Why Inbound Is The Cleverest Form Of Marketing.

Estate agency is a relationship business. But more than ever consumers are cutting out human interaction in favour of independent research online. In fact, studies have shown that consumers only want to deal with a ‘salesperson’ in any capacity when they are already 70% through their buying process.

They have other ways of getting information, evaluating options and cutting the fat to create a carefully selected shortlist. Technology everywhere (supermarket self-service checkouts, comparison sites, etcetera) are all playing to the idea that consumers want more independence early on.

For estate agency, data proves the chance of speaking to a lead before they have already done their research is slim to none.

But you are a great agent. You understand your customers, your market, your service, your value. You are experienced, prepared, disciplined, and thoughtful in the use of your customer’s time and importantly your own.

So how do prove this to leads who are not quite ready to talk?

‘Interruption tactics’ (cold calling, spam email, ads) are not what consumers seek out – they are forced into their lives and interfere with their day. These methods, although still in widespread use, are becoming less effective.

But Inbound Marketing works entirely differently. It focuses on bringing leads to you.

Inbound marketing focuses on permission rather than interruption, and, when done right, is designed to target your ideal customer, provide helpful information, and establish trust – all without you saying a word. It mainly focuses on attracting people to your website through helpful and engaging content.

Disclaimer: Inbound marketing will not get your phone ringing off the hook, but it will generate leads that are more qualified, more engaged, and far more likely to convert.

The tactics:

  • Blogging: An active helpful blog is the single best way to attract people to your website.
  • SEO: By producing content, using keywords, optimising your pages and building links around search terms, you increase the chances of being found online.
  • Web pages: Every page of your website should appeal to your ideal customer and offer engaging content to entice them.
  • Social media: Social should be used to interact with prospects and humanise your brand, while also distributing valuable material. There are a lot of companies offering tools that help you manage social media effectively – at Propertyflock we provide free software specifically designed for estate agents.

Clearly content is Inbound marketing’s lifeblood. But what content should you create? Is it enough to write on any topic that takes your fancy, or should you spend more time thinking before putting pen to paper? The latter.

The most important lesson to learn quickly and never forget: Content must be focused on educating, not selling.

Content is about showing people that your business knows its industry and proving that your expertise is credible. It should help people trust you.

What you write on should come down to your audience; let them drive your content, not the assumptions of your marketing team.

By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you will naturally begin to attract inbound traffic.

How:

  • Use social media to find out prospects’ and customers’ wants and needs.
  • Record the types of questions they are asking and build content around answering them.
  • Monitor discussions online to identify concerns and worries, and provide resources for people to turn to.
  • Share the content you produce far and wide.

Beyond the above, your local expertise is perhaps the most important consideration for clients, so create content that demonstrates it.

Examples of data-informed material:

  • Your area’s demographics.
  • Crime rates.
  • School performance.

Ideas for community driven pieces:

  • Local annual events.
  • Independent restaurants and bars.
  • Great dog walks (or other hidden gems only the locals know.)

Once you have attracted people, you need to close the marketing loop by maintaining a complete database of leads and using content/offers tailored to where people are in the decision process. For example, a new Twitter follower will benefit from different information and content to someone requesting a valuation.

Inbound marketing is not just about attracting people to your business, it is about acquiring, converting and retaining the people you gain the attention of.

Don’t rely on outdated marketing methods that interrupt your customers, be there when they need you to make sure you’re remembered when it matters. Inbound marketing is the best way to turn strangers into clients and is a necessary step to achieving business success now and in the future.

Have you tried Inbound marketing? Let me know your experiences and thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

Image Source: Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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