The initial plunge into content marketing can be intimidating for busy real estate agents. Creating useful content—whether writing a blog post, recording a video or posting to social media—is hard work, and takes a lot of planning.
Why should real estate agents invest in content marketing?
Like other forms of marketing, content marketing helps real estate professionals get the word out about their brand. The content marketing approach differs in that it prioritizes the relationship you have with your client. You grow that relationship by sharing useful information with your audience.
Real estate agents that use content marketing to engage with clients:
• Increase brand awareness;
• Earn expert status in the local and regional real estate community; and
• Stay top-of-mind among clients, even in between buying cycles.
We’d like to highlight that last bullet point. Real estate is a competitive space with a very specific marketing challenge—the one-on-one time real estate agents get with customers comes (at best) once every few years when people need to buy or sell a home. For many buyers and sellers, their relationship with their agent ends after closing.
On top of that, research shows that people are staying in their homes longer, slowing the sales cycle for real estate agents. In 2019, U.S. homeownership tenure hit its highest level in years, at a median of 10 years, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual profile of American buyers and sellers. That compared with six to seven years historically.
If your marketing strategy is solely focused on sharing current listings, you’re missing out on an opportunity to grow client relationships outside of the context of a home purchase. This is where content marketing comes in.
In this post we’ll answer three questions about content marketing and its effectiveness:
1. How can content marketing help real estate agents create brand awareness?
2. How can content marketing help real estate companies strengthen client relationships?
3. How can content marketing help real estate companies identify and market to their target audiences?
Create brand awareness
Like it or not, the data show us that the vast majority of real estate deals begin on the computer screen, typically with a Google search. Prospective home buyers and sellers rely on online searches to find real estate agents and mortgage lenders, and to research local listings. In general, more than half of all website traffic comes from organic search, according to survey data from BrightEdge.
You certainly want to optimize your real agency’s website and business listings so that your brand shows up in search results. But why stop there? Content marketing allows you to cast your brand’s net even wider, increasing the chances that your brand appears in search results across a broader range of topics. This gives you an avenue to create brand awareness among people who might not even be in the market for a home yet. That’s a pretty big deal.
Take, for example, a blog post that explains what renters should do to clean up a rental property after ending their lease. The post even provides a simple cleanup checklist to keep readers on track. A post like that keeps you top-of-mind among your existing clients and works to capture the attention of people who aren’t familiar with your brand, boosting your overall brand awareness.
Strengthen client relationships
The process of buying (or selling a home) is complex. Most American are in the dark about what it takes to buy a home, and not all the answers are easy to find. Take, for example, this statistic: Roughly 40% of Americans surveyed by government-backed lender Fannie Mae didn’t know the minimum amount of upfront cash needed to buy a home. Most of those surveyed wildly overestimated the minimum down payment needed.
The Beatles sang it best: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Content marketing allows real estate agents to step into the role of knowledgeable friend, sharing expert know-how as well as a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and why you do it. You want your clients to think of you as a trusted adviser, not just their real estate agent. Sharing information through content marketing helps you build that trust.
Let’s go back to the downpayment confusion. What if your real estate agency provided a blog post, infographic or video explaining the minimum down payment necessary to purchase a home? The content could include links to helpful resources online, and perhaps a video testimonial from a client explaining how they saved for their home purchase.
That sort of content shows clients that you’re not just interested in making a sale; you’re interested in helping them figure out the housing market. That’s valuable.
Identify your target audience
Marketers need to track what content is doing well and who is consuming it as part of an effective content marketing approach. As a result, you get data that shows you the type of content your clients like to read or watch, and helps you plan what to talk about in blog posts, videos and graphics.
That data also helps you learn more about your client base, including the people who are in on your target audience. Your target audiences are the groups of people within your larger target market that you can gear specific ads and messaging to.
For example, say your content marketing data and related surveys reveal that a good portion of your audience are single mothers in their 30s. You could do a content push toward that audience, offering a post with quick DIY home organization projects that parents can do with children or an infographic with tips on how to save for a home on one income.
You can leverage what you learn about your audience through content marketing in your larger marketing approach. If the content targeting single mothers does well, consider offering to host a workshop for a local parenting meetup or advertising family-friendly home showings, complete with an activity table to keep children engaged while parents look around.
It takes time and energy to develop content, build relationships and grow your audience through content marketing. But the benefits are long-lasting, and, unlike other forms of marketing, are realized throughout the sales cycle. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to try new things to see what works.