For most Real Estate professionals the business climate has changed
dramatically. Whereas for several years, simple presence in the field
was a license to be successful and earn a significant living, today a
much better strategy needs to be utilized, just to stay on the playing
In an e-commerce environment the focus or goal of a website is
encouraging the site visitor to buy something. Since that approach is
not likely to work for real estate transactions, the most critical
objective is to capture the contact information from a visitor so that a
pipeline of prospects can be developed. While the gist of this article
is about utilizing the Internet to help locate qualified prospects
(buyers or sellers), I think it’s also important to mention that
leads arising from the web will still need to be worked effectively.
Building a pipeline begins with attaining both a phone number and
an e-mail address from someone. If you have a traditional
program in place, then a street address is vital as well. While direct
mail can still be of value, e-mails can be powerful, better targeted and
less expensive. For example, by grouping your prospect base into
categories (like single family vs. condo buyers or buyers vs. sellers),
you can send out e-mails that are tightly aligned with someone’s
interests. You will experience a much better response rate by segmenting
in this manner.
Here are a few more ideas to boost the effectiveness of your
website / online lead generation efforts.
Take advantage of the two main opportunities on Search Engines:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing. SEO, also
know as Organic or Natural Search is the process by which a site is
designed to be aligned with the algorithms of the engines. Key
ingredients include robust content, search engine friendly architecture
and effective linking strategies. Each major search engine has a Paid
component to their search results as well. This involves paying for site
visitors on a “per click” basis. There are a series of
variable that need to be considered when starting a campaign. These
include keyword selection, geography (where do you want your listing to
show up), bid strategy (how aggressive do you want to be? What is your
Keep the content on your site fresh, accurate and robust. For
example, it’s a big turn-off to arrive at a site with inaccurate
information or links that don’t work. Create a compelling reason
for someone to search for properties on your site, rather that just
going to realtor.com.
Honor channel preference–By that I mean make it as easy for
someone to contact you via e-mail as by telephone. Prompt follow-up is
also critical. Make sure you get back to them before they have a chance
to reach out to a competitor. And as already mentioned, get complete
information from each person so that you can maintain multiple contact
points with them.
Utilize a contact management program. There are a number of these
programs on the market today that will allow you to keep in close
contact with those who warrant it, schedule others for contact later on,
and also parse the database for mailings (as described above).
Study competitor sites. Although most sites have similar
attributes, especially ones that are template driven, others are unique
with varying degrees of professionalism, While a template site is okay,
it has limitations from both a design standpoint and from a Search
Engine Optimization perspective. Many realtors have sites through the
companies that they are representing (Prudential, Century 2 l, etc.) and
also have another site that allows greater flexibility and opportunity
REALLY IMPORTANT–If you send an e-mail to your database and you do
it in one bulk e-mail, make sure that you Blind CC all of the
recipients. I received an email recently from the developer of a new
community. The e-mail was sent to 200 + individuals who had requested to
be on the mailing list.
The person who sent it out didn’t Blind CC everyone, and the
entire list saw each other’s names. Besides the negative
credibility impact for the developer, it was likely a bonanza for the
handful of other realtors in town who were on the list themselves.
There is no question that this is a challenging time for most
people associated with the real estate industry, including homeowners
who are trying to sell their properties.
The factors that fueled the market on the way up, along with the
ones driving the downturn are out of the control of any individual.
What remains in your control is the lead generation and follow-up
Hard work, strong organizational skills and a willingness to
embrace e-mail / the internet, are important ingredients to attaining
impressive results in a tougher marketplace.
BY ANDREW WETZLER PRESIDENT, MORE VISIBILITY