Most agents follow a sales funnel process to turn prospects into clients, whether they know it or not. While content marketing is an excellent way for real estate professionals to build a client base and establish a competitive edge, many real estate professionals fail to properly use it to nurture leads.
The best reason to use content in your sales funnel is because it serves as a unobtrusive touch point throughout the process. Before discussing the types of content that are most valuable in each instance, let’s define the three stages of the sales funnel.
- Top of the Funnel—Awareness: The prospect is becoming aware of the problem they have (they need to buy or sell a house), and may have begun to search for solutions (they are considering using an agent).
- Middle of the Funnel—Consideration: The prospect is considering different solutions to solve the problem (they begin to research their options and the agents who may be able to assist them).
- Bottom of the Funnel—Decision: The prospect is choosing between different vendors (they’re weighing the pros and cons of working with each agent).
The right content can help guide prospects down the sales funnel until they are new clients. Here are valuable types of content to produce for each step of the way. Consider creating some of each type so you have it ready to go when the time comes.
Awareness Stage Content
When they first enter the funnel, prospects are just beginning to research solutions. At this stage, agents want buyers and sellers to become aware of their services. Content that can help make this happen includes:
- Blogs: Introductory posts about the buying or selling process are great for this stage. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report, only 16 percent of agents said they used real estate blogs, which means those who create high-quality content are more likely to show up in online searches.
- Social media posts: NAR’s report also found that 80 percent of agents use Facebook as their social media network of choice but LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are also important. Agents should use high-quality images or videos to showcase properties sold or for sale and valuable content such as answers to frequently asked questions for buyers or sellers.
- Handouts and worksheets: In this initial research stage, agents can be helpful in addressing common questions or misunderstandings for both buyers and sellers. Consider creating your own road maps to success as a low-pressure way to help potential clients feel more comfortable moving forward. Or you can try downloading and personalizing a few of REALTOR® Magazine’s handouts for customers as a way to start the conversation in person or online.
How to Target and Present Awareness Content: Many individuals first learn about an agent through a referral, but others start with an online search to find someone who fits their needs. That’s why this type of content is perfect to use in a Google AdWord buy or to respond to referral queries. Content in the awareness stage should discuss buyer or seller pain points, challenges, and opportunities. The content should not attempt to sell your brand yet, because these individuals are just beginning the process and aren’t ready to compare your services with those of another agent.
Consideration Stage Content
Consumers tend to feel more positive about a brand after they consume content from it. During the consideration stage, individuals are browsing different options, so your goal should be to provide content that helps persuade them to use your services. Content that works well during this phase includes:
- Customer testimonials: In written or video form, testimonials give prospects an idea of what they can expect when working with you.
- Fact sheets: Whether you pull the data from your office, local association, NAR, Realtors Property Resource®, or elsewhere, a simple fact sheet about your business (properties sold and number of clients) or the market in general (buying and selling cycles and trends) can be a powerful tool.
- Webinars or video tutorials: For visual learners, this is a great way to demonstrate the process of buying or selling or what it’s like to work with you.
How to Target and Present Consideration Content: During this stage, content can serve as a touch point and a way to reach back out to someone who’s aware of your services but who hasn’t yet decided on a solution to their problem. If a potential customer signed up for your email newsletter but you haven’t heard from them since, sending an email with a fact sheet is a helpful way to follow up. This type of content is also helpful to use in retargeting ads, which you can learn more about here.
Decision Stage Content
The prospect is ready to hire an agent, so it’s time to give a final push. The goals during this stage are to illustrate why you’re a better choice than the competition and to instill confidence in your services. You want your new clients to walk away feeling like they made the right choice. Content that can help here includes:
- Personalized articles: This is where your blogging can really pay off. Take content you’ve written for the awareness stage that addresses the particular need the buyer or seller has and send it to them with updated data points and personalized touches that speak directly to their timing and circumstances. For example, if it’s a family buying their first home, a blog post about how to evaluate a neighborhood or school system can be easily personalized for the ages of your potential client’s children.
- Step-by-step checklists: Create a road map for clients that showcases each step of their particular buying or selling process. This will show that you completely understand their needs and that they’re in capable hands.
- Recently closed transactions: Send prospects news about recently bought or sold properties that are similar to theirs. Be sure to highlight short sales cycles or any numbers that can help sway their decision.
- Collections: Keeping an organized collection of properties a potential buyer client likes in the neighborhood will show how dedicated you are to finding them the perfect home.
How to Target and Present Decision Content: At the decision stage, agents want to build trust with prospects so they feel comfortable when they make the hiring decision. Use this content to keep in touch with people who already know you and have expressed interest in your services or those with whom you’ve had an introductory meeting to discuss your services.
Tailored content can be a powerful tool for real estate agents looking to gain more clients. And since few agents harness the power of blogs and social media, those who do will gain a competitive edge.