Marketing Automation for Real Estate: A Handy Guide for Agents
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Real estate marketing has evolved significantly in the past decade. The era of only sending out flyers, paying for billboards, and (gasp) cold-calling leads is long gone … which should put a big smile on agents’ faces everywhere. Today, we live in the marketing automation era — one in which blogging, email, and social media efforts are essential, but also streamlined. An inbound marketing strategy is how you can reach your audience, but marketing automation is how you will maximize that real estate lead generation.
Below, we provide a comprehensive look at what marketing automation is, including its numerous benefits, how it’s used by professionals, and how you can set it up to amplify your real estate marketing.
The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation for Real Estate
In short, marketing automation is the act of syncing your real estate marketing efforts to software that makes publishing, sharing, and analyzing your content a cinch. Instead of having to manually publish every blog post, share every tweet, and send every email, automation software provides an organized system that completes each of these tasks for you. In other words, you can distribute your real estate inbound marketing tasks with greater ease.
For real estate agents in particular, marketing automation is a godsend. No more are the days where you have to spend half of your time conducting online marketing. Now, you can schedule an entire month’s worth of blog posts, emails, and social updates over the course of a couple hours. Key benefits of automation include:
- Lead nurturing: Automation options inform you how far along your leads are in the sales funnel and even recommend next steps for marketing to continue to nurture them.
- Real-time updates: Knowing the exact minute your leads take an action lets you respond immediately, increasing engagement with leads by reaching them while you have their attention.
- Saving money: Instead of requiring multiple software solutions to keep your marketing and sales efforts in order, automation provides an all-in-one fix that can reduce your spending.
What’s more, many marketing automation options today can also integrate with customer relationship management databases (CRMs), which store contact data, set lead follow-up reminders, and even automate some marketing tasks as well.
Dedication to Real Estate Marketing Still a Must
Using marketing automation for real estate allows you to improve your real estate website traffic, lead generation, and sales. But one thing many agents who use automation software forget is they still need to produce their marketing collateral. Blog posts still need to be written, email copy needs to be constructed, and social media posts need to be crafted.
Real estate blogging still requires plenty of your attention.
Content marketing encompasses many facets of your website, but most notably, your blog plays one of the most vital roles in real estate marketing success. Continue to churn out high-quality blog posts (or learn how to develop a real estate blogging routine) and you’ll have lots of great content to share via automation. Without these posts, though, your marketing won’t generate many leads, whether you use automation or not.
Let’s say you get in the blogging mood and produce five pieces (if you do this in one sitting, you’re a real estate marketing champion), but you don’t want to publish every single article at once. Use your automation software to post your first piece ASAP, and schedule the remaining four articles over the course of the next few weeks. That way, you don’t have to spend valuable time manually uploading each post one at a time over the coming month. You could use that extra time to come up with amazing headlines for each real estate blog post.
Automation allows for more effective real estate email marketing.
Creating blog posts and automating them to your real estate website is great, but you can maximize their performance by sharing them via email — which you can automate as well. Specifically, email workflows can help you send the right messages to the right leads at the right time.
For instance, when someone provides you their email address (like, say, when downloading an ebook), you need to thank them for their download and for providing their personal information. A transactional email is ideal to send to leads, but if you get many downloads, sending them to each individual person to get your ebook can be exhausting.
Enter marketing automation. Most automation platforms allow you to set up workflows that dictate what email messages to send after certain actions are taken on your website. You can even set up multiple emails following a download: one to thank the user, then three, four, or more emails over the span of months to provide them with your digest, newsletter, and/or promotional emails. Just don’t overflow your leads’ inboxes with email after email — you wouldn’t want to get too many messages from any business, so avoid annoying your leads with a surge of online communications.
The word “workflow” scares some real estate agents, since they assume it requires a lot of time and tech know-how to set up. Many also think each email they send to leads needs to be 1,000 words. Neither is the case. Automation software systems like MailChimp, for example, have pre-set email workflows to make it easy for anyone to schedule appropriate messages for different lead segments. As for the messages themselves, pertinent links to your content and a short description defining the reason for each message is all you need (though personalizing emails makes leads feel special, too).
Social media marketing and monitoring is easy, too.
Not only can your real estate email marketing become simpler with automation software, but so can your social media marketing. There are automation solutions out there that allow you to post now, and well into the future, making your social media marketing that much less complicated.
A common task you perform regularly (if you’re an inbound-savvy real estate agent, at least) is posting on Facebook and Twitter. Whether you want to tweet links to your blog content over the span of two weeks or publish status updates about your latest real estate listings during the next two months, there are automation platforms out there that make it simple for you to accomplish these tasks. Hootsuite and Buffer are arguably the most popular social media automation services out there. There are also all-in-one automation solutions that allow scheduling to all major social networks.
The bottom line is you don’t have to spend time in the morning, afternoon, and evening of most days posting to your social media accounts. Take one day every week or two to set up numerous social messages for publication, and you can allocate the rest of your time to actually engaging users in conversations.
After setting up your real estate marketing automation, read our Academy post that details how to nurture your leads effectively.
What would you primarily use marketing automation tools for? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Published on October 10, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.