Usherpa Blog - Content that Converts: Realtors Work Smarter, not Harder
We all know the real estate industry runs on relationships. But like plants in a garden, relationships need regular tending and will wither if neglected.
This imperative puts serious pressure on real estate agents who must juggle the needs of current clients while trying to grow their personal brand. It’s an exhausting list of action items: Follow up on leads and stay connected with past clients, stay on business partners’ radar, send texts, make personal calls, mail birthday cards, create fresh social media content, write blogs, start new email campaigns, engage, engage, engage.
Agents should not be expected to clone themselves or work a second full-time marketing job in order to have a successful career. And so the key to building a personal brand is figuring out a way to manage your existing workload while also consistently and thoughtfully engaging with clients—and ideally still enjoying your weekends.
In 2020, communication that opens with “Hello subscriber” doesn’t cut it; the effective strategy for securing repeat business and referrals is utilizing automated marketing tools that engage your network with high-quality, customized content and resonant messaging.
And the messages that resonate best are those that meet the customer directly where they’re at.
Campaigns that market to specific demographics, featuring hyperlocal customized content written by industry pros and automated delivery, is actually possible in 2020. Utilizing custom-branded marketing collateral not only helps streamline real estate agents’ communication, it bolsters their reputation as a trusted adviser.
Custom, Hyperlocal Content is King
Content marketing is all the rage for those looking to build a brand, but canned, generic content isn't worth your time. As Amazon, Netflix and other platforms show us on a daily basis, the more targeted your message is to specific demographics and interests, the greater effect it has.
Custom content works best because it focuses on what your customer needs, not you or your business.
“Content needs to be relevant, timely and memorable. … Add value, not clutter,” real estate marketing consultant Stacey Cohen tells Inman in a report about personal branding.
And what’s as important as personalized content? Being hyperlocalized. Whether it’s about school districts, interest rates or ways to boost curb appeal, people need information about what’s happening in their ZIP code. Canned, generic mailers with cliché home ownership platitudes get tossed right into the recycling bin. But if agents can provide first-time home buyers with region-appropriate maintenance tips, or community resource information for new-to-the-area clients, they will earn their place as a go-to adviser with buyers and sellers.
Thoughtful, personalized and curated content makes you a helpful resource for your network. It builds trust, which is foundational to any long-term relationship. When clients think back on their experience with you, you need to be more than just someone involved in a sales transaction. And if you continue to share the right information at the right time in the buying and selling cycle, you become a source of knowledge that they can rely on, someone whom they’ll be happy to refer to a friend or family member—and one warm referral is worth 100 cold leads.
Real Estate Agents Can’t Afford to Lose Touch
Agents that can't keep up with cultivating their networks lose business, and there are stats to prove it.
According to 2018 data compiled by the National Association of Realtors about home sellers, 69% said they “definitely would use the same agent again”—yet only 24% used the agent they worked with previously to buy or sell a home. While some of the gap could be due to relocation out of the agent’s area, it’s likely that for many customers they simply lost touch.
The truth is, many people forget their agent's name within six months of closing if there’s no follow-up contact.
Many agents focus too much on leads, while leaving people they've already done business with on the back burner. But successful marketing isn’t just about direct mail "farming" and targeting prospects in a specific district: Agents need to stay on the radar of buyers and sellers who've used them before and trusted them.
It's also important to expand the definition of “your network.” An agent’s B2B network can be a goldmine for referrals. Engaging with appraisers, contractors, electricians, handymen and cleaning crews all ties into the relationship matrix.
Embracing Technology and Authenticity
In a 2019 National Association of Realtors survey, 46% of real estate firms reported keeping up with technology was one of the biggest challenges they faced. For content marketing, agents need intuitive, actionable solutions that streamline their workflow and make maintaining relationships easier through more effective use of their customer database. Sending past and present customers personalized messages, news about their neighborhood or an email on their birthday is achievable when it’s automated and combined with data intelligence (or as I like to call it, “Authentic Intelligence”).
Authentic Intelligence is more effective than standard artificial intelligence that uses a broad-strokes algorithm to send out blast emails; authentic intelligence is a more nuanced approach in that it utilizes the agent’s own discernment for the type of campaign to deploy—for buyers, sellers or B2B partners.
Authentic Intelligence is the difference between that generic mailer to “Current Resident” that gets tossed in the trash, and a thoughtful message that celebrates a past client’s first year of homeownership—and is delivered to the client’s preferred communication channel, be it email, text or a postcard. Think of authentic intelligence as intuitive technology that mines your customer database and allows you to micro-target custom content to the right audience.
Real estate agents in 2020 have more ways to stay connected than ever, which can feel overwhelming.
Building a personal brand and maintaining relationships don’t have to be impossible dreams for a time-crunched agent. It’s all about smartly utilizing what you already have—your cultivated client and B2B networks—and consistently delivering information that resonates, allowing you to harvest more repeat and referral opportunities.