What is the role of a real estate website? Most of us will agree that it’s to promote our business and definitely for real estate lead generation and deals that get to the closing table. The challenge begins with identifying our site visitors, as they are usually resistant to telling us who they are. We looked at that in detail in last week’s post Cruise Control for Online Lead Conversion.
It’s a great accomplishment to generate a steady stream of qualified leads through your website calls-to-action and forms. Following up with drip email that is interesting and relationship-building is how many of them will be kept in our sphere of influence until they make a buying or selling decision. However, lead generation considered, there is a gap at this stage of this delicate relationship. So, what is the how-to for real estate lead generation success when we’re already doing these things?
- You are calling those who gave you a phone number.
- Your niche drip email campaigns are running.
- What more can you do without pushing too hard and losing them?
Let’s face it; we do lose a significant number of them in this stage. Many of your site visitors are reading your informative articles and blog posts, but ALL of them are searching listings. This isn’t a post about analytics, as that’s another topic deserving of detailed study. This is a look at what your website could be doing with lead generation to build a stronger relationship without running them off.
Hangout Step 1: The Irresistible Offer for Site Registration
Sorry, but “Please Join My Guest List” is far from an irresistible offer! The results will likely be a very short list. They simply have no urgency to tell you who they are for the honor of being on a list. What’s in it for them? You must offer them something so interesting, valuable or helpful that they can’t resist.
Rule 1: Resist asking for registration without real reward.
Joining your guest list, registering for the newsletter and other offers are not going to help you. You already have their contact information. You need to register them for valuable site features they will use in their site search activities. You want to put them in a position where you can hang out with them and they can hang out with others.
Hangout Step 2: Build the Features
What can you offer that your visitors will find hard to resist? Some or all of these features/services have proven to be registration lures that work:
- Extra fields of listing information not available to unregistered searchers.
- Limiting the number of searches before registration is required. (not as friendly, but works for some)
- Saving of favorite listings.
- Sharing of listings with their social site contacts and friends.
- Customized client alerts or “hot sheets.”
- Registered users can access and download listing documents.
- Online direct communication with you, ask questions, upload documents.
A list of features like this has the advantage of appealing to the really serious buyers and/or sellers. You know that registration means they’re closer to a decision, moving from a warm lead to a hot one.
Rule 2: Call Them to Action
No matter how great the features, you’ll only be effective at getting registrations if you have a good call-to-action in the right place on the site. The obvious, but very critical location, is right on the page where they’re searching listings. A sidebar call-to-action offering the list of features if they just click the button is what works.
Hangout Step 3: Hang Out and Watch
Now you have your registered visitors actually logging into your site to get the extra search and other features. They’re doing what searchers do, checking out listings. Some of them are very organized about what they want and can afford, but others are a bit haphazard. They may be looking at many neighborhoods and a wide range of prices.
Properly designed, here is what you’re able to monitor about their site activities:
- Pages they visit. A lot of first time buyer information tells you something.
- Listings they view.
- Listings they save and mark as favorites.
- Listings they share with their social circle.
- Their comments on social media, as they had to put their profile links in to do the sharing.
- Price ranges they search.
- Neighborhoods they seem to favorite.
- Home characteristics and sizes they seem to view the most.
For this group of serious searchers, you now have a mountain of valuable information. This is filling that gap after the lead is received and while the drip email is going out.
Rule 3: Don't Shirk Your Hangout
Going into your website back end and checking out the activity of these registered users should move up to the top of your daily priority list. This is every bit as important as your hot sheet, and probably deserves more than one visit every day.
Hangout Step 4: Do Something With the Data
The worst mistake you can make is to just check out what they’re doing and stop there. This is your chance to add value to the relationship, taking it to the next level.
- Try to see a pattern in the individual listings they view most:
- price range
- bedrooms, baths
- overall size
- Once you see a pattern, you can help them out with suggestions:
- similar neighborhoods they may have missed
- new listings on your hot sheet that fit
- suggestions just above their price range that could be negotiated down
- Watch their social site interactions, sharing and listings marked as favorites. When they seem to favor a listing, upload a document, maybe a survey or title document, and share it with them.
Rule 4: Always Communicate with Helpful in Mind
It’s better to say or do nothing than to contact your registered users with information they do not need or want. This isn’t about making frequent contacts. It is about making meaningful contacts. If you can help them as in the items above, then do so. Keep it informational and without sales pitches.
Get a website back end that allows lead generation with these features and registration controls, use them in these ways and go to the bank.