Written by Rhett M. Struve
Keller Williams Premier Realty
Copyright © 2017
5 Reasons Why Traditional Lead Generation Will Become Obsolete
When I embarked on my career in real estate, I was attracted to Keller Williams for their renowned training opportunities. They have multiple group training sessions every week, great mentorships, and even individualized instruction for people in the initial stages of their career. The educational services provided by this franchise are phenomenal, yet online lead generation was only discussed at a level of basic comprehension. Every agent can develop a great looking website in little to no time at all, however the majority of these sites lack application and just simply exist. After attempting both conventional and modern lead generation methods, this is what I have learned.
Commission-based sales are not a great career path for individuals who are sensitive by nature. Rejection is inevitable, and it occurs at a rate so frequent that success usually equates to a fraction of a percent. Traditional lead generation is a numbers game that is, for the most part, unsystematic and typically lacking individuality. Major sales companies are still advocates for conventional sales techniques, but they are literally generations old. Great interpersonal skills will forever remain a defining characteristic of successful salespeople. However, the methods that these massive corporations currently utilize are outdated and inefficient.
The Internet has revolutionized business practices and nearly every profession has adapted, yet salespeople continue to endlessly knock doors and cold call in order to get clients. The world’s admiration for a great personality has begun to taper, and this is unfortunate. However, for those salespeople who are willing to educate themselves and adapt, it is like hitting the proverbial jackpot.
Practicality Over Personality
The world has become enamored with technological advancements, which has consequentially diminished the population’s desire for face-to-face interactions. The human race has become less personable and a large portion of the populace shudders at the thought of confrontational situations. This concept places salespeople in an awkward position because their livelihood is dependent upon introducing themselves to new people and networking.
Society has gradually lost its tolerance for salespeople randomly showing up at their homes or calling them from an unknown number. People do not wish to be heckled by salespeople spewing ‘the market has never been hotter’ scripts. If someone wanted to know whether or not it is currently a good time to buy or sell a property, they would simply take out their smart phone. Conventional sales techniques have a tendency to cause people to put their guard up. This is usually due to the fact that many sales demonstrations are immediately identifiable and are generally acknowledged as being less than candid. Therefore, a logical marketing plan may be to develop a strategy that was in absence of confrontation and to simultaneously allow for potential clients to gravitate towards your business.
The Internet provides individuals with the ability to access an endless supply of information at any given time from a plethora of expert sources. Hypothetically speaking, if a person were to have questions about real estate would they call a realtor or are they going to Google it? Exactly, people will go online if they need advice and information. Now, consider how much of an advantage a company or salesperson would have over their competitors if potential customers found the answers to their industry related questions on the company’s website. Well, modern lead generation tactics can accomplish exactly that through content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).
Explanation of SEO
According to the Search Engine Journal, 75% of search engine users do not move past the first page of results. Therefore, it is imperative that salespeople develop a strategy that helps them obtain a place on the first page organically. Google does not just randomly select websites to appear on the initial results page. They utilize a methodical approach that takes hundreds of variables into consideration. The exact aspects of a website that are measured is not completely known because Google refuses to divulge this information. Consequentially, search engine optimization experts have been forced to develop their own individual theories, but there is not a general consensus among them. Although there are discrepancies among SEO experts, the majority of them will attest to the notion that some variables are more instrumental than others. Here are a few of the most commonly accepted influencers for SEO:
- Mobile Device Friendly
- Site Speed
- Number/Quality of Inbound Links
- Quality of Outbound Links
Developing a website that is properly optimized for search engines is only the beginning, a site needs informative content that is of the utmost quality. The material needs to be unique, descriptive, and on page SEO friendly. If marketed correctly, your content will be discovered and the site traffic will continuously increase. As a website progresses, it will begin to rank higher on Google, which will inevitably generate more leads.
By applying content marketing, salespeople are able to provide valuable advice to potential customers, free of charge. This is significantly more beneficial than simply offering generic services (i.e. free consultation or a CMA). These potential clients sought answers to their questions, and your website was able to provide them with the solutions. As viewers realize that you are selflessly contributing to the furthering of their understanding within a particular field, they will be more comfortable with divulging their contact information. Even throughout the early stages of a clientele relationship, in the absence of direct communication, there is a level trust developing.
The persistent research of new subject matter and current market trends will eventually allow a content marketer’s to assist their clients at a superior level than their peers. People who access a particular website will begin to view the author(s) as experts in their respected field and for all intents and purposes, this becomes factual. This is especially beneficial when one considers the notion that perhaps the best overall technique for generating leads is through the referrals of previous clients. According to Contactually, real estate agents projected that nearly half of their clients would come from referrals. By consistently displaying newly developed content to previous customers, through various online platforms, salespeople will remain fresh in their client’s minds as an area expert. When someone in their professional sphere is interested in a given industry’s services, they will be more than willing to pass the name along of a knowledgeable salesperson.
The Numbers Game
When I first inquired about developing an online real estate presence I was told, “Don’t reinvent the wheel” and that “There is not a single agent I can think of that has seen success with this.” I was flabbergasted by the idea that a website was incapable of generating leads, especially considering the fact that the Internet is the biggest ‘numbers game’ of them all. Billions of people utilize an Internet platform in some fashion every single day, and not all of them are online strictly for entertainment purposes either.
These statistics are nothing short of astounding, and they could prove to be a great indicator of what to expect moving forward. Older generations are now becoming increasingly prevalent online, even on social media. However, the technological consumption by today ‘s youth is unparalleled. Millennials have now moved into the realm of adulthood, and with that comes major life decisions. Whether it is buying their first home or leaving their parent’s insurance plans, this younger generation is looking to establish themselves and they need salespeople to assist them. Now, is there anyone more infatuated with technology than young people? This age group grew up during the early stages of the Internet and continuously synchronized their skills as computer technology progressed. Their lives are completely consumed with technology and it is safe to assume that this trend will continue for years to come.
Millennials make up 35% of homebuyers and many of them are unable to accumulate the sufficient funds for a traditional mortgage. Developing content regarding alternative loan options may help attract this age group and acquire them as clients. Here are the top five things that Millennials do not understand about home buying, it may be wise to create content that addresses these issues!
Efficiency and Expense
Modern sales tactics become even more favorable over conventional methods when efficiency is measured. With the correct approach, content marketers are able to develop a large following in a relatively narrow time frame. Upon the completion of new content, it can instantly be marketed to thousands of people. Through the use of social media management tools, such as the Marketing and Networking University Social Media Dashboard it takes less than 5 minutes to broadcast material to every social media platform. It can then be shared exponentially and reach people out of the initial sphere of influence, likely increasing the total number of followers. Now here is the best part, all of this can be done for approximately $19.75 a month. Here is a cost break down:
Average Content Marketing & SEO Costs
|Site Hosting||$10.00 a month|
|Social Media Management Tools||$9.00 a month|
|Domain Hosting||$9.00 a year|
This level of reach would be insurmountable for conventional lead generation, unless a tremendous amount of capital was accessible. Cold calling and door knocking are just as inexpensive as online lead generation, but it would be physically impossible to reach anywhere near a thousand people in a single day. The only techniques that could possibly reach such a large quantity of people would be from billboard advertising or direct marketing through the mail. But, these are by no means cheap:
Average Billboard Cost/Impressions by U.S. City
|Spokane, WA||Atlanta, GA||New York City, NY|
Although that is a massive amount of impressions, it is improbable that a large percentage of salespeople could afford this on a monthly basis. This is especially true for individuals who are just beginning their careers and generally have very little marketing funds. Granted, with the correct branding, people may associate a salesperson on a billboard with credibility. However, in the presence of financial limitations, salespeople must concentrate their efforts on quality over quantity.
Nearly everyone acknowledges the idea that once something is online it remains there in some capacity forever. Although largely regarded as a negative connotation of the Internet, it is one of the most important benefits of online lead generation. As long as past material is regularly updated (statistics, backlinks, etc.), it will remain relevant and accessible. So, theoretically salespeople who utilize content marketing are constantly conducting lead generation.
Here is a list of statistical testing done by various companies that use inbound marketing, pay special attention to how much money they are saving compared to their peers.
An appropriate call to action is a necessity for any method of lead generation. Failure to develop one will result in exceptionally mediocre results. Perhaps the greatest contributing factor towards unsuccessful attempts at conventional lead generation is that the majority of them have a deficient call to action. Being unable to provide a cold lead something that is valuable to them, it is unlikely they will be willing to disclose their contact information. Offering a free comparative market analysis is rendered utterly useless if an individual does not have plans to sell their home in the foreseeable future. The majority of conventional lead generation revolves around conveying market trends to random individuals within a particular area. There is generally a scarcity of evidence supporting the notion that these people are in need of a particular service. This is essentially success by numbers and contributes to the high failure rate. What if there was a way to determine which households are in the initial stages of transitioning residences?
By systematically approaching online lead generation, salespeople are able to accumulate clients that are preparing to buy or sell property. Google Adwords is a service that allows individuals to create advertisements that allocate websites to immediately rank on the first page of Google. Users will research keyword volume that is area specific and pay every time someone clicks on their advertisement (pay per click). There is a correlation between keywords traffic volume and the price per click (i.e. commonly searched terms are generally more competitive, thus a higher price). However, oftentimes people will fail to conduct adequate research and a high volume search term will have very low competition. Diligently exploring and uncovering these types of keywords will prove to be a valuable approach for content marketing.
Google Adword’s Keyword Planner is an extremely beneficial tool for anyone using SEO for lead generation, and it is free of charge with an Adword’s account. By implementing high volume search terms that are not very competitive into a website’s content, salespeople can rank on the first page of Google relatively easily. Being area specific (suburbs, neighborhoods, etc.) is probably the best way to accomplish this. One study discovered that 69% of home shoppers who take action on a real estate brand website begin their research with a local term i.e. “Houston homes for sale” on a search engine (Google & Complete Home Shopper Study, 2012). Although it may be difficult to outrank dominant real estate websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com, being directly below these top sites is more than sufficient.
It is imperative that the landing page that individuals are directed to have a strategy enacted to collect the information of people visiting their site. Through the employment of on page lead capturing or a landing page, salespeople can request contact information in exchange for constructive material. The leads obtained through this strategy are likely to be of higher quality than what would be attained through conventional methods. This is due to the fact that if they are searching real estate related terms on Google, then they are perhaps contemplating selling or purchasing a property. As many people now understand,
Modern lead generation tactics are what works best for my business, but that does not hold true for everyone. Learning the specifications for search engine optimization and developing a website is by no means a simple process. However, I was able to educate myself through a vast network of professionals who are eager to help their peers. This process can be expedited by finding a mentor that has already witnessed success with online lead generation. Bill Gassett is one of the top Realtors in all of New England and is extremely influential in the online real estate world. He has helped me a lot with obtaining backlinks and has allowed me access to his expansive network of peers willing to assist one another in accomplishing their individual objectives.
If instant gratification is a necessity, then traditional lead generation methods may be a more suitable approach. With the exception of Google Adwords, modern lead generation is a long-term method. Do not give up when the initial results are less than desirable, these things take time. With determination and persistence, success will continuously compound for the entirety of a career.
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