Third-party channel accounts can definitely generate online leads for your business. But you don’t own those channels. This means your continued existence on those platforms is up to someone else.
As a real estate professional, you need online lead accounts that you’re in control of, so you’re not at the mercy of one of these third-party sources.
This separates the agents, teams, and brokerages that are most successful moving forward—the ones that learn how to use Google and their website to their advantage. The ones who own their leads don’t have to rely on anyone else.
So, let’s jump right into Google Ads and why it’s important for your business.
Not everyone is ready to start paying for leads. And that’s okay—there are plenty of sweat equity leads to get you started in this business.
Once you are ready, Google Ad Words is one of the first you should implement into your business plan and budget. Start by making sure you have your Google Business Profile running and as many views on there as possible.
Your Google Business Profile is something you can work on for free before you start buying online leads. Putting in the work now will help you grow online leads once you start investing in them.
Start by asking consumers to upload reviews (preferably 5-star) on your behalf. Aim to get to double-digit reviews as quickly as you can. If you’re working with somebody, and they feel great about your service, ask them for a review before you even close on the property.
Other ways to optimize your Google Business Profile:
- Add photos of properties you’re working on, restaurants you’ve checked out, and other important locations for your business.
- Geo-tag those photos.
- Include your business address and business phone number (one you will consistently pick up).
- Start using Local Services Ads—or Google Screened to increase your credibility.
Once your Google Business Profile is set up, it’s time to set up Google Ads. Set up an account and start running some ads, testing different strategies to learn what works.
You can also do what many professionals (including myself) do: hire an outside marketing firm to run your Google Ads. The firm we work with directs leads back to our IDX site, which is an essential component for directing online leads to you.
An IDX site is a website that you have connected to your MLS. Many real estate CRMs offer IDX sites, including Boomtown, Sierra Interactive, and Firepoint. You can also build out a website on your own. Whatever option you pick, you need an IDX to direct Google leads to your site.
Having a site doesn’t guarantee you’ll generate online leads; you must push traffic to your site first. That’s where the following tactics come in:
- Google Ad campaigns — especially if you choose the right Ad Words
- Social media ads — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- SEO (search engine optimization) — on your website
With all three, you’ll get the best results if you’re making adjustments along the way.
You know you need a sign-up sheet to physically capture an email and phone number from everyone who comes to your open house. Think of landing pages as sign-up sheets. It’s a way to capture information from all of your online leads.
If you create a value-packed piece of content, create a landing page to collect information from those in your intended audience who sign up to receive a copy. Each person who signs up is an online lead captured by your landing page and then stored in your CRM.
For each landing page you create, be sure to:
- Showcase the exclusive offer
- Use clear and enticing graphics
- Include input fields for both email and phone number
Once a lead clicks the download button, they now have your piece of value, and you have their information.
Home Valuation Leads
While not as effective as they used to be, home valuation pages are still an impactful way to capture long-term leads.
When they first came out, it was really easy. Everyone was clicking “What’s the value of my home?” and dropping their email and phone number. This was happening at scale. Not as many people click on them now.
You can do this through a stand-alone home evaluation page or a home valuation through your IDX website, like one mentioned earlier.
Our job as agents is to recognize that these reports can be way off. This is what Zillow did to build their business with Zestimates.
As agents, we can follow up with home valuation leads and say, “Thanks for downloading that automated valuation report from my website. I’ve seen a lot of these that are completely off the mark. I hope it gave you some insight into your home’s value, but I’d love to ask you a couple questions about your home—some of the features, including any upgrades you’ve made, that this report would not have taken into account. And if you’d like a detailed report, I’m happy to provide you with a free market analysis. We can set up an appointment and do a walk-through for 15 minutes or less and give you a very detailed report of exactly what your home would sell for in today’s market.”
This is an opportunity to follow up and create a deeper relationship with that client. That’s what every lead is: an opportunity to build a relationship.
A lot of times, people are just interested in the value of their home. But they’re interested because they will put their house on the market in a year (or two or three) when they’re retiring, or whatever that next big life move is.
So, get their contact information, add value to their process, keep in touch with them, and you will be the agent of choice when they sell their house.
As with every type of lead, online leads require consistent follow-up. Be sure to stay organized and have a plan to convert leads into clients.