So you are finally getting great exposure for your real estate website after many hours and dollars dedicated to search engine optimization, paid search marketing, social media marketing, link building, directory submissions, blogging and everything else under the ‘Search Engine Marketing’ sun. Congratulations! However, before you get too excited you need to realize that all you have done is graduate to the next level of marketing your site….lead generation. Sorry to burst your bubble, but just when you thought you reached the promised land, you are now faced with the question of, "People are seeing and using my site, now how do I get them to contact me or allow me to contact them?" Unfortunately, I am not going to provide you with the answers to that question in this post. You are going to have to stay tuned for that valuable information. The reason I am not disclosing that yet is because a successful real estate lead generator needs to understand the true and changing nature of online leads, inquiries and registrants before they can be successful in actually generating them. What is the true nature of real estate website leads, inquiries, and registrants? Search Engine Land actually posted a terrific article on whether Online Registrations are REALLY Sales Leads or not. Although their article is not specific to real estate leads, it remains extremely relevant to the industry and true nature of real estate websites and their registration forms in that it applies very much to high ticket items that have a comparably longer sales cycle as is the case with real estate. As Patrick of Search Engine Land states, "It depends on the specific action, of course, but I’ve found that many registrants are actually still early in the buying process….conducting general marketing research. These contacts are very valuable and should be nurtured and manager over time – but these folks clearly aren’t people who are ready to buy." From just the past 5 years that I have been working exclusively in online marketing and web design for real estate agents and brokers, this information couldn’t be any more true. The fact of the matter is that people who use the Internet for a real estate search are doing so mainly as their primary stop for information and research. They are looking at hundreds of different sites, usually all with just about the same information and listings. On top of that, they are usually no where near wanting to be pestered by multiple different real estate agents just to see listings. So what do they do? Well, they either leave your site and go somewhere else. Or, they will go to large conglomerate sites like Trulia or Zillow to find what they are looking for….for FREE and without having to provide their personal information. Bottom line is that, as a realtor, you need to realize this cold hard fact – people are not adding your listings to their online shopping cart and purchasing them through PayPal or with their AMEX. Instead, they are going to make you work for their business and force you to prove to them that they should work with you. How do you get them to choose you? Why don’t you let us know what you are doing and what is working for you? Then, come on back to see the answers that we have developed through research, experience and feedback from succesful clients.