Customer Acquisition Strategy for Real Estate Companies
When developing a customer acquisition strategy for a real estate company, marketers face a unique challenge: real estate transactions by their nature are high value and complex, leading to relatively long sales cycles. As a result, real estate firms must invest heavily in both lead generation—ensuring their sales teams have a steady supply of new leads—and lead nurturing to convert those leads into opportunities and closed sales.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to optimize your strategy for each of the three stages of the real estate customer acquisition funnel: Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, and Sales. Here’s a visualization of that funnel along with the common channels utilized in each stage.
The Real Estate Customer Acquisition Funnel
In reality, prospects are “traveling” through the funnel by visiting web pages and performing online actions as visualized in this example funnel:
Now let’s explore the 3 stages of real estate customer acquisition strategy in more detail.
Stage 1: Lead Generation
Lead generation is the first stage of real estate customer acquisition. In this stage, potential customers discover your firm and your services, learn basic information about your value proposition, and either reach out to your sales team or, more likely, perform a soft conversion action such as signing up for a newsletter or subscribing to your blog. Successfully performing lead generation begins with understanding which marketing channels are most effective for your real estate firm.
The below table comes from a study our first conducted over a 5 year period on the effectiveness of various lead generation channels.
The Best Real Estate Lead Generation Channels – 2023
|Channel||Monthly Cost||Time Until Results||Average ROI||Notes|
|SEO||$12,000 – $15,000||4-6 Months||748%||Thought leadership-style SEO is the highest ROI online lead generation channel, but requires a longer ramp-up time compared to other channels. Real estate companies should combine SEO with channels that get quicker results (albeit at a higher price) to begin filling their sales funnel.|
|Public Speaking||$25,000 – $40,000||2-4 months||856%||For high ticket real estate businesses where trust is paramount, the handshake still prevails. Public speaking creates opportunities to make personal connections with your audience, thereby generating warm leads that convert quickly.|
|Email Marketing||$1,000 – $3,000||3-6 months||312%||Email marketing is relatively inexpensive and is an excellent supplement to other channels in a lead nurturing role. Its lead generation effects are also impressive when paired with a targeted list.|
|Webinars||$15,000 – $35,000||2-4 months||421%||Webinars offer an opportunity to connect personally with your prospective customers from anywhere, and do attract high level decision makers. Webinars can also include repurposed thought leadership content, reducing their cost.|
|PPC||$3,000 – $30,000||1 month||36%||PPC has relatively low average ROI but is one of the fastest lead generation channels. It is best used in short-term campaigns, particularly when entering new markets or promoting new services.|
It’s worth noting that the effectiveness of all these channels depends on providing insightful content that speaks to your audience. Quality matters tremendously when it comes to content, so you should not outsource the writing of marketing materials to a junior team member.
Creating High-Quality Content
High-quality content that engages the reader and fulfills their intent or curiosity is a prerequisite to successful customer acquisition. Potential buyers or investors are psychologically invested in a certain outcome, and it’s your marketing team’s job to anticipate what it is and describe how your product or service will help them reach it. Here is some general advice that applies to all forms of content in real estate marketing:
- Be concise: The best content begins by immediately answering the searcher’s question and using the article body to further develop the answer while providing essential context and detail.
For example, if you’re writing a blog article entitled “What IRR can I expect on my rental property in the first year?” you want to answer their question right at the top of the article, i.e. “When executed correctly, a rental property should generate an IRR of 15-18% in its first year.” Soon afterwards, it would also be a good idea to provide a table listing the actions that would make it most likely they’ll attain their desired return.
- Guide the reader: Keep your reader engaged by guiding them clearly through the subject matter in a hyper-organized way.
For example, if you’re producing a webinar about home flipping, begin the webinar by telling them what you’ll be teaching them over the next hour, in what order, and what you expect them to take away by the end of the webinar
- Include visual elements: People engage with information in a wide variety of ways. High-quality content recognizes this and should include tables, charts, and infographics for readers who prefer a visual element.
For example, a landing page outlining a custom home builder’s services should include photos of completed projects, an infographic that displays the expected timeline of the design and build process, and a table breaking down common build choices and their impact on cost and completion date.
- End with a relevant CTA: High-quality content will conclude with a call-to-action that is appropriate to the rest of the content. In some instances, posts may link to additional reading to expand the audience’s understanding of the topic; in other cases, a strong CTA may encourage them to make a purchase.
By following these general guidelines for high-quality content, marketers can create content tailored to the target audience’s search intent without sacrificing the overall goals of the company. Additionally, excellent content can nurture leads, which we discuss in the next section.
Stage 2: Lead Nurturing
In real estate marketing, nurturing is the process of keeping prospects engaged by guiding them towards interesting content that eventually pushes them towards buying. It can take the form of an email, social media update, webinar, market forecast, trend report, or even just a web page.
Lead nurturing takes place after a prospect has learned about your company for the first time. For instance, a prospect that discovered your company through a trade show might then receive an email from your firm inviting them to read a report on the latest housing trends. That email, and especially the report, are forms of nurturing: they’re capitalizing on a one-time meeting to remind a prospect of your firm and cause them to spend more time with it, all the while increasing their trust in your brand.
The table below lists popular real estate lead nurturing channels.
Real Estate Lead Nurturing Channels
|Email Marketing||Build your email list by creating insightful thought leadership content – or at least by buying a high quality database – and send your audience content that is both interesting and relevant to them on a regular, but not too frequent, basis – likely once every 4-6 weeks.|
|Reports & Forecasts||Create one high-value piece of downloadable content per target audience, industry, and application of your product or service. Link this content from the side of an SEO page or serve it up via a popover, requesting an email address in exchange for the download.|
|Social Media||Post regular updates on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn that offer condensed insights from blog articles, reports, or forecasts, increasing brand trust for minimal added cost.|
|Webinars & Podcasts||Create a 5-episode video series breaking down the house-buying process for first-time homeowners that highlights the advantages of working with a realtor. The first 2 episodes of this series are freely available, with the remaining 3 behind an email registration wall.|
These methods allow your real estate company to make better use of its lead generation marketing dollars, and convert a higher percentage of prospects.
As a note, an efficient way to create lead nurturing content is to repurpose existing content.
Stage 3: Sales
When your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts pay off, there is still that final step of sales. While hiring good, experienced salespeople with experience in your niche of real estate is the most important factor in closing deals, the practices below can substantially increase your customer close rate.
Personalized Sales Content
Similar to lead generation and lead nurturing content, sales content should be personalized to address the individual needs of your target audience. These needs will become evident in your initial discovery calls and can typically be addressed by two main forms of content:
- Industry Reports: Detailed, data-rich displaying your company’s expert knowledge on complex industry-related topics
- Case Studies: Especially important in real estate companies that often utilize a B2C business model, case studies essentially serve as a sophisticated customer testimonial that demonstrates your company’s abilities through the eyes of a customer
These types of content lets prospective customers know that you understand their concerns, and demonstrates your real-world success in addressing the concerns of similar customers. Another way your team can do so is to use social proofs, beginning with the proof elements on your website. For example, our Real Estate SEO Services page shows the logos of 4 real estate companies our agency has worked with:
Including these logos demonstrates that other real estate companies have entrusted us with their lead generation, and our work has been successful enough that we feel confident if a lead should reach out to any of the above companies.
Another kind of proof element is examples of previous work. As with social proofs, these trust building elements help shorten sales cycles, warming up leads even before they reach out to your sales team. One example of this, taken from the same page, is our page section on previously completed work:
Including similar elements will help prospective clients determine that your company has been successful for similar customers in the past.
Sales Tracking Software and CRMs
Sales tracking software and CRMs provide highly useful tools that can improve your close rates by increasing your sales team’s efficiency. Common features include automated follow-up reminders, lead-tracking systems, and conversion analytics. The two most popular platforms are SalesForce and Hubspot. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the key pros and cons of each service.
|Pros||Wider range of capabilities||More affordable|
|Increased customization||User-friendly UI|
|Greater data capacity||Provides lead activity data|
|Cons||More expensive||Limited # of contacts|
|Complex UI||Fewer reporting features|
|Requires technical expertise to set up||Less powerful API|
These tools can help teams identify kinks in the sales funnel and enable marketers to more effectively and efficiently bring in new customers.
Implementing a Customer Acquisition Strategy for Your Real Estate Company
Creating and implementing an effective customer acquisition strategy requires a wide range of skills. Lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales each demand specialized, expert teams with disparate skill sets. Because of the various specialists needed to construct a successful customer acquisition strategy, many real estate businesses struggle to implement a comprehensive strategy in-house.
As a result, businesses often prefer to collaborate with a marketing team that has the necessary resources and talent. Our firm specializes in building customized client acquisition strategies for real estate clients. Contact us if you’re interested in discussing a partnership.