Now, perhaps more than ever, our internet strategies are key to helping us survive and thrive in shifted markets. Today’s article focuses on the sixth tactic of SHIFT – catching people in your web through internet lead conversion. This strategy sits at the intersection of expense management and lead generation, forcing you to re-margin your business and cut expenses on anything that isn’t leading you to real financial results. Once again, it becomes clear that Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, SHIFT, remains both an appropriate and valuable tool for tackling these uncertain times.
Making Connections Online in a Shifted Market
First and most simply, this SHIFT tactic reminds us that our online presence is essential. How we present ourselves online enables us to “offer [consumers] real estate information in exchange for their contact information – a win-win information swap.”
Remember, a mutual exchange of information is the foundation of our business, both online and in person. And, in spite of the current market conditions, we can still feed our businesses with quality information now that can benefit our sales down the road.
A Three-Step Approach to Internet Lead Generation
Through extensive research, Papasan and Keller found that the most successful agents in the industry implement a simple, three-step approach to internet lead generation. The process includes the following: a digital presence, lead generating for traffic, and converting those leads for appointments.
Step 1. Creating and maintaining a digital presence
As Keller shares, “A successful website doesn’t have to do a lot, but it must do a few things really well. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, require technical expertise on your part, or occupy much of your time.” There are numerous resources available to you. For KW agents, Command, which allows you to create your own personal website with dynamic widgets, Neighborhood Snapshot pages with market information that can be generated for each client, and custom landing pages to drive leads to your business. Regardless of how you go about creating your site, it must have a professional, up-to-date look that positions your brand as credible in addition to:
- Points of contact
- A compelling domain name
- Property search
- Instant notifications
- Saved search
- Key content: community and neighborhood information (e.g., schools), market statistics
- Home value request
Step 2. Lead generating for traffic
Once your website meets the basic requirements, it’s time to push people to it. Strategies for increasing traffic include:
- Securing local domain names that matter to your market and pointing them back to your site. You may be able to compete with realestate.com and yoursubdivision.com. Lean into neighborhoods, street names, local activities, and amenities to “niche your way to spectacular success,” says Keller.
- Thinking beyond high-tech lead generation methods. Don’t rush to search optimization, pay-per-click, and listing aggregators. First, make sure your website (and KW App information) is incorporated into ALL of your existing low-tech lead generation materials: yard signs, letterhead, business cards, fliers, direct mail, email campaigns, etc.
- Owning multiple targeted domain names or websites that redirect to your main site and consistently assessing traffic generated through analytic tools, such as Google Analytics.
- Recognizing the difference between “thin bait” and “fat bait.” Thin bait is what people expect to see, while fat bait consists of special or unexpected offerings that get them to provide their contact information – listings, virtual tours, neighborhood information, community calendars, mortgage refinancing, home staging consults, first-time home buying seminars, etc. The options are endless.
Related Reading: Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine
Step 3. Capturing, connecting, cultivating, and closing the leads
With eyes on your site, it’s time to go back to the strategies outlined in SHIFT Tactic #5: Get to the Table – Lead Conversion. While the process is the same, there are some key differences and must-haves:
- When someone sees your information on a sign or you meet in person, you are able to verbally have a conversation to help you connect, cultivate, and close. That’s not the case online. When capturing information, make sure you are offering them valuable information and services. When it comes to offering value, you will have to draw a fine line between how much you will offer before requiring them to register or provide their contact information.
- A cultivation plan must be put in place for people who provide their name and email without a phone number. Email inquiries tend to be more passive, so it’s important you respond quickly. A fast response time is CRITICAL when people provide you with their contact information online. “You should think in terms of responding in less than 24 minutes, rather than hours,” writes Keller.
As one participant on our Pivot: Shift Ahead book club adds, “Speed to lead is more important than ever. A call or a quick video thanking them, introducing yourself, and offering assistance within 2-3 minutes of notification has the best result!”
KW agents can skip the manual work and automate this process through SmartPlans.
- Finding a registration method that yields the most appointments. This can range from “up-front” registrations requiring viewers to register before accessing search and other elements of your site to “open search with drip” where visitors can search without registering, but must register to save searches or gather more value. Through Keller and Papasan’s research, the “up-front” captures more users while “open search” will capture a smaller, but more motivated group, resulting in higher appointments. Experimentation will help you decide which strategy works for you.
Be Frugal with Your Online Strategy
Finally, remember your online presence, in both good times and shifted markets, doesn’t have to be extravagant. After all, as Gary and Jay remind us in SHIFT, our internet strategy “sits at the crossroads of expense management and lead generation.” In other words, we must actively manage how much we are spending online and at the same time, we must make sure that we are capturing the people that are visiting us online and converting them into leads.
Shifted markets are ideal times to weed out unnecessary technology and online expenses that have a negative impact on our bottom line. See where you may have duplication in the technology you are using in your online strategy and cut out the extra.