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.
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.
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.
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.
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