How can you get more and better real estate leads? How can you cut through the marketing noise and create a positive buzz around your business? Every agent and broker aspiring to achieve solid success places these questions on top of their agendas. But when doing so, are you sure your marketing budget does go to the right destination? If not, here are the core places that are worth looking at with an additional dose of attention.
When it comes to your real estate lead generation budget, the best options are probably going to be different for everyone. You may either have some preconceived notions about what agents usually spend their marketing budget on and just follow that path, expecting the time-tested techniques to work for you as well. Or, you may try investing in some new tools that pop out occasionally as this could help you capitalize on new opportunities and get ahead in the game.
Despite some obvious flaws, both tactics are sound enough and usually work very well for most agents. Indeed, why not use the experience accumulated and shared by other industry leaders, at the same time throwing some new techniques into the mix?
But it then seems that the question starts shifting in a slightly different direction: among a whole variety of real estate lead generation techniques, you must narrow down which ones are going to work for you depending on what you strive to achieve in business.
Assuming that your most important business goal is to maximize closings, the following tools will definitely capture your interest. A combination of tried-and-tested tools like email and website and more recent marketing techniques like social media and retargeting, they give you good food for thought about what you should invest in next.
6 real estate lead generation techniques worth mastering
1) Training in the field of real estate CRM & lead generation software
A golden rule in the real estate playbook is to build valuable connections within your sphere of influence. To succeed, it oftentimes involves learning to work with tools other than spreadsheets many of us are so used to.
The bigger truth is marketing your properties online is essentially different from how it used to be a couple of decades ago. Marketing has finally become customer-centric, and tools like real estate CRMs help agents not only to reflect on this big change but also turn them into the tech-savvy marketers.
Agents who decided to meet the new challenges head on, love real estate lead generation software like CRM because it’s particularly good at helping them to:
- put their sales system in place and manage leads and closing from a central dashboard;
- house business data in one central place;
- automate and finetune follow up;
- simplifies daily work with its useful automation features, reminders and alerts;
- stay connected with current and past clients;
- customize and personalize their service;
- automatically generates relevant reporting;
- even integrates with your real estate website.
Moreover, a real estate CRM goes hand in hand with your other marketing activities like emailing, blogging and social media. When everything is pulled together, it’s easier to get a 360-degree view of your business.
[Related post: 6 Real Estate Tools Agents Need from Their Brokerage]
2) Real estate website
As obvious as it may sound, a real estate website really is your biggest asset online. As your 24/7 salesman, it is a professional and informative resource (ideally) fascinating your visitors the moment they land on it.
Here are just a few facts that should convince you to start building professional digital presence if you haven’t yet:
- according to the NAR, Google searches related to real estate have grown 253% over the last few years;
- your own real estate website, properly optimized for your local area, is the only way to outrank big national and international property portals and come up high in search results;
- 4 out of 5 customers search for local information via their smartphones so a mobile-friendly website untaps a whole new pool of prospective homebuyers which are otherwise hard to reach;
- having found the local info they need, people don’t hesitate to act. 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on a computer/tablet did the same. (Source: Google Research)
Probably the most important takeaway is that today’s tech-savvy home buyers don’t want to deal with a brochure-like website that has nothing but listings published. If it fails to bring value in highlighting core things like what it feels to live in the local area and how the market is doing, prospective buyers turn elsewhere. Unfortunately, without well-designed landing pages, targeted blog posts and neighborhood pages filled with this info and optimized for locally relevant keywords, that’s exactly what your website can appear to them.
[Related post: How to Effectively Target Your Niche via Your Website]
Love it or hate it, email marketing is still one of the most powerful real estate lead generation techniques. The average ROI of email is $38 per $1 spent. It’s also safe to say that email is going to stay in the digital landscape for many years to come so a good decision will be to invest some time and budget into mastering it.
To be really good at email marketing, you are going to need two basic things:
- interesting, relevant, targeted content to include in your messages so each email carries some valuable information your audience will find helpful;
- email marketing software to power delivery of your content (e.g., follow up and drip marketing campaigns) and enable you to scale your email campaigns as your contact database grows.
Like we mentioned above, email should go hand in hand with blogging, social media and real estate lead generation software or CRM. This way you can have better follow up intelligence: what to send, when, how often and to which audiences. Besides, email marketing helps you spot hot leads in your contact database so you can craft more personalized follow up messages and discover if the lead is ready for a bigger business relationship.
[Related post: 5 Real Estate Contact Management Strategies to Upgrade Your Follow Up]
4) Social media and mobile apps
Social media, and especially Facebook, is at the forefront of every real estate agent’s mind. 95% of people use Facebook to find information about an agent’s services before contacting them. Facebook is also the top social media platform among real estate businesses – 79% of agents use it as their main social networking platform.
Of course, there are plenty of other social media platforms that might be interesting from a lead generation standpoint. Facebook, however, proves to work out best for most industry players so naturally it’s the first social platform to focus your efforts on. So it’s important to be present here in a much more meaningful way than everyone else. 93% of social media traffic comes from Facebook.
Use custom Facebook apps to strengthen your Facebook business page and introduce more powerful functionality to it. You can use these tabs to showcase and promote your listings, capture emails, run contests and promote your blog and video content. 45% of clients have walked through a home found on social media so its well worth the effort.
Same goes for native mobile apps – 85 per cent of mobile usage is apps, not browsers. Moreover, mobile web gets the majority of mobile users (as high as 70 percent) but a tiny fraction of engagement (as low as 5 percent) (Source: Rich Barton, Zillow’s Executive Chairman).
This means all engagement – downloads, referrals, calls, emails, social messages – comes from apps. It seems like it’s going to pay to power your marketing with social media and mobile apps, right?
[Related posts: 14 Ways to Use Custom Facebook Tabs to Win More Leads, How a Native Real Estate App Can Generate You Leads]
Did you know that only 2 percent of your website visitors convert on the first visit? In other words, you work hard to build a great website, fill it in with interesting, relevant content and get yourself ready for an influx of leads…. only to discover your visitors are bouncing off.
An excellent way to reverse the situation is to use dynamic retargeting tools. To cut a long story short, here’s how it works:
Here’s a recap of some outstanding opportunities retargeting opens up for you:
- you can retarget all website visitors, at the same time excluding random ones, i.e. the ones not interested in what you have to offer;
- you can create beautiful ads with your listings and promote them all around the Web (retargeting tools embrace 98% of sites that exist on the Internet including the big ones like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, NYT, Washington Post, etc.). Imagine having your listings advertised on these sites at a fraction of your budget;
- you can customize your retargeting campaigns to target specifically buyer or seller leads;
- you can leverage CRM data onboarding. Just set up a retargeting campaign for your most important contacts using their emails and your ads will intelligently appear in front of them anywhere on the Web.
Retargeting is a powerful real estate lead generation technique. Here’s a big post on how to get up and running with it: Retargeting for Real Estate: a Complete Guide to Bringing People Back to Your Site.
6) Property portal feeds
Last but not at all least, is property portal software. It’s true that feeding your listings to major property portals in your country or world at large boosts your exposure, positively affects your SEO rankings and brings more leads every month. For real estate agents, it’s one of the best ways to win online exposure.
Creating and managing feeds can be a difficult undertaking, though. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do this from one central platform? Even more, what if this platform is your real estate CRM?
Don’t think it’s too good to be true. Advanced CRMs like AgentDrive make this work for you so now you can enjoy better organized and easier work with portals without the usual hassle. Best of all, you can also track the source of each lead to calculate your ROI.
While advertising on the big property portals clearly has huge benefits, it can often come at a big cost too. In light of this, yet another great thing about property portal feeders is cutting the costs on creating and managing the feeds. So the whole campaign suddenly becomes much more affordable to real estate businesses of all sizes.
[Related post: 7 Ways Real Estate Franchise Software Builds You a Stellar Network]
Some real estate lead generation tools are so essential to the success in this industry that it’s simply too important to ignore them. The above ones seem to fall into this category. Make sure to bring them to the table next time you plan your marketing budget so the beautiful properties you market find their customers and help your business grow.
Social media is indeed helpful and it really is good.
Thanks Lenny and, indeed, social media can be a great lead generating channel.