Do you frequently find yourself wishing someone would actually tell you how to use content to generate leads?
Do you wonder if it’s actually possible to use a blog to win quality instructions?
Have you ever wondered why if content is so important, why aren’t your competitors doing it well, or at all?
I totally get it. It’s not your fault. You’ve probably heard a million opinions and got a ton of duff advice, and now you’re more confused than ever…
That’s ok. This is what I do, so help is on the way.
It’s completely possible to grow your audience and boost your valuations with a blog, even if you’re starting from scratch.
You could go out and read EVERY book ever written on Content Marketing,
spend THOUSANDS attending worldwide conferences, and write over ONE MILLION words of copy like I have…..
Read this article that condenses down everything I’ve learned about building your agency with Content Marketing and action all 7 steps.
I’m going to give you everything you need to make your content marketing work for you. All you need to do is to take swift and decisive action.
Who this strategy will work for
Independent estate agency owners ambitious to grow their business to a six figure income, and beyond
Who this strategy will NOT work for
- Corporate agents
- High volume, low fee agencies
- Non-executive employees
Here’s what I’ll share with you in this article:
1. What length your posts and articles need to be to rank successfully on Google
2. How from just one article you can create up to 21 other pieces of content
3. The ONE THING you can add to your blogposts to make them into lead generation funnels
4. How to create content you can use again and again, for years to come
5. Where to find topics for your content that will attract and convert your ideal clients
6. Exactly WHICH types of posts get the most traffic and clicks
7. How to outsource all your Content Campaigns and still get the best return on your investment
Agency has changed
Pre-internet, our job was to provide information. Now it’s our job to explain it.
Every vendor and buyer has all the information they think they need at the click of a mouse or swipe of a phone. They think they don’t need you. So where does that leave you? What’s the point of an estate agent?
I’m going to show you how you can make yourself relevant, respected and relatable to new quality clients.
Phil Jones and I run AshdownJones – the Lake District estate agents.
We’re based in Windermere, in the heart of our beautiful English Lake District.
How a high value homes strategy works for us
- We aimed to reach £500,000 in instructed and sold fees by the end of our first year. A crazy goal. We didn’t make it. It took us 13 months.
- Our standard fee is 1.5%, which is the highest in our area by half a percent.
- We convert at 90% – because we only market unique homes, those owners of unique homes want to work with us.
- Our average fee over the last quarter was £11,054
- This level of fees means we only need two sales a month to make a decent profit, even with a team of eight.
- STOP PRESS: we just closed our record month – £63,211 banked.
I’m an overnight success…
…that took 15 years.
Way back in 2004, I started www.home-truths.co.uk – a consultancy for homeowners. I was a single mum with three kids under ten. And I was flat broke.
I’d left my comfy but horrible corporate job to strike out on my own, and I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted to help homeowners sell their homes more effectively, but how on earth was I going to get noticed by them? I didn’t have the money for advertising, PR or direct mail. My marketing efforts had to be cheap – and that meant smart.
With no marketing budget, I had to work out what worked to get my phone ringing, and fast. I knew that getting traffic to my website was the key to getting people to know I existed, and to getting in touch.
So I threw myself into researching, testing and exploring how to increase my website traffic – but nothing seemed to work. No one was finding my website. After five long years of only getting 300 visitors to my website a month – and rarely getting any enquiries through my site – I was fed up and ready to try something new.
In 2010, I heard about a blogging workshop in my area. I’d heard of blogging, but had no idea what it was. I went along, with no idea of what to expect. And I’m so glad I did.
That workshop blew my mind. On that day, I had a lightbulb moment. I realised that what my website lacked was new, fresh content. That it was the missing piece of the jigsaw. I was incredibly excited and also very daunted. There was so much riding on getting this right. So I began.
My first blogpost was terrible. The topic was good – it was about using the right photography to sell your house – but the style was dull, formal and boring. Still, it was my first blogpost, and it was a start. I published it, and crossed my fingers. When nothing happened, I wrote another post, and another. Soon I was posting a new blogpost every single week, and getting a little better with every one. And something magic happened. My website visitors began to grow. So so slowly at first, but growth was consistent. It was working.
By 2010, I had doubled my website traffic, and was now getting 600 visitors to my site each month, and enquiries were starting to land in my inbox. Having read my content – sometimes half a dozen of my posts or more – these enquiries were highly qualified and ready to commit to a consultancy plan.
By 2012, I was getting a steady 1,000 web visitors to my site each month, and by 2016, that rose to 6,000. Enquiries were coming in much more frequently now, and it wasn’t unusual to get several a week. I didn’t need to promote my site, as my market was finding me through my content, and reaching out. Google was rewarding me for my consistency and quality of content creation, ranking my site for some pretty strong search terms. Terms like “how to get more viewings on your house” (7th position), “do I need a for sale sign” (3rd) and “sell your home with social media” (2nd).
I now get over 8,000 website visitors every single month to HomeTruths. The site (at the time of writing) desperately needs a makeover, and as I no longer do homeowner consultancy, it’s a bit redundant. But I do have big plans for the site, (watch this space) which I can do because of its consistently high visitor numbers.
“Content is the new advertising” – Seth Godin
6 Reasons to create content for your independent estate agency
Content can do so much for your business – it can act as rocket fuel, and propel you to another level of success. Here’s why:
1. Content creates brand awareness
With the right kind of content, you can get your brand in front of a new audience, in new places. There are plenty of channels to choose from – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram – so you can choose the channels that are most in alignment with your brand. Seeing your content images in their newsfeed keeps you top of mind before people are even considering selling their house, so they think of you straight away when they do make the decision to move. Creating consistent content, just showing up, month after month, with helpful expert articles on the biggest problems and challenges your clients are facing, means that you’re building deep trust before you even have that first conversation.
2. Content boosts SEO
SEO means ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. In a nutshell, this just means making sure that Google ranks you for the key questions your audience is asking. If someone in your area types into Google “should I sell or extend?” would you want an article on this topic to appear on the first page of the Google search results? We certainly would. They are Googling their property selling questions anyway, so better it’s your article that shows up, rather than one of your competitors’.
3. Content builds your audience
At any one time, there are between 2% and 4% of properties in your area on the market. If your market is particularly slow at the moment, you may find that your percentage is 4% or more. If on the other hand, your market has a quick turnover – and this is typically true of urban areas – you could see 2% of properties or less being marketed at once.
Let’s take the middle lane, and assume that on average, 3% of properties are currently for sale. This means that if you live in an area with 50,000 households, around 1,500 properties will be on the market. This is your ‘on the market’ opportunity.
However, for every homeowner trying to sell, there are at least four more thinking about moving house. These are people who are currently discussing moving with their family and friends, browsing Rightmove or driving past for sale boards. These are people who are not yet on your radar, but they could be – if you create the right kind of content that will attract engage them. This brings your opportunity to around 15% of homeowners in your area, which, using the typical area size of 50,000 chimney pots, means that your opportunity is a sizeable 7,500 properties. These homeowners are very likely to be searching online for their most pressing questions about moving, and you can be present in their search results, if you create content that perfectly aligns with their home moving journey.
In summary, if you’re looking to connect with as many homeowners in your area as possible, all you need to do is build a bigger audience. It’s that simple.
4. Content builds trust
Building trust is hugely important in our industry, but often a process that is neglected. Estate agency is an industry built on trust. After all, we are selling the invisible – a future move. With a less-than-desirable reputation, independent estate agents have a real opportunity now to change the perception people have of our industry, to be more transparent and authentic. The higher degree of trust you can create with your audience,
at, the more likeable you will be perceived as, and ultimately, the right choice of agent to help them with their moving plans.
Content builds trust by allowing you to be transparent, and so increase the familiarity they feel with you. When someone feels they know you, your first handshake with them on the doorstep is not between two strangers, but instead carries the warm feeling of recognition. Which brings us onto number 5….
5. Content increases conversion
When you talk to someone who feels they know you, about how you will help them sell and move home, they are much more likely to believe you. And because so much of conversion success is built on belief, your conversion rate will go up. A lot. Going into a valuation visit completely cold, you’re statistically likely to only convert at 33%. If you’re good, that might be 50%. But when the vendor has read all your blogs, watched all your videos, and ‘gets’ you, you’re almost certain to be their agent of choice. That’s how we convert at 90% and higher, and you can too, with the right content.
6. Content positions you as a thought leader
I’m guessing that you’re reading this because you are an independent agent who wants your brand to be seen as progressive and innovative. You want to make sure you’re always moving ahead of the curve, not waiting for everybody else to make their move, then trying to catch up with them. In your content you can be not just educative and helpful, but also opinionated and outspoken, so long as you are respectful and your thoughts are well expressed. By doing so, you can position yourself as a thought leader in your area.
People are drawn to thought leaders; it’s a natural human trait. We’re drawn to people who we feel are influencers, who have the latest ideas, and who want to share their ideas in a non-dictatorial way that can also be engaging and entertaining. And that’s exactly what you can do with your content.
I’m not going to lie and tell you creating content is easy
Having just written my millionth word online (could be this one, in fact), I can tell you with some authority that it takes hard work and practice to create content that actually works. In other words, to create content that attracts the right type of audience, generates a click, and then converts those clicks to quality instructions. You won’t do it overnight. But with help from me, and buckets of hard work and perseverance, you will get there.
“If you don’t have a repeatable, consistent and efficient marketing system,
your independent agency simply will not survive.”
I’ve lost count of the number of agents I knew who went broke because they did not have a replicable and cost-effective marketing system. Or those agency owners who are spending (wasting) thousands of pounds a year on generating rubbish leads, because they are using a broken content strategy.
Now for the good news
In the past 15 years I’ve worked with over 1,000 independent estate agents, and helped them to generate millions of pounds in instructions using my unique content marketing strategy. And we’ve also built AshdownJones using the exact same strategies to become the leading agent for high value homes in the Lake District. We started implementing my Content Marketing Strategy from day one. Within 6 months, we’d listed and sold £170,000 in fees, including our first house over £1 million. Two years later, we list and sell more homes over £500,000 than any other agent in the Lakes. There were 57 of them; now there are 53.
In 2018 only seven houses sold for over £1 million in the Lake District. We sold two of them. We now have thirteen £1 million+ homes listed. This works. And if you follow my strategy, the payoff is huge.
But enough about us…. Let’s talk about you
I know that attracting, converting and selling the best unique and exclusive homes, and a earning a high six figure income is WAY beyond the ambition or vision of most ‘ordinary’ agency owners. And that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with earning an average income, if that satisfies you. But if you have the desire to move your business beyond normal, the only way to increase your income and grow your agency is to either:
1. a) Work more hours, or…
2. b) Raise your fees.
But eventually you’ll either run out of time, or you’ll reach the fee ceiling for your area.
Here’s what we choose:
Working with fewer clients, making them feel like VIPs, whilst earning more money, and paying out less expenses. That’s the true power of leveraging your time and resources.
And of course, it’s not just about making more money. By leveraging your time, you also get to help more clients to move on, and free up more of your own time to do what you want. Go on holiday, have fun time with friends and family, more ‘you’ time. Plus, it’s so much more enjoyable, working with only those clients who really get you, who love everything you do, and who tell all their friends about you.
With your entire lifestyle and business future at stake, you need a fail-safe content plan.
Content marketing is simpler than you think (but probably much harder)
Here’s the simple bit: all you need to do is…
- Answer their Googled questions
- So you become top of mind BEFORE they sell
- And then be their choice of agent WHEN they sell.
This is exactly what we’ve done, in AshdownJones. We now have a super-engaged, hot audience of over 6,000 local relevant people, all because of the quality and consistency of our content. Using my 3% and 12% figures from earlier, that means we’re talking to at least 180 people currently on the market, and another 720 thinking of moving house = a total opportunity of 900 people.
- Having new, fresh content every single month – expertly written and beautifully designed
- Being able to compete with the blogs the corporates produce
- Having a highly-visual content strategy that gets your brand noticed for all the right reasons
It’s all possible, with the right content. So pay close attention, because here comes…
7 content secrets to convert clicks to clients
Secret #1: Post length
What length do your posts and articles need to be to rank successfully on Google? In 2017 BUZZSUMO conducted a study of 100 million articles to find the answer to this question: “What makes content go viral?”
Out of their extensive research, came three key findings:
1. Longer content gets more attention, engagement and shares – specifically, the super-popular posts had over 2,000 words, and some had up to 10,000. But even at 1,000 words, your articles would rank so much better, because….
2. Only 6% of blog posts have more than 1,000 words – there is a massive opportunity for you here. At 1,000 and more, your blogposts are going to be taken much more seriously by Google, and therefore get more traffic – much more.
3. Content with engaging images (real, not stock) get more engagement and shares – when you’re tempted to use stock photos of a smiling, happy family looking at their new home, or a couple sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes….. STOP! I mean it. It’s not genuine, not real, and not at all cool. Just use really lovely interiors images – from your own library – and you’ll get bags more Google kudos.
Secret #2: You can create up to 21 other pieces of content from just one article
Once you have a great blogpost, and it’s published on your website, it’s time to think about how you can reuse it so interest stays high for weeks and months to come. This is called
‘content re-purposing’. This means you can spend less time creating content, and more time promoting it. I’ve come up with 21 ways to use just ONE blogpost. And before you panic, you don’t have to try them all… well, not straight away…. [To read a more detailed step-by-step guide for each of these 21, head over to: 21 Ways to Use ONE Blogpost.
1. Facebook link
2. Facebook long-form
3. Facebook image with link
4. Facebook image as cover with link
5. Facebook quick quiz
7. Images with tips
8. Facebook ad
9. Twitter link
10. Did you know? Tweet
11. LinkedIn link
12. LinkedIn Publisher
16. Video tutorial
Secret #3: The ONE THING you can add to your blogposts to make them into lead generation funnels
What’s the one thing? The magic ingredient?
A ‘call to action’.
What’s a call to action? It’s what you want your audience to do when they have consumed your content. Without it, your blogpost or article is very lovely and interesting, but it will not convert anyone to anything. You need a call to action so your reader knows what to do when they have read your post.
What call to action should you use in your content? Well, that depends on the objective of your blogpost. What do you want them to do? Here are some examples of a call to action:
- Call for a chat
- Drop us an email
- What to read next
- Download a checklist
- Watch a video.
Add a call to action to every single piece of content and give your readers a compelling reason to get in touch.
Secret #4: Create evergreen content
‘Evergreen’ content is content that is always relevant. It isn’t time-bound, doesn’t become dated, or out of date, so it can be read by someone a week, a month, or a year from now, without becoming irrelevant.
Time-bound content can also be relevant and popular, but instead of writing about current issues, it’s much better to create seasonal content. For example, you could write a post about selling in springtime, or in autumn, and then still be able to use it again in the future. After all, the principles of selling in autumn are going to be just as relevant ten years from now. I suggest you use evergreen and time-bound content to the ratio of three evergreen posts to one time-bound. So if you’re writing a monthly post, in a year you’ll have nine evergreen posts and three seasonal ones. This means you’re constantly creating a library of quality content you can use again and again, maximising your investment.
Secret #5: Where to find topics for your content that will attract and convert your ideal clients
First of all, let’s make sure you have your ideal client in mind. This is someone who loves everything you do, sees value in your service, follows your advice, and is truly grateful for your help. Got that person in your mind? Great. My next question is a little harder; when they are looking for advice about selling and moving home, what are they Googling? Let me give you an example. Let’s say they are thinking about how best to present their home for sale. They could Google “How to style your house to sell’. When you do this, you’ll see that several suggestions come up as Google auto-completes your search question. In my case, there were four additional suggestions. As you move down the first page of results, you’ll see a ‘People also ask’ box, with another four suggestions here too. (You may have more or less than four, as Google is constantly updating their algorithm.) Now scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll see a section in the footer called ‘Searches also related to..’. There are usually another eight suggestions here.
Total ideas: 17. Here are mine:
1. How to style your house
2. How to style your house to sell
3. How to style your house for sale
4. How to style your house on a budget
5. How to style your house for cheap
6. What is the best way to stage a house for sale?
7. How do I make my house look good to sell?
8. What sells houses quickly?
9. How much does it cost to style a house for sale?
10. how to present your house for sale uk
11. decorating to sell your home
12. how to sell your house quickly
13. tips for selling a house staging
14. how to dress your house for sale uk
15. tips for selling a house staging uk
16. staging a house for sale uk
17. best way to sell your house
… from just ONE search. Just imagine how many you had if you could think of say, ten questions your ideal client is likely to be Googling. You’d never be stuck for inspiration to write your blog.
Secret #6: Exactly WHICH types of posts get the most traffic and clicks
The most important rule here is that you need to be ‘telling, not selling’. The purpose of your content is first and foremost to attract their attention, then win the click, by being compelling, interesting and useful.
In researching this article, I took a deep dive into my www.home-truths.co.uk site analytics. I’ve been writing and publishing vendor-focused content on this site since 2010, and now have over 400 articles on there. Because of this, I have a huge amount of data on exactly which topics home sellers actually want to read. Want to know what that is?
Here are the top five topics most commonly searched, found and read on my site by people looking to sell (probably):
- Estate Agents
Not only are these five subjects the most popular, they also collectively make up around 53% of all the site visits I get.
The takeaway? Make sure these topics form the basis for half your content on your website.
Secret #7: How to outsource all your Content Campaigns and still get the best return on your investment
Let’s face it, most content suppliers to our industry don’t have a clue what vendors need.
What vendors don’t want:
- Market reports
- Buyer-focused content
- Your news
- Dry information
The WRONG content will:
- Decrease your reputational value
- Damage trust
- Give your competitors the edge
- Lose attention
- Waste countless opportunities.
Instead, here’s what vendors DO want:
- Their questions, answered
- Relevant information
- Your opinions given respectfully
- Advice and mentorship
- Step-by-step guides
- Content that aligns with their journey.
The RIGHT content will:
- Let you focus your time, energy and marketing on attracting your TRUE CLIENTS.
- Those who recognise the value of your service, and who are HAPPY TO PAY
- For the experience. because they will be of a higher value, you don’t need as many of them
- they will be easy to deal with and pleasant during negotiations, and profitable when the sale goes through
But how do you attract only the very best clients?
Simple: with the RIGHT content.
Content that deters the wrong clients, but acts as a magnet for the right ones.
What makes great content for independent estate agents?
Here are the three elements you need in any content plan:
- Expertly-written blog posts
- Beautifully designed graphics
- Targeted social posts
Not got time for that?
I know. I understand, and I sympathise.
WE’VE CREATED IT FOR YOU.
Introducing…. [drum roll please]
FireWave – expert specialist content designed, written and created, specifically for independent estate agents (get the info here)
Because a blogpost is not enough.
So here’s the deal:
You get a complete ‘Content Campaign’ every month:
1. BLOG POST – expertly written, and designed to convert the reader to a conversation with you
2. BLOG TITLE IMAGE – a correctly sized, beautifully designed image with the title text so you can use it to successfully promote your post online
3. POST GRAPHIC – your blog title image as a square to use on Instagram and anywhere else you like
4. FACEBOOK COVER IMAGE – to make your Facebook page look awesome, and motivate your followers to click and read your post – we give you full instructions too on how to do this
5. TWITTER COVER IMAGE – correctly sized so you can just upload, letting your Twitter followers know your latest blog post
6. SOCIAL POST TEXT FOR FACEBOOK, TWITTER & INSTAGRAM – you don’t even need to write these yourself, we’ve done it for you! Just copy and paste wherever you want to promote your blogpost link
7. LINKEDIN ARTICLE IMAGE & INSTRUCTIONS – did you know that LinkedIn is also a free blogging platform? That’s why you also get full instructions on how to publish your article on this exploding platform, and a perfectly-sized header image to make it look fantastic
8. TIPS GRAPHICS – every month, we take the best bits from your blog post and turn them into a graphic so you can use them to promote your post everywhere online.
All the above, beautifully created for you, every single month. All you need to do is to upload it to your chosen platform.
No blog facility on your website?
No problem. Just use LinkedIn. Or even Facebook. (But seriously, get a blog.)
Want to know more about what FireWave has to offer you? Just click here to check out all the information and see if your area is still available. If it is, we’ll arrange a chat to see if FireWave is a good fit and get you started. You’ll be posting beautiful content and graphics before your competitors know what happened. Because we are only offering FireWave to non-competing agents, so you can lock out your competitors now, and forever.
This is specific vendor-focused content designed to attract the click and convert to instruction. This means you can just set it and forget it, knowing we have you covered, and looking awesome, online.
Why not just do it yourself, now I’ve given you the low-down?
Everything you get in your Content Campaign represents at least thirty hours of mine and my team’s time. Do you have the time to do this yourself every month? Does your team?
And that’s not all. We’re in the final stages of launching a brand-new and unique app, so you can simply drag and drop your content pieces into a calendar, and relax, knowing your entire month’s content is taken care of, in just minutes.
Is FireWave right for you?
Can you answer YES to all four of these questions?
Do you want your brand to be in front of more vendors, more of the time?
Do you want a content marketing system that is efficient, effective, and doesn’t rely on you?
Do you want to make sure your competitors don’t get access to this opportunity?
Do you want to attract more clicks, and convert those clicks to clients, without being ‘salesy’?
If you have four YESES, then don’t delay a second longer – don’t even read the rest of this article – because right now, your biggest competitor might have already clicked to the info page and be typing in his details….
“Content Marketing is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s now a MUST-HAVE”
– Sam Ashdown
Get started here >> https://www.samashdown.co.uk/firewave-signup
Questions before you register your area? Talk to us now on 015394 40892