Roughly 96% of the people who visit your website aren’t ready to buy or sell a home. Most are still in information gathering mode and perched firmly on the fence when it comes to jumping into the market. How do you nudge the relationship forward?
This is where lead nurturing is essential. Lead nurturing is the process of maintaining relationships with real estate prospects from the moment they first interact with your brand to closing. That process could take months, but persistence can yield solid returns. Nearly half of businesses surveyed by Ascend2 say their leads require “long cycle” nurturing with many points of contact before making a sale.
In real estate, a typical homebuyer spends several days getting pre-approved for a loan, roughly 10 weeks searching for a home, and 30 to 45 days waiting for their deal to close. That doesn’t count all the time she spent weighing the decision to purchase a home. Selling real estate takes time. Lead nurturing helps you maximize that time.
Let’s dig into what lead nurturing is and what kinds of lead nurturing campaigns successful real estate agents use to convert leads into happy clients.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of starting and building relationships with prospects throughout the sales funnel. Nurturing keeps potential clients engaged with your brand by sharing useful information with them, providing educational resources and gradually building awareness about the real estate services you offer. The goal of lead nurturing is to be the first real estate agent your prospect thinks of when she’s ready to buy.
What is a lead nurturing campaign?
Leads don’t nurture themselves. Like most relationship building, converting a prospect into a client requires consistent and meaningful outreach. A lead nurturing campaign is a series of marketing messages sent to leads over a specific period of time. Your campaign can be fully automated, semi-automated or manual, but, again, the goal is consistent outreach.
Today, when we talk about lead nurturing campaigns, we’re usually talking about email marketing. Think of an email nurturing campaign as the digital equivalent to follow-up calls and mailers.
Here is an overview of the types of lead nurturing campaigns successful real estate agents use to generate sales.
Whether they’re sent weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, email newsletters are an effective way to reach leads on a regular basis without launching into your sales pitch. The best email newsletters have a personal touch and seek to educate, sharing articles, videos, guides and other resources potential clients might find helpful.
Targeted email marketing
The days of generic marketing email blasts are long gone. Personalized marketing, also known as individualized or one-to-one marketing, uses a combination of data and old-fashioned relationship building to deliver the content that will be most useful to clients. For example, an emailed video that greets a new prospect by name has more punch than a boilerplate welcome email. Lean on your analytics and data management tools to feed useful client data into your CRM and guide personalized marketing efforts.
Email drip campaigns
A drip campaign is a series of marketing emails that are sent out automatically on a schedule. That schedule can be based on a timeline or linked to specific user actions. For example, you could send a welcome email as soon as someone signs up for your email list, another two days later and a third the following week. The goal is to provide clients with the right info at the right time.
Before email there were sales calls. Sales calls are the OG nurturing campaign. Picking up the phone and making a call still holds a lot of power. The key is making sure your prospect is ready for a conversation. Cold calling just isn’t what it used to be. Target your phone outreach to hot leads and make sure you go in with a plan. Check out Hubspot’s tips for better sales calls.
Scratch what we said about sales calls being the OG nurturing campaign. Nurturing campaigns via mail have been around for far longer and still hold sway in the real estate industry. As with sales calls, be strategic about the time (and money) spent on direct mail campaigns. For example, can you target mailboxes in a particular ZIP code or neighborhood where a large share of your leads are generated?
Starting a blog is a creative way to nurture leads while leveraging the knowledge and expertise you have as a real estate agent. A blog gives potential leads another way to interact with your brand. It also positions you as a source for local real estate expertise. To be sure, there are a lot of real estate blogs out there. It’s important to think about the unique value you bring to the table when starting a blog. For example, write posts about market trends in a specific neighborhood in your area or highlight learnings from the deals you’ve worked on.
Social media marketing
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Each platform presents a unique opportunity to share information with your audience and nurture leads. Be sure to reuse and repost blog content on social media. It saves you time and makes sure you’re maximizing your content marketing efforts. In addition to posting original content, share and reshare relevant content from third-party sources. Social media posts are less targeted than email, but the case for posting on a consistent schedule is similar to the one behind email drip campaigns. You want to serve people the right info at the right time.
Digital ads or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads can be an effective way to generate new leads or remind warm leads of the services you provide. Like direct mail, it’s important to be targeted in your approach and measure results, otherwise you could wind up spending more than you intended. Beware of digital ad fatigue. Create multiple ads and make sure to update ads on a regular basis to incorporate fresh color, new imagery and a different call-to-action.
Picking an approach
There are a range of lead nurturing campaign strategies to choose from. Use existing client data to understand who your prospects are, what problems they face and where they are most likely to interact with your brand (and your solutions) online. As with anything in business, be sure to diversify your approach. Experiment with multiple types of lead nurturing campaigns and measure the results to see what works best for you and your clients.