Focus Your Real Estate Marketing Dollars Online

By Dirk Zeller

As a new real estate agent, the first, second, and third place to invest your marketing dollars is online. The two main issues you face with the Internet are quality and quantity. You want to drive visitors to your site so you can increase the odds of generating leads from it.

You also want to increase the quality of the prospects so you can separate the really good buyers and sellers from all the rest. You want to achieve a reasonable conversion rate, preferably much higher than the 0.5 to 1 percent many agents now experience with web leads.

You have to do a delicate balancing act in terms of quality and quantity. If you had to choose one, which would you choose to do first — quality or quantity? Before you select, let me tell you the truth of the Internet. The volume of traffic is important. At the end of the day, the one who has the most visitors usually wins. You may build a beautiful website, but you have to drive traffic to make money with the Internet.

When you get the traffic, you have to convince people to stay and leave a trail of contact information. You need them to at least leave bread crumbs: their first name and email address. You can bring a couple of thousand people to your site monthly and end up with two or three prospects. I’m not talking about clients; I’m talking only about prospects. You now have to do the work of moving them up the loyalty ladder to becoming a client by converting them from web visitors to buyers or sellers.

You can do this by offering a free report, a market trends report, best values list, a newsletter, or something that a potential buyer or seller deems valuable enough to give you at least their first name and email address. You need to walk them up each step of the conversion track. With each level or step they take, your probability of earning a commission check grows. The object is to move the visitors to prospects, prospects to clients, and clients to referral sources.

real-estate-conversion
This conversion chart illustrates how prospects can turn into referral sources.

The more complete the contact information you can get people to leave, the higher the probability you can move them up to the client stage. More information increases the opportunity to move them to a fundamental sales channel of send > call > see.

The balance in this approach is you will have a higher bounce rate. A bounce happens when the online consumer bounces off your site or landing page because you have asked for too much information. Rather than filling out your form with their information, they leave your site.

Getting prospects to reveal their full contact information when they make their inquiries is paramount. For example, too many Internet leads come in without phone numbers. Getting a prospect’s phone number enables you to text them or call them back — these raise the conversion ratio substantially. Additionally, you have that 90-day window of opportunity for future phone contact within the confines of the National Do Not Call Registry.

Most agents are chasing a lot of low-probability prospects through the Internet. They have an email address and are sending property-match searches daily. They even put prospects into a drip sequence. A drip is a series of emails over time that you send. They also have the prospects on an electronic newsletter list. These agents start the prospecting process but often let it stall at this stage. All those methods are automated, so agents invest limited time — but also reap limited rewards.