Inbound Marketing for Real Estate Agents: Part 1

It’s not as complicated as it seems

Inbound Marketing has been the “hot term” in marketing for over a decade. You’d think that the heat would have faded, but it remains a buzzword in real estate for one simple truth: Most real estate agents know they should have an inbound marketing strategy, but few know what that looks like. Have no fear. Inbound marketing for real estate agents looks like this:

funnel

Pretty simple, right? Anyone who’s sold anything is familiar with the concept of a sales funnel: Everyone goes in the top, and your clients come out the bottom. They progress down the funnel by providing evidence that they are more likely than another to become a client.

The difference between a generic sales funnel and inbound marketing for real estate agents is how prospect moves through the funnel. Traditionally, the agent was responsible for reaching out to the prospect. The seller would make phone calls, send out postcards, or advertise in a magazine. With inbound marketing, though, the prospect comes to you.

Just because its simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Ask any agent with a good inbound marketing strategy, and they’ll tell you: Having leads come to me is really, really nice. Well how can you make inbound marketing work for you? It’s a four step process:

  • 1) ATTRACT
  • 2) ENGAGE
  • 3) CONVERT
  • 4) DELIGHT
  • The central idea is that rather than pounding prospects with flashy graphics and billboards, you give them what they want first. A simple example: You know that many prospective buyers are curious about your town’s school system. So, you create the best resource on the internet about that town’s schools. Inbound marketers use a variety of channels and strategies to make clients come to them. They should all be familiar to you:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Video
  • Events
  • Most real estate agents I work with have tried at least two of the strategies on this list, but that doesn’t mean they have an inbound marketing strategy. That’s because many so-called strategies lack the focus and direction to move their prospects through their funnel.

    Consider these two examples:

  • An agent sends out a comprehensive newsletter about housing data and mortgage rate updates:This kind of information is important for a prospect who is considering entering the market soon, whether as buyer or seller. But what about all those homeowners 3-6 years away from selling? That email isn’t all that valuable. The agent only targets prospects at the very bottom of his funnel.
  • An agent regularly hosts outdoor movie nights at a park in his neighborhood, and makes sure to introduce himself to every attendee: So, it’s another effective way to keep up appearances. It’s a great way to establish yourself as involved in the community. But what does a movie night say about that agent’s negotiating strategy? Not a whole lot. This action focuses only on the top of the funnel.
  • Inbound Marketing Takes a Plan

    An inbound marketing strategy is more than a good idea, it’s a system driven by analysis, responsiveness, and, most important, planning. To succeed at inbound marketing, you must understand how a movie night and emails about mortgage rates work together in a continuous loop that turns prospects into clients, clients into homeowners, and homeowners into prospects.

    I say it’s not easy because there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes: Analytics, tracking, research, and good old fashioned relationship management all play an important role. In the future parts of this series, I’ll go in depth about how inbound marketing for real estate agents, and how to create one that works for you!

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