Are Online Leads Really Crap? How Online Real Estate Marketing Works

Feb 2, 2024

“Online leads are sh*t” 

You’ve heard it before, I hear it all the time. It’s one of the most common objections we hear at Just Sell Homes with prospective clients. Is it fair?

Yes and No. Those who say it are getting MQLs and expecting SQLs. I know what you’re thinking. “The what and the what? What are you talking about with your fancy acronyms? Just because you’re ruggedly handsome it doesn’t mean you can just make up terms.” 

You said that verbatim in your head, right? 

Relax, I’m married.

The terms are popular in Business to Business (B2B – Another fancy acronym) marketing but we don’t really talk about them in real estate.

MQL = Marketing Qualified Lead

SQL = Sales Qualified Lead

These are very important to distinguish between in a successful strategy and where we see the biggest disconnect in most agents’ marketing. Establishing differences between a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead.

At Just Sell Homes we generally use the term Lead and Prospect instead of MQL and SQL.

MQL = Lead

SQL = Prospect

When we talk about leads and prospects in real estate, it’s all about understanding who’s just browsing and who’s really ready to take the next step towards buying or selling a property. 

Let’s imagine this scenario; you’re in a room with 100 people. You go and grab a chair, stand up on top of it and yell “Hey everybody, I’m a Realtor, who wants to know what their home is worth?” 

Totally plausible scenario, right? We’ve all done it, right?!?

Now of those 100 people, 10 put up their hands. You’re thinking “This is great, I got 10 potential clients right here, at least half will need to buy a home around here, too. I got at least 15 deals in the pipeline potentially.” 

Except of those 10, 5 just asked out of general curiosity and have no intention of moving, 2 want to refinance for a renovation, 1 wants to challenge the new tax assessment on their home, and 2 are thinking of selling their home. You don’t know this yet of course.

So what do you do? You start trying to talk to those ten. Some thought they could get the answer without talking to you, and have already walked away. Others tell you to just give them the information and leave them alone. A few start actually engaging with you in conversation.

As you’re talking to them you realize 2 are serious about moving. 1 has said they’re hiring their neighbours sister-in-law’s best friend and another doesn’t have an agent. 

Now you’re down to 1-2 potential clients and 1-4 deals max.

When people are saying online leads are crap, they were expecting all 10 leads to be those 1-2 people, sometimes even just that one person who’s moving and doesn’t have an agent yet.

But that’s not how online marketing works.  

Let’s take a spectrum, on one end is the coldest lead imaginable, the other end are the ones who call you, tell you to send the contract and then get out of your way so you can get to work because they trust you.

Where you set your marketing up to get their contact information on that spectrum determines the quality of your leads. The further to the side of those golden high quality leads, the more content, education, time, and money you have to invest before they get to you. On the other side, the cold lead side, you push ads out, get their information, and then you let your systems filter through to find the good ones.

There’s a great deal of nurturing there.

There’s not a right or wrong way to approach this in your business. Knowing where you collect their information in the process from lead to prospect to client and setting up your systems accordingly is the difference between saying online leads are crap and building a real pipeline of business online.

An MQL/lead is just a lead on a potential SQL/prospect. You don’t yet know if they have intention of moving in the next 25 years even. Your job, in your follow up, is to identify the leads that could become prospects. Then the prospects you can turn into clients.

That’s how online marketing works.