We all have goals and ideas for 2021, but there are some critical questions you need to ask yourself in order to get the strategic and operational answers you need to make those plans a reality for your real estate business.
Where will your business come from this year?
Whether you’re looking at tried-and-true target markets, new niche groups, or anything in between, the best place to start is to make sure you have a crystal clear understanding of where your success came from last year, and what your market is projected to hold in the future. Using your past data gives you a realistic basis for comparison, making it faster and simpler to spot potential opportunities and problems, and act on them.
Evaluate your 2020 Numbers
Go beyond transactions. Document how many new clients you averaged. Note what your average net profit per customer was. Were certain months particularly good, or were some slower?
Factor in Current Market Research
Make sure you’re staying current on market trends (nationally and locally) and reports to keep up with relevant research trends and predictions to factor into your forecast. For example, if your area is hot hot hot, factor in ”x% growth” over last year, or if you’re bracing yourself for some major inventory issues, adjust accordingly! You want your forecast to be as realistic as possible.
Define your Target Audience
Assess what customers you’re trying to serve. Look at where you’ve had the most success in the past and where you see opportunity in the future. Figure out what type of personas suit your skill set and your service offering, and how to reach and engage them. Do your homework and get some solid statistics around your target audience (think: first-time homebuyers, luxury clients, a certain neighborhood, etc.).
The more you can drill down on your ideal customer and how to reach them, the more effective you can be with your marketing material, and the more efficient you can be with your marketing dollars. This will help you determine your areas of focus to reach your goal.
Make sure you have the tools to reach online leads
At BoomTown we’ve seen some very compelling numbers for online traffic, and engagement.
- Traffic is up 22%
- Leads are up 24%
- CPL is down 19.9%
- Pendings are up 15% YoY
Add these impressive numbers to the fact that the year after an election often sees overperformance, and we are looking at a ton of opportunity in 2021. Make sure you’re ready to capitalize!
How will you measure the success of your lead sources?
You can’t improve what you don’t measure! When you’re effectively tracking your efforts, it’s easy to make adjustments where you need to and keep on track for success. Make sure you are monitoring website traffic, click through rate, and return visitors, and sales metrics in your CRM so you can easily see leads and information on where they are in your sales cycle.
It’s no secret that it helps to diversify your lead generation portfolio, and generate leads from a variety of channels. Email campaigns and landing pages often generate a large amount of leads, and social media channels like Facebook are quickly becoming one of the top real estate lead generation tools in recent years. In fact, 74% of referral website traffic for agents comes from Facebook.
Your website should be seamlessly tied to your CRM to help you track visitors, clicks, and activity. Your social media advertising should be analyzed to determine how many leads you’re generating and how many go on to transact. BoomTown serves this information up automatically to our clients, and you can learn more about that here.
It’s crucial to have the data available to identify your best lead sources so you can know exactly where your business is coming from and focus more of your time and resources on that channel.
Once you’ve secured your leads, what will be your follow-up process?
Growth comes from strong lead gen and processes for conversion. Your database is a gold mine. Don’t let that investment, those hard-won names and numbers collect dust and go on to purchase or list with someone else. Your CRM should be tracking every action a lead takes on your site. It should be surfacing insights that your agents can act on like “back on site after a month” or “just favorited a property.” Even “currently on site.” These alerts let you know they’re ready, and they’re active, and you have a reason to reach out.
This information is crucial for an effective follow-up plan that is understood by everyone on the team and adopted. Your leads fall into 2 primary camps: those that are ready to buy and those that are 4-6+months out in the buying or selling process. These are two very different situations that require very different approaches. You need to make sure you have a plan in place to ensure each type of lead is serviced appropriately.
This plan needs to cover:
Who is in charge of the initial response
What is the expected time to initial response
Where do hot leads go
Where do nurture leads go
How are leads successfully nurtured to close
Follow up needs to be fast-As in calling-within-the-first-5-minutes-of-registering fast! It’s impossible for an agent to respond to every single lead that comes in the “door” (nor does it make sense to) so you need to vet each lead appropriately to save time and keep the process moving. The key here is to make sure each lead reaches the right person for their specific situation, so you have an efficient process that plays to your team’s strengths.
Automating this process can be a huge win for productivity. Set rules in your system to automatically have online leads sent to the right person. This means that once a lead registers on your site, sellers are automatically sent to the listing agent. Buyers looking in XYZ neighborhood are instantly piped to your in-house XYZ expert, and no one on your team is wasting time, nor does any leads slip through the cracks.
Lead management services are at-the-ready to do the heavy-lifting, but it’s key to have your services and software work hand-in-hand. BoomTown clients who are using our Success Assurance program (our team of concierges who respond to new leads 24/7 in as little as 90 seconds and nurture for up to one year), can rest assured that their leads are being expertly handled, by real people, but they can also track and customize the experience right from the CRM.
Aside from new leads, how will you nurture your database and add value to SOI and past clients?
This goes back to prioritizing that database! The NAR reports that less than ¼ of home sellers used their original agent to buy their second home. Why? They were those past leads that slipped through the cracks. They had no further relationship with their agent. You need a plan in place to ensure that you nurture both past and future clients.
This is where the right CRM can make all the difference (and make it very easy on you.) Categorize your contacts as past clients, potential sellers or buyers, etc. and market to them and communicate with them appropriately and regularly to maintain engagement.
Put them on drips or email lists for your newsletter, market and neighborhood updates, etc. connect with them on social media, set up reminders for face-to-face meetings, and include them in your postcard or direct mail lists.
Send them content (via drip campaigns, targeted social media ads, or direct mail) for things like appreciation events, seasonal activities, or charitable endeavors in the community. This type of connection is incredible for repeat business, generating referrals, and building brand loyalty.
Now, more than ever, the consumer experience is vital. In order to set yourself apart, and deliver the best experience, you need to meet your consumers where they are. This is squarely online right now.
Make sure you have a solid app experience to make it easy for prospects to search whenever/wherever. Offer virtual tools to help facilitate more remote choices, like virtual tours and the ability to request a virtual showing. Engage and re-engage with personalized marketing automation, and leverage your CRM to check-in automatically and effectively with past clients and your database through community events and highlights, targeted e-Alerts, and nurturing campaigns that are tailored to feel personal.
Delivering this empathetic and personal experience is incredibly effective, and with the right tools and teams, it can be efficient too. Offload your lead response and nurturing to dedicated experts to scale that service for your busy team, leverage an effective CRM to automate nurture campaigns, and work with a platform that will streamline your business with seamless integrations to your favorite point solutions.