How To Nurture Long-Term Real Estate Leads With Content Marketing
It hits you like a ton of bricks the first time you hear it could take months (or even years) for a real estate lead to turn into a client and a commission check. Apologies if this is the first time you’re hearing it, but it’s true. Don’t let it get to you just yet; by the end of this article you’ll see how it can actually be a good thing for you…
Sure, ideally you want leads that are motivated and going to buy or sell a house immediately, but the fact is, most people start the process way before they’re ready to actually do something. But most agents don’t have the time or patience to focus on nurturing a long-term lead; they focus on the leads that are ready to do something soon. Sure, they may make a few attempts to stay in touch with a less motivated lead for a while, but then they usually collect dust in their CRM, files, or scribbled notes on their desk.
Eventually some lucky agent meets them at just the right time when they’re finally at the point of actually buying or selling, but only after they’d been a lost lead for many agents over months or years.
Don’t feel bad if this hits a little close to home. It’s rare for an agent to have a strong long game when it comes to nurturing leads. And that’s why it’s a good thing for you. If you establish a way to nurture leads over the course of months, if not years, you won’t have a whole lot of competition.
It may take some time, but once you have a way of doing it, you won’t constantly be hoping to find leads that need to do something right this minute. It’ll be nice when you do, but you’ll constantly have leads you’ve nurtured over time ready to do something so you don’t have to rely on timing and luck.
Make Them Glad To Hear From You
It isn’t just a matter of laziness, busy-ness, or the need to focus on clients who are looking to do something immediately that gets in the way of most agents nurturing leads over a long period of time. It’s also a matter of most agents not wanting to bother people or come across as pushy. So if a lead starts going a little cold, a lot of agents back off and just hope that when they are ready to do something, they’ll remember them and reach out.
To be fair, hitting someone up with a barrage of calls, texts, and emails on a regular basis — basically asking if they’re ready to buy or sell yet — is kind of annoying and can turn people off. But a lot of times, that’s essentially what agents do, and what happens with leads. They aren’t ready yet, and they don’t love the pressure of someone constantly reaching out to see if they’re ready to turn into a payday yet. Yeah, that’s how it translates to some leads. Or at least that’s how it feels for a lot of agents, because that is essentially what they’re doing.
The trick is to set the expectation for some long-term nurturing with your leads the minute you recognize they’re not going to do something immediately. How so? By offering them something that’ll help them through the process and give you reasons to touch base. So here’s what you do:
- Literally tell them you don’t want to hound them week after week, month after month, just to see if they’re ready to do something. Nobody wants someone breathing down their neck…
- Tell them it’s super common for people to start dipping their toe in the water well before they’re actually ready to dive into buying or selling. Tell them that this it’s a good thing because it gives them time to prepare, and for you to help them prepare…
- Which is why you created a helpful guide and series of emails to give them an advantage most buyers or sellers don’t have.
- Ask them for their email address so you can send it along and they can shoot you any questions they have about it.
It’s as easy as that! Now you’ve subtly set yourself up for a bunch of touches over a decent amount of time, having provided them with something useful and establishing that you’re not looking to push them to do something until they’re ready!
7 Touches Is A Good Start…
You’ve probably heard it takes contacting a lead seven times before they become a customer. That probably holds true with a lot of sales jobs, but nurturing a real estate lead can be a much longer term game.
But for the sake of creating a relationship with a lead that’ll get them to the point where they like and want to hear from you, creating an initial series of seven touches will go a long way. At least if you do it well…
To do it well, you want to make sure that what you give or send them feels and sounds customized and personal, not generic, general, or canned. It should sound and feel like it’s coming from you, with them in mind.
So, either get your hands on, or create a guide or how-to booklet that gives down-to-earth advice that’s helpful (and ideally fun to read). To start off, have one for buyers and another for sellers. If you focus more on one than the other, you can just start with one.
Then create a series of at least 7 follow-up emails that tie into what was in your booklet. They don’t have to be long, but they should read and feel like you’re reaching out the lead personally. Pick one specific topic, section, or chapter from your guide, and write as many emails as you can come up with that shed a little more insight, like something new you thought about, or just ask if they had any questions that came up when reading that section. And always try to sneak in a call-to-action that prompts them for a reply. Don’t get worried if they don’t, but there’s a better chance they’ll engage with you if you do stick them in there.
Stagger your emails to be sent over time. There’s no magic number in terms of how many days in between. Test out different periods of time on your own and see what feels right, or gets the best reaction. But don’t flood them too quickly. Make these stretch a couple of weeks to a month.
Your guide and email follow-up series will get you a decent amount of time, touches, and hopefully engagement with your lead to get the relationship on solid footing. But, you need to prepare to continue sending them content for as long as it takes!
…But Plan On More
It’d be great if the lead got serious about buying or selling within the few weeks after giving them a guide and sending follow-up emails, but there’s a good chance they may not. So plan on continuing to send them useful content every week or so.
Here are a few examples of other types of content you can send over time:
- Useful articles – Always be on the lookout for any interesting real estate articles you could send to your prospects, but only send appropriate articles to any particular lead. Nothing will get your emails ignored more than sending things they don’t care about. Don’t just send every article about real estate you come across to every lead; make sure it’s specific to what they’re going to do. In other words, don’t send them an article about selling if they’re a first-time buyer; send them something that’s useful for a person buying their first home. Make sure to add in your own thoughts in a short email with the link to the article.
- Humor them – Everyone loves to smile and laugh. Share real estate memes and funny stories you come across that they could relate to as a buyer or seller.
- Market data – Once a month, or every quarter, send them a snapshot of the recent sales in the area they are interested in. Make sure to add your own thoughts and interpretation of the data, and that it is geared toward what type of lead they are. Again, if they are a seller lead, focus on what it means to a seller, and if they are a buyer lead, get into what it means for them.
As you get to know the lead better over time, it doesn’t all have to be real estate related. If you get to know them more personally, send them something you know they’re interested in, like a local event, a hobby they enjoy, or pets.
It’s Worth The Effort, But…
It’s easy for agents to just fall into the habit of dealing with the leads who are ready to buy right now, but they’re leaving money on the table by ignoring long-term leads and constantly trying to find another lead that needs to do something pronto.
While creating your own guide and email series may sound like a ton of work you’d rather avoid, it’s worth the effort. Think about it this way: You take the time and care it takes to create a solid guide and series once, and then use it again and again with every lead you meet forever. Plus, it’ll really position you as an authority and expert.
One of the great things about real estate content marketing is that it isn’t something that needs to be done during business hours. So, if you’re busy out with clients, you can work on creating content late at night, or early in the morning.
At first it might seem daunting, but if you work at it a bit each day, over time you’ll build up a solid library of go-to content you can send to your leads for as many weeks, months, or (gasp) years as it takes for them to convert to a client!
If it’s just way too much work for you to take on, or you’re not great at writing, check out our Inner Circle membership. We have 20 different real estate guides you can use as-is, or edit to your liking, and then put your own branding on them with a click of a button! Each one has a series of conversational sounding follow-up emails that go along with it.
And you can always find free real estate articles and memes on our Lighter Side of Real Estate Facebook page to share with your leads on an ongoing basis!