Figuring out the ideal way to generate real estate leads is one of the most hotly debated issues agents and brokers face on a recurring basis. The challenge here is that lead generating is both a science and an art since not all leads are created equal. Below are some thoughts based on experiences WhereToLive.com has had with clients and what we’ve learned from them.
First, consider ranking the following lead examples based on quality. Then put a dollar amount next to each type of lead signifying how much that type of lead would be worth to you. Take your time and be honest. Nobody’s watching.
Ranking / Value
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who has never been to your website before. They were forced to register before viewing properties.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a regular visitor to your website who keeps up to date on their neighborhood. They finally find a property that meets their needs and contact you to set up a showing.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who viewed a handful of properties but was then forced to register in order to continue interacting with your website.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who viewed a few properties, clicked through to an agent’s profile, then read a handful of blog posts written by the agent talking about local market conditions and neighborhoods.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who saw a prominent incentive that justified registering with the website, such as a Home Depot gift certificate for $25.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who found your site after typing in a single property website URL found on a sign rider.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who poured over more than a dozen photos of a property, emailed the property to their spouse, heard back that they were in agreement about the property, then contacted you.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor after they watched a video of an agent explaining how long they’ve been in the business along with cities and neighborhoods they serve.
______ / ______ Lead generated from a visitor who’s interested in a listing that’s physically far away from your location in a price range you don’t normally serve.
After completing an exercise like this, it becomes pretty clear that not all leads are created equal. Efforts to increase leads should focus not just on quantity but quality in order to increase the chances of turning the lead into real business.
WhereToLive.com has implemented a large variety of technical tactics to lead generation, including forced registration during different stages of the web visitor’s experience based on our client’s requests. We’ve found that forced registrations do indeed increase the volume of form completions, although significantly dilutes the quality of leads. At its worst, “leads” with fake contact information are generated, wasting agents time and clearly frustrating website visitors who weren’t ready to contact an agent.
Improving Lead Quality
The most glaring trend we see in lead generation data is that buyers who find what they’re looking for are more likely to contact an agent. Here are the general rules the data we see illustrates:
1. Properties with more photos get more views.
2. Properties with more photos get more leads.
3. Agents with current, professional photos get more leads.
4. Agents who build out complete websites get more leads.
5. Agents who blog get more leads.
Tying that all together: Agents who take lots of high quality photos of their listings, publish them to the web in high quality formats, have high quality photos of themselves on their website, explain their professional background and interests, and write blog posts about their market are the ones who are seeing the most success online.
Imagine this happening: An agent receives a call from a prospect who says, “Earlier today, I drove past one of your listings, saw your sign in the yard and wrote down the domain name. My spouse and I checked out the property on your site and we read some of your blog posts. Would you have time to show us that property tomorrow?”
That lead is coming from someone who’s already somewhat familiar with the neighborhood. They’ve familiarized themselves with the property due to the agent’s great job loading lots of photos to the web. And they’ve familiarized themselves with the agent before contacting them. This type of lead is among the best from both an agent and consumer’s perspective since the consumer is truly qualified an no one’s time is being wasted.
The nice thing about this is that it’s an attainable goal by all real estate agents. Publishing high quality photos of listings, building out your website, and writing blog posts is time well spent. Create a habit of creating quality content. The quantity and quality of leads will follow.