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If you read Entrepreneur Magazine or Forbes, Inc, you are going to see this phrase repeated incessantly by the most successful business owners…
“If you sell to everyone you sell to no one”
I’m going to show you how providing valuable content for your readers and customers, to the point where you become valued, trusted, and synonymous with being useful… so that when the time comes to make a purchase, you are the ob
Today I’m going to show you how to never have to sell again because…
But why do we do that?
I submit that it’s because we have no idea how blogging can actually help us.
How it can shape our business.
How can it change our real estate business?
How it can move us from constantly fretting about the next deal to having a continuous pipeline of prospects who are not only ready, willing, and able… but they know, like, and trust us… before we’ve even had the first appointment with them.
So… how do we “blog for prospects?”
Well… it all starts with….
Step 1 Knowing your avatar
Wait. What? What’s an “avatar?” Well, an avatar is a single representation of your ideal client. In essence, you “paint a picture” of your ideal client and you give it a persona… otherwise known as an avatar.
What we tend to do, is think in terms of our “target market,” which means we are thinking in general terms, not specific terms. Your avatar is not “home buyers” or “home sellers.” That’s way to general.
Think about it this way, let’s just look at home buyers. There is a wide variety of home buyers… first time home buyers, single buyers, family buyers, condo buyers, move-up buyers, empty nester buyers, vacation home buyers…. are you getting the idea that “home buyers” is not specific enough?
Like I said earlier, you need to paint a picture of your ideal client. Who are they? What is their life like? What are their hobbies? In truth, you can’t go too deep with this. Without knowing the individual, you can’t have a conversation with them and truly help them.
If you can’t have a conversation with them, your blog posts will be shallow and useless.
They’ll be posts that someone can get just about anywhere. Monotone, no authority, and no way to begin to build a know, like, and trust relationship.
Knowing your avatar is 99% of the battle… it makes everything else a breeze. From prospecting, to blogging, to ad writing, to close. Everything is affected when you intimately know your avatar.
Knowing your avatar, will change your business. This is probably the single most powerful “business planning activity” anyone can do, and it’s the one thing no one in our industry does.
Oh yes, I know some are teaching “avatars and buyer personas” but I’m telling you, they are teaching a superficial, 35,000 foot view of the concept. It’s not deep enough to make a difference and agents aren’t seeing a difference in their business… so what they are teaching is a waste of our time, because it isn’t making an impact. It isn’t changing anything.
If you want to change your business, you have to change how you approach your business, how you approach your lead generation. This starts by building an avatar.
The next thing you’ve got to do is…
Step 2 Give your all
I can’t tell you the number of agents I’ve run in to, who actually have a website and do some semblance of blogging, that throw up a 500 word document and call it a blog post.
If they are answering a question in that blog post, their answer is so antiseptic and bland, they really shouldn’t have taken the time to write it. Why bother?
Give your all. If you are going to answer your avatar’s questions, answer their questions. If it takes 3000 words to do it, do it in 3000 words. Seriously. Give them the full and complete answer. Don’t hold anything back.
Don’t live with a scarcity mindset. Live in an abundance frame of mind. You really can’t give too much. It’s simply not possible. There is zero chance that they will be able to inhabit your body and accumulate all of your life experience.
Here’s the other aspect to this… always remember the 80/20 rule. Pareto’s Principal. In reality, it’s more like 99/1. Out of the 100 people who will read what you write, or listen to what you talk about, one or fewer than one, will actually take that information and run with it.
Meaning, no matter how much you teach, no matter how much you share, 99% of the people you reach, will simply absorb and then use you when they are ready for your services. The other 1% may try to “do it themselves” but the reality is… that’s not likely.
And regurgitating local content is not valuable to your avatar. On the surface it seems to help with SEO, but it really doesn’t (more on that later in this article). When you regurgitate area history, area stories, area facts… you enforce the belief that “real estate agents are useless.” Our reputations are built on what we do, not what we say. Don’t be a regurgitator.
I don’t know about you but I prefer prospects who call me and ask me to come list their home because they know I’m the perfect person for the job… rather than trying to convert a sign call or a website visitor, someone who doesn’t know me at all.
Quality trumps quantity. Have a conversation and help your avatar. This isn’t about getting 500 short, useless blog posts out there (just to get traffic that will bounce right off your site). This is about building relationships, providing value, and capturing and keeping nearly 100% of the traffic you’ve brought through the value you are giving.
This next thing… you must stop. You have got to…
Step 3 Solve their problems
Here’s a hint. Their problems are NOT finding homes for sale or even getting their home value… and yet those are the ads we run expecting to reap awesome results from those ads. In fact, these are the posts we are constantly pushing out on social media: new listing, new home value tool, new app… none of these are problems that your avatar has.
Think about it… how hard is it to find listings? How are is it to find a home value? How hard is it to find real estate apps? The key here is… it’s not hard for the consumer to find these things. They do not consider these problems in their lives, which is why they don’t respond to us pushing them out to them.
If we aren’t solving their problems, they view us as useless… leaving you fighting to get them under contract, fighting to justify your commission, fighting to get some semblance of loyalty out of them.
So what are their problems?
Their problems. are their life experiences throughout their journey of owning a home. If they’ve never owned a home before, what are their problems in the years (not just the months) leading up to buying their first home?
We’re not talking “just” real estate here. We are talking hopes and dreams. Life problems they encounter, drawbacks, job and family changes. This is about their journey.
When we are able to connect with our avatar in meaningful and helpful ways, we no longer need to “convert” them. They are already converted. In fact, they become our tribe, before we’ve even had an appointment with them.
The next thing you need to do is to…
Step 4 Stop chasing SEO
I have a feeling I could go on for thousands of words on this one topic.
When you focus your business on what it really is, serving others, you know that you do not have to focus on chasing “search engine optimization” within your blog posts. In reality, you pretty much never have to chase SEO when you are serving your avatar.
Here’s why… because when you serve your avatar, that means you are helping them. That means you are identifying their problems and solving their problems for them. That means that when you write your blog posts or record your video’s identifying and solving their problem… and you keep doing this over and over again, the “content” you put on your blog will be insanely valuable. In other words, your avatar will find you though search because they’ll find you by googling their problems.
Your goal is to create know, like, and trust relationships before they call, text, or email you. BEFORE. You can easily do this by “selling with service” and serving your avatar and not chasing SEO.
Fighting against the algorithm is such a waste of your time. The battle is futile and it’s unnecessary. Now, of course, our resident “SEO Experts” are going to get up in arms about this. They are going to come out of the woodwork and tell me how wrong I am. The proof is in the reality. When you chase the algorithm, you must always chase the algorithm. When you serve your clients, you never have to chase the algorithm.
“But what about driving keyword traffic to my site?” What about it? It’s pointless. Doh! I just ticked someone else off.
Yes guys, keyword traffic is a waste of your time. If you keep focusing on the wrong thing, it means working more and getting fewer results. the right traffic changes everything.
Traffic is NOT the answer to your lead generation problem. The wrong traffic actually HURTS your site rankings. Have you heard about something called “Bounce Rate?” Bounce rate is the percentage of people who come to a single page on your site and then leave your site from that same page. In other words, they didn’t go deeper.
So according to “real estate website experts” a “good” bounce rate for real estate websites sits at 55-65%. I literally shook my head in disgust when I kept finding this quoted stat in my research.
Um, yet again, I present to you the case for stepping outside of the real estate industry and looking at the reality for the rest of the world. Google (yes, the search engine itself) shared their idea of good, average, and horrible bounce rates and that 55-65% quoted above, falls in the “horrible” category according to Google.
Google also said that a bounce rate under 3% is insanely fabulous and very few websites get there. So I’m going to brag on my LeadsAndLeverage.com site just a bit here… I have a bounce rate under 1%. UNDER ONE PERCENT.
My entire history (from the day I published the site until today, just under 3 years) bounce rate hovers at 2%. Why? Because I focused solely on figuring out what my avatar’s problems were (and are) and I provide solutions to those problems.
Ok… so why did I go on and on about bounce rate? Because your bounce rate shows you two things about your site…
First, it shows you how valuable and how relevant your website is to the traffic that is coming to it. Is it so full of solutions that your avatar is getting lost in it (and therefore not bouncing off your site) or is it so superficial, so shallow, so focused on SEO that they come, see that it’s just another real estate website, and then leave immediately.
Second, it shows you how untargeted your traffic is. When your bounce rate is high, you’ve done a poor job of understanding your avatar. You aren’t focusing on their problems and giving them solutions.
You haven’t done a good job of identifying their needs. If you keep focusing on “your city real estate” or whatever SEO keywords you are excited about today, you’ll never find your avatar… or rather, your avatar will never find you.
When we focus on “hyper local” without any context, we get a high bounce rate. Let’s face the music guys… providing “hyper local” content without context in hopes that people will “keep coming back” because you are “the source” for all things “your neighborhood” is a pipe dream.
People do not come back to our sites because we post Christmas lights tours, or local events. They don’t bookmark our site and keep returning to it. That NEVER happened, although we kept feeding that thought monster.
We have to focus on “hyper connections” not “hyper local.” If your content isn’t in context to their needs in real estate in some way, there is no context for them.
Instead of sharing a list of Christmas lights tours, how about sharing an interview of one of the homeowners that “decks the halls” every year… what are they like, what’s their neighborhood like, if someone else wants to be part of that community, what does that lifestyle look like?
Put things into the context of living a lifestyle and you’ll knock it out of the park.
Most people focus on increasing their traffic but what they really need to be focusing on is increasing their value.
I can not tell you how many times I get emails from agents that say “I got lost in the labyrinth of your website.” My goal is to provide so much information that an agent could come along and implement something I teach on my site and see immediate results. THAT is my goal.
That needs to be your goal. That buyers or sellers could come along and implement what you are teaching them and see results. That they can know that the remodeling project they are about to embark on is going to bring value to them. That they avoided a serious financial mistake by learning from you. You need to be the trusted resource for them.
I hear that all the time… “I want to be the trusted resource” or “do this so you are the trusted resource.” Well, I’m here to tell you that the ONLY way to be a trusted resource is to actually help and serve your avatar, without “expectation” of reward.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t also focus on capturing your avatar into your database, so don’t go there. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that in order to build relationships before the capture, you have to give before you take. As Gary Vaynerchuk says… Jab Jab Jab Right Hook.
If you want to be impervious to the constant SEO changes… and completely ignore when Google does another algorithm update… then stop chasing and start serving.
And finally, doing everything I just taught you is…
Step 5 Building a resource
A resource for your avatar. A resource for you. A resource for your clients. A resource for your team.
What do I mean?
I bet you get hit with a lot of the same, repeat questions. I do (and did). Everyday I’d get emails from prospects asking me questions. When you have a resource that answers those questions, it’s incredibly wonderful to send those inquiries, right to the already created answer.
When you build a resource, you integrate multiplicity. In other words, you get to the point that you are working while you sleep. Literally. People find you (your site) and get to know you (through your site) while you are deep in slumber. This is a good thing. It’s on their terms. They don’t feel threatened.
Not only that, but you can re-purpose your valuable content.
But wait!!! Let’s talk just a bit about what re-purposing is, and what it isn’t.
Re-purposing is NOT pushing out “new blog post + the link” to every social media platform you are on as soon as you publish said blog post. That’s just noise and no one cares.
Re-purposing IS sharing your blog post in a way that is congruent with your avatar on each platform. SHARE it, don’t push it. When you share something you also share a thought, a comment, a question about the thing you are sharing.
Now, go and do it again, pointing out a different thought, comment, or question. Keep repeating. About once every 14 days (not closer together) you should be sharing your awesome solutions with your avatar on your social media channels.
Bonus: Quick Start Tips
Not sure where, or how, to start? Start by creating your avatar. Start by imagining your perfect client. What does it feel like to work with them? How does the entire process go?
Now, who is that person? If you’ve had transactions before and one was amazingly awesome, what made it awesome? What about your client made them a joy to work with? Start building your avatar by pulling from your past experiences with clients.
You’ve never had a transaction close? Then do this… think about your friends and family. Who do you enjoy spending time with? Who lets you speak into their lives? Take that person and start building your avatar from them.
Once you’ve got a good idea of who your avatar is, now go look for the questions they ask. Start by checking your email, your voicemail, remember your conversations… what questions about real estate have you been asked? Start answering them… on your blog!
Just starting out? Check out some real estate specific Facebook groups and find the posts where agents are sharing what their clients are asking. Refocus those questions specific to your own avatar and then go answer those questions… on your blog!
Your value, your worth, is not in your listings. It’s not in connecting buyers to listings. It’s not in getting sellers homes listed. You are not a commodity.
Your value, your worth, is in your knowledge and sharing that knowledge to and with your avatar. You are a service, not a commodity. Don’t devalue yourself by continuing to focus on the “things” when it’s about the relationships and the journey.