For the up and coming real estate agent, lead generation should be a big focus.
Finding new clients is an ongoing process that is necessary to kickstart and maintain your real estate career. Established agents can become so well known in their communities that they have a line of buyers and sellers knocking at their door to request their help.
Until you get to that point, it’s on you to experiment with new ideas to get your name out there and generate interest in your services. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.
To help kick off your efforts, we’ve narrowed down the top 5 strategies that work best for generating qualified real estate leads that actually convert to clients.
How to generate real estate leads
If this is your first foray into the world of lead generation, don’t worry. Using the strategies below, build a foundational marketing plan and make adjustments as you go. Track your results to determine what works and what doesn’t. Your target audience might respond positively to one method and negatively to another. Take note of these results to gain valuable insights into what your audience finds most compelling.
Tip: Learn more about what a short sale is in real estate.
The best part? You don’t need a big marketing budget to grow your client base. Many of the options listed in this article are either free or low-cost such as making flyers with a flyer template.
Let’s jump in.
Social media allows you to connect with potential buyers and sellers in a more authentic and personal way. But it’s going to take a lot more effort than just sharing a few statuses here and there if you want to see real results. You should aim to be active on multiple channels and post a variety of different types of content.
Your first step should be to create an Instagram business profile. This allows you to have an account dedicated entirely to your real estate business with access to Instagram analytics that will help you track your profile performance. Be sure to have your website and contact information linked in your bio, making it easy for potential clients to reach you.
Create content that highlights your personality, work ethic, current listings, and events you might be hosting, such as an open house. You should aim to come off as professional, approachable, and authentic. Before you know it, you’ll start to see your profile picking up steam and generating leads.
TIP: Instagram is free to use, but you also have the option to pay for ads. If you have extra marketing dollars, learn how to advertise on Instagram to reach your audience more effectively.
Facebook and Instagram go hand-in-hand. Since the social media giant bought Instagram in 2012, the two platforms have become seamlessly integrated to improve user experience. All business accounts on Instagram are connected to Facebook. This allows you to track analytics across both platforms and ensure your brand messaging is cohesive.
On your Facebook page, be sure to add a profile picture, cover photo, and bio. As always, you want to make it as simple as possible for potential clients to reach you, so be sure to link to your website and add contact information. When it comes to sharing content, be sure to post regularly and engage with users that are leaving comments. Don’t be afraid to share personal updates from time to time. It may be true that you’re running a business, but you also want to come across as relatable and trustworthy.
Creating a Facebook business profile is free, but there are paid features. If you’re considering investing money into the platform, first check out these tips for creating impactful real estate Facebook ads.
Your professional network can be just as powerful as your personal one. LinkedIn may not be top of mind when it comes to lead generation, but the platform shouldn’t be overlooked. Make sure your profile is up-to-date and on-brand. Join groups to connect with other real estate agents that have similar interests and continue to build your network - you never know, they could have potential referrals in your area. Promote content from your website or post original written pieces to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Similar to the other platforms that are mentioned, LinkedIn is free to use but also has paid ad offerings.
Twitter is useful for promoting existing content in small, digestible snippets. Anytime you write a new blog or share a big update, be sure to post about it on Twitter using relevant hashtags. Additionally, the platform is very conversational, which leaves a window of opportunity for directly engaging with potential leads. Using the search feature, you can see what people in your community are tweeting about in real-time (including your competition). Don’t be afraid to join the conversation.
As with any social media platform, you should have your Twitter profile fully up-to-date and branded to match your existing online presence. For information on further leveraging your page and paid options, check out our in-depth guide to Twitter marketing.
TIP: Juggling a handful of different social media channels can be difficult. If you feel you’ve spread yourself too thin, consider investing in social media marketing software to stay on top of all your different profiles and analytics.
In real estate, the name of the game is trust. Buying or selling a property is a big financial decision with potential long-term consequences. People want to know they can trust their real estate agent to serve their best interests and help them make the right choice. One of the first places people turn for a trusted opinion is their friends and family. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average realtor earned 17% of their business from referrals. That’s a big chunk of overall business that can be influenced just through word-of-mouth marketing.
You don’t have complete control over what people are saying about you, but you can leverage your happiest clients to be your greatest advocates. Don’t be afraid to ask for client testimonials and use them in your marketing materials as a form of social proof.
Note: Be upfront with your clients. If you just helped them close on a property, ask them to refer you to their friends and family. If they had a positive experience, they will likely do it on their own.
Keep an organized database
Having a database won’t necessarily bring new leads in, but it will help you more effectively manage the contacts and relationships you already have. Your marketing efforts could be generating tons of new leads, but if you can’t keep them organized and ensure a timely follow-up, then it’s possible they won’t convert to clients. Failure to stay organized can cost you a lot in terms of potential commission.
If you’re just starting out, using a spreadsheet is an easy and cost-effective way to keep track of lead activity, listings, and deal progression. Your business should live on this spreadsheet and it should be updated in real-time or at least on a daily basis as new business comes in and out.
As your lead generation efforts ramp up, it may become increasingly difficult to keep track of your contacts manually. If that’s the case, consider investing in real estate CRM software, which will give you plenty of time back in your day.
This strategy goes hand-in-hand with referral marketing, which we discussed previously. One of the simplest ways to get your name in front of potential clients is to leave the office and get involved in your local community. This will require more effort than attending a networking event here and there.One of the best ways to promote yourself is to foster relationships in-person with people in your local market. Host an open house, volunteer your time at a non-profit, or attend local educational seminars to expand your network. Strive to become a face that is well-known in your circle of friends and don’t shy away from giving your business card out when appropriate. You never know who might be in the market for a new home.
Believe it or not, snail mail isn’t dead. For real estate agents, this is one of the most cost-effective options for generating leads. The key to being successful at direct mail marketing comes down to targeting and authenticity. You don’t want to be overtly sales-y. That’s an easy way to get your mail tossed in the trashed instantly.
Plan targeted campaigns that present the recipient with immediate value. The same message won’t work for every audience, so tweak your value proposition accordingly. For example, people living in a luxury, gated community likely won’t care about a listing in a lower-end neighborhood on the other side of town.
Although it’s not possible to achieve at scale, send highly personalized, handwritten notes when you can. A good rule of thumb is to follow up with a handwritten note for any in-person interaction you have with a potential client, such as after an interview or following an open house. Personalization can be the difference between a client picking you over another real estate agent.
Measure, measure, measure
Remember that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Keep close tabs on all of your lead generation efforts and track their performance. A lead is only valuable if it turns into a client, so be sure to nurture your relationships and provide stellar real estate services to give them a reason to come back to you in the future.