By Ryan Fitzgerald
This isn’t 1999, so why are you still marketing like it is?
There are two methods to market your real estate business online: chase or attract. You can either chase your online leads or attract them.
Chasing Business Online
Have you ever received an e-mail that you didn’t ask for? An e-mail that was obviously an attempt to solicit you, which was sent to your personal inbox without your permission?
How did that make you feel?
@Yoel, 2014. Morguefile
Spamming prospects’ e-mails with drip campaigns or their Facebook inboxes with solicitations is what I consider chasing leads. Agents who spam their listings on people risk losing credibility and business. It’s intrusive, it’s a shortcut, and it’s an invasion of privacy.
If you want to risk your business playing a short term game, then this strategy might work for you. But there are a lot of cons with this approach. You risk losing a lot of unrealized opportunity because you’re going to annoy a lot of people along the way. Plus, Facebook is now giving its users the ability to turn the chat/messaging feature “off” for certain people without unfriending them.
Attracting Business Online
Attracting prospects requires a lot more effort, creativity, and patience. This method is a long term play. You need to begin with the end in mind. It’s not going to happen overnight, and you are not going to make as much money in the early stages as those who opt for the short term chase. But the skills you learn from attracting people to do business with you will help you grow fruitful in the long term.
Attracting prospects requires you to be out in front of them at the exact moment they need you. You can do this by creating, publishing, and sharing valuable content that is going to help consumers.
How to Attract Real Estate Leads
Give and expect nothing in return. Build up a library of valuable content on your blog or website that helps consumers in your market. Create a great experience for them whenever they see your brand name online.
Just keep one thing in mind: This takes time.
I almost gave up on this method when I first started out. After six months of publishing blog articles, YouTube videos, infographics, and more, I had little to show for all that content. Other people were having a lot of success around me. Veteran agents told me to get back on the phones. I almost did.
But I stuck it out. In August and September, I was receiving three to four leads each day, only I was requiring people to give me their information to use my website. For every three or four people who were willing to be forced into registration, I was probably losing eight to 10 people who would never come back.
Unforced Registration for Real Estate Leads
Today, I use a new approach: unforced registration. I currently get about 300 people on my real estate website daily who search homes for sale in Raleigh, or come to learn about the real estate industry through my blog articles, infographics, and videos. About one to two visitors willingly give me their information on a daily basis without being forced to do so. These are solid prospects. When a person chooses to reach out as opposed to being forced to make contact, it strengthens the initial relationship.
I realize that 300 people per day isn’t a lot, especially when you compare that to some of the big real estate websites. Just keep in mind that every real estate website starts at zero visitors per day and grows over time through hard work.
At this time last year, I didn’t have a website.
Whether you use YouTube, Facebook, or any other online marketing methods to attract people to your real estate business, you’re going to begin at zero. Exponential growth starts small by nature.
There’s No Overnight Success in Real Estate
Your end goal needs to be clear before you start your real estate business, and everything you do needs to be intentionally directed towards that goal. This is also relevant for seasoned agents who are making tweaks to their yearly business plan.
Be patient and work harder than everyone else. When everyone else is taking a day off, it’s your opportunity to push ahead of them.
I also highly recommend that you check out Gary Vaynerchuk‘s highly entertaining YouTube channel for lessons in business growth.
And with that, I’ll leave you with this quote: “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Ryan Fitzgerald is the owner of Raleigh Realty in Raleigh, N.C. Connect with him on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest.