A Changing Real Estate Landscape
The internet age radically changed the real estate industry. In a recent study, the National Association of Realtors compared how buyers found their home in 2001 versus 2014. The statistics demonstrate a dramatic shift:
- 1% of buyers in 2014 found their new home through a print publication advertisement
- 43% of buyers in 2014 found their future home online; up from just 8% in 2001.
- 33% of buyers in 2014 found their future home through a real estate agent; a 15% drop from the 48% in 2001
Real estate agents know potential buyers aren’t just using websites like Zillow and Trulia to find new homes, they are also using the web to access real estate knowledge previously limited to professionals. Whether it’s price history, appraised sales value, or market projections, the first meeting with a potential homebuyer is nothing like it was ten years ago… they’re ready to buy!
Now, real estate agents are faced with a unique challenge: how do you catch these sales-ready leads turning to the web for real estate answers.
The Inbound marketing solution
Although it’s sad to say “goodbye!” to the smiling billboards, glossy direct mailers, and delightful cold-calls to unqualified leads, utilizing the latest internet platforms is actually a better way to nurture leads into conversions. Rather than going out to find cold leads, not to mention investing the necessary time it takes to nurture those leads into conversions, the inbound methodology gives the qualified leads a path to find you. A good inbound strategy is all about online positioning.
Just like a home is, “location, location, location!” Inbound is, “position, position, position!”
How does inbound work?
The inbound methodology uses multi-platform approach to draw-in qualified leads. With this approach, when a potential buyer turns to the internet for real estate answers, you will be there to help. In the inbound world, we call this building trust. To start building trust with your potential leads, focus on these key aspects:
- Content: For real estate agents, these are your MLS listings. Although they provide you with a constant stream of new content, there is little you can legally do to alter them to attract more clients. We suggest honing your descriptions, providing HD pictures and videos, and including community information related to the listing. It’s also helpful to link parts of the description back to relevant blog posts.
- Blog: blogging is every inbounders favorite way to showcase expertise. Demonstrate how well you know your community, explain the latest real estate trends, and highlight your favorite listings. Anything you can write to show buyers and sellers you’re an agent who can be trusted.
- Social Media Engagement: Social media is the easiest way to connect with leads. Your smiling face on a business card or road sign was once the only way to showcase your unique personality. Now, social media allows you to form a relationship with potential clients while also staying fresh in buyer’s minds. With tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite and paid advertising, you can schedule postings for days when you’re too busy.
- Search Engine Optimization: although a Google search for home listings usually yields high traffic websites like Zillow and Trulia, web users desiring human interaction are actively searching for local realtors. The key is to create locally targeted content to funneling these searches to your site. By optimizing keywords, tuning meta-descriptions, and writing real URLs, you can guide these searchers to your site.
These few tips are just the tip of the inbound iceberg. Download our new ebook, the Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing for Real Estate Agents, to learn the best techniques for everything from search engine optimization to analytics. It’s time to make your website work for you!