How to Attract and Make the Most of Online Real Estate Leads
Sixty percent of agents prospect for leads daily, with 26 percent devoting several hours a day to prospecting. Sound familiar? You may be spending your days chasing down the same lead paths and trying your old tactics again and again, while hoping for better results. The new path is right under your nose.
Consider what you’re seeing each and every day: all those couples on their phones at dinner, young professionals who can’t live without app-ing something, those moms on tablets in the grocery store, those middle-aged folks who love researching to get the best bang for their buck. And probably even you, who Googles and Yelps everything in your path. Internet use and mobile device popularity are at an all-time high. And there’s no doubt that’s how people are finding listings, agents and brokers.
Real estate lead generation and lead management are evolving. If you’re not considering how online leads fit into your processes, you’re not only missing a virtual gold mine of leads, but you’re also not making the best use of your time. Online leads are like any other lead — except they have way more information at their fingertips than ever before. There’s nothing like face-to-face interaction, sure, but more than ever you won’t be able to get any “face time” unless you’re able to capture someone’s attention online first.
Here are some stats that provide perspective on the changing market and how you can attract and make the most of your online leads:
Remember that most people are searching online.
90% of home buyers searched online during their real estate search process, and 52% of first-time buyers start there.
No matter how folks are ending their real estate process, the vast majority are using the Internet either at the start and/or throughout their search. You must also work to capture leads’ attention through effective online lead generation.
Here’s a round-up of must-haves:
- A modern website
- Great photos of your listings
- SEO optimization
- A strong bio and easily accessible contact information
- Expert content
Consider how you capture lead information when people approach your listings. Having well-constructed squeeze pages that request pertinent information like name, phone number and e-mail will allow you a couple of ways to initiate contact with someone you know has already previewed your listing. Or, perhaps someone has contacted you to get more information or express general interest. Odds are that your lead is by a phone or the Internet after they’ve completed a form or touched base. However you choose to reach out, don’t wait! According to an MIT study, you’re 100 times more likely to reach a lead calling within five minutes versus 30 minutes. Make sure you’re calling immediately, following up via e-mail and setting up an in-person meeting as soon as possible.
Be as savvy with technology as your client.
More than 50% of page views of listings now occur through a mobile device.
If you thought your desktop-friendly website was enough, think again. There’s a 50 percent chance your lead is currently on a mobile device … and more likely to abandon your site altogether if it doesn’t render properly for their view. Convert to a responsive design that can mold and change to your leads’ needs. This will allow a seamless experience no matter what device your lead uses. Even more to consider: your site’s load time and how user-friendly it is. Make sure that the design highlights the most important pages and is easy to navigate, that the functionality is simple, and that your pages take no longer than three seconds to load.
Attract with content.
78% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through articles instead of ads.
If you still have reservations about online leads, you should be happy to know that these leads actually appreciate what you have to say. In fact, they use it to determine your expertise: 58% of consumers trust informative content from a website. Creating strong content that gets people excited takes creativity and work, but you’ll become a great resource for your current and future clients. Even better: Content marketing generates three times as many leads per dollar as traditional marketing. Leads who are engaged through content and email newsletters spend at higher levels, and those who feel brands engage with them directly respond better to sales situations. So all that time spent on lead generation every day? Consider this your opportunity to cut that down and spend that valuable time crafting creative content that will engage leads naturally.
To get started, think about these factors:
- Who you’re writing for. Consider your customers’ personas.
- What is most important to them, and you. Identify customer needs and your goals, and prioritize them.
- What you’re going to write. Create that content calendar.
- How you will deliver it. This will jumpstart your content strategy.
Try, try again.
95% of online leads convert between the 2nd and 12th contact attempt.
A major reason many agents and brokers have trouble capitalizing on online leads is lack of effective lead nurture and patience. Online leads aren’t inherently difficult people. Rather, they may be busy, feeling unready to commit to a sale or another agent has gotten to them who has better communication or services. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up.
Most important: Keep the communication going. Consistent phone calls and e-mails are a great start, but take it a step further by making sure you’re offering actual value at every stage. Your CRM or marketing automation tool should keep track of where your lead is in the sales process. Use these tools and these stages to your advantage in the nurturing process: Offer hesitant clients tips, listings and helpful and engaging content. Check in often — just make sure it’s always personal and catered to their needs and interests (try to stay away from generic e-mails). Ask them how you can help answer questions. Ask if they’d like to be added to you newsletter. Use calls-to-action (CTAs) on squeeze pages, e-mails and posts to encourage immediate engagement. For longer timelines, set up drip campaigns to ensure you don’t lose touch with important leads.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Optimize for local search.
69% of searchers who take action on a real estate website begin their research with a local term.
There are millions of leads out there sifting through thousands of agent sites and listings. It can often feel like you’re not making connections with quality leads. What you may not consider is that leads may already searching for services like yours, but your search engine optimization may not match those targeted terms. Think like your lead. They’re probably not searching just “homes for sale” — that would give them too many unspecific results. You’ll need to structure your local SEO so that it best matches you to the types of leads you want.
Start with some keyword research to get as close to your speciality as possible. Make sure that you’re using the right long-tail keywords that include a local term to optimize your site and content. This gives you a better chance of ranking well in searches that are most relevant. Use this in conjunction with Google Analytics to determine where your current traffic is coming from. What sites are generating referral traffic? What are the search terms people are using to find you? If you have high bounce rates and low clickthrough rates, you may not be using the best relevant keywords in your optimization. On the other hand, if you have low bounce rates and a high clickthrough rate, you can increase how precise you get with your optimization, and hone in on your successful keywords. Decide what your goals are and restructure your optimization to make sure you’re not only able to be found, but most aligned to the types of leads who are finding you. These terms will also inform the terms you use in advertisement copy.
Be ready for action.
Of new home buyers using mobile to search, 48% get directions to visit a listing, 21% locate a listing agent and 28% call a brokerage.
Leads now sift through lots of information online and take matters into their own hands when it comes to their real estate searches. Effective optimization will get them to your site and great presentation will make them stay, but to get your lead to take action, you’ll need to consider the extra details. That compelling and informative content you create lets them know you are a great resource who knows the market in and out. And don’t underestimate testimonials: They work in your favor to help your lead envision what it will be like to work with you before starting the interaction. When leads see something they like, they move quickly. This means visiting a listing on their own, or even calling you! But don’t get a big head, yet. Keep in mind you’re another tab in their browser and they have ample opportunities to do this with any number of agents. Once they’ve expressed interest, get in touch with your lead immediately and be ready with targeted communications. Phone is good, and in-person is great. E-mail should supplement these, if possible.
You can’t deny that as more and more generations rely on the Internet for their everyday life, they will use it more for their real estate needs. Instead of putting a large chunk of your days trying to generate more leads, find and attract online leads where they are and use your technology tools to start that nurturing process, followed by your wonderful in-person nurturing.
Ready to jump into online lead generation? See 7 Reasons Why Online Real Estate Leads Are Like Gold, and make sure that your Zillow listings are claimed properly with your data.
What are some ways you take the conversation from online to in-person? Let us know in the comments below!
Published on June 13, 2014
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.