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The Rise of the Self-Serve Era for Consumers

November 06 2014

orange callerNow, more than ever, consumers are doing their homework. They are spending countless hours asking their friends for recommendations, researching neighborhoods, mortgages, available homes and even real estate professionals - all before they pick up the phone to call anyone. Far before their email address lands in your bucket, the consumer already knows what he or she wants. The question is did they get that information from you?

The future of real estate marketing is in help, not hype. And that's the premise of the new ebook Youtility for Real EstateYoutility for Real Estate, written by New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer and Erica Campbell-Byrum from Homes.com.

The book outlines how loyalty is built in this new era and provides examples of Youtility in action by real estate professionals.

Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers. By providing people the opportunity to educate themselves at their convenience and pace instead of trying to yell the loudest, you are embracing one of the most straightforward tenets of Youtility: self-serve information.

Building loyalty based only on personal relationships or face-to-face contact is a thing of the past. Loyalty must be built by providing valuable information the consumer is looking for. Real estate professionals must provide volumes more information than ever before. The basic listings, property descriptions and simple neighborhood rundown alone are not enough to truly capture consumer's attention or build a relationship.

One great example of providing self-serve information is Tallahassee agent Joe Manausa. Joe has a laser-like focus on his target market and creates valuable information for people in that target to discover. By narrowing his focus, he is better equipped to provide Youtility based on specific types of information he shares.

"Since 2012, I've really been niche targeting. I want the $200,000 to $400,000 home seller, and that's who I'm targeting," Joe says. "So I'm writing articles about the kinds of questions that we get on a regular basis from those kinds of home sellers."

Joe has written daily blog posts for seven years and has learned to repurpose or atomizeatomize his content. By breaking what you know and breaking it into small, easily consumed pieces, you can then repackage and repurpose the knowledge in different formats. For example, Joe creates downloadable PDF guides on specific topics and has an informational email sequence that provides value to his prospects and clients by educating them every step of the way.

Joe's success comes from explicitly understanding the informational needs of his specific audience and practicing Youtility to serve those needs. Success with self-service isn't immediate. We never promised you Youtility was easy. But the results are worth the effort and will help you grow your business. Play the long game. Get in the habit of generating dividends over the long term instead of solely focusing on short term wins.

Maybe you don't have tons of information in consumable form just yet. Imagine a company based solely on providing self-serve information that prospective real estate buyers need in a simple, consumable format. That is exactly what Doorsteps.com Doorsteps.com does.

Doorsteps provides a comprehensive, step-by-step interactive guide to buying a home that's free for buyers to access. The key here is that the information is served up to the consumers at their own pace and when they're looking for it. For example, when they're in that researched mode we mentioned earlier. All along the way, Doorsteps is collecting information on the buyer to facilitate delivery of personalized content and service from real estate professionals.

Doorsteps helps agents build deeper relationships with prospects they haven't even met offline yet by giving away valuable information to the potential buyers. Real estate pros can license Doorsteps.com monthly for unlimited usage. That puts your logo at the top of each Doorsteps web page and gives you access to the clients' activities on the site. That information is the critical piece in providing valuable Youtility to them.

Providing that ever important self-service content is just one component of the overall Youtility strategy. Learn about the others and more real life examples of how real estate companies are practicing Youtility by downloading Youtility for Real EstateYoutility for Real Estate today.