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As a real estate agent, your livelihood depends on generating leads. Otherwise, you’ll have no one to show properties to or sell homes to. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to generate leads, even in today’s competitive market. In this blog post, we’ll outline how to generate leads in real estate, and getting your business off the ground. Keep reading for more info!
Real estate lead generation is the bread and butter of your business. Learn how, where, and when to generate leads for your business success. ~ Lori Ballen
Real estate lead generation is how you attract potential clients to your business.
A real estate lead is a contact who has expressed interest in buying or selling real estate. In essence, this person “raised their hand”. The hand-raise signals potential for you to do business.
To succeed in your long-term business, you must create a steady stream of real estate leads.
When to Engage in Lead Gen:
Organic real estate lead generation uses systematic strategies to draw visitors to your website or blog naturally. This is not the same as buying leads from a lead bank or paying for pay-per-click advertisements. While costly in terms of time and effort, organic lead generation is the least expensive way (and longer-lasting!) to generate leads for your real estate business.
Real estate lead generation is not something you engage only when you’re starting a business, nor when you hit a slow spell. In fact, by the time you hit a slow spell, it’s too late.
You can avoid a slow spell altogether by attracting new leads on an ongoing basis. Best practice suggests that you work on generating leads as a part of your everyday work habits.
The goal is to have several contacts in each phase of your sales funnel to ensure continued business growth.
How Much Time Should You Dedicate to Generating Leads?
For real estate lead generation to be truly effective, it’s best to dedicate at least three hours per workday to generating leads.
Although three hours per day may sound like a hefty chunk of time, your efforts in this portion of your business are the seeds from which your future business stems.
Think about it this way: You wouldn’t leave the house in the morning without first getting ready, right? What does “getting ready” mean? Generally, it involves a healthy breakfast, a shower, a shave, a hairstyle, perhaps some meditation or devotionals, and gathering the tools you’ll need for your day. Would you go to work without first getting ready? Would you meet with a client in your pajamas? No.
Well, not likely.
Your three hours of real estate lead generation are your way of “getting ready” for work. It’s the process by which you guarantee that you’ll have work to go to!
The General List for Real Estate Marketing. You’ll see old school techniques as well as digital strategies that have come about in the new technology driven real estate industry.
Once upon a time, your print marketing materials were the fundamentals for promoting your business. Yard signs, business cards, and well-crafted brochures still have their place in today’s market. But no longer can print marketing alone propel you forward. Most print marketing today is used to power up digital marketing.
Do you still need business cards? Absolutely! But the reality is, that business cards in today’s era are geared more to drive traffic to your website than to provoke a phone call.
Do you still need fancy brochures outlining the features of a property? Perhaps. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that if a drive-by shopper sees your yard sign, they’re far less likely to get out of their car to snatch up a brochure than to whip out their phone and Google the address.
Digital marketing is 100% online. The world-wide-web is now the central hub for consumers. We are a search-driven society empowered by the all-mighty Google. Here are the basics:
Website: Your website is your digital business card. Generally speaking, real estate agent websites are not found by accident and are rarely found in search. However, you may gain some traffic if your website is imbued with IDX listings. But most traffic is driven by content, which is where your blog comes in.
Blog: Your blog is where you can “publish” high-quality, valuable content for your viewers, while at the same time “waving a flag” so the search engines can see you. Blogs can be used to develop new relationships and nurture ongoing relationships. On your blog, you can publish things such as:
- Community pages
- Real estate articles for buyers
- Real estate articles for sellers
- Hyperlocal content featuring venues and events in a particular community
- Market reports
The more often you publish in your blog and the more valuable your content is to web viewers, the more power you’ll pull from the search engines.
Video and Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all-powerful platforms through which you can generate real estate leads online.
Knowing you need a website and a blog is one thing. But your efforts will be wasted if you don’t know how to “prime” your Internet material for the search engines.
First and foremost, you must design your digital offerings for your real estate website and blog visitors. Equally important, you must customize your web presence so that it can be found online. With the millions upon millions of websites and blogs on the world-wide-web, finding yours can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is a combination of content marketing, keyword strategies, and meta-data. Here’s how to rank a real estate agent website on the search engines.
Keyword strategies are designed to help website visitors find specifically what they are searching for online. Someone might type in “real estate” into a search engine, but it’s more likely they’ll search by location, by price, by feature. By understanding what your potential clients are searching for, you can then begin to customize your content around those search queries. Here’s more on Keywords:
Meta-data encompasses the title of your website or blog page (known as an H1 or title tag), the page description (known as a meta-description), and image alt tags (the text that appears when you hover your mouse over an image).
Bounce Rates, Actions, and Time on Site
Other factors play into search engine optimization as well. The longer a visitor spends on your site, the more “authority” the search engines assign to your page because it recognizes the viewer finds value in your content. Likewise, the more actions (clicks) a person takes on your page, the more authority you gain because the search engines recognize the visitor sought out more of your content, deeming it valuable. However, you can LOSE authority in the search engines if you abuse keywords, publish “shallow” or irrelative content, or if you have high bounce rates.
A bounce rate is when a web visitor finds your website in a search query, clicks the link, and then clicks right back out almost immediately after realizing your content isn’t a match for what they had originally been searching.
Your website and blog efforts are all for one purpose – to serve as a magnet to attract visitors to your content. But your content has no bearing on your success with generating leads if you don’t have a method by which to “capture” those leads.
To capture a lead means to obtain, at the very least, their first name and email address. First and last name with email is even better. But beware – the more information you ask for, the less likely the viewer is to comply.
Creating an Offer for Lead Capture
In many cases, such as on a blog, you would create an “offer”, an item of value for which a viewer is willing to exchange their information. For example, if your blog post was about parks in a particular community, your “offer” could be a downloadable PDF of parks organized by feature such as sports fields, picnic areas, rentable areas for parties, fitness equipment, dog friendly, etc. When the viewer clicks for the download, they are first prompted to enter their name and email address.
Creating Forms for Lead Capture
Your Database for Generating Leads in Real Estate
There’s no point in generating leads if you have nowhere to organize and store those leads for follow-up.
Your database can be super simple or ridiculously complex, depending on your preferences and budget.
Worst case scenario, you have a “manual” database, meaning you physically type in each contact into a spreadsheet – or for completely “old school” methods, write them in a notebook.
In the best case scenario, your database can filter, sort, and task your leads for productivity.
Cold calling is one of those “basics” that is still drilled home at most real estate conventions. One of the fastest ways to get real estate leads is to call for sale by owners, expired / cancelled real estate listings, or homes around a specific listing (this is called circle prospecting).
Best Practices with prospecting
- Know your numbers. How many dials does it take to reach a contact? How many contacts does it take to get an appointment? If you know how many No’s you need to get to Yes, the No’s will actually be a success signal rather than rejection.
- Get yourself a great autodialer system so that a computer can do the dialing for you. Many of these subscriptions will include phone numbers as well.
- Master scripts. The best prospectors are agents or inside sales agents who know their scripts verbatim. Practice. Role play with other agent’s or ISA’s. Don’t let that expired listing get away because you didn’t know how to handle their objection.
An old tried and true lead generation strategy for the real estate industry is known as geographic farming. It’s the practice of consistent direct mail, pop-by visits, sponsorships, and events.
It’s important to know that geographic farming can take years. Most real estate agents burn out or go broke trying to work a farm, so know what you are getting into before you commit.
Best Farming Practices
- Once a month newsletter about the community (non real estate) and home price/sales
- Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards every time you do business in the farm
- Seasonal Pop By visits. Could be once a quarter and include gifts such as pumpkins, batteries for the smoke detector’s, spring flower seeds, new calendar etc.
- Sponsor a local sports team like a little league team
- Hold a VIP holiday party or spring fling. Renting out a movie theater is a very popular farming activity.
Virtually every realtor can get leads by having a Facebook page for their business. Suggestions for how to use a Facebook business page to get new leads is to post a pair of images and prompt those following the page to choose their favorite image of the two. This type of interaction can often result in new leads that may not be found otherwise.
When creating a real estate lead generation strategy around Facebook, you’ll need to learn the basics about:
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Algorithm’s
- Facebook Marketplace
- Facebook Recommendations
Door To Door Marketing
Going door to door is a technique that agents can still use to find leads. The key to making this marketing method successful is for agents to prepare and memorize a script. Though the interaction needs to sound natural it is also important to exude confidence and knowledge. For agents who would rather not speak face to face, door-to-door marketing can still work. Going from one door to the next and simply hanging an informational ad on each one also gets the word out and can get agents new leads. It also ensures that each homeowner will see the ad, as opposed to receiving one in the mail that they might throw away without even reading.
Attracting neighbors to an open house is also an effective way to generate leads. It is hard for many people to resist the lure of getting a glimpse of a neighborhood house. When real estate agents come face to face with neighborhood residents they are more likely to get leads than they would by other methods. The face to face interaction is more powerful and effective than mailings, internet marketing or anything else.
There are other ways to connect face to face with potential clients. One idea is for a real estate agent to wait 30 days after closing and throw a housewarming party for the buyer. By inviting all of the new homeowner’s neighbors, agents can network in an environment conducive to relaxing and socializing. Scoring new leads at a housewarming party provides the perfect opportunity for an agent to get to know those in the neighborhood.
Coffee Lunch Meetings at One Restaurant
Yet another way to meet face to face with potential clients and networking opportunities is to choose one particular restaurant to hold several consecutive coffee/lunch meetings. Scheduling them one after another provides a natural opportunity for additional networking when agents introduce their exiting coffee or lunch dates to their arriving ones.
Plan Happy Hours
For those not interested in coffee or lunch, a happy hour can also be a great way to find new real estate leads. Hosting a happy hour at a popular neighborhood bar allows an agent to invite all of their contacts in the business. Any financial planners an agent works with can also be included in happy hour. They can invite their own contacts in their industry and a natural networking opportunity is born. Bringing together those an agent has done business with to those who may be seeking their services can be a fun and easy form of lead generation.
Handwritten Referral Thank You’s
Thanking those clients who have referred someone else to an agent goes a long way in helping gain future leads. A handwritten thank you note leaves a lasting impression on its recipient and makes agents more popular and more likely to be recommended by current and past clients. Many real estate agents fail to realize that thank you notes are always a classy way to show appreciation to one’s clients. Making a lasting impression on clients is in invaluable tool for real estate agents. Gaining new leads is essential to a rewarding career.
Once you’ve attracted a viewer to your website or blog with search engine optimized content, have provided a valuable offer that allowed you to “capture” that lead, and you’ve received that information in a database, that person becomes a genuine lead. Your next step is to cultivate that lead. But we’ll save the basics of lead cultivation for another tutorial.
You may now have a solid understanding of WHAT real estate lead generation is, but that doesn’t mean you know HOW to effectively generate real estate leads on your own. That takes a lot of time and tons of practice. You’ll need to give yourself permission to fail forward and learn from your mistakes.
Resources for DIY Real Estate Lead Generation
If you’re a do-it-yourself, hands-on kind of marketer, there are valuable resources available to you from which you can learn, step-by-step, how to conduct your own real estate lead generation.
For example, The Ballen Method is a self-guided, jam-packed digital marketing curriculum for real estate agents. Learn all about:
- Building your own website on WordPress
- Creating a blog within your WordPress website
- How to blog for lead generation
- How to create real estate videos
- Best practices for SEO
- Keyword strategies
- Resources for tracking and measuring,
- And everything else you need to succeed in marketing your real estate business.
Leveraging Real Estate Lead Generation
- Ballen Real Estate Websites (B.R.E.W.)
- Content creation services
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Lead nurturing systems such as AutoPilot ISA
- Training and Coaching