During the home-buying process, 90% of people search online for information. Similarly, 78% of home shoppers visit three or more websites before taking action.
And the truth is similar for people looking to sell their home.
Whether you’re seeking out buyers or sellers, those stats means two important things.
First, practically all homebuyers and sellers are seeking out real estate professionals online at mission-critical moments.
Which means you need to be online.
But second, and, perhaps more important for our purposes, these buyers and sellers usually leave at least two real estate websites before taking action on a third. Whether that’s because they’re unsatisfied with what they see on the first two or because they’re comparison shopping, the consequence for real estate professionals is the same: your website is up against the odds.
Said another way, buyers and sellers want to work with real estate professionals, but they’re picky.
They won’t work with you just because you have a clean website. And they definitely won’t work with you just because you promise to do a good job.
In the end, they’ll work with you because they believe they can trust you. And here are six real estate marketing strategies that will build trust and turn cold website visitors into cold, hard cash.
Real Estate Marketing Strategy #1: Create a Mini Case Study
78% of consumers use case studies during their buying process.
But, of course, you are well familiar with the selling and buying impact of case studies. You know how powerful they can be in helping someone to make a buying decision.
You’ve probably even experienced this yourself after reading through or watching a compelling case study and swiftly opening your wallet afterward.
Still, case studies can take a long time to put together. You have to contact past customers, ask for collaboration, verify information, shoot videos, write a blog post, and promote the content.
All of a sudden, that powerful case study takes more time than it’s worth. :-(
Which is why using mini case studies — as I like to call them — might just be your saving grace.
It’s all the power of a case study with a quarter of the work.
Here’s an example of a mini case study on Partners Direct Invest LLC’s website.
As you can see, his mini case study (the video) falls directly where people land — at the top of the homepage.
Here’s the actual video so you can watch it for yourself.
There’s not a whole lot that goes into creating these powerful marketing gems. Call one of your past customers who was pleased with your service and say something like this.
I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed working with you. I thought we made a great team and I was really pleased with how everything turned out.
In fact, would you mind if I ask you a favor?
I was hoping you might have a moment to come by the office in the next couple weeks so I could record you and me on camera talking about the experience. It would help me out a ton to have a testimonial like yours on file.
It should only take 5 minutes.
Whad’ya say? Is that something you’d be comfortable with?
Most people will say “Yes” to this kind of request because of the reciprocity rule of psychology — which states that if you do someone a favor first, they’ll be inclined to do you a favor later.
Since they were pleased with your service, this will likely be a slam dunk. Once recorded, post the mini-case study front and center on your website so that people immediately think to themselves, “Wow — this person is really helping people. Maybe I should consider working with them, too.”
Real Estate Marketing Strategy #2: Offer Free Advice in an Email Sequence
Nothing builds trust quite like free and helpful advice.
I’ll prove it to you.
Imagine this: you’re in a foreign airport, unsure of where to go for your fast-approaching flight. While hauling around your luggage, you ask several people for help, but a few of them ignore you and one of them ambiguously waves in a direction.
Frustrated, you start heading in the direction that the person pointed, unsure whether you’re going the right way or not when suddenly, someone approaches you.
With a kind face, they say, “Hey, can I help you find something?”
Yes! You scream inside your head, Please!
You tell them which flight you’re trying to find and they don’t just point and offer ambiguous directions. They walk with you, showing you the way to your gate, and even helping you carry your baggage.
At this point, they seem like a savior.
Because they helped you when no one else would — and asked for nothing in return.
That is the power of free and genuinely helpful advice, whether in an airport or on your website.
In fact, here’s an email that the award-winning blog, HubSpot, recommends using for customer retention.
This email is freakin’ genius.
It offers advice without asking for anything in return and is sure to help you retain customers over the long haul. Use it.
But, I think this email is so amazing that it could be used for more than customer retention. What about customer acquisition, for instance? What about turning a lead into a transaction?
After all, the more that you can help people before they even decide to work with you, the more that they’ll trust you and come running when they are ready to move forward with buying or selling their home.
Consider a free-advice based email like this for building trust with prospects early on in the process.
I see that you’re interested in [buying a new home/selling your home]. I’d LOVE to help you with that. :-)
But, I also know that things can get crazy busy and choosing a real estate professional to work with might not be your top priority right now.
If it is, though, you can call me at .
Either way, here’s some stuff that I think might help you through your [home-buying/home-selling] process:
[Relevant article #1]
[Relevant article #2]
[Relevant article #3]
And if you have any other questions for me, then just reply to this email and let me know. :-)
Here’s the thing: not every person that becomes a lead is ready to work with you. Many of them will need more time. It might be because they need to get other stuff in order before they give you a call, or it might be because they were just doing some pre-emptive searching when they found your website, but aren’t yet ready to move forward.
Either way, sending advice-based emails (like the one above) to your prospects can help build and maintain relationships with people who just aren’t ready yet — but might be in the future.
Real Estate Marketing Strategy #3: A/B Test Literally Everything
What if you could increase your website’s conversion rate by 50% by changing the words of your CTA button from “Click here to continue” to “Get my fair cash offer”?
Of course, it does.
But it isn’t.
In fact, that conversion rate increase was refined and proven by cold, hard A/B testing. Not long ago, we ran that exact experiment on one of our customers’ investor websites.
Here’s the screenshot of the two buttons we tested.
And here are the corresponding results.
As it turns out, sometimes a small tweak in the words on your CTA, the color of your button or the flow of your website can make a measurable change in how your website converts visitors.
For that reason, here’s a good rule of thumb: Always be A/B testing SOMETHING on your website.
It could be something small like the color of your CTA, or it could be something big, like the layout of a page. Whatever it is, the more you test, the better you’ll be at creating a website that converts its visitors.
Knowledge is power, and A/B testing gives you just the kind of knowledge you need to increase your website’s conversion rate and make the most of the traffic you’re already getting.
How, though, can you A/B test on your website (whether Carrot customer or not)?
Three options, from most expensive and user-friendly to least expensive and user-friendly.
- Google Analytics — here’s a guide to setting up an A/B test on your website with Google Analytics.
With Carrot, your website is already optimized to convert. After thousands of A/B tests, we’ve baked in all the elements of a high-converting website. Agents can learn more here. Investors can learn more here.
Real Estate Marketing Strategy #4: Use Immediate Lead Notifications
Between 30% and 50% of sales go to the salesperson that responds first.
This means that responding quickly to leads is critical to your business’ growth — especially when you consider that the same lead is likely opting-in to other websites at the same time that they opted-in to yours.
Respond first and you’ll probably win the prospect.
Wait to respond and you’ll lose money.
Sometimes, a sale really is that simple.
But, that raises a more important question — what system(s) can you put in place to consistently contact leads the moment after they opt-in?
- Lead follow-up needs to become sacred. Everyone in your life should understand that following up with a lead immediately takes priority over practically everything else. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation or enjoy the slow moments, it just means you have to be smart about how you approach time off. Make sure someone is always there to respond to prospects. And enjoy the time when leads aren’t flowing in; that’s precious time to spend with your family and friends.
- Get someone to cover when you can’t be disturbed. With enough leads flowing in, consider hiring a part-time or full-time salesperson. They can cover for you when you’re taking well-deserved time off or when you’re with another client and don’t want to be interrupted. Even a freelance salesperson that you can count on when needed might end up being a big benefit to your life outside of business.
- Above all else, put a lead notification system in place. If you don’t know when leads come in, you can’t possibly contact them close to their moment of commitment. For that reason, integrating a system (ideally, via text to your phone) that will notify you right when someone opts in is vital. At Carrot, for instance, you can add SMS Notifications to your website form in just five minutes. Find out how to do it here.
Or, just sign up for Carrot and leverage all of our time-saving, conversion-optimization tools. :D
Real Estate Marketing Strategy #5: Get Listed and Reviewed Everywhere you Can
Choosing a real estate professional to work with isn’t a whole lot different than choosing a restaurant to eat at.
With both, the prospect needs someone to solve their problem (they’re hungry/they need to buy or sell their home), the prospect is struggling to make a decision with where to go or who to work with, and the prospect looks to online reviews to make a decision for them.
Why do they look at online reviews? Because of the psychological principle of social proof — namely, that people want to follow the crowd.
And reviews are our digital way of following the crowd.
Four to five stars = conversion.
One to three stars = abandonment.
In fact, reviews are so powerful that 84% of people trust them as much as they trust a close friend.
This means two things:
- You need to get listed and reviewed on as many third-party listing websites as you can — The more directories you’re on, the more opportunities there are for people to review you and the more opportunities there are for people to find you when they search on Google.
- You need to protect your reviews with your life — Because of how influential customer reviews are, always make sure you’re kind, patient, and productive with your clients. If there’s one thing that can quickly kill your real estate business, it’s collecting a lot of one-star reviews.
To make this even easier for you, though, I’ve compiled a list of websites (in order of priority, as I see it) where you should submit your business for reviews if you’re an agent…
Or an investor…
These lists aren’t exhaustive, of course. So if you have any more recommendations, help me out and throw em’ in the comments — then I can add it to the list. :-)
Also, if you don’t want to spend loads of time adding your business to these websites (it’s a bit of minute, isn’t it?), then consider hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to do it for you.
Or, you can look into our citation-building service here at Carrot where we’ll get you listed on 40 different third-party listing websites.
However you do it, people are far more likely to work with you if they see good reviews of your service somewhere other than your website — so don’t neglect this tedious but worthwhile step.
To consistently turn website visitors into high-quality leads, you can’t just trust in a pretty website or an empty promise.
First and foremost, your real estate marketing strategy and website needs to build immediate trust. That, as we’ve seen in this article, is easier said than done.
But, with these five real estate marketing strategies, you’ll be off to a good start.
- Create a mini case study.
- Offer free advice in an email sequence.
- A/B test literally everything.
- Use immediate lead notifications.
- Get listed and reviewed everywhere you can.
What do YOU do to turn cold website visitors into cold, hard cash?