A guide to real estate lead generation

by Corben Grant on 21 Dec 2021

A real estate agent without clients is an agent in title alone. One of the most important skills you can develop as a real estate agent is the ability to find clients efficiently and effectively. Lead generation is a huge part of that skill, and if you don't already have a real estate lead generation strategy in place, you are putting yourself far behind your competitors who do.

These days, especially with the advent of modern technologies, there is no shortage of techniques for real estate lead generation. New techniques are being developed all the time.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about lead generation for real estate agents to get you started on your own lead generation strategy.

What is real estate lead generation and why does it matter?

Lead generation is a term for any number of strategies that help you to find potential customers for your real estate business. To put it simply, you can't sell to people if you don't know who they are or how to contact them. So not only is lead generation useful, it's actually pretty critical to your job.

A lead is a person who has expressed some amount of interest in your business and may be likely to want to work with you at some point. You will also need some means of contacting this person, be it a phone number, an email address, or a mailing address. Ultimately, you want to convert this person to a customer, so finding qualified leads is important. The more efficiently you can find qualified leads, the more business you can have.

Lead generation works best when you target a specific audience. Sure, you could open a phone book and have thousands of potential leads right in front of you, but you don't know anything about these people besides maybe a phone number and a surname. There's a good chance that hundreds of those names have no interest or means to buy or sell real estate and you would be wasting your time by cold calling every single one. You might get a client or two, but you will mostly get people annoyed with you.

What if you could know exactly which door to knock on, or which number to call?

Depending on how you run your business, you will likely want to target different kinds of people. This can be people in a certain area, a certain age group, or people interested in a certain type of real estate. You could also specifically target seller leads or buyer leads. Each group of people will have different wants and needs in real estate and have different things that appeal to them in an agent. By knowing your audience and what they expect, you can target them better and generate higher-quality leads that are more likely to lead to a sale.

In real estate lead generation, working smarter not harder is the key. You should consider how much time or money you are putting in per lead and do your best to minimize that number while maintaining quality leads.

Outline of an effective lead generation strategy

Lead generation is only part of a larger strategy, but it’s a crucial step. Essentially you are taking people who have no real knowledge about you or what you do and turning them into customers that make you money.

In the lead generation stage, you are merely concerned with capturing the attention of strangers, informing them about your real estate services, and hopefully getting their contact information. Further stages will nurture leads and hopefully convert them to full-fledged clients.

Inbound vs. outbound lead generation

There are two main strategies to generate real estate leads: inbound and outbound. Inbound lead generation relies on the customer to initiate contact. In order to attract their attention, you must produce appealing marketing materials in any number of formats such as social posts, blogs, advertising, and SEO.

If your content is of high quality and persuasive, ideally the customer will reach out to you to express their interest. This style of lead generation is used in things like advertising and social media marketing.

In outbound lead generation, you take on the role of initiating contact. This can be done by direct mail, emailing, calling, or any other means that puts you in direct contact with strangers. This is a more traditional form of marketing but nonetheless has proven effective for real estate businesses in the past.

Managing real estate leads,/h3>

Something you should be certain you have in place before you start collecting more leads is a means of organizing them. Your real estate leads will be of no use to you if you lose them, the info is wrong, or they are out of date.

Many real estate agents these days rely on what is called a CRM, or customer relationship management tool. There are various different services that offer these tools for real estate agents, but most will have similar features. Essentially they are a way to conveniently organize your real estate leads automatically so nothing gets misplaced. They can also help with automating things such as reaching out to leads and can even be accessed from multiple devices meaning you have your leads with you on the go no matter where you are.

Ways to generate real estate leads

There are many different real estate lead generation strategies, from the traditional to the new and technology-driven. The thing about generating real estate leads is that each technique will reach different types of people. With that in mind, you should never rely on one single strategy alone, even if you are having some success with it.

If your strategy isn't working for you, don't waste your time on a sinking ship. There are dozens of other things to try to help you generate leads. Let's take a look at some of the more popular methods for collecting leads in the real estate industry, how to make them work, and what sort of returns you can expect.

Traditional methods

Door knocking

Door knocking is an old but proven method of finding more leads. It may be nerve-racking at first, and not everyone will appreciate the salesperson showing up at their door, but the more you do it the easier it will get.

One big benefit of knocking on doors is it forces you to sell yourself in a short amount of time. Take time before door-knocking to really consider your message, your offer, and your appearance to make sure you really nail the first impression.

Cold calling

Like door knocking, this old-fashioned method is still reliable. Again, not everyone will appreciate random callers, but others might just see the initiative you are taking as a positive thing. You would be surprised how many leads you can get with this classic method.

Direct mail and cold emails

These are a little less direct than the previously mentioned strategies. Mailed content offers you the benefit of a more thought out and comprehensive message without the anxiety of standing face to face with strangers, and will give your potential leads a chance to carefully consider what you are offering.

Direct mail can be as simple as targeting a neighbourhood you want to work in and addressing some letters. Be aware that there may be rules around sending marketing materials in your area or rules around delivering mail yourself, so be aware of these before mailing material. Add a personal touch to your mail by signing it yourself, but avoid just photocopying a handwritten letter - this may come off as disingenuous.

Emailing has its own challenges and benefits. For one, you need to actually source the emails of local people, which can be difficult. However, email offers you the ability to include much more eye-catching material such as images or videos, as well as links to your online pages. Most importantly, email is a nearly free option and allows you to reach people easily with only a little effort on your part.

If you chose to do cold emailing, you may want to go into it with a plan. Making your emails part of an email marketing campaign can increase effectiveness greatly.

Business cards

Every real estate agent needs to have a quality business card and should keep them on hand wherever they go. You never know when an opportunity to make a new connection will come up, be it with a client or fellow agents. Custom business cards are cheap these days, and if you don't plan on changing your information any time soon, they can last you for years

Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising is another proven way to get attention in your field. This type of advertising can come in many forms such as billboards, posters, flyers, advertisements in publications, and more.

This can be an effective way to generate leads as it puts you directly in front of potential clients. For stationary advertising like a billboard or bust stop poster, you can effectively target only the people who live in that area and see your ad.

If you plan to run physical ads, be sure to put your best face forward with professional photography, graphic design, and copywriting. Once your ad is out there, you can't change it so it needs to do the job the first time.

Online lead generation

Digital advertising

Digital advertising has grown so rapidly in the last 20 years that it’s now overtaking physical advertising as the dominant medium. Digital advertising has many different facets and many benefits. When you think of digital advertising you probably think of the ads you see on the side of web pages, and that is one form of this. However, there are many different platforms you can advertise on, and different sizes and formats for ads. One benefit of digital advertising is that it can be very accessible. Anyone with a bit of money and a product can start running ads online with only a little setup.

The main purpose of online advertising will usually be to drive traffic to your website where leads can get in touch with you. Advertising platforms can utilize user data to target the exact demographics that you want to advertise to, and you can see how your ads are performing in real-time.

Make a website

This is probably one of the most important parts of your online presence. These days a lot of people get their info online, so having all your information in one place makes it far more convenient for people to find you. Make sure your website is visually appealing, well laid out, and includes your contact information prominently. As opposed to ads placed on other platforms, your website is all about you and you aren’t competing for attention. Use this opportunity to really go into detail about yourself and your business.

A well-made website can generate online leads all on its own by allowing visitors to contact you or sign up for a mailing list. It can also draw visitors by being tuned for local SEO so it appears prominently on local search pages.

Social media

Social media is another increasingly important tool for generating leads. These platforms have millions of users eager to see quality content. Supply it and they follow you to see more. This is less of a direct selling method and more of a way to develop your brand and reputation.

If you present quality content and demonstrate your expertise on social media, people will think of you when it comes time to get into the market and will have a way to easily contact you. In this way, social media is both an advertising platform, and a communication platform. A one-stop-shop for lead generation!

Popular social media content may include client testimonials, free real estate advice, recent sales, or other personal content.

Start a real estate blog

You probably have a lot of knowledge about your job and your local area, so why not share it? Starting a blog, or adding one to your website, can draw in people who are looking for more information and establish you as an expert in your area. Your blog can draw in local clients through search engine optimization (SEO) by appearing high up in search engines, and you can also generate traffic by directing your social media followers to your blog.

A lead magnet

A lead magnet can be a great way to generate leads for your business. If you are already writing blog content, this could be a great option for you, otherwise, you can also outsource the production of a lead magnet. Essentially a lead magnet promises your visitors something for free, usually an informative guide or ebook, which you provide via a link to their email.

Not only does the client feel good about getting something for free, but they also see you as a knowledgeable person whose advice is worthwhile. In addition, you have now not only collected their contact information but know they are a quality lead who is at least somewhat interested in what you do.

Video content

Video content is another way your digital presence can create leads. These days, producing a quality video is easier than ever, and yet they can catch your audience's attention very well.

Videos can play many roles in real estate marketing. For example, you might share videos to your social media following, or even go live for questions and answers. You could use a video as part of your lead magnet, or put it on your website for visitors to see. These can help draw people in, become more invested in your brand, and spend more time on your pages. Things like listing videos can also not only help sales but can indirectly lead to more satisfied customers and therefore better referrals.

Other ideas for lead generation

Referrals

Referrals are one of the top ways to generate quality leads. When it comes to referrals, the best thing you can do is simply be the best possible agent you can be. Provide your clients with a service that they are eager to recommend to their peers and you will have no shortage of referrals.

While marketing yourself directly may not appeal to everyone, referrals let your past clients do the marketing for you. There is nothing more persuasive than an honest recommendation from someone you know.

Another way to help with referrals: just ask! If you feel like you did a great job with a client, feel free to let them know you are open for referrals if they know anyone in need. It may feel strange to ask at first, but if your clients are truly happy with your work they should receive it well.

Online reviews

Much like referrals, online reviews can help a lot in getting good leads. These days, people can easily see and compare different agents with online reviews. Positive reviews can give you a lot of positive attention, while a poor review can really impact your business.

The same idea applies to getting good reviews, simply providing the best service you possibly can, and don't be afraid to ask your clients for a review. Whatever you do, do not try and place fake reviews for yourself. Not only can people often recognize fake reviews, but they can also get you blacklisted from these sites entirely.

Keep in touch with the community

As a real estate agent, you should have some level of investment in the local community that you work in. People will like you a lot more and want to work with you as a client when they can see that you care about and take part in the local community.

This can be done in a number of ways. For one, you could sponsor, donate, or volunteer to local community events. You can also partner with local businesses that may want to offer you referrals later. This isn't about using these opportunities to push sales in people’s faces, but rather it is about being visible and known within your community and allowing people to come to you.

Buying leads

While this might sound like cheating, it is a valid method that other real estate agents are using right now. There are platforms that specialize in finding quality new leads, and then offer them to you for a price. These websites allow you to take advantage of their robust marketing tools without having to set anything up yourself.

Though these services will cost you, sometimes per lead, they will also take a lot of the work off of your plate which can mean more free time for you - or more time following up on leads.

Hire a real estate marketing agency

This is another way to outsource some of the work in generating leads. As opposed to buying leads directly, working with an agency allows you to get a tailored marketing plan that can cover all aspects of your brand. From your website, ad placement, social media, email marketing and more, an agency can handle it for you. Leave the marketing to the experts, so you can handle the real estate sales.

And more!

When it comes to lead generation, your creativity really is the limit. While we hope the ideas listed here can help to start towards generating tons of leads and making more sales, this is far from all your options. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities, and you never know what new techniques you may end up discovering. Have a favourite lead generation strategy of your own? Let us know in the comments!

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