Realtors know the importance of marketing themselves.  They send out postcards, cold call, and fill out their profile page on their broker’s website.  But did you know that there are two types of marketing that are completely different approaches?  Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are both important for Realtors, and each serves different needs and generates different results.

The purpose of marketing is to generates leads for Realtors.  Ideally, those leads turn into clients, and those clients refer new leads.  The cycle starts with marketing, regardless if it is inbound or outbound.

Yes, Realtors need to market their clients’ properties as well, but that’s not the focus of this article.  Although the inbound and outbound concept should be translated to marketing properties as well, we’re just going to talk in the context of Realtor’s marketing themselves to generate business.

Realtor Marketing versus Realtor Sales

Although we promised that this article would be about inbound and outbound marketing, it is important to first clarify how all marketing interacts with the sales process.

Marketing and Sales are very closely tied, but they both serve different purposes.  Calling leads, listing presentations, and responding to leads that come in through your website.  That is all sales.

In it’s most simplest form, sales is the one on one conversations that you have with leads.  Sales is where the Realtor can ask the lead their specific needs, and to explain how you are the best Realtor to address their needs.  Sales is where the Realtor closes the lead to become a client.  Close the deal.

On the other hand, marketing is a one to many conversation that you have with a large audience.  Marketing is where the Realtor provides their message to many people in order to convert as much of that audience into leads as possible.  Get to the table.

You likely have a different tone when you have a one on one sales presentation or call than you do when you send out a piece of marketing material.  The goal of sending out that piece of marketing material is to get that one on one sales conversation.

Let’s now finally talk about the two types of marketing, inbound and outbound, and how they generate leads for those one on one sales conversations.

Outbound Marketing for Realtors

WordStream defines Outbound Marketing as this: Outbound marketing is the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.

Outbound marketing is the more traditional form of marketing.  You pay for an advertisement on TV, radio, newspaper, or magazine, or you send a direct mail piece to a procured list.

This is the easiest type of marketing to understand, because we see it every day.  And we have seen it every day since we saw the Owl telling us that it takes 3 licks to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.   Once we were old enough, Publisher Clearing House purchased the list with our names and sent us their sweepstakes entry in the mail every year.

Tootsie Pops and Publishers Clearing House both ran extremely memorable marketing campaigns, and viral is the goal of every marketer.  Even though they were memorable, how effective were they?  Did you buy a Tootsie Pop today?

The problem with these types of campaigns is that the return on investment (ROI) can be difficult to track, and the campaigns are typically expensive.  Even for an individual Realtor to advertise or send direct mail to the target market, it can be somewhat cost prohibitive unless they see proven results.

How much do you spend on buying lists, placing ads, sending mail, and other outbound strategies?

Inbound Marketing for Realtors

Hubspot defines Inbound Marketing as this: Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you.

Inbound marketing is the modern day form of marketing.  It is about creating educational, informative, or interesting content aligned with your product or service, then putting that content on a channel that you manage.  When the audience gets value from that content, they have voluntarily brought themselves to you.

For Realtors, the most common form of inbound marketing is with a website, a blog, and social media.  You audience is anyone who visits your website or social channels, whether from being connected, or finding them organically through Google or from social shares.

The content you have created (also known as content marketing) is articles, images, or videos about the real estate market, about the communities you serve, or about anything the audience you want to attract would get value from.

Consider the Realtors you know with good websites.  Their clients get a lot of value from the website and share it with their friends.  You probably know Realtors who blog regularly, and they get leads because their articles are found through Google and the Realtor is considered a local authority.  And Realtors who successfully use social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest get large followings that provide a significant amount of their business.

Inbound marketing takes time.  The content needs to be created, the content needs to be shared, and the trust needs to be earned.  Writing one blog post is not going to generate leads.  But writing one blog post each week for an entire year will have enormous payoffs.

The benefits of inbound marketing are that it is extremely inexpensive, easy to track an analyze, easy to share, and the leads that it generates are highly qualified leads.  Most important, you are providing value for anyone who reads or views your content.

Inbound and Outbound Marketing Complement Each Other

The trend for the marketing departments of most companies is to increase investment in inbound marketing, while decreasing efforts on outbound marketing.  Consider all of the brands you know that are on social media, and how you can learn anything you want on blogs that Google brought you to.

Outbound marketing can still be effective.  However, it is best used when it complements a good inbound marketing system.

For example, let’s compare outbound marketing in the form of a local magazine advertisement to inbound marketing in the form of a blog post:

Magazine advertisement (outbound marketing)

  • Cost could be around $250
  • One issue of a magazine, and the magazine will get thrown away after it is read
  • Audience is limited to subscribers, or people who pick it up at the coffee shop
  • A reader can give the ad to only other person who might be interested in a Realtor
  • Difficult to know how effective advertisement was

Blog post (inbound marketing)

  • Cost is free
  • Remains on website forever, and can be read for many years in the future
  • Audience is the Realtor’s current database, and anyone, anywhere who finds it through Google
  • A reader can forward the post to a large number of people who would get value from it or be in need of a Realtor
  • Online tools make it easy to see how many people have read each blog post

The advertisement creates brand awareness for the Realtor, so they already know of the Realtor when they visit the Realtor’s blog.  That gives the Realtor some credibility, which helps.

Final Thoughts About Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Realtors who effectively and consistently utilize inbound marketing for their business have an advantage.  Those Realtors tend to generate more leads.

Home shoppers today are on the internet.  They are doing more research about real estate and the market than ever before.  These leads are finding the Realtors who embrace inbound marketing systems.  Leads go to the internet to find a Realtor, so it is important for Realtors to be where the leads are.

If you need to develop an inbound marketing strategy and system, Agent Sidekick can help.  All you need to do is contact us, and we can build you a website branded for your business so you can start blogging and sharing on your social networks soon.

We uncomplicate Realtor websites.  We uncomplicate Realtor branding.  We uncomplicate Realtor lead generation.  And we uncomplicate Realtor marketing.   You can contact us and drop us a note so we can tell you how.

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