Chances are, if you’re like most agents, you have anywhere from a modest to a large number of real estate leads to manage and prioritize, and they’re coming to you across several different platforms and mediums. Before you start crunching the numbers, take a step back and think about how you actually manage those leads.
Your plan of action probably varies, right? Properly using a CRM system designed to bring those leads scattered all over in one place will save you from devoting time and energy so you’re not randomly nurturing your prospects, leaving you unable to track how effective your marketing really is.
If you’re looking for a better way to manage your leads and track their activities on your site, we’ve detailed below how you can make the transition to an all-in-one real estate CRM software platform to accomplish those goals.
Your real estate leads come from many different places — online and offline. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones.
Think about the places you typically see the most lead activity from. If you’re especially active on social media or use your IDX website to its full potential, you probably count most of your leads from online sources, whereas if you prefer to connect with potential clients in person, like through networking in your community, you spend time gathering the contact information of those prospects. Or, if you’re like a lot of agents, you might obtain leads from a mix of sources.
Each lead source has its benefits and disadvantages for real estate agents, of course. But if you see a significant amount of lead traffic from a certain source, by all means leverage it to your advantage to continue to generate the types of leads that will eventually convert into clients.
Your Real Estate Website
If you take the time to delve into all the functionality your website offers, it can garner you a steady stream of incoming leads to categorize and nurture. It’s easy to prioritize other responsibilities over optimizing your site, but remember: 90% of home buyers look for properties online when they’re beginning their home search, and that’s a fact you shouldn’t ignore when thinking about potential clients. There are a few channels to obtain leads from on your site, which we detail below:
Social media is a great channel to explore to drive more traffic to your site. Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy agent out there, regularly interacting with your followers and sharing new content that links back to your real estate website will engage your site visitors and encourage them to learn more about your agency.
Google AdWords is a cost-effective way to attract leads to your site. The traffic you generate is based on what you pay, so the more money spent, the higher the amount of leads you see. Adwords also allows you to track lead activity in real time and see specific metrics that will help you learn more about your prospects.
Real Estate Portals
In theory, lead generating websites like Zillow and Trulia that allow real estate agents to buy leads searching in specific zip codes are useful. Think about it: having multiple people at your fingertips who are ready to buy the properties you’ve chosen to feature sounds ideal, but unfortunately, those leads aren’t guaranteed to be qualified, which means the bulk of them actually aren’t sales-ready. You could end up looking at putting a lot of time into potential prospects that won’t end up panning out.
Now, that’s not to say those lead capturing websites should be completely ignored or that they’re not useful to real estate agents. Far from it. Agents who choose to invest anywhere from a modest to a large amount in advertising on Zillow can see cool returns, but unless you’ve got a strategy in place you can end up parting with too much of your ad spend budget per month with little to show for it.
Online lead sources can most definitely be beneficial if nurtured correctly. A thoughtful real estate marketing plan, an easy-to-navigate website, and some patience are the basic tools needed to begin organizing and managing all of the leads you receive online.
Despite how integrated into daily life technology and social media platforms have become, there’s still nothing like having a conversation with someone in person, especially if you’re trying to gauge what type of home someone is looking for. Engaging people on a personal level is a very real and necessary aspect of the real estate business. Luckily, there’s ample networking opportunities for agents that go beyond open houses.
Local Meetups: These casual gatherings are a great way to meet others interested in real estate, build your knowledge, and maybe even make a new friend while you’re at it. The topics discussed can vary–anything from house-flipping to open houses–and since they’re not solely about landing a client, you may discover you have a better chance in the long run of receiving referrals.
Aside from informal socializing, events like trade shows and continuing education classes can be helpful for agents looking to expand their sphere of reference. While these social activities can be great occasional methods of obtaining leads, they shouldn’t replace the level of activity you see from your IDX website, but rather act as a complementary way to interact with your peers and learn about a new aspect of your business.
Referrals: You already know referrals are an extremely important way to grow your business. In fact, 75% of an agent’s clients are thanks to referrals and word of mouth. Is your neighbor’s sister moving back to town and you’ve been put in touch with her unexpectedly? Did you have a recent conversation with another parent at your child’s school who’s looking to move into a bigger home? The great thing about receiving new business from your connections is that it can happen anytime, and come from virtually anyone you’ve spoken to who knows you’re a real estate agent.
The issue with leads coming from every which way? They’re not organized! That’s where your real estate CRM enters.
Now that you have a better idea of the places your leads come from, you’ll be able to think about how you could organize them more effectively. When you’re trying to juggle prospects from multiple channels, it’s almost a given that someone will get overlooked. When you use a real estate CRM to its full potential to integrate all of your prospects into one place, you’ll see improved organization and ultimately be able to better nurture your leads.
It’s important to select a CRM that best fits the needs of your business. That means thinking about the number of prospects you have to manage, the length of your sales cycle, and what you and your agency hope to achieve. When it comes time to gather your leads into one place, automation is a necessary and handy tool to have on your side.
Automated Lead Import
A quality CRM should offer automation capabilities, not only with your drip email campaigns, but also in how you organize all of your existing and incoming prospects. When gathering all of your leads and their contact details from various websites, social media platforms, and ads, having the ability to automatically sync your contacts means you’re that much closer to providing prospects with helpful nurture in a systematic way.
Once you see all your leads in one place, you may discover you have a larger amount of contacts than you thought, or a handful of duplicates. When you’re able to review all of the information and consider how you can best set these contacts on drip email campaigns, you can begin to narrow down your list to only the top priority prospects.
A secondary benefit to the automation offered by your real estate CRM? It makes the overall lead management process smoother. It might be overwhelming to begin the task of segmenting all of your leads, but once you’ve put in the initial effort, organizing all of your future incoming leads each week will ultimately save you time. Consider the possibilities: you can designate specific categories that your prospects fall into and set them on an email drip campaign to nurture new prospects swiftly.
It should almost go without saying, but once you’re comfortable with performing this necessary lead management task every week, you’ll have more time and energy to spend connecting with your leads and nurturing your incoming prospects, which will reduce the stress associated with the responsibility.
Once your prospects are added to your lead management system, you can much more easily nurture and track them.
Having a dynamic system to prioritize and manage your leads is essential if your goal is providing each of your contacts with some kind of nurture (which you should always strive to do), but lead management systems offer many useful options to real estate agents outside of the strictly organizational.
For one thing, they’re cost-effective. Thanks to the improved nurture that email templates and drip campaigns offer, they increase prospect to client conversion rates, and they give you a big picture view of your prospects.
Lead Activity Monitoring
When it comes to your site, tracking visitor activity can help you learn which pages your leads visit the most, and the types of content they browse and download to improve your nurture efforts. But there’s way more than just site activity to keep track of. It’s to your benefit to learn the places your leads visit the most so you can provide them with the most relevant information possible.
If you’re interested in reaching out to your leads with consistent, personalized messages, you’ve probably considered or used email marketing in the past. (And if you haven’t, you definitely should!) There are various email usage metrics to track to get a better idea of how your prospects are interacting with your email sends. Details like open rates, unsubscribes, and forwards can give you valuable insight into which pieces of your content are working, or if the section of your audience you’re targeting is receptive to your messaging so you know what to tweak for improved engagement.
You’ve finally gotten organized. Your contact list is full of semi-qualified leads and you’ve been able to categorize them based on their shared characteristics. Now you can start running a few drip email campaigns. You dutifully set up a schedule and settle in to see what sort of response you get from your top prospects. After the first email cycle has ended, you’re feeling letdown. You didn’t see nearly the amount of engagement you hoped you would.
Fortunately, if something doesn’t seem quite right about your drip campaigns, you can perform an audit on your content and messaging to see what’s working and what needs to change.
- Analyze the lead capture forms you’re using. If none of your content is gated, meaning prospects have to complete a contact form to gain access to a downloadable, that could be the reason why you’re seeing increased download rates but don’t have the contact details to show for it.
- Determine if your real estate leads are categorized in the most sensible way. Have you gotten ahead of yourself and grouped warm leads together with cold leads? It could be the reason for less than stellar amounts of engagement.
Using tools like Google Analytics, you can get an idea of how your leads are interacting with your content, the duration of their visits to your website, even at what time they open your messages, which can help you develop a more effective nurture strategy. Remember: lead outreach and management is an ongoing process and your business only benefits from mixing up the way you approach both.