This is part three of Digital Mind Shift. Also read part one and part two.

The first two articles in this series were designed to wet your whistle with respect to online lead generation. I offered statistical trends to demonstrate the potential that exists for real estate companies. As a result, I’ve been getting lots of messages from people asking for a common-sense outline to start catching more fish (see part two to read the fish analogy).

For those seeking to take online lead generation seriously, consider the following process and fundamentals to start building a strategy:

awareAwareness: Boy meets girl

For any relationship to begin, two people must first become aware of each other. It might take place at a grocery store or the local coffee shop. Regardless of how it happens, each will have to enter the mental radar of the other. The same is true when it comes to digital consumers. Here are some good places to start.

  • Pay-per-click SEO
  • Organic SEO
  • Social media
  • Blog
  • Public relations

Are you doing everything you can to create awareness with more people? Are you being purposeful about the marketing disciplines listed above?

considerConsideration: Boy courts girl

Are you waiting for online browsers to make the first move? If so, that’s a big mistake. People on your site obviously know you exist but are probably not quite sure what to make of you. Companies have a very small window of opportunity to make a good first impression and spark a winning first move. Here’s how to get the job done.

  • First impression: Make sure your site features the right information and offers a winsome user experience. Lead incubation success hinges in large part on property search and detail pages.
  • First move: It’s essential to strategically place trigger events that allow users to voluntarily provide their names and emails. This creates the potential for lead incubation in the future.

Does your site reflect the quality of service and consumer experience you intend? Are you waiting around for online browsers to contact you first?

actAct: Boy marries girl

In this business, people don’t move from the courting to marriage stage overnight. You will need to engage in a meaningful online relationship over a longer period of time. This entails knowing your browsers and engaging with them in a personalized way.

  • Names and emails: Collecting names and emails gives you the ability to follow up later, but you are still extremely limited. Granted, you can send welcome notes and create a buying tips campaign, both good ideas to stay top of mind. However, that’s not where the maximum lead incubation opportunity is found.
  • Anonymous to known users: The marketer’s real goal is to send targeted messages based on individual behavior and preferences. The best way to make that happen is to implement an inbound marketing tool (such as Marketo, Eloqua and scores of others) that monitors online behavior and gives you the ability to engage strategically. For example, an online user that visits the same property five times within two weeks represents a unique lead incubation opportunity.

Do you see value in sending targeted messages to online browsers based on their specific online behavior? Have you assessed the ROI potential of investing in the right tools?

It helps to think about online lead generation based on how relationships really happen. In the end, we’re dealing with real people, not just IP addresses.

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