Now more critical than ever for agents to track their buyer lead sources
Here is an video from RE/MAX Premier in Cape Town revealing some interesting stats on their current buyer sources:
Kevin notes that in a tough market, you need a great estate agent, you simply cannot rely on portal buyer leads alone. Currently their buyer leads are from:
- Referrals (5%) & Show houses (26%) which work well in their area and contributes to a 1/3 of their buyer sources.
- 50% leads via online (portals & social media) with the majority from Property24. IOL Property provides 2% of their buyer leads and Private Property 1%.
- 5% from their own websites and social media.
He notes that actual buyer leads from portals decreased from around 80% to around 50% in the tough buyer’s market we are currently facing. It is a similiar trend we notice with some of our real estate clients at Entegral. Property24 is still the dominant portal for them but it is great to see that this is not the only source of leads for this office.
Interesting to note how IOL Property outperforms Private Property and for a subscription fee that is at least x5 times less. This is why you need to calculate your ROI (actual sale lead source cost per buyer). This also begs the question on how successful the costly buy out of Private Property was 2 years ago by Caxton (50%) and real estate franchises (13%)— but that is for another discussion.
More leads from your own website IS possible
In fact, two of our clients I recently spoke with are getting more buyer and seller leads from their own websites & social media & other marketing initiatives like Google Adwords than the large portals. These clients are tracking their lead sources which provides the opportunity to calculate a real ROI. If you have that you can push more marketing funds into those avenues that produces actual sales and may be overlooked by competitors. They focus on evergreen content and regular fresh & unique content and news for better SEO ranking.
Don’t spend blindly on things you cannot measure
Portals are quick to introduce new ways of emptying your pockets, including bigger and better featured properties. Lead generation is at the heart of the portal business and for this, they need marketing funds (from you). Investors need a ROI on their investment too. The quality of leads is sometimes questionable and I’ve written extensively on this including lead fatigue where you get overwhelmed with low quality leads that costs you time. The portal space I believe, is also ripe for disruption and agents need to ensure that all their eggs aren’t in one basket.
What works for one agent, won’t work for the next
Your target market to acquire leads will vary from region to region, portal dominance will vary and based on the buyer demographics, any social media campaigns will have various degrees of impact too.
You also need to factor in your core expertise. Maybe you are the social media queen or king and can use it to your advantage so promoted posts work well. Maybe you are more of an introvert and can write great area overviews that you can publish to your website and slowly build credibility and SEO. In this case, investing in a custom website may be a good option.
But the basics in real estate still drives leads as it does in any other business: Great service. Word of mouth is free.
Track every lead in your CRM
It is important for agents to track their lead sources to understand what marketing spend actually resulted in sales. Categorise every lead that comes in, not only the source but things that can help you focus on the right people (e.g. the pre-qualified buyers)
BTW Base makes it easy as you can customise your lead sources but you can manually track them in a spreadsheet too with a weekly reconcile:
At the end of the day you need to calculate your monthly cost per marketing channel, leads received and track back actual sales to the leads, something like this:
If you have that info, you can try and push the cost effective lead sources and in the following months, see if there is any improvement from the extra spend, but you need a base point to reference. Have a marketing budget, e.g. R20k/month and work within this budget. You may need to reduce your spend on some channels to test out the effect of a bigger spend on others. Do it within a specific time-frame so you can measure the effects.
It is easy to get overwhelmed and try and do everything at once, so break this big task down into smaller actionable chunks. The first puzzle to solve is to get your data input right. In any system, the output is only as good as the input. So start tracking your lead sources and marketing spend. Base automatically imports your leads from the portals and your own website so it saves you time to focus on more important stuff:
The agents that will survive a down market are the ones who don’t have all their eggs in one basket and have good data tracking to justify their marketing expenses.
In a difficult real estate market, you cannot rely on living on a prayer from day to day, start making changes and track your leads.