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Last week I focused on what investors are doing right, so it only seemed fair to focus this week on what’s going wrong.
A few times a week the same thing happens… we get emails from a Carrot members that look something like this:
“Help! I’m not getting many leads from my website and I don’t know why!”
It always bums us out to hear that… we focus a lot on providing great value, and we hate to hear that anyone’s using InvestorCarrot without getting great results.
So we dive in to get to the crux of the problem.
And getting leads online really equates to only TWO simple things.
It All Comes Down To Traffic & Conversion
- Traffic – Are you getting traffic to your website? (ranking well for keywords that actually get enough searches to matter?)
- Conversion – Does your website convert enough of those visitors to leads?
So, when someone emails in and asks for advice to get leads… it always comes down to those two things.
Traffic and conversion.
So first we look at the traffic… because if there isn’t any traffic going to your website… conversion doesn’t matter.
If your website is converting motivated seller leads at 15% (15 of every 100 visitors sends you their info, which is solid)… and you’re only getting 25 people to your website each month… that’s only about 4 leads per month.
Not much to build a business off of right?
So… here’s what we do.
We start problem solving by asking the same questions. If you’re banking on SEO being a part of your traffic generation strategy… we’ll ask you this question first:
How much search volume is happening in your market?
In simple terms… are there enough people in the areas you’re targeting searching for the keywords in Google that your pages are ranking for?
Unfortunately, most of the time we get a “huh?” in response.
Then we explain:
Even if you’re ranking at the top of a search, no one’s gonna click your link if no one is searching.
Then a lot of times we’ll dive in and do a little bit of research, only to discover what we already know… that there’s little to no search volume in their market for the keywords they’re ranking for.
It’s like putting a great billboard on a dark back alley street that no one sees.
But put that same awesome billboard on a busy street… then it produces GREAT results.
Here’s Some Examples For Ya –
For a quick illustration of what I’m talking about, let’s look at some US cities and check out the search volume (using the keyword planner tool in Google’s Adwords) for a common search term in each market, “we buy houses [insert your city]”.
This term tends to be a popular search phrase across most cities in the US so it’s usually a great barometer in any market for the volume of “highly motivated sellers” in that market:
The Good – Below are numbers for average monthly searches for those terms in Google. You can note that some cities get MANY more searches than others… showing the potential SEO demand for that keyword. Our barometer is anything over 30/mo is worth making a page for on your website with our SEO Grader tool to help you rank for that term.
The Bad – Below are numbers in a few cities we grabbed out of thin air. One of the cities below is a city that a client of ours is ranked well for but emailed us saying he hadn’t been getting leads to his website.
Why? “we buy houses fair oaks” isn’t getting much search action. The Fair Oaks market may not be a great
city to focus on for all of your online lead generation efforts.
Now, it’s important to realize a couple of things about that data:
- Each of those is the average number of monthly searches over the last 12 months. It’s really common to see big spikes in search volume one month, followed by a major drop in traffic in the next if an economic event happened in that city causing more motivated sellers (a huge job layoff in the city, etc.).
- Notice that the most populated city has the least amount of searches: In this example, Philly was searched 24x more often than NYC, although it has only 18% of the population.
Searches like these are often motivated by external factors
Just on a guess, I did a Google search for “Philadelphia layoffs”, and sure enough, almost 4,000 teachers were laid off in June of 2013. When lots of people lose their jobs at once, it’s easy to imagine panicked sales taking place if folks can’t pay their bills.
These searches for the “we buy houses [insert your city]” and “sell my house fast [insert your city]” terms happen when people need fast answers (and you want to be in front of them when they search for those fast answers, like our client Brittany in Baltimore has been able to do).
They’ll often do a quick search, and if they find what they’re looking for, they’ll put in their information into a form and become a “lead”. If they don’t see what they want, they’ll keep moving until they find it.
But if SEO is your main marketing strategy, you won’t get any leads if there aren’t many searches for the specific phrases you’re ranking for.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Real Estate Investors Only Works When Enough People Are Searching The Phrases You’re Ranking For.
Too many SEO services out there just focus on getting you rankings… because rankings are sexy right?
But those rankings don’t matter much if they’re for terms that only a handful of people are searching each month.
So what happens if you’re in one of those markets that isn’t getting many searches for the popular terms like “we buy houses [your city]” or “sell house fast [your city]”?
Does this mean that you should abandon SEO when searches are low?
Not at all!
In fact, it’s a really good time to build your business and get creative.
Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s not a short-term one.
And if you’re really wanting to generate consistent leads and dominate your local market online… you can still do that!
While yes, there are some markets where there just aren’t a lot of motivated sellers searching online… but it doesn’t mean the sellers aren’t out there searching.
You just need to broaden out your keywords that you focus on on your website so rather than banking all of your traffic on just the “we buy houses ” or “sell house fast ” keywords… add in others.
Not Getting SEO Leads? Here’s Your Plan Of Action…
Create some pages on your motivated seller website for “Focus Keywords” (use our SEO Grader tool to help you optimize these pages for those phrases very easily) like…
- sell your house fast [insert city]
- how to sell house fast in [insert city]
- how can I sell my house fast [insert city]
- sell my house for cash [insert city]
- how to rent your house in [insert city] (many people who need to sell, just quit and settle for renting. Write an article on your blog!)
- tips on selling your [insert city] house
… you get the idea.
If rather than trying to bank your lead generation on 1 term that only gets 30 searches a month… why not create some more pages on your website (InvestorCarrot makes that crazy easy) that are focused on other keywords ALSO in your market… so you have 15 pages ranking for search phrases that get 30 searches a month each.
If NOT, hit me with questions below and we’ll dive in and clarify for ya… we’ll even get specific and help you figure it out for your own market through the comments section below.
Even if you’re in an area that doesn’t currently get a lot of search data… it’s worth it to rank well there.
When something happens in your market (like layoffs) that create a lot of demand for fast, cash buyers, you want to be first in line to capture those leads. Working on SEO now is critical to rank high when searches do pick up.
If you’re like most investors you’re deeply focused on your local market and what’s happening today. You’re only working to make deals happen soon – not years or months down the road.
That might be a mistake.
Too many investors are only thinking about short-term results… even though the best investment advice is always focused on long-term wealth-building, not scattered attempts to get rich fast.
If you’ve got the bigger picture in mind, there’s a few ways you can grow your business:
- Get inventory in other ways. Go old-school and start knocking on doors. Network. Partner up with companies who provide services to homeowners under financial distress. Put up signs. Advertise – good pay-per-click can be really helpful to capture the few searches that do exist. Since the leads are fewer, you’ll have to pay more to get them. That’s supply and demand.
- Focus on growing a different list. If you’ve been trying to capture seller leads, shift your focus to building a list of cash buyers. Ditto on rent-to-own tenants. When inventory is tight there’s lots of people looking for deals, so set up another site to grab those leads. If you hustle, you can find ways to profit from those lists, even when inventory is low.
- Branch out to surrounding markets too. Too often people get stuck thinking that they need to work where they are, instead of going to find the place where they can add the most value. Start with other cities around you and see if there is more search volume in those cities. I know investors who have switched their focus away from the major metro areas and are focusing on smaller, blue-collar areas where there’s less competition from other investors. Once you’re really good at building lists, generating leads and doing deals, you don’t have to be geographically limited at all. With the right local partners, you can work anywhere.
- Adjust your strategy. Too many investors and entrepreneurs get stuck on a particular path, and they lose their perspective on the big picture. They forget that they are subject to the whims of the market, and that the market is entirely outside of their control. When there’s not a high rate of foreclosures, wholesaling and flipping get tougher. More competition + fewer deals = Lower profit margins.
Does that mean that wholesaling and flipping are bad strategies?
No, not at all – just that you’ve gotta pay attention to the conditions in your local market without forgetting the bigger picture.
Know Your Market And The Trends (Or we’ll help keep you up to date :-)
To illustrate, let’s do a quick Google Trends search in the US for “we buy houses” just to see how the graph moves around:
As you can see, there was a lot more folks searching for “we buy houses” back when the real estate market was getting a major influx of foreclosures. That makes sense.
Overall in the US economy, we seem to be exiting a period of high fluctuation and returning to a slow, stable growth pattern.
In other words, just because there was lots of money made off of foreclosures in the past 5 years doesn’t mean that it will continue.
And while trends in our market change… so do the things that sellers and cash buyers type into Google.
Just do your research (or follow us here on this blog adn we’l do it for you) and adapt on your website to focus on the keywords your market is typing into Google.
- “we buy houses” and “sell house fast” (and related terms) are still some of the most popular for the ultra motivated sellers
- “investment properties in ” is a search term growing in popularity right now big time (GROW THAT BUYERS LIST!)
If your market doesn’t have many searches for those terms… consider going after other keyword terms like the ones I mentioned on this article… OR, branch out into other surrounding cities to capture search rankings in those ones too so you can do deals there too to increase your lead flow.
Sound like a plan?
Hit me with your questions about your market below… or questions about how to take this knowledge and use it on your own websites to get more traffic and leads this year.
Don’t Have Time To Focus On SEO But See The Value?
Think about this. If you’re investing in markets that get at least 30 searches a month for “we buy houses [your city]”… and don’t have the time or energy to focus on worrying about the SEO yourself… we can help.
If you’re interested in a long-term SEO strategy for your business, you should check out our SEO services… we’ll let you know if your local market has the search volume to make SEO worth the investment based on what we uncover.
Don’t have a website or want a system that works great to generate traffic and convert the leads?
But please, don’t expect our software to change your local economy!
We’d love to include that upgrade in a future version… but don’t hold your breath. ;)