The COVID-19 crisis is impacting all of us in some way, shape, or form. So what I wanted to dive into is what data we have in our system with over 10,000 real estate investor and agent websites.
What data are we seeing right now and how the lead flow has been impacted by COVID-19 for real estate buyers and sellers?
[Updated August 6] New Data Pointing to Conversion Rate Increases
There has been a clear shift towards new lead generation, and how our members are acquiring those in the past two months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to our Google Analytics data, when comparing April and May to June and July, there has been a conversion rate increase of 10.92%.
Paid Search has seen the largest shift, jumping 39.48% over the past two months. Compared to what we reported in April, it seems paid traffic has begun to normalize.
Sessions are coming down as more people are feeling confident in the house selling process.
Here are the numbers for the eight common channels:
- Organic search: 3.21% increase
- Direct: 7.84% increase
- Social: 10% increase
- Paid Search: 39.48% increase
- Referral: 21.23% increase
- Email: 36.72% decrease
- Other: 0.26% increase
- Display: 21.43% decrease
In May, our data was showing sessions steadily increasing:
We also saw conversion rates have begin to increase since a dip in mid-April:
Here’s what one Carrot member said recently…
- Overall traffic from all sources has continued to increase week over week… meaning there is more demand right now for buyers and sellers needing solutions to their problems than before.
- Conversion rates stayed low for a few weeks but are now on the uptick as the overall sentiment in the US is improving and people are starting to get out more.
- Predictions: I predict once the stay at home orders lift we’ll see conversions go up above where they were for a short period then settle into normal zones.
- Double down on why it’s important to NOT stop your marketing even if lead costs are higher from lower conversion rates… because the people are still searching… so you need to be getting content in front of them NOW while they’re researching and followup w/ them through retargeting so you’re in front of them when they’re ready. This should create a surge in demand once stay at home orders lift… but only those who stayed in front of the market will capture that demand.
Additional COVID-19 Articles:
- What The Coronavirus Pandemic Means for Agents & Investors & Why We’re Doubling Down
- The Coronavirus Podcast Series: For Real Estate Investors & Agents
- How to Win with Content Marketing During COVID-19 | Playbook Emerges
I pulled up our own Google Analytics account, which is a master account for all of our member websites that are generating the top rankings in Google for motivated house sellers.
So we have crazy, crazy cool data from every major market in the country.
The first thing to notice is a report from March 1st through the time that I’m diving into this data, which is April 7th.
Number one, we’ve reported this data in the past, Monday’s tend to be the hottest time when your sellers and buyers are hitting the internet to search.
Now this includes Google searches. It does include some direct search, where people are typing your URL directly, but mostly Google search and Google pay per click. When people have that pain point the most, is your Monday or Tuesday.
Monday and Tuesday have the highest demand for searches.
Now here’s one thing that we saw as soon as the stay-at-home order took place in most of the cities around the country in early to mid-March.
From March 1st – April 7th. On the right, sessions are “visits to our member’s sites” from sellers and buyers. Notice only about a 10% dip for a couple of weeks then it’s climbed back to normal numbers by April 1st.
On the left, is the conversion rate on that traffic. While the traffic remained essentially the same… buyers and sellers are STILL searching for solutions. Some of them aren’t submitting their contact info because they’re unsure how to buy or sell during the Coronavirus stay at home orders.
This EQUALS a huge opportunity.
While you may be seeing your conversion rate dip on your marketing, the SEARCH volume is still there. You need to create content (VideoPost, our automated content, retargeting ads, around how you can help them during COVID still, etc.) and get it in front of them on your site, update your hero section to link to one of our COVID-19 automated articles (Content Pro and Advanced Marketer) and place retargeting content on FB specific to how you can still help them during COVID.
You can see traffic to our client’s websites, agents and investors, has not really gone down much. There was a slight blip by about 5 to 10% in traffic volume with house sellers and house buyers.
Now you can see it started to climb back up. So right here at the start of March before the shutdown started to happen, on a normal Monday it’d be just sub-50,000, between 45,000 and 50,000 people hitting our client’s website each day. And then you can see right there, somewhere between that week, week and a half, we started to see that drop-off.
This is organic traffic (traffic from google searches) from March 1st – April 7th. You’ll notice that initial “shock” of COVID dipped organic by 10% or so the 2 weeks after it hit.
But, the past 2 weeks of organic traffic is increasing week over week again for motivated sellers and buyers (including land). We see this getting stronger as more sellers have more motivation the longer it goes on.
Now towards the end of the month and even into the first part of April, we started to see traffic go back up a little bit. We think that that’s probably because that initial fear, that initial, “Hey, let’s wait and see what’s going on,” started to fade off and we came into that new normal.
Here’s the thing that’s really, really important. That data shows that the traffic really has not gone down in a measurable way from your sellers and buyers.
Now, if I map back to the start of March, the conversion rate of one of our homepages which are geared for lead generation, those range usually between 5 and 25%.
So when we’re looking at gross conversion rate, that’s all traffic, all sources, any page that they landed on, even non-conversion pages, what percentage of them became a lead?
And this is a really respectable percentage, between 2 and 4% of all traffic comes to a lead on the Carrot system.
If you’re driving to a landing page, there might be a 20 to 30% conversion. If you’re driving to a rent-to-own page, it might be between a 30 and 40% conversion rate.
But here’s what’s interesting.
Right when the stay-at-home order started to hit around the middle of March, in California and Oregon and Washington and a bunch of other states, conversion dropped off by about 20 to 30%.
So what does that mean? If the conversion rate of a website for buyers, sellers, for agents and investors, dropped off by about 20 to 30%, while the traffic of the demand from buyers and sellers didn’t really change much, what does that mean?
Well, one thing that we’re hearing a lot of, or a good number of even experienced agents and investors say, is you might see your lead cost go up a little bit, possibly.
Some people are seeing their lead costs down right now because competitors have pulled out of the marketing spaces. You might see your conversion rate of PPC, of SEO, of direct mail, of cold calling, of any of those, you might see that actually go down right now even though the demand is still there.
What Should You Do Right Now?
Here’s what I want to give you guidance on. The demand is still here, but many sellers and buyers aren’t sure what to do right now in the midst of the Coronavirus. Do they reach out to you and try to elicit your services?
Many of them might be nervous about…
“Well shoot, I don’t want to have someone come to my house right now. Maybe I’ll wait until this is all over.”
Or, “How can I still sell my house if this person can’t come in?”
Or, “Where am I going to move if we’re in a stay-at-home order in my state of California?” as examples.
Direct Action Items
Here are some direct action items for you right now.
#1. The demand is still there y’all for buyers and sellers, that’s not going away.
Actually, even more so you’re starting to see it pick up here and get back to pre-Coronavirus numbers because people are in that new normal. They’re at home on these cell phones and they still have the problem or they have the desire that they’re searching out.
Paid search-demand through Google Ads hasn’t changed much at all. It dipped less than 3% after the stay at home order… but now is growing to more google ads clicks than before Coronavirus.
The opportunity here… in many markets we’re seeing paid ad costs dip as less savvy investors or agents pull back their marketing budgets (the worst thing you can do).
Now, many motivated house sellers actually have even more of a desire and even more of an acute problem because their financial situation might be worse now.
As an investor or as an agent, you can really step up and help them right now and show them that they can still be helped during this pandemic.
#2. What can you do if you are seeing a softening conversion rate right now?
Having a lower conversion is natural right now because of the “wait and see” attitude from some buyers and sellers.
So what can you do?
Right now you should be creating more content!
We talk about that a lot, but you need to be creating content and local authority right now as people are still doing their searches. As soon as the Coronavirus is over and we’re back to life as semi-normal, demand is going to pop back and they’re going to be reaching out to the person or the people that they want to have help them.
So right now, they’re doing the research. They’re digging in and saying, “Who do I want to work with?” As soon as it’s all over they’re going to be moving fast as a buyer or a seller to solve that problem.
The way that you become the one that they’re working with is by putting out content, put out VideoPosts on your Carrot website to where it’s a short YouTube video.
You can do it with your cell phone, talking about how they can still sell their home during the Coronavirus. Do a walkthrough in the house through Facebook, or through FaceTime or Zoom or whatever it is.
You can still protect their safety and their health. Or if they’re a buyer, how can you start to work with them now to ensure that when they’re ready to buy or maybe they are ready to buy right now, that you can pull the trigger on it?
If they’re a seller, they might be thinking…
“Well, you know what, I kind of want to wait to sell.”
What happens if they wait until everything is back to normal and then reach out to you?
Then they’re going to be behind the eight-ball by two, four, six weeks, and there’s going to be buyers that are hungry and ready to go at that point and they might miss some of that high demand window to get the most out of their property.
Talk with them with your content and videos. Put the content on your Carrot site using our VideoPosts feature. Put them on Facebook as retargeting sequences so they can shift they’re thinking into…
“I’m going to start preparing right now and I can still get this taken care of during the Coronavirus pandemic, and I can work with these investors or these agents even right now and we don’t have to meet in person.”
🔥 Diving Into More Data 🔥
Let’s dive into a couple of other cool pieces of information.
Social Media Traffic Data
Let’s hop over to social media. Social media is actually even picked up a little bit. There are a lot more people on your Facebook as well as other social platforms.
That’s where you need to be putting those videos about how you can help them during this crisis, or how you can still help them buy or sell. That content needs to be going on social media right now. We’re seeing traffic picking up on social media over the past month.
Direct Traffic Data
Let’s take a look at direct traffic. Now a hunk of this is actually organic search that Google lumps in, and a hunk of it is somebody actually typing in your URL. You can see the same thing. The demand for that has not really gone down at all.
Paid Traffic Data
Looking at paid search, that demand hasn’t really changed, either. It’s actually gone up. On Monday, April 6th, there were 7,730 sessions to our websites through Google paid traffic. A month later we’re actually seeing more traffic.
So while there’s a lot of agents and investors pulling back their marketing right now, what’s happening is we’re in this interesting window where oftentimes your paid traffic through Google and through Facebook is a little bit cheaper because there’s less competition.
Some are even stopping their marketing. You should not. You should be leaning into your marketing because we’re starting to see that data come back.
Time Lag Data
There is a situation called “time lag”.
How many visits it takes someone to turn into a lead. Why is this important, those people who are not sure about how to sell/buy during Coronavirus who are searching but not acting, they need content and YOU to be the trusted Authority.
Create a COVID-19 update on your home page that links to our new COVID-19 articles (content pro and adv marketer upsell. Link direct to those packs in the article) and also create video posts right now, one per week on how people can sell or buy right now.
41,628 opt-in conversion leads, not including the 40,000-plus phone call leads that came in through the same time period.
Look how long it took some of those people to become a lead. The vast majority, become a lead on the first day.
But then, some of them, it takes weeks if not months to become a lead for you. So this is where putting in really good retargeting campaigns is very, very important, especially right now while some people are waiting it out.
Length of the path for visitors to actually interact and engage with you
How many times does it take them visiting your website, especially right now during this time period, to become a lead?
Right now that time period is lengthening versus our normal because some of those sellers and buyers are unsure how they can best be served during this Coronavirus time.
You need to be creating content and local authority to help them come back through this time. Think about content topics such as…
- Where they’re going to move
- How they can get people into their house right now
- How they can still stay safe and healthy during this process
From the last image above, 86% of people on the very first interaction become a lead on your website, agents and investors.
But then it takes some people over 12.
So one half of 1%, it takes over 12 interactions. But the sweet spot is six or under.
The vast majority of people take between one to six interactions on your website to become a lead, and that’s actually lengthening right now.
Organic Conversion Data
The one single most consistent, predictable, and highest converting lead source, is organic. It’s putting content online and getting high rankings in Google, which we specialize in. It converts the highest.
On average, no matter what page they land on, there’s a 5.54% conversion rate percentage and very, very low bounce rate on Google organic search.
Whereas, social has the lowest conversion rate. It’s lower by almost two thirds. But it still converts well. That’s because people are seeking a solution to their problem in Google organic. Social, you’re kind of interrupting them with content but it still works. Keep that in front of them.
Paid Conversion Data
Let’s look at paid traffic. Paid traffic on average is about a 2% conversion rate. That’s still great. You can still make an amazing, amazing ROI with that.
Create evergreen content
I want to come back to evergreen marketing because that’s what is going to be around in a year, two, three, four years from now.
How do you do less marketing that performs better?
How do you do marketing that is consistent, predictable, and momentum-building?
That’s with evergreen marketing.
Publishing content online that builds authority, that attracts people when they’re seeking out solutions to their problems, and then once they land on your website, it’s not just the normal broker-provided website or a custom website that looks pretty but doesn’t convert well, or a Wix site that performs terribly.
It might look pretty but it doesn’t convert well. You need to be delivering amazing authority-building content, which we do with our content marketing tools where we have COVID-19 automated articles now.
If you’re on the Content Pro plan or Advanced Marketer, we have COVID-19 articles written for you to publish on your website. You can go right now into your system and schedule to tell people how you can help them. Share those on social media.
Use VideoPosts right now. Create a video every single week. I’m creating a podcast every week about COVID-19 and how you can wade your way through that. Do the same thing with your buyers and sellers.
We’re here with you. We want to see you start to thrive and crush it in this market. We’re starting to see the traffic grow. We’re starting to see conversions start to go back up.
The way you wade through this market is creating more and more content, becoming the authority. So when things get back to normal, you’re going to see a pop in demand when all your other competition’s waiting it out.
Lastly, check out our Authority Building Webinar to learn more ways to stand out in this market, build authority, and build momentum.