In this guest appearance on Shannon Robnett’s Real Estate Run Down, Kirky and Shannon discuss inbound marketing strategies in today’s real estate world and how commercial real estate will experience one of the largest shifts in the industry.
Tag Archive for: Thought Leadership
What does your brand represent?
A brand embodies your values and attitudes toward your product and customers – and your prospects’ perceptions.
Your approach to marketing positions your brand as a provider of knowledge, value, and solutions – and has a direct bearing on your ability to attract and convert prospects to clients.
Let’s get into the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of improving your brand position through compelling inbound content for your marketing channels in the real estate industry.
Why Inbound Content for the Real Estate Industry?
While there are many ways to connect with your target market, inbound marketing is the most effective and does the most to support your credibility – and generate value.
If your brand were real property, inbound marketing and thought leadership would be your value-add strategies to enhance amenities, optimize expenses, and drive NOI.
Traditional outbound methods such as broadcast, print, cold email, and pay-per-click (conventional by current inbound best practices) may get your message to the public; however, they don’t provide your ideal prospects with substance. Outbound marketing provides linear (and often diminishing returns), while inbound strategies are logarithmic in generating increasing returns.
Inbound strategies bring the leads to you and uniquely position you as a credible provider. Outbound strategies convey neediness that doesn’t command the respect of prospects and doesn’t prompt them to contact you in appreciation of your insights.
For lean marketers (I’m not talking about your figure) – which is everyone in the current market – inbound content marketing is far less expensive. Though a sophisticated, credible piece of content, such as a whitepaper or contributor article, may require time and expense, it provides a one-time expenditure with continuous and increasing returns (with consistent promotion to your web and social channels supported by video).
Effective Real Estate Brand Positioning via TL
The essence of effective brand positioning is thought leadership (TL) via the inbound channels your prospects frequent.
‘Thought Leadership’ is an oft bandied about catchword; however, it’s an aptly named strategy that builds brand value and status through the most valuable asset – knowledge. TL also projects authenticity and transparency – 94% of consumers are loyal to companies with transparent practices, and 91% prefer authentic brands.
While many perceive competition as intense in the real estate and related industries, it’s relatively straightforward to differentiate yourself through TL and inbound content marketing. Surprisingly, the majority of firms are not utilizing these tools or implementing them consistently.
Your competitors may have similar products, services, and solutions that are viable substitutes for your offering; however, they don’t have your unique personal and collective knowledge. Besides, competing firms are likely not leveraging their insights as effectively as you are or will.
Knowledge, above innovative features and benefits, is your intrinsic differentiator and driver of value in a competitive marketplace. Incidentally, 75% of decision-makers attribute their final choice to sign with a company based on the substance of the vendor’s TL, while 70% determine your ability to deliver primarily based on your insights.
Inbound Content Opportunities
What are the most effective inbound content strategies for real estate executives and their enterprises?
The key to effective content that appeals to prospects and investors is offering answers and solutions to the questions and dilemmas they are facing.
For instance, if you’re offering a SaaS solution to help commercial property owners and asset managers track and interpret large volumes of contract data across a portfolio, you can provide content that answers questions such as:
- How does it simplify operations?
- How will it help me provide enhanced value to my clients?
- How does it reduce expenses?
- How is the software implemented?
- What type of equipment do I need?
- Does the service run entirely in the cloud?
- Are there self-hosting options for greater security and control?
- Is the solution sustainable in economic, operational, and environmental terms?
Knowing that prospects are seeking answers, what are the best opportunities to connect with high-level prospects – decision-makers – in the real estate industry?
The most popular and highest-value content forms include:
- Blog posts
- Contributor articles
- Informative and inspiring social videos
- Live streaming video on LinkedIn, FB, and Instagram
These inbound content forms yield not only leads directly, but also additional media opportunities, including invites for guest/contributor spots on podcasts, blogs, and high domain authority (DA) industry publications.
What are the best channels to distribute your inbound content?
- Your corporate website
- LinkedIn (B2B)
- Facebook and Instagram (B2C)
- Podcast platforms
- YouTube, Vimeo
- High DA publications (Forbes, VentureBeat, Inc, Entrepreneur, etc.)
How do you leverage these channels to generate leads?
- Supporting your content with video
- Tagging of people, companies, and groups
- Sharing to groups and pages
- Partnering with competitors and affiliated firms
- Paid or ‘boosted’ posts
Putting it into Action
How do you get started?
These strategies can be overwhelming to consider, but taking the first step is simple:
- Create an outline of your ideal prospects’ demographic and psychographic profile, needs, desires, and the questions they’re asking.
- Research what channels and platforms they’re most active on and engage with them to understand their questions and language.
- Create a content map of all the insights you can share and leverage this to create topic ideas – incorporate SEO research for relevance.
- Start writing consistent content or enlist the help of content professionals.
- Publish your content, support with video and imagery, and engage with your audience to build your following.
Have more questions? Please leave a comment or contact us directly.
If we weren’t certain before about an impending recession, we’re all pretty sure that it’s here now. The COVID-19 crisis and Congress’s response with the prompt passage of the CARES Act have quasi-officially welcomed the recession.
What does the recession mean for continued growth in the real estate industry?
It’s time for a renewed commitment to our marketing.
My intention with this statement is not self-serving. As a marketing firm, we too, make sure that consistent and thoughtful marketing is even more a priority than usual.
Rather than drawing back the budget to ‘conserve,’ we need to generate consistent, quality thought leadership and public relations content to keep our message prominent in the minds of ideal prospects and our stakeholders.
Let’s talk about some of the critical considerations for growth in a down market.
We can assume that a recession will mean fewer prospects and reduced conversions, though this may not be the case for every niche.
As we proceed, we’ll find a greater share of motivated commercial and residential sellers due to falling and stagnant values, deferred rents, loss of jobs, and declining incomes.
Indeed, many parts of the industry will experience restriction as demand for commercial and retail space is held back by lockdowns and the consequent shift toward remote work and online retail.
Multi-family will continue to do well, but increasing demand will mean an expanding market that must be addressed with your message.
The Fed’s move toward zero range rates is excellent for short-term refinance and purchase volume, as well as reducing the cost of financing for development; however, construction financing is typically figured on the 10-year Treasury, which moves independently of the Fed Funds Rate and recently increased 25 basis points – the impact on commercial development may be negligible.
What’s the answer to achieve sustained growth?
What Drives Your Growth?
Diligent and thoughtful marketing.
All other factors aside, thought leadership positions your firm for sustained long-term growth most efficiently.
The most refined and advanced processes and technology may drive your value chain and core competencies; however, they will generate little bottom-line returns unless the public is aware of your ongoing strength and presence. The need for public awareness is essential regardless of the pandemic and resultant market volatility.
When businesses and consumers receive their aid as part of the economic relief package, and the crisis passes, you need to be properly positioned as the best choice for their expenditures – those which will be made judiciously.
Investing in Increasing Returns
I’m not suggesting that you blindly throw funds into marketing during the recession. Veritably, this is the time to be most judicious – though not conservative – with your marketing budget.
For the best results and efficiency in utilizing your budget, focus on marketing strategies and channels that yield escalating rates of results and returns as you consistently apply them. Some methods don’t behave in this fashion. Examples of predominantly linear result generating strategies include pay-per-click, direct mail, and paid social media.
Stated in other words: once you stop paying, the results subside; you only get out what you put in. Conventionally, that may make sense; however, digital thought leadership marketing, in particular, creates results that compound over time with consistency.
Consistent marketing via thought leadership to your website, social channels, and the media, effectively position your brand and build trust – vital during times of volatility when B2B and B2C consumers raise the question of solvency and longevity concerning the firms they patronize loyally.
Flourish in a Down Market
The message of this article is straightforward: flourish in a down market by placing emphasis on building marketing systems and messages that deliver increasing returns at lower cumulative expense than traditional methods.
While quality content is expensive, it’s worth it compared to the hundreds of thousands that can be easily spent away on messages that don’t stick or provide real value to your market.
You can attribute it to many things: tightening environmental regulations, social change, and consumer tastes, but one thing is certain – business and consumer prospects want to see environmentally and socially-conscious messages.
But it goes beyond environmental concerns. Sustainability is about human health, social progress, and the physical and financial prosperity of all stakeholders to the industry and community.
Getting to the Heart of Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate
How can we succinctly describe ‘Sustainability?’ Is it about being ‘green?’
Yes. However, it’s a complex topic that merits a lifetime of devotion and study.
The heart of sustainability is the 3Ps or ‘triple bottom line:’
People, Planet, and Prosperity.
Human progress and innovation in these three respects improve our odds of maintaining a green planet and eliminating conflict due to economic and social strife.
Wasteful and negligent business, investment, and construction practices pollute the environment, contribute to disease, repress social progress, and restrict communities economically.
To illustrate further, let’s look at an example of considerations in sustainability specific to commercial real estate, asset management, property management, and workplace development:
Aspect of Sustainability
These are all interrelated, and synergies exist in benefits across the components of the 3Ps.
Incidentally, these are pertinent topics and elements to incorporate in your thought leadership messaging strategy. This table is a significantly abridged list – you’ll never run short of content ideas when weaving your sustainable brand position.
Got it. So, how do content marketing and thought leadership mesh with these high-level objectives?
Demonstrating Expertise and Commitment to Innovation
Our primary goal in thought leadership is to advance our brands and build trust. The most practical and effective way to accomplish this is through written content.
Every bit of content you distribute – email to editorial – is an opportunity to show that you know your industry, your prospects’ problems, and how to solve them.
Coincidentally, many of your prospects’ and users’ problems are centered around issues of sustainability, regardless of whether identified as such.
Cash flow issues? Tenant Satisfaction?
Both have causes and remedies involving efficiency, comfort, and long-term functional utility.
Incorporating these topics in your press releases and ghostwritten contributor articles shows that your commitment to values and principles is more profound than to economic profit and social status.
As opposed to formal mission and ethics statements that attempt to convey sustainability consciousness, editorial and informative content provide concrete evidence to the audience of your knowledge and dedication to doing the right thing for people, planet, and prosperity.
Furthermore, talking about sustainability in your thought leadership campaigns positions you and your firm as a conscientious innovator in your field.
Carving Out Your Brand Position and Building Social Goodwill
For pragmatists, this is really about brand positioning. Considering that young and older generations alike are becoming more sustainability-conscious, we need to make it a priority for inclusion in our marketing.
Millennials – now the largest segment of our population – gravitate to sustainable brands and are willing to pay a premium for associated products and services.
But it’s not limited to millennials; 57% of Baby Boomers self-report that they’re more concerned about protecting the environment now than when they were in their 20s, while 68% indicate they’ve changed their practices concerning environmental preservation.
Community support and social goodwill for your venture are paramount. Whether it’s financing, permitting, or leasing, you’ll need the community on your side:
42% of US and UK consumers consider sustainable materials to be the deciding factor in their purchasing decisions, and a third hold brands responsible for environmental health and change. Additionally, two-thirds put more trust in brands that make a public pledge to sustainability.
Become a Sustainable Brand
Commit to pursuing sustainable practices in your commercial real estate projects – and talk about it publicly on a broad spectrum of media.
If you’re not sure exactly where sustainability fits into your business and how to leverage sustainable strategies to grow your practice through efficiency and goodwill, consult with design and content specialists that have an intimate understanding of the topic and how to relate it effectively to your audience in ways they find accessible and appealing.
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