Probably the last thing any broker or real estate agent has time for is a blog. Contracts, showings, meetings, appraisals, website maintenance – who has time to fit in a blog?
Most real estate professionals devote a great deal of time and energy to their website, but 96% of the visitors to your website will not be ready to buy or sell a home.
Driving traffic to your website will likely draw prospects who are still very early in the buyer cycle. These leads can be cultivated for referrals and some will eventually become clients, but how do you keep people coming back if they’re not ready to buy or sell a home yet?
Scouring real estate websites for new listings, researching new constructions, foreclosures, networking, and advertising with your business card are all strategies that can generate leads, but there’s a much easier, less expensive way to attract potential homebuyers and sellers – with your BLOG!
Real Estate Ads Don’t Build Relationships
Since the mid-1800’s, real estate brokers and agencies have relied on relationship building of some kind to find prospective homeowners. Flyers, bench ads, radio and TV campaigns are all designed to put your face in front of as many people as possible. The hope is that consistent branding will eventually make you top-of-mind with consumers.
Yes, advertising can generate referrals and leads. But advertising exclusively doesn’t build relationships.
While top national brokerages dominate TV and print, smaller agencies, brokers and independent agents have to be more resourceful to cultivate relationships and build brand recognition in their target market.
63% percent of companies identified lead generation as their biggest marketing challenge. Attracting qualified homebuyers and sellers to your website is a reasonable goal, but relying on display advertising solely won’t generate the results you need to be profitable month after month.
You’re not going to find prospects. They’re going to find YOU…
The internet has empowered consumers with the tools to research and discover products for themselves, and that includes homes. They can research detailed information on the housing market, explore mortgage options, visit your website, read reviews, check local listings by homeowners, and join online groups for tips and resources – without ever meeting an agent or broker.
The Impact of Social Media
One-third of the entire globe is on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc) regularly. Spending as little as six hours a week on your social media channels can generate exponentially more exposure for your brokerage or agency! (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
During the awareness stage of the buyer cycle, important conversations take place on social media that impact a buyer’s decision. Consumers will initially refer to peers for recommendations, but increasingly they turn to trusted online sources such as industry experts and influencers for a more informed perspective on the housing market.
These online conversations take place on social media platforms where users can post comments, share news and relevant information with like-minded peers, associates, family or other members of their network. Special interest groups, social clubs, businesses and professional organizations of every kind meet and exchange content online.
And social media is where you need to be as well.
What Is A Blog?
A blog is a web-based publishing platform that empowers any individual to produce and share original content in the form of long or short posts. Blog articles generate millions of pages of content that search engines like Google love to index. Chances are that the top search results on any given topic come from blog sources.
By sharing your blog articles on social media, you can participate in online conversations indirectly, providing users with free, helpful information long before they’re actually ready to buy or sell a home.
Do People Read Blogs?
Yes! Consumers read blog articles. They discover them while researching a topic, or on social media through a friend or peer.
Facebook friends who share common interests, or live in the same community; collaborators working professionally over the web; special interest groups, network, and organizations, can all be found on social media, sharing ideas and resources such as blog articles and podcasts, YouTube content, and news releases.
Why Blogging Works For Real Estate Pros
Blogging works as a lead generation tool because of content marketing. By consistently publishing great articles (your content) about issues relevant to homebuyers and sellers, you can gradually establish yourself as a local real estate authority in your target market.
The backlinks you accumulate will build your authority with search engines, pushing your brand ahead of competitors who lack content.
SEO experts have examined the impact of blogging for businesses and the results are clear:
- Companies that publish 16 blog posts per month generate 3.5 x more traffic than businesses that publish a maximum of only 4 posts per month (HubSpot, 2015)
- B2C companies that published 11 blog articles per month generated 11x more traffic than companies that blog 4-5x per month (HubSpot, 2015)
- In the end, blogging works because it helps build trust between you and your target audience because you are providing them something without asking anything in return.
Blog Topics For Real Estate
Write topics that showcase your expertise as an experienced real estate professional. Guide prospective clients through the buyer process of home ownership with articles that offer valuable insights on:
- Mortgage rates
- Mortgage rules and regulations
- Housing rules and regulations
- Home repair/renovation tips, services, solutions
- Neighbourhood demographics
- New Home/Condominium developments
- Local business information
- Community resources (child care, auto repair, libraries, schools, etc)
- Neighbourhood news and events
Key Benefits of Starting A Blog
Launching a blog for your real estate business can quickly raise your profile and visibility online. If you’re willing to invest the time in crafting copy that’s engaging, timely and relevant to prospective homeowners, these are some of the benefits your blog will generate.
#1 Lead Capture With Your Blog – Marketing Automation
In 2015, marketing automation software generated 2x as many leads as email marketing. Your blog articles can be used to attract better, more qualified leads. Implementing strategic drip campaigns can be used to help you capture and convert leads from your blog posts into dedicated subscribers.
There are a number of affordable, web-based solutions that utilize artificial intelligence to help you create compelling, timely email offers, track activity in your social network, and communicate instantly with prospects based on their online behavior.
#2 Improve SEO Of Your Real Estate Website
Search engines rank domains based on an extensive range of factors, including backlinks. Your blog articles can generate backlinks which search engines will take note of. If you have more backlinks than local competitors, your articles will rank higher in search results and lead more prospects to your website.
Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines rely on great content just as much as social media. They want to give their users the best search results by connecting them with articles and other media that’s popular with others, relevant, and trustworthy. As your blog articles are shared more frequently, your content will gain popularity with search engines and gain higher visibility in search engine results.
#3 Market Research and Insight
Leads that become subscribers to your blog will become your most valuable prospects. You’ll be able to consistently track and monitor the traffic to your blog to determine who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and how urgent their need is. You can then segment your database of subscribers into unique groups based on your criteria (homeowners, sellers, families, retirees, condo dwellers, etc).
#4 Measurable Results…
With detailed web analytics streaming in from your blog traffic, you can measure the return on your investment more accurately than a radio or TV campaign. You can track how many people viewed your article, how many shared it, subscribed, as well as key demographic data (marital status, income, age, sex, etc).
#5 Repurposing Your Blog Content
For every blog article you publish, you’re creating content that can be repurposed and published again at a later date. Recommendations and updates on local neighborhoods and housing market statistics can be updated and reposted. Articles on local businesses or annual events can be reposted as well when they become relevant.
Blogging has evolved into a sophisticated marketing and lead generation tool for savvy real estate professionals and businesses of every kind. Investing time and resources in a blog can help you generate substantially more leads and expand your social network. The blog content you produce can be distributed through your social media channels, where prospective clients will discover and share it within their network.
As you consistently publish more articles, your blog will build authority with search engines and push your visibility in search results ahead of competitors who lack substantial content. With more pages to offer than your competitors, you’ll appear more frequently in organic searches and attract more leads who may become subscribers.
Your reputation as a real estate authority will also grow, enabling you to connect with and cultivate leads at the earliest stages of the buying cycle. Best of all, you’ll be able to track and measure your results with the web analytics from your blog.
Are you getting great results with your real estate blog? Share your comments below and let us know what blogging is doing for your real estate business!