Seasoned marketers understand their prospects should be drip-fed information. It should be periodic, sporadic, and helpful. Yet, the average marketer is turning on the fire hose, pointing it at a crowd and then grabbing whatever poor schmuck remains standing at the end.
As soon as someone announces they’re looking to buy a home, the realtors ready their hoses. They’re hit from all sides – Facebook, Instagram, leaflets, phone calls, text messages, emails and any other available communication platform.
After the real world takes note, the virtual one follows. It’s disorientating, it’s chaotic. To stand out, you either need to be the one doing something different, the one who gets there first, or the one with the biggest hose.
In this post, I’ll show you 6 tips to help with all three and to increase real estate lead generation.
But before I do, any amount of lead generation you do will not produce sustainable results if your brand is not on point. Check out this guide I recently wrote showing you exactly how to create an effective brand strategy.
No. 6: Make Sure Everything is Mobile Optimized
According to the Pew Research Center 96% of Americans own a smartphone, and there are over 5 billion owners around the world. In between mammoth sessions of Clash of Clans and relentlessly stalking old school friends, these phones are being used for everything from online shopping to sending business emails.
They’re also how the vast majority of Americans search for new homes, whether it’s a late-night aspirational search after one-too many Bacardi’s, or a genuine, committed search from a cash buyer.
If your site or agency isn’t mobile ready, all these potential buyers will pass you by.
The first step is to make sure your site is mobile friendly. This is straightforward as most content-management systems are mobile-friendly.
If your site is a little older, it might be trickier, but every platform and most developers can easily help you get your site mobile optimized. Once the work is done, you can use Google’s Mobile Test to see if your site displays properly on mobile devices.
It will also benefit you to develop an app. It doesn’t need to have a host of advanced features. You’re not reinventing the wheel here and you’re definitely not trying to create the next Flappy Bird. You just want something that simplifies the process of finding and enquiring about houses.
You can use Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, or PeoplePerHour to hire an affordable developer who will create this app for you. It shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred bucks for a basic app and some developers will do it for less than $150.
No. 5: Create a Landing Page
Everyone knows what landing pages are these days and everyone appreciates their value. If you spend any time on Youtube, you’ve probably been bombarded with ads extolling the virtues of funnels from someone who somehow manages to be both younger and richer than you.
It’s tragic, I know, but for the most part, the claims those kids make inside their 10-car garages or on the balconies of their tropical island homes are real.
So why is it that every time you create a landing page you spend thousands on clicks and get nothing in sales?
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not because those kids are lying to you or because ClickFunnels is a scam.
It’s because you’re not doing it properly.
One of the most common complaints I hear is, “I spend a fortune on landing pages and they never generate sales.” When I do a little digging, I discover that they are making one or more costly mistakes.
The process of making an effective sales funnel is actually very simple, just keep the following in mind:
- Narrow Your Focus: A good landing page serves a single purpose, whether that be to generate sales or to acquire sign-ups for a newsletter. Do not overcomplicate it by adding all of your services and then finishing with an opt-in link.
- Don’t Direct them to your Website: A landing page shouldn’t simply direct traffic to your traditional website. It either needs to be an all-in-one solution, giving them something they can sign-up for on the landing page, or it needs to direct them to another, equally optimized page, such as a webinar or free eBook (more on those below).
- Make it Free: Use the word “FREE” as much as possible on your landing page. If you’re not offering something for free, change your strategy and find a way to work this in. It makes a massive difference.
- Optimize the Button: The text on the call-to-action button is insanely important. “Register Now” isn’t enough. Instruct them, don’t ask them. Tell them to “Click Here” or “Click Now”. These buttons should be placed after every major section.
- Show Results: If you’re offering investment advice, you need to prove that your advice is effective. If you’re selling houses, you need to prove that you’re reliable and have a good portfolio. Use pictures and testimonials, and make the advantages of using your services very clear.
- Personalize it: If you’re using ClickFunnels your landing page will default to youname.clickfunnels.com. It will also show the ClickFunnels meta data and it won’t be secured with an SSL. This looks very unprofessional and needs to be changed.
- Keep it Short: Don’t overdo it, don’t lose focus. Keep it succinct, get your point across, and leave it at that.
No. 4: Personalize Your Signups
When was the last time you opened a newsletter or promotional email and actually purchased something? When was the last time you received a promotional text message that didn’t make you roll your eyes?
A friend of mine recently tried to get out of a cold call by telling the guy he was going on a date. He spent the next five minutes explaining his date to the curious caller, in which time I heard him profess his love for pizza, and then agree that the new Star Wars movie wasn’t as good as the previous one.
After five minutes, he did a complete U-turn and agreed to meet with the salesmen for coffee.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, my friend is an idiot. That’s true, but the cold-caller was also a genius who knew that establishing a connection with someone makes them more willing to buy from you.
Think about this before you send a mass email campaign and try a friendlier alternative instead.
- Send handwritten notes with business cards attached instead of impersonal leaflets. Thank them for expressing an interest and invite them to call or meet you to discuss their needs.
- Instead of using a sign-up sheet at an open house, ask the visitors their names and where they live. You can use the free government database to look them up and send them a note/business card, proving that you’re a good listener as well as a good realtor.
- Be professional, but be friendly – get to know them and get them to talk about themselves. This may not make a huge difference when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, but it’ll make your job much easier when you’re marketing to them. Everyone hangs-up on cold callers, no one hangs-up on friends (well, sometimes I do).
You shouldn’t give up on email and text databases entirely, but you should make sure you’re only targeting the people who actually listen.
Use newsletter software to determine who is opening and reading your emails and who is simply deleting them. If someone is opening every email, move them up the list and start sending them more personalized requests, as there’s a good chance they are ready to buy.
Conversely, if someone is deleting every email without reading it, take them off the list, or add them to one that sends fewer and more targeted emails.
You can do something similar with phone calls. If you have clients who always seem to be “out” or “just going out” when you call, ignore them. You’re clearly not helping them, you’re just pestering them, and that could hurt your reputation.
No. 3: Create and Offer a Free Resource
“Free” is a magical word that can attract anyone’s attention. It’s right up there with, “You were right” and “This round’s on me”, and in a marketing campaign it should be used liberally.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this is to create a resource that provides genuinely helpful advice – such as an eBook targeted at investors or first-time buyers – and then give this away for free.
You’re a realtor, your customers are not. You’re an expert and you have advice that they seek, so give it to them freely. You can advertise a book like this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and your website. Add a download link to a landing page; send one in a text message.
There are two ways that you can benefit from this. The first, and the most common, is to ask for their phone number or email address in exchange for the download. This can be effective, but it will also turn off a lot of potential downloaders.
The second – and perhaps the most effective – is to simply include your details within the book.
If the book is well written and contains helpful advice, they’ll see you as an expert on the subject and will turn to you whenever they’re looking to buy. It’s as simple as that.
PRO TIP: Don’t wanna create the ebook for yourself? Search “real estate ebooks” on one of these 3 sites:
No. 2: Host a Webinar
My team and I have conducted extraordinary amounts of research on the best ways to convert browsers into buyers, and it all keeps coming back to webinars. That’s why these virtual conferences are a must for any lead-generation strategy, especially in real estate.
You can use them to discuss industry secrets, to help aspiring realtors, or even to talk about the best way to negotiate on a new home.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Ask people what they are struggling with. Your goal is to help them with their issues, so the first step is to discover what those issues are, whether they concern house prices, renting vs buying, or legal issues.
- Create a solution that is inspiring and different. You are the master, they are the students.
- Promise people that you will fix their issues for them and use this promise to drive traffic to your webinar through a landing page.
- Make it clear there are no replays. It’s a one-and-only.
- Leave the sales pitch for the end, by which time everyone is agreeable and ready to take things further.
- Include a link to your site or sales page and invite them to take action and set an appointment with you.
A webinar should be one of the first things you do. It will tell you a lot about your customers and can prepare you going forward. If it fails, adapt and try again. If it succeeds, keep doing it.
No. 1: Use Google Ads
Google Ads is by far the most common way to advertise products and services, and it’s also one of the most cost effective.
This is as true in the real estate sector as it is anywhere else. It gives you a chance to rank at the top of the search results for keywords like “homes for sale in [location]” without dropping thousands on SEO campaigns.
The problem is, it’s very easy to make mistakes on this platform, and if that happens then you could be spending thousands of dollars a week and getting very little in return.
To maximize your returns and minimize your investment, keep the following 4 tips in mind:
Tip #1: Do It Yourself
Google Ads can seem a little complicated at first glance. There are a lot of tabs, a lot of variables, and all kinds of potential headaches. It’s easy to be tempted by the first marketing agency waving a contract and a promise in your face.
But it’s actually very easy to learn and it’ll save you a huge sum of money in the long-run if you do it yourself.
If you spend more than $10 a day, you will be given your own Google advisor. They know just as much – if not more – than any marketing agency and will provide their service free of charge.
Don’t have $10 a day to spend? Look for a niche keyword that only generates a few clicks, set a price of $0.30 to $0.50 a click, and create a budget of $10 to $20 a day. That’s usually enough to trigger the advisor request.
Tip #2: Refine Your Keywords
If you’re using broad match keywords on Google Ads, there’s a good chance you’re getting clicks from people who are not in the least bit interested in what you have to offer.
Keep an eye on your keywords and search terms and if you find something that doesn’t fit, add it as a negative keyword.
It’s also best to start with a small maximum bid. Give it a few days to see how many clicks it generates and then increase. Do this until you find the sweet spot, one that generates a lot of clicks but doesn’t cost you your first born.
Tip #3: Refine the Locations
Google will let you choose which locations to target, which is essential when you consider most companies in the real estate sector are focusing on specific counties or regions. However, the default is set to “people in, or who show an interest in, your location”, which is a broad category that includes people from all over the world.
Change this to “people in your chosen location”.
I recently worked with a client who couldn’t understand why he was paying for hundreds of daily clicks and getting very few sales. After a little research, I discovered that while he was targeting a single state, he was getting clicks from all over the world.
He actually spent more money on clicks from South Africa and India than he did from his own state, and that was all because of this default setting.
Tip #4: Link Your Accounts
You can link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account. Not only will this help you to differentiate which clicks are paid and which are organic, but you can also create conversion metrics.
For instance, you can tell Google to monitor how many people visit a checkout/opt-in page, which means you can monitor how successful (or otherwise) a certain campaign is.
Conclusion: Analyze & Adjust
One of the best pieces of advice I can give to anyone in any industry, is to constantly test and try multiple avenues and see which ones produce the best results.
For instance, I have had a lot of success on Instagram and Facebook and have built massive businesses on these networks, but I know many successful entrepreneurs who won’t go near them. I also know people who have built entire businesses off the back of Google Ads, while others have struggled to generate any profits.
My primary objective with this post was to get you thinking about your business and to encourage you to discover what will possibly be the best fit for you.
Try a few of the tips you just read, spread your budget around, and see which options give you the best return. When you have the data then you can start focusing more of your budget on that particular platform.
Continue to analyze and adjust. Understand this is as much of a science as it is an art. And the beautiful thing is with today’s technical advancements the opportunities are endless.
It really just boils down to how bad you want it, your ability to adapt and how quickly and effectively you execute.
About Jeremy Mcgilvrey