4 tips for tracking real estate marketing ROI

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“How did you hear about us?” 

This is a common question on a new lead form in every industry.

Visit a new construction home model? We train sales consultants to seek out an answer from the prospect.

Fill out an online form? Marketers are gathering data about your digital footprint.

Call a contractor? Dispatch knows the drill.

The buyer's journey, tracking where your leads and customers come from, is the most important datapoint that's gathered for a marketing and management team of a real estate or contracting company.

But why do most companies fail when it comes to tracking marketing ROI?

The excuses include too many phone calls, too busy, the customer didn’t want to share the information, or the answer is a sign or truck.

The key to success is tracking the right data. Signs, trucks, and CTA clicks are data, but each has low accuracy in predicting the ROI of your marketing and sales strategy.

Define A Lead

Defining a lead should be simple, straightforward, and easy to measure. A lead isn’t an anonymous action taken by a web user or random person who saw your sign. Leads aren't bought. Not every person in the same zip code is a lead.

A lead is a person who freely gives their contact information to you and consents to contact by your company, because they're interested in your solution to their problem.

It's not a stranger or their dog. Not someone who's related to someone who's a customer. Not an anonymous website action or Facebook Like.

A lead wants a conversation with you. 

Define Lead Scoring For In-Person Leads

We're clear on what a lead is. Now, apply lead scoring to effectively rank your leads by who is most likely to turn into a customer. For leads that interact in person or over the phone, a formula for calculating a lead score is applied.

We call: Pain, Power and Fit. A score of 1 to 5 suffices. One references a low indicator on the scale, and five is high indicator.

Pain refers to how painful the potential customer's problem is. The higher the pain score, the more likely the lead will seek a solution.

For contractors, a lead is experiencing an emergency, such as a leaky roof, burst water main, or malfunctioning HVAC unit. This scores high on the “pain” scale.

For new home sales, a relocating family scores higher than a first-time home buyer.

Power defines if the lead has the funds to pay for a desired service or product. For large purchases, this is the ability to qualify for a loan or mortgage.

For commercial buyers, power is the contact's ability to sign the paperwork. For example, your lead is tasked with researching alternatives and giving recommendations but isn't authorized to spend company funds.

Fit is the most subjective score determined by you. It refers to how well the lead “fits” with your solution. How well does your product or service solve their problem? Does a strong rapport exist between the lead and sales consultant?

If sales is solving for the customer, they assign an accurate “fit” score based on the lead’s situation.

Define Lead Scoring For Digital Leads

Lead scoring begins as soon as anonymous web traffic converts into a known lead with (minimally) an email address. After an email address registers in your  customer relationship management software (CRM), that lead’s activity is tracked on your website, and, depending on your marketing and sales software, you also see other activity like email opens, click-throughs, and social media engagement.  

Each viewed additional page, liked social media post, and subsequent form fill increases the digital lead score. The higher the score, the better chance the lead is qualified to move from an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) to an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead).

The beauty of digital leads is that the origin of the lead is documented. A referral website, web search, mobile device, desktop computer, time of day, type of technology, and much more  are identified.

Digital leads don't require, “How did you hear of us?" 

Tools For Measuring Marketing Activities

Manually recording multiple data points from many leads quickly turns into a monumental undertaking. The key is to choose a CRM that serves sales and marketing teams. Separate CRMs are hard to maintain and create inaccuracies and miscommunications.

Unfortunately, most CRMs are better suited to only one team. Salesforce, for example, is a sales CRM and offers a marketing suite, Pardot. Salesforce tools cater to every type of sales professional, and Pardot offers marketing tools.

However, they're not as robust as other marketing tools like HubSpot.

The only way to long-term track the ROI of your marketing activities is a  closed loop that  merges marketing and sales data under one platform. A clear alignment between the marketing and sales teams and transparency to the entire buyer's journey   is developed. 

If this isn’t possible for you, integrate CRMs with an API. Too often lists are generated from one CRM and manually uploaded into the other system. This means marketing, sales, or (even worse) customer service is always interacting with inaccurate data.

APIs integrate multiple systems together to record changes on the lead record in the companion system. Using our previous example, Salesforce and HubSpot seamlessly integrate, giving all teams a CRM of choice without losing data integrity.

By clearly defining a lead, creating lead scoring for in-person and digital leads, and applying the right tools to ensure data integrity, you're well poised to begin measuring marketing and sales analytics.

Knowing your return on investment of real estate marketing activities creates accountability for your ad budget and increases the likelihood of making investments that pay off over the long term.

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