When your business feels like a moving target, take aim at measurable data points. Looking at lead generation is the most basic indicator that outreach is being received by the right stakeholders. In the latest Leading in Luxury article on Inman.com Frank and Dawn Bodenchak, Real Estate Professionals with Sotheby’s International Realty in Bridgehampton, New York, recognize that today’s marketing can go so much further.
Start with simple math
It’s still important to begin with the essentials. “I track the number of phone and email inquiries on a listing, the number of showing requests per week, and the percentage conversion of showings into interested parties,” says Frank Bodenchak of his monitoring process. In luxury real estate, metrics like these have always been the easiest way to see, at a glance, whether your marketing efforts are generating the results you want.
But there are two more simple stats that ought to be monitored: the number of days a home has been on the market, and the number of showings per home. “If you aren’t getting enough showings, or if showings aren’t generating offers, then marketing, product offering, and price need to be revisited to improve these metrics,” notes Dawn Bodenchak. The longer a property sits, the likelier potential buyers will expect that either the seller will lower the price or that there is something amiss with the home.
No one likes to wait
If you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system, chances are it’s measuring how often you correspond with your leads and clients, and reminding you periodically to follow up with them. If you’re not using a CRM system, then it’s critical to proactively track your email, phone, and in-person exchanges.
The Bodenchaks make a habit of always tracking response time — how much time has elapsed since a lead’s initial inquiry. The average response time, according to one study by Inside Real Estate, is about 15 hours and 30 minutes, though research has also shown that a staggering 48% of inquiries fall through the cracks.
You also need to be cognizant of the time that elapses between follow-ups, which, surprisingly, is reported to be the most overlooked aspect of real estate lead generation. By closing these gaps, agents will easily start to see a growing number of qualified leads.
Make the most of online
“We still use magazine ads for brand awareness and reminding buyers and brokers about a listing, but the first line of contact is internet-based,” says Frank Bodenchak. “Over the past decade, we’ve moved away from relying on print for information dissemination to relying on email blasts, real estate search engines, and social media.”
Google Analytics is a fundamental way to watch your web traffic. You can review how many people visit your site and track their browsing behavior. For instance, keeping an eye on your bounce rate will inform how quickly visitors leave your site after they arrive. You’ll also be able to assess which of your pages are the most popular. Adding these metrics to your marketing rubric gives you the bigger picture of how your efforts are succeeding.
Frank and Dawn Bodenchak have seen firsthand the benefits that social media brings to their marketing. Facebook and Instagram provide feedback to help agents monitor their social channels, stay notified on engagement and responses, and maintain real-time marketing awareness. “By switching to a business account on Instagram, we are now receiving all kinds of key insights from posts,” says Frank Bodenchak. “Beyond likes and comments, Instagram tells us the gender, age, and location of our audience. With even a small budget for online marketing, we can make an impact.”
The basics still apply
“Know the landscape, know the pricing, and know the product — and most importantly, know how the product can be adapted to work for a buyer,” says Dawn Bodenchak. “The metrics we use to evaluate our marketing success may not have changed, but the means to achieve them have.” Now there are more tools in agents’ inventory to make sure that their strategies are successful — and, by extension, that their leads, prospects, and clients enjoy the best service possible