- Focus on your future clients, not the search engines.
- Too much automation will kill your lead generation.
- If you don't know your avatar, all your efforts are pointless.
I recently asked my community of agents what they were struggling with when it came to strategically using Facebook. Imagine my surprise when the answers I got back (and I got hundreds of responses) were more focused on something called “content marketing” rather than on Facebook directly.
I noticed some trends though, and I’m going to share them with you. There were nine things that really stood out to me — essentially, the nine biggest mistakes real estate agents are making online.
9. Not having a blog
One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make is not having a blog. For whatever reason — whether it’s fear of doing it wrong, not knowing how to start one, not having the money to pay for it, not knowing what to put on it, believing that over-saturation has occurred, thinking that the Web is a losing game against the big bad portals, assuming it’s unnecessary, believing it’s a waste of time — any one or all of these reasons are common excuses for why agents fail to invest in a blog.
Of course, you’ll find those who will tell you that websites are dead, but the problem with this is that their brains are still swirling around the old school way of marketing. It’s not all about the houses for sale; if it was, real estate agents would be extinct.
Don’t fall for the line that “websites are dead” — it’s the same one that people have been saying about email and yard signs. They aren’t dead. They’re just not sexy. They’re not the shiny object of the day.
8. Automating promotion
Another major false step is opting to automate everything. We quickly post something (from our library of canned crap) on our WordPress blog and then have IFTTT or another plug-in push that post out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and RSS feed it to our email list — in other words, full automation.
As much as I love automation and delegation, there are cases in which it hinders and even hurts you (your time saved is exactly zero because — at best — the results are exactly zero, or worse, putting you in the negative).
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use scheduling tools like Edgar to leverage your time. Just avoid having your blog setup to push out your posts as soon as they publish — that’s where agents fail and leave a gaping hole between promotion and relationships.
7. Focusing on SEO
This is a big one. Real estate agents who are online are focused on search engine optimization (SEO). We believe that the only reason we are there is to “rank” — otherwise, what’s the point? We think that we must write our blog posts and website pages around certain keywords.
The problem is when we start gushing out robotic content that provides no value to anyone, except (hopefully) us because we’re using what we think are the right keywords to get search engine ranking.
When you write content based on what your avatar needs, the search engines will find you. But most importantly, your avatar will find you.
Not to mention, if you are writing for the search engines, you are building a house on sinking sand. As we all know, search engines change their algorithms almost daily, and they penalize and punish constantly.
Don’t get caught up in providing value to the search engines; focus on your target client instead.
6. Using ghostwriters
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Well, yes I do. As real estate agents, we are busy. And, unfortunately, so many of us just don’t see the true value in creating our own content.
We think it’s a necessary evil, and we act accordingly by hiring out our content creation, both for our blogs and our emails.
We’ve got to change our mindset. Rather than being resigned to creating content, we need to realize that our knowledge is valuable to our avatar. We are answering their questions and giving them what they want and need. We are helping them.
And most importantly, we are building relationships — virtually. If we aren’t revealing our personality and pieces of ourselves, there is no way we will help as many people as we want to help — period.
Our avatars know when they are reading (and I use the term reading here very loosely because let’s face it, people don’t read robotic crap) a boring journalistic piece and when they are engaging in something passionate and powerful.
This isn’t about “touching” our list. This is about helping our avatar. Ghostwriters do not understand your avatar nor do they know how to reveal pieces of you. It’s that simple.
5. Being a know-it-all
Let’s face it: most of us real estate agents are pretty self-confident. We are focused and driven. We know a lot, but we don’t know it all.
When we head into trainings or classes, we often go in with the attitude that we already know this, and we are wasting our time. Instead, we must go into all situations looking for something to learn.
When an agent proceeds to tell me they already know this or they’ve been doing lead capture funnels for years, I always wonder, then why are you here?
And then, when I start to dissect their funnel, looking for leaks, I find a lot of elements that I can help them improve on, but if they keep on going with their know-it-all mentality, they’ll never reap the results they want.
The lesson here is to not be a know-it-all. Always look for what you can learn, what you can tweak, what you can add to increase your knowledge and subsequently improve your business.
4. Blaming problems on lack of time
“I’m busy! I’m crazy busy! I work weekends! I work nights! I don’t have time to (insert whatever here).”
These are all of the phrases I constantly hear from my fellow real estate peeps. Yes, we are busy. But what are we busy doing? Have we actually taken the time to track what we do, and have we honestly faced ourselves and the reality of how we are spending our time?
If you aren’t going to do something consistently, it’s not worth doing. Lead generation must be executed regularly — day in and day out without fail, regardless of how busy you are and no matter how many transactions you’re closing in a given day.
It’s just like exercising. A random workout session, no matter how long and arduous, will do nothing (except leave you sore) if you don’t workout frequently.
I’m not talking about never spending time with friends or family. I’m not talking about working 10 to 14 hours every day, seven days a week. I’m talking about being honest with ourselves about the use of our time and re-prioritizing what needs to be done versus how we spend our day.
One of the best books I’ve ever read about prioritizing is “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. Grab a copy and take it to heart. Practice it. It will change your life.
3. Failing to use a blog to develop relationships
This one is a biggie and requires a mindset shift.
When we write to the search engine and not to the person, not only are we subject to the whim of the search engine algorithm (it changes constantly), but we also aren’t making any connections with the people we want to work with.
When we use ghostwriters, we are not writing to what our ideal client wants or needs, we are again, writing to a search engine. We are checking off a task, not building a relationship.
The point on this is: Don’t make noise. Don’t chase a ranking. Do talk to your ideal clients one-on-one. Find their problems and solve them. You’ll build relationships, rank high in the search results and have a fabulous business.
2. Keeping good content a secret
When it comes to blog posts, if real estate agents actually create their own material (as in, they write it), they’ll typically spend 99 percent of their time writing and posting it and 1 percent of their time pushing it out, usually in the form of “New blog post! (insert link).”
That’s it. I call that a one-and-done type of promotion. Is it any wonder that the content we create flops? And then we think “Well, that wasn’t worth the time I spent on it.”
First of all, you have to appeal to your avatar (see mistake No. 1), and then you have to constantly promote your content. In other words, spend 20 percent of your time creating and posting and the other 80 percent of your time promoting it.
Stop sharing “new blog post” and start sharing elements and pieces from it — things that appeal to your audience, entice readers to take a second look and get people thinking.
Then do this every single month without fail. When you think you’ve been there, done that and stop promoting your older content, you assume that everyone connected with you has already read all your posts.
But you are completely forgetting that new people come into your presence every single day, and each one of them starts at the beginning of the relationship process.
Don’t short change yourself and your avatar by failing to continually sharing the content you’ve worked hard to create. After all, you’ve given them the answers to their problems — make sure they see it.
1. Talking to potential clients like they’re all the same
This is the biggest mistake real estate agents are making but unfortunately, most agents don’t know it.
We tend to focus on one (or two) target audiences. Sellers or buyers. That’s it. We lump everyone into one of those two categories, and then we run ads expecting them to resonate with these two target groups.
Here’s the problem. No two sellers are the same. Some are selling their last home, others their first. Then there are those putting their vacation or second home on the market, or hoping to sell a rental home.
So many different types of sellers are included in these descriptions alone. Not to mention, how close are they to selling? Are they just starting to imagine the possibilities or are they ready to list today?
If you don’t have a clear understanding of who your sellers are and what their needs may be, your ads on Facebook won’t resonate with many people.
You’ll be trying to appeal to all sellers in a single ad and as a result, you’ll have horrendous click-through and conversion rate (well, our industry thinks an 8 to 10 percent conversion rate on an opt-in landing page is good — and unfortunately, that’s terrible).
This is why you see so many “get your home value” ads from those running Facebook promotions, and why so many agents who’ve tried Facebook ads decided they don’t work.
Because they didn’t work. Not because Facebook ads don’t work, but because agents have no idea how to actually reach their ideal prospect, mostly because they have no idea who their ideal prospect is.
I created a checklist just for you — to help you identify and fix these mistakes. Click here if you want a copy of “The 9 Biggest Mistakes Real Estate Agents Are Making With Their Online Lead Generation” checklist.
So are any of these new to you? Are you making any of these mistakes? How many? What are you going to do differently to change the direction of your online lead generation? Please share in the comments section below.