When I launched my blog in November of 2014, I had two goals. The first was to write helpful marketing posts for real estate agents. The second goal was to build my email list. Every online marketing expert will tell you that the No. 1 way to get business online is through email marketing. Next to writing great content, growing my email list was a priority.
I did what most bloggers do: Put up a sign-up form with a free opt-in offer in my sidebar. Then I hoped it would work. I prayed it would work. I got a few email subscribers this way — 72 in three months to be exact. But it was clear the “hope and pray” method was not working for me.
I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to grow my email list. I put my research hat on and looked to see what all the digital marketing experts were doing. What did I find? I found that landing pages were the No. 1 way to grow an email list.
Landing pages are a game changer for real estate agents when done right. You have the opportunity to quit buying leads and generate business from your own website.
What is a landing page?
Before we go further, let me give you the definition of a landing page. A landing page is one single page on your website dedicated to one niche. The goal is to convert the website visitor to an email lead by giving them a free opt-in offer. Another term for a landing page is a “squeeze page.”
What is an opt-in offer?
An opt-in offer is something you give your website visitor in exchange for an email address. The opt-in offer can take many forms. It can be a free report or a free guide. A checklist, quiz or even an app.
The opt-in offer has to be professional. You want your website visitor to ask why you are giving it away for free.
Benefits of landing pages
The more I researched landing pages and used them in my business, the more I fell in love with them. I believe that landing pages are the No. 1 way to generate leads from your website.
Here are my four favorite benefits of landing pages:
1. Landing pages work for you while you are working, sleeping or even taking time off. It feels good when you are working or playing and get notifications that you have new email leads. Your website is working for you at that point instead of doing nothing like it did before.
2. Landing pages are an ongoing source of leads for you. They don’t just last for a few days and then go away. You can market your landing pages every day and they will bring in leads for you. Market more when you want more leads. Market less when you are busy and can’t take on anymore business. Landing pages are your own personal lead-generating machine.
3. Landing pages give you instant credibility with your website visitor. You are acknowledging a problem they have and you are providing a solution. That builds credibility and trust. At that point they want to hear from you and will give you their email address.
4. Landing pages allow you to be the boss of your lead. You are in charge of where they go on your website. They aren’t poking around on your website. Instead they follow a clear path you laid out for them. The end goal is to give them something of value and capture their email address.
Landing pages are the most powerful page on your website for generating leads. Yet there are fears around focusing on landing pages instead of showing the entire website at once.
Eight fears about landing pages
Here are the common fears I hear from agents about creating your own landing page.
1. It is too technical; I can’t do it.
2. I don’t have a website, so I can’t build a landing page.
3. I’m not a real estate expert. What do I have to offer?
4. The big names in the business are already talking about this stuff. Why would anyone download my opt-in offer?
5. Landing pages won’t work for me like they did for you. Real estate is different.
6. This is going to take too much time or be confusing.
7. I don’t know how to do this or what to do once the landing page is up.
8. This whole idea is too overwhelming to me.
I get it. The idea of creating your own landing page is overwhelming. Especially if technology isn’t your strong suit. It was hard for me at first, too.
The 3 “whys” behind landing pages
I knew there had to be a better way to get leads. I knew I didn’t want to buy leads; I knew that hypertargeted marketing is hot right now — and I knew that what I was doing wasn’t working.
1. You aren’t buying landing-page leads.
I didn’t want to buy leads for my business for a few reasons. I know that is something most agents don’t like to do, either.
There are five reasons why I don’t like buying leads:
- The leads usually aren’t very good. The leads also aren’t very loyal and are looking for the “best deal.”
- The leads aren’t exclusive, so you are paying for leads and still have to deal with competition. If you do get exclusive leads, they aren’t cheap.
- The lead company isn’t looking out for you. They are looking to grow their business and make money. They aren’t making sure you do, too.
- Buying leads means you are building your business on someone else’s platform. There is nothing I believe in more than getting business from your own platform. Especially when that platform is your website. If you build your business from someone else’s platform, you are putting your business growth in their hands. That is scary to me.
- Finally, why pay someone else money to generate leads for you when you can do it yourself?
2. Hypertargeted marketing works.
I also knew that hypertargeted marketing is hot right now. Hypertargeted marketing is marketing to one specific niche.
- Google loves hypertargeted websites. Its goal is to return the most relevant content in the search results. Anything that is hypertargeted meets that goal. Landing pages can be rich with keywords without being obnoxious. Google likes that.
- People are searching the Web to find the exact situation that applies to them. For example, a relocating (relo) buyer moving from Minneapolis to Dallas is going to search for it in that way. They may even do suburb to suburb. Landing pages provides specific information for a niche. Landing pages that are hot right now are relos, first-time homebuyers and first-time home sellers. Neighborhood or local pages are also great target markets.
- People are busy. They no longer have the time to search out every single answer to their problem. They want to find a solution, and they want it now. Hypertargeted landing pages give the solution and turn a visitor into a client.
- Hypertargeted marketing shows the prospect that you truly understand their problem. That you get them. When you give a solution to a pain that someone is feeling, they immediately start to trust you.
3. Landing pages fix the reasons why you aren’t getting leads from your website.
Since hypertargeted marketing is hot right now, let’s take a look at your website. Here is why I think most agents aren’t getting leads from their websites:
- You aren’t telling visitors what to do on your site. Visitors arrive on your home page and scan the typical welcome message. Then they check out the “about” page and then click away. Visitors poke around on your website because there isn’t a plan laid out for them. There is not a goal for them on your site. After they finish doing a quick scan for information, they leave your site.
- You have a terrible opt-in offer — or none at all. I once had a terrible opt-in offer. One that was so bad someone called me out on it. Do you have a bad opt-in offer or, worse, none at all? A free homebuyer’s guide is not going to cut it anymore. Neither is an offer to join my email list to get the newest listings on the market. Your opt-in offer has to be great and it has to be helpful.
- You are selling to everyone on your site. You aren’t niching down and writing for one specific target market. You are trying to capture everyone on your website. This makes a website visitor feel like you aren’t the solution they need. They are also overwhelmed by all the content on your site and don’t know where to look first. The agent website that gives them exactly what they need will earn their email address and their business.
- You think people are coming to your website to search for houses. I hate writing this, but I think the days of capturing leads from home searches is over. The big three capture the majority of the searches, and if they don’t, the big broker in your town does. No longer can you rely on these searches to bring in leads like you could in the glory days.
- Your website content isn’t good. This is the No. 1 reason I don’t think agents get leads from their website. The content is usually canned content or hasn’t been updated in a long time. That can turn off a website visitor, too.
I get it!
Again, I understand how you feel. I was in the same boat. While my blog content was good, my opt-in offer was terrible! I also wasn’t directing my website visitors anywhere. I was hoping and praying that they would just like me and join my list. Hoping doesn’t build a business. Doing builds a business. Selling builds a business.
So I got smart and decided to do something different. I made three landing pages, and I marketed them like crazy. I have to admit that the landing pages aren’t even very attractive. But they did their job and generated 245 leads for me in 30 days.
Why? Because I took the time to research my market. I took the time to learn about their problems. I wrote opt-in offers that I wanted people to think were so good that they would have paid for them. Then I set up landing pages and gave people no other option but to give me their email address.
Did it scare me at first? Yeah, it really did. I knew I ran the risk of people not reading my blog and clicking away. But the risk of not converting website visitors into real leads terrified me more. So up went the landing pages, and I am happy to report that I still get leads from them everyday. Even when I don’t advertise them.
You have the opportunity to build a loyal email list that wants to work with you. If you are tired of your website not doing anything for you, put it to work and generate leads with landing pages!
Jennifer Snyder is a real estate marketing consultant, speaker and blogger at Marketing Ideas for Agents. She researches marketing ideas, tools and resources that will make real estate agents’ lives easier and help them grow their businesses.