The Top 5 Technologies COOs and CROs Are Using To Boost Lead Generation in Real Estate
In 2021, technology touches almost all aspects of our lives. Technology takes the old and uses wires and 0s and 1s to usher in hyper convenience, seamless experiences, and next-level personalization. And, of course, real estate is no exception. Real estate is one of the oldest industries on Earth, and as such, it's often been resistant to change. It's always worked, so why revolutionize? Luckily, this attitude has undergone a dramatic shift in the last decade.
Time and time again, technology proves it can make marked improvements to how we get things done. And when it comes to real estate, technology has more than demonstrated its efficacy. With the right technology, lead generation in real estate becomes faster, more accurate and results in higher conversions and revenue. With this in mind, let's look at five technologies COOs and CROs are using to boost lead generation today.
How Do You Generate Leads in Real Estate?
Before we get into the meat of the topic, let's start with the appetizer - what is lead generation for real estate? If you're reading this article, you probably have a good idea, but there's always value in crystalizing a concept in your mind. When you have a concise but rigid understanding of something, you make better decisions. Why? Because the goal you're trying to achieve is always at the forefront of your mind.
So, what is the definition of lead generation for real estate? Real estate lead generation is the marketing process aimed at encouraging interest in a product (the property) for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline. The goal of real estate lead generation is to turn a lead into a prospect, then eventually a client, and then to close the sale.
There are two critical pillars of lead generation in real estate; inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Put simply, inbound marketing is focused on attracting a target audience that has already shown interest in a product or service. Attracting is the keyword here - you are only able to attract someone who is at least somewhat interested or curious about your product. Outbound marketing, often called traditional marketing, instead casts a wider net. An outbound marketing strategy involving cold-calling, cold emails, and billboard ads will reach interested and uninterested parties. Outbound marketing strategies typically have a lower conversion rate.
Lead vs. Prospect
In general terms, a lead can be anyone - the person standing next to you at Pizza Hut is a lead. A lead is anyone who could potentially be a client down the road. However, this definition is generally considered too broad to be useful, so a lead has a more specific definition in real estate. Typically, a real estate agent could consider someone a lead if they have that person's full name and phone number. By contrast, a prospect is a qualified lead. They are someone who has expressed direct interest in buying or selling a property. This direct interest might come from the person reaching out through an online real estate portal, a personal recommendation, outbound marketing method, or face-to-face meeting.
How Do You Generate Real Estate Leads?
Traditionally, real estate agents used to get out into the community, knocking on doors and making face-to-face connections. By cultivating these relationships, they could find potential customers and position themselves as the go-to agent when a local is ready to sell. When they weren't using the neighborhood as a lead hunting ground, agents would try cold calling from a list of contacts (either bought or collected themselves). They would also host open houses to find potential leads or lean heavily on their sphere of influence (family, friends, and acquaintances).
Once we shifted into the digital age, opportunities for new types of lead generation became not only viable but preferable. For example, building a social media presence became a necessity for real estate agents. Other methods like attracting leads with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), advertising on search engines like Google, using targeted landing pages, and sending targeted emails also became the norm.
Now firmly in the digital golden age of the 2020s, real estate Chief Operating Officers (COO) and Chief Revenue Officers (CRO) are looking at the next generation of technology that will transform lead generation on their websites. But what are the five groundbreaking technologies supporting COOs and CROs today? It's time for the main course.
5 Technologies COOs and CROs Are Using To Boost Lead Generation in Real Estate
1. Conversational AI (AI Chatbots)
Chatbots are an invaluable asset to real estate companies for one simple reason; they supercharge your ability to find leads. Working from our definition of a real estate lead from the last section, what distinguishes a website visitor from a lead? It's whether you have their contact details or not. Many visitors don't convert into leads simply because you didn't introduce yourself and allow them to hand over their details.
Now, of course, there are other strategies you can deploy to encourage visitors to provide their names and contact details. For example, exit pop-ups and scroll pop-ups are other popular choices. However, pop-ups can have limited success. Some people find them annoying or disruptive.
By contrast, chatbots are much less disruptive and allow for a two-way exchange. But just how successful are chatbots in real estate?
According to a report by Chatbots life, out of 5 key industries, real estate ranks number one as the industry most benefiting from the deployment of chatbots. Travel, education, healthcare, and finance also benefit significantly from chatbots but lag behind real estate by a significant margin.
A huge reason why chatbots have started to dominate the online real estate scene lies in the efficacy of modern chatbots. In recent years, the next generation of chatbot inventors has begun to distance themselves from the term chatbot, instead favoring terms like conversational AI or adaptive communications. Why? Because the chatbots that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are worlds apart from the scripted, narrow, and intent-based chatbots of old.
Traditional chatbots fake being human, but the thin veneer is exposed as soon as the visitor asks a tricky question. Conversational AI doesn't fake anything - it thinks and adapts like a human.
How Chatbots Helps Generate Qualified Leads in Real Estate
● 24/7 support - In a highly competitive industry, being offline is no longer an option. If someone is searching for a property on your website, they'll want immediate answers to their questions no matter the time of day.
● The mind behind the bot - Some chatbots are more like employees who know your company inside out than pieces of code. Hyro's conversational AI chatbot isn't a siloed piece of software confined to the website. Instead, it can capture every lead from call centers, SMS, and web-based inquiries.
● Automated insights - Conversational AI leverages data science to identify multifamily patterns within customer data. Armed with this information, you can optimize your website and digital channels to maximize conversions.
● Helping visitors find the right property - Search functions can often be tedious to fill in. Still, they are helpful because they allow visitors to specify the kinds of properties they want to view. However, not everyone has the time or attention span for the tedium. Chatbots can do the same thing by asking visitors relevant questions.
● Multi-language support - Some visitors might feel discouraged by the lack of information available in their native language. Faced with this issue, they could quickly move to a competitor. With multi-language support, you ensure that no leads are left behind.
● Follow-ups - Chatbots can keep the customer engaged and moving through the process by following up with prospects, whether it's on email or other digital channels.
Real estate chatbots also promote other benefits beyond lead generation. For example, chatbots free up agents' time, allowing them to spend more time closing deals.
What Can a Real Estate Chatbot Do?
With AI, the possibilities are almost endless. Chatbots can leverage visitor behavioral data, customer segmentation data, and historical data analysis to offer a range of services that boost the user experience. For example, based on the situation, it might provide built-in services like free home valuations, mortgage calculators, appointment scheduling, local school reviews, local amenities maps, and more. In addition, it could answer commonly asked questions. The chatbot might also inform visitors of open houses in their area or new listings that match their search preferences.
2. Image Recognition and Computer Vision
Filling in all the details on a property listing can be an incredibly time-consuming task for real estate agents. And if an agent has to duplicate the same listing across multiple websites, the time cost becomes even more expensive. For COOs and CROs, any technology that can make their website a more attractive choice for real estate agents is a good one. So, how can image recognition and computer vision make a real estate portal more appealing to agents?
Image recognition or computer vision technology can scan many photos at once and identify key details that can be used as tags on the listing, be added to the metadata, or be added to the listing description. For example, let's say a real estate agent uploads ten images. The software might identify features like hardwood floors, a fireplace, a recently renovated kitchen, a balcony, and more.
This technology helps bolster lead generation because it ensures no property details are missed. Instead, property listings are detailed, accurate, and comprehensive, increasing the probability leads will not only find the property but advance down the sales funnel.
3. Virtual Walkthroughs
The coronavirus pandemic forced the real estate industry to adapt and go more digital than ever before. Many countries imposed lockdowns that limited people's ability to interact with others and visit certain locations. For example, the US temporarily banned people from going to property viewings during the first lockdown. Virtual walkthroughs played a crucial role during this time period, allowing people to view homes without stepping foot in them.
Fast forward to today, and it looks like virtual walkthroughs are here to stay. Sure, people can now visit a property in person, but a virtual walkthrough increases the chance a lead will progress to that stage. Virtual walkthroughs can highlight the features of a property in a way that photos can't and give extra context to the spatial layout and size of a room.
4. Lead Segmentation
Becoming a pro at segmenting leads can help you attract more leads in the future and help you qualify your current leads. But how do you segment them? Here's where data analysis and AI come in. If you collect lead data in your CRM or a database, you have a treasure trove of data to feed into the data analysis software.
Here are some ways you might want to segment leads:
● Hot vs. cold leads - Hot leads interact with your content, actively fill out forms, and are generally more engaged. Cold leads are less engaged.
● Demographics - Income level, children/no children, hobbies, and more.
● Specific behaviors - Whether they read your blog, downloaded your ebook, how long they spent on the site, and so on.
Once you've segmented your leads, you can use technology to target them in the right way. For example, cold leads might be better left on an email drip, whereas hot leads might appreciate getting emails about real estate news or your recent blog content.
5. Recommendation Boxes and Hyper-Personalization
The more COOs and CROs invest in personalization software, the more leads their websites will generate. For example, recommendation boxes on real estate websites are an excellent way to keep visitors on the site longer because they connect people with properties they otherwise would have missed. Unfortunately, when using the search function, users tend to be narrow and specific in what they want. As a result, many visitors will never see properties that could potentially be their next dream home.
AI-based recommendation boxes solve this problem by leveraging data analysis to display highly relevant and personalized properties to users.
For more information regarding conversational AI and automated lead generation in real estate, including call centers, check out Hyro’s industry-designated page here.