“Forced registration.” That brings up an interesting visual, doesn’t it?
So, how do agents capture leads that visit their websites without forcing those leads to register to get what they want? It’s a quid-pro-quo-world, right? You do this for me and I’ll give you that.
Then why does forced registration tick off so many real estate consumers and is it really in your best interests to use this nasty-sounding tactic?
After all, so many other sites give away their MLS information for free. Where’s the value proposition for your visitor?
The pros and the cons
One Midwest agent, posting in an online forum, boasts that “… out of 4 [of her] sites only one has forced registration. That is where 44% of my closings came from …”
That’s impressive. But how do we know that there aren’t other things going on with this site vs. her other sites that are doing the converting? If all the sites were identical, aside from the forced registration on one, she’d have reason to come to her conclusion that forced registration is the end-all-be-all.
Then, there’s Jim Kimmons, commenting right here on activerain.com, with another take on the subject:
“In many cases, the forcing of registration is simply compensating for a lack of desire or ability to create the proper lead generation tools to get people to provide their contact information voluntarily.”
In response to Kimmons’ post, Raymond Kennedy, in the comments, offers yet another perspective: “The truth is if they leave your site for that reason [forced registration], you would likely never have them as a lead because of their desire to stay anonymous.”
It appears that Mom was right. No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides.
So, next, we turned to the people at realestatewebmasters.com who conducted a study on forced registration at the request of one of their clients.
The first part of the “test” was on their client’s current website, with forced registration already in place. They averaged “… 65 conversions (or leads) per week.”
For the second part of the test, forced registration was removed. This resulted in “… only 5 conversions.”
This is a bit confusing because the conversion of a lead into a prospect happens as a result of follow-up, not lead generation. Breaking it down, it appears that the forced registration site generated 65 leads, while the one without that feature generated five leads.
It would be interesting to learn how many of the 65 people who registered actually used their real name and email address, whereas we can be pretty sure that the five who weren’t forced to register willingly gave up their contact information.
Rick Swann, at bloodhoundrealty.com, makes an excellent point. “You cannot measure the results you might have achieved with the people you chased away [with forced registration].
Obviously, the jury is still out on this lead capture technique. Just reading comments sections on both agent and consumer websites verifies that there are two camps and lots of pros and cons.
Remember, though, that the fortune is in the follow-up. Sixty-five leads per week mean nothing if there isn’t effective and consistent follow-up.
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