Published April 20, 2021 | Updated July 6, 2022
More is not always better, and that’s certainly true when it comes to lead generation. As an agent, generating leads is a key part of your business, but generating quality leads is even more important, even if you get less of them.
In most cases and depending on your business structure, your marketing strategy should be focused on generating leads that are based on quality, not quantity.
Low-quality, hard to transact leads that aren’t engaged with or loyal to you or your brand will require a lot of work to eventually convert into actual business, but high-quality leads can be converted into business faster and easier.
And that’s where having a solid inbound, rather than or in addition to outbound, marketing strategy can really help. Essentially…
- Outbound marketing is when you reach out to people to try to create interest in working with you. For example: printed postcard campaigns, email blasts, cold calling, and door-knocking are all outbound marketing techniques.
- Inbound Marketing is when is when you attract and build meaningful, lasting connections and relationships with people through providing valuable content, resources, and experiences. For example, blog content, downloadable resources, and video content are all inbound marketing techniques.
And when done right, inbound marketing is extremely effective and can be a big part of your overall quality lead generation strategy for many years to come. But why is that?
It’s because the people that engage you, after being brought in by your inbound strategy, will already be convinced that they want to work with you when they’re ready to. They’ll remember you, your brand, and your business, and in a lot of cases, won’t consider working with anyone else because they already trust you. It means better, more qualified leads.
But it also takes a lot of work to put a strong, inbound marketing strategy in place, and to be successful. you can’t really trick people.
Effective inbound marketing involves actually caring about your potential clients, providing the information they need (even if it means them not working with you), and the engaging them and delighting them as they go through the decision making process, and even beyond to keep them in your ecosystem. To be successful, empathy and empowerment are really key.
So how do you actually build out an inbound marketing strategy?
Step 1: Define Your Target Audience
Before you can put together any type of marketing strategy, you have to firmly know all the details about who you’re marketing to. The people that fit within that ideal group are called your target audience. Your target audience is always:
- Who you work with right now.
- Who you want to work with in the future.
- Who you don’t want to work with.
Want to learn more about how to develop your target audience? Have a look at these related posts:
- Finding Your Target Audience, and Why You Should
- Why Your Target Audience Shouldn’t Be Anyone and Everyone
Step 2: Define Your Marketing Events
Now that you have a clear plan around who you’re targeting, you need to know the events that trigger them to look for a real estate agent, and while there are certainly a lot of them, you should refer back to your target audience to ensure that it’s what would actually trigger them specifically.
- If my target audience is upsizers, their marketing event could be when a couple is expecting a baby.
- If my target audience are downsizers, their marketing event could be when their child moves out of the family home to head off to college.
- If my target audience is first-time homebuyers, their marketing event could be when they get a promotion at work.
There are a lot of different scenarios, and it’s ok to have a lot of them. By defining what they are specifically, you have a much clearer picture around what would make them look for a real estate agent, or at least, information around that type of transaction or situation that they’re in.
Step 3: Build Your Keyword and Content Strategy
Now that you know who you’re targeting and the marketing events that trigger them to look for a real estate agent, you can begin to build out your keyword and content strategy.
- Your keyword strategy is: what they’re searching for during a marketing event.
- You content strategy is: what they find when they click through a search result.
To determine what keywords are actually being searched, and to plan out your keyword strategy, you should use a tool like Google Keyword Planner (although you will need a Google Ads account to use it). GKP allows you to enter a search term, and then get information around the search volume for that keyword plus some additional options.
For example: if I enter: selling my home during divorce, Google tells me that it doesn’t get that many searches, but suggests selling house during divorce as a better option, so I’d know to build my content strategy around that keyword instead.
Keyword research is a bit of an art, and it will take you some time to do the research and figure out what your audience is actually searching and what keywords you should build your content strategy around.
Next, you can move onto your content strategy, which is planning out all of the content that will be produced around the keywords identified above. You content strategy is all about writing high-quality, conversion based content that’s directly inline with what your audience is searching as part of their marketing events, essentially to show that you’re an expert in the field that your audience is searching.
For example, as part of your content strategy, you could write a detailed, long-form blog post called: Everything you need to know about selling your house during a divorce. This long-form blog post could be used a your main, pillar page piece of content. And then from there, you could write a series of blog posts about that topic that link back to that main post to increase its relevancy and to give your target audience more chances of finding it in a search results during a marketing event. You could even take it a step further and put together a resource or eBook they could download that solves their problem of what they’re searching for, and equally important, helps get them into your contact ecosystem.
You can then continue the process to build out additional content using a different marketing event until you have all of your events covered, which will allow you to cast a wide content net based around all of the focuses of your real estate business.
Step 4: Build Out a Nurturing Strategy
After someone downloads a resource, reads a blog post, or otherwise gets the information they need in regards to their search, it’s certainly possible that they’ll leave, forget about you, and never come back. That’s where your lead nurturing process comes in.
A key part of inbound marketing is to ensure that your visitors don’t forget about you and instead, are reminded that you exist and that you helped them when they had a question. There are a number of ways to do that, but the most effective are:
Through Marketing Automation: Marketing automation allows allows certain marketing actions to happen, automatically, when someone does something specific on your website or with your content, so it plays a big role in the overall nurturing process.
For example, it can be as simple as, when someone visits a page on your website, you can trigger an email to be sent that encourages them to look at some similar content that you have. Or, it can be a lot more complicated, like when someone downloads your eBook, you distribute a series of time triggered and strategic text messages and drip email campaigns that inform them and encourage them to take additional action.
You can learn a lot more about marketing automation right here.
Through Retargeting Advertising: Retargeting is a great way to constantly remind your audience that you exist. The way it works is: when someone visits your website, a tracking cookie is installed in their browser, based on their IP address, and then they’ll see ads on various websites or social networking sites for a period of time to remind them about your brand and to bring them back to your website to convert.
You can learn a lot more about retargeting advertising and how to set up your campaigns for success right here.
There a lot of other options too, but the point is, you need to find ways to stay in contact with and stay top of mind with the people that have interacted with you so that when they are ready to make a decision, they’ll remember that you, your brand, and your business, already have the answers they need.
★ Want to learn more about inbound marketing? Have a look at these posts:
- The Philosophy of Inbound Marketing, and Why it Works for Agents
- Planning a Real Estate Lead Flow Through Inbound Marketing
- Optimizing Your Content for Humans (And Not Just for Search Engines)
- Why You Should Drop Your Real Estate Marketing Funnel (And What to Do Instead)
In the end…
For a lot of real estate agents, embracing an inbound focused marketing strategy is a difficult decision to make as it goes against a lot of the traditional marketing that agents are taught to use, like door knocking, postcard delivery, etc; and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with an outbound marketing strategy, incorporating an inbound strategy on top of that can generate some really good, long term results and high-quality leads, often in the background.
Want to get better, more qualified leads and build your authority? Our Inbound Marketing Guide is a walkthrough of the overall philosophy of inbound marketing, why it’s effective, and how you can build it into your own real estate marketing strategy to get better marketing results.