provide sincere value to potential clients — now what? Take your blogging one step further by adding your blog content into your lead nurture process.
Remember how in point no. 2 above I talked about speaking in customer terms? In the follow-up process, you want to take it one step further.
Write your follow-up emails so that they are general enough to be used by everybody, but specific enough to make leads feel like you wrote it just for them.
When you send your follow-up emails, include some of your best content that applies to the recipient’s current stage of the nurturing process.
This will direct clients to helpful information that you’ve already created (time-saver) and put them back on your website to check out your new listings and other content you’ve created — keeping you top-of-mind.
“Lead nurturing is like dating done right. You’re not pushing the relationship, you’re providing value and commitment. You’re letting the relationship grow,” said Billy Ekofo of Century 21 Redwood.
Along those same lines, Stacie Staub of West + Main Homes echoes, “Serve people content that they will find useful in a way that makes them feel like you’re their Realtor for life.”
Realtor for life has a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
These are just a few ideas for leveraging blogging to build your real estate brand — the possibilities really are endless.
Seth Price is a nationally acclaimed speaker, the VP of Industry Relations at Placester, author of “The Road to Recognition“ and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts.