In Real Estate, when it comes to getting leads, you have many choices. You can buy them from companies like Zillow or Realtor.com. You can advertise using Google adwords or other vehicles, in the hope to catch people when they are searching for real estate related terms.
Or you can start building your own “organic” lead pipeline.
The difference between the approaches is that if you turn the “bought” type of lead source off (Zillow, Realtor.com, Google, etc.), your lead flow will stop. If you decide to temporarily reduce your investment in your own “organic” lead engine, it will keep on giving.
So what do you need to do, to start building your own lead pipeline?
There are many steps involved in getting that up and running, too many, in fact, to list in this blog post. But here are a few to start with. We will add more, in other blog posts, in the near future:
- Claim and optimize your Google Business Listing — we have clients that get over 200 calls/month from their Google Business Listing alone. It is a free Google service and I am shocked that so many real estate companies don’t even bother claiming their listing, let alone optimize it. How much would you have to pay for 200 phone leads/month from other sources?
- Focus on getting referrals and reviews. Did you know that a customer acquired through WOM (Word of Mouth) is likely to have 2x the lifetime value of someone who was attracted to your business by traditional marketing means (e.g., advertising), and is likely to bring in 2x the amount of new customers through their buzzing. Yet when looking at most Real Estate companies’ Facebook pages and Google Business Listings, it’s amazing to see how anemic their profiles are when it comes to number of reviews. A real estate agent here in town had one 5 star review, then they got a 1 star review — that brought down their rating on Google Business Listings down from 5 to 2.5 stars overnight! How do you think that will affect their web traffic? Not only will people who read their profile be less likely to click through to their website, Google will show them less often in searches — because Google’s goal is to make sure that searchers have a good experience. If they would have had 10 reviews, the pain would have been way less. Getting referrals and reviews is hard — even if you deliver value to your clients.
- Invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). We recently wrote about how SEO should not be an afterthought, but an integral part of your ongoing marketing strategy. SEO is not a one time thing, it’s an ongoing effort and for real estate companies it involves mostly technical SEO and local SEO. Unfortunately, we have analyzed sites that are totally invisible to Google as it relates to their company’s local business. That means no leads whatsoever. Why even bother having a website in that case?
- Have a website that connects with prospects on an emotional level. Remember, for most people, buying or selling a property is an emotional decision. Show them how you think, how you’re different, what you will actually do for them in a way that does not sound like corporate speak, or does not sound like every other realtor in town. According to NAR/Realtor.com, 92% of people 37 and younger used the Internet frequently when searching for homes. Across all age groups that number was 74%! NAR further found that 76% of all buyers found their home on mobile devices and 17% of all buyers found their agent on mobile devices. Is your website delivering value for them? Or does your site look just like the websites from your competitors, with 90% of the site being listing-focused and almost no info on your yourself? Again, I am shocked at how many real estate websites have no “about us” section. We wrote in more detail about this topic in this article.
- Leverage Social Media Marketing. Social Media Marketing, like Facebook and Twitter, are not just great channels to reach prospects, they are also great SEO tools for your website. We will elaborate on that in a future post.
Of course, none of this happens overnight, but you should, in most cases, see significant improvements in a 90 day period. Depending on what you are starting with in terms of foundation (web presence, existing SEO and social presence, etc.) you may even see significant changes in 30-60 days. The key to making this successful is not the mumbo jumbo that most companies will tell you, it comes down to being laser-sharply focused on delivering value and “wow” customer experiences throughout the client’s buying or selling cycle.
Have other ideas — we would love to hear them!