How to double your lead generation and reduce your cost per lead by 60%?

Simple answer! – switch to online marketing!

These amazing figures have been shared by Century 21’s Senior Vice President of marketing (Beverly Thorne) who was recently interviewed for e-Marketer magazine.

As was reported on a post on the Unconditional blog back in January, Century 21 in the US has made a strategic decision to back away from main media including TV to focus their marketing online. Whilst not sharing the exact cost of acquisition of leads Beverly did say:

From December 2007 to December 2008, we improved the efficiency of our lead generation by reducing our cost per lead over 60%. At the same time, we multiplied our number of leads by over 235%.

There is no doubt that the real estate industry is fast realising the cost effective tool the web provides to attract a relevant and targeted audience and through that to generating leads for vendor’s properties. These opportunities are not purely restricted to buyer enquiries the web is a very powerful tool to build leads for prospective vendors.

These are the key topics are comprehensively covered in the forthcoming series of presentations offered for free by which have commenced again after the Christmas break.
The first ports of call for March are New Plymouth and Palmerston North. Other venues around the country will be added over the coming weeks and months. To keep in touch check out the special “On the Road” website or call at anytime our support team on 0800 732 536

February 26 2009 | Online marketing | 2 Comments »

What response rate should I get from my web listing?

This was the question posed to me yesterday in an email from an agent concerning their listing that had received over 2,500 viewings but only 4 emails. Naturally such a question prompts me to share my thoughts and observations with the industry at large as well as the agent concerned.

There are many ways to look at this question:

  • How many enquiries would you expect to get from that listing in say a newspaper?
  • How does that property compare to other properties on the market at the moment?
  • Are you getting a lot of enquiries generally at the moment?
  • Is the presentation of that property appealing to the right audience?

Let’s look at these questions and in so doing let me share my thoughts.

The web is an incredibly efficient medium – post a property on a website and potentially within seconds it can be viewed by the entire audience of web-connected computers – somewhere around 1,800,000,000 people! You can then analyse who looks at it, where they are when they look at it, where they came from (previous website), how long they look at it for and where they go afterwards (next web page or website).

This richness of information would be the envy of newspapers (surely!) – the reality is that all this information sets a high expectation which sometimes can be a double edged sword. The reality is that a listing may only be looked at 10 times on the web, may be looked at 3 times in a newspaper (if you could record how many people actually looked at the listing) – and yet it sold in 10 days. On the other hand it could have been looked at 5,000 times on the web and 30 times in the newspaper and yet nobody made an offer.

We had a great example recently of a featured listing which within 1 month had over 4,500 viewings, there were 23 emails sent to the agent, the property went to auction and with such extensive marketing through the web the auction attracted a handful of serious buyers who bid – however the property was passed in – no sale / no commission! Every property is different and response rates varies – there is no absolute conversion factor.

The reality as we all know is that there never are hundreds of people looking buy a property – there may be 10 – there may be only one. The key thing is to make sure that your listing is disruptive enough to be seen by the right people – not all 1.8 billion people.

The interest in a property is always related to the unique appeal of the property and its marketing. So the important question to ask yourself of every listing is – Is this presentation – headline, photos, description, information presented in the best way to ensure that the people I want to attract to see the property listings and be interested? The bottom line of this is quality counts (images and facts) and richness is rewarded (lots of relevant facts, information and reasons to come and see the property).

As to how many enquiries – in addition to how appealing the property is, is also what the market is like and how engaging the presentation is. The property market over the past few months has been very subdued and not surprisingly the level of genuine enquiry of emails sent from our site to agents has fallen on a seasonal adjusted basis – people are just plain wary of the market and are reticent to step into the market – so enquiries are low and so are sales.

A final important point made a while ago is not to judge website effectiveness purely by the number of emails as cited in the blog post “Who do you credit when that phone call generates a lead?” the facts from the UK website of Rightmove show that for every 20 emails a website sends an agent 40 telephone calls are generated.

And when that email does land in your inbox the key thing is to treat it as the lead you have been waiting for – to be responsed to quickly and professionally… more on this shortly

December 10 2008 | Online marketing | 1 Comment »