ANDRES ANTONINI: Content marketing 101 - Is your online content sending direct business your way?

ANDRES ANTONINI: Content marketing 101 - Is your online content sending direct business your way?

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Andres Antonini

Solid market knowledge, conversation skills and a good firm handshake are the hallmarks of a good real estate agent.

Confident face-to-face customer relations have always been important to business success in our industry. They still are.

But as Australians spend more time online, real estate agents and property managers need to be as conscious of the impression they create online as they are of their face-to-face dynamics.

In the online marketplace, content marketing is the key to customer engagement and retention. By simple definition, content marketing is using news and insights to draw in and engage customers, and to make yourself their trusted adviser.

In Australia, a staggering 93 per cent of marketers use content marketing – indicating just how central it now is to client relationships. And for real estate agents, the right content recipe will help earn your place as the trusted local expert  the go-to person for your area.

If you want to win and hold the attention of potential customers, you need to be a reliable source of relevant, timely and valuable information. You need to share valuable knowledge – things that people want to know; things that people need to know.

People, not data

More than seven out of 10 Australian marketers say that eNewsletters are the most effective content marketing tactic. According to the latest Monetate e-commerce report, email marketing has four times the conversion rate to sales, and generates twice as much web traffic as social media activities.

So how can agents and property managers hit a home run with eNews marketing? Whilst eNews often falls into the category of database marketing, relationship marketing would be a better term. Behind every one of those email addresses is a person. The way we engage with those people, and the relationships we build with them will have a lasting impact on the success of any business.

When we deal with customers in person, we hold their attention by speaking respectfully, directly and helpfully. Our eNews should do the same. Remember, an eNewsletter is not about sending generic content to a faceless database, it’s about sharing valuable knowledge with people we want to build lasting relationships with.

The value of content: Extra, extra, read all about it

Interestingly, only a third of Australian marketers say they are actually doing an effective job at content marketing . To make sure you are in this 33 per cent, you need to tailor your content to meet the varied needs of your audience.

To build meaningful relationships, share more with your prospects than miles of arbitrary listings. That is a surefire way to lose relationships and end up in the SPAM folder. Resist the temptation to simply send out catalogs and think about how you can provide real value. Be more relevant. Be more strategic.

Here are a few tips to keep your audience interested in what you have to say:

  • Offer a real scoop  share valuable exclusive news in your newsletter that readers can’t find on your website or elsewhere.
  • Don’t just sell, TELL – share stories that your readers can learn from: home-buying tips, success stories or home maintenance guides.
  • Quality, not quantity – don’t inundate your list with rambling emails. Your messaging should be concise and digestible – and you should only be contacting your customers when you have important or valuable news to share.
  • Localise your content – general market trends will be of interest to your readers but if you really want to cement your position as the local expert, incorporate local hints and tips into your eNews. For example, Onthehouse offers free Suburb Statistics Reports for its Console and ClientManager subscribers. The reports contain stats and info that can add value to your eNews, engage customers, drive traffic back to your website and position you as the local area expert.

The most important thing to remember is that, in an increasingly digital world, your personal market expertise and local market insights are more valuable than ever. By putting eNews at the centre of your prospecting and client engagement strategy, you can amplify your profile as a trusted adviser and valuable source of knowledge. 

Don’t forget that your ‘digital handshake’ needs to be as strong and firm as if you’re standing in front of a potential customer.

Andres Antonini is group marketing director for Onthehouse Holdings, former director of digital and lead generation services for LJ Hooker and long-time strategic marketing consultant at Ogilvy & Mather.

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