According to Jeremy Smith, one of the industry thought leaders in conversion rate optimization, “Every aspect of marketing is entirely useless unless it produces conversions.” It sounds harsh at first, but like many hard truths, it becomes freeing the more you think about it.
Building your client base can be a lot of work and most real estate agents hit a lot of dead ends. It's easy to respond to those dead ends by sending out more material, hoping to make a connection, but that's likely to result in more dead ends.
So what do you do? You don't want to stop reaching out to your prospects, but you also don't want to waste money chasing someone who's never going to convert. That's the definition of useless.
The answer, believe it or not, lies in simple common sense, combined with some strategically applied data.
1. Keep what's working; cut what isn't.
What are you spending your ad budget on? Are all those channels converting? Time to find out. For every paid ad channel, divide the number of conversions by the number of interactions.
If you see something that's clearly costing more than it's bringing in, get rid of it. That way you can spend that money on something that works better.
2. Give 'em what they want, when they want it.
Ever heard of drip marketing? The name sounds uninspiring, but it's one of the best ways of marketing efficiently.
The concept is simple. You create a sequence of messages to send out to your prospects, then you schedule them to “drip” out to your prospects at particular intervals.
If you can, develop separate drip campaigns for different types of customers. A first-time buyer who's just starting to research the market won't need the same kind of content as an investor, just like a family seller won't want the same services as a high-end luxury homeowner looking to relocate.
This applies to timing and frequency as well as content. Don't bother sending your weekly newsletter to someone who's only contacted you once. For that category of prospect, occasional re-engagement articles should suffice.
3. Listen more than you talk.
Want to be known for your great customer service? Stop talking about what you can do for people and start asking them what they want.
Keep your questions open-ended. Instead of questions with yes or no answers, try ones that will get them talking.
- "How do you picture working with an agent?"
- "What does your housing budget look like?"
- "What has your process been like so far?"
Ask follow-up questions if need be, but mostly let them have the floor. Soon you'll be known as the agent who's a great listener and is really focused on the customer.
4. Get face time with prospects.
The real estate industry is all about relationships. It's harder to get people to sit down with you if they've only encountered you via the internet, so take advantage of all the face-to-face opportunities you can get.
When you host an open house, who do you target? If you're only marketing to serious buyers, you're missing out on the chance to meet early-stage buyers and sellers in your target market.
Advertise your open houses as broadly as you can, then connect with every person who walks in the door. Use that house as a conversation piece, find out where each visitor is in the buying or selling journey, and collect information from as many as possible.
You now have dozens of prospects whose interests you know.
What's your relationship with your target community? Are you involved, getting your face and your name out there as someone who cares? Or do people only see you when you need more business?
You get more clients when the community knows you. Your schedule may not let you volunteer somewhere every week, but can you manage it every month? Can you attend a local fundraiser or sponsor a sports team?
Worst case scenario, you'll build your reputation as an involved member of the community. Best case scenario, you'll be working side by side with someone who's getting ready to buy or sell.
A Final Word
Despite the many online tools and resources out there, most buyers still go through an agent – 87 percent, in fact, compared to just 69 percent in the early 2000s. The percentage of sellers who need agents is higher still, at 91 percent.
They're out there looking. They need you. Converting them is really just about knowing what they need and giving it to them at the right time.
So what are you waiting for? Time to get going. If you’re looking for more marketing tips for agents, check out our blog.