Once your sphere/database has been exhausted you need a new source for clients. There are offline methods for developing leads and clients such as open houses, door knocking and cold calling, but online is where it’s at these days.
I know your first thought may be to scroll through this article because it is long, but each point is truly is critical. This article, in order, will deal with why online lead generation is the new big thing, the different ways to generate leads online, how to convert those leads and how to turn them into over $100,000 a year in income.
Why are online lead-generation strategies permeating the new Realtor zeitgeist? There are a number of reasons:
- They work so you don’t have to. Online lead-generation strategies work round the clock; they work while you’re with clients, sleeping and while you’re taking a day off.
- They work continuously. They keep generating leads for the long term, which helps avoid the boom-and-bust cycles of real estate. This keeps you from getting too busy with clients to build your pipeline, then get desperate when those deals are done, then do mega marketing, get busy and repeat the cycle again.
- They can target your ideal client type – you choose who you target.
- People research real estate online before they find a Realtor. By the time they are actively looking they either already have a Realtor, or they at least have a shortlist.’
How to generate leads online
“I have a website but don’t get leads, so online lead gen doesn’t work.”
Just having a website doesn’t generate leads because people don’t know it is there. If your search engine optimization is on-point and you’re at the top of Google, then sure, that will work for lead gen. You just optimize your website for viewer-to-lead conversions. If your SEO doesn’t have you at the top of Google, then be prepared to invest tens of thousands of dollars in hiring a company to get you near the top of web searches over the next year. Yes, it takes that long. If you don’t have the money to hire a company, then spend time on courses and improving your own SEO…but it will still take that long. And realistically, 95 per cent plus of Realtors quit before they start getting results because it is such a grind and they quit/burn out before they succeed.
Another way to get leads from your website is to do paid advertising. This can be done with either online or offline advertising. But to get leads from a website you need the traffic that converts into leads. If you’re wondering how much traffic you need to get leads, keep this in mind: the average website conversion is one to three per cent (and Realtor websites are generally less than one per cent). So, if you convert let’s say one in 50 leads, you’ll need 50 leads…which will require at least 5,000 viewers.
Organic social media marketing:
Generating leads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is the new holy grail of online business. Most Realtors, however, are more “The Knights who say Ni” as opposed to a social media ninja.
Social media marketing works for lead generation, but it is also a long-term strategy. You need to first develop your audience…because without an audience you have no strategy. Then you need to engage and grow that audience. Then you need to turn them into leads and clients. Once you have an avid follower, turning them into a client is significantly easier than a cold call or cold lead.
The challenge of social media marketing is defining your brand, establishing your audience and building it. While it’s about establishing a great connection through marketing, it is a numbers game partially. About one per cent of the population is buying or selling a house at any given time. So, if you want four clients a month you need at least 4,000 engaged followers – and that is if every person following you who is thinking of buying and selling uses you (and not their husband’s mother, cousin or best friend’s best friend). You’re not going to sign every follower looking to buy or sell, so you need a large group of ACTIVE social media followers. If you don’t have that now you need to grind to build a bigger following or do paid promotions to build your audience.
Social media ads:
I specialize in social media ads – especially Facebook lead-gen ads, and here’s why: your website isn’t going to spontaneously get leads. Your social media isn’t going to go beyond your current sphere of “friends” or “followers” without getting more exposure. To get leads online you need traffic/viewers. Period.
You can get traffic to your website or social profile, then hope someone follows you or contacts you (a low percentage), or you can get the lead from the get-go. Ad types like Facebook’s Lead Generation gets you the name, email and phone number, then you immediately pick up the phone and start a conversation. If you do paid advertising to send people to your website or social media profile(s), you’re going to lose 96 per cent plus of that traffic. And the ones you do capture then need to be nurtured just to become a lead.
The way I look at things is that instead of spending your time getting traffic to your website or social profile/page/group, only for most of them to leave and the rest to be nurtured over time to turn into a lead, spend that time/money turning them into a lead immediately. When you get right to the lead stage you take out the time nurturing them and instead turn them from a lead to a client. It cuts out the middleman.
Check out my article on ways to do authentic Facebook ads.
How to convert online leads
You have online leads – awesome! Now what?
Online leads aren’t referrals or a warm lead from your second cousin. There’s no magic bullet solution here, unfortunately. They take work. If you don’t want to work to get their business, sorry but I can’t help you (and I don’t think anyone can).
There are two major approaches to converting online leads into clients:
- The email list /drip campaign marketing: For those getting a large amount (at least a thousand a month) of leads from their website, have social media marketing and/or paid advertising and are too busy to reach out to each lead individually, there’s the drip-campaign (email marketing game) option. This can work well if you have a large number of leads coming in and have a great email conversion campaign. Your conversion rates will be low though, between one and four per cent.
- The phone call: I am such a huge fan of the good old-fashioned phone call. You can send a thousand emails and get nowhere but make 20 phone calls and get a meeting.
To convert leads you really need to connect with them on the phone, which is the precursor to in person (the only real closing capability for leads). If you want to convert online leads, you need to talk to people. Period. You can work up to a conversation, but you’ll never get their business without a meeting.
To book meetings you need to block time – and stick to that – every day to follow up on your leads. You will not succeed without this and you’ll be stuck in a boom and bust cycle forever. You need to call people one to three times a day until you reach them, almost every day. If you’re sincere about helping them they will thank you for not giving up on them.
The final thing is to look to lead-conversion training. Online leads aren’t warm referrals…they take hard work. You don’t learn how to convert online leads in real estate licensing school. There’s a ton of agents who think they are amazing at converting online leads, but when push comes to shove…. they aren’t. Do not be afraid of that. Your favourite electrician couldn’t sell real estate and you couldn’t rewire a house up to code if your life depended on it. Look at learning online lead conversion as learning new strategies that build on what you already know. The best of the best are always learning and expanding their knowledge and skills.
How to turn online leads into over $100,000 a year in income
While leads are a numbers game to a certain extent, I never believe that leads should be treated like a number. These are people, and my top clients truly care about every person they talk to. Having said that, despite how much you care about each person you talk to, not every one of them will become a client.
For online lead conversion (from lead to client) you’re looking at a rate of at best four per cent. Most of my best converters get three per cent but the bulk are at two per cent.
So, you know what it takes to get a client online. Now let’s reverse engineer your income. If you want just $100,000 a year you need to look at your average income per deal. For example, if you make about $5,000 per deal (after paying expenses), then you need 20 deals a year. That’s 1.66 deals a month.
Let’s reverse reverse engineer that. If you need two deals a month (I’ve rounded up because some deals will fall through) to make $100,000, you need at LEAST 50 leads a month.
Boom – a pipeline that will increase your business to over $100,000.