Inbound : Game changer or buzzword?
Inside-out or outside-in?
It’s the story of the chicken and the egg. One difference, though : this time the egg is more important. In other, maybe more simple words, the main question is would you not rather concentrate on selling what your target group thinks he needs than or do you sell him something yóu think he needs. Compare it to a company that still would try to sell coal to heat homes. It has a product, but no market for it. This is what we call outside-in vs. inside-out : adapt your product to your market vs. trying to get the market to adapt to you. The optimal approach is as plain as a nose on a face, no?
Strategy : luring and reeling.
Now imagine that you are walking on the street and suddenly a man approaches you. The first thing he does, is showing you a diamond ring. A few seconds later, he tries to sell it. Would you buy from him? Probably not, right?
Now imagine that same man, just passing by and giving you a smile. The next day, you see him again and he starts chatting with you. It seems like a nice guy so you don’t feel offended. The next day, same story, but now you discover he’s into diamond rings. The next day he shows you a beautiful ring. You probably feel it coming already, but this nice little story ends with you buying the ring. Just because you decided to, not because he was pushing you to buy that ring.
People don’t like to be pushed anymore. They feel that they’re pushed enough already, as you probably would, too.
But make no mistake : the man’s intention was to sell you that particular ring from the very beginning. It just didn’t feel like that. He threw some bate, patiently lured you into swallowing it and then gently reeled you in.
Enters inbound marketing
This technique works well in a one-to-one sales situation. But once you have thousands of potentials, things get a little bit more complicated.
That’s where marketing automation has its place. It allows you to automatically plan a mass but well targeted approach, to build a powerful database using a CRM system, to guide these prospects through a sales funnel, and to clearly get your marketing and sales departments working seamlessly together by having the first department creating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) that are handed over to the second department to help them to change these leads in to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).
Meanwhile every step in the funnel is noted and annotated, keeping all concerned parties on par. No more Babylonic mistakes, no more of ‘I didn’t know that you already did that, so I did it myself’, leading to frustration of your prospects because they don’t like to be disturbed twice with the same question. In short, you start building relationships with your target groups and they will thank you for that with buying and finally promoting your services by themselves. That is what inbound marketing is all about. And yes, it’s not only effective but efficient, too.
“People don’t like to be pushed anymore. They feel that they’re pushed enough already, as you probably would, too.”
• The easiest but most labour intensive option is to create a nifty Excel file that is loaded with tabs and complicated formulas and macros that link to other files such as prospect listings with variable parameters. It’s a good start but you’d still need lots of collaborators to do the follow up.
• The second option is to use the most user friendly marketing automation platform of the big 3 : Hubspot. Maybe you heard of it? If not, have a look here.
• Another possibility is to go for the heavyweights : Eloqua and Marketo. That’s OK because it offers you tons of possibilities and a zillion analytic tools, but be aware that in that case, besides Marketing and Sales, you’ll need the help of your IT department, too. And great and nifty as they are, the are very often reluctant to change something in the patiently crafted machine they’ve put together to keep things going in your company.
Does all this techie talk apply to the Real Estate Business? What do you think? Projects that are well tailored to your prospects’ needs and that are promoted with the right message on the right place and on the right time… Which prospect would say no to that?
Of course, this is just an introduction. Not that marketing automation is rocket science, but we’d advise to pick a partner doing this for you. Just look out for that guy in the street that starts chatting for you. Or that smart group of specialists that can do it for you. Hey, they might change your game.