Jun 15, 2017 by - Andrey Nokhrin

Predictive Marketing: An Easy Way to Get Listing Leads

Have you ever heard the story about how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did based on her purchasing behavior? Target would start sending the girl some advertisement with baby clothes and other products pregnant women might need. Her dad came to the store, very angry, and had an unpleasant conversation with a manager. Later though, the dad came back to apologize, since it appeared that his daughter was actually pregnant.

Every time a person makes a certain move, he leaves a digital footage behind – purchase history, address changes, Facebook statuses. Some of this data is confidential, some are open to the public. Let’s now see how Real Estate agents can benefit from that.

How to stop spending time on leads that do not pan out

You may have heard the old Real Estate mantra “Buyers are liars, list to live.” There are tons of lead generation platforms for buyers. After all, it’s fairly easy to throw up an IDX search engine and pull in people who are looking to buy. Of course, the other side of that equation is the volume of looky-loos and unqualified leads that result.

As a former residential Real Estate broker in Seattle, I realized that in order to scale my business and stop spending too much time on Buyer leads that didn’t pan out, I needed to find a solution that allowed me to target Sellers before they even realize they were planning to sell.

Trying to market to Sellers was traditionally more difficult due to the inability to identify Sellers before they enter the marketplace. How do you find out whether someone is thinking of selling 6-12 months before they start looking for a Listing agent? We all know, once a Seller is about to start looking, he starts with the person who sold him his old house, or the local Real Estate bigshot who gets all the listings in his neighborhood.

What is predictive analytics?

What we need, then, is a crystal ball that lets us know when people are thinking of making a change in their lives that leads to home sales – marriage, divorce, promotions, job changes, retirement, and so on.

This was what Mike Pappas, President of Florida’s The Keyes Company, was looking for when he was evaluating more efficient, result-oriented ad spending. His goal was “to find a solution that helps increase the number of transactions and decrease marketing costs.” He saw the problem as two-fold—identification and communication. “We want to stay ahead of competitors when it comes to home sellers,” Pappas said. The result they were looking for was a “high-quality, affordable predictive marketing service that helps to build a seller pipeline.”

Predictive analytics uses social media to evaluate and predict which users will be experiencing a life event that can lead to the sale of their home. Let me explain how it works.

When someone changes their relationship status or posts about a new job, this becomes a part of a data set that marketing predictive analytic platforms evaluate in order to identify potential clients for agents. This data set is cross-referenced with geographic information, and agents who are identified with that zip code are now presented in ads to these individuals well before they have entered the sale cycle.

How predictive analytics works for Real Estate

The best predictive marketing providers show ads on major websites like Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, New York Times, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, and more. When a user clicks on an ad either through a mobile app or on a website, the ad redirects a user to a landing page offering free home evaluations. The goal is to catch potential Sellers at the beginning, or even before the beginning, of the sales cycle. When Sellers submit their information, the agent is notified, and now he can use much more targeted, focused marketing to build relationships with potential Sellers. 

For brokers, predictive analytics technologies can optimize their ability to feed leads to their agents, making their agencies much more attractive to potential agents and resulting in agents who are more leveraged, more successful, and more motivated. In addition to Buyer leads, brokers can now provide accurate and meaningful Seller leads! This results in higher ROI for the lead gen spending, as well as happier and more consistent agents.

Okay, you know who is planning to sell. Now what?

Of course, predictive analytics alone cannot result in conversions for Real Estate agents and brokers. Nurturing leads is extremely important and a great conversion plan is still the most powerful weapon in an agent’s arsenal.

So far, the best practices of successful companies in using predictive analytics are to combine lead identification with dedicated associates for follow ups. For Sellers, communication process and response time are one of the most important factors when choosing an agent. In fact, 78 percent select the first agent who contacts them

A well-working follow-up system results in higher quality leads who are more motivated to work with an agent. In addition, with more information about the potential Seller, agents can target the way they reach out, how often they do that, and what message they need to present.

Is predictive marketing really that effective?

Since they catch Sellers earlier in a decision-making process, lead gen resources that use predictive analytics showed themselves as a much more effective use of time, ad budgets, and the efforts of Real Estate agents. The difference it makes in terms of the quality of leads, the quality of conversions, and the quality of life for both brokers and agents can’t be overestimated.

Remember my struggling with spending too much time on Buyer leads that didn’t pan out and searching for a solution that would allow me to target Sellers before they even realize they are planning to sell? I ended up marrying my passion for Real Estate with my degree in Applied Mathematics that I got back in Russia (yes, those crazy Russian hackers…) to create a platform that uses predictive analytics to identify Sellers at the very beginning of the process.

Our stats today indicate that it works about 10 times more effective than advertising online yourself, and 80 times more effective than sending postcards when looking at cost per lead.  What’s fascinating? Thirty percent of the Sellers we identified through our platform listed within the next twelve months, compared to a 3.5 percent prediction rate for random farming methods. It is so interesting to see how logic and mathematics could work effectively in such a human-oriented business.

Looking at the big picture of the Real Estate market, I proved to myself that predictive marketing could be a tool to improve the quality of leads and get more Sellers. This turns into the kind of game-changing leverage Real Estate agents and brokers are looking for. Smarter leads, greater predictability, and motivated Sellers are the key to more successful agents and happier brokers.

How can you implement predictive analytics?

Many agents still use the traditional way of DIY predictive analytics. They publish ads in anniversary and wedding sections of newspapers and post ads in luxury magazines to attract luxury sellers. They also send postcards to the list of local homeowners hoping to attract those looking for an agent. This method still works, but it’s very expensive and time-consuming due to the cost of print, postal, graphic design, etc. 

Today, homeowners are spending most of their time online instead of reading print media. Every day they are checking emails on their smartphone, reading news via mobile apps, streaming music, watching videos, and looking at the pictures and updates from their friends and family on social apps like Facebook and Instagram. The next generation of predictive analytics takes advantage of digital and mobile data. Social data, for example, can be used to place ads more effectively in front of the right audiences online.

Services like Flipt can display your ads more frequently to homeowners who are likely to sell soon because of their online activity, such as changing their marital status or posting pictures of kids graduating.  These kinds of services make it simple for any Real Estate professional to use predictive analytics and place custom Real Estate ads to local homeowners on 4 million mobile ads, including WSJ, Huffpost, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, MailOnline, and the like.

Predictive marketing technology allows local Real Estate professionals to reach more homeowners at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. Agents don’t have to spend hours analyzing data or building their ads. The next gen predictive marketing is easy to set up in 5 minutes. It takes another 15 minutes for on-boarding and training. Afterward, it showed phenomenal results in helping Real Estate professionals build relationships with more local homeowners and grow their network.   

Have you used predictive analytics yet? Tell us how it’s working for you in our Facebook group!


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