How can you convert more online real estate leads?
While offline real estate marketing and networking still has its place, when it comes to consistency, scale, volume ROI, and freedom, the internet is still where it’s at for most real estate agents and investors.
Less Than 10% of the Business is Offline Today
In their various forms, real estate internet leads have gone full circle, and are set to make a major comeback. There are plenty of ways to generate them. Often times, the critical question is which methods are right for the individual professional or business, and most importantly, how to convert leads into real deals and cold hard cash.
While some statistics appear to be tainted by the low percentage of real estate professionals actually using technology for lead generation, there is no question the web is where home buyers are looking for help. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), most Realtors spend more on their cars than their websites. Over 90% of home buyers start their home searches online, and select Realtors, but now over half of them are doing it from their mobile devices. That means the few that are doing it well are pocketing a huge percentage of the leads available. The bottom line is that less than 10% of the business is offline today. Unless real estate companies and their agents are working the web, they are effectively, immediately snubbing over 90% of all potential deals.
Before rushing into online real estate marketing or buying online leads, it is important for real estate investors and agents to get started right, by defining their needs, goals, and strategy. Which leads are the best fit for you? Which will be the easiest converting leads for you? How will you generate these leads, and flow them through to becoming real deals? Is it better to invest in the infrastructure to generate ongoing leads for less, or buy internet leads?
Sourcing Your Own Online Leads
There are many ways to generate real estate leads online. They includes:
Self-generating real estate leads may effectively be buying the business, like Google Adwords. Others, like blogging, can go on producing for years with a tremendous ROI. It can take some work and investment, but self-generation means freedom from being at ransom to the availability of purchased leads from third parties, and being at the whim of their pricing decisions.
Buying Internet Leads
Buying internet leads can be a fast and simple solution for real estate investors and Realtors. Buyer, seller, and renter leads are all available. Professionals can even choose between various types, such as hot ‘exclusive leads’, semi-exclusive, and even cheap aged leads, or those double qualified by phone.
Purchased internet real estate leads vary in quality and targeting too. Investors and Realtors can normally choose between larger volumes of more generic leads at lower rates, in the hope they can pull out more conversions. Or more targeted leads, selected with more filters that ought to deliver higher conversion rates.
The Number 1 Tactic for Converting More Real Estate Leads
No matter where internet leads come from, no matter how much or little is paid for them, and no matter how well targeted they are, there is only one number one rule for maximizing conversions: response time. Multiple studies have shown that conversion rates dive dramatically, even by over 100%, within just hours of leads being created.
Effective Lead Handling
Start by responding in kind to leads. It only makes sense. This is why it is important to start with strategy and planning. So email them back if they are email leads. Call if they call. Text if they text. Direct message if they DM, and so on.
By far the most important consideration, and biggest challenge when it comes to generating and responding to real estate leads is handling the volume, and on time. Too often a successful campaign slams agents and investors with hundreds of calls or emails and overwhelms them. They just can’t keep up, or stay awake 24/7 to handle them all. Promising they are available 24/7 just makes it worse, when they can’t, and breeds animosity. Worse it can often mean wasted hours and weeks on the leads that are going nowhere, while the best leads can be neglected.
It no longer has to be this way, even if you don’t have a full office and a team of in-house employees. Outsourcing is a great way to handle this. Even if you can’t afford the highest end help, or find help that will work on a commission basis, you can at least find virtual assistants to answer the phone, pre-qualify leads, and set appointments. Those on even the most incredibly limited resources can at least automate a significant percentage of responses with email auto-responders, and social media.
Despite best efforts, some real estate leads just won’t be ready to close. So have a good database and CRM, and use it. Take the time to set it up, and automate follow up, and ongoing drip marketing.
Finally, don’t forget referrals. Each lead shouldn’t just be a single deal. The sphere of each lead should be leveraged, whether or not they convert immediately or not. That makes each lead worth 200 or more leads. Gain referrals by wowing reach lead, even if they aren’t ready to buy. Give them something to talk about, incentivize them to send referrals, and ask for the business!