For many years the narrative surrounding lead generation in real estate has been, “You need the highest amount of leads possible at the lowest cost-per-lead.” It’s been drilled into our psyche and business models to chase the lowest cost-per-lead and churn out more, more, more. Here at BoomTown we’ve often been swept up on the same train!
An affordable cost-per-lead is important, there’s no denying it, and it continues to be a north star of effort in our Digital Marketing department. However, as we enter a new decade and a new era of innovation in real estate, I think that it’s important to expand our focus into a more holistic view of healthy lead generation and conversion. Let’s explore a few ways to do that.
Changes in the Landscape
What’s changed over the last 2, 5, and 10 years? Well, the internet and consumer behaviors online have changed at lightning speed. On one hand, businesses have grown savvier and more prescriptive with online marketing. Digital advertising on Facebook and Google has grown through algorithm shifts and new updates allowing real estate agents to target their markets more specifically to generate leads. As education and capabilities increase in digital marketing, so too does competition.
Additionally, consumer behaviors have shifted. The percentage of US adults who use social media increased from 5% in 2005 to 79% in 2019. We’ve grown accustomed to scrolling aimlessly. Watching videos without sounds. We’re used to seeing ads. And we’re used to ignoring ads! As the consumer becomes more and more tech-savvy, marketing strategies need to stay ahead of the curve to keep up.
Cost-Per-Lead isn’t Fixed (Or Guaranteed)
There will always be variables outside of your control that affect your Cost-Per-Lead.
Online searches rise in January and demand peaks between April and June. More people begin actively looking and seeing houses with the intention of moving during the summer. In July things begin to plateau, and demand dips between October and December. The combination of search/demand and the number of advertisers throughout these peaks will change your CPL.
External factors will affect your CPL that are entirely out of your control; natural disasters, shifts in the economy, election years, housing market, etc. Always have your finger on the pulse of these market forces and be aware of how they might influence your CPL.
Location, Competition, Demand
A $500 ad budget in small-town Texas is going to go a lot further than in San Francisco or New York City. Keep tabs on the state of the market in your area, the number of competitors, etc., and understand that your CPL can only go so low if you are in one of these hot locations.
Conversion Rate is Key
Try to focus on a blend of quality and quantity when it comes to leads. And try to shift your mindset when it comes to how you define the quality of a lead. If you have a phone number or an email, you’ve got something to work with. Understand that online leads are very rarely going to be as “hot” as referrals or call-ins. They may be 6-12 months out from buying or selling. Or even longer! But if your business strategy is centered around conversion and a long-term nurture plan for your pipeline; you’ll see success with online leads.
Here are some tips for improving your conversion rate.
Build an Effective Landing Page
Your consumer website should be designed with the intention of maximizing conversions. It needs to be visually appealing, easy to use, and strategically prompt the user for their information. Some CRMs will build this page for you, which is ideal because they have built-in data and expertise on what works. If you’re building this page on your own, do your research and consider hiring a coach or consultant to make sure you do a good job.
Invest in Nurturing Leads
The agents with an effective long-game nurture plan, will have a higher ROI over time because they’ll close more of those warm leads over time. Nurturing leads requires strategic contact through drip emails, texting and phone calls. These strategic touches keep warm leads informed and engaged, and they will allow you to see which leads might be ready for direct contact. With Success Assurance from BoomTown, we do the nurture work for you. In addition to drip campaigns and nurture plans, our lead concierge service will reach out to your new leads and if they’re not quite ready to talk, they will continue to nurture them on your behalf for up to a year.
Create Compelling Ads and Copy
The ad itself is the catalyst for generating a lead, so the copy needs to be compelling and concise, with a clear call-to-action. The image needs to be professional quality. If you’re working with a CRM, they’re likely doing a lot of this work for you, but if you’re not, make sure you are paying attention to these details. A/B testing will improve your ad campaigns.
Broaden Your Scope of Keywords
People browsing for homes are more likely to search with general/broad keywords. For example, even if someone is looking for a luxury home in Isle of Palms (small sub-city of Charleston, SC), they will likely still search for, “Charleston Homes.” In these broader searches, there is often less competition and higher traffic.