There’s a growing amount of research that shows people are tired of being advertised to. Today, more real estate agents are shifting their outreach from traditional outbound marketing like ads and direct mail to inbound marketing strategies like content marketing. One of the keys to successful inbound marketing is a strong lead nurturing process.
Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with a prospect with the goal of moving them through the sales funnel and turning them into a client. The majority of people who visit your website or blog aren’t ready to enter the real estate market. Lead nurturing helps provide potential clients with the information and support they need to buy or sell a home.
Despite its benefits, most businesses aren’t confident in their lead nurturing process. Nearly 60% of businesses included in Demand Gen’s 2019 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Survey gave their lead nurturing process a failing grade.
Savvy real estate agents know the importance of investing in lead nurturing. Here are a few strategies to help focus your approach and win more clients.
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Take a multi-channel approach
Lead nurturing used to be as simple as setting up an automated drip email campaign and sending it out to your list. Not so much now. Email is still important, but you also need to be taking advantage of a combination of marketing channels to get results.
A well-rounded nurturing plan leverages automated marketing, email marketing, direct sales outreach, social media and paid retargeting, which uses web cookies to follow those who visit your website on the web and serve them ads.
The bright side? Marketing automation platforms make it easier than ever to launch and manage a multi-channel nurturing strategy, even as a solo real estate agent. Examples of marketing automation platforms include Marketo, ActiveCampaign and Hubspot.
Strive for multiple touches
According to Realtor.com, the average homebuyer will look at roughly 10 homes over 10 weeks before finding the home they want. And those are individuals who have already decided to jump into the market. The lead time for prospects is often longer. Salesforce estimates it takes at least six to eight touches to convert someone who is just learning about your services into a client. Take a systemized approach to outreach.
Mindy Jones Nevarez, owner of The Amy Jones Group in Gilbert, Arizona, said consistent outreach with prospects and existing clients is crucial. Nevarez said her agency utilizes a “36-point touch process” throughout the year, reaching out through email marketing, social media and direct sales calls.
Her team typically shares a piece of useful content at each touchpoint. Examples include original blog posts, curated articles, market updates, a weekend events email newsletter and a monthly “What’s Up Southeast Valley?” newsletter. They also aim for two events a year and a quarterly check-in call to see if existing clients have real estate needs the agency can help with.
It’s important some of your touchpoints are less business and more personal, done by phone call, text, Facebook or handwritten card, Nevarez added.
“See that [a prospect or client] posted that their dog passed away? Comment on their post and then send them a card. It can be that easy if it is systematized. And don’t—I repeat, don’t—skip the phone call,” she said.
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Utilize targeted content
Sales work centers on getting to know your client and their needs. The same goes for developing a lead nurturing process. The more targeted you make your nurturing campaigns, the more likely you are to see success.
The first step in creating targeted content is developing client personas. Who are your ideal clients? Take time to consider who those folks are. Write out descriptions that you can reference when planning blog posts, eBooks, guides and other content.
Consider the following questions:
- Who are they? Include key demographics, like age, gender and level of education.
- What is their job?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they value most?
- What are their goals?
- What are the reasons they might not pick you as their real estate agent?
In addition, read Hubspot’s ideas for 20 questions to ask when creating client personas.
The next step is making sure you have the tools and processes in place to support segmented campaigns over email and other channels. Utilize an automated marketing software (we use ActiveCampaign) to identify, segment and target prospects based on their interests, goals and objectives.
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Be quick to follow-up
Too many real estate agents invest time and money in the lead nurturing process only to fall short on the most critical piece: the follow-up. Automated nurture campaigns are great at helping you reach more prospects, but a well-time phone call or email is still the most effective way to convert interested leads into home sales.
Make sure your automated nurture campaigns align with your sales process. Have an action plan and timeline for quickly reaching out to prospects who take specific actions, like visiting your website, reading a blog post or attending a webinar.
Think of prospect follow-up as the supercharged alternative to cold calling. A cold call is a shot in the dark. You have little idea whether the person you’re contacting knows who you are or even needs real estate services.
Compare that with reaching out to a prospect who is moving through your lead nurturing process. They’re already familiar with your brand. You’ve been able to gather some basic info on them, for example, where they work. Plus you know the number of times they’ve visited your website or what blog posts appeal to them. You’re better prepared, and, as a result, can focus on building the relationship and earning clients.
Leverage lead scoring
Your time is valuable as a real estate agent. Use lead scoring to make sure you’re targeting leads who have the most potential to convert to clients. Lead scoring assigns a numerical value to specific behaviors you want to track as the prospect interacts with your content. The further along the sales funnel the prospect moves, the higher their score. Leads with higher scores are more likely to be interested in your real estate services.
You can set up an automated scoring system using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform like Propertybase, LionDesk or Follow Up Boss. Track actions that help you understand where the prospect is in their client journey. Examples include:
- Attendance at an event or webinar
- Visits to your website
- Clicking on a link in your email newsletter
Other factors to consider tracking include location and whether the lead is a first-time or experienced buyer or seller. The goal is to set up a system for figuring out who will be most receptive to your sales pitch.
Each of these lead nurturing tactics is effective at converting prospects into clients. Experiment with the ones that make the most sense for your business, track the results and fine-tune a strategy that works for you.