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All posts for the month January, 2019

How to Start an Effective Email Drip Campaign for Realtors

Published January 28, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

In the ever-digital world of the 21st century, your online marketing efforts can never be second rate. That’s as true for realtors and their real estate business in the same way it is for everybody else. It’s of course just one of many ways you should be approaching the challenge of prospecting for new clients, and that aim is really at the core of everything you do as a realtor when you’re not providing services to existing ones.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada is an excellent way to harness the power of the world wide web and get it working for you to provide you with real, genuine quality leads that put you in touch with people who are equally genuinely considering buying or selling a home in your locale. Nearly every realtor who gets on board quickly comes to see it as money well spent as part of their business promotion or marketing budget, and we’ve been very pleased to see how beneficial they’ve been finding it.

Email marketing campaigns are, like anything, only effective when done right. A ‘drip’ email campaign is particularly highly recommended because it’s less obtrusive and tends to land on recipients who’ll be more open to receiving the communication. Today we’re going to discuss the basics of putting together one of these email campaigns, so let’s get into the 4-step process.

This is something you can do on your own, even if you’re the most digitally non-savvy person around.

Why a From-Scratch Real Estate Drip Email Campaign

Pre-designed real estate drip email campaigns that you can buy ready-made are usually not a good option. Done badly and they’ll result in a prospective buyer or seller hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ link – and that’s the end of your communication channel with them.

With that warning out of the way, you also need to know that they are NOT getting the same email from your competitors.

How Often Should Emails Be Sent?

Email every day? Once a week? Every month? More? Less? Generally speaking, the protocol regarding this will depend on local market conditions (the ‘speed’ with which homes are moving), the type of market, and the properties of clients you typically serve. If it’s a ‘fast’ market, you may prefer to send emails at the beginning of your real estate drip email campaign with greater frequency / less of a gap between them.

With ‘slower’ markets you can let the be spread out a bit more.

Keep in mind that no matter the type of market, the frequency of emails MUST drop off as you move further into your campaign. This is important. Successful long-term real estate drip email campaigns will typically only send out 1 email roughly every 3 months once the first few have been distributed. Make sure you do the same

Email #1 – 2 Days After List Entry

This real estate drip email campaign is for buyers but can also be used for sellers.
Prospects will have already received one email prior to this, and that would be the auto-responder email.

Most agents will determine their email recipient list from forms filled out on their website site, As a result of this, prospects will receive one email that is delivered with a document (or a link to the information) along with a thank you. That first email is immediate, and it should be sent two days later.

The aims with this email are as follows:

  • Appraising them of the process if they decide to buy or sell. In the first paragraph they’ll learn that this is the first of four emails they’ll receive. This should always be done because often there’s a large decrease in the unsubscribe rate if they make the recipient aware that they’re not going to be spammed incessantly.
  • Giving them a link to valuable information, including links to area maps and descriptive pages for the area. You’ll almost certainly be covering an area larger than just one suburb or the like and people get confused about all of the area names found in the MLS.
  • Use of wordage and sentences that results in a a high click-through percentage and low rate of unsubscribers.

Email #2 – 5 Days After List Entry

The first email introduced the prospect to the MLS area maps and descriptive information. Now, your 2nd email informs them that they can stop doing manual searches and enjoy the convenience of automated email alerts sent with new listings and price changes for listings that are a match for their property criteria.

They will be more familiar with the areas now, and they’ll likely use that information to tailor their searches even more.

Many soon-to-be serious buyers will spend some time in this automated email listing alert system setting up a search, and that’s especially when you want automatic listing alerts to be hitting their inbox nearly every day.

Email #3 – 8 Days After List Entry

A considerable number of your email recipients / prospective clients still won’t yet be ready for the automated listing reports. For this reason it’s advisable to take them back to your IDX search page instead, and show them how to get a lot more detail on each listing that hasn’t been displayed in the IDX results.

By doing this you’ll make it more likely that they return to the site again and again requesting expanded listing reports. You’ll need to manually create these reports and send them to these prospects, but if put effort into them and prepare solid reports that are also laid out cleanly and attractively in the document then you’ll be making real progress with securing interested buyers as new clients. Put your best effort into all of this!

Email #4 – 12 Days After List Entry

The last automated email extends your appreciation to these would-be clients for sticking with you and not choosing to unsubscribe, and it also informs them that you’re happy to keep them on your follow-up list for quarterly sold property statistics reports because they seem to be interested in making a move in the local real estate market.

You acknowledge the prospect’s continued interest in the market, as well as reaffirming that they’ll only receive four emails a year. Done right this keeps them interested enough to stay on the list.

Long-Term Follow-Up

Right after each calendar quarter-year ends, it’s smart to go into your MLS system and generate a sold property statistics report. Define it by type of property (i.e., residential or commercial). It should require only about ten minutes of your time to produce a PDF file and upload it to your website.

Next, go to your email list and send out a blast email to the entire list providing a link to the report, and if you have some solid relevant commentary to add on the previous quarter and the numbers in the report – go ahead and add it.

Stick to this drip Email protocol and you’ll very likely see a low unsubscribe rate. In most cases when people do choose to unsubscribe it’s because they’re no longer interested, or have purchased a home in another market. The ones that continue to stay subscribed are worth more of your attention, and if you have a strong feeling about one or more of them you can even get back to the good old tried-and-true basic approach of making a visit to them in person.

Be confident, and do everything you can to have the knowledge you need to be local real estate expert before you do!

Sign Up Today!

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively, and also for your similarly-exclusively served region of any city or town in Canada. It’s yours and yours alone with Real Estate Leads, and that puts you in a real position of strength to have the best leads in that area being delivered to you and you only.

It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts, and we can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

Real Estate Sales Drop Hard Across Country

Published January 22, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Your take on the recent trend of cooling Canadian real estate sales will depend on who you are in the real estate market. If you’re an owner or an investor with funds in real estate, you likely won’t see it very favourably. Alternately, if you’re a home buyer – and in particular a first-time homebuyer, the recent news that sales dropped to a new multi-year low last month to close out 2018 will be cautiously promising.

As a real estate agent, of course, any downturn in the market isn’t what you want to be hearing. Fewer sales equates to less business to go around for the ever-greater numbers of licensed realtors in the business. Situations like this make being able identify, impress, and retain prospective clients increasingly important for a realtor.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system makes it so that you get more out of the first part of that equation, and capable realtors have a way of using the second part to ensure the third and establish long-term clients. The same type of clients who are likely to recommend you to others as well. It’s a positive all around.

But back to topic, what’s to be made of this trend that continues to see the real estate market in Canada cooling off so significantly?

Canadian Real Estate Sales Dip Like They Haven’t Since 2012

Canadian real estate sales indicated one of the worst Decembers in years. A mere 21,909 sales went through the MLS nationwide for December, and this was down 34.24% compared to the month before. This is a 19% decline compared to the same month last year, and sales for the month have only been lower a pair of time over the past 10 years; 2012 and 2008.

The December numbers and annual growth rates were worth noting. Monthly declines are always seen in December, but this one was the biggest since 2007. What’s more, the annual decline is the third consecutive one to occur here, and the most pronounced one since March 2018. Since February of 2016, the annual growth rate has been trending lower.

Dec. ’18: Only a Single Major Canadian Real Estate Market Grew

The observed market declines were consistent across the board, but a few markets did better than others. Montreal came in at 2,825 sales for December, which was a 2.5% increase compared to the same month 2017. Ottawa had 677 sales, a 12.9% decrease from the previous December. Winnipeg’s number was 495, and also down 14.4% from the same time last year. Facts are facts, and only one major market with more than 500 sales last year grew over the course of 2018.

Scenario for Canada’s Bigger Urban Centres

We’ll start with Toronto and Calgary here. Toronto reported 3,781 sales in December, a big decline of 23.3% compared to December last year. Calgary reported 985 sales, a similar biggie at 24.2% down from one year ago. The CREA defines both those declines as middle of the market, however, and relatively speaking.

Of course, market restrictions in both Toronto and Vancouver can been credited with a large portion of the sales declines seen in Canada’s 2 biggest metropolitan areas. Mortgage stress testing has been a big factor as well, and should continue to be this year as well while the new definition of a ‘quality buyer’ is still a work in progress.

The risk of course is looking at those factors in a vacuum, but it’s safe to say that a broader weakness is being observed across the country. The fact that markets not subject to a foreign buyer tax are also seeing weakness in sales supports this understanding.

There are some that suggest that more Nationally-focused mortgage stress tests would be a good idea, but industry insiders counter that by saying that most markets with declines do not have home prices detached from local incomes (which is the explicit scenario in Vancouver and Toronto). That doesn’t mean prices are fair value, but it does indicate that the stress test has had minimal impacts.

It remains the way it’s always been in that a typical family in most cities can afford a typical home. The consensus seems to be that it’s primarily households that would be buying ‘beyond their means’ are the ones being impacted by the restrictions – and for many of them they might actually be glad for the wake-up call! In conclusion, though, and when we look at this objectively we can see that the impact of rising interest rates, and a contraction in general credit applications are behind the market dips. This happens nearly every time interest rates rise, and they are always moving in one direction or another.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to ONLY to you and for your similarly-exclusively served area of any city or town in Canada. It really does wonders for supercharging your prospecting efforts, and if the ever-greater numbers of realtors coming on board are any indication – it’s definitely effective.

4 Features Would-Be Homebuyers Nearly Always Check

Published January 14, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Here we are now with 2 weeks behind us in the 2019 New Year, and if you’re like most realtors in Canada you are well into your newly schedule efforts to build your real estate business into a bigger one than it was last year. There’s nothing that goes further for a realtor than A) being a knowledgeable expert on the local market, and B) having a strong understanding of what are the leading prerogatives most buyers have when considering the purchase of a home.

We’re going to focus on the 2nd half of that today here, and it’s true that being accurately dialed-in to what your clients want in a home goes a long way in making them regard you as a legit pro when it comes to real estate. That of course then means a greater likelihood of them referring you to others who need the services of a real estate agent, and referrals are huge for building your client base.

And as far as building your client base through effective prospecting, our online real estate lead generation system for realtors here at Real Estate Leads is a proven effective way of expediting the process of you identifying prospective home sellers and / or buyers and then meeting with them for the opportunity to secure them as clients.

Most realtors who choose to get onboard with Real Estate Leads quickly come to see it as marketing budget funds well spent, as it does increase their customer base. But enough about that for now, today let’s have a look at 4 features that are priorities for nearly every would-be homebuyer when viewing a home listed on the market.

Bathrooms

Surely we agree that we spend a lot of time in bathrooms. Time doing hair and makeup, showering or having baths to relax as well as for relieving ourselves a few times a day. It’s for these reasons buyers put a priority on quality bathrooms. If you have clients selling a home, it’s advisable to have them really do up the bathrooms so that they look great for open houses. Prospective buyers will make determinations about whether it’s bright enough, if the mirrors are the right size, if there is enough counter space, and if they tub is to their liking.

The aim should be so that the buyer is able to picture themselves living in the space. Make sure the bathroom is in tip-top shape and staged correctly. Ensure the grout is clean in the bath or shower, amenities are unused, and a fresh loofa or bar of soap is there in the shower. Little details like these will keep the room feeling fresh and provide potential buyers with the opportunity to see themselves in the space day in and out if they were to own the home.

Living space

Most will know that this part of the home is where buyers will put the bulk of their focus – along with the kitchen. This is the space that is lived in the most and often used for entertaining. Advise your clients that they need to maximize the space here by removing extra clutter and keeping it as open space as possible. Sofas and chairs should be completely clear, and the same goes for end and coffee tables. Ensure the mantles and all ledges are dusted – dust anywhere is a big turn off for prospective buyers.

Kitchen

The need to have your kitchen be appealing to would-be buyers goes without saying, any family will spend a LOT of time in the kitchen of their home, and that’s true whether it’s a detached home or a condo or anything in between. Let your clients know that function is the key selling point here. Have them remove any clutter, remove small appliances from the countertops and ensure everything is clean. This includes the inside of the fridge, as this is actually quite important to having the buyer envisioning themselves cooking and entertaining in the space.

Smells

This one may seem very out of place considering the location and amenity theme we have going here, but it’s a well-known fact that buyers are super sensitive to smells and home and will allow them to sway their decisions very regularly.

That’s because senses have a huge impact on what a buyer thinks and how they remember a home. Instruct your clients to do whatever it takes to ensure no overwhelming scents are found in the home – and that includes ones that they consider to be ‘good’ smells too. Essentially you want as much of a scent neutral home as possible.

A good tip you can share with them is place a dab of vanilla on a light bulb or two throughout the house to give it a welcoming smell that still isn’t overpowering.

Driveway

If your clients are selling a detached home, make them aware that many buyers do put a good deal of stock into how the driveway looks and particularly if it’s leading to a doored garage. Renting a power washer and degreasing their driveway is a good choice, and if it’s a cobblestone driveway then making sure there’s no abundance of weed tufts growing out between the stones is worth the effort too.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you – and only you – for your similarly exclusively-served region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll almost certainly see your numbers of new clients bump up nicely, and soon you’ll regard signing up with REL as one of the better decisions you’ve made as it regards promoting yourself as a quality realtor.

Using Zillow for Real Estate Lead Generation Without Advertising

Published January 7, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Late last year the US-based online real estate marketing resource giant Zillow began advertising Canadian properties. It’s been a real benefit for the real estate market all across Canada and particularly so given how interest in Canadian real estate coming from south of the border continues with much the same enthusiasm. It’s a development that should have a lot of relevance for real estate agents all across the Canada.

As our name clearly reflects, Real Estate Leads is all about helping you get greater numbers of leads. Our online real estate lead generation system is well established now, and it’s proven effective for putting greater numbers of both buyer and seller leads on your radar. Of course, the lead is just half of the equation for securing a real estate client. You’ve got to take care of the 2nd half, and that’s in showing yourself to be a legitimate expert when it comes you your local real estate market.

Today we’re going to discuss how realtors can use Zillow to generate even more leads for themselves, and not by simply paying for advertising on the site.

The Big Z

Zillow is very polarizing when it comes to how it has been received to date. Agents have mixed opinions on it, but the fact is home buyers, sellers and investors continue to flock to it.

Independent of what you think of it, as a Realtor if you’re trying to help your clients buy or sell a property then you really need to be using it and taking advantage of every single opportunity it provides.

Marketing Tool, or Competitor?

Most of you are likely very much aware of what Zillow is and how and why it’s so popular. It has established itself as the leading real estate and rental marketplace empowering consumers via data, inspiration and knowledge, and then connecting them with the best local professionals with the best understanding of the local real estate market.

The data, information and knowledge that a home buyer or seller can get from Zillow does make them a more educated buyer. This isn’t necessarily detrimental for a realtor, however, and it’s important to understand this first.

Rather than you – the Realtor – spending valuable time pulling comparables, curating data or sending repetitive information back and forth amongst your multiple clients, the client does all of that themselves through Zillow. Engaged prospects become active clients, and active clients put more effort into choosing a realtor and are more discerning when they do finally decide on one.

Your client then chooses you based on your experience, local knowledge, responsiveness, reliability, negotiating skills and creative insights – your ability to provide them with data isn’t a part of what they now consider valuable within the services of a realtor.

So here’s how you can use Zillow as a real estate marketing tool and lead generator

  1. Setup / Optimize Your Profile Thoroughly

Make sure that everything is filled out with as much detail and care as possible. Don’t be lazy or negligent completing every part of the first thing prospective clients will see if they ‘meet’ you first through Zillow. Take some extra time to include a video, links to your website (and make sure they’re followed links) and social media accounts as well as a full list of your service areas.

Make sure your profile is indicated as being 100% complete.

  1. Use the Right Agent / Team Association

If you’re part of a real estate team then Zillow makes a specific association available that you can use to communicate this to those viewing your profile and listings. Make sure you take advantage of it, joining the team affiliation while also maintaining a complete individual Zillow profile for yourself.

You can only belong to one team at a time, so making sure you don’t have any duplicate accounts floating around out there is important.

  1. Correct Your Listing Data

Be very diligent about going over all of the listing data shown on Zillow for properties listed by you on behalf of the homeowners. That’s the necessary basics, but also spending the extra time to write creative, informational descriptions for each property is something you should do too. Fill out every field you can, and make sure you upload professional-quality images and video of the property.

  1. Add Past SOLD Properties

It’s a fact that sellers like to see what types of homes have been sold by a realtor. And in particular they want to see what a home was sold for compared to its initial listing price. The lack of historically sold properties is a common oversight. Make sure yours are included, and add as many of them as you can while making extra sure all the information show is accurate.

  1. Use Videos

A well-shot video can do absolute wonders for a listing, and video listings display higher on results pages in Zillow. Zillow makes adding a video incredibly simple, and so even if it’s shot with your smartphone it can do well enough. Just make sure to hold the camera steady, move slowly, and have the zoom set appropriately.

  1. Get Client Reviews

Every single time you can you should add client reviews to your Zillow profile. Agents with more reviews and higher ratings will stand out to Zillow users. Aim to get at least 5 reviews initially, and then as your business grows you should be able to add 2-3 new reviews every month.

You should also reply to each review that you get with a personal, genuine response. It looks good on your and your professionalism, and it will also create opportunities for increased engagement with your past customers. Good reviews for your team can do the same.

  1. Answer Questions

Proving you’re an accessible resource for real estate information is one of the easiest ways to build your online presence and generate leads from online marketing. Try to participate in Zillow Advice as often as possible. It’s similar to ActiveRain, Yahoo Answers, Quora and other Q&A sites, but with the advantage being that your answered questions will be tied to your Zillow profile.

Answering 2-3 questions a week at minimum is very doable, and a reasonable goal for a realtor who wants to use Zillow for marketing themselves. Answer each question with as much detail as you can possibly put into it, and don’t just copy and paste answers from elsewhere.

  1. Automate Emails

Time is usually a very scarce commodity for a successful realtor. Sending repetitive, redundant emails to prospects is not only ineffective, but it’s poor use of your time. Zillow’s Auto Actions lets you automate emails that don’t require your personal attention every single time. What you should do is create genuine email templates that you can use to communicate with new prospects effectively and let you make better use of your time.

  1. Sync Your Leads

Zillow offers a powerful CRM to its users. However, if you’re like most agents then that’s not your primary CRM. Many realtors use something like Salesforce, Contactually or even your website to store and manage their leads. That’s fine, but make sure you keep your Zillow leads synced with your CRM of choice. What this does it is streamlines your lead management processes, and also allow for easier campaign creation.

Zapier is a really good choice, and the many favourable reviews it has from realtors suggests it’s a quality digital product.

  1. Spend Time on Zillow Digs

Zillow Digs is essentially a Pinterest for real estate that’s built right into Zillow. Those of you who have spent any time on Pinterest will probably know how engaging it can be. If you can pair that user experience and resource with a platform that is focused exclusively on the topic of real estate then you’re well on your way to having a captive, engaged audience that can be leveraged for growth.

Aim to create at least 3 initial boards on Digs and fill them with content every week. Also, finding a niche and catering to it will help you get even more out of Zillow Digs.

  1. Repurpose Available Reports / Data

Helpful market reports are often the result of researching, curating, formatting, writing, designing and sending, and when you add that all up it equals a lot of time spend creating reports. Zillow provides market data report that are usually released each season. These reports require you to download them first, but they’re openly available to agents and anyone else that wants to reference them.

Repurposing these reports by turning them into blog posts, embedding them on your website and sending them out to your email subscribers is a good choice. You will have to change the text of the reports, and with ‘big info’ it’s a good idea to verify the information provided by confirming it via a second reputable source.

  1. Install the Premier Agent App

Installing Zillow’s agent-focused app on your mobile device and desktop is recommended. This well-crafted app will allow you to manage leads, edit your profile and request reviews. Put the app on your device’s home screen and turn on notifications. This will keep the app top of mind and keep you active on Zillow.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered only to you for your also-exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your prospecting efforts and put you directly in touch with the types of people who will likely soon be needing the services of a quality real estate agent. That’s you!