It’s said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And – in the Internet age – you only have a few seconds to make that first impression. That means, it’s harder and harder for real estate and mortgage professionals to grab some attention online when there are videos of cats playing keyboards just a quick click away. So how are you supposed to help build your business using today’s tools when you’re competing with the entire Internet for views? Content marketing, that’s how. Content marketing is really a simple concept made new only by the technology that enables it.
Here are some tips to help simplify the concept and help you get ahead of the trend …
The Green, Green Grass Of Home (Pages): Pretend, for a moment, that you run a lawn care service in a town run amok with landscapers. In order to make an impression and stand apart from your competitors you could fly around in a hot air balloon with your logo plastered to the side or you could choose a much less expensive option like using email and social media to brand your business and connect with your community and contacts. The most effective way to do that is by offering prospective clients something for nothing. In other words, rather than sending out a mass email hyping your business and asking for money offer them content for free. And by content, we mean information – in whatever form you choose. You could send out a link to your blog where you’ve collected your best lawn care secrets in a series of short how-to posts. Or maybe you make a short video explaining the best way to plant grass seed and put it up on a Facebook page branded for your business. In short, you offer your clients content that complements your business and positions you as both an expert in your field and a generous type that isn’t afraid to share insider’s secrets. It’s easier to get someone to pay attention to you if you give them something they need rather than directly soliciting business. In this day and age, people can tell quickly when they’re being asked to buy something. There’s no quicker way to the recycle bin than to push sales over service.
But How’s That Make Me Money?: Okay, so you’re probably wondering how you’re going to make any money when you’re spending all day in the yard filming free YouTube videos and sending them to your blog and Facebook pages. Fair enough. Content marketing isn’t like advertising, where there’s a price for the ad and you can track its effectiveness. It’s more about forming relationships and building trust among your target audience. It’s about customer loyalty. It’s about creating a brand that’s recognizable. It’s about word of mouth. In other words, it’s about building a strong foundation for your business over time. It’s no get-rich-quick scheme. It takes a bit of creativity and effort.
Corporate Budgets Vs. Small Town Reality: It’s easy to pass off using social-media or email marketing as something for large corporations with money to spend creating viral videos and manipulating search-engine results. But, the fact is, you don’t have to compete for Google rankings or have your real estate content shared millions of times over around the world. You merely have to interest the people you hope to do business with. If your business is super exclusive and you can only work with two clients at a time, those two people are the only ones to keep in mind when thinking of things to share online. In other words, identify your audience and tailor your efforts toward them. Don’t worry about the rest of the Internet. There’s little you can do to change or influence it.