Online Prospecting: Compelling Offers That Turn Site Visitors into Leads

Provide something valuable to your target markets on your Web site and invite prospects to interact with you.

February 1, 2005

Dear Mr. Internet:
I have great information on my Web site and my site statistics show plenty of visitors, so how come I don't have more people contacting me? —Todd K. Ernst, Keller Williams Realty of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hello Todd:
As you have learned, it takes more than information to engage Web site visitors. They need a reason to make the initial inquiry and it is incumbent upon you to give it to them. Most people looking for real estate information do so with every intention of being "passive" during the information-gathering phase. To turn a passive visitor into an active, fully engaged participant takes something special, something ... compelling.

A compelling offer is a special package, piece of information, document, or item that will likely be viewed as extremely valuable by your visitors. So much so, that they will be eager and willing to complete a form on your site for the privilege of receiving it (usually at no charge). The whole purpose of the compelling offer is to provide an incentive to your visitors to "engage" you by requesting the thing of value in the offer.

The types of compelling offers you make on your site will depend on your target market. For example, if you specialize in working with golf properties, your site's compelling offers are going to be quite different than those found on a site that focuses on helping first-time buyers. Following are some possible compelling offers for these target markets to illustrate this comparison:

Compelling Offers for First-Time Buyers

  • 3 Negotiating Tips You Must Know Before Making Your First Offer. Receive our special report on three critical negotiating tips that will help you win the home of your dreams for less.
  • How to Beat Everyone Else to the Best Listings. Join our "VIP First Buyer Club" to beat out others to hot new listings.
  • Avoid Financing Disasters Without Paying a Dime. Listen to a financing expert explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate loans and which one may be best for your unique situation.
  • How to Buy Your First Home With No Money Down. Receive our special report on how to purchase your home with no money down.

Compelling Offers for Golf-Property Buyers

  • Tee Off on Us. Receive our special voucher to play nine holes on us at one of our fine area club courses.
  • Hear the Local Course Skinny From the Pros! Listen to our exclusive interviews of local pros as they share the "ins and outs" of the area courses.
  • How to Beat Everyone Else to the Best Course Listings! Join our "VIP Player Club" to beat out others to hot new course listings and receive a special invitation to meet with the area's major club membership directors.
  • How to Make Your Course Home Your Best Investment. Receive our special report on which course properties experienced the greatest appreciation.

Notice how each compelling offer was specific to its respective target market. You also will notice that each compelling offer was framed in the form of an attention-grabbing headline. This is crucial, because if you can't get their attention to at least read the offer, site visitors simply won't bite.

Ask for Something in Return

The "Law of Reciprocity" states that any time you give something to someone, that person will want to return the favor. Here is how you apply this principle for maximum effect when using compelling offers: Whatever the offer is, it requires delivery via e-mail or "snail" mail. In either case, you will need to gather some contact information before you can make the delivery. Every compelling offer needs to be connected to an online form that the visitor completes in order to receive the item of value.

Now this is important: don't force site visitors to fill in any more information that you absolutely need in order for them to receive the item. Otherwise, you may actually erode their trust. However, by all means do give them the opportunity to tell you more about themselves, what their interests and concerns are, etc. You may be surprised to see just how much people will share with you online if your site approaches them the right way. For example, have a highly visible link to your privacy policy that assures them their information will be kept private and not shared with anyone.

Structure a Successful Compelling Offer

When you want to make a compelling offer on your site, make sure it contains all of the following elements:




  • Targeted to a specific niche market





  • Is considered extremely valuable by members of your target market





  • Is unique to you (i.e., only you are offering it)





  • Uses an attention-grabbing headline





  • Uses a request form that invites the visitor to share their information yet assures them it will be kept private


    Turn Every Web Page Into a Selling Machine

    Ideally, you should have at least one or more compelling offers on every page of your Web site. Ironically, the vast majority of Web sites by real estate sales associates include no compelling offers whatsoever. But there are some who do realize the value of having compelling offers on their sites. For example, check out, which has no fewer than 25 compelling offers on the home page alone!

    If you want to convert inquiries from your site visitors to new clients, then give them a reason to interact with you. Providing well thought-out, targeted, and unique compelling offers is the most powerful reason I can imagine.

    Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.

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