Wouldn’t it be great if customer buying signals were as obvious as headlights on a car?

You’ve launched your IDX website to showcase your listings, with plugins that track key metrics such as bounce rate, unique visitors, click-through rates, and all that good SEO stuff. Which metrics should you be looking at to identify potential homebuyers?

Are there buying signals hidden somewhere amid those fancy graphs and charts on your web analytics dashboard?

Online Buying Signals

Prospective buyers and sellers take an average of 8 – 10 weeks, or 30 – 60 days, searching for a home, prior to contacting an agent. During that time, your prospects may visit your website several times before actually contacting you. The quality of your content and your responsiveness will be crucial to improving your conversion. But you have to be paying attention. By engaging these prospects with information relevant to their behavior, you can convert more visitors into in-person consultations, subscriptions, and ultimately, sales.

Digital buying signals can be as revealing as the physical signals we receive in person. One of the key advantages of having an IDX website is the insight it provides into user behavior. Understanding buying signals is a crucial skill for any real estate agent. And while those signals are easy to interpret in a face-to-face meeting, online behavior can be a bit more complex and not always as direct.

If your website is designed to capture web analytics, you’ll be able to see the volume of daily and monthly visitors, but their behavior on your website is far more important than the number of visitors.

Let’s review an example

A prospective homebuyer visits your website. They click on ten different semi-detached homes with similar features. The homebuyer saves two of the homes viewed and come back to view them another day.Finally, they then conduct a Google search on the local neighborhood in question.

A few days later they come back to your site from their mobile phone and visit your contact page. However, you don’t hear anything from the client.  They even share one of the listings with their spouse on Facebook. The same prospect goes back to view a few more listings on your site, but lower priced distressed properties are the focus.

Ultimately, you try to figure out why the lead is not converting into your client. Take a look at the illustration below.

Lead journey workflow

Based on the visitor’s clicking behavior, there are a number of buying signals which suggest this is a user who is considering a semi detached home, but may be having problems qualifying for the mortgage they really want. This type of prospect should be engaged with as early as possible with a call-to-action or an offer.

Your objective is to be proactive. Clients don’t always take the initiative to reach out to an agent because they feel it may be too early in their search. But if they’ve taken the time to discover your website, review and save your listings, you should attempt to engage with them either through a friendly messenger bot or a landing page triggered by marketing automation, sooner rather than later.

What Buying Signals Really Matter In Real Estate?

Your real estate website may be generating traffic, but is it generating business? Agents tend to focus a lot of time and effort on generating high-volume traffic, but they overlook key behavior patterns or buying signals, that suggest a visitor is ready to engage with an agent.

Tracking web analytics, you’ll be able to identify relevant content on your website that your prospects are interested in. If your website is connected to a Google Analytics dashboard, these are the key metrics to watch for:

5 Key Website Metrics Agents Should Monitor

  1. Click-through Rate: percentage of visitors who click on an ad leading to your website. A high number means your ad is compelling and getting attention from visitors.
  2. Bounce Rate: percentage of visitors who leave shortly after visiting your website. The lower the bounce rate, the better, because it means people are sticking around to view multiple pages on your site.
  3. Unique Visitors: how many visitors are new or first-time visitors. You should be steadily increasing this number each month as a measure of your market saturation. Focus your SEO on boosting your local content if you want to climb SERP rankings quickly.
  4. Top Pages: identifies which pages on your website are receiving the most views. Examine these pages closely to figure out what is working. Find ways to spread your content out so that you have compelling offers on other pages as well. Maybe you need more images and less text. Sometimes you need more detailed information on your listings. Create internal links that lead to more obscure pages in your website. This will also boost your bounce rate, because visitors will stay longer.
  5. Conversion Rate: you can track this a number of ways, based on your preferred metric. Track how many sales, in-person consultations, likes or shares you receive each month. Divide that number by the total number of monthly visitors to determine your conversion rate. So if you made 2 sales for the month, and 200 visitors, your sales conversion rate is 2% (2/200 = 0.02).

Google Analytics Buying signals for a real estate website

How To Engage Online Visitors

Keep it simple and provide clients with one of two methods of engagement:

  • Call To Action: Create a landing page that triggers a subscription offer to your mailing list, where they’ll receive email updates regarding the properties they saved and alerts regarding other similar neighborhood properties. The visitor provides their contact information, and you can send them a detailed email with MLS information that is not available on your website.
  • Offer: Using marketing automation software, you can create a landing page that triggers an offer to arrange a private showing of the home for the visitor and his/her partner. You could offer a free consultation as well, with further housing information about the market and the type of property they’re interested in.
  • Prospecting: When you have a software that allows you to track visitor behavior on your website you should pay close attention to it. Make sure that you are constantly reaching out to the hot leads. You can do this through lead nurturing or old school prospecting.

A messenger bot is also a great way to boost your online engagement with new and first-time visitors at the moment of discovery.

So here are 6 buying signals that should trigger a call to action or other form of engagement on your website:

Buying Signal Triggered Offer/Call-to-Action
How many homes viewed Email Subscription
Types of properties/neighborhoods viewed Housing market data by property type or zip code/showing invitation
Listing Alerts Email subscription based on property type/zip code/showing invitation
Length of Visit Email subscription/pre-listing package
Similar websites visited (Trulia/Zillow/etc) Phone consultation/In-person meeting
Content shared or liked Email subscription

Conclusion

Prospects searching for a home tend to begin their search online weeks and even months in advance, before contacting an agent. They may visit your website several times, but they don’t always reach out immediately. Buying signals from prospects who visit your website are hidden in your web analytics.

By examining how prospects interact with content on your website, you can engage them with relevant information before they initiate contact with you. Take the time to review key metrics each week, and craft call-to-actions or offers that provide more insight to the properties listed on your site.

Focus your SEO efforts on improving your conversion rate, as well as your traffic, and you’ll eventually become the digital mayor of your target market!

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