Marketing

How to nurture online leads until they’re ready to buy

The No. 1 goal is to take them offline
  • You can only improve what you measure.
  • Offer an irresistible reason for leads to sign-up on your website.
  • Systems and impeccable lead follow-up are the key to internet leads.

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You have just launched your brand spanking new real estate website, and after many months of hard work, you are starting to reap the rewards of a steady flow of visitors coming and going.

Most certainly you are serious about your online presence, and by now you have probably already spied on most of your competition’s sites to get a few good ideas to implement.

On the surface, most websites all look the same, yet somehow they manage to convert way more leads than you could dream of. Why is that?

Working with online leads is a numbers game

The good news is that converting online leads can be learned and improved on with a systematic approach and by implementing a few key steps along the way. The reality is that it will be only a very few percent of your online leads who are going to end up turning into commission-generating clients.

Following up with every lead that signs-up on your website can be a real time waster, and you need to implement specific strategies with realistic goals and establish your expectations so that you can gauge if your work is bearing any fruit.

Measure what you want to improve

To evaluate whether your on page improvements are working, you need to have a clear understanding of your website’s performance. Reviewing the past 12 months of your website’s key indicators, such as the number of visitors and the number of leads registered, will tell you what your conversion ratio is.

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Once you know exactly what percentage of your visitors you are converting into registered leads, you can decide whether you need to spend more time making improvements to increase your website sign-ups or if you need to work on converting those registered leads into buying clients.

Give them a reason to sign up

My two favorite and most effective methods of getting visitors to sign-up is having them to opt-in to my real estate blog email alerts and giving homeowners the ability to view property details of MLS listings.

Asking online visitors to sign-up before giving them MLS information can be a personal dilemma because many colleagues will argue that forced registration repels a potential client to someone else’s website where the information is openly shared.

Based on my years of experience, the amount of new users gained through a forced registration method by far outweighs the loss that occurs if a lead decides to go somewhere else. You are going to generate more leads with forced registration, along with a lot more tire-kickers that you’ll need to qualify.

Impeccable follow-up is crucial

One of the most important ground rules that we have set in place is to call a lead right away. Not in a bit or later in the day, but possibly while they are still on your website. This is the best first impression that you can make on someone who is serious about buying or selling.

If you’re not able to connect with the lead on the phone, you should try to call or text the lead three times within the next 24 hours.

Online leads often fall into two categories: there are people who are ready to buy right away, and there are those who are careful planners that like to research the market four to six months in advance.

In both scenarios, you need to stay in touch with them regularly so that when they are ready to buy, you can be top-of-mind.

Once you start receiving dozens of new leads every day to follow-up with and are still trying to connect with the ones from a few days ago, your schedule is quickly going to be overloaded. Implementing a follow-up system to funnel the leads is critical to nurturing internet leads.

Implement a system

Having a CRM (client relationship management) tool can become handy for managing higher volume of leads, or a simple spreadsheet will work as well if you are just starting out.

Once we speak with a lead on the phone, our No.1 objective is to find out their timeframe of buying and determine the intensity of our follow-ups based on their plans. This tip had saved countess hours of spending time with leads who were still in their infant stages of buying a home.

Although they have a valid reason to view homes in person, as a real estate agent, it just doesn’t make sense to be driving anyone around who isn’t prepared to write a check.

Depending on the urgency of the lead, part of the system can be an email drip campaign, workflow reminders to call the lead at regular intervals, sending them a new blog post alert or any other correspondence that you can automate to stay in touch.

Take the leads offline

Generating online leads by measuring and tweaking your system can be real fun and rewarding. Finding great team members to help you to further grow is going to be a major part of your system.

Thanks to technology you can automate a lot of the steps in dealing with online leads. But let’s not forget that our No. 1 goal with an online lead is to take them offline and to build a relationship, so that they will know that they can trust you with their biggest investment.

Joe Samson is a Realtor in Calgary, Alberta, as well as a blogger and social media marketer. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.