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Conversion Numbers for Agent and Broker Websites

I was having a conversation with a real estate agent the other day as a result of the test I ran as part of Startup Weekend Amsterdam, and we got to discussing conversion. Conversion, of course, varies depending on your goals. Generally, in a real estate context, conversion means the percentage of your web visitors who contact you by some means after hitting your home page. Ideally actually buy or sell a house with you – but that is out of the control of a website since closing the deal happens in person or on the phone.

The agent I spoke with asked me what type of conversion numbers I’d seen from agent and broker websites. Truth be told, VERY few agents and brokers are setup to track their exact conversion numbers to even know the answer to that — let alone tell me their exact rates. To truly calculate conversion figures, you need to track every last contact mechanism on your website – phone number, contact forms, CMA request, IDX registration, and instant chat (among others). Though it’s not my specific area of expertise (Ryan and Jim handled the consulting side of Virtual Results while I was there), I told him that if a website was converting at near 5% (or higher), it was doing pretty well.

Though he never shared his exact numbers, he said they were way way above a 5% conversion rate and was stunned that such low conversion numbers were considered good in the industry.

As we talked further, I learned more about the scenario at play:

  • His “website” is more or less a single squeeze page with very little information and zero out links
  • The squeeze page is not on his own domain name
  • There is zero organic traffic
  • All traffic is direct response traffic such as CPC and postcards targeting a specific URL (that forwards to this squeeze page)

If your traffic is 100% direct response funneled to a single squeeze page, of course it’s going to convert at a higher percentage than a mix of organic and direct traffic to a large number of different landing pages. Why? You’ve already paid a lot of money to get the attention of a certain type of buyer or seller looking for your specific product/services. Compare that with thousands of organic visitors, all of whom are at different cycles in their home buying or selling process, and you’ll get very different conversion rates.

The two primary downsides to this agent’s approach are as follows:

  1. 100% dependent on driving traffic to that squeeze page, which costs money each and every time. The squeeze page generates no business organically.
  2. Low quality of leads since there is very little actual information on the page to answer their basic questions – so they have to contact you instead. This means a large amount of time working the lead funnel to turn email addresses into real relationships.

The point I’m getting at is, without context, conversion figures are utterly useless figures to compare. That said, feel free to share your numbers and the context that goes with them in the comments if you wish.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • We convert 3.24% of all visitors to a registration or some sort of inquiry.
    A more useful metric may be that 5.34% of new visitors register or make an inquiry.
    About 15% of our traffic is from targeted pay-per-click with very specific landing pages, the rest is organic, referral or direct traffic. We don’t do print advertising, but social media branding efforts are growing as a traffic source.
    In the example you provided, I think it would make more sense to calculate the conversion rate from the original number of people he sent targeted mail to, rather than the number that eventually landed on the page and converted.
    Especially when determining the ROI on the mailer program.

    • And is this the website generating those numbers? http://www.patrickhake.com/

      Or do you have a different domain as well?

      • No, that is an old website I keep around for the e-mail address and a little organic traffic that still comes in.
        The site I was refering to is http://www.placercountyhomesandland.com
        The conversions are tracked using goal setting in Google Analytics. I track both registrations and property inquiries, such as showing requests, request for more info, etc..
        The registrations are forced after 3 property detail page views.
        Some of the registrations we receive have fake names, e-mails, phone numbers etc, but most of them have good info.
        After lots of testing I have found that not requiring registration is far less effective.
        The real question of course is what the traffic to closed sales ratio is?
        Unfortunately, I can’t create a goal in Google Analytics to track that on auto-pilot like registrations, so I don’t have a number for you.
        Comparing this number from one year to the next is also difficult, because the real estate market is always changing.
        Because of the current lack of inventory , our leads to closing ratio is definately off this year compared to last. It takes a lot more time and offers to get a client a home in this enviroment, and in some cases with financed home buyers in the low end of the market, sales that would have happened in the past are not.

      • Not sure what happened, but I replied 2 days ago and it said the post needed to be reviewed before posting. Maybe the link got the comment eaten by a spam filter. I try again without making the link to my site live.

        The website you referenced that uses my name as the URL is actually an
        old site I set up years ago after buying the domain for my e-mail
        address. I don’t use it much any more, but still keep it for a little
        organic traffic it generates and the e-mail address.

        The site I was referencing is PlacerCountyHomesandLand.com

        We get about 25-30k visits a month, half of which are unique.

        I think a large part of why the conversions are what they are, is due to the fact that we require registration after 3 property views.

        I tried not requiring registration and leads fell off a cliff.

        We get a fair amount of fake names, e-mails and phone numbers, but for the most part the info is good and worth requiring.

        • I just unspammed it. Sorry about that.

          • OK, sometimes those spam filters take on a mind of thier own. If you want to delete my second comment, feel free. It basically says the same thing as the first.

        • Patrick, thanks for sharing your numbers. I’d like to clear something up for myself. From the figures you posted, if my 3rd grade math doesn’t fail me, your website should be generating about 800-900 leads a month. Is that correct?

          Thanks again.

          • Per Google Analytics we had 793 registrations in the past 30 days and an additional 98 property inquiries, that could be from the new contacts or those already in the system.
            I don’t look at registrations as leads until they are confirmed and developed. Until then, they are an oppurtunity to cultivate a lead.
            Calling them a lead would be like calling each person who grabs a flyer out of sign box a lead. Many are just curious websurfers.
            This is especially the case, because we require registration after viewing three properties.
            Once one of our agents have spoken with the new registrant and determined that they gave us real phone number and e-mail address, have a desire to buy or sell real estate, and a willingness to get pre-qualified for a loan and set an appointment, they then become a lead.
            Until then, they are website user to be cultiated through follow up, and possibly at a future date, a lead.

          • Replied to your comment a few days ago, it must have been eaten by the spam filter again. Yes, we have had just under 800 registrations in the past 30 days. I would not classify them as leads though. I really don’t count someone as a lead until all their info has been confirmed and a desire to buy or sell real estate has been established. Quite a few of our registrants are just curious or provide fake contact info.

          • just dug it out. and i added you to the whitelist. so if you get sucked into spam again, please send me a note personally so i can investigate why drew at esmexecdesigns dot com

    • Great point–how many postcards per new visitor? How many $ in PPC per new registration?

  • Definitely true. Conversion rates have little value without total conversion numbers.

    Conversion rates measure website efficiency, while total conversions measure how profitable your business will be. They’re both important but, without significant traffic, a high conversion rate might still lead to very few closings.

  • Brian Ludden

    I love my squeeze pages….. check out my results ytd on one of my webpages, the numbers work for me. We are closing on average 4 to 6% of all leads converted.

    The key is very specific keywords. I have no IDX on this this page.

    Clicks
    Impr.
    CTR
    Avg. CPC
    Cost
    Avg. Pos.
    Conv. (1-per-click)
    Cost / conv. (1-per-click)
    Conv. rate (1-per-click)

    2,479
    298,257
    0.83%
    $0.45
    $1,113.02
    4.3
    169
    $6.59
    6.82%

  • I’m learning new things in
    bundles as there happens to be a lot of unique stuff here. I hope it will
    continue to deliver nice information.

  • Matt Stevens

    Drew, great topic. I’m really surprised more IDX solutions don’t integrate Adwords Conversion tracking into their backend.

    We were just about to ramp up our Adwords spend when I realized dssearchagent has no ability to track Adwords conversion codes for registration, showings etc. They were able to offer limited Analytics tracking but no entry source info.

    Without a “thank you” page or a backend location to put different goals, it’s impossible to know if yesterday’s registrations came from organic, paid or referral. What’s more, I don’t know what keywords and ads are most successful and which ones need to be cut.

    I find it strange this isn’t a big part of many IDX solutions. Adwords is kind of an important tool in the toolbox no? Does anyone else have experience with this or know what IDX solutions are Adwords friendly? Thanks!

  • Good point Drew, conversion is somewhat of a useless figure. The figure you really want to know if commission earned per dollar spent.

    If you have a Website that converts 5 users for everyone 100 visits, vs. another one that converts 10 users for every 100 visits, which is the better Website to have?

    The answer is you don’t know, it depends on the money spent to get those visits. If they both spend $100 per month, but the Website with the lower conversion rate gets 3 times more visitors, then the Website with the lowest conversion rate is the best one to have.

    • exactly

      There was another article I wrote way back when about forced registration to send to you, but I can’t find it 🙁

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