We all know the enormous value traditional real estate agents bring to a transaction. They will never be replaced by bots or discount services, but consumers can easily be romanced by what appear to be lower-cost alternatives.
That’s why it’s more critical than ever for quality agents to communicate their value – aggressively, frequently and strategically. Many agents know this, but face new and complicated marketing channels. It’s difficult to create a content marketing strategy, and even tougher to deploy.
The early adopters will come out ahead in 2018, and are already preparing by hiring providers and purchasing software to help them in these four critical areas: strategy, digital tools, farming, and content. As markets age and consumers increasingly favor expert advisors over sales agents, they will win.
The four essentials real estate agent need to address to see success in 2018 are:
- Strategy: Your strategic plan must be technical and complex because the digital tools — working in tandem with traditional media — require a sophisticated methodology for reaching new and past clients. If your service or provider’s strategy doesn’t encompass content, market analysis, tracking and a firm, diligently maintained schedule for consistent delivery, find a new partner.
- Digital tools: Today, the three undisputed digital marketing essentials for agents are blogging, social media and email. An agent’s blog should function as a “hub”; it’s where consumers discover agents’ custom digital content. Once posted, social media and email are the best digital channels for disseminating a blog’s content. To expand reach across these channels, incorporate lead scoring, routine referral campaigns, lead nurture material, enticing lead-capture forms and web cookies.
- Farming: The most powerful and comprehensive way to farm is still through direct mail. Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) most recent survey shows that direct mail is seven times more effective than all digital channels combined. In 2016, marketers reported an ROI of 27 percent from standard direct mail, while agents mailing custom newspapers report ROIs of 400 percent and higher, the DMA report showed. Why so effective? Mail — including marketing mail — can be easily targeted to an entire neighborhood, not just subsets, and gets an 80 percent “open” rate, according to DMA.
- Content: Content is marketing’s sine qua non, literally “that without which there is nothing.” To survive, your content must shift to what matters most to your prospects. Today, custom, “hyperlocal” content is the key. It’s used by the nation’s most successful and best agents to dominate their markets. Content builds relationships and improves SEO. Google’s algorithms have moved from keywords and backlinks to relevance — and quality content often registers as extremely relevant.
It’s time to adapt … or die
Content and channel integration is the critical component for making it all work. Choose a system that blends technology and strategy with content and agency-like campaign management. There is a real opportunity for agents to seize market share from the hundreds of thousands of agents who cannot or will not commit to an integrated, multi-channel content strategy. If you don’t take the road less travelled, your business will die. Not today or tomorrow, but eventually.