Is 12 Months Too Long? The Real Estate Blog Is The Ultimate Drip Marketing Campaign
The industry stats claim that it will take between 6 and 18 months to incubate the Internet Lead.
Is a mean of 12 months too long?
Can the real estate blog accelerate this?
First, let's define the Internet Lead: A valid email address, acquired through your Internet presence (read: site).
The obvious is that with an email address you are limited as to how you can communicate to them.
Without a blog:
If the direct communications (personal, direct email efforts) are ignored, you are left using email drip systems (canned?) and IDX listing updates (better).
I can see that with only these options in your arsenal then 6 to 18 months of incubation should be expected. Email drip systems work well to continue to educate and brand, and IDX maintains buyers' interest, but neither really work the warmer lead, still hiding behind their email address.
The Real Estate Blog is the new Lead Incubator.
Internet leads receiving your bog's email blasts/RSS feed (related: Your Blog Is Bait) will very likely come to one of two early decisions: die off or embrace.
An active blog will post at least once a week, probably more. Frequent blog blasts sent to your audience nearly force them to make the choice to either 'belong' or split.
(With RSS the effect is the same - the information is either desired or ignored). This decision will be made way before 6 to 12 months, try 3 to 6 weeks.
Sure you'll have your 6 to 18 'monthers' - but the increase in the interest and participation of the warmer lead will accelerate the incubation period as well as engage more education seeking leads. Aren't those the leads we want most, the ones that are looking to do business soon, and not years from now?
First, let's examine how the use of standard tools (no blog), can cause a lead to take longer to incubate, if at all.
The warmer leads (under 6 months), hungry for resource, and education, yet still want to remain 'anonymous,' may continue to seek out information elsewhere. If you are not answering the questions they have and not providing information to them at the pace they require, then you are not meeting their needs.
The colder leads (6 months - 1 year), may not be so cold. Maybe they are timid of the current market. Maybe they are scared of their credit. Maybe they have just been told by friends that now is just not the right time. Yet you know that if you were able to get them on the phone, you would be able to educate them on why moving forward today is better than holding out for another year. Are these leads going to get the current, relevant and trustworthy information that they need to make this decision from your static website?
Overcoming these and other objections, would have kept prospects on track, but unfortunately they were not handled by your website (nor drip campaign), therefore extending the incubation period.
Second, when was the last time you actually updated your drip email campaign? Does your drip email campaign actually have relevant statistics, or are the emails going out with common advice or standard branding ("your Realtor for life")?
What can't be ignored, is that overwhelmingly these canned emails are disregarded and seen as spammy. Unless you are constantly updating the emails that are being sent out, they are going to be outdated, irrelevant, lacking emotion, uninspiring, and missing a core ingredient of prospecting; relating on a personal level. A blog reflects persona, community and connection. Most drip email campaigns are impersonal and scheduled.
If in fact, you are making the effort to actually provide current, relevant and unique information in your drip campaigns, why limit the exposure of efforts to a lead list? You are blogging in a vacuum if you don't take your knowledge to the web.
How can the use of a blog help incubate Internet leads more quickly as well as engage the warmer lead?
Frequent, relevant content maintains a prospect's focus, keeping them warm.
Rich, deep content, based on common challenges and needs will educate, impress and help you overcome objections keeping prospects on track.
The participatory element of the blog encourages prospects to accelerate their reciprocal communication while still maintaining their distance behind their email address (or RSS feed).
Blog writing also helps bring the human element to the Internet based relationship you have with your prospect (related: Being Business Friendly in Business Blogging). Writing style, personification and current communication will firmly engage your prospect in ways that IDX listings, canned email drips and your static website will fail.
How to get them to react is all in the call to action. Clear service offers, calls to action and baited participation, supported by your prospects' desired insight is the key. When you are bringing the knowledge, present the opportunity for them to respond to it.
Is a mean of 12 months too long?
Yes. The length of time it takes to incubate an Internet Lead in most cases is dependent on the efficiency in which their objections were handled. By moving your voice online, you can answer these objections in real time (and in archive) and in turn move that lead closer to commitment. The blog, when used properly, can be a step back to the incubation of the traditional lead (walk-in, sign call etc.), something that is done in 6 to 18 weeks, not months.
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