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We often hear real estate agents proudly stating the number of leads, they are generating with their websites.  They even cite these numbers on their printed materials, and tell everyone about it.  What does this mean? Many think that this is proof that Google loves them and will send them more leads,

Not long ago we interviewed an agent whose claim to fame was that his website generated 4000 leads a month. He had incorporated every concept that would attract people to leave their name on his website.  He faithfully attended every seminar known to real estate, and tweaked his website to please the Google bots.  And he was happy to spend big bucks to do that.  Google loved him.

We asked him, how many of those leads turned into closed transactions.   He asked us to speak to his assistant who was in charge of sifting through the leads.  

It took his assistant 4 hours a day (20 hours a week or 80 hours a month @ $25 an hour) to establish which leads were genuine, and which were not.  At the end of the month 1 or 2 would emerge as viable leads.  It would take anywhere from six months to a year to convert them into a transaction

48,000 leads a year produced 12-24 viable leads.  When we asked how many of these leads did follow through, her answer was 2-3 a year with a median home price of $400,000.  When we did the math, the agent was losing money. 

When the concept of the IDX came about, we were working with a brokerage in Napa.  We encouraged the broker-owner to be the first to join. We also employed 3 SEO experts for each search engine (Google, Bing and Yahoo) to optimize the site.  

We had as many leads as the gentleman we interviewed we mentioned. We converted one lead a quarter with a median price point of $850,000.   After expenses, the company was making money.  However, it was not a significant amount of money. 

We compared the cost of consistent farming postcard mailings and personal follow-through with the cost per lead in the SEO model. The brokerage generated 12 transactions a year in the same price range with a consistent campaign focused on just one of the sectors that she specialized in. The cost per lead was significantly less.  The broker was able to distribute these leads to her agents.  

We advise our clients to stay focused on their strategy, which involves maximum human interaction. They are not spending money on lead generation, or going crazy optimizing their websites.  They are spending their time face to face with real people instead of bots and making themselves well known and well thought of in their marketplace. They know that being visible in their community is more important than being visible on the World Wide Web.

Are You The Google of Your Marketplace, Or At The Mercy of Google Bots?