Here's an Internet marketing observation that may shock you. The average real estate website has more than enough traffic to support the real estate agent's business goals -- but he or she is simply not capitalizing on it.
I've worked with many real estate clients who swore they did not have enough website traffic, based on the fact that they were getting very few leads from their website. After analyzing their website logs or analytics program, I would discover that they had steady streams of web traffic, day after day.
In other words, these folks wrongfully assumed that web traffic equals web leads. This is not the case at all. Traffic equals traffic. You don't generate leads until you put an effective lead generation plan in place. See the mathematical equations below.
- False: Web traffic = web leads
- True: Web traffic + lead generation = web leads
I would say website lead generation is the most important aspect of real estate marketing online. After all, you could own three different websites, blog twice a day, and get 2,000 visitors per week. But without a lead generation plan, all that activity and traffic will do you little good.
To illustrate this point further, I've created a few "laws" of online marketing, based on my own experiences over the years. Apply these laws to your online marketing efforts, and you're bound to generate more leads and more business for your efforts.
Online Marketing Law #1 - Traffic is only an opportunity.
My first law of real estate marketing online states that website traffic is only that ... traffic. Until something is imposed upon it, traffic will remain traffic. In order for traffic to be of value, it must be converted into something else. Hence the term, "website conversions."
Let's imagine you have a lemonade stand beside a busy highway. But your stand is located on a narrow shoulder of the road where there's not enough room for cars to pull over. All day long, cars whiz by you at 45 miles per hour, but nobody stops. You have an endless supply of traffic, but your lemonade stand is a failure because nobody stops. The traffic is right there in front of you, but it might as well be a million miles away.
Opportunity only favors those who capitalize on it.
Now let's get back to real estate marketing online. If your website has plenty of traffic but no form of lead generation, then most of your traffic will pass right by ... like those cars passing the lemonade stand.
So before you fall into the typical trap of obsessing over your website traffic levels, ask yourself this: "What am I doing to capitalize on the traffic I already have? How am I actively converting traffic into leads, and leads into clients?"
Online Marketing Law #2 - Value and response are directly proportional.
In the previous "law," we talked about the importance of a lead generation program. But equally important is the value behind that lead generation program. Your website visitors will remain anonymous until you present something useful and valuable in exchange for their action.
Keep in mind that "value" does not have to mean costly. Property listing updates can be very valuable to home shoppers, and many will sign up to get them. But they don't necessarily cost you anything to produce. In this case, value is conveyed through timely information that's beneficial to the audience (home buyers).
That's just one of many ways to add value to your offer. Whatever path you choose, remember this ... response goes up in proportion to the value of your offer. On the contrary, response goes down with a weaker offer.
Online Marketing Law #3 - Attrition is your perpetual enemy.
In your online real estate marketing program, attrition follows you every step of the way. Attrition refers to people who "drop off" along your marketing process, somewhere between first contact and client acquisition.
Usually, there are several attrition points in any real estate marketing process. The good news is, each point of attrition can be improved - that is, you can minimize the number of losses at each step of the marketing path.
Here are some examples of online attrition points, and what you can do to reduce them.
- Attrition Point #1 - A lot of highly-qualified prospective clients may never even find your website or blog. But you can counter this by focusing on online PR and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Attrition Point #2 - Of those people who do find your website, many will leave if they don't find anything of value. But you can counter this by constantly adding useful content and resources to your website.
- Attrition Point #3 - Of those people who (A) find your website and (B) find it useful, some will leave without making contact with you in any way. But you can counter this by using lead-generation techniques on all key pages of your website.
From this brief sample, you can see how attrition shadows all aspects of your online real estate marketing program. On the positive side, you can also see that for every point of attrition, there are things you can do to increase the number of people who continue along in the process.
Online Marketing Law #4 - Successful techniques are not successful for everyone.
A real estate marketing tactic that works wonderfully for somebody else may not work for you. On the other hand, it may work even better for you than it did for the other person.
With any real estate marketing strategy, you have a lot of variables that affect your results. These include the makeup of your audience, the timing, and the way you execute the strategy. You never know what will or won't work for you until you try it. So don't let anyone tell you, "That didn't work for me, so don't waste your time."
There is experimentation, and then there's speculation. Only the former will reveal the truth.
Online Marketing Law #5 - Technology does not change psychology.
Technically speaking, the Internet is a dynamic, ever-changing environment. But while the way we communicate online may change, the communication itself stays the same.
Regardless of how you talk to people, they are still people -- and they are still motivated by the same things as before. You just have more ways to communicate with them than before. Sure, you have to adjust your message delivery to account for new technologies, but the message itself does not have to change.
Whether you communicate with people through email, a blog, a podcast or an old-fashioned sales letter, the following marketing fundamentals still apply:
- People want what's best for them ... online and off
- People will respond to well-presented offer of value ... online and off
- People will ignore a weak message with no value ... online and off
Technology changes the way marketers communicate with consumers. But it does not change the fundamental psychology that leads consumers to take action.
Remember, website traffic is only website traffic until you act upon it. To get those website visitors to act in some way, you need to create a lead-generation program based on value and incentives. If you'd like some help getting started, refer to the website listed below. Good luck with your online real estate marketing!
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