This article was originally published on Market Leader's blog, where you can find more educational articles that will help you build your real estate business.
Generating leads is a formidable challenge in itself, but simply getting leads isn’t enough to convert them into clients. Even the hottest of leads must be engaged with by the real estate agents they belong to with, at minimum, well-crafted first contact messaging before they will be ready to transact. Here are four smart methods for engaging your leads that will help ensure that they transact with you.
1. Customize Communications to Address Leads’ Needs
There’s no better way to differentiate yourself from your competition and make your communications stand out than by recognizing and addressing the special needs of your leads. Even seemingly small pieces of information, like a lead’s area code, can reveal a lot about any special considerations they may have. Online resources - from social networks to websites like Whitepages.com - can also give you valuable insight into your leads’ needs.
For example, you can infer that a lead with an area code from the opposite side of the country won’t be familiar with your market and could therefore benefit from a knowledgeable local (i.e., you) outlining the characteristics of the neighborhoods they may interested in. Similarly, a lead whose Facebook profile is cluttered with images of their young children is more likely to have their interest piqued by a first contact email from an agent that contains listings ideal for the raising of little ones.
2. Respond Immediately and Provide Value
Given that 90 percent of home buyers begin their searches on the Internet, it’s absolutely essential for real estate agents to have an online presence to help them capture these top-of-funnel buyers. This fact is hardly a secret, however; the Internet is awash with agents using social media, websites of all shapes and sizes, and online advertising to introduce themselves to buyers before their competitors.
Being the first agent home buyers communicate with - via email, phone call, or text - is also vital as the majority of buyers end up working with the first agent who reaches out to them. Engage every Internet lead you receive as soon as possible, and make sure to discuss relevant information (e.g., local market statistics and links to relevant listings) that will provide immediate value and leave a positive first impression by demonstrating your knowledge and skills.
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3. Tailor First Contact Messaging to Leads’ Preferences
The Internet allows real estate agents to get unprecedented insight into their leads’ preferences before first contact is made. Lead-generating, IDX-enabled websites connected with robust contact management systems, like the powerful pairing Market Leader offers, tracks the browsing behavior of visitors and prospects and allows agents to learn the price range, bedroom count, square footage, and neighborhood (among many other things) of the listings they view and save. Systems like Market Leader’s also provide information about when prospects have visited agents’ websites, letting them know what time of day is best to follow up.
This information can be used to tailor highly relevant first contact messaging that is also likely to leave a favorable initial impression. A first contact email with the tailored subject line of “More 4-bedroom Fremont homes for sale” is infinitely preferable to the generic and forgettable subject line of “Homes for sale in your area.”
4. Keep Leads Engaged With Content
While the command “If you build it, they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams,” it certainly doesn’t apply to real estate agents’ websites. Simply having a website isn’t enough; agents must fill it out with relevant and interesting content to engage their prospects during both their first and subsequent visits. This content includes home listings, housing market data, information about local schools, descriptions of desirable neighborhoods, and information about the home buying and selling processes (among many other things).
Be critical about what constitutes relevant and interesting content for your website’s visitors. While you may be a highly interesting person with decades of relevant experience and an eyebrow-raising array of designations and certifications, none of that will be of much interest to your website’s visitors. Put important content like home listings front and center on your website, not you!