Real Estate Website Lead Capture Tips from ActiveRain’s Bob Stewart
By Matthew Bushery
About Website Design
Real estate website lead capture forms aren’t just nice-to-haves for your agency’s site. Today, they’re absolutely essential.
Just ask ActiveRain Chief Evangelist Bob Stewart, a sixteen-year industry veteran, who, along with ActiveRain Owner Ben Kinney, has mastered the art of online lead generation.
Adding, optimizing, and testing real estate website lead capture forms has helped Stewart and his brokerage secure top buyer and seller prospects online — and with relative ease.
These forms, he notes, can do the same for agents working today. All that’s needed is a bit of direction to get going.
Discover Stewart’s many expert real estate website lead capture tips from our revealing webinar Q&A with him.
Tip #1: Give your real estate website lead capture forms time to boost conversions.
Too many agents give up on their marketing activities too soon, Stewart notes. He says that unfortunately, real estate website lead capture forms fall into this category.
“I’m on Facebook Groups and ActiveRain, and I’ll see people say, ‘I’ve got this landing page and 60 people came to it [in the last couple of weeks] and I only got one conversion,'” says Stewart. “[Ask yourself], is that really enough time and traffic to make a judgment on whether this was a good piece of conversion [content] or if this was a good form?”
Not only does Stewart advise agents to keep forms up and running for long periods to see if they work, but he also recommends experimenting with multiple versions.
“There’s this A/B [testing] concept, where I can say, ‘Let me serve my A form to 50 people and let me serve my B form to 50 people and look at whichever one gets better conversions,” Stewart explains. “Maybe I double down on that one or maybe I realized that the one that had less conversions needs some work, a tweak, and I’ll play with it.”
The point, says Stewart, is to stick with your core marketing tactics. Most require a few months before agents see real results, so a bit of patience is necessary.
Tip #2: Play around with custom lead capture form types and timing to determine which work best.
As mentioned, experimenting is how most online-savvy agents get the most out of their real estate website lead capture forms.
Trying different form headers and offering different content or services behind forms is just the tip of the iceberg; Stewart says the testing options are nearly limitless for agents.
“Data allows us to say, ‘I’ve got these 10 forms on my website, and this one performs really well,'” says Stewart. “But also, it shows which pages to put forms on. ‘I know this page over here gets a lot of traffic, and I don’t have any calls to action on that page.'”
Testing where forms appear, and on which pages they are featured, is also a worthwhile experiment.
“One of the things we’ve done for a long time … is really tweaked that idea of, you know, ‘How much do we let somebody see [on our real estate website] before we attempt to get them to register?'” Stewart shares.
“We’ve done things like we’ll pop a registration page off of somebody, but we’ll allow them to actually X out of it and close it down and say, ‘Nah, I’m not ready right now.’ You can just play with all this stuff and the data helps you understand [what works].”
Tip #3: Steadily increase the value offered in your site content, so your visitors will want to fill out forms.
Creating real estate website content that informs visitors and convinces them to fill out custom lead capture forms is more than worth the effort involved, according to Stewart.
He says the reason why is obvious:
“If I’m blogging, there’s always this internal battle between writing kind of short, succinct content [and longer content],” says Stewart. “We’re told people’s attention spans are low on the internet, so you can’t write more than 200 words in your blog because people don’t want to digest more than 200 words.”
“I think the reality is, when you’re educating someone about buying a house, about making the biggest investment in their life, about where they want to live, about where they want their kids to go to school, there’s inherently [value] in educating someone about the things that a real estate agent is educating them about.”
Given that many buyers and sellers invest the time needed to read agents’ content and use that info to inform their hiring and housing decisions, Stewart says it’s in an agent’s best interest to continually invest in long-form content.
“There’s this idea they’re capable of consuming more than 90 seconds worth of content from you,” he states. “And so, if you do have a large piece of content where they’re just going to be on one page, what a great idea to say, ‘Alright, [I’ll have a form populate] after three minutes.’
“It’s that same concept that says, ‘Did I give them enough for them to trust me, to realize there’s value in exchanging their information for continuing to consume my content?'”
Tip #4: The more persistent you are with lead capture testing, the more your forms will help your business.
It’s not enough to run one or two tests here and there with your real estate website lead capture forms, Stewart notes.
Instead, you need to consistently keep an eye on how your forms are converting so you can use that info to inform your next tests, and the next ones, and so on.
Stewart shares, “I get better at understanding what customers want because I have data that show me I’ve got 15 of these pages, and man, this one’s killing it, so I need to do more around concepts like that.”
Having the right real estate technology in place to help with capturing real estate leads is just as vital, according to Stewart.
“It kind of changes the way you think about your business if you have the tools, the know-how to go out and start building lead capture forms. I mean, your business is built on the ability to meet new people and to get those people to share their information.”
“I feel like as a real estate agent who wants to generate leads for your business, it becomes this thing where, ‘I’ve got to do these things,” he says. “I’ve got to do it consistently. I’ve got to find a tool that helps me do it easily.'”
Tip #5: A wide variety of gated content and services for your forms means more chances for lead gen.
You are your best marketing resource. Your knowledge can be translated into blog posts, community pages, videos, and other assets — all of which can boost your lead generation efforts.
As Stewart shares, he’s had plenty of experience with creating content and offering services that have led to greater online lead capture. All it takes is some savvy, post-form sales skills to boost lead conversion.
“Ben [Kinney] and his team … create these home valuation pages, they put them on postcards, they do Facebook ads, they do pay-per-click — and the vast majority of these [real estate leads] just want to know what their house is worth,” says Stewart.
“When they have the conversation with that person, if they go, ‘Well, we’re not interested in selling. We’re just wondering what our house was worth,’ you can say, ‘If I was able to bring you [a buyer] and the timing was right and the price was right, would you be okay with me calling you back?’ Inevitably, what they say is, ‘Yeah, sure!'”
Get even more real estate website lead capture advice in our webinar with Stewart:
Published on December 5, 2017
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.