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Real estate agent showing brochure of house to Hispanic coupleHere’s a scary misconception about marketing—the louder you shout the more likely you’ll be heard.  In this age of information overload and the emergence of mobile and other digital trends, consumers are coming to market armed with knowledge they’ve gleaned from the palm of their hand.  Oftentimes, this education leads them to buy or sell a home on their own without the expertise of an agent or broker.  This presents an eery challenge for real estate pros, which makes it all the more critical to break through the news feeds with inherently useful content.  This is the premise of a new ebook, Youtility for Real Estate: Why Smart Real Estate Professionals Are Helping, Not Selling  by New York Times bestselling author and marketing consultant, Jay Baer, and Erica Campbell Bryum, Director of Social Media for Homes.com.  As a proud sponsor of the ebook, Homes.com shares three tenets behind the driving force of Youtility—self-serve information, real-time relevancy and radical transparency.

The notion of self-serve information is that to build loyalty with customers, you must provide instant access to information.  According to Baer, “relationships are created with information first, people second.” It’s evident from the uptick in mobile usage that consumers demand information and want it now.  They’re doing their homework prior to making purchases or selecting services including researching potential real estate agents.

Start building trust with buyers and sellers by sharing valuable content including blog posts, checklists, guides, videos and other formats.  The simplest way to do is to think of the frequently asked questions you get from buyers and sellers and make those answers readily available to them.  Focus on teaching them rather than selling them to establish yourself as a viable resource that they’ll turn back to time and again. This way, when they’re ready to commit, they’ll turn to you as their trusted real estate expert. To further illustrate this point, take a look at some case studies in Youtility for Real Estate that reveal how other real estate pros are using videos and blog posts to provide self-serve information.

The second pillar of Youtility is real-time relevancy, which says that agents and brokers should hone in on a particular niche to set you apart from your competitors and help you own your local market.  With this ground rule, you’re essentially building relationships in real-time and being tremendously useful at a given moment with the help of technology and location-based circumstances.  This notion is a tougher one to master and may not always be something you practice daily, but is key to developing Youtility.

Baer presents case studies where this principle is carried out in real estate and otherwise. For instance, a marketer for a property management group interacted with people via Twitter who were complaining or facing challenges during their apartment search.  By responding in real-time, the marketer’s assistance not only resulted in several connections with customers, but converted to several leases for the property group.

Lastly, the third facet of Youtility is radical transparency, which stresses the importance of being open with information, the good, bad and the ugly, and making it available to all consumers.  Take a proactive stance and have answers ready before they’re even asked. This way, you’re not just presenting listings and open houses but developing fresh, lasting content that resonates with buyers and sellers during many phases of the home search lifecycle.

Being transparent is huge for building trust.  For instance, when it comes to negative feedback about your business, your knee-jerk reaction may be to hide it, ignore it or delete it altogether.  However, if you face it head-on, respond with a helpful answer and explain your plans to fix the issue, you’ll build confidence and consumers will respect you for more for acknowledging the concern and taking care of your customers.  In being transparent, you’re conveying that you not only care about your customer’s best interests, but also that you are always looking for ways to improve your customer’s experiences.

Baer shares a case study in which a Virginia-based pool company who faced financial hardships came out on top by utilizing the radical transparency approach.  The business partners put themselves in the shoes of their pool customers and brainstormed every question they’ve asked over the years.  They then created a blog post for every scenario adding hundreds of pages to their web site.  By sharing self-serve information and being radically transparent with content that was not typically accessible, the company generated more sales that year than during good economic times.  Further, by being a source of Youtility and not just a pool company, their web site is now the most trafficked swimming pool web site worldwide.

All in all, being a source of Youtilily means, as Baer puts it, that you “stop trying to be amazing and start being useful.”  Remember, he says, “the difference between help and hype is just two letters but they make all the difference.” For more real estate case studies and Youtility tips, download the ebook, Youtility for Real Estate: Why Smart Real Estate Professionals Are Helping, Not Selling, and watch Homes.com’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar featuring Baer and Campbell Byrum’s presentation, “How to Grow Your Real Estate with Help Not Hype.”

For more information, visit http://connect.homes.com.

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