In our regular Negotiator slot, we talk a lot about content marketing for estate agents. This is because content marketing is the cornerstone of everything we do in our work with agents. An effective content strategy gets results, whether you’re looking to generate leads, raise brand awareness or convert the mildly interested into loyal customers.
What is content marketing?
If you’re not clear what exactly content marketing is, put simply, it’s about creating the collateral that piques people’s interest, making them aware of your brand and helping them engage with you. This content is often blogs and videos but it can be much wider, taking in social media posts, webinars, podcasts, infographics, reports, case studies and more.
Your content marketing strategy also concerns the channels that get you seen by your target audience. Crucially, this includes search engine optimisation (SEO) – making sure your content ranks for Google so the right people find your answers to their questions. It’s also about how you use social media platforms to share your content organically and through advertising that targets niche audiences.
A key element of this content is that it is valuable; information, advice and insight that can help people solve problems. Mostly it is given away for free. Though, as your customer progresses through the content marketing funnel, you may wish to exchange particularly great content for a deepening relationship – them signing up for your newsletter, for example.
Isn’t it just a fad?
Content marketing feels like a new thing, that’s evolved with the growth of the internet and social media. In some ways it is, but that’s not the whole picture. While the methods may have changed, big brands have been using content marketing for years – as far back as the turn of the 20th century when Procter and Gamble invented the soap opera to build relationships with customers and… sell soap.
Why use content marketing instead of traditional methods?
Your marketing strategy might take in other, more traditional methods – door drops in target areas, billboards, display ads in lifestyle magazines. There’s nothing wrong with doing this too and your activities may bring results. The problem with traditional methods is that they tend to take a big brush approach – putting your brand in front of everyone who passes the billboard or opens the magazine, regardless of whether they plan to buy, sell or rent out property.
It’s about creating the collateral that piques people’s interest, making them aware of your brand.
Content marketing is different because it targets the precise audiences you are looking to reach with material that is valuable to them, solving the problems that keep them awake at night and immediately establishing a relationship with you.
Traditional advertising involves disruption – breaking into customers’ consciousness whether they like it or not. This is true of things like TV or radio advertising. The challenge in this type of marketing is to be noticed above all the noise; to be more than an annoying break in the action. Content marketing brings people who might wish to engage with your brand to you. Compared to traditional advertising, content marketing is also extremely cost-effective.
Why is content marketing particularly useful to estate agents?
If content marketing is about building relationships by solving the problems of a target audience, the real estate business is well placed to make use of it. Buying, selling and renting homes is a complex, stressful and expensive, business with lots of variables at play. Targeting blogs, videos, podcasts and webinars at your potential vendors and landlords at this tricky time in their lives is great for raising brand awareness and building loyalty and trust.
Take new landlords for example. There’s a huge amount of information to take in. Get something wrong and the consequences could be catastrophic. Content that helps them stay on the right side of the ever-changing law is likely to put you high on their trust list when it comes to placing their rental property with a letting agent.
What else is content marketing good for?
Great content marketing is also good for your reputation more widely. Commentaries, interviews or market reports that you share on your organic channels can make you and your people visible thought leaders in the industry, building trust with potential customers too.
Tell me more
If you’re new to content marketing, the key is developing a strategy. You’ll need to think deeply about your audiences and who you want to reach as well as their pain points and all the different tools and types of content at your disposal. We’ll be looking in-depth at these in future articles – so watch this space.
Got a question?