Content marketing. Social media. Digital marketing. It’s the bane of so many estate agents’ existence. We know, we get to speak to a whole lot of you. We also completely get it, there’s so much changing all the time, so many different platforms, so much information on the articles you should be writing.
There are so many people, saying so many different things that you MUST be doing, it gets confusing, exhausting, and easy to jump from one thing to another with no real results and leaving a bad feeling like you have no idea what you just spent a load of money on. I know it might seem like I’m adding to this, but with this post I really want to reassure you that if you’ve got a good content strategy (whether that’s in-house or with a third party), and you’re publishing unique content to your website and social media platforms, then the likelihood is it’s a good use of your money, even if you’re not seeing a traditional return on investment.
So can content marketing get leads? Let’s dive in.
First of all, what is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute describes it as this:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
So think about content that’s used for information, education or entertainment – blog articles, newsletters, videos, podcasts or how-to guides.
It’s not marketing content that’s primarily sales-focused, sales pages, ads, or anything transactional.
How does content marketing add value?
The biggest misconception about content marketing, is that it’s just ‘fluff’, and you should really be spending time on driving sales. This is, quite frankly poppycock. Who wants to interact with someone who just keeps yelling ‘BUY WHAT I’M SELLING’ louder and louder into the void in the vain hope that someone will eventually listen?
You need a mixture of content types, so you do need the ‘sales-y’ stuff for when someone is ready to become a customer, but you also need to build trust and engagement first. Think of it as marketing foreplay, if you like.
So if it’s not there to drive sales, how does it add value?
#1 Brand awareness
This gets bandied about a lot, and sounds like quite a fluffy term, but, as much as we want to believe they are, not everyone is ready to sign up for your services right this second.
By carefully considering your content output, your words and videos can find themselves on the news feeds of people who have never heard of you before, but who now have you on their radar for being helpful, or creating content they want to engage with. They might not need you right now, but that free download for people thinking of getting into property investment? They’ll keep it and come back to you in 3 years time when they have the funds to get the ball rolling.
#2 Increasing the traffic to your website
We talk about search engine optimisation (SEO) a lot, and it’s for good reason. Keeping Google happy, means that your content will be shown to more people in their search results. By writing and publishing unique blog articles to your website regularly, you can target specific keywords you know your potential customers are looking for, and increase clicks to your site.
The more people who visit your website, the more opportunity you have to convert them into leads – it’s as simple as that! And once you have them coming to your website, you can use your analytics to tweak your site content and improve the conversion rate on people signing up for your landlord newsletter, or getting in touch about a property they’ve seen.
Is it possible to track leads directly from pieces of content?
In theory, the answer is ‘yes, sometimes’, but in reality the answer is ‘no’, and this is where looking at content marketing in traditional ROI terms is vastly unhelpful.
Unless you and your team are asking every single customer multiple questions about how they heard about you, which pages of the website they visited first, and what they searched on Google to find you, it’s not possible to match up our analytics data with which content they viewed. That also doesn’t take into account for the example I used just now where someone may have looked at or downloaded content a couple of years ago and is only ready to use your services now.
BUT, DON’T FEAR.
Just because you can’t attribute content marketing directly to sales, doesn’t mean you can’t measure its impact.
For example, using Google Analytics, we can measure how many people were visiting your site before you started implementing a content strategy, and then monitor the changes. We can see which articles are most popular, and make sure we’re writinging similar ones going forward.
If you like working to targets, you can be quite measured and specific. For example, ‘I’m going to increase the number of women aged 25+ who visit our website, because that’s the majority of landlords we have on our books. You can then specifically look to create appealing content for that group, and monitor analytics accordingly. #
Does content marketing work?
YES. The biggest successes we have with our clients, are those who embrace content marketing and who aren’t laser focused on trying to work out if it’s an effective return on investment using the traditional definition of ROI.
Here’s an example from one of our clients Here are their analytics for where their website traffic came from in February.
And here are the same results from March.
As you can see, both the traffic from Direct and Organic search have increased by around 1400 each. Direct entries to the site mean someone putting in the URL and going straight to the site, organic search means they have clicked on a non-paid link in a search engine.
By looking at the articles clicked on, we can see that this rise can be attributed to the regular articles we’ve been posting. So it really does work, but the best results from content marketing, come from those who realise that there’s more to value than immediate monetary spend.
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