The internet has made “automating your business” an attractive concept for entrepreneurs — but how do you do that when your business is based around creating and nurturing relationships?
To find out how luxury real estate professionals can automate some of their real estate marketing strategy without losing their personal touch, we spoke with Andrew Hong, co-founder of Tobe Agency in Los Angeles, CA.
Tobe is a full-stack digital marketing agency specializing in real estate, and you may have seen Andrew speak at last year’s Leaders In Luxury event about how luxury real estate professionals can use inbound marketing to gain an unfair advantage over their competition.
Unsurprisingly, Andrew had a wealth of insights to offer about automating your business in luxury real estate — from the right way to put your social media efforts on autopilot to why a lead generation funnel is almost always a smart investment.
Here are just a few of his tips for getting on top of the tasks that matter most.
Batching and Curating Content Goes a Long Way
When it comes to creating consistent social media posts, blog content, and even video content, Andrew suggests “batching” content to save yourself time and keep the tone consistent.
That means creating three to four weeks’ worth of content in one sitting, whether it’s a month’s worth of social media posts or email communication going out to past clients — whatever is moving the needle for you at the moment.
At the same time, Andrew advocates for curating some of your content so you’re not always under pressure to create brand new material. To do this, he suggests getting very clear about the one or two niches you serve, seeing what kind of content they respond to, and sharing or re-posting that content (just be sure to give the original owner of the content credit).
Another creative way to batch content? Conduct one, in-depth interview and break it down into smaller pieces of content you can trickle out among your social platforms throughout the month, whether they’re shorter video or audio clips or blog posts and emails about specific segments.
Andrew says, “When you’re starting to think of this concept of a personal touch, you want to be able to create content specifically for that person — but we know that’s not possible at scale. That’s why this concept of niching down is important.”
“Say you know a certain percent of your audience are millennials, some are boomers, and some are Gen Xers…you might do an interview with someone who understands one of those audiences and ask challenging questions. Then, you break that content down into micro content.”
If you want to keep it simple, Institute Members have access to ACESocial, an automated social media service specifically for luxury real estate professionals.
However, Andrew would encourage you to use automated posts as a framework rather than use them as is. Since many luxury professionals use these tools, there’s a risk of having the same content as another agent. Spending just a few minutes adding your own personality to your automated posts ensures you’re keeping your content fresh.
Let Your Email Workflows Do the Legwork
Everyone knows your past clients are the bread and butter of your luxury real estate practice. Unfortunately, most luxury real estate professionals make the mistake of communicating with past clients inconsistently at best.
Andrew suggests automating some of that communication with email workflows to send emails for birthdays, the anniversary of their purchase or sale, and major holidays.
He also suggests creating an automated email sequence to send buyers guiding them through the first one hundred days in their new location — including a comparison of utility companies, local restaurants and attractions, tax planning, or a simple checklist.
Lead Generation Funnels Allow You to Be In Two Places At Once
One of the best ways to automate your business is to invest in an online lead generation funnel. They allow you to capture prospects at scale (via the Internet) and nurture those contacts until they’re ready to be contacted.
Keep in mind, most people you capture in your lead generation funnel aren’t going to be qualified the second they enter, so it’s a mistake to call these people right away.
However, if you create an email workflow to nurture your newly opted-in contacts and they’ve engaged with enough of that content, you can reach out with a phone call.
Andrew explains, “If you want to get a bunch of people who are interested in selling their home in a specific zip code, the old school way of doing it is that you’re networking. You’re literally working with referral partners — loan officers, accountants, builders…There are only so many people you can reach out to.”
“The thing with the Internet is it allows you to find people who might be looking to sell a home, and you have no idea who they are. And it allows you to put content in front of them that allows them to self-select themselves as someone who is looking for a home.”
For example, if you’re targeting Los Angeles home sellers, you may promote a free online guide on market trends in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods.
If someone opts in and gives you their email address in exchange for the guide, you know you have a prospect who may be interested in selling their home in Los Angeles.
From there, an automated email sequence can continue to give them relevant information. If you see they interact with that information, it’s time to give them a call.
But…there is a catch. While automating your business this way can be exciting and yield an incredible return on investment, Andrew warns that luxury professionals who don’t yet have any other online content, like a website or social media presence — or who can’t afford a reasonable budget for paid ads — should not invest in a funnel.
“If you’re creating content to generate leads, most likely you don’t have a strong organic following to get traffic to that content. So, you need to invest in a budget to amplify the reach of that content. You have to advertise to start with, you can’t just throw content on your website and expect anyone to find it.”
Outsource to Freelancers or Agencies Who Understand Luxury Real Estate
If you’re serious about automating your business and don’t have the time to batch your own content or create your own funnels, Andrew suggests staying away from marketing “generalists.” Finding freelancers or an agency that understands luxury real estate is key. Take a look at their past work, and reach out to colleagues for referrals.
Want to Learn From the Best in the Industry?
The Institute has a wide range of resources for you to invest in yourself at any stage in your luxury real estate career — even if it hasn’t begun yet.
If you’re ready to commit (or re-commit) to your success, here are a few ways we can help you do it.
Visit your Membership Portal for brand new trainings, as well as our book Rich Buyer Rich Seller: The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes, which is available for free to all Institute Members and also available on Amazon.