I am here in San Francisco at the Inman Bloggers Connect Conference, about to go on stage to discuss the topic of lead generation through real estate blogging. The most important question, that I know we are about to be asked is: What makes a real estate blog generated lead different from a website generated lead?
This article, which was written weeks ago, was saved specifically for today.
Here on the Tomato, we’ve already pointed out a few times how ensuring that you have a clearly visible call to action (read: Home Search, Home Value Report) is a necessary element to acquiring leads through your real estate blogsite.
All this is emarketing 101, and something that I have been helping agents understand about their internet presence since my earliest training events back in 2000.
What really has to come to set the real estate blog apart as a lead generating tool has nothing to do with web 1.0 tactics.
The real estate blog is the Realtors’ introduction to the Age of Participation: Web 2.0.
Developing a relationship with your audience and peers is the foundation of leveraging the Web 2.0 model to build your business as a real estate blogger. By simply embracing the relationship you are able to build with your audience, you will gain their trust. This trust, once earned, will have you earning a client; for all sales are based on this most important element: Trust.
The convenient placement of a home value report form, or the soft barrier to a home search is a ubiquitous effort. Everyone is doing it.
There is no element of distinction if your site offers something that can be found on any capable real estate template website.
What makes the real estate blog stand out, above the offering of obligatory tools is the regular effort of the Realtor to educate, enlighten, entertain and engage each visitor. It is this distinction that not only generates leads for their traffic, but clients by means of a relationship.
Tomato graduates are telling stories of how they are regularly contacted by future clients that give them the impression that they’ve already met:
“I’ve been reading your blog for months.”
“I feel like I already know you.”
Tomato graduates explain how ‘funny’ it is because the relationship seems to have been incubated in the minds of their reader, but yet, they still have a lot to learn about their newly acquired clients.
This type of contact from a visitor to your website makes the collection of email addresses with standard web forms seem archaic.
Consistent dedication to the education of your clients and visitors is the key to building a relationship and winning their trust. Handling their concerns, challenges, hurdles, worries, confusions and misconceptions with your clearly thought out articles has you almost sitting at the kitchen table with them, one step closer to making what can be considered the most important financial decision of their lives.
Once you recognize how to leverage the blog in this manner, then and only then is a well placed lead generating form of any significant value. Otherwise, it’s just name collecting. Understand, it’s not the collection of leads (names and emails), it’s the creation of a future clients when someone contacts you because of your blogging (read: commitment, passion, knowledge, consistency, dedication, experience, understanding and wisdom). It is that person contacting you, that is ready to work with a someone that is you.
Blogging should be seen as a natural fit for Realtors that choose to embrace it as a their primary marketing tool. Realtors play the part of consultant, counselor, confidant, and chauffeur well before they close. Proper blogging allows the Realtor to develop that relationship with their future client, save for the driving around.