Today’s consumers—your potential clients—are bombarded with sales messages and requests to like, follow, comment and click across the Internet. The resulting cacophony creates confusion, discord and stress. You as a real estate professional can quell this abundance of noise in a very simple way – by providing useful information and valuing helping over selling. If you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you help someone, you can create a client for life. This premise of marketing is called “Youtility” and it can be your secret to success.
The future of real estate marketing is in help, not hype.
The three components of Youtility are self-serve information, radical transparency and real-time relevancy. Real-time relevancy identifies specific circumstances for you to be massively useful at a particular moment in the life of a prospect or customer.
The concept of real-time relevancy doesn’t necessarily have to live in the digital world. Take Taxi Mike for example.
Taxi Mike is a taxi driver in Banff, Alberta who decidedly stands above the others based on his clear understanding of Youtility—helping over selling. Mike puts together Taxi Mike’s Dining Guide four times per year. He distributes his up-to-date guide in every restaurant, hotel and bar in Banff. People have instant access to his latest recommendations for a variety of categories. And at the end of the night, once they’ve visited a few of the recommendations from the bright yellow guide, the natural inclination is to call Taxi Mike. This is a great example showing Youtility and real-time relevance doesn’t even have to be high tech to work. If you’re providing helpful information at the right time, you’re making a powerful impression.
Digital communication platforms continue to emerge and brands typically rush to them to promote their message. Stop to consider the power of leveraging these platforms to provide value in real time. Think about creating a series of micro-interactions that builds long term trust between you and your prospects and clients.
One such platform is Twitter. The social sharing site is a constant feed where opportunities to be helpful can be curated. Holli Beckman of Apartminty, an apartment housing consultancy, began strategically watching Twitter for specific keywords and phrases where she could interact with open ended comments. Just by offering help in real-time, Holli generated over 100 leads in 30 days all from Twitter. There is a specific distinction here, however. Holli was not simply inserting herself into a real time conversation and directing people to a blog post or her website. She was sincerely offering help and advice. By providing optimal information at the most relevant time, she was building trust simply by being helpful.
This is all about being useful when it counts. Scenario-specific guidance can be powerful top of the funnel Youtility, as well. One of the most innovative implementations of real-time relevancy is the use of neighborhood specific lists and tips on Foursquare by The Corcoran Group. One of the largest real estate brokerages in New York City, The Corcoran Group’s strategy for social media isn’t transactional at all. They are strategically using Tumblr, Foursquare, Twitter and IFTTT push relevant information out to their followers based on location, time of day and even the weather. This gives them value that extends far beyond real estate and keeps them top of mind when their prospects get ready to buy.
Make your marketing so useful in a particular scenario your customers and prospects might even pay you for it.
New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer is the co-author, along with Erica Campbell-Byrum from Homes.com, of the new ebook Youtility for Real Estate, available for just $2.99.