Wouldn’t it be great if leads magically fell from the sky? I’m sure every agent could use some easy wins these days, and although I can’t make it rain, I can certainly show you how to set up an automatic source for leads in your real estate business.
Everyone wants to generate leads automatically, but if everyone could do it, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation… and judging by the number of companies that offer lead generating services to real estate agents, this is obviously much easier said than done.
With that said, anyone who’s willing to invest a little time and effort can absolutely create an automated lead capture system… and today I’m going to show you exactly how to do that in 3 simple steps – that’s right, just a few steps to be automatically generating a consistent flow of new leads into your real estate business!
What is a Lead Funnel?
Before I get into the basic mechanics of driving leads into your business, I want to explain the overall concept of what a lead funnel is. This is a method for generating exposure and capturing information about leads, and then handling those leads until they convert into a sale.
The reality is, there are certain techniques and tactics that work better than others to generate new business, and building a formal lead funnel is absolutely the best method for maximizing lead capture with any marketing you do. When done correctly, your lead funnel can even help you identify and pre-qualify leads so you know exactly how to sell them (and serve them) before you even meet them!
Constructing Lead Funnels
I’ll be honest, building a lead funnel is a lot of work. The good news is, most of the work is done up front and once you set everything up and hit that trigger, you won’t need to do much (aside from incremental adjustments to your content from time to time).
I set up my lead funnel using a format inspired by the television and movie industry, which has quite literally mastered the art of marketing, in every sense of the word. The format looks like this:
Teaser > Trailer > Soap Opera Sequence > Previews
I talked about generating exposure earlier and here is where that magic happens. In order to get people’s attention, you need some form of “bait” that you can lure them in with. Some ideas might include a report like 8 Things You Need to Know Before Selling your Home or 10 Things You Need to Do Before Buying a Home. You’ll notice these are each only geared towards ONE audience – one is just for Sellers and the other just for Buyers. Depending on which teaser they are drawn towards, you can start to tell what kind of lead the person is.
Creating these assets can be challenging and time consuming, especially if you want to offer information that is valuable and actionable, so you may want to consider using a third-party content provider to save you some time. Two providers that specifically offer high-value consumer reports include Service For Life!® and 3 Steps Ultimate.
Now that we’ve decided what your Teaser or “bait” is, we need to get this out in front of the right people, generating exposure for you and your business, and also (more importantly) capturing information about potential prospects. This is what we call: driving traffic to bait.
In order to drive traffic directly to your bait, you’re going to have to advertise and make it available through the channels people are most likely to be on. Today, these channels are Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Here’s the trick: don’t try to manage all of them at once, for now just focus your efforts in one place, where you feel comfortable and already have an online presence.
If you’re starting from scratch, I’ll tell you that I prefer Facebook because it allows you to advertise to your competitor’s target audience… you know that audience they’ve put all the work into identifying and narrowing down. 😉 I go through more specific tips on Facebook Ads in this article, but once you’ve set up your audience, all you have to do is narrow your ad copy a bit using age, location or income indicators to further target your most ideal leads from that audience.
For example: 8 Things You Need to Know Before Selling your Luxury Home or 10 Things You Need to Do Before Downsizing into a Smaller Home.
These types of targeted ads will drive traffic to the asset you are offering, and should require the lead to input their email address in order to download or view it.
The Soap Opera Sequence
Once you have an email address, the teaser and the trailer have done their job and it’s time to start working on converting that lead into a prospective client. But… this is typically the point in time where most agent’s lose the lead altogether.
Ever wonder why this happens?
New leads aren’t usually ready to talk to you because they’re looking at what’s out there, and they don’t know what all of their options are yet. This is a huge opportunity for you to use automated content to steer them towards their best choice (you!), but this must be done in a very specific way in order to work.
The soap opera model engages people with intense storylines and abrupt cliff-hanger endings – always leaving the audience wanting more, so they come back day after day.
We’re going to do the same thing with our content, telling a story that builds you as the attractive character and getting people engaged with you. And once someone is engaged with you, it’s highly likely they will buy from you at some point… granted you nurture and maintain the relationship we are establishing here and now.
To establish this relationship, you’ll setup a 5-day email sequence for each lead funnel you create (i.e. one sequence for buyers and a separate sequence for sellers) that mimics the dramatic timeline of a soap opera:
Day 1 – Set the stage
Day 2 – High drama/backstory/wall
Day 3 – Epiphany/the one thing
Day 4 – Hidden benefits
Day 5 – Urgency/CTA
You’ll want to set up your campaign so the first email goes out repeatedly until it is opened (a few variations among each email is a good idea). Only after the first email is opened, should you commence the 4 remaining emails in the sequence.
Previews on the Road to Sold
Look, we all know that not every lead is going to buy or sell right away from a few interactions over email… in fact it’s quite the opposite and cold leads take time to convert into commissions. These leads will convert at some point though, and it’s important to remember that they gave you the opportunity to get in on the ground floor, when they were available and impressionable. If you miss the deal in the end, it’s because you didn’t follow up.
Once your daily interaction peaks, I suggest you follow up consistently with something of value every 1-2 weeks. Check in with them, keep their interests close, constantly send value their way, give them updates on information they might be interested in, and consider sharing content they will find truly interesting and useful, such as the lifestyle articles found in the Service For Life!® Agent Newsletter.
Now that you’ve created a fully automatic lead funnel, leads will begin filtering through. All you have to do is keep feeding it with eyeballs and watch as you start seeing commissions make it through your pipeline!