Estate agents. Why your approach to cold leads could be costing you money

In a busy estate agency, the number one commodity is time. You’ve got vendor calls to make, viewings to follow up, enquiries to reply to.

So, when it comes to talking to potential vendors who are clearly not serious about selling, what do you do? How many of these cold leads make it on to your call list? And even if they do how often do they get called in favour of your hotter leads?

It makes sense that when your time is at a premium to focus energy on the leads that will provide the best results. What is interesting is that whilst many estate agents talk to us about lead generation, many overlook this long-term potential source of income. Even worse some are trying but get their approach wrong, damaging the chances of a future conversion.

You may well be spending money on expensive lead generation when you have a potential source of long-term leads right in front of you.

Cold leads can be a challenge to convert

One of the challenges is that a high number of leads won’t convert. This can leave you feeling tired and frustrated. However, to maximise this opportunity we must overcome this feeling and turn it into a positive. Let’s for a moment, think about the consumer at the time of their initial enquiry.

In the scenario of an instant online valuation quite often they were just curious about the value of their home. The majority will not be ready to sell and simply looking to get a rough guide on price.

Now, thinking about an applicant who registers with you. When they registered with you their main goal was to be notified of the best properties that suit their needs. Of course, as part of your qualification, you should get to know their circumstances and identify if there is an instruction opportunity. But again, many will tell you they are fine or not ready because you have not yet earned their trust.

How to improve your results

There are however two key areas that you can focus on to improve your results. Some of the leading UK estate agents are taking action and in return growing more rewarding and profitable businesses as a result.

There are many reasons for their success but we have identified two in particular:

1. Ensuring their staff are well trained professional and happy

They have happy staff who have mastered the art of listening as well as selling to deliver great customer service. Industry trainers like Julian O’dell and Matt Giggs can have an amazing impact on both your team’s happiness and motivation. Not only that, but they can transform how staff speak to potential clients. To get more valuable information but in a way that builds a relationship and trust.

Look to build a solid foundation for your business. This will increase not only your success with these cold leads, but also referral opportunities, repeat business and your ability to get social proof for your future marketing.

2. Understanding that they can’t speak to everyone 24/7

Becuase dealing with so many leads and conversations presents a real challenge, they complement their personal service by adding technology which can help them nurture these relationships and identify timely opportunities for action. In particular, introducing email nurturing can be one of the lowest cost ways to achieve this.

Create an effective follow-up plan which combines email, SMS and phone calls to build a trusting relationship over time. It must be geared towards their unique situation, not simply full of self promotional messages. Allowing you to stand out as the local experts and estate agent of choice.

 

Need Help?

What about GDPR?

With GDPR and changes to e-privacy coming very soon, following up cold leads will become increasingly challenging. Establishing a strong relationship, coupled with creating a relevant nurture program could help you convince potential leads to let you keep in touch. In comparison, your competition will become trapped, unable to contact recent leads, because they failed to get consent.

Conclusion

Smart estate agents ensure their teams are well trained, that they continue to be engaging with a high level of customer empathy. When they ask the question about keeping in touch they are able to clearly communicate the benefits to the client. Ensuring the client opts-in to continue to receive their message. They often look for ways automate this to deliver the same high standards even when they get busy. Maximising their long-term opportunity from cold leads and boosting profits.

If you are interested in implementing a nurture program for your leads, check out our software or get in touch.

3 Email Marketing Ideas For Estate Agents On A Budget

Have you ever thought about trying email marketing for your estate agency but been put off by the costs? Or perhaps you can’t quite see how email fits into your estate agency business. In this article, we share 3 email marketing ideas for estate agents to get you started that won’t break the bank.

The Problem

When it comes to email marketing software for estate agents many would have you believe that fully integrated expensive custom software is the way to go.

Whilst there are many benefits to working with a provider like Propology who gets your industry-specific requirements, it is also worth considering your options. If you are just starting out with email marketing then it may make more financial sense to try an off the shelf email marketing software until you start to see results.

GDPR and Consent

With the impending GDPR legislation, many of the automated practices such as adding everyone to your mailing list without consent are likely to be considered non-compliant.

This means without consent you will not be able to market to your leads and clients. With that in mind, the majority will need to implement a system where you either ask every client and record their permission or find ways to get clients to sign up themselves online.

Estate agents requirements for email

Email remains at the heart of the majority of marketing campaigns. The reason is that unlike Facebook or Twitter where you rent your audience, email gives you direct access to a list of people who have signalled they actually want to receive your message.

When it comes to choosing estate agency email software for the majority of independent estate agents the requirements are really quite simple:

  • Quickly creating and sending newsletters to their own mailing list
  • Setting up automated email nurture sequences to engage new prospects over time for relatively little effort
  • Sending helpful professional looking follow-up emails
  • Easily adding GDPR compliant sign-up forms for lead capture from their website and social media

 

3 email marketing options if you are on a budget:

With all that in mind. We thought it would be good to put together a list of 3 email marketing software alternatives for you if you are just getting started and or on a limited budget:

 

1. AWeber

AWeber is one of the cheapest options for your email marketing. AWeber can cost as little as $19 for up to 500 subscribers & unlimited emails. If you want to run a basic newsletter then its perfect for that. Easily create sign up forms and add them to your website or blog.

You can also deliver your basic email sequences. Design a sequence of emails to follow up leads and have them automatically delivered within days or weeks.

Our view is while AWeber is a great cheap option, it is less refined than the other systems on the market. However, if your requirements are basic then why pay more? Check it out using our banner below:

2. Gmail templates

You might be surprised to hear us mention this one but when you are just starting out or small then using templates in your email program can actually be the best option. It allows you to decide who gets which email and when.

Save time when sending common emails by creating a template and then simply adding the client’s details and personalising before sending. Examples include before a valuation, welcoming new applicants and following up valuations. Sharing templates across teams is a bit more of a challenge. This option is a good place to start when making your emails more consistent and more professional looking.

For those of you using Gmail we’ve found this helpful article which shows you how to enable templates in Gmail

This option, unfortunately, doesn’t scale well. Imagine trying to keep track of multiple emails for each client in your list and sending each one manually. This can soon add up to hours making it cheaper to use a proper email marketing system instead.

ActiveCampaign managed through Propology Digital.

Yes, this list would not be complete without our own recommendation. We are an official partner of ActiveCampaign and can sell it to you at competitive rates. Using our service means you get support from an industry specialist without paying the heavy cost of bespoke software.

Emails are really easy to create using the drag and drop editor. When it comes to building up nurture sequences and creating automated flows for your clients then ActiveCampaign wins hands down.

With Propology we also help you configure these as part of our service. It is still one of the cheapest systems available but with the power of a proper marketing automation platform. Bonus features include Facebook integration, website tracking and much more.

To find out more information why not explore our marketing software for estate agents

So there you have it. If you are in the market for email marketing software for your estate agency then it is worth considering our recommendations. If you found this article useful please share it with your colleagues.

How to generate more valuation leads using Facebook, instant online valuation tools and email marketing

Discover how you can attract and convert more valuation leads, using Facebook, instant online valuation tools and email marketing. We share with you a proven strategy used by successful estate agents to attract valuation leads in their town.

Generating and converting valuation leads

Facing increasing levels of competition, it’s no surprise that the number one priority for many UK estate agents is instruction winning lead generation.

But, with new PropTech ideas springing up all the time it can be difficult to pin down,  amongst all the noise, what really works and what does not.

There is, however, a standout solution – instant online valuation tools. Addressing both the need for lead generation and the increasingly digital consumer, these online valuation tools will help you convert your website visitors into leads, by simply exchanging their contact details for an instant valuation of their property.

ValPal Instant Online Valuation

The rise of instant online valuation tools

In recent years, online valuation tools have been widely adopted, with ValPal reporting over 4,000 branches using its tools.

For potential vendors and landlords already familiar with your brand and visiting your website, these valuation tools will be successfully converting them into leads.

However, visitor numbers to independent estate agent websites are relatively low in comparison to Rightmove or Zoopla for example; so how do you drive more visitors to your website to engage them with your valuation tool and convert them into tangible leads?

Using social media to drive instant online valuations

This is where harnessing the power of social media can help. If you have a large, established social media following, then you can create targeted posts to engage your followers and direct them to get an instant valuation.

Instant online valuation ad example Facebook

For those of you with a smaller following, this activity on its own will only increase the number of instant online valuations you receive by a small amount; so, what else can you do to drive visitors to your website?

Facebook advertising

Adopting a paid strategy using Facebook ads will increase the number of top of funnel leads you can attract, more quickly and successfully than relying on organic posts. (See our article on lead funnels for estate agency marketing if you are unsure about funnel strategies).

Facebook boasts incredible stats with a claimed 1 billion DAILY active users. See this article for more impressive stats. Not only does this mean that they are likely to have a significant number of users who you would want to attract, but a large number of them are interacting with Facebook every day!

Realistically, however, your estate agency probably only wants to attract vendors and landlords in your area, and this is where using the Facebook ad manager will help.

You can set up your Facebook ads so that they will only be shown to an audience that meets your requirements. You can choose their gender, their age range, income level, even their interests.

Facebook Audience Targeting

Once you have your audience set up, then you can focus on creating an advertisement that will encourage them to visit the instant valuation tool on your website. You may need to test a few different styles of the ad, and vary your audience requirements to see what gets the best results.

One of the benefits of Facebook advertising is that once you have worked out what ad and audience combinations gets the most visitors to your website, the cost of getting each lead reduces.

 

Need Help?

 

Beyond basic Facebook ads – remarketing

Have you ever been browsing Facebook and an ad has appeared from a site you were browsing recently? It’s not a coincidence, it’s remarketing.

Facebook allows you to include a tracking code on your website, so it can see who is visiting your website. All you have to do is set up your Facebook ad audience, to target people who have recently visited your website, and they will receive your targeted ads automatically.

Following an instant valuation

Many agents will call their instant valuation leads, to further qualify them and convert them into real life valuations. Tools like ValPal also have a booking form at the last step to encourage conversions.

However, this approach will largely only be successful with the bottom of funnel leads, i.e. those thinking about moving. How do you go about converting all the other leads?

Use email to keep in touch

As many of the instant valuations won’t convert initially, you will need to encourage these leads to stay in touch with your estate agency. Email marketing offers a cost-effective way of keeping in touch over and above other marketing channels.

Ideally, you want your leads to join your newsletter or email series so that you can deliver and maintain regular communications with them. Explore our email marketing software for estate agents for an easy cost effective way to send email marketing.

Some estate agents set up a dedicated nurture program, which focuses on sending relevant, helpful and well thought out emails to vendors and landlords thinking of selling their properties. This allows them to demonstrate their local knowledge and expertise, as well as including the important calls to action.

Nurturing prospective clients in this way will often put you front of mind when they are ready to book a valuation or require further information. Again, if you need help with this get in touch.

Integrating your approach

Attracting and converting new valuation leads is greatly encouraged with a clear, streamlined strategy. Using Facebook, instant online valuation tools, and targeted email as an integrated approach, as opposed to standalone activities, will always deliver the best results.

Getting started will take some time and effort, but once in place, it is simply a case of managing the process, evaluating and then refining your approach based on your results.

For your agency, the outcome will be a proven, reliable, measurable and effective approach to attracting and converting new instruction leads.

 

Check out our next article which is a guide to implementing a Facebook instant online valuation funnel.

Get in touch to talk about our installation and managed Facebook instant online valuation services.

How to measure the performance of your instant valuation tool

In 2017, we saw the widespread adoption of instant online valuation tools like ValPal. The tools are helping estate agents to capture new leads from potential vendors in their local area. In this article, we look at the promotional activities used by some estate agents and give you a step by step guide on how to review your own instant valuation performance.

Why use an instant valuation tool?

The idea of an instant valuation is a good one from the consumer’s point of view. It is quick, hassle-free and simple to do. And from an estate agents point of view, it gives access to the top of funnel leads they would previously have not been able to reach.

The Challenge

However, many estate agents will have found that having it on their website was not enough to generate a high volume of new leads. This is where some smart estate agents have been thinking of new ways to increase the number of instant valuations leads they receive.

This included better banners and popups on their websites, promotion elsewhere including social media, special canvasing campaigns and other paid adverts.

We have seen in particular that social media and paid Facebook ads can bring hundreds of new leads to your estate agency. We have also seen the risks of poorly executed ads when left unmanaged can result in hundreds of pounds spent but with little or no leads.

A chance to review

No matter what approach you have taken, the New Year represents a great opportunity to review your instant valuation performance. Helping you to understand which audiences worked best, which ads cost the most to run and ultimately did your instant valuation tool deliver any instructions and completions!

Below is our simple 5 step plan for how to measure your estate agency instant valuation tool performance so you can optimize it for 2018.

Step 1. Download social media post performance

Create a spreadsheet or download the performance of your online posts.
For each social media post collect the following:

  • Total Reach
  • Number of clicks
  • Total ad Spend

 

Pro Tip: If you use Facebook ad manager rather than your personal ad account you can save hours calculating this info.

No time to do this? Speak to us about how we can help.

Step 2. Calculate Cost Per Click Per Advert (CPC)

For each paid ad take Ad Spend / Ad Total Clicks (not engagements) to get a cost per click (CPC). This should be a low amount around £0.30. If it is higher than £0.50 then you may need to improve your ads or narrow your audience.

Example

Post
£30.00 spend

Clicks
100

£30.00 / 100 = £0.30 CPC

Step 3. Review your best performing ads

For each ad, review its CPC calculated in the previous step combined with the audience, post type, images and ad text to understand how each ad performed. You can now see which are your best performing ads. This should help you create new variations of them so that you can do even better in 2018.

Step 4 Calculate cost per lead

The next is to calculate the cost per lead. How much did each email address cost you? For this you will need to export or generate a report of your converted valuation leads for the same time period as your ads. Your valuation tool should have an option to do this. If not you may need to look at your notification emails for this information.

Get the following information

  • Total Spend for valuation ads from your Facebook account
  • Total Reach for these ads
  • Total Clicks for these ads
  • Go to your instant valuation tool account and export the leads for the same date range.

 

Example

Total Ad Spend
£300.00

Total Ad Clicks
1,000

Total Leads
200

Calculate your Cost Per Lead
Total Spend / Total Valuation Leads

£300.00 / 200 = £1.50 Per Lead

Or more correctly if your instant valuation tool cost you £50 per month the calculation would be:

Valuation Tool Cost
£50.00 * 12 months = £600.00

Tool Cost + Total Ad Spend
£600.00 + £300.00 = £900.00

£900.00 / 200 = £4.50 Per Lead

Common Question: Why is my cost per lead so much more than my cost per click? This is because your valuation tool may have different conversion rates. If in our example only 20% convert then in our example from 1,000 clicks we only got 200 unique email addresses. Again, a pro tip is to understand if you can improve this figure by improving your landing page or social media ads.

Step 5. Calculate number of actual valuations and completions

The final step is to work out how many of these instant valuations converted to actual valuations.
To do this you would need to match your instant valuations to your appraisals. If you would like help with this then we can do this for you at a competitive rate.

Need Help?

Conclusion

From here you should now be able to see how well your instant valuation tool is performing and did it produce any deals or was it just a good source of email capture. If the results look bad there are some things to consider before you give up on your instant valuation tool completely:

1. Optimising your ads could lower costs significantly.
2. Digital is here to stay so mastering it takes investment. Even those who did not convert will be more aware of your brand.
3. Nurturing those leads who did not convert with email because they are not yet ready to sell could lead to conversion in the future.

This article is really just the start of understanding your marketing performance and improving your results.

For further help and advice on this topic or any other related questions, you may have, please get in touch.

How to convert more estate agent website visitors using property selling tips

As your audience grows often people will be engaged with your social media and familiar with your brand. However, you have still not managed to convert them to a lead and capture their email address.

The property selling tips funnel is designed to help you capture more leads. In return, potential vendors get a useful professional looking series of selling tips. In this example, it is delivered through a sequence of emails sent over several weeks. Alternatively, it can also be an ebook download if you prefer. The benefit of the email series is it gives you several ongoing chances to impress them.

In this help series, we will refer to marketing funnels as the main way to drive engagement. If you are unfamiliar with funnels read our article lead funnels for estate agency marketing.

The Basic Funnel Stages

The funnel starts after you have an engaged audience who are familiar with your brand and visiting your content regularly, either via your blog, website or existing social media audience. The tips should be promoted by various call to action (CTA) banners on your website.

To gain additional signups you should create a paid Facebook retargeting ad specifically to your engaged audience. Clicking the ad will take them to a dedicated landing page explaining more about the selling tips and what they will get if they sign up.

In addition to delivering the selling tips sequence through a series of emails, you should offer them the chance to subscribe to your newsletter. This will allow you to keep engaging them even after the series is complete.

The Funnel
Property Selling Tips FunnelThe main stages explained

1. Create an interesting series of property selling tips. 

The aim of the selling tips is to help potential vendors have the best possible experience when selling their home. By the end of the series, they should be confident you are the local property experts. Create a series of around 4-6 selling tips. Then use an email software for estate agents like Propology to deliver the sequence automatically to people over several weeks after they sign up.

Tip: Ideally keep the tips engaging and catered towards your typical audience. Consider linking to additional content on your website and also video content to make it more interesting.

2. Create banners to promote your selling tips. 

Cross promoting your selling tips on your existing channels is the best way to get free sign-ups. This could include banners on your website and property blog. Also any other vendor related pages.

3. Create a dedicated landing page to allow people to subscribe to your selling tips

You should have a dedicated landing page which is solely for them to sign up for your selling tips. It should explain the benefits and entice them to sign up.

Tip: GDPR is coming. Ensure you are clear and the lead agrees to your terms and conditions by affirmative action. Consider an additional tick box on the form to sign up for your newsletter.

4. Create a Facebook audience to retarget those who view your blog and selling pages but don’t sign up for your tips series.

If someone showed interest in your blog then they are closer to converting than someone who did not. Also, people who visit your selling page might be thinking of selling but not ready to sell yet. By targeting this group you can increase the chance of sign up for your tips series. Create a dedicated audience on Facebook for people who visited these pages. You can then can use this audience to run different ads to learn which one works best.

5. Create a Facebook audience to retarget those who view your sign-up page but don’t sign up. 

Again, a high percentage of people who view your sign-up page will leave without completing the form. You can create a Facebook audience and a sponsored ad to target this group and try to convince them to come back and sign up.

Tip: Keep this audience time sensitive to avoid overexposing someone to your ad.

6. Ensure those people who sign up are added to your tips series and tagged properly

Completing the form should automatically trigger a Thank You email and the first tip. It should be followed by the sequence of other tips either several days later or after they read each tip.

Tip: Properly recording who signed up, from what source and capturing their permission for GDPR purposes will allow you to properly manage this list into the future.

7. Cross promote your newsletter

Ensure your emails are at least 80% focused on useful tips. Towards the end consider adding a banner or message. It can either be to request a valuation or about joining your newsletter. If you manage to get them to join your newsletter then you can continue to market to them after the series has completed. By using a software like Propology you can make this content only show to people who have not previously registered.

Tip: Always make this a secondary priority otherwise you will cause them to unsubscribe or worse report you for abuse. The primary goal is to get them to learn about your brand and expertise through sharing helpful advice.

Conclusion

As you can see, the property selling tips is a great way to showcase your local knowledge and property expertise. Once set up it needs very little management, which is great news for those with less time.

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