Virtual open houses, digital closings, conversations from behind face masks — what productivity looks like for real estate agents this summer covers new terrain for all of us. All June, Inman surveys the New Productivity: the tools, skills and insights needed to make it work now.
Online leads are tricky. Getting an internet lead to “stick” with you is becoming harder every year. It’s common for prospective clients who shop online to contact multiple agents when they need help. So, why would they pick you when there are so many other options to choose from? Let’s talk about it.
If you can implement the tips below, you’ll likely see your conversion rates spike. Taking time to work on your “stickiness” can produce impressive results to your bottom line. Online leads aren’t cheap, so doing the work that will become your “glue” is very cost-effective. Here are nine tips to help you hold on to those precious online leads.
1. Strengthen your content
There is no better way to make your leads stick with you than to have “sticky” content.
Sticky content is what makes people stop scrolling on Facebook. It’s what makes people go 20 pages deep into your website and then submit a showing request. It’s what causes people to be excited to meet you for the first time after finding you on Zillow and researching you online.
Your content is the lens through which consumers perceive your value. You could be the best agent in the world, but if your online content is weak, no one will reach out to you. The stickier your content, the less you’ll have to fight to convert.
As you probably know, video is currently the most consumed form of content online. If you can make a video to explain your material, your message will be more memorable. Having unique graphics and an easy-to-follow layout help as well.
You might be buying leads online and don’t feel that this point is relevant to you. The truth is, many people will Google your name before contacting you these days. The strength of the content they see when they search your name could make or break your chances of ever hearing from them.
2. Expand your online footprint
Just having a few good “sticky” posts online is not enough. You really need to show up in as many places as possible. If consumers land on your website and view 10 pages and then jump on Facebook and see a video of you, they are much more likely to remember you. If you just have one beautiful webpage that displays market stats, but you’re not found anywhere else, you’re likely to be forgotten about.
It’s important to have a strategy to spread your content across Facebook, Instagram, Google, Zillow and any other major website that consumers use. When people see you everywhere, they’ll feel safer hiring you. When homebuyers send you a showing request through Zillow and then see a 5-star review of you on Instagram, it creates trust and puts you to the top of their list.
3. Be cohesive in your branding
As you’re spreading content around the internet, it’s important that all of your branding is cohesive. Try to use the same logos, fonts, colors and headshots on everything you create. The consistency of your marketing will make you more memorable.
If your marketing is typically “loud,” then keep it loud throughout. If you prefer the minimalist style, then use that style on all of your materials. Just pick one style and commit to it. Consistency suggests professionalism and organization.
It can take years to truly dial in your marketing style, so be patient. Just know that the more homogeneous of all your marketing is, the more adhesive your messaging will be, which increases lead conversion. Finding a uniform style for your emails, marketing materials, webpages, blog posts, yard signs and business cards will increase your stickiness with online leads.
4. Speed to lead
Speed to lead is one of the most important aspects of online lead conversion. This topic gets brought up daily in agent groups on Facebook because it’s so important. Every second that you wait to respond to a lead, your chances of working with them diminish.
When you respond fast, you appear interested in them and distinguish yourself from the competition. It keeps them from moving on to the next agent. When you respond the next day, it makes them feel unimportant. Remember the wise words of Ricky Bobby: If you ain’t first, you’re last.
5. Don’t oversell
Once you reach out to that lead, try not to oversell yourself. Chances are, they really don’t care about you in that moment. You’ll get your chance to shine soon. Just be patient, and try to listen more than you talk right at first. Make the conversation all about them and very little about you. Online leads tend to stick to professionals that offer value before accolades.
Consumers are more sensitive to sales pitches now than at any point in history. They are more concerned with you knowing about them than with them knowing about you. This is the nature of internet leads. Once they know that you can help them, they’ll be more interested in you. Listening well creates a good adhesive between you and the client during those first few conversations.
6. Listen, and echo back
When you reach out to online leads, be ready to take notes. When I am responding to an internet lead, I have my customer relationship management (CRM) opened up and ready for info. I’ll jot down family member names and ages if they come up, along with job details, current living situations, timelines, concerns and anything that will help me connect to that lead again later. I will then echo the info back to them so that they know I was paying attention.
If an online lead mentions that their 2-year-old son named Tyler will be joining them for the showing, you’ll seem like a true pro if you call Tyler by his name when you meet in person. Every detail that you can capture and then echo to your clients shows that you are attentive and that they are the star of the show. This will make you super sticky.
7. Use specialized drip campaigns
Some leads are months or years out from being ready to buy or sell a home. To keep these leads in your pipeline and not lose them, you’ll need a way to remind them that you exist. Email drip campaigns are a great tool for this.
If you meet a first-time buyer who needs six months to repair their credit, you can create a bi-weekly email drip for first-time buyers and assign it to them. Every two weeks, they will be reminded of you. Even if they don’t open the email, simply seeing your name in their inbox is valuable. You might be tempted to create one overarching email drip campaign for all leads, but you’ll get weak results this way. I learned this the hard way.
Identify different groups that you can market to, and then make campaigns designed just for them. Some email drip campaign groups might include first-time buyers, sellers in a certain neighborhood, luxury buyers, luxury sellers, investors, out-of-state buyers, military clients, etc. The goal is to make each email feel catered to the person receiving it.
8. Retarget on social media
Another great way to make a lasting impression is through social media marketing and retargeting. You can create social media ads targeted toward people who have been on your website, or who watched your video on YouTube. Retargeting people who are already familiar with you is one of the least expensive forms of advertising online.
Currently, Facebook is the No. 1 online marketing platform, but YouTube is slowly gaining traction. Instagram can be a good source as well. I’ve been using Facebook retargeting for years. It’s too easy and inexpensive not to use, in my opinion. It’s great for reminding people who you are, which makes you more sticky with each impression.
9. Personally call and text
The two previous points above mentioned automated ways to follow up with online leads, however, it’s important to avoid relying too heavily on automation. An automated email will never compete with a personal conversation. To keep those long-term leads from slipping away, you’ll need to remind them that you have not forgotten about them. A quick personal check-in can go a long way toward increasing your stickiness.
When I talk to an online lead, I always tag them in my CRM to remind myself to reach out again. Without that alert, I will never remember to check in. When my alert goes off, I will call or text the lead personally to touch base with them.
This is one of the most important pieces to the follow-up puzzle. It’s also one of the least executed pieces of that puzzle. Agents often dread calling leads, but the ones who call experience the biggest payoff.