In the first part of our series, we showed all the different ways to generate leads for your real estate business. In the second part, we showed you why we, and so many new and veteran agents, love paid online leads.
However, we’d like you to know some things about paid online leads before you start investing in them. The third blog post in this series reveals the truth about paid online leads.
The Truth About Paid Online Leads
With time, we have learned that one of the biggest reasons real estate agents give up on online leads is skewed perceptions of what these leads are and how they work.
This is why we’d like to be completely honest about what you can expect from these leads, so you’re not disappointed or frustrated once you start working with them.
#1 Online leads need time to convert
Most online buyer and seller leads take between 5-8 months to convert. Yes, there will be leads that convert faster. However, they are an exception, not the rule.
The leads you generate through Google or Facebook Ads are usually within the information-gathering phase of their purchase journey.
To explain this better, let’s look at an example. You have decided to move from Central Toronto to somewhere else in the Greater Toronto Area. You’ll Google something like “properties in Oshawa” or “properties in Mississauga.” The fact that you’re googling these terms doesn’t mean you’ll be moving in the next two months. But it will probably happen until the end of the year.
You won’t believe it, but many agents love that it takes so much time for these leads to convert.
Because they are catching these leads at the beginning of their purchase journey, which gives them time to build trust. If it weren’t for online ads, the agent would have never connected with the lead.
Before our lives moved online, agents weren’t involved in the information-gathering phase. The lead would simply call you or visit you at your office when they were ready to make a move. If you weren’t a well-known or recommended agent, there’s no chance they’d knock on your door.
#2 Online leads require a lot of work and dedication
Would you entrust your property purchase to someone who you’ve spoken to only once over the phone? Probably not.
You convert online leads only by following up often and regularly. It’s not enough to set up email drip campaigns and hope someone will call back. You have to call them periodically and keep building the relationship proactively.
Use these initial calls to offer a helping hand in the initial stages of the lead’s property search. You’ll show you’re willing to go the extra mile for them. This creates an incredible competitive advantage for you.
For new agents, doing these calls can sometimes be intimidating. You might not be confident enough to lead these kinds of conversations. Or you might feel anxious calling complete strangers on the phone.
Don’t skip doing these calls because they make you feel uncomfortable. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. But like with everything, practice makes perfect. The more calls you make, the better you’ll get. Learn from your mistakes, improve what you can and move on.
#3 There will be “garbage” leads
The truth is, no matter what system you use (even if you do open houses), you’ll get leads that enter fake names, wrong phone numbers and emails. Yes, with online lead generation, you’ll get Harry Potter and Yogi Bear in your leads. And the occasional Pizza Hut number.
We guarantee no system on the market can eliminate such “garbage” leads entirely. However, at AgentLocator, we continuously work to increase the quality of leads you get and develop tools to help you work such “garbage” leads if you receive them.
We know that seeing these leads sucks. Don’t get distracted or frustrated by them. Simply move on to those leads that have given you correct contact details.
#4 Online leads work for every market
Online ads work regardless of what area or niche market you are serving. They also work equally well for different types of properties: luxury, pre-con, waterfront, etc.
AgentLocator’s advertising team has run thousands of ads and knows that it’s possible to reach any kind of audience you want. If there is one thing sure, it’s that everyone is using Google to search, and they’ll continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
#5 You can start small and then go big
Online leads are not free, but you don’t need a huge budget to get started. But be aware that the cost per lead depends on the specific geographic areas you want to target. The rule of thumb is that Facebook leads are cheaper than Google leads.
At AgentLocator, our recommendation to new agents is to start with an ad budget of CA$300 per month. You can expect to generate 20-30 leads per month for this budget. Once you’ve figured out how everything works and converted a few leads, you can gradually increase your ad budget.
Now that you know the truth about online leads, we’d like to emphasize the scenarios in which it’s better not to invest in them.
With thousands of agents doing online lead generation with us, we’ve learned what it takes to succeed with online leads. Yes, paid online leads are not for everyone, we admit. If you fall within one of the categories below, rather focus on another lead generation method.
DON’T invest in paid online leads if…
-> you are involved with another project and have no time to dedicate to call and nurture your leads
As mentioned above, online leads require your time and dedication. Set aside at least an hour to call your leads once or twice a week.
Make sure you have workflows to deal with different kinds of leads and scenarios. For example, if a lead doesn’t pick up the phone, make sure to call them again in two days. If you’ve spoken to a lead, make sure to listen carefully and make notes so that you can do a proper follow-up.
If you are involved in another project, it’s better to wait until the project finishes so you can focus on nurturing your online leads.
Think of it this way: you need to work out regularly, if you want to have visible results. Once a week or every so often won’t suffice. So, don’t bother paying for a gym membership if you won’t be serious about it. It’s a waste of money. The same is true for online leads.
-> you need immediate results
Don’t expect to convert leads right away. Yes, we have seen agents converting a lead within a few weeks after starting with online lead generation. But as mentioned before, online leads are mostly at the beginning of their purchase journey. It will take a few months until they are ready to start actively looking at properties.
If you need immediate results, you can dedicate a part of your advertising budget towards rental leads. They convert faster and thus give you a quick return on your advertising investment.
-> you’re not ready to dedicate yourself to learning new stuff
If you’re dealing with online leads, you’ll need to be prepared to learn about the best way to approach and handle these leads. It’s a trial and error game. But practice makes perfect.
You also have to be ready to keep trying out new stuff. Nothing lasts too long in the Internet era. What might have worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.
For example, if none of your leads answers the phone when you call in the morning, contact them later in the afternoon. If they are still not picking up the phone, try sending them a text message.
This is it - the truth about online leads.
An essential part of being successful with paid online leads is to know how they work and what’s expected from you to make them work for your real estate business. We hope this blog post helped shine some light on the mystery of paid online leads. And we also hope it gives you the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in them.
In the fourth and last part of our series, you’ll learn about all the stuff you need to have in place to start with online lead generation.