In spite of all the optimism we hear from NAR, based on my interaction with agents today, I think that the reality for many of us in the real estate business is that we are in a very tough time. Money is tighter than ever and we need to get twelve to fifteen cents out of every dime we spend. That’s certainly my reality. Maybe it’s yours.
I thought it might be helpful to share a simple way to cut your costs and maybe stretch that money just a little further. This is a trick that many of our agents are starting to use and it has been very effective. Many agents today are generating 50+ leads a month online without spending a ton. I know of one agent who is generating about 40 leads per day and you can easily do the same thing if you need the business.
Here is the idea. Free advertising on Craigslist or other classified sites. There are two things you need to make it work, and if you do them both, you will have a repeatable and consistent flow of new business without spending a ton of money on pay-per-click advertising.
First, you need an LCM gateway. For those reading who are unfamiliar with the term LCM gateway, it is a dedicated, super-efficient, lead capture website that is designed to be used along with another website to increase the lead capture capability. The typical real estate website only captures about 1% of the visitors. By adding an LCM gateway to the site it captures about 25-30% of the traffic.
The reason that efficient capture is critical is that in order for you to have significant results with a low amount of traffic, you need high efficiency. And by using Craigslist and other sites like it, you can generally count on 3-4 clicks on each ad you place. If you are only capturing 1% you will have to place 25 ads to generate one lead.
Next, you need to put up very specific, single property ads with a link to your LCM gateway. It is important not to put the price in the ad, but rather some nice photos and the key features. You can’t tell them everything (and the most important thing they want to know is price) or they won’t click on your link to learn more.
Plan on putting up one ad for every lead you want to generate. That is the rule of thumb most of our agents are using and it seems to hold true, regardless of whether you want one or two a day or 30-40 a day. Another variation is putting a list of properties in a single ad. I have a “today’s deals” list that I post every day.
If you want 25 leads a day, then put up 25 ads. There are agents using nothing but an LCM gateway and Craigslist to generate more than enough business for themselves and their teams. It really does work and their effective cost per lead is pennies.
My advice is to make more leads than you need. It costs no more to generate 25 leads a day than it does to generate 2 so you may as well make plenty. You should also be able to count on about 10% being in Phase 2 of the buying cycle. (If this is a new concept to you, please read my articles on the real estate buying cycle.)
So, if you’re like many of us who need to stretch our marketing dollars to all-time new limits, why don’t you give this idea a try. It is not a magic bullet and it won’t cause money to fall out of the sky around you. But it will generate a ton of new business and it will do it for next to nothing, assuming you do it the way I just described. And then once you do try it, drop me an email or post a comment to let me know how it works for you.