Which is Better for You?
Should you force all leads from all traffic sources to complete all registration fields like full name, phone, email address, etc.?
Or, should you use our SmartPath technology which tailors the opt-in process to the different traffic sources and allows leads to NOT have to complete all fields?
The goal of this page is to help you decide. There are definitely pros & cons to each method and we'll cover them below.
First, let's set a couple of definitions for the purposes of this article:
Forced Registration - This process is what the majority of websites use. They present their traffic with some benefit for registering. In our case, "free MLS access". All visitors from all traffic sources are then asked to complete a web form to register for access (opt-in). The same format is used for all traffic. And it is an 'all-or-nothing' proposition.
In other words, forced registration forces traffic to either fill out ALL fields or leave.
SmartPath Leads Registration - This is our high-converting proprietary registration process. It smartly treats the different traffic sources uniquely with the goal of reducing form friction as much as possible. It attempts to capture as much data as possible, but it DOES NOT force all leads to complete all fields.
To help you make a logical choice, let's set some context...
It's Getting Tough! The State of Online Lead Generation...
Our Mission is to Keep Conversion Rates High
Recent 3rd party research confirms what we've seen across the board on hundreds of sites where we manage traffic: online lead conversion rates are declining!
In fact, results from studies by many reputable sources are producing summaries similar to this study by CSO Insight:
"The study's findings were based on more than 100 metrics gathered from 585 companies worldwide. CSO found that 'first-discussion conversion rates'—that is, the percentage of qualified leads—have been eroding over the past five years."
Inman recently released some survey results that also confirmed that it is particularly ugly for real estate agents:
"...7 out of 10 (agents) put their websites conversion rate at 3% or less."
That means the typical agent gets 3 leads for every 100 visitors to their site. Although not terribly exciting, just a few years back that number was more in the 5%-7% range. On the high end, there were some real estate platforms that were focused on lead gen, which would produce 10%-12%.
But things have changed.
At Elevate, one thing that really put us on the map is our industry-leading conversion rates. As such, we are still higher than the previously mentioned ranges. However, we too have felt the sting of these declining lead capture rates.
Because it drives everything - with higher conversion rates the same amount of traffic will produce: more leads, lower costs, and ultimately more closings.
We've been actively managing traffic and providing lead generation services for years. We've spent several million dollars on live traffic. Part of this spend was budgeted to constantly test 'theories" and to develop the best lead conversion practices.
The biggest challenge is getting maximum quality data without creating too much form friction.
In other words, you want to make it as enticing & easy as can be for someone to fill out a form on your site.
Because it's so important: there's literally a science dedicated to reducing form friction. Most of it has to do with testing and changing things like: the number of fields, the form's copy, the button text, the color, the layout, etc.
These form components are all continually 'tweaked' to try to get conversion rates high. But as the studies cited above show, it's not enough.
At Elevate, we've taken reducing form friction and increasing lead conversion rates to an entirely new level.
SmartPath Registration Details
Our cutting-edge SmartPath Lead technology increases conversions and gets you more leads at a lower cost using two main tools:
Advanced Multi-part Registration
We break the lead capture process into mini-size bites and capture the lead's input at each point allowing you to not just have a single "yes" or "no" conversion, but multiple conversion points.
We go for the consumers' information in 3 parts in a very orchestrated and inviting manner. Many leads complete the entire process. However, if the prospect bails out at any time during the multi-part opt-in chain, we process the data that we have collected and a lead is created.
SmartPath Multi-type Registration
Instead of just focusing on a one-size-fits-all optimal opt-in design and format, we've created "SmartPaths".
These SmartPaths provide unique and separate ways (paths) that increase the response of each of the different types of traffic. This leads to high levels of conversion.
Here's a quick overview of how we treat the 3 main sources of traffic:
Path 1: Search Traffic - For almost all campaigns we utilize Google Adwords, Bing, and Organic Traffic. We use the detailed elegant multi-part lead capture process detailed above. These are direct, search intent leads where a consumer has typed in their search and clicked on your ad.
Path 2: Facebook Traffic - When we do use Facebook we utilize "Facebook's built-in lead capture tools", we reduce "form friction" altogether with this source of traffic by generating a lead that pushes directly into our CRM with 2 taps WITHOUT even leaving Facebook. (HUGE) Unlike many competitors, currently, it is very rare that we run paid lead gen campaigns for Facebook. Studies show that search intent-based campaigns (like Google) deliver better leads than just targeting random people and showing them interruption-based ads in their Facebook newsfeed. We want to provide only search intent leads when possible.
Bottom-line: tap. tap. lead!
With this, we essentially removed all form friction and it's working amazingly well:
Miami is a competitive market and even on honed in campaigns, leads normally run in the $14-$19 range.
But our new SmartPath Leads are converting at $6.58 a lead!
That's less than 1/2 of what it normally costs. And that's a whopping 37% conversion rate!
Path 3: Friends & Family - We think it's crazy to ask Friends and Family to go to your site and "register". We've made it very simple for you to upload a list. Then our platform will create an account and automatically send your friends & family engaging emails encouraging them to use your site for all of their real estate needs.
What About Forced Registration?
Forced Registration Opt-In Process
This is the normal one-size-fits all registration process. We've always been know for our high converting pages and even in this case, you can see that we do multi-part registration. We break the opt-in process down into mini-steps. This helps to keep conversion as high as possible using this method. First, we engage them in what they want: to perform a home search. Then we ask for all details. If they don't want to provide all details, they don't get access and you don't get a lead.
Pros & Cons - Forced Registration
Pros & Cons - SmartPath Registration
DataMiner Pro - Icing on the Cake!
Once a lead is captured, Elevate automatically goes to work behind the scenes to build out a profile for every lead. This combined with SmartPath Leads is truly the best of both worlds: high lead capture rates & maximum data for each lead.
Once you have this additional info like: name, income level, home value, length at residence, occupation and much more; you can build targeted segments. Then with a couple of clicks, you can email, text or postcard blast the segmented leads a tailored message.
It's amazing state-of-the-art technology!
(Keep in mind, the software will be scouring the internet, public databases, public listings, etc. to enhance the lead's information. It will bring back a lot of matches but sometimes nothing can be found. In those cases our system attempts to extract data with other methods over time.)
Our recommendation is to use SmartPath Registration. It converts 76% more leads than forced registration. That means roughly twice the amount of leads with the same amount of traffic. Your budget will go much further and you'll have more opportunities.
There are too many benefits with SmartPath to sacrifice by being rigid and 'forcing' all leads to fill out name, email & phone. Especially when you consider that you'll be generating a nice blend of leads. Some will be name, phone & email. Some will be name, phone, mail, and more data such as when they're looking to move, are they pre-approved, etc. And some will be email only.
Elevate will automatically gather more data on many of the email only leads so the SmartPath option really is a no-brainer.