Like everything you use in your business, your real estate website needs to serve a purpose. If it’s not making you money, what’s the point?
Well, there are plenty of reasons to have a real estate website: building trust, creating value, showing your professionalism. But sometimes those reasons just aren’t enough. What you need is a website that generates business – leads.
How you feel about whether something is a good lead or a bad lead is a little personal. Sometimes an email address and the knowledge that sometime in the future, they’ll buy or sell is enough, and sometimes you want their name, phone number, email address, their blood type, and a guarantee they’re going to be ready to close in 90 days.
Regardless of the kind of lead you want, let’s discuss how to get them from your website.
Use a Call to Action in Every Blog Post
At the end of every piece of content you add to your website – a blog post of 500 words or a five minute video – give your reader something to do, known as a call to action (CTA). For lead generation, you want them to do one of two things:
- Give up their contact information
- Share your content with their friends on social media
The first one may sound obvious, but what about the second one? Their friends are new eyes on your website and more potential leads.
You can ask for comments or give them something to download for free, but how does any of that give you contact information (a lead!) or bring new people to your site (potential leads!)? It doesn’t. Choose your CTA wisely with a plan to generate leads.
Include Social Media Share Buttons
Remember two seconds ago when I said a good CTA was asking people to share your content on social media? Make it easy for them and add social share buttons. This way you don’t always have to ask for the share.
You can add them at the bottom of the content, on the side, or at the top (although that’s not a style I’d recommend). Don’t make people work hard to share your content because unless they love you more than life itself (like your mom or spouse), they’re not going to jump through hoops for you. Not yet anyway.
Reconsider Asking People to Register
If you’re sharing sold data and other statistics, you may have to require registration for people to access that information. That’s not what I mean; that’s something different.
What I’m talking about is asking people to register before they read a blog post or search for an active listing. It’s going to net you two things:
- Fake email addresses (bad leads!)
- People exiting your website (no leads!)
As a current happy homeowner who was once on the search for a home to buy, I moved on whenever I came across websites that required my email before I performed a search of current, active listings. I knew I could find another website in less than 30 seconds who wouldn’t ask for my information before I was ready to give it – so I did. Remember, you need to earn your lead’s contact information.
Offer Good Content
How do you earn someone’s email address?
Give them good information. Make it easy to read or watch and be consistent. High quality blog posts take time and effort – fluff with poor grammar does not. Fluff does not build rapport, trust, value, or authenticity with a stranger who happened across your website after a random Google search.
Everybody on the planet wants us to give up our email addresses so they can sell us something – jeans, protein powder, books, and yes, of course, real estate. When you manage to capture someone’s attention, teach them something new, make them feel something, and then ask for their contact information, you have a much better chance of getting it and having a higher quality lead. High quality content can do that; fluff cannot.
I hesitate to tell you to offer freebies on your website in exchange for email addresses. Not because they’re a bad idea (they aren’t) but because the value of those freebies diminishes as more people (across all industries) use freebies to build their lists. If you go this route, make it unique, put some time into it, and don’t hand over a 500 word “white paper” no different from 100 other blog posts on the same topic.
Give something of real value away for free. You’ll have to do your homework on this one, but given enough time, combined with a good website and great content, free can generate leads:
- Checklists for getting a home ready to sell or getting ready to buy – a detailed one, better than anything available with one Google search
- Lists of top companies in your area (title companies, insurance agents, lenders) – not a recommendation, but a resource tool.
- More detailed market stats reports than what you include on your website
If you constantly consider the value of a freebie, you’ll find the thing that works for your business and generates the most leads.
Putting up a website isn’t going to generate any leads. Everyone does that. You’re going to have to do something to stand out from the crowd. In a world of billions of websites, millions of which seem devoted to real estate, lead generation requires time, effort, and a willingness to show your value.