If I had a penny for every time someone told me that! Where are my leads? I have been consulting with Real Estate Professionals for over 10 years and the single most resounding issue whether it be an issue with a website or print media is lead generation. It's an important topic and one that every Real Estate Agent should take seriously. In reality you should be more concerned with lead conversion over lead generation but granted both are important. To be successful though you need to fully understand both.
Expectations from website owners that a website will generate leads with little or no effort, whether that efforts comes from the website owner or another source.
Foot note on Lead Generation: For the sake of this post I will concentrate solely on lead generation via the Internet and more specifically via your real estate website and or real estate blog.
Mistake #1: This issue accounts for 99.999999999% of all the problems with lead generation.
Here is the issue: I have a website/blog so stand back and let the leads come pouring in. Sounds silly, I think everyone thinks they are doing some sort of work on their website or maybe not. In realty most Agents feel that their website should self generate leads without much effort. But I can tell you without a marketing plan ALL websites and/or blogs will fail at some point.
Mistake #2: Do I need to spend a ton of money on getting a marketing plan? The answer is NO. Everything you pay a consultant to do YOU can do yourself, if you have the time. Some of my clients do a combination of both. But the bottom line is you either do it your self or pay someone to do it for you. It is no secret that the Internet and sites such as Google LOVE content. And they love ever changing and evolving content. So what's the hang-up? Some of it might be procrastination, some of it might be the sheer desire not spend money or time and the wish that something just might happen. Some people just think getting a website is enough.
1: Write up a Online/SEO a marketing plan
a: Budget. You need a budget no matter how small it may be. Decide on how much time you can spend each week on your website/blog and also if you choose to augment or completely pay someone, decide a budget for that.
b: What should be in my marketing plan?
1: Spend 1-2 hours per week adding/changing content on your website
2: Write approximately 1 NEW blog post every week to 10 days (Don't forget to syndicate these posts)
3: Spend 30 minutes per day on Social Networks (ie Facebook, Twitter, ActiveRain)
4: Devote time to long-tail keywords. This should be over and above other content writing. Over time long-tail keywords become important.
5: Consider buying PPC ads on Google or Bing. You can start small and measure the results
6: Install Google analytics or another site statistics application and look at how your traffic is coming in. Analyze the keyword phrases and demographics.
7: If you have no time for the above, then pay someone to do it or split the tasks up between yourself and a consultant.
8: Have the tools to attract your buyers. IDX search, good content, call to action forms, and a well thought out and professional website or blog. Unless you are a web designer leave it up to the experts.
So now that you have this plan in place what's next? TIME, that is what is next. This does not happen over night. It takes a few months to build up your content presence on the Internet. But remember to write keyword rich content. Sure you can write about anything and some fluff is good too, but you need to be writing good quality and keyword rich posts on your expertise and market. Even after a few months it might take even more time if your results are less than expected.
And during this time remember to analyze your results through your statistics application.
I did a test no too long ago where I stop posting articles to our company blog for 4 weeks. Not only did my readership fall, so did the leads, and after 4 weeks we were down to ZERO leads from our blog. Once we resumed writing we got a lead 3 days later.
Fresh content is one of the best ways to entice your potential audience in. Become an expert and you'll even gain better results.
So what about lead conversion? Well once you get those leads you have to draw on the old saying, "You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make him drink". A good SEO marketing plan will bring the leads in but if you exercise poor follow-up and conversion practice you would have wasted all your time. Act quick and be precise on how you do it. Poor lead conversion is the 2nd most common mistake and a lot of agents blame their websites for it. Make sure you have all the tools in place for lead conversion. A good contact manager. Go out and get an IDX search for your website from your local MLS. If you have the inventory you give your buyers a reason to stay on your website.
I think the bottom line is that you indeed must do some work here and the work needs to be consistent. Patience pays off so hang in there.
If you need some advice on your website, how to get IDX or perhaps how to get this off the ground please let me know. I would be happy to take a look.