Listings have always been the key to a successful real estate practice.
The mainstay for listing lead generation has for the most part been, calling for sale by owners, expired listings. Of course marketing to your center of influence or farming has been effective.
A lot of things have disappeared during the great recession, for two reasons, one a money was tight and two a lot of would be sellers simply could not sell.
Now the market has turned around and things are different, people are now are becoming able to sell.
There are a series of new twist on seller lead capture sites that have been popping up.
I will go through the different categories, not all solutions offer all things and I will break it down in the following categories.
Lead Follow Up
The technology, starts with a lead capture site. That is simply a site that makes an offer in order to capture the prospective leads info. For example, if you want a value, you need to complete the registration.
Different solutions use different results for the consumer. Some use APIs to pull info from the giant value sites, I don't recommend that level of inaccuracy. Some require the agent to do a CMA and send it to the prospect. If it is an area specific site, you can simply have a link to a pdf of the recent sales, simply update the pdf
I've seen them as simple as a Google Doc Form, to sophisticated APIs.
API stands for program application interface. This is code that allows one program talk to another.
Some sites use Google’s mapping API along with their auto suggestions when typing in an address. This creates the illusion of a large local database. This solution is key for when a consumer enters an address it will then show the property on a Google Map with a satellite image of the property.
The even more sophisticated will some form of third party data to populate public information about the property, that the consumer can confirm or change.
So a consumer goes along and starts entering their address, they get auto suggestions that are for that area, then once completed, they then see the house on a map and perhaps info about the property, then the next step is to enter their contact info. The cool part is, even if they only complete step one, you have the address.
There is another technology called a pURL which means personal URL. The way a pURL works is, The idea behind this method is a personal and unique URL is created and assigned to a mailing address. It would look like this
|101 Main St YourTown, USA|
|ABC.com/abc-124||102 Main St YourTown, USA|
|ABC.com/abc-125||103 Main St YourTown, USA|
So what happens is you can create a direct mail campaign and assign a pURL to an address, make an offer to go to a site and download a FREE eBook, for example, the 3 Most Important things You Need To KNow ABout Selling Your Home In Today’s Market. They do not have to enter any contact info, the pURL will identify the address.
So what is remarketing. This is a Google solution that when someone visits your site you can continue to market to them as they travel around the web. Have you ever shopped for something and then noticed ads for it everywhere you went? That is remarketing. More in the lead follow up section.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click
Pay per click or PPC. The main place for PPC is Google. Write Google a check and you will have site traffic. There are literally whole books and series of books written on this topic. It is the meat and potatoes of Google’s revenue.
In short you create an ad for Google search results and when someone clicks you are charged. The skill is to get many low cost keyword ads vs a small amount of the more expensive ones. For example Large Metro Name Real Estate will be considerably more expensive than Hillbilly Acres Homes for Sale. The trade is, there will a ton more traffic for the Large Metro name then the subdivision name. So you need to have many smaller keywords as there will be fewer searches.
Of course PPC is available on Bing, Yahoo, Facebook and other networks. Of course Google being the 800 pound gorilla.
The key to a direct mail campaign is to find an area that has a high turnover ratio, typically a starter range. Ideally you can find something that has 10% or more. Divide the number of one year of solds by the total number of homes.
Using a bulk mail permit, you can typically mail to your SOI for .274 cents
The idea is to use an unbranded series of mailers to drive traffic to your site. I call this the flush mailer.
Direct mail has come along way. It has become simple and fairly inexpensive. There is a mailing solution that the Post Office has rolled out called EDDM which is short for Every Door Direct Mailing.
It’s a pretty simple idea. In the past to get low rates on bulk mail you had to jump through many and I mean many government type hoops. First you had to acquire a list, then you had to pay to get the list certified for a bunch of criteria. It had to be sorted in the mail carrier’s walking sequence. Then you had to create what is called an intelligent bar code, with all kinds of info in it, such as the full address, the carrier route, the delivery point validation code, the zip, then the 9 digit zip and more. The list has to recertified every 90 days. You have to have a permit that cost $200 upfront and $200 per year. Sometimes you have to pay at one post office and carry it to another post office to get the full discounts.
So what EDDM does, is simply all that. You go to the post office’s site choose a carrier route, the site will tell you how many homes are there, you give the post office that amount and pay .16 cents per unit. No addresses.
Here are some basics on the EDDM criteria
You must use this indicia
Instead of a name and address, you print
Local Postal Customer
You take it to the destination post office. Meaning the post office that delivers to the carrier route. That cost is 16 cents per unit
There is no permit required for this.
Door knocking or simply door hangers is another solution similar to direct mail except you are the carrier.
You can walk and talk to people, remember real estate is a contact sport. If you want to sell more house you have to talk to more people.
You can hire kids to canvas a area with door hangers.
We’re talking craigslist or more localized version of an online classifieds site. There are other national players, Backpage is one. I find these work better for advertising listings for sale. I think local rags might work, little box ads that are specific to a community.
Sometimes called Ugly Yellow Signs, don't kid yourself they work. Read this article. They're fairly inexpensive and very targeted.
This can be more expensive than most but can be very effective. How many ads do you hear for Home Value Sites. Also you can target a demographic, by age, income levels…
Lead Follow Up
This is where the rubber meets the road, or separates the minors from the majors, the amateurs from the pros… You get the picture. Lead generation is easy, lead follow is where the money’s at.
Are you expecting someone to go to your site, fill in a form, you send them an auto reply and they email you back to come list their home?
The beauty of these systems is you are identifying potential seller’s long before they go on the market. Huh? Yep! Why is that good?
Because the sooner you identify that, the less competition you have, you get to brand them for long before the rest are aware. That is awesome.
Now because these leads can far from ready to do business, they require a different type of follow up program.
It is recommended that the first thing you give a potential seller is a pre-sale package, something that is for them and not about you Per se. A home seller’s manual, info on pricing, staging, remodeling ROI, a pre-sale inspection… Of course your contact info will be there, but this piece is about them, remember there is time.
Then you want to start a consistent campaign. You should be touching these seller leads a minimum of twice a month. I suggest a just sold campaign, if you have not sold any listings in the area, use a listing that has sold with the phrase, another home in our area has sold. I also suggest a postcard campaign that is an excerpt of the home seller’s manual, referencing a link to a copy of the book.
The cost to do two mailers a month is approximately $18 per year. Don’t forget we are talking about high probability people.
This works best for Farming an area. For the example you are Farming a large Subdivision called Hillbilly Acres. Someone visits your Lead Capture Site, they complete all the steps including giving you all their contact info. So now when they visit places that have the Google Network, you can display an ad that promotes you as the Hillbilly Acres Real Estate Expert.
This type of remarketing combined with the just sold and helpful hints campaign is the most effective.
I realize that I have not mentioned email yet. The reason is twofold. One because you don’t get all the email addresses, you need something that works for everyone. If you have their address you can use direct mail. The second reason is email is getting more and more difficult to get through, then hopefully opened, then hopefully read. If you do have their email by all means, use it, but I recommend you use it to enhance the direct mail.