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5 Things Agents Misunderstand About Inbound Marketing

March 26 2015

la misunderstand inboundInbound marketing, while not brand new, is still a relatively new form of marketing. Dubbed "new marketing" on its most simplistic level, inbound marketing is based around the idea of creating great content so people find you online. The key element being they find you, and you aren't out searching for them.

In the real estate industry, inbound marketing is becoming more and more of a thing. A year ago, if I asked any of our clients or prospects if they had heard of inbound marketing, by and large, almost all of them would have responded that they had absolutely no idea what it was. Today though, everyone at least has heard of and knows a little about the term.

Much like how social media launched into the real estate marketing landscape, inbound marketing has been welcomed with a bit of confusion, skepticism, and misunderstanding. To those ends, today I thought I would share five common misunderstandings agents have about inbound marketing, in the hopes of getting you started off on the right foot.

1) Your website can't get top search engine placement all on its own

This is one that comes up all too often. I hear it when speaking with clients and prospects about inbound marketing and also about website design. Basically this misconception boils down to the fact that agents think that if they have a "good" website that's all they need to end up on top search results. This is completely untrue.

No matter how great your website is, it is not all you need to rely on to get top search results on the search engines. You cannot blame your web designer for bad search engine placement if you do not have an inbound marketing strategy for your website. You need to be posting content regularly, targeting the keywords you want to rank for on a regular basis to make sure you will show up in search results.

2) Even though buying content from a service is easy, be leery of "duplicate content"

One common thing we find is that faced with the prospect of having to create content regularly and often on their website, many agents look to online services to buy inexpensive articles that they can post on their blogs. There are many problems with this, but the main one that will ruin everything they are after is duplicate content.

Simply put, if you subscribe to some sort of service that is selling the same blog articles to hundreds of agents, you are actually doing nothing for your SEO. In fact, you're hurting yourself. Web crawlers skip duplicate content and will actually penalize your website, ensuring it will not show up in any search results. This is not what you want.

3) Remember: Not all website traffic is good website traffic

At the top of this article, I gave a very vague description of what inbound marketing is. The thing about it is not just attracting traffic to your website and converting them to qualified leads, BUT it's creating THE RIGHT type of traffic to your site. The right type of traffic can be defined as those you would consider your ideal clients. To do this, it is critical you define your ideal client personas, BEFORE you embark on your outbound marketing campaigns.

Any content you are generating on your blog should be geared around who these ideal clients are. You want to create lots of this content, giving the largest possible chance that these people will find you online and become qualified leads.

4) Postcard marketing leads turn into clients more easily than "online leads" from inbound marketing

While I think everyone would agree the quality of an online lead from, say, Trulia, Zillow and the like are very low, I have to point out that online leads and AdWords marketingAdWords marketing ARE NOT inbound marketing.

While it is true that inbound marketing requires much more elbow grease than postcard marketing, AdWords, or other forms of outbound marketing, inbound marketing pays off way more in the long run. The reason, you ask? Conversion rates are better.

Taking into account misconception number three above, consider what happens if you do target your ideal clients and your content revolves solely around things that interest them and draw them to your website. That means 100% of the people you are targeting are your ideal clients. You are already on the same page as them before you even sit with them for a listing appointment, giving you a massive leg up.

If you are sending postcards, for instance, while you can still convert leads to clients, the road to client acquisition is much harder, as you are going to potentially encounter many people that aren't a good fit. This stands to reason, as you are marketing to EVERYONE and not simply to your ideal clients.

5) Paying a firm to help with your inbound marketing can be expensive, BUT no more so than your outbound marketing efforts

Given the fact that inbound marketing does take elbow grease and it is time intensive, you can't lose sight that in order to be truly successful, you have to be wildly consistent with your content creation, curation of that content and interaction on your social media properties. For many of you, this means having an honest conversation with yourself and determining if you are too busy to do it on your own, and need to use an inbound marketing agency to help you.

When we discuss inbound retainers with prospective clients, many times the thought of spending $1000-$2500 or even more, on a monthly basis, to have their inbound marketing handled, is too much for them to immediately consider.

The thing is, though, if you consider what agents spend on outbound efforts-- like postcard marketing, magazine and newspaper ads, etc.--$1000 per month is actually in the ballpark of typical marketing expenses. Many of those campaigns, when you include postage costs, run anywhere from $800-1500 per month or more. Magazine and newspaper ads can also be equally or more expensive.

Outbound marketing is not a "magic bullet" that is going to cure all the woes related to your real estate career. It is a viable source of obtaining high quality leads in a way that will establish you as the thought leader in your marketplace. Additionally, whether you want to admit it or not, times are changing. Even if you don't throw all your eggs into the "new marketing" basket, you need to be cognizant of this shift in the marketing landscape and incorporate at least some of this into the overall strategy you employ to build your real estate practice.

To view the original article, visit the Leading Agent blogLeading Agent blog.