Technology

6 ingredients to snag online leads and turn them into clients

Chris Smith: Automated contact, timely emails, Facebook ads and landing pages are key

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Takeaways:

  • Converting clients online often requires tech tools to work together.
  • A potential client’s experience online should be seamless.
  • Prospects should be contacted in multiple ways fast.

Real estate agent teams who excel at snagging clients online often rely on a mashup of marketing and management technologies.

Here are the six key ingredients to a holistic lead generation and management system, according to Chris Smith, co-founder of real estate marketing company Curaytor:

1. Well-designed website with blog and IDX (Internet data exchange)

Every agent team’s website should offer property search powered by IDX (Internet data exchange) and host a blog where teams can publish content to build a brand and reel in prospects.

But don’t “fall into the trap of a template” that costs next to nothing, said Smith. If you’re going to spend money to drive people to your website, you want to make sure it’s compelling enough to capture contact information.

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Agent teams also shouldn’t opt for the other extreme: building their own website from scratch. That can cost a pretty penny, and requires constantly shelling out for updates to keep up with evolving website design standards, according to Smith.

Don't 'fall into the trap of a template.' -- Chris Smith

Better to “lease” a premium website, he said. Top-shelf providers, which can cost $1,000 or more a month, include BoomTown and Commissions Inc. More affordable alternatives including Real Estate Webmasters and Real Geeks.

2. Landing pages

In the world of online real estate, landing pages refer to stand-alone Web pages that prospective buyers or sellers arrive at after clicking on online advertisements. These landing pages prompt visitors to register their contact information for access to features or information promised in the ads, such as home valuations.

The best landing pages are highly specific. If the Facebook ad that drives visitors to the landing page offered access to $1 million and $1.25 million listings, then the landing page would echo that promise and deliver registrants to those promised listings.

Landing pages might also ask visitors to submit more than just their contact information, such as their price range and time frame.

Curaytor-designed landing page.

Curaytor-designed landing page.

LeadPages and Unbounce are among providers of landing pages for agent teams, Smith said.

3. Online advertising

Paid online lead sources include ads on search engines, listing portals and Facebook. Agent teams tap these channels to drive visitors to their websites or landing pages, which then prompt visitors to register their contact information.

Smith is a big fan of Facebook ads. They create demand by seeding the thought of buying or selling in a person’s head, rather than merely fulfilling demand, he argues.

A Facebook ad that Curaytor would run for a client might read:

“We have over 100, 5-star reviews online! THANK YOU to our amazing clients that trusted us with helping them buy or sell their home. Click Here to Schedule A Free Private Consultation: [link].”

Here are some of our recent reviews (two to three reviews from Zillow or another site):

The link after the initial come-on would direct Facebook users to the schedule page of an agent team’s website. The ads would be targeted at anyone who’s liked the agent team’s Facebook page, visited the team’s website or landing page, or clicked on any of the team’s previous Facebook ads.

Facebook ad designed by Curaytor.

Facebook ad designed by Curaytor.

4. Customer relationship management system with email and text message autoresponders 

The most valuable contact relationship management systems today initiate immediate contact with leads as soon as they arrive from outside sources (e.g., Facebook, listing portal or search engine ads), according to Smith.

That means three things:

  • Sending a text message to the lead that includes the lead’s name (based on their registration information).
  • Sending an email to the lead that includes the lead’s name.
  • Sending a text message that prompts an agent team member to call the lead.

“When you burst your activities, your conversion rates go up,” Smith said, when asked if emailing, texting and calling all at once could alienate some prospects. “If you text someone before calling, they’re more likely to answer.”

A CRM should also integrate with the team’s website so that it can gauge a lead’s interest over time. If a lead searched a number of listings on a team’s website and read one of the team’s blog posts, the CRM should prompt a team member to reach out to the lead, he said.

Follow Up Boss, Contactually, BoomTown and Commissions Inc. are among CRMs that provide or can support that type of functionality, Smith said.

5. Email marketing 

Agent teams should use an email marketing tool such as MailChimp, AWeber or Happy Grasshopper to send periodic emails to prospects and track how prospects interact with those emails.

Curaytor sends the same types of emails to leads for the first 30 days. “But after the first month, there’s kind of a nominal return on investment from drips,” or canned “drip marketing” emails, he said.

Agent teams should send emails that can “piggyback” on viral real estate articles, he said. They can drum up those types of stories by searching Buzzsumo. Another option is to hire a copywriter from Upwork, he said.

Email Curaytor has 'hand-crafted' and sent on behalf of agent team clients.

Email Curaytor has ‘hand crafted’ and sent on behalf of agent team clients.

6. Market report tool

On behalf of clients, Curaytor sends market updates to every seller lead. If the lead shows interest in selling soon, the firm will bump up the frequency of those updates to once a week.

In Smith’s view, the best tools for generating market updates are CloudCMA, RPR (Realtors Property Resource) and Market Snapshot, a tool offered through the CRM Top Producer.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Chris Smith is the co-founder of Curaytor, not CEO.

Email Teke Wiggin.