Here’s the thing about pay-per-click lead generation in real estate that I don’t think many agents fully take into account when deciding on the best business strategy.

You have prospects who are coming to your website to look at properties. These are not people you have to cold call or chase down to try and do business with. So take advantage of it! Here are a few solid guidelines to help you keep your etiquette on the right track.

Do’s

Commit to success  

Having a website and handing out business cards to your sphere of influence just isn’t enough in this digital age. A small percent of agents can be successful without generating online leads, but with the millions of real estate agents in the U.S. and the vast majority of prospects beginning their search online, lead generation is the best way to equalize supply with demand.

Check new lead notifications often

Following up with new leads should go without saying, but according to the National Association of Realtors, a shocking 75 percent of online leads are never even contacted.

This is upsetting because the consumer is reaching out for customer service with no response. Customer service is the biggest part of being an agent. And as the agent, you are paying for that click without taking the time to capitalize on it.

Respond promptly  

This is probably the most important guideline for efficiency with paid search leads. As soon as you get a notification, log in to your customer relationship management system to see what the lead has done and how you can help with his or her search.

In Quantum’s experience, responding to a lead within five minutes has the highest success rate to close the deal. If you don’t give prospects the instant gratification they expect, then they will go to someone who will.

Give them what they want  

Buyers come to real estate websites to look at properties — bottom line. Although it’s nice to know a little bit about each agent, realistically the prospect just wants to look at properties. So be sure your pay-per-click ads are directed to your property page and that your images and information will keep those leads captivated.

Allow them easily to change the search criteria so they can see all the properties that would be of interest to them. If the site isn’t eye-catching, that lead will soon become someone else’s.

Don’ts

Use generic ad copy in your PPC campaign

The first step in online lead generation is the consumer search. The consumer wants to buy or sell and types into their search engine “homes for sale” in X city. He or she has a few advertised sites to choose from, so what should he or she do?

There are many paid search advertisements that use similar or identical verbiage. The eye sees the heading of the advertisement and then checks the description to see what it’s all about.

If all the descriptions look the same, how does the prospect know which to click? It’s better to stand out in this case because the more unique you appear, the more appealing the ad is to the prospect.

Expect to close down your business at 5 p.m. on Fridays

By 5 p.m., most of us are wiped out. A long day at work, getting the kids home and fed — it’s completely understandable. Most of the best leads come in after 5 p.m. It makes sense if you think about it.

The kids are doing homework, the dishes are done and prospects can finally pull out that tablet to view some properties. Additionally, a realistic expectation would be for you to plan nothing but real estate from Thursday through Sunday. Such is the job!

Try to sell the lead a property in the first phone call

We have already established that when a prospect registers on your website, you need to respond within minutes. The prospect has provided his or her email address and phone number, so he or she is expecting you to reach out.

What prospects don’t want is for an agent to call them and immediately ask what properties they’re looking at and when they would like to close.

Use the first phone call to just introduce yourself and ask how they like the site. See if there are questions about using the site or creating a search.

In the meantime, do your diligence and watch from the back office what types of trends your prospect is following when logging in. That way you will have a conversation-starter for that next phone call.

Stop calling when you don’t get a response

Being in real estate means you are a salesperson. Many people don’t like the typical salesperson approach. This is why I mention above that you should use that first call simply to ask how you can help with the website.

Introduce yourself and maybe tell a small personal story to establish rapport. So when should you stop communicating? You shouldn’t stop until you are told to stop.

Don’t be spammy with your drips or texts and keep it professional, but be certain you are the agent in mind when they are ready to get rolling.

In conclusion, lead generation platforms are a financial investment, but if you follow some basic guidelines and work the leads as you should, then you can be very successful.

Being a real estate agent isn’t easy; you must be on call pretty much, well, all the time, but using a system that brings leads to you as well as helps you to nurture them from start to finish will contribute so much to your success in the long run.

Candi Looney is a marketing research analyst for Quantum Elite.

Email Candi Looney.