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3 Soft Barriers - How To Generate Leads Through Blogging

Business Blogging for Leads.  That's the goal, right? 

The Soft Barrier is a lead generating, online form that asks for as little personal information as possible.  The strategy is to have the visitor exchange their personal info in order to access information worth the exchange.  "Name and email required" is the info one needs to effectively include the generated lead into an email marketing program.  Other information such as phone number, address and real estate needs, however valuable, are more tricky to ask for.  The idea is to pick up leads, not deter response by over-stepping the visitor's comfort zone.

The Tools
Traditional lead generating soft barriers such as the promise of access to the MLS or a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) are still effective, to some degree.  The stat that I hear thrown around: expect 4% of the audience that visits the soft barrier (accessing the MLS or requesting a CMA) to cough up their name and email to get at what you got.  This number has been falling sharply over the last few years for the following reasons:  more Realtors online offer the exact same MLS access without a soft barrier; websites like Craigslist, Trulia, GoolgeBase and Realtor.com offer access to barrier free inventory.

The Frequency
Offering subscription to an Email Newsletter is another traditional, and far less effective lead generator when one fails to present clear example of the value of the information one commits to provide.  Real estate information so litters the web, without clear need for yours, the newsletter seems less tasty of a carrot.

A solid alternative (read: enhancement) to the Email Newsletter is the 'email blog blast.'  A email blog blast is an RSS  fed email campaign that is sent out with each new blog article. Offering the opportunity to receive your compelling and valuable articles as they become available, is an attractive call to action.  Unique, personal, regular and informative emails covering a subject the reader follows is worth providing an email address for.   And for you, 3 birds with one stone: Branding the mind share, Educating the lead, Developing clients.
However, with the growing popularity, convenience and anonymity of RSS, the numbers of this effort will suffer some.

The Education
Downloadable eBooks made from a comprehensive reorganization and polishing of archived blog articles can be very appealing to the new reader: "Your 2006 Home Sellers eBook."  Compile core topics (discussions) as separate downloads: "Why Zillow Can't Generate The True Value Of Your Home." All downloads are 'email required.'  Offering your knowledge and observations to the audience as a marketed package brings confidence and curiosity.

Offer the Tools, the Frequency and the Education and you are putting yourself in a position to capture and incubate leads from your blog.

Related Must Reads
How Does Real Estate Blogging Actually Generate Leads?
Giving Away Trade Secrets?
Your Blog Is Bait - How To Use Blogging To Generate Leads
Business Plan 2007: Blog For Leads

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Comments

Geez, why hadn't I thought of this post? Another good one Jim. One of the ideas we have implementing is the custom/personalized RSS feed. When useres search the MLS, we generate a feed for their search criteria so they can subscribe to that and when new listings that match their criteria come on the market- the system emails them the listings- it helps boost RSS subscription. Because, you are right, regular RSS subscriptin just doesn't cut it anymore!

Great suggestions!

Two other suggestions. We've been recommending to our clients that they take their "free reports" and divide them into 3 to 5 sections and offer them as an "E-course." I also love the MyHomeManagementClub program which provides a realy terrific newsletter packed with consumer tips about home ownership. This is a consumer advocacy newsletter, not the same old stuff about "when you sell your house." You offer your web visitors or the people you meet at open house a "gift" of membership. The third approach I like for the web are free web coupons. Check out www.Baton.com for more info.

It kind of cracks me up when I look at agent web sites and see "free home search" or that they can email listings to me. Big deal, not worth giving up an email address for.

Robert Scoble, blogger extraordinaire at www.scobleizer.com and co-author of "Naked Conversations" suggests using RSS feeds rather than sacrifice-your-anonymity-subscriptions as potentially a more effective way of reaching out to your Internet audience.

The idea is that significantly more people will latch on to your content if they can do so anonymously through RSS. If even a tiny percentage of those (far less than the 4% you mention above) end up becoming clients, you're still way ahead.

Unfortunately, neither Scoble nor, to the best of my knowledge, anybody else, has done research to find what the numbers would be. It's a great idea, though.

I have a problem, I am blog challenged. I had a blog on my web site -- I had no idea what I was doing and then just asked to have the blog button removed. How do I go about having an effective blog on my web site. I am a vetran real estate broker who is fairly computer savvy, escept for when it comes to blogging.

I saw you at Mega Camp..you did a great job! I really found the stuff you shared to be interesting & valuable. Now I want to blog! I have to learn more! Thanks for coming!

I think I will need to bookmark this site... so much good stuff to learn!
Thanks,
Ed

I am a real estate agent and want to learn how to sset up a blog. What is the first step?

You have just taken it. We look forward to chatting with you.

I want to get on this blog system too. Please contact me for further info.

Talk with you soon Ken!

Your posts are always so relevent and helpful. I love reading your blog!

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