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| 14 minute read

How To Segment Your Real Estate Database for Better Lead Nurturing

Sammy Harper Oct 28, 20

Your database of leads, customers, and past clients is brimming with opportunity. You never know when one of those leads is going to raise their hand and say, "I'm ready to buy a home!" But you CAN make sure the real estate agent they decide to reach out to is YOU.

Most real estate agents are terrible at lead nurturing. They see that someone registered on their website, they give that person a call or shoot them a quick text, and they don't hear back. And then they never try to reach out to that lead again. This one-and-done approach just doesn't work.

What you need is a long-term lead nurturing strategy. You need to send these leads valuable, useful, informative content on a regular basis. You need to get them to know, like, and trust you, so when they're finally ready to buy or sell a home, it's YOU who will be at the top of their minds.

The key to developing this kind of lead nurturing strategy is first understanding the Lead Life Cycle. Next, you need to develop personas to represent each of your target markets—this will help you get in their heads and understand what types of content will be most valuable. Finally, you need a system that allows you to automate your lead nurturing for all of the different segments you've created.

Valerie Garcia, VP of learning and development for Realvolve + Firepoint, recently hosted a webinar titled Segment Smart! How to Make Your Database Do the Work for YouDuring this webinar, she broke down each stage of the lead life cycle, explained what type of content a lead needs to receive at each stage, and demonstrated how to build a persona. Basically, she provided a road map to better lead nurturing. In this blog post, I'll be sharing all of the best takeaways from her presentation.

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Watch the webinar: Segment Smart! How to Make Your Database Do the Work for You

5 Stages of the Lead Life Cycle

There are 5 stages of the lead life cycle: Awareness, Research, Evaluate, Buy/Sell, and Advocate.

AWARENESS

In the awareness stage, the customer:

  • Starts thinking about buying or selling, but they haven't necessarily made a firm decision to do so
  • Starts looking for information
  • Starts asking others for advice
  • Typically wants to be left alone

Content marketing is so important in this stage. Provide these leads with valuable content like "how to" articles, school and community information, searchable data, home sale statistics, and tips on how to prepare their home to sell. This content can be both written and video. Publish it on your website and blog. Send a hard copy via traditional mail. Push it out via email, social media, and text message.

Be a valuable source of information as they begin their journey and continue to be a helpful advisor throughout the process.

These folks are great leads to have in your pipeline because, as Valerie mentions, “you have the ability to get to them early before they have communication with anybody else.”

RESEARCH

Next comes the research stage, where the customer:

  • Asks friends what real estate agents they used
  • Decides to reach out to you
  • Starts asking you questions
  • Starts looking at houses
  • Wants real information

“This is when they’re most likely to come through your open house, or watch a virtual tour, watch a video, open your stuff," says Valerie. "So, this is where education gets super important. We’ve got to meet their needs and answer their questions, solve their problems, and tell them what to do next.”

Too many agents assume that people know what they should do next, but they don’t. You have to tell them that their next step is to call a real estate agent!

EVALUATE

As the customer begins to evaluate whether or not they want to move forward—and whether they will be working with you—they need to:

  • Understand the process (What happens now, if I decide I want to buy? What do I have to do to get my ducks in a row?)
  • Understand your value
  • Start making concrete decisions

In the evaluate stage, it’s critical that you explain the process and what you will do for them during each step. Send them a link to your client testimonials page. Create quick videos—a simple screen recording tutorial of how to use the tools on your website, a short interview with a home inspector talking about the importance of getting an inspection, etc. Provide checklists, such as questions to ask before hiring an agent or questions to ask a lender before moving forward.

Give them the content they need to help them make those big decisions.

BUY/SELL

Once they've reached the buy/sell stage (hooray!), the customer:

  • Must make big decisions
  • Needs expertise and experience
  • Needs a negotiating partner
  • Has a lot of questions

The buy/sell stage is where you’ll put your negotiation skills to work, stay in constant contact with your customer, narrate the process as you go, and answer their questions.

ADVOCATE

After the transaction has closed, in the advocate stage, the customer:

  • Will be asked for advice by others
  • Will represent you to others
  • Will become a source of leads for you

The advocate stage of the cycle is where your client stays until they ideally become a repeat client at some point in the future. In this phase, your goal is to stay in touch. Send them interesting articles about their community, helpful blog posts (things like How to Read Your Property Tax Assessment), holiday cards, and the occasional pop-by gift.

***

Identifying where a lead is in the Lead Life Cycle is one of the pieces of segmenting your database. Now, let's talk about the second piece of segmenting—personas.

Creating Personas

Creating personas is a great exercise for figuring out what kind of content to send to your leads. A persona is basically a description of a person that represents a segment of your target audience. Valerie has created 6 customer personas for real estate agents that you can download for free: first-time buyers, selling soon, downsizers, buying a second home, move-up buyers, and undecided.

In her webinar, Valerie walks us through one particular persona—Rose, a single woman under the age of 35 who is a first-time buyer and is buying alone. 

When defining a persona, there are 8 characteristics you should define: description (of where the person lives now), location (of where she wants to live), needs, fears, motivations, interests, frustrations, and timing. Here is what the Rose persona looks like:

  • Description (where she lives now): Currently renting
  • Location (where she wants to live): Urban condo
  • Needs: Needs to build equity
  • Fears: Unsure about down payment
  • Motivations: Wants safe neighborhood
  • Interests: Near friends, shopping, and work
  • Frustrations: No fixer uppers
  • Timing: Next 12 months

Once you've defined these 8 characteristics, you can create valuable content tailored to this persona. Here are some content ideas Valerie came up with for the Rose persona:

  • We know Rose is currently renting, so we can provide her with a rent versus buy comparison showing a five-year projection of how much she would have spent versus how much equity she would have earned.
  • We know she wants to live in a condo in the city, so we can send her articles like “What is a condo association?” and “What are special assessments?”
  • We know building equity is important to her, so we can send her some referrals to financial advisors and share blog posts like, “Should you pull money out of your 401(k) to buy a home?”
  • One of her fears is whether or not she’ll be able to afford a down payment, so we can send her a link to a great down payment calculator or a sample closing sheet.
  • She tells us she wants a home in a safe neighborhood, but we know that sharing neighborhood statistics is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. However, we can provide information on inventory in the neighborhood, such as how long houses in that neighborhood are typically on the market.
  • To ease her frustration with having to make repairs and updates upon moving in, we could send her easy DIY tutorials and referrals to contractors.
  • Based on her timeframe, we can provide seasonal trend information. For instance, we might tell her about how our local real estate market typically has high inventory in early spring, so it’s a good time to get a deal; or how, in the fall, there are less homes on the market, so it will be a little more competitive for a buyer.

***

We've covered lead stages and persona characteristics. Those are the two most important strategies for segmenting your database. But how do you actually set all of this up so that it's not a ton of manual work? That's what we'll discuss in this final section.

A system for segmenting and nurturing your leads

Your database of customers probably—hopefully—resides within some sort of CRM or similar platform. The technology you use to manage your customers and run your real estate business is so important.

Once you've gained a deep understanding of the 5 lead stages and defined your target personas, you should be using your technology to put all of that segmenting to work. Make sure every single contact in your database is assigned the right tags and lead stages so you can easily pull together very specific lists—perhaps a list of "people with pets."

Valerie is apparently on just such a list in one agent's database. "And you might think, why would you have a bucket of people with pets? But I'm telling you, I got a birthday card for my cat this year from an agent, and I thought that was the cutest thing ever. And I hung it on the fridge. There are ways to people's hearts by simply personalizing. And the more specific you can get with your bucket, the more valuable the stuff you can send."

Having the ability to assign tags and lead stages is important, but you also need technology that will allow you to automate your lead nurturing. If you haven't heard of Realvolve + Firepoint, we're worth checking out. Our system allows you to automate every step of the process—you can create email and text message templates that auto-populate with lead information, schedule content to send at just the right time, and get reminders when it's time to call a list of leads (plus you can use our FireDialer to make phone calls faster than ever).

When you combine a killer lead nurturing strategy with powerful automation software like Realvolve + Firepoint, your business will grow like never before.

Get the webinar replay, downloads, and a special offer!

Don't worry if you missed the webinar—you can watch the replay and score some incredible free downloads. Watch the replay to discover:

  • How to identify where your contacts are in the lead life cycle
  • How to segment your database with purpose
  • How to demonstrate your value to each of your lead segments
  • What you should be automating in your CRM

The free downloads up for grabs are:

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  • 6 Customer Personas: Valerie did the hard work for you—she identified 8 characteristics for each persona AND content ideas to send.
  • The webinar slide deck, which includes statistics, a breakdown of each lead cycle stage, and other key takeaways from the presentation.

And don't miss the special price offer on Firepoint at the bottom of the webinar page.

Watch the webinar, get the downloads, and see the special offer!

           
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Click here to download the guide: The Rule of Three

About Sammy Harper

Sammy Harper is a content writer at Firepoint & Realvolve. Her nine years of digital marketing experience include SEO, email marketing, social media, and blogging. Fascinated by the real estate indust...

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