When we talk about online lead generation, what do we mean? Well, online lead generation is the process of attracting new business through online channels such as social media, paid social media advertising, search engine advertising, email drip campaigns, and plenty more.
It requires moving potential customers steadily down your lead generation funnel until they are walking, talking adverts for your excellent service.
The importance of online lead generation cannot be overstated. Not to put too finer point on it but having a strong online lead generation strategy in place is a must-have for any real estate business looking to survive the next five years.
In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on social media, paid social media advertising, and video. If you would like to learn more about online lead generation through channels such as Google My Business, please see the following video here.
Before we get into the importance of each of the various components of online lead generation with social media, it is important to define the four main stages of a typical lead generation funnel. Clients will move from one section to the next and become more engaged in your offer and service.
Awareness – here potential customers become aware of your personal brand online. When making content for awareness level prospects, think about broad topics such as free home evaluations, introductory offers and video content introducing your business. Make sure you run paid ads optimized for Brand Awareness.
Consideration – at this stage potential customers know who you are and are keeping you in mind for any future buying/selling transaction. It’s important to stay top of mind with regular content which piques their interest. This could be area tours, local business reviews, market updates or new properties in your neighborhood. Be sure to run paid ads optimized for Lead Generation.
Decision – now potential customers have seen your offer and service multiple times; the time is now right for them to do business with you. Make sure you’re ready to catch them by setting up an automated response on your social media channels, follow-up within 24 hours, and set appointments using an online calendar.
Advocate (referrals) – by providing the best possible service and offering unexpected benefits to your clients, you will be in an excellent position to ask customers for online reviews, or even appear in a short video testimonial. Consider using these testimonials as part of your next Lead Generation paid ads campaign. Remember to always gain explicit, written permission from your past clients.
Now let’s look at the importance of social media, paid social media ads, and video for online lead generation in more detail.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
With more than half the world’s population of social media, the importance of being on social media is clearer than ever. No matter who your target audience is or what niche you operate in, more customers like the ones you already work with are on social media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made is necessary for all real estate professionals to embrace digital and put their offer out there online. A recent study found that 44% of real estate agents have gained at least one new client since 2020 thanks to increasing their presence on social media. Remember, social media is one of the most inexpensive forms of advertising, and this client may also lead to repeat and referral business.
Not only that, but more and more people now base consumer and life decisions on what they experience on social media. As soon as a potential client starts thinking seriously about buying or selling in your farming area, Google searching and social media research are the first things they will do to find an agent. And the first person they should see is you!
THE IMPORTANCE OF USING PAID ADS
Firstly, it's way cheaper than traditional advertising. The cost to reach 1000 people, for example, is much lower than if you bought television or radio advertising. Those ad forms have their place, but the message in those instances will be much broader and focused more on brand visibility.
Paid social media ads can be set up quickly, targeted to custom audiences, optimized on the go, and tailored to serve very specific goals.
Secondly, they can be targeted. Because of the amount of data available on the web, it's so much easier to get in front of the people you want to reach. Age, locations, interest are all there to help to find your audience. You can also target people based on life events such as a new career, just moved, new job, just married, had kids and much more.
Thirdly, it's measurable. When set up correctly, you can see the amount your campaign has spent, plus how successful the ad was in terms of reach, clickthrough and cost per lead all on the same dashboard. You will never have to guess if your ads are working again.
A bonus of paid social media ads is that you can monitor the ad in real time.
You can see who's clicking on the ad, which age groups respond well to your content and optimize your ad spend as you go. This process is called ad optimization and is something you certainly don't get with print, television, or radio ads.
Lastly, social media algorithms are changing, and we now operate in a pay to play era. Facebook and Facebook-owned platforms such as Instagram have shifted their focus to promoting content produced by individuals and supporting organic person to person engagement. That basically means content from brands needs to be sponsored or it won't see the light of day on people's news feeds.
So, what if you think paid ads aren't right for your business? The short answer is – they are. Facebook alone has over two billion users. The key demographic of which perfectly aligns with those most likely to be looking to buy or sell a house.
The point of advertising is to get your business out there in places where people congregate. And in most European cities, you can already find RE/MAX adverts in public transport, public spaces, on television and on the radio. So, there's no excuse not to be advertising on social media too.
THE IMPORTANCE OF USING VIDEO
Video is no longer the future; it is the present. Potential customers expect to be able to learn more about you and your services through video content.
As I have mentioned already, most people start their property search online, so you need to be out in front when they start looking.
With videos you can build connections with people much faster. Why? So much of the way we communicate with each other and decide if someone is trustworthy is through their facial expressions, their body language, and tone of voice. All of this is lost if you only communicate with words or even image posts.
To give you an idea of how vital using video is for your business:
- 68% of people say they would prefer to learn about a product or service via video.
- 79% of people say a brand’s video has convinced them to make a purchase.
- 96% of people say they watch video to learn more about a product or service.
You need to get in front of people where they spend their free time. Most people spend at least some of their free time watching video content online every day.
To get in front of your potential customers, stay top of mind and position yourself as the local expert, you need to be actively publishing and promoting video on social media.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING UP
Staying top of mind and following up is one of the most crucial habits you must adopt if you want to succeed with online lead generation. Being ready and available when your consideration level leads turn into decision making leads is the critical stage. Make sure you have systems in place to manage their expectations, follow-up effectively and book an appointment quickly.
Make sure you have automated responders set up on each of your social media channels, so your potential customers know when you will reply to them. Make sure you follow-up on that promise and contact them within 24 hours. Then, set up either an online or face-to-face meeting using an online calendar or time blocking tool.
I hope you found this introduction to the Importance of Online Lead Generation useful and wish you all the best for your online lead generation efforts. Remember, generating leads through social media and paid social media ads is a long game activity. However, the results are substantial and cumulative. Start by using social media to generate 4 more conversations about real estate this week and continue as these conversations turn into leads.