In 2012, Google and National Association of REALTOR (NAR) conducted survey individually, which aimed to understand how digital world impact home hunters and home buyers buying process. Their individual research tells a cohesive story and made similar conclusion:
Agent should incorporate online real estate marketing and mobile marketing channels with their traditional offline marketing channels.
So, how online digital world impact or help Realtor to get qualified leads?
In order to answer that question, we have to look at three things.
Firstly, we have to understand what your market – home shoppers are looking for?
Survey found that new home shoppers spent time searching on their mobile devices and doing following activities:
– 51% of the time, read general home information
– 48%, get directions to visit a home
– 44%, compare prices
– 35%, compare features
– 35%, search a listing company’s inventory
– 28%, call a brokerage
– 21%, locate a listing agent
– 21%, read reviews
– 20%, research mortgage financing
– 18%, contact a brokerage other than by calling
– 16%, watch an online video about a home
– 3%, other
So when home shoppers call a brokerage (28%), or contact a brokerage other than by calling (18%), they become qualified leads for Realtors. But what makes them to contact an agent and when they will make their first contact? We will find the answers below.
Secondly, what sources home shoppers usually use in regards to home research?
Survey found that 90% of home buyers use search engines to do their home research. And those 90% who used Internet to search are more likely to use multiple sources during their home search phrase. Besides using the Internet, 89% of them hired real estate agent, 53% paid attention to the Yard sign, 46% went to open houses, 28% read newspaper ads, 19% read home book or magazine. For those who didn’t use Internet to do the home search, their involvement in other offline marketing channels were relatively low.
89% of the home shoppers use a mobile search engine to do their research. Home builder and real estate brokers related searches on Tablets grew 300% and more year over year. Home search activities happened everywhere and on the go. Most searches (77%) happened at home.
Among all the searches, survey found that video satisfies multiple research needs for home shoppers. And YouTube is the top video research destination. Another major home related video search happened on agent’s websites.
Thirdly, what makes home shoppers decide what Realtor to contact? In another word, what can agent do to improve leads opt-in rate?
Survey found that different type of home buyers contact real estate agent at different phrases of their home search process. Typical home buyers take 3 months to buy, but they engage with agents earlier in the process. Study showed that average home shoppers will contact a real estate agent 3 weeks after they start the home research. While new home shoppers (that is usually the first time buyer) are more likely contacting agent way earlier in their home research process. Survey found that 24% of new home shoppers contacted agent the same day they started searching. The reason behind could be that new home shoppers are undecided and tend to look for earlier professional advice.
No matter whether it’s new home shoppers or regular home buyers, when they make their first contact with agent, they are usually in the first one-thirds of home searching phrase.
It is kinda challenge for their first contacted agent to keep those leads hot in the second and third one-thirds home searching phrase until they become his/her clients. Or it could mean big opportunities for any other agents who can get those ready-to-buy leads when they finally decided to buy.
Survey found that TV, billboards and print channels play minimal roles in searching and decision-making process. While agents themselves are the key to win those hot leads in home buying process. Because home shoppers reply on agents and open houses to bring their online search into the real world. People are searching “how to find a real estate agent”, “open house” and many other agent related searches on YouTube grew 46% year-over-year. First time buyers search massively about “home grants”, “home loans”, “buying a home”, “home buying assistance”, “home mortgage calculator” online.
From there, agents can get most ideas of what contents to deliver to attract qualified leads and to keep your leads hot.
In summary, Realtors should use Internet real estate marketing and spend more time incorporating online and mobile in order to complement their efforts in offline marketing and sales channels. Video marketing is playing an important role in leads capture and maintain process. Agent website is the first opportunity to present his/her professionalism before he/she could get another chance to present to the prospects face to face. Lower your advertising budget on TV or print media. Focus on enhancing your visibility online.