This post originally appeared on LeadPropeller’s blog here: Online Lead Generation For Real Estate Investors Part 1: High-Converting Websites
Having a high converting website is the best way to get business as a real estate investor. How can a business survive if it isn’t generating leads? The answer is simple: it can’t.
Years and years of generating thousands of motivated seller leads online has taught me a lot, and I want to share as much of that with you as I can. One blog won’t be enough to really give you the information that is going to make your real estate investing business more successful.
In fact, as I was outlining what I am going to share, it dawned on me that there are a lot of things that are better understood when they are presented visually. That’s why I’ve decided to have a webinar. The seating is going to be limited, so you should register sooner than later at http://leadpropeller.com/webinar.
First thing is first, when it comes to online lead generation there are two different ways to go about it. There is outbound lead generation and inbound lead generation.
Outbound Lead Generation
Outbound leads are where you go out actively searching for motivated sellers. Outbound leads are anything from calls made to people that post ads selling their house, to driving for dollars.
You can find outbound leads on places like:
- In local newspapers and news websites
- Auction sites
- Other real estate investor wholesale website
- For example: cheapsanantoniohouses.com
The important thing with outbound leads is communicating with them. Unlike buying and selling retail, real estate gives you the opportunity to negotiate. You shouldn’t ignore a potential deal if you think the asking price is too high, instead you should negotiate down to what you are willing and able to pay.
Speaking of communicating, with outbound leads it is up to you to contact them. This is something that can be outsourced. If you don’t have the time, get someone else to call around and screen these potential leads.
Have a script ready for them along these lines:
“Hello. I saw that you posted a house for sale on Craigslist. Do you have a minute for a few questions? Great!
[This is the part where you ask questions about the house. Try to figure out why they’re selling. Ask if it doesn’t come up in conversation.]
I work with a real estate investor that buys houses for cash. Just to be up front, they can’t typically pay full market value, but they can buy the house as-is and close within a week, or whenever is best for you. Would you be interesting in having them come out to make you a cash offer on the house?
[If yes]: Great! When would be a good time? Oh, also, can you tell me how much you owe on the property if anything? Thank you so much!”
You might be thinking that Pay Per Click would be considered outbound. It’s really not, because your ads are shown based on the keywords searched. But that’s something we’ll cover in another blog.
Inbound Lead Generation (my preferred method)
The difference between inbound and outbound lead generation is that for inbound leads, the motivated sellers reach out to you. That means your customers are actively seeking you out for your services. There is a huge difference between this and the shotgun approach of direct mail.
Think about it. Somebody has a real estate problem and it’s festered enough to where they’ve gone online to find a solution. They need you and what you can do for them and are now trying to find you.
This sure beats getting calls from irate people telling you they’ll kill you because you sent them a postcard! And take it from me, it’s happened.
So, instead of going door to door, or sending mail to people who don’t want it, how do you get motivated sellers coming to you?
Obviously, you need a website. But things are never just that simple. You’ll need a high converting website.
Why You Need a High Converting Website for Online Lead Generation
You don’t just need a website, you need a high converting website that can be found by people searching for you and your exact service. That means your website needs to show up when people search for you. But more importantly, your website needs to show up close to the top of the searches.
This is where SEO comes in handy. As we’ve discussed before, search engine optimization is how your real estate investing website will rank high in Google searches.
You can read all about it, and build your own SEO tactics with our online SEO guide. Or, if you don’t have time to optimize your content for search engines, LeadPropeller also includes a done-for-you SEO service so you can spend time converting leads into deals!
It doesn’t end with getting a website, or making it optimized for search engines. To make sure you have a high converting website, once customers find your it you’ve got to convince them to either contact you, or submit their information.
Having a call to action for potential customers is what they will use to contact you. This can be:
- Email subscription list
- Listing your email & phone number
- A contact page
- A comment box
Only with a call to action will potential customers be able to reach out to you with their leads that you can then turn into thousands of dollars of profit!
I know that sounds like a monumental task, especially with all of the competition out there from other investors that know what kind of return on investment is possible with real estate investing. But don’t worry, with this 3 part guide you will be a master at online lead generation, and will start to see your real estate investing business skyrocket.
Interested! How could you not be?
This guide will be broken up into 3 parts:
- Getting a High-Converting Website
- Promoting Your Website
- Generating Traffic and Leads ASAP
Ok. Let’s get started.
Getting a High Converting Website for Online Lead Generation
There are always going to be options for this sort of thing. You could build your own site but spending lots of your hard earned money hiring a web developer to make you a website, or using a free online website template service. Or you could get an optimized high converting website system.
Building Your Own Website
There are free online services you can use to make a fine website with. Places like Wix, Weebly, and WordPress have templates you can use to make a website that gets the job done.
The problem is that your options are limited as far as customization, and your finished product will end up looking like everyone else’s. And in a highly competitive market like real estate investing means that your website needs to stand out from other investor’s.
Ok, so hire a developer. Easy fix.
Well, maybe not. Web developers can cost a lot of money, and ultimately the control of the website isn’t in your hands. You’re a real estate investor, not a web developer. What if the site crashes, how will you fix it without spending more money on outsourcing it?
Another problem you have to deal with is actually coming up with the content for your website. Common issues like:
- What pages should you have?
- What should those pages have on them?
- How will your call to action forms work?
You can use wufoo.com for an online form builder, but realistically that’s going to take more time away from your real estate investing time.
Another issue is SEO. If you’re building your site from scratch, you will have to take the extra time to make sure it’s optimized for search engines like Google and Bing. You could learn how to do that with our guide, but if you don’t already know SEO inside and out it’s still going to take a while.
Search engines, like Google, want to provide a good experience to searchers. This has led them to prefer sites that are “mobile-responsive”. Basically, this means the website should adjust to be viewed on mobile devices. If you hire a developer, or do it yourself, make sure they build it to accommodate that function.
Just remember, developers aren’t cheap.
Optimized Website System
Your other option is to go with a service that provides optimized high converting website systems for real estate investors. Lucky for you, we know all about these!
An optimized website system is exactly what LeadPropeller is. The simple version is this: a LeadPropeller website comes already optimized for search engines right out of the box.
There are content packs available for you, so you don’t have to write your own content to start building your online presence. Plus, with LeadPropeller’s SEO service, you don’t have to worry about researching keywords or evaluating your competitors – we handle all of that for you.
That’s what you should be looking for in an optimized website system. It should be something that is more than just another website from a real estate investor – it should be something that’s already made for online lead generation.
But I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch. Instead, I’m going to provide you with all of the information you need so that you can make your own opinion and choose which option is best for your real estate investing business.
1. What Makes a High Converting Website
First, a conversion is when you have someone visit your site and they either submit the form with their information, or give you a call.
So if you have 10 visitors view your page and one submits the form, that means you have a 10% conversion rate for that time period.
Not everybody will submit the form and call you, and there are reasons for that:
- They may just be curious about your services
- They may be other investors just checking out the competition
- They may be skeptical of you and your website
- They may not have a strong enough motivation to take action
The customers who fall into the last two reasons are the ones you should be concerned with because those are the customers you need to be converting.
The problem is that the people who fall into these groups are skeptical and anxious. One group isn’t sure about how legit you are, and the other group is not feeling comfortable enough to reach out for your services.
So the question is how do you design your website to address these issues?
Understand these are very common issues for motivated sellers looking for a way out of their situation.
The way to get the BS meter for people to ease up and become more comfortable and open to contacting you is to provide credibility. You can exude credibility by doing several things:
Have positive testimonials on your website.
If you don’t have sellers that you can ask for testimonials from, ask your friends, family and colleagues. They don’t have to lie and act as though you bought their house, they can just vouch for your integrity, etc.
Use the person’s full name. I don’t know about you, but when I see a testimonial by John W. I doubt the legitimacy of it. Video testimonials are the best. It’s hard to doubt those because the viewers are watch someone say good things about you.
Professionally Designed Website
Have a professionally designed website that looks and works great and is easy to navigate.
We’ve all been to sites that look like they were built in the 90’s, so we all know what an outdated site looks like. You want a clean, uncluttered website that shows you are professional.
Think about it: you’re telling people you’ll pay cash for their house, so you’ve got to have a website that looks like it costs a lot of money to build.
I’ve heard people talk about how pretty websites don’t convert as well and that is just complete baloney. There are so many factors that go into conversions that an easy excuse for low conversions is that the site was pretty, but how does that make sense?
What usually is going on is the people offering the websites don’t have the technical ability to allow their customers to have custom lookings sites, and so they spin the problem to make it seem like it’s not a problem but a benefit. Beware.
The myth that pretty sites have low conversion rates is garbage, and we have years of data to prove it.
A simple test is this: Which site do you feel more comfortable submitting your information to – a nice looking site, or a site that looks like it was thrown together in a couple minutes? Always consider things from the perspective of potential motivated sellers. Put yourself in their shoes.
Making it Personable
Let visitors to your site know who you are, why and how you got into the business, and how you want to help them. Pictures that don’t seem like cheesy stock photos work best.
An “about us” page is crucial! This is where you can tell your unique story. Don’t ignore this and make a vague, generic, corporate website. The “about us” page is where you go from being a business to being a person. You should also include a little blurb about you on the homepage as well. The more personable you appear online, the more likely a potential lead will be to contact you.
Make Your Contact Info Easy to Find
You should have your phone number everywhere. I mean it – everywhere.
You should also have your business address on the website, as well as emails and any P.O. boxes. When people have no other option aside from filling out a form to get in touch with you, and they cannot find a name for who is behind the site, they become very skeptical.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
Being an expert in your field is what builds your credibility. If you were sick and needed to go to the doctor, wouldn’t you rather go to one who’s an expert instead of someone who’s only read one medical textbook?
You should have content on your website that shows you know what you are talking about when it comes to real estate and buying houses. Remember those content packs we talked about? Leadpropeller sites come with default content for you that do this masterfully.
You should also be blogging (we’ll cover this topic in great detail in next week’s blog).
There is a lot to know about the right and wrong way to blog. If you don’t have the time or desire to write blog posts, let LeadPropeller do it for you! We offer locally-optimized content packs you can purchase that can be dripped out over several months to keep your site fresh and establish you as an expert.
Boost Your Site Speed
We talked about this in the SEO Guide, so you should know that boosting your site speed helps a lot. Believe it or not, how fast your website loads has an effect on how visitors perceive you and your business.
According to KissMetrics, an online analytic blog:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Ok. So those are ways of converting the people that wouldn’t otherwise contact you due to skepticism and anxiety. Over all, those are pretty easy problems to fix.
Let’s talk about conversion enhancing design. This will help improve your conversion rate by leaps and bounds.
Large forms that ask for tons of information right off the bat scare people away. Again, think of things from your customer’s point of view. Would you feel comfortable filling out a huge form with lots of detailed personal information? No. So why should they?
What you want to do is have short forms that only ask for the bare minimum to get the maximum number of people to feel comfortable submitting their info.
Our high converting LeadPropeller websites have a short form that asks for the customer’s name, email address, phone number, and address of the house they want to sell.
Once they submit that form, their information is saved in your LeadPropeller account, emailed to you, and texted to you (we’ll talk about this texting in a minute). The website visitor is then taken to a longer form that asks tons of great questions about the house and why they are selling it.
We’ve crafted the questions we ask in a way so that they are more inclined to give you their real numbers.
For example, our long form asks the seller their asking price, and then about any repairs or updating the house needs. Then, they are asked why they want to sell the house.
These two questions usually get them to feel the way they felt when they decided that they really need to sell. So now that they are back into the mindset they were in, we ask what the least they would be willing to take for a cash offer and fast close.
That price is almost always much lower than the asking price they mention earlier in the form. How awesome is that? The website does some negotiating for you!
Back to the 2 form system. So, if they fill out the first form but do not fill out the second form, you still have their contact information so that you can reach out to them. If you only have a single long form that scares people off, you have no way of knowing who they were and have lost that potential lead.
Some other online marketers that provide real estate investor websites tell people that research shows a form with fewer fields gets higher conversions mean you should remove all but the name and email address on your home page form. This is HORRIBLE advice!
Why? Because you must have the phone number on your form!
Using the advice given you’d expect to get more leads because people would be more comfortable just submitting a form with their email address and not their phone number.
In reality, that is not the case.
Here’s what actually happens:
When you only have an email address, it’s VERY difficult to get in touch with a seller. This is a fact. People check their phones more than they check their emails, and people are more likely to pick up a phone call than write a response. So getting their phone number is a must.
If you don’t get their phone number, and take too long to reach out to them via email, the chances of that potential lead submitting their information to another investor goes up. If that happens, then you’ve lost the deal.
The takeaway: always, always, always get the phone number!
Now this is a section that would greatly benefit from being a part of the webinar. If you haven’t yet registered, take a minute to go to http://leadpropeller.com/webinar.
To make sure you have a high converting website it has to be mobile-responsive. That’s a must. If you don’t, you’re going to be losing out on at least half the leads you could be getting, probably more.
According to SimilarWeb’s State of Mobile Web US 2015 report, roughly 56 percent of consumer traffic to the leading US websites is now from mobile devices. And it’s growing.
Websites these days need to be mobile responsive so that they look great and adapt their design no matter what device they are displayed on. There are factors to consider when designing for mobile devices that a lot of developers don’t think about. In fact, Google has a guideline for ‘Mobile Friendliness’. These design factors include making sure buttons and links have enough space around them so that it’s easy to touch them without inadvertently touching a different link or button than intended.
So being mobile friendly isn’t just an advantage anymore, it’s a requirement. If at least half of the US population is primarily using their mobile devices to get online, why would you not integrate mobile-responsiveness to your website? To make it easy, Google even has a tool for testing this for a site’s mobile-responsiveness.
Another quick way to test mobile responsiveness is to open your desktop browser and load a website. Then click the edge of your browser and adjust the width of the window to make it smaller and see how the website adjusts.
If you’re using Chrome, you can also use their developer tools to see what the sites looks on a range of device sizes.
WordPress or Not WordPress
Because WordPress has such an easy user interface, it is often recommended. Adding content on a WordPress site is easy because that’s what it was built for – blogging. You can write a post, add media, and publish it all in one sitting. WordPress is good at that.
But what WordPress isn’t so good at is creating an easily customizable website that looks amazing and is fast loading. Remember, site speed is important.
We had considered WordPress for LeadPropeller websites but quickly dismissed it because of this limitation. We wanted our sites to be easily customizable – that’s why there’s a custom editor built right in – that allowed us to provide lots of different templates that can be tailored to everyone’s individual tastes.
To be able to easily add content to your site through blog posts, we coded up the ability to include a WordPress blog to your site with the push of a button. So now, you have a site that loads super fast, is easily customizable, and looks great with an attached WordPress blog that is there for what it does best – blogs. We didn’t lock you into the limitations of WordPress.
You should be careful if you decide to look into a site designed solely around WordPress. These can load slower and usually don’t allow you to install your own plugins. These are huge limitations that were deal killers for us when we architected LeadPropeller.
2. How the Proper Notification System Helps You to Eliminate Competition
Consider what people do when they search the internet for something. Usually, people will click on the top result, scan the website, and then the mouse moves up and to the left to click the back button.
You leave that site and go to the next one. And you do that pretty quickly.
This is also what many motivated sellers do when they search for a home buyer to buy their house.
We’ve considered this and found the best way to prevent them from contacting your competition is to talk to them as soon as possible. This way you can build some rapport and set an appointment. If you do that, your lead won’t usually continue looking for someone else’s service because they feel like they accomplished what they set out to do with you.
There are three ways you can increase your chances of talking with them before your competition with a LeadPropeller site:
- We have your phone number in multiple places on the site, because you really want them to call you instead of submitting the form.
- We can send them an automated text message after they fill out the second form.
- You can be notified instantly with a text message when each form is submitted so that you can call them right away.
These text messages are our clients’ favorite features of LeadPropeller. It’s what makes it more of a system than just another website. You can even insert data from the form submission your customers entered in the text so it doesn’t seem automated!
Something we just made available was the ability to get a notification if the seller responds the automatic text. That way, you can continue the conversation through texting if you prefer to do it that way.
Autoresponder & Drip Email Integration
Since your LeadPropeller site is also collecting seller email addresses, you are able to communicate and follow up with them through email.
Our sites have the ability for you to set one-off autoresponder emails that allow insertion of data specific to the seller and house they are selling. When a client submits the second form, the automated email is sent out and appears to have come from you and your email address. This way you appear very responsive and professional to your client.
If you use MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, MadMimi or GetResponse, you can link up your account so that the email addresses submitted are added to a list within those systems. In those systems you can set up autoresponder series of emails that can go out at different intervals to the seller.
While that is a great feature, it isn’t necessary to have a separate service. That’s why we’ve added this drip autoresponder functionality to Flip Pilot (what used to be called REImobile).
In fact, we made it better! This this integrated feature, you also get text messages as part of the follow up drip sequences. A new feature that is coming for our clients is voicemail messages and direct mail as well.
These automated drip campaigns save a lot of time and hassle of follow up, freeing you to convert those leads into deals.
3. The Fresher The Better – Fresh Content Makes You Rank Higher
Ok, so we’ve covered how to make a high converting website, and how to eliminate competition through fast notification methods that allow you to contact the seller immediately.
Now, we’re going to talk about how fresh content helps your site to rank better in the search engines.
Websites need to be easily updated. LeadPropeller provides a custom website editor that we built to allow you to click elements of your website and edit them. This not only helps with your customization, but it makes updating your website a breeze. Now updating your website just takes minutes and doesn’t require navigating menus that are buried 8 layers deep. Forget about FTP or having to know any html or code, you won’t need it with our sites.
There are some other systems built on WordPress, and their editing capabilities are almost non-existent. You have to go through all of menus that takes you to places so far removed from what you are changing on your site that it’s nearly impossible to know what you are actually changing. They recommend not changing anything on their sites mainly because it’s nearly impossible to do so. LOL, okay…
Website updates and new content on your website helps you to rank better. If you are using old information, your content is no longer a current answer to a search query. Google ranks sites that update their content because it makes you more relevant and useful for searchers. This is because Google and Bing want to show websites that are both “fuller” and “fresher”.
Fuller websites are websites that simply have more pages and more content that is all relevant to the topic of the website.
Obviously, being that you are a real estate investor, you want to make sure the content is relevant to the following:
- Real Estate – houses, homes, condos, rentals…we’re all about real estate.
- Your Location – Being that our websites usually just target one city, we want Google and Bing to know that we specialize and are focused on that area. It’s much easier to rank locally than nationwide. You can quickly create landing pages for each area within your city with LeadPropeller. All you have to do is enter the list of names for the areas and your home page is replicated with the location swapped out for all of the areas you entered. This is a huge time saver!
- Buying houses/Selling houses fast – We want to rank for terms related to people wanting to sell a house, but more importantly we want to rank for people that want to sell them fast. This is the focus of the most important keywords we should be ranking high for. We’ve already discussed these in our SEO Guide, but will go over them in greater detail in Part 3 of this guide.
Don’t Have Time to Manage Your Online Lead Generation?
That’s what we’re here for! Again, LeadPropeller isn’t just another website building service, we’re an optimized high converting website system made specifically for real estate investors.
We provide customized automated responses that make your real estate investing business more professional and have a better response time. With a LeadPropeller site, you’ll have fresh, already optimized content that will help direct more potential leads to your services. And, if you don’t have time to manage your own SEO, we have a service for that as well.
So the real question is, do you want just another website that looks and functions like every other investors, or do you want an optimized website system? I think the answer is pretty obvious.