Even though the housing market has been thriving for the last several years, 2019 is going to be a different story…
What’s happening? Well, last year’s high home prices, low mortgage rates, and significant home price growth tilted the market in favor of sellers and investors. More than likely, that helped you close a lot of great deals for a pretty good profit, but now the “thriving” market is shifting.
No one is expecting a housing crisis. but make no mistake, this downturn is going to shake up the market.
Here’s what you should expect: a limited inventory means there’ll be more competition for leads. Higher mortgage rates mean more priced-out buyers and a harder time generating leads. And a mild decline of home sales means closing deals might take more incentives.
In other words, whatever strategies worked for you in 2018 might not be as effective in 2019. Success in the new market is going to require more creativity. You’ll need to be comfortable evolving with the market, or you’ll risk the market leaving you behind.
But don’t be too intimidated. Even though the market is going to be tougher than last year, it’s still healthy. If anything, this is a chance for you to show what you’re made of. It’s an opportunity to break above the competition instead of getting discouraged or sticking to business as usual. But that’s going to take some preparation…
How to Grow Your Real Estate Business: Understanding The 2019 Market
Realtor.com’s 2019 housing forecast reports that this will be a tough year for buyers and sellers. Buyers are facing increasing mortgage rates and pricier monthly payments (about 8% more expensive). This will keep quite a few would-be first-time homebuyers out of the market.
Sellers and investors don’t have it much easier. There’s going to be a lot more competition out there, and you probably won’t be able to close deals as easily. Selling is going to take longer and it might even require some incentives like price cuts. Bidding wars are also pretty unlikely since inventory will be limited.
Remember, the market is still healthy, it’s just a bit tougher than it used to be. If you price competitively, use incentives, and get creative when it comes to generating leads, you can still thrive.
Your Mindset Should Evolve With The Market
The market is changing, so your mindset should too. After all, this isn’t 2018 anymore, so it’s time to throw out last year’s strategies and get ready to find new ones.
If you don’t change your strategy to account for the changing market, you might miss out on some great opportunities to grow your real estate business in 2019. So, let’s talk about where you should focus your energy.
There’s some evidence to support that marketing harder during downturns can give you a competitive edge. A study by McGraw Hill’s Research Laboratory of Advertising found that business people who put more money and time into marketing during downturns did better than those who buried their heads in the sand. By the time the economy recovered, they hit the ground running and flew even further past the competition.
You should also pay attention to your testimonials. Your clients have a lot of money on the line, so boosting your credibility profile is a must. Don’t just tell everyone how good you are – show them with case studies, career highlights, or glowing testimonials.
It’s a worthy use of your time and it could give you a leg up on the competition.
It’s also crucial to get creative with closing deals. Since you probably won’t be able to name a price and make it in full, and it’s even less likely that buyers will get in a bidding war for the home, you might have to use price cuts or some other kind of incentive to stay competitive.
Rise above those who aren’t ready to innovate and stand out with out-of-the-box deal closers.
Generating Leads in 2019
All of the changes the market is going through, in addition to some new players on the field (like Zillow’s iBuyer program and Facebook advertising), is putting a lot of pressure on you to find clever ways to generate leads and grow your business.
Like I said before, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to thrive in the new market. Here are 4 examples of what I mean.
1. Use Facebook Messenger Ads to Increase Response Rates
The more text boxes and steps your form has, the more opportunities you’re giving a potential lead to get bored or discouraged and leave. Never lose a promising lead to something so easily preventable.
As a rule of thumb, interactivity will help you boost lead engagement, so finding a way to interact with potential leads immediately is essential, even if that means you don’t get all of their information up front.
One great way to do this is by using Facebook Messenger ads. At the click of a button, the potential buyer is connected to a live conversation with you or whoever it is you’ve delegated to the chat box. This cuts out practically every step on your form, so the person can ask whatever they want in real time without giving up any boring information. Since there’s minimal time investment on their end, this can ward off early dropouts and boost your response rate.
I know. Cold calling is intimidating, but if you’re just sitting back waiting for leads to roll in, why not give it a shot? You’ll get hung-up on more often than not, but if you find a lead, it’s all worth it.
If a pure cold call is asking too much, try calling people on your own contact list. You already have a relationship with them, and even if they aren’t interested, maybe they have friends who are. Better yet, try calling expired leads. Freshly expired leads are probably a no-go (competition is fierce for those), but the much older leads, think 6 months to a year, are far less competitive.
Give some of these people a call and ask what their plans are. If you can find out why they decided not to sell, tell them how you can help. Even if they say no at first, you might have gotten them back in a selling mindset and earn their business down the line.
3. Give Automated Text Messages a Shot
Believe it or not, emails aren’t the best way to reach your prospects these days. MailChimp reported that the average email open rate is a dismal 21%. Compare that to the 94% open rate of text messages reported by Essendex and there’s no question which method is best for securing leads.
But why stop there? Your competition has already figured out that they should use SMS to contact leads, so you need to take it to the next level: automated text messages!
Imagine losing a potential lead because you were driving, eating, sleeping, stuck in a meeting, or just missed the notification.
You probably weren’t the only person they reached out to, and whoever gets back to them first might win them over. Having a simple automated message that asks a few questions and assures them that you’ll get back to them is a great way to immediately engage them and stay on their radar.
4. Invest in SEO
So, credibility, testimonials, and response rates are all important if you want to generate and maintain leads – but not if no one can find you on the internet! In their 2018 report, the National Association of Realtors found that 44% of home buyers began their property search online.
That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. By filling your website with high quality content written with SEO best practices, you’ll be able to rank higher on major search engines and pull in new leads.
You can be certain that your competition has already begun optimizing their websites and publishing keyword-rich articles and blog posts, so jump into the SEO game as soon as possible. It’s a long-term strategy, but once you get it rolling, it can save you a lot of money and win over plenty of leads.
I covered the importance of SEO in real estate in a previous article. Some of the most important ranking factors I talked about were website loading speed, optimization for mobile users, lowering your bounce rate, getting SSL protection, and consistently publishing optimized content.
That might sound pretty intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone. Here at Carrot, we have plenty of great resources for you like our SEO Keyword Bible or Content Pro and Advanced Marketer plans (which come with 12 and 24 optimized blog posts per month respectively).
Here are just a few Carrot “Doses of Awesomeness” for SEO inspiration…
“Just wanted you guys to know the you’re absolutely amazing! With all of the tools and SEO advice that come with Carrot, I was able to make huge changes in my rankings in just one week!! Not to mention A1 customer support! Thank you!”
– Taylor Madewell
My name is Erin Pennington and I am the Marketing Manager for Alcala Properties/Laurel Buys Houses. I just attended your 2 day Carrot marketing summit and have been watching all the videos on how to improve SEO, let me tell you that we got 4 deals into contract this week, 2 of which are SEO. I would love to get one of those adorable carrot stuffies to put on my desk and flaunt in the office! Thank you for all the help you and your team provide on a daily basis! I think 2019 is going to be an epic year for our company!!!
Laurel Buys Houses
“From SEO this year we’ve done 19 deals. 13 of those have been in the last 3 months. That’s great!!”
– Teal Clise (CR of Maryland)
These are just a few examples of what I mean by finding innovative and creative ways to generate leads. Get those creative juices flowing this year and come up with a few of your own. That’s the kind of mindset you need to adopt if you want to thrive in this year’s market.
It’ll be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to show what you’re really capable of.