The key word? Attract.
More important than how many leads your real estate website generates is how your website generates them. Are you forcing registration? Are you having to chase after everyone? Or are they coming to you asking for help?
You can choose to chase, or you can attract. There is a fundamental difference in these types of leads. Here are seven steps you should take to attract real estate leads online:
1. Start a local/hyper-local real estate website.
One of the best things you can do is create a local, or even a hyper-local, website that focuses on one area. This will allow you to really hone in on a target audience and make you their real estate expert online.
What does your audience want in terms of local area information? What are they searching for online? Reverse-engineer the process. "People who are likely to buy homes are searching for this information online…"
One example would be on our Charlotte, N.C., website, in which we have created an article around what it is like living in Charlotte. This is an example of the type of information people are searching for, and these same people will also want to know more about homes in Charlotte.
By starting a local website, you are going to be competing with other local websites—how do you separate yourself from your competition? You create an experience that keeps them coming back, which brings us to…
2. Create valuable content.
Your website is going to be judged on the type of content you create. If you create incredible local content, people are going to want to share it. The type of content you create matters, as well. People really engage with video and graphics, so don't just write! Writing is more for Google to understand what the article is about; many people will look at appealing graphics and headlines, and watch videos, versus read.
If you can create videos for your most popular content, you should see a great increase in your conversion rate from traffic to leads.
3. Create an experience.
This is probably the hardest of all the ways to generate real estate leads. You want to create an experience that is so good people won't stop coming back. You almost have to know what they want before they know what they want—but since you're likely not a fortune teller, you'll have to get creative.
One example of something people want is searching homes for sale by school district. This is one of the easiest ways for you to form a bond with a website visitor right off the bat because you're offering a feature many national websites do not have. If they have the opportunity to search by school, they will keep coming back to use that feature.
4. Social Media
Leveraging social media is one of the most important parts of engaging with consumers and driving web traffic. Retargeting your website visitors is one of the easiest ways to stay out in front of them and remind them that you're there.
When people continue to see you over and over, you form a relationship with them, especially if you're utilizing video, can provide value, or have a compelling story to tell or testimonial to share.
Another great way to leverage social media is to "growth-hack," which is to form relationships with other influencers either in your niche or locally. This will help you gain traction in the world of "online authority," as you likely won't have any online authority when you're first starting out.
5. Build relationships online.
Just as it is in life, it's not what you know; it's who you know. You'll want to start forming relationships with people as much as possible, because if you're engaged with your audience, your audience will be engaged with you. You'll also benefit from your audience because they will communicate with you what they are looking for (and it's likely that if they are looking for it, other people are looking for it too!).
Forming relationships with influencers will help you gain traction in your niche, as well. You will have the opportunity to leverage these relationships once you've proved yourself and provided value.
6. Give back.
Giving back with no expectations is one of the most powerful ways to form a bond with someone. In fact, it will be so different from what they are expecting that it will make a strong impression, and likely earn you their business. Most folks will not do something that doesn't benefit them, or they won't do something without something in return. That's why giving back with no expectation is so important.
If you expect something in return, you will likely be disappointed and you will re-condition yourself to act like everyone else. Over time, it all comes full circle, so don't give up on giving back without expectations!
7. Retarget ads for branding.
We touched upon retargeting ads for branding purposes in No. 4, but it's worth its own section.
Once someone engages with your website, it's a great opportunity to engage with them over and over again. Videos and graphics are the most powerful way to capture your audience's attention.
Provide value to these users through your subject-matter knowledge. For instance: What's one thing you know that every first-time homebuyer needs to know? Is there a statewide benefit or program they may now know about? Imagine what happens when you target first-time homebuyers on Facebook with a 30-second video sharing a tip that will save them thousands of dollars. They are going to remember you, and they are going to want to work with you. Send them back to your website and give them an in-depth article to read through on every first-time homebuyer tip you have.
Using a real estate website to attract consumers is one of the most powerful ways to build a business. As with building any business, it takes time, a commitment to your craft and the development of your online marketing skills. The best part about using a real estate website to attract business is that you no longer trade time and effort to generate leads. Instead, you are generating leads in your sleep (or on a Hawaiian vacation)!