According to the National Association of Realtors, 30 percent of Realtors’ business came from either repeat or referral business in 2018. That leaves a big chunk of business coming in from outside lead generation activities.
So it’s worth asking: What’s working, what’s not, and what should you be doing to bring more leads into your pipeline?
According to NAR’s August report “Real Estate in a Digital Age,” almost half of potential buyers start their home search online. Fully 93 percent integrate online resources into their home search at some point. Because they’re already looking there, it’s just a few keystrokes more before they start looking up your online reputation.
Online reviews on Google, Facebook and other platforms are an essential part of generating new leads. You need to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and your digital footprint and spread the word about the type of service you provide.
Reach out for reviews directly by asking your happy past clients for a review in a follow-up email after the transaction. Alternatively, check out services like ModernComment, GatherUp and Trustpilot to automate the process and add the reviews to your website and other platforms.
There are also platforms tied to the MLS that reach out to your clients automatically every time you have a closed transaction.
South Florida Realtor Paul Saperstein, uses Signpost to generate reviews for Google, Facebook and Zillow. According to him, one of the advantages of review services is the pre-screening they do when requesting reviews.
“With an intro question, the service finds out what the client experience was like and, if it’s less than stellar, takes their feedback directly and sends it along to you. That gives them a chance to vent, if needed, and offers you valuable insights. If their experience was positive, they are sent directly to the platforms you have chosen to leave their review.”
One of the challenges Saperstein mentions is the limitations placed on reviewers by the various platforms. “You have to register on Zillow to give a review there. For Google, you have to have a Gmail address. Facebook reviews are great because everyone has a Facebook page so almost everyone can leave a review there without going through those extra steps.”
NAR’s Digital Age survey found that almost half of its members cited social media as their No. 1 way to generate high-quality leads. Their preferred social media platform is Facebook at 97 percent, followed by LinkedIn at 59 percent, trailed by Instagram and Twitter at 39 percent and 33 percent respectively.
Only 13 percent of real estate professionals used automation to pre-schedule or crosspost their content while 82 percent created their own organic content.
Although 21 percent of agents said that they were on social media because it was expected, two-thirds of agents polled found concrete benefits to their social media activity, including promoting current listings, building and maintaining client relationships, finding new prospects, and networking with colleagues.
To bulk up that social media presence, NAR found that some agents and brokers create blog content to share their expertise and improve their website’s SEO and stickiness. Realtors who were 30 to 39 were the most likely to have a blog at 12 percent, followed closely by 40- to 49-year-olds at 11 percent.
At the 2018 Realtor Conference and Expo, NAR Center for Realtor Development hosted a panel discussion of the impact and growth of a multiplatform content marketing strategy. They identified content creation, repurposing and distribution as keys to increasing engagement and staying top-of-mind in the local market.
The best part of all of these lead generation strategies is that, once created and developed, they are generally simple to maintain and can even be outsourced. Although personal outreach and networking are still a big part of most agents’ lead gen efforts, supplementing with a robust digital marketing system can add value.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr