Why Real Estate Agents Must Market to a Funnel, Not a Thimble

Here at My Home Pro Network, we have a small collection (okay, a big collection) of real estate marketing materials—post cards, facebook posts, even honest inbound marketing efforts—from around the country. And frankly, we think a whole lot of it stinks.

But not for reasons that you might think. Granted, we don’t suggest wearing a cape for your next photo-shoot, but we also know that marketing is about being memorable, and for some agents such strategies work.

No, we think most real estate marketing stinks because it focuses only on the bottom of the funnel. The call to action—”Just listed!” or “Learn Your home’s value!”—only attracts those who have already decided to enter the market. Yet most agents deliver these materials to all their contacts, even though it’s relevant to very few. These agents don’t market to a funnel, they market to a thimble.

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Inbound Marketing Requires a Tiered Approach

That brings us to an important principle of inbound marketing for real estate agents:

Prospects should be marketed to based on where they are in the homeownership cycle.

Sending a “Just listed!” email to a client who closed six months ago suggests you believe they should consider moving. Perhaps that makes sense to the shortsighted agent living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s a great way to appear inconsiderate and thoughtless.

“So wait,” you might be asking, “Does that mean I shouldn’t send everything to everyone?” Yes, that’s exactly what that means. Successful inbound marketing requires getting the right content to the right people at the right time. And for the majority of your database, your sphere, and your potential customer base, that means marketing outside the transaction. In other words: Marketing to the top of the funnel.

Remember: Most potential clients are not going to respond to transaction-focused marketing tomorrow. But when you get them into your funnel—whether by capturing an email address or having them follow you on facebook—you now have the opportunity to turn them from contact to client.

Top-of-the-Funnel Leads Require Patience, Planning to Convert

To get potential clients to the top of the funnel, you must attract those who may not be ready to buy or sell for a couple years. We recommend three ways real estate agents can do that:

  • Recommend local businesses
  • Provide home maintenance expertise
  • Advocate for the Community

None of these strategies are about home transactions. But they are, at core, about homeownership and life in the community. And every potential client has an interest in that. When you provide resources about homeownership, you engage a far greater share of potential clients for your funnel.

Once you get them in your funnel, whether by capturing an email address, getting followed on Facebook, or adding a phone number to your contacts, make sure you don’t rush them through. A key component of inbound marketing is to establish trust between you and your prospect. If you’ve done it right, you’ll establish yourself as their agent long before they consider hiring you. When the time comes, you’ll be the only agent they call.

We’ll touch more about how to get from the top of the funnel to the bottom in future segments.

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