Real Estate Marketing Academy

7 Reasons Why Online Real Estate Leads Are Like Gold

By Sandra Manzanares

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Why Online Real Estate Leads Are Like GoldThere’s a poor misconception that “online leads suck.” You may have tried (or are actively trying) to get and manage online leads and aren’t getting the results you want. You might even go as far as saying that they’re “bad” leads. But online real estate leads carry amazing value.

By missing the hidden value of online leads — who are increasingly common — you are limiting your business’s growth. Here, we break through those misconceptions and offer tips to get the most out of online leads:

“It takes too long to cater to online leads.”

Hidden benefit: You’re getting online leads much earlier than other leads.

While other types of leads may contact you when they’re ready to go on a particular listing or are in need of a house right away, many home buyers use online search tools very early in the process — this could mean up to four to six months (or as long as a year or two) before they actually convert. This seems too far away to be worth your time, but in reality this is a great time to connect. You make first contact and you’re able to guide them through the process way before other agents and brokers have had the chance to interact with them, making them more likely to stick with you for all of their real estate needs.

Whether they convert and how quickly that happens is very much in your power. So, how do you work them? Give them what they need — whether that means listings, market information or articles with tips. The key is being a resource that knows your stuff rather than “always closing.” Build that trust early so they will trust your judgement when it’s sales time. Just have patience: Even if they’re not very communicative at first, don’t give up: About 95 percent of Internet leads convert between the 2nd and 12th contact attempt.

Reasons Online Real Estate Leads are Like Gold

“Managing online leads is too hard.”

Hidden message: Your technology needs updating.

You’re probably getting anxiety about how to keep track of tons of online leads at once. The trick is finding tools that work for you. If you’re using only e-mail to manage your online leads, it’s time to consider other options, like a customer relationship management system (CRM) or a marketing automation tool, or both. If you currently have these but it’s still hard to manage your leads, you may need a new option. Some things that may help:

Landing pages. Start the interaction off right by getting all the information you need. Integrating landing pages with forms that request information ensure that you can effectively log the right information and make that initial quick contact with your lead. This should be done on a listing’s squeeze page and for select great free content you’re sending out. Make sure this form gets as specific as you need. Your technology should allow that you can customize your required fields — at the least you want name, phone number and e-mail.

CRMs are not created equal. A modern and strong CRM should help you not only organize clients by their needs, it should track leads’ information, chart leads’ progress during various stages, and keep track of transactions and leads’ history in sales funnel. And obviously, your CRM should be user-friendly so you can work it to its full potential.

Your marketing automation tool should make drip campaigns easy. It should offer personalized direct e-mail, customized user solutions and automate emails based on certain user actions.

Consider how your current MLS, IDX and e-mail integrate with other software before installing, and think about enlisting the help of an IT specialist to offer easy implementation so these items function properly.

In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.

— Nikos Kazantzakis

“I have to be tech savvy to manage online leads.”

Hidden trick: Lead management online is as human as ever.

There is not “tech” secret to securing online leads. The same human qualities leads love about in-person referrals they also love online. Because Internet searchers tend to have lots of options at their disposal, you must show them you care and that you’re action-oriented. Reach out right away. An MIT study found that you’re 100 times more likely to reach a lead by calling within 5 minutes versus calling in 30 minutes.

And, odds are, if they are using a mobile device, they’re easily accessible during that time. The goal of that conversation is to set up an in-person meeting as soon as possible, but if nothing else you should have a clear sense of their goals by the conversation’s end. Once you’ve connected, use your electronic tools to reach out consistently. If these tools aren’t helping to ease this process, you need an upgrade, stat.

  • Make sure to include CTAs in your written communications to ensure clients are compelled to interact with you or your material.
  • If folks aren’t yet ready to take action, then set dates to reach out. And don’t forget to add them to your mailing list for your wonderful blog content so you can stay in their inboxes (and therefore top-of-mind).

“Online leads are too fickle and there’s too much competition.”

Hidden tactic: Your online strategy can make sure you’re the one they choose.

Translating your lead management to modern communication is the most important way to secure online leads. Every market has lots of competition and fickle leads. What makes online so unique is its pace, the amount of information available to your lead and their ability to search avidly online. You need to not only penetrate that noise with genuine communication and creative content, but you also need to do it quickly and often.

Because 35–50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first, it’s essential you start with that immediate phone call, followed by e-mail and hopefully an in-person meeting. Once you’ve secured this, it will be much easier to start determining if the lead is prepared to convert quickly or if they need to be placed in a larger drip campaign.

Whether they’re an immediate or long-term lead, start your communications with daily emails. Over time funnel to weekly and monthly outreach, both by phone and e-mail. Restart the process as leads reconnect with you.

What do you give leads in all this communication? Original content. Content marketing brings leads to your site, keeps them coming back (or checking their e-mail), and also makes them remember you. You should definitely make content distribution — both on your blog and social media — a priority to develop natural conversations. By doing this, you’re establishing yourself as an expert they go to for their real estate needs.

Seems like a lot already? Realize that you are pulling from a much larger pool, which makes your potential gains infinite. You also have complete control over how you represent yourself. Take advantage of your marketing automation tools to help you organize and stay in contact with leads throughout the process.

“E-mail interactions don’t work and are a waste of time.”

Hidden tip: E-mail is extremely effective… if used correctly.

With a potential ROI of 4,300%, e-mail is a great way to connect with your leads. E-mail communications are integral to online lead management. Even if you’re agreeing to follow up via phone, keep in mind that you could be catching leads while they’re on the go. Send automated emails that let leads know you’re going to be in touch and then send an e-mail after the phone to regroup and offer up contact info and links that are relevant. Sending content on a weekly basis to all leads? You should be.

Use e-mail to its full potentialMake sure that you’re not just selling, but providing an experience that’s part useful and part entertaining. Send out emails that are specific to a lead’s needs and ones that feel personal. E-mails should engage your reader with interesting topics, have your voice and solve your leads’ problems. (Use CRM or marketing automation tools to identify these problems and organize your leads.) And don’t forget to ask them what they want more of.

How you approach your email marketing will help you distinguish yourself. Are you offering these?

  • Alluring subject lines under 50 characters

  • Informative and concise writing

  • Access to great content (with links)

  • Something great to look at (photos, videos, etc.)

  • Easily accessible contact information

  • Strong CTAs that tell readers exactly how you’d like them to respond

If leads are on a long-term search, put them on a drip campaign that includes customized e-mail templates that flow from most frequent (daily) to least (weekly or monthly). Use your marketing automation tools to sync with e-mail so you don’t lapse on your communication with these leads.

Reasons Online Real Estate Leads are Like Gold

“I don’t get enough leads online.”

Hidden secret: Your website may be the problem.

First, have you checked your analytics for traffic information? If you’re lacking there, your website and PageRank may be the issue.

Update your website. Does your site have a modern design with a clean site structure that’s responsive, has fast site load times and has important information clearly labeled and accessible? If not there’s a good chance that you’re inadvertently turning leads away without knowing it. Many modern templates offer all of this for low cost.

Up your search engine optimization. If you’re not ranking well, there’s a strong possibility your focus keywords are highly competitive and not well-targeted, or perhaps your site needs more robust optimization.

Offer great content. We emphasize this because it works. If you’re constantly generating traffic to your content, you will build links that will increase your PageRank and traffic. Make sure you’re offering quality information that’s useful for your leads.

Are you socially optimized? Consider how you can build your brand and following by adding an active social media strategy to the mix.

Consider advertisements. Online real estate advertisements are a great way to showcase listings and draw leads to your website. Consider how this works into your budget and understand that this is a bit of a patient route when starting out, but very much worth the investment if you’re working with a quality real estate marketing expert.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

— Amelia Earhart

“Referral leads are better than online leads.”

Hidden warning: The market is changing.

The first question to address: How many referral leads are you getting now? You’ve probably explored online leads at this stage because want to generate more leads, but because you haven’t been successful online, you’re assuming that online leads aren’t worth your time.

Online leads are valuable: Nine in 10 home buyers rely on the Internet as a search tool, and 52 percent use the Internet as a first step. More than half of all listings page views happen through mobile devices, and these folks are more likely to go to a website, contact agent and brokers, and also to view listings themselves. This is a preview of the shifting real estate marketing.

How you manage these leads will determine the success of your business in the long run. On the other hand, ignoring these leads for fear of the work involved with hurt your sales potential. Capitalize on the online lead “gold mine” by putting an emphasis on your web communications channels. As you’re interacting with leads, measure listing views, e-mail click-through rates and conversions to sales. This will let you know what listings, contact and marketing techniques are working to drive engagement. Adjust your strategy to focus on these strengths.

Be a constant and active resource (even before someone is operating as a customer), and you’ll start to see the value in online leads.

What other hidden advantages have you found in online leads? Let us know in the comments below!

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