Rethinking Online Lead Generation

As technology coordinators, or if your just getting your web presence up and going or your new to the industry, you’ve probably heard or.., said this yourself sometime

“My real estate website doesn’t produce any leads for me, Can you help?”

There are two reasons this might happen:

1.     Your website does not generate traffic

2.     Your website has traffic but does not generate leads

We’ve gone over many ways to increase traffic to your website this year. There are many resources available in the MC Tech Community within previous calls on search engine marketing, networking, press release, etc.

This Tech call is more about Reason 2) – Stickiness

Hitchhiker analogy – You are on the highway.. you have your thumb out. People drive by, look at you and your content, but don’t stop..Why –

1) it’s a busy highway.. no where to stop or slow down

2) They don’t like what they see. They don’t trust the content

Online Lead Generation– referring to the generation of inquiries through your website (getting names and contact info from people interested in your service or listed properties)

Examples – comments on the blog with name and email, completed website contact forms, subscription to a newsletter or mails you directly.

Steady Traffic, but no leads?

Opportunity only favors those who capitalize – with the hitchhiker….all the opportunity passing him by.  If he took a moment to stop worrying about traffic levels, and started considering what he is doing to capture the traffic he already has. He might get someone to stop and offer a ride.

if your Analytics and AWEBS reports reveal steady direct, referred and search engine driven traffic day in and day out, and you’re still not getting leads, this is the call you should be on.

Reduce Online Attrition – refers to the people on your website that do not take the action you want them to take – the gradual reduction of the size of the work pool.

Start with a large number of qualified prospects searching for properties on the internet. The number shrinks because only a fraction will find your website. The number shinks again as they find your website and bounce away from it. An effective lead gen strategy will minimize this.

Try to keep up! – The strategy is by far one of the top concerns  and challenges among real estate professionals these days. It’s hard work and you have to stay current with technology, because what worked a couple years ago, won’t work today.  Getting traffic to the website is the easy part, turning them into leads is the hard part. (hard.. not impossible)

Example – Did we even know what blogs were 5 years ago. Now everyone’s got one. Keep track of emerging trends and technologies

Define your Goals

More than a few times a week I get calls or emails from KW associates asking for SEO advice. If I ask what kind of lead generation techniques they currently have on their sites, I often get silence on the other end.  The thinking is that good search engine ranking means lead generation – this is not necessarily true

SEO takes hard work, but online lead generation takes focus and a ton of creativity. You have to create something (online) that is so valuable that people have to contact you to get it.

What do you want your customers to do when they’re on your website?  E.G. Click on your neighborhood pages, use the online chat tool you’ve added, contact you by phone or email.

Once you have your website goals in place, you need to take the steps to achieve your goals. Like any other area of your business.  We’re going to talk about techniques and tools you can use to generate leads from your website.

BOTTOM LINE – if a KW site is setup correctly, it will receive enough traffic to support the Market Center’s sales goals. If the site does a bad job at capitalizing on that traffic, we do not have an effective web presence and won’t come close to meeting our goals.

Key Components of Lead Capture

  • Marketing Goals – What actions do you want people to take when they get to your website. What have you done to increase the chances they will do that.

o    In the real estate business, we are fortunate to know exactly why consumers go to our websites; our industry has been surveying them for years. NAR research shows that 90 percent of consumers went to a real estate website to look at listings, while only 28 percent looked for an agent online.

o    In the book Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug explains that good website design is all about giving the consumers what they want as quickly as possible. Noticing how few websites actually do this, Krug remarks, “… the thing that has struck me most is the difference between how we think people use websites and how they actually use them.”

  • Your Services – The most important step. A bad product or service with EFFECTIVE marketing is still a bad product. The first step to online success is to have a service worth talking about in the first place. If what you have to offer is no different than what other in the industry are offering, your marketing program has already failed. (if you’ve left your default KW content on your homepage, we need to go back to the drawing board)
  • Intended Audience – Immediately think of 5 things about your intended audience?

Nothing coming to mind? Then you haven’t done your homework to make your online strategy successful.  People need solution to their real estate problems, you must know the problems in order to address your audience

  • Online Visibility – The ease with which people can find you online. It’s difficult to rise above the online noise and get noticed these days – especially true for the real estate industry.  We’re not going to spend too much time on this component – we’ve covered it throughout 2010 – Rule of Thumb – The more active you are online, the more visible you will be
  • Tracking & Analysis – To ensure success, you HAVE to know what is going on with your website. Use Google Analytics or the integrated tools in Agent Website Administration to track how people are finding your site. Expand on those keywords or dedicate more of your website to them


The motivations for consumers have not changed much over the years.

It’s still all about real estate. The mediums your customers use to seek products and services constantly change.

Your website and social media presence gives a definitive picture of you. Your customers choose to work with you because of your website or social media presence, after that the phone call is made to hash out details.

Internet Marketing

Traffic will remain traffic

o    Your website visitors will remain anonymous until you give them something useful or valuable in exchange for their action. Value does not have to mean “costly”

Example – Listings/Area Information/Demographics are valuable – they only cost you “time” to produce (custom IDX, batch IDX, pages dedicated to specific listings, additional photos in the KWLS

o    Until we give a way to capitalize – what are you doing with the traffic you already have? How are you converting traffic to leads? How are you generating inquiries? What form of lead generation are you using?

Example – BackOffice settings – are you using the best practices?

o    Until they sense value – Value is Proportional to Response – value goes down with weak offers. If the customer does not sense value, they’re not going to relinquish value – in this case their contact information.

Example – the value I’m talking about doesn’t have to be costly. Listing updates sent to their email are valuable and they don’t cost you anything to produce. (in this case value is in timely information)

Online Marketing Strategies:

o    Will work for some and not others – success for one is rarely success for all. On the other hand, what doesn’t work for some, might work beautifully for you.

  • With Online strategies there are a huge amount of variables that affect the outcome. (makeup, timing, execution, and the strategy itself)
  • Don’t let anyone tell you – including me on this webinar – that something will or will not work for you. You must experiment AND speculate.. but only experimentation will reveal what works.

o    Will not change the way customers think – earlier we mentioned that the communication medium we use will change, but the communication itself won’t. The customer is still motivated to buy and sell their home. You are still motivated to help them through the transaction.

  • People want what’s best for them
  • People respond to well-presented offers
  • People ignore weak messages with no value

Online Lead Generation – Techniques

o    Experiment with each – Which one will work best? Only one way to answer that question. Try multiple techniques and the truth will become clear.

Don’t listen to the people that say

“customers don’t subscribe to newsletters anymore”

“free reports are a waste of time”

More often than not, it’s a matter of poor construction and content, not the technique – there is no magic silver bullet that works for all real estate agents.

o    Measure Success – You have multiple ways to get information on what folks are clicking on within your site. You can: 1) Ask your customers during your first or second encounter what they were attracted to most on your site. 2) Use Google Analytics 3) Use AWEBS analytics, GetClicky analytics. Use them .


Free Information

Effort = Results – half-hearted approaches = weak results à garbage in, garbage out

A lot of the reports we add to our sites are available elsewhere online where the customer would not have to register. Example – 10 Tips for Buying a home

Who is going to offer their email when they can find on thousands of other websites?

Let’s say you created an actual e-booklet (Word file saved as PDF)

o    Arranged by neighborhood,

o    All about the real estate scene with pictures, demographics, etc

o    It has sales statistics, heat maps for property values from the title companies, foreclosure information

o    No fluff. – something someone else can’t find anywhere else – perhaps you can find it all in different places online, but now it’s in one location.

Can you make the cover look like youre website? Know a graphic designer to make a relevant cover that looks like your website?

Does that sound like a lot of work? It is!!! but lead generation is not easy. It takes time and effort.

Only the most motivated agents will go to this type of trouble. But the greatest thing about this book, is that it won’t be overused like Home Buying Tips.

Create a Landing or Marketing Page

o    Don’t call it Free Report – way overused – call it Free eBooklet

o    Bullet items they’ll find in the book or the key selling points

o    Highlight primary and secondary values – why this book will help them.

o    Use graphical representations (thumbnail) of one or more of the sections

o    Use a link for Request by Email,

o    (Also) Add a giant button to make an official Request that links to one of the 7 forms we have on the Agent Websites – change the autoresponder text

o    When changing the autoresponder text, have it say ‘Thank you…” when the information is captured.

Not only does the customer think you are an expert because you “wrote the book” on your niche, you’ve provided them with good information they can use to educate themselves and get them closer to their decision.

Other book ideas:

Credit scores, boosting credit scores, good lenders you’ve worked with in the area

Mortgage process, Local info on lenders, escrow companies (good opportunity to work with a local professional

Local schools, ratings, teacher to student ratios, graduation rates

Market the page talk about in newsletters, blogs, news releases, tweets, facebook, etc.

Listing Search

  • Of course you can setup individual search pages for School District, Neighborhoods, MLS Areas, Zip Codes, etc, but I’m going to recommend that you get them into the search before you ask for their contact information. – don’t use the webpage registration in the AWEBS tool

Click Here to Download Wolfnet’s Custom IDX Guide NEW!!

Click Here to Download Wolfnet 3rd Party Website IDX Integration Guide NEW!!

Again – real estate tools online are free, why would they want to give their sacred email address up when they could get it at no cost to them.

  • Search Phrasing – “Unlimited Free Searches from the Local MLS”, “Members Only Property Searches” – you could even add this as a perk they get for signing up for your eBooklet
  • Make the pages look appealing. Use photos, descriptive text, Custom CSS?

BackOffice and Related actions

  • Site Login options – Set to Login to view details page, and set page allowance to 5. This will let your web site visitors see enough listing detail page views to appreciate the value of the data in the IDX search.

Authentication rates are highest when registration requirements are the least restrictive.

Explain User Authentication on site – offer a brief description of why they’ll be getting emails from – the benefits of registering.

  • Run Reports – Authenticated – can email directly from BackOffice or call them

o   NOTE: By providing a phone number when registering, the end user is giving you permission to contact them by phone – even if they’re in the DoNotCall registery – The language on the registration page illustrates this

  • Run Reports – Non-Authenticated – can export to Excel and call or  email outside of BackOffice (depending on local rules and regulations established by the board)
  • MapTracks – If you choose not to use Custom IDX or the Batch IDX builder, please use Maptracks on your website.  According to Wolfnet, MapTracks on an IDX solution increases lead capture by up to 20% or more

o   Change Starting Location (see Wolfnet Mastery Call)

o   Can use the coordinates in the backoffice to create multiple map searches from multiple locations  (see Wolfnet Mastery Call)

o    Can also add certain, custom IDX parameters to the end of the map search URLS, if available in your area, some are free some are for an additional fee (

Using Method B in the Wolfnet Custom Search Document:

&PROPERTY_TYPE= (This is a variable; for example: UNIT/FLAT,LOFT%20CONDOMINIUM, etc.)












Blogging/Blog Comments

  • Blog setup/Subscription – You can setup most blogs so that folks can subscribe to RSS or you can use a paid service that will translate your RSS feed to email digests for your customers

Many consumers aren’t familiar with RSS, so email might be a good option for them:

Site that offers a good explanation for how this is done

  • Communicate through email List – The above step gives you a list of emails that you can communicate directly or through your blog – do one or the other, but use the tools
  • Integrate blog into your website – my preference is using an iframe (code is above the WYSIWYG under 3.7 Additional Pages) and use the tool – backlink to the website with each article (keywords within and signature)
  • Blog often with useful information and Allow Comments

Email Newsletters

If the newsletter has good information, people learn from them and people remember who they learned from.

“if you build it, they will come” does not work for Internet Marketing. Like we heard earlier in the call, you get out of it what you put into it. We have an HTML email call from this year with instructions to follow if you don’t already do this.

Your List –

o   100% permission based – if they’ve signed up, you’ve done a good job describing its value

o   Must contain each person first name and email at a minimum – can communicate at the personal level

o   List should be “scrubbed” to remove bad email addresses

o   Mention your newsletter in your email signature – people you communicate with directly on a regular basis might have been overlooked.

o   Use ‘widget’ from email marketing company to sign up, or just add an text email link on your site

o   Use email link on website – to capture subscribers

Use enticing text:

Click here for my newsletter


Sign up for the “South Austin Team Newsletter” and get monthly updates about new homes on the market, open houses in the area, local real estate developments and more. You’ll also get our eBooklett for signing up!

Online Chat Feature

With the mobile devises of today, you can monitor chat on your website from your pocket.

There was an article in CNN the other day about how Americans have turned into an “Instant Gratification Culture” – like I said in the beginning of the call, we’re a social media-based culture now. We don’t necessarily want phone calls – We want text messages. We don’t want to talk directly, we like the protection of the computer to relay messages back and forth. We like to make sure our communication looks right before we hit send. For this reason chat is an excellent way to initiate communication with a customer.

Not only does it offer instant communication, it breathes life into your website. It takes the waiting out of having a dialog with the website owner.

If you have a smaller operation like me, Google Talk works fine

If you have a larger operation and someone always positioned by a computer, here are some ideas

Overall Website Quality

Your website nowadays is the image of YOU if someone looks you up online. If a realtor shows up at the door with a shirt half tucked in, what’s your first impression?

Add Value and Stickiness – the more value valuable the content you offer, the more likely folks will “stick around”

Organization – the more content you have, the neater (cleaner and uncluttered) things must be – within seconds, your customer must be able to identify the path to the information they seek within your site.

o    Organize in order of importance – when people visit your site, they’re mainly there to look at your listings. Put that above everything else. Then put your Chat program, then put your Bio section, then put your newsletter or blog subscription

Usability –

o    Make a list of easy to use websites – what makes them easy to use

o    Have friends and colleagues visit, test, provide feedback

o    Define the actions you want people to take, and present them on your site, so your customers can’t get lost

o    Links back to home page – lifeline – if someone gets lost get them back home quickly

o    If you have someone building your site for you, it does necessarily make them an expert in usability.