Most businesses thrive when they have loyal, repeat customers.
But when it comes to real estate, it’s not that simple. Turns out people are quite fickle about where they live. Go figure.
Most people in the world (at least, the lowly non-millionaires amongst us) don’t buy more than one house every 5-10 years or so. Success as a real estate agent requires making more and more sales each year thereby increasing your commissions, and thus, your revenue.
But repeat business can be scarce. Real estate agents end up missing those commissions like the deserts miss the rain.
It’s not enough to drive up your sales numbers yearly. In order to be a successful real estate agent, you need to be constantly finding new leads, and turning those leads into clients.
A real estate funnel is the system that guides visitors through your website, turns them into leads, then helps you nurture them into legitimate prospects, and eventually results in them becoming clients. (Think of it as a giant digital water slide that winds around and leads customers into the your splash pool of sales! Weeeee!)
Many industries use online sales funnels to up their numbers. A typical sales funnel is the buying process customers are led through when purchasing products or services online.
In real estate, it needs to look a little different from a traditional sales funnel. Your funnel should be a series of web pages and landing pages that customers navigate through as they move from being first-time or unqualified visitors to your site, to qualified leads when they choose to either contact you or provide their contact information.
Before even getting to creating a real estate funnel, you need to establish a good online presence. Essentially this means creating a website, getting on social media, making the most of ads, and making sure your SEO is strong. This is the bare minimum, so don’t be a slacker and get on these basics ASAP.
Once your website is up and running, invest some time in creating valuable content that can bring visitors to your site. By creating high-quality email and website content, you establish your authority in the real estate space, making you a trustworthy expert in the eyes of your potential clients. In short, people buy houses from real estate agents they trust.
Talk about the things you know (this assumes you know things), like neighborhoods you buy and sell in, advice for first-time buyers, or commentary on your local real estate market.
But, is having a nice, pretty website actually going to sell a house? Nope, probably not.
Once you’ve laid all that groundwork, you’re ready to create an online real estate sales funnel that will work for you, generating valuable new leads that turn into clients who buy and sell homes. Our five-step process will help you build that funnel and get the commissions coming in.
First things first: you need a way to turn visitors into actual leads--turn eyeballs into handshakes.
Create a separate landing form (landing page + contact form) for each of the properties that you have listed, so people can quickly and easily request more information. To boost your conversion rates, consider using a tool to create real estate videos that entice leads by giving them a closer look into the property.
With Paperform, you can create an all-in-one landing page and form that you can either link to on your website or social media, or embed directly within the listing page.
The custom form and page builder lets you customize every aspect of the design to match your personal brand, embed photos and videos, and build a seamless experience that will help you capture more leads from your site or social profiles.
Once you have separate landing forms for all of your properties, it’s time to start generating leads.
While pictures and information about the property are great, you need a way to get actual leads into your funnel. (You’ve come so far, don’t screw this up now.)
Looking at the funnel outlined above, there are a number of different ways that you can use forms to capture leads from visitors to your website:
Ideally, you should shoot for all three. That is, unless you’re trying specifically to shoot yourself in the foot and potentially lose out on ⅓ of the leads that you could be generating. (You aren’t, right?)
Showing requests and general information requests are straightforward. It’s just a way for your prospects to get in touch with you if they want to request a property showing or learn more about the listing.
Newsletter subscriptions are another tried and true method of generating leads.
Not every buyer will be ready to make a purchase right now, but they may want to connect with you and learn about future listings. It’s also a great idea to use a lead magnet — an incentive you offer your visitors in exchange for their contact information. A free, downloadable ebook related to the landing page (for example, an ebook filled with tips for home buyers on a property page) makes for a great lead magnet.
If you’re using Paperform, you can easily embed a landing form directly into your website. Or link out to the hosted version of the form.
Otherwise, you’ll likely need to figure out the embed functionality of whatever marketing or form software and edit your site to include the necessary code snippets.
When you’ve generated leads specific to different properties by collecting information from your individual landing pages, it’s time to follow up with those potential clients.
If at all possible, use a marketing automation workflow to handle this step for you, and save yourself a lot of work. If you’re using Paperform, you’ve actually got two great built-in solutions here: you can have personalized emails auto-send when a form is completed, or if you prefer to have a more complex drip campaign set up, you can integrate your form with something like Mailchimp or Aweber, or a real estate CRM with email automation. If you want to increase your response and conversion rates, make sure to include text messaging as part of your sales follow-up process.
Once a lead has been generated from a property page, you want two emails to go out right away:
These two emails are the start of (hopefully) a relationship between you and this prospect. Take time to craft a message that speaks to their needs and helps position you as an agent they would like to work with.
Once you capture an email address, of course, your work’s not done.
For those who opt-in to receive specific information about a listing or request a showing, you can connect with them to learn about the kinds of properties they’re interested in. Follow up with periodic updates on new listings to keep them engaged and coming back to your site.
The newsletters and emails you create for this sales funnel should be sent to the specific segments of leads that sign up. Segmentation is extremely important in email marketing campaigns, especially in real estate. There’s nothing more annoying than getting an irrelevant marketing email. Remember the first marketing commandment - Thou shalt not spameth.
For those who subscribe via a lead magnet or a newsletter, keep them engaged with a mix of relevant content and new listings.
Ideally, you could go so far as to track and segment the specific pages where they opted-in and segment them based on neighborhood or housing type to show them the most relevant content. But if you don’t have the tools to pull off this kind of sophisticated email, that’s okay, too.
When a lead doesn’t convert into a client, that’s OK — there’s still room for you to follow up and keep trying.
In this case, you should use social media and retargeting to drive those leads back to your site.
The final step of this 5-step funnel keeps you in front of your prospects, even if they don’t read your emails or come back to your site. Facebook, in particular, has a really strong retargeting platform that will let you build custom audiences and show them precision-targeted ads for new or existing leads.
Want to show that new 3-bedroom Victorian to all of the folks who checked out the two similar listings you had last month? Create a custom audience.
Want to reach apartment hunters with the hottest downtown lofts? Create a custom audience.
All of the moving parts here can seem overwhelming. But, keep in mind that this funnel is meant to be repeatable. Once you have things set up, you can use the same tools, tech, and strategies on each new listing and for each new lead. Which means you’ll become a pro, and it will get easier and faster in time.
Of course, it’s all predicated on building the right web presence and having the right technology in place.
Paperform can handle the all-important conversion part of the funnel. Rather than wrestling with landing page builders, forms, and plugins, you can build and launch beautiful landing forms in minutes.
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