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Friday, April 29, 2011

Content is King – Information Provides Value When Reaching Out to Your Sphere of Influence

Content is King – Information Provides Value When Reaching Out to Your Sphere of Influence
Commentary by Verl Workman

RISMEDIA, April 22, 2011—Ever since I began my career in real estate, I was told that creating high touches with my database or my sphere of influence was one of the most valuable things I could do to build a great referral business. I remember really struggling with whether to send out fridge magnets, an annual calendar or some great recipe cards, and even spent a ton of time trying to find a company that created the most professional mailers. These interactions were designed to keep me and my brand at the front of the consumer’s mind so that when they thought about real estate, they thought of me first. I can honestly say it worked.

While those types of touches have value and many agents still use that method of marketing, we have found that today’s buyers and sellers are looking for a much more valuable interaction from their agents and brokers. The world has moved on to the Internet to find recipes; they view multiple calendars on computers and smartphones; and have access to so much information that the real value of “personality”-type marketing has been diminished.

Today, the consumer has moved on to new media, such as e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. They look online for answers to questions and are more likely to go to than to a postcard that was once mailed by their agent. The challenge is to find the right content and provide information—not just be white noise in this information-overloaded environment. The most effective communication to your SOI is proving to be information that is less about us and why we are so great and more about the client, their home and their community.

It is not difficult to come up with good valuable content if you take off your REALTOR® hat and put on your homeowner hat. What information would you really like to know? For starters, everyone wants to know the value of their home—having a place where people can find what homes are selling for on a regular basis is a valuable touch.

Other information that is valuable includes anything that is going on in their community that might affect home values or provide entertainment. Changes to zoning, new communities being built, great restaurants and even helpful homeowner tips are great topics for your communication.

Many agents use the expertise of their partners—such as lenders—to provide mortgage options and describe new programs, inspectors giving tips on what to look for before you purchase, contractors, exterminators and even interior designers—all for the purpose of providing valuable content to their relationships. The media and delivery methods have changed; we can reach more people and spend a lot less money. The importance of valuable content has increased but the principles are the same. The more we reach out to our relationships with great content, the more likely we will remain at the front of the consumer’s mind, and the bottom line result is more valuable. The more frequent our touches, the deeper and stronger our relationships will grow.

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