Turning Technology Into Sales - Internet Marketing

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Pro Online Agent LLC

Generating leads through the internet is an excellent tool for expanding your business, eliminating geographical barriers and increasing sales.

But how do we create leads from cyber space? After all, the information highway is infinite with no boundaries. How can a small business owner, you the real estate agent, create qualified traffic?

The keys to successful internet marketing are the THREE C's:

  • Create - create traffic
  • Capture - capture prospects, thus creating contacts
  • Cultivate - cultivate contacts into leads, then into clients

The first step in generating leads through your website is to CREATE traffic. Let's explore three approaches for Creating traffic:

  • Organic Search Engine Site Rankings - the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN etc.) rank your website based on a number of factors including age, popularity, content, link-ins, etc., and list your site accordingly in the directory. This can be a long process, as a couple of major contributing factors are age and traffic. Thus, if you have a new site or a rarely used site, the ranking remains low, and because the ranking remains low, traffic remains low. Because traffic remains low, the ranking remains low, and so on. You can see the cycle.
  • Keywords Pay-Per-Clicks - you, the website owner, bid on keywords with the search engines pay per click programs, and the search engines list your site in the Sponsored Links section of the directory. This can be an efficient way to drive traffic to your site, but it does come with a cost.
  • Owner Driven Traffic - you, the website owner, drive traffic to your website via electronic articles, emails, signs, print media etc. This can be very costly, as it is difficult to generate enough traffic to capture leads.

So how do you create enough traffic to create quality prospects? Well it's not as difficult as it seems. First create a quality keyword driven website; then use all three methods until your site is ranked high enough to maintain an adequate stream of prospects through the search engine directories.

The second step in generating leads through your website is to CAPTURE the traffic. Capturing traffic for your website is done using tools such as guest books or registration forms with bait. Capture the user's information by offering something of value; do not give away free information.

  • For example: a user is searching the internet for the local MLS. Now, the user has found our site, so do not give the information away for free. Searching the MLS is our bait, and a registration form is our capture tool.

On the capture form ask for the property info first, then personal info such as name, email and phone. By structuring your form this way, a lead is more likely to give accurate info.

The final step in Turning Technology into Sales is cultivation. Once traffic has been driven to your site, and a lead is captured via your form, you must create perceived value. A great cultivation tool is an automated MLS search. Property information was captured via our lead capture form, therefore, you the agent can set up an automated MLS search for the lead in your MLS prospect database. Don't stop there, once the MLS search is set up and the listings are sent, follow-up, send periodic personal emails to ensure the lead is receiving the info sent.

Managing all the aspects of internet marketing can be a full time job. Many agents choose to enlist lead generation companies to create traffic and capture leads. By doing so, the agent is able to concentrate on cultivation. The internet has become an integral part of the real estate business. Studies in 2005, show 77% of homebuyers researched their purchase via the internet. Utilize the Three C's in your internet marketing plan, so you too can Turn Technology into Sales.

Reg Gustin is owner operator of the website http://www.pro-online-agent.com/ and http://www.proonlineagent.com/

Go to Pro Online Agent to find out if internet real estate leads can enhance your business http://www.pro-online-agent.com/

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Ambassador
604,785
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Reg, I just have an organic dislike of lead aggregation companies.  Even if they provided qualified, relevant leads, which most of them do not, I don't like the way they get between prospects and the professionals like us who provide real services.

Having said that, I agree with your three-pronged approach. 

Sep 28, 2007 01:58 PM #1
Rainmaker
571,618
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
Evening Reg,  It seems there is some disagreement about forcing registration.  Most sites have free MLS search anyway.
Sep 28, 2007 02:26 PM #2
Rainer
21,592
Reg Gustin
Pro Online Agent LLC - Mesa, AZ

Hi Bill, I agree that most sites give away the MLS and I'm not trying to help those that don't want to be helped.  The average consumer wants pictures and property info, once they get the info, they are gone.  If you give it to them for free, they will not be back and you lost a potential sale.

If you capture their information then create cultivation system, you have a chance to create a sale.  After all why are they searching the MLS?  The MLS is by far the most effective tool I know to create leads, if the traffic is willing to provide info, you have filtered out a "tire-kicker", nothing lost.  But, if they do provide info, you have potential as long as your follow-up is good.

This is why my agents spend their time and energy on cultivation, not generating and capturing traffic.

If you would like to discuss this further, shoot me an email.  It's a great topic.

Thx, Reg

Sep 28, 2007 02:34 PM #3
Rainer
21,592
Reg Gustin
Pro Online Agent LLC - Mesa, AZ

Brian, It isn't our goal to get between the prospect and the professional, in fact just the opposite.  I am trying to create an enviroment where I do what I do best and you do what you do best. 

I create traffic and capture traffic, I have created a database and follow-up system second to none, thus creating an organized environment for agents to do what they do best - Cultivate.

Thanks for your feedback.

Thx, Reg

Sep 28, 2007 02:37 PM #4
Rainmaker
339,098
Chris and Berna Sloan
Group 1 Real Estate - Tooele, UT
Tooele UT

Reg.. Thanks for the tips.  I have tested register vs no register & have opted for the non-registration.

Could have something to do with other facters ie: name recognition, market size, other content.

Thanks again

Sep 29, 2007 12:27 AM #5
Ambassador
836,755
Charlie Ragonesi
AllMountainRealty.com - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros
the jury is out on capture but I liked your article
Sep 29, 2007 12:32 AM #6
Rainer
87,209
"JT" Prevatte
Century 21 Family Realty, Relocation/Recruitment Director - Fayetteville, NC

Good article!

I too use the "fill out this short form" method and it works for me.  Most users know that if they go to a site for information that they are probably going to have to give something.

I never thought about putting the "give me a short description of what you are looking for" on my forms...that's an interesting idea!

I would be interested in knowing how that works as far as capture. 

 

Sep 29, 2007 12:56 AM #7
Rainmaker
339,762
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Reg - I love your '3 C's'!  I currently use a registration form, having done no registration in the past.  I like having the registration form, as it weeds out the serious buyers from those who aren't.  I still get fake names periodically but the quality of my leads improved greatly.  And I stay in touch with those who sign in, too, giving them a variety of info, including listings that meet their needs.

Congrats on your featured post!
Ann

Sep 29, 2007 02:26 AM #8
Rainer
165,557
Dan Forbes
Bradenton, FL
I especially like you final point, "Turning Technology into Sales is cultivation."  Learning how to generate sales from our Technology investment is key.  It is important to track every sale and analyze the source.  Where did the lead come from.  If they came from your web site, how did they find it?
Sep 29, 2007 02:42 AM #9
Rainmaker
655,832
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Good to see you here on A/R and posting. Good post.
Sep 29, 2007 04:43 AM #10
Rainer
96,751
New Jersey Real Estate James Boyer Morris, Essex & Union County NJ Realtor
RE/MAX Properties Unlimited, Real Estate - Morristown, NJ
Nice article, If I were advising people and I guess I am in a way, I would say optimize for google and let the rest just happen.
Sep 29, 2007 07:31 AM #11
Rainer
6,950
waey wyqw
wyq34y - Dell, MT
Good information. Having a great landing page that converts visitors to leads should be at the top of agent's marketing to do list.
Sep 30, 2007 02:05 AM #12
Rainmaker
25,367
Eva Armstrong
Environmental Visions - Tallahassee, FL
Environmental Visions
Thanks Reg, that information is soooooo helpful for the new to the internet marketing, like me!
Sep 30, 2007 02:16 AM #13
Rainer
35,033
Mehmet Met Dilsiz
FND Photography / M2 Real Estate Solutions - Midvale, UT
Really nice and informative blog. i like the three C's.
Oct 05, 2007 07:43 AM #14
Rainer
83,247
Ginger Magoon
Remax - Bryan College Station - College Station, TX
Bryan, College Station Texas Real Estate
good article
Oct 05, 2007 03:36 PM #15
Anonymous
Dave Lyons

I believe that the most effective way to generate leads is to give the Web visitor something in return that they want.  Simply giving them access to the MLS probably isn't enough of an incentive, because they can get to the MLS from other sources that don't require them to register (i.e. give you a lead).

What do people want?  Different people are motivated by different things. 

Do they want discounts?  A chance to win prizes?  Information?  A newsletter?  Current status of the market in their area?  A response?  Some help?  Establishing a value for their home?  Resources?  Services?  Tickets to the theater?  A cash referral fee?  A trip to Hawaii? 

Give the visitors a reason to sign up with you that will encourage them to give you their real name and contact information.  Allocate a part of your marketing budget to giving them a choice, and options, and something that they find of value, and they will gladly give you their lead.

Oct 07, 2007 09:17 AM #16
Rainer
21,592
Reg Gustin
Pro Online Agent LLC - Mesa, AZ

Hi Dave, I'm sorry I don't agree.  By offering a prize or a give away you are inviting people who are not serious about real estate to sign up for your services, so it is a great way to build a database, but if you want serious contacts offer something wanted... the MLS and those that are interested in your services will sign up, those that want a free drawing will go somewhere else.  The form is a filter as well.

 Thx for your comments, Reg

Oct 07, 2007 09:22 AM #17
Anonymous
Dave Lyons

Reg - The whole objective of a lead capture system is to build a database, whether those people are valid leads or not,  You won't know that until you talk with them anyway.  If you 'force' people to register to get to the MLS, then a % of them will register with bogus information.  You can't talk with 'Charlie Brown' or 'Napolean Dynamite' at 555-1111, which will probably pass your filters.

My point was that offering something of value will generate more accurate information to be captured because that person wants what you have to offer, so will enter their real information. 

 Dave

Oct 07, 2007 04:20 PM #18
Rainer
36,675
Chris Hendricks
Walnut Creek, CA
It all depends on what you're looking for, folks.  If you're looking for Mr. Right Now, as many REALTORS® do, the thing of value makes sense.  If you're looking for folks that you can incubate, cultivate, and allow to mature into a relationship over time [when they ARE ready, that's another approach.
Oct 07, 2007 04:37 PM #19
Rainmaker
96,081
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Hi Reg; Good blog and summary on Internet marketing and how to make it work!

Feb 28, 2009 02:44 PM #20
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