Online real estate leads are a constant source of discussion and, depending on who you’re talking to, the jury still appears to be out about whether they’re worth the work. But, reality called and you’re not just living in a digital world, you’re doing business in it. The sooner you can embrace this reality, the better equipped you’ll be to take advantage of all it has to offer, leads included.

Millennials, one of the largest generations in history, now account for 34 percent of the U.S. home buying population, according to NAR’s 2017 Generational Trends Report. It’s important to note that, while they might not be the biggest generation offering up listings right now, they’re well on their way. Having been the first generation to come of age in the Digital Era, they’re much different to work with and require more incubation than generations’ past.

It’s important to understand that online leads aren’t for everyone, but they work wonders – if you work them.

Follow this seven-day plan to maximize your chances of converting online leads into clients. Remember to customize this plan and make it your own, and withdraw leads from the 7-day plan once they respond to you (and adjust your communications accordingly).

Day 1:

  • Call or text if you have a phone number.
    Studies show that you’re 21x more likely to qualify a lead if you respond within the first five minutes versus 10, and 100x higher than responding in 30 minutes.
  • Conduct discovery.
    Use the information you have about a lead to look them up on social channels. You can learn a lot about a person from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Use this information to find common ground so when you make contact, you can make a deeper connection.
  • Send a welcome email and confirmation that you’ve received their information or inquiry.
    If you haven’t gotten them on the phone, this is your first chance to make a good impression. Be sure to personalize the email and offer value. The more value you are perceived to offer, the better the chance of conversion.
  • Create a reminder to contact them in two days.

Day 3:

  • Review or set up listing alerts.
    Whether weekly or twice per week, listing alerts are your best way to engage your leads.
  • Create a reminder to contact them in another two days.

Day 5:

  • Call or text if you have their phone number.
  • Have they been back to your site?
    Yes – send them more listings.
    No – send them a touch-base email, with more listings and offer information they might find valuable. Perhaps they were searching two bedroom condos in Austin, TX on your website and, when you were conducting your discovery, you noted they’re a millennial transplant who just took their first post-collegiate job – you know what they’re looking for and you’ve discovered their generation. Use this information to tailor your messaging and set yourself apart.
  • Create a reminder to contact them in another two days.

Day 7:

  • Review viewed listings and alert criteria, then touch bases.
    Send a personalized follow up email. Ask if they have any questions or if there’s any way you can be of assistance.
  • Have they been back to your site?
    Yes – send more listings.
    No – send more listings.

Most online real estate leads fall into two categories: those who are ready to shop, and those who are still researching. These two types of leads are at very different stages of the customer journey, and will respond best to different types of messaging. One of the best things you can do – as soon as possible – is categorize and qualify each lead so you can gauge where they’re at in your pipeline, and funnel them accordingly. Implementing a system for lead tracking, incubating, and engaging is crucial to nurturing online leads.

Remember, even if you don’t make contact within the first seven days, continue to follow up periodically and offer value whenever possible so you stay top-of-mind.