Outbound vs. Inbound marketing can be summed up as: do you approach your customer, or do they approach you? Currently, marketing teams are still putting the majority of their budget into outbound marketing because it’s what’s done and what has been done for since the dawn of advertising.
It makes sense to everyone because of how prevalent marketing is in our lives: commercials on our radios, our televisions, flashing across our websites. Another term for it, though? Interruption.
Outbound Marketing is Being Circumvented
Commercials interrupt our favorite programs, cold calls interrupt our family dinners, and now ads even interrupt halfway through a music video on YouTube if the video goes over a certain length of time.
Customers don’t enjoy these interruptions, and these days we have some of the ultimate tools to avoid them. For just a few bucks a month you can watch your favorite show the next day, ad-free, on a streaming service. Same with your music. You can block unknown phone numbers with a swipe of your thumb – no more asking to be taken off a list, giving the telemarketer time to engage, just *tap* and it’s gone.
So why are companies still putting so much time and money into this kind of marketing?
Why Outbound Marketing is Tough for Niche Markets like Property Management
The answer to this question is even more flimsy when you consider companies that are trying to reach a more niche market like property management. With outbound marketing, you market in a way that’s seen by everyone who comes upon your ad in the hopes that one person will say “hey, I’ve been looking for a property manager, how lucky it is I passed by this bench!”
The problem is, you have no way of knowing who will pass by that day or whether anyone who sees it has even a remote interest in property management. You’ve put hundreds if not thousands of dollars into a style of marketing of which you have little to no control. So why would you use it, advertising to those who want nothing to do with your services? Because that’s just how it’s done.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The Concept of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing, as previously stated, is where the customer approaches you. This concept might be hard to wrap your head around at first. Once you understand it, though, you may wonder why you haven’t been doing it this way all along.
Our partner HubSpot breaks down inbound marketing into a three-part cycle: attract, engage, and delight. With this method of marketing, you want to bring your ideal customers to the table, have a conversation about their needs, and then deliver on those services that fit their needs, fulfilling the promise that attracted them in the first place.
The relationship between the company and the customer is based on empathy and guidance: you have a service, the customer seeks you out to see if that service fits for them, you figure out how it fits and guide them through the process, possibly to other services that deepen the relationship and then provide the service.
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
Inbound marketing utilizes online tools such as keywords which you integrate into your site content. This technique is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. For SEO to work, you must create content on your site that will attract your ideal customer. This content includes blogs, videos, resources like a free self-guided estimate, and a strong social media profile.
Once you’ve integrated the keywords into your content, search engines such as Google do the work for you. When a person sits down at their computer to research the service they need, they type in “property management,” and your site will appear.
SEO can be manipulated, but the best way to gain trust and credibility is to put your intended users first. Inbound marketing is designed to build from the mindset of your ideal customer and create an experience that engages and provides solutions to their potential problems.
When you build your marketing around this concept you end up creating a plethora of resources that show the customer you’re not just here to sell them something; you’re here to help fulfill their needs by answering their questions in your content once they reach your site.
Good Inbound answers every question your client might ask when they go to ask it, right there in the open on your site.
Inbound Marketing for Property Managers
So, let’s explore what it looks like to use inbound marketing as a property manager. Many property management teams may already be using some inbound marketing and not even realize it!
- Website Keywords
Your website should, of course, contain your standard “about us,” “why use X Property Management,” and what services you provide, all of which should integrate keywords organically.
The best way to think of keywords is to emphasize who you are, where you’re located, and what you do. For example, if you’re located in San Antonio, you’ll want to integrate “San Antonio Property Management” and variations thereof throughout your content. Some sites will show you the best keywords for your area of expertise if you’re struggling. These keywords are what promote SEO to attract your customers.
- Blog Content
Now that you’ve established your services and who you are, you want to create additional content that will engage your ideal customer as well as adjacent customers. Blogs help build credibility in your field and show that you care not just about promoting yourself but better practices throughout your area of expertise. Going back to the attract-engage-delight model, a blog entry can accomplish all three.
An example of a great blog entry for a property manager would be “Landlord Tips for Signing the Best Renters.” You could cover topics such as the importance of professional photos in your marketing, dos and don’ts of tenant screening, and possible red flags of professional renters. You want to provide quality information about the topic itself – engagement – but then “delight” the customer with your solution to potential problems that arise if they’re trying to do this all on their own.
Along with your blog content showcasing your expertise you want to include different types of content that will stimulate customers in other ways. Inbound marketing for property management could consist of video testimonials from current customers, rent calculators, or property guides to download for the areas you service.
- Social Media
Search Engine Optimization also relies on active social media profiles. Google has incorporated this into their rankings along with other search engines in different ways, so it’s in your best interest if only for number purposes. The great thing about social media is the ability to market yourself for little cost and pull in customers from other areas besides search engines.
Social media is now host to a group called “Influencers.” These are people who use social like their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote products they like and philosophies they keep. They may receive kickbacks from the products and services they promote, but the real gain for the business are their followers. Property Management can also get in on this type of marketing. By focusing on company culture, work ethic, and featuring happy clients you can promote your company in a fun, fresh, and personal way. Hashtags on Instagram are like yeywords to websites. If a person follows a hashtag you use, your profile will end up organically on their feed, not as an ad. These accounts are also free to manage.
Inbound marketing for property management companies is a great way to reach those customers who want to use your service. When compared to outbound marketing which interrupts and sends blanket ads to the masses for your niche market, the personal quality of inbound marketing is more akin to starting a relationship based on problem-meets-solution.
By allowing your customers to come to you based on their needs you improve your chances of gaining a client simply by providing the services you already give.
Learn more about RentBridge's personalized Inbound Marketing for property management companies.