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Online Lead Generation For Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Agent with Platinum Real Estate Group

IDX Data ExchangeI've been on AR for a little more than 2 years and during that time, I've found some pretty great ways to generate online leads. I've also seen many agents on this network who don't have the necessary tools to generate a sufficient amount of leads to make a dent in the online lead generation world. This guide is for those agents.

First off, let's define lead generation. I see a lead as a potential buyer or seller who needs some sort of follow-up or convincing that you are the right agent for them. In order to get the chance to talk to that lead, you must first generate them. There are many ways to generate a lead, but for this guide, I want to talk about generating a lead through the use of an IDX property website.


What's an IDX property website?

IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. It means you have data that you receive through a shared feed. An IDX property website is a website that allows you to display other properties listed on your MLS that are not your own. Want to see an awesome IDX property website? View mine here. This website has 1000's of properties listed by every single agent in my MLS. Pretty cool right? I think so. Don't have a lot of money to spend on an IDX website? Get a Wordpress IDX site from my son for cheap. You can see some possible templates from his Utah Web Design page. You can see an example from Bill & Liz spear, he setup their site just the other day. 


Why Do I Need IDX To Generate Leads?

An IDX website is a valuable resource for one reason. Buyer's looking to view properties online can view every property they will ever need on your IDX site. Instead of just showing you're own listings, you have more to offer. This extra incentive to stick around on your website is a value proposition. And, if you know anything about generating leads, you know that you have to offer something of value to interest the potential prospect to use your services. 


How Does IDX Generate Leads?

If you go back to my website and click on two separate properties, after you click the first one, the second time it will require you to create an account in order to view more. Now, there's been a large debate on whether to force registration or not, but I fully believe that forced registration is the key to successful online lead generation. Some agents are adamantly against forced registration, but instead of a back and forth argument of why u should or shouldn't force registration, I want you to make up your own mind by viewing actual data. 


Forced Vs. Non-Forced Registration

There's a great study that was done by real estate agents at BarkerHdeges.com on using forced registration vs. not. Here are the last three posts on actual data of leads generated, conversion rates, and some nice commentary by other real estate agents who switched to forced registration after non-forced wasn't giving them the results they wanted. Week 6 Week 5 Week 4 - This study shows the amount of leads gained with a forced registration vs. non-forced is quite dramatic. 


Generate Website TrafficDriving Targeted Traffic To Your Website

In order to generate leads online you have to have targeted traffic. Targeted traffic is key to generating the right leads who could potentially turn into a valuable client. Any other traffic is, basically, worthless. I have many funnels to generate traffic to my website and I wanted to share with you my full strategy of traffic generation. 

Blog For Real Estate - Are you using your AR blog to generate real buyer's traffic? There are a lot of real estate agents here on AR who are not. People may disagree with me on this front, but I truly believe that real estate agents should blog about real estate. Leave the local journalism, restaurant reviews, and such to the experts who dabble in that sort of stuff.

  • If you're serious about generating leads with your real estate blog, blog about real estate related topics only. Search engines rank sites with laser like focus at the top of their results pages. A blog that tries to be both real estate related and the local town hall is confusing to search engine robots. With the recent Panda update, it's more important than ever to stay focused. So how should you write blogs to generate targeted REAL ESTATE traffic? 


Formula For A Successful Lead Generating Blog Post 

  1. Keyword Rich Titles - Using keywords in your blog post title is critical to success. But don't go overboard. Each blog post should have one main keyword set to focus on. And don't use clever titles, just be direct. Search engine users want to scan a title and know exactly what the article is about, so be stick to your stated subject.
  2. Keyword Rich First Sentence - Reinforce your posts title in your first sentence. Your first sentence should make people want to read your next sentence. Add your keywords into the sentence and let them know the benefit you will offer them if they continue to read on. 
  3. Give Them What They Came For - Stay on topic and don't ramble. People want information and they want it now. Keep your post precise and make it easy to digest. Separate long paragraphs with bullet points, break up big ideas into small paragraphs, and don't forget to add pictures and graphs to make your content more appealing.
  4. Finish Strong - Finish your post with a call to action. If your post is about a new condo development, point the reader to your IDX page with those condo listings. This tactic is precision business blogging with a purpose. You give a potential lead expert information, (Hook) - Send them to your IDX page with listings (Line) - And follow up to gain trust. (Sinker) Want an example? Here's a post I wrote on The Most Expensive Houses In Utah that has been rather successful in generating luxury home buyers. 

Website PromotionWebsite Promotion - Promoting a website has two channels: Online and Offline. Online promotion can be done through blogging, social networking, pay per click ads, article marketing, blog commenting, press releases, and syndication.

Offline promotion can be print advertising, sign riders, newspaper ads, open houses, post cards, and so on. They are both crucial to generating business and should both be treated equally. However, I wanted to focus specifically on the online promoting.

An internet lead can come from many different channels. Social networking sites and article marketing are, from what I've found, the best ways to get the most bang for your buck.

I recommend you approach online promotion with a goal in mind and stay focused. It's fun to get caught up in the latest happenings in the social media world, but is it going to help your business? If it won't, why bother? Article marketing has changed recently, but it's still a valuable tool for online web promotion. I would refrain from using article marketing sites and focus more on guest posting and posting articles on your own blogs. 

Formula For Successful Online Website Promotion

Content - Laser targeted content can bring in excellent traffic if you correctly optimize the pages for high performing keywords. Getting your on-page optimization right can show a dramatic difference in your contents performance. If you're unfamiliar with the basics of SEO and optimizing content, my son just wrote a nice post on his new website you can check out: On Page SEO Tips

Link Building - Generating links to your content with relevant anchor text is priority number two in web promotion. Links can bring traffic, search engine bots, and increased rankings all at once. Generating links to your site is very, very, time consuming. I suggest that anytime it makes sense, link to your site with your desired keywords from any platform you can. Some consider this spam, I consider it marketing. Another great way to build links is through guest blogging. There is a huge network of real estate agents on this site that would love to exchange guest blog posts.

Social Media Promotion - Everyone knows about social media these days, but very few are making money from it. I've found the best way to make social media work is to hold contests for your fans on Twitter & Facebook. Be creative with this. Offer gift cards, cash, prizes, discounts, anything that can get people talking about you. The best way to hold a contest is to make a poll on your website so your followers can vote for their favorite submission. Ask the submitters to get their friends to vote for them. You can setup a free survey on your site with: Survey Monkey.

Paid Advertising - Google Adwords is a simple and cost effective way to generate immediate traffic. You have complete control over your account and daily spending limits. Want to spend $50 to try it out? No problem. Be sure you have a way to capture leads before you jump into Adwords. You can see how I setup landing pages for generating leads here: Real Estate Landing Pages.

Hire A Professional - Don't have time for this? You're a real estate agent after all, and your time should be spent selling homes. If you don't have the time to learn online lead generation, hire someone to do it for you. There are a lot of descent SEO companies who can build links and write great content for your website if you don't have time. Here's a little plug for my son who has done SEO for me for the last 3 years. He is available and can give you a free consultation, I think his plans start out at just $300 a month for local search marketing: www.PursuitTroop.com.

Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Fyi, Lisa's son  Chase did a fantastic job getting our website framework up for us.  We've still got work to do to flesh out the blog, custom homesearches, etc., so the site is still under construction.  Chase's customer service was exceptional, so any deficiencies on the site for now, well those are our issues and not his! :)

Jul 18, 2011 06:40 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I'm assuming the success of your lead generation causing you to have time on here like you used to. Go Lisa!! Very comprehensive guide.

Jul 18, 2011 06:50 AM
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Hi Liz & Bill - He was very excited to work on your site, and I am sure he will continue to help you if you have any issues. I like your site a lot, you just have to add the content to get it off the ground. :)

Hi Loreena - You've got it. I've been swamped and I haven't really had time to blog on my own properties lately, it's insane around here! I feel very blessed in today's market, and I need to focus on getting back to blogging so that it doesn't die out. Thanks for stopping by!

Jul 18, 2011 06:57 AM
Hrisco & Associates
Hrisco & Associates - Roanoke, TX
Roanoke Homes for Sale - Roanoke Neighborhoods

Hi Lisa, a lot of great information shared in this post, have bookmarked and will review and implement as much as I can as time and $$ permits.

Jul 18, 2011 08:11 AM
Lisa Orme
The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY - Windsor, CT
Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu

Lisa, I always enjoy your posts because you pack SO much good information into them...this one is no exception....bookmarking so I can come back and brush up on those keys to SEO...

Jul 18, 2011 10:43 AM
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Hi Corinne,

I am glad to hear another point of view. I know that many markets, forced registration doesn't work! I have tried both ways and have found that forced works best here. I think that it's because almost everyone in my market forces registration, so there isn't really much a buyer can see without signing up. :)

Jul 28, 2011 09:38 AM
Tere Cardenas
RE/MAX Alliance - Denver, CO
MBA - Colorado

Great information! Thanks!

Nov 05, 2011 01:44 AM
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Mar 25, 2012 02:43 PM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Way to go Lisa and thanks for sharing this valuable information.

Sep 29, 2013 11:18 AM