Both the commercial and residential real estate sectors offer exceptional opportunities for professionals, however, opportunity draws a crowd. Effective content marketing allows professionals operating in these sectors to distinguish themselves in these highly competitive environments. Content marketing campaigns offer a number of benefits (brand recognition, reputational, etc.), but ultimately the key metric for measuring a successful content marketing campaign is qualified lead generation. Based upon our work for clients both in the commercial and residential space, we offer the following on how content generates leads in the real estate market.
Identify Your Competitive Advantage
Everyone looks for an edge, and homebuyers, sellers, and real estate investors are no exception. If your content is generic, there's little chance it will compel a potential client or investor to take action. Competition in the commercial and residential real estate sectors is fierce, and your content needs to make the case why your target audience should select you over easily dozens of competitors. The clear and concise articulation of your unique competitive advantage is not only the key to generating qualified leads, it is the essence to converting a lead into a client.
The concept of "competitive advantage" is unique for every real estate professional and is comprised of numerous components. Identifying your competitive advantage begins with understanding what it is you do, or more specifically, what you do well. For example, if your business excels in a particular county or region of the country, stress your success in those areas. There's no benefit to claim that you operate statewide or nationally if you don't, in fact, it dilutes qualified leads. Expertise in a specific area is a tangible competitive advantage and plays to your strength and presumably past track record of success.
Deal size, property type, sales and/or investment strategies, and your personal experience and story are also elements of identifying your competitive advantage. If you are the residential luxury property expert in a region, tell that story. If your commercial firm targets multifamily apartments in the $30M-$50M range, claim that range as your own and provide the track record that substantiates your expertise on deals in this range. Specificity in content marketing does not limit your business, you can always expand in terms of region, deal size, and property type. A thorough assessment of your track record, deal size, property type, and regional expertise leads to clarity in terms of your business plan and growth prospects. Furthermore, specificity not only filters leads, it provides you the best chance of landing the clients you need to land and have the best chance of landing.
Your personal narrative can be another crucial element to conveying your competitive advantage to propsects. Businesses active in communities they operate (charitable work, local clubs, etc.) have a tangible advantage over ones that are not. This works on any scale. A homebuyer who knows their real estate agent is active in the community realizes that this agent has a reputation to maintain beyond one deal. An investor looking to put money into a commercial real estate firm likely will see the benefit of a firm with close ties within the regions they operate.
"Competitive Advantage" is a concept we stress heavily at Optimized Content & Research because the process of working with clients to identify it leads to additional discoveries beyond the immediate benefit of qualified lead generation. Once identified, it is crucial to weave this narrative of competitive advantage throughout all content disseminated by your business. Let's take a quick look at some essential marketing vehicles for your content.
Website: When a potential client visits your website, the key elements of your competitive advantage should smack them across the face. Your website is your first deal filter, and the content must be strong enough to get qualified leads to contact you. In addition to presenting your track record and expertise, make sure your it's easy to contact you from your home page.
Blogs: The key element of a great blog posting is to demonstrate an aspect of your competitive advantage. Leverage this forum to discuss market trends in your region, relay client success stories, and offer advice relevant to the prospects you want to land. Your blog should not be a blatant advertisement, give people something they might be able to use. That said, your blog should serve your business needs and remember the object of the exercise is to build a pipeline of qualified leads. As an aside, if you do bring up a national topic, be sure to relate it back to one of the elements of your competitive advantage.
Social Media: Let's start with one caveat. If you post various articles pertaining to real estate, take the time to make sure that the articles do not mention a competitor in glowing terms, and make sure the article is not written by a competitor. At OCR, we encourage clients to post content that we write on their behalf, so the posts lead back to our clients' websites. The lesson here is simple: whenever you have the opportunity to control a narrative, do so. Finally, post items that relate to a component of your competitive advantage (this includes charitable and community work) but obviously avoid controversial issues that may alienate client prospects.
Videos: We have found that the most effective videos are educational in nature, such as participation in industry event panels, etc. These events have a certain gravitas that tend to play very well on video. Respect the differences between written and visual communication (for a lesson on this, read about the first televised presidential debate in 1960) and be aware of all aspects of the visual presentation as well as the content since they can be equally important. Please, no videos films on yachts with a cigar hanging out of your mouth and a spread of lobster and champagne in front of you.
Should you wish to discuss how Optimized Content & Research can assist with your content marketing efforts, please contact me directly at John.Grant@optimizedcr.com