Whether you’re a real estate agent mastering the nuances of contract law, a real estate investor brushing up on property management techniques for rental properties, or a real estate wholesaler networking with buyers...NONE of it matters without leads.
Learning how to get real estate leads is the key to building profitability in your real estate business.
Regardless of where you are with your current lead generation strategy (defined as the process of obtaining leads, or clients) — you may be looking to change up your current lead generation plan or you may not have one yet — it’s important to examine and re-examine how to get customers for your business.
Want to hear some good news? You don’t have to study endless hours to become a real estate agent to invest in real estate. (But if you already have, great!)
There’s even better news. You don’t have to settle for anyone else’s lead generation strategy — you can come up with a style that is completely your own.
In this article, you’ll find a variety of lead gen techniques, both hands-on and automated, contemporary and classic, online and in person, that will help you learn how to get real estate leads.
But before we do that, let’s break down what lead generation is.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of creating potential customers for your service.
More specific to real estate, it’s a system that turns strangers into potential clients, or leads, with the goal of turning leads into sales.
Notice that I said the word “system” — the goal of your lead generation strategy is to create a process that works without you having to do every component of the process every time.
Automation is the name of the game.
Think about it: the less work you have to do creating leads — thanks to a great lead generation strategy — the more time you can spend turning those leads into customers.
The Changing Landscape of Real Estate Leads
Every industry is undergoing constant change — real estate included.
Getting real estate leads in the past looked like this: advertise on billboards, bus benches, and grocery carts. Yard signs and open houses could be counted on for a number of buyer leads. Door knocking and cold-calling were also reliable ways to generate new listing and buyer leads.
So, why aren’t those methods working as well today? What has changed?
Well, in many ways, everything.
The reality is that consumers are no longer likely to believe advertising claims, especially those that are not backed up by personal experience or referral.
To help with this, products and services have had to incorporate realistic elements, like testimonials or experiences, in order to provide convincing evidence for their claims.
This tendency to dismiss advertising is even more pronounced for younger consumers, like Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.
As the largest and most active consumer group for real estate, it is vital to find new ways to speak convincingly to these demographic groups, especially using different social media platforms, which we’ll discuss later on in this article.
Real Estate Decentralization
If you’re a real estate agent, you’ve noticed that the power of the big-box brokerages (that have dominated the industry for decades) recently began to wane.
Instead of being able to depend on the branding and advertising power of a large, national company, many of these agents and brokers were forced to become adept at marketing in order to compete in their local market.
Also, the growth of multiple listing services meant that the individual real estate agent’s professional network and the brokerage market share were no longer essential for finding and making deals.
This change requires agents to find new ways to differentiate their services for buyers and sellers.
With the vast majority of buyers beginning their home search online, real estate agents, brokers, and investors suddenly found themselves required to become experts in online platforms and content creation or risk losing clients.
This creates a whole new situation for real estate professionals.
Even though they had been involved in their local markets for decades, they were suddenly forced to learn the ins and outs of online marketing, social media, video, and blogging.
At the same time, the effect of online and digital marketing has made it possible for savvy young agents and new investors to take advantage by hitting the ground running and making a big impact from day one.
Digital media has also created a shift in the way all real estate professionals present themselves to their markets.
While many with decades of experience grew their businesses by presenting a conservative and professional image to potential clients, their buttoned-up brand may not play as well in the present market where authenticity and relatability are some of the best selling points.
This requires a new approach in which agents and investors are often judged on the basis of their personality, look, and digital footprint.
How To Get Real Estate Leads Online
Ready to speak more effectively to potential clients in your market?
It starts with your digital footprint.
If you’re not sure how to get real estate leads online, you’ll find that it requires three things:
- a system that drives traffic
- content that converts
- communication for current and past clients
One of the biggest benefits to online lead generation is that it goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Rather than having to present your message directly one by one, your online resources market you to potential buyers and sellers even while you sleep.
In order to optimize this process, it is important to ensure that you properly develop the following platforms and avenues of communication.
- Your website
- Social Media
- Online Marketing
Read further as we break down each aspect.
[ On a budget? Download our step-by-step guide, "How To Get Your First 100 Motivated Seller Leads for Free" ]
Option #1: Your Website
Wondering how to get real estate leads? It starts with a website. This is a must in today’s digital-savvy world.
Your website is the most important hub for all of your online lead generation methods, with links to your creative content, social media, and other platforms.
In order to fully optimize your website, you’ll need to include a high-resolution logo (if you don’t know a designer, you can have one made on sites such as Fiverr or Upwork), a professional headshot, and SEO optimized website content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a fancy term that references creating content designed to help your website rise in Google’s ranking, allowing you to appear on one of the first or second pages of a search for your chosen keywords.
After all, who clicks on page 10 of Google when looking for something?
In order to optimize your content for Google’s algorithm, it is important to identify your chosen search terms. In other words, what words will people type into Google that will send them to your website? Be as specific as possible.
For example, instead of trying to rank for the terms “real estate investor”, try multiple hyper-regional terms (such as the name of the suburb/town/neighborhood) followed by “real estate investor”.
You’ll want to place those terms throughout your website, in your blog posts, and in your website description.
Another strategy is to look at the terms used by the most successful and highest-ranking competitors in your industry.
When you find out what they are ranking for (utilizing free SEO resources online), then determine if you should rank for those terms or rank for a synonym of the keyword, which is a keyword with the same meaning, but different word usage.
Funnel marketing is a way of visualizing, analyzing and describing your client’s journey from finding your services to making a sale with you.
The stages of a funnel are:
- Awareness: A potential buyer becomes aware of their problem and how your business, product or service can be a solution to their problem.
- Interest: The potential client shows an interest in your services.
- Desire: The person shows a desire to work with you by learning more about your business.
- Action: The potential client becomes a client.
It’s important to examine how this funnel applies to your business: how you are gathering awareness, creating interest and desire, and turning that into action?
Also, how do each of the online platforms — your website, social media, and online marketing — fit into this funnel?
Furthermore, which parts of the funnel can you create systems for that work while you sleep, and which stages of the funnel need your attention?
Understanding and optimizing each of these stages can help to move potential clients into and through your funnel — and result in sales.
Option #2: Blogging
Blogs should be, at minimum 500 words, though longer blog posts will do a better job of showing your expertise.
Blogs of up to 2000 words are not uncommon and can help improve SEO significantly, especially if you discuss topics relevant to your local city and community.
These articles can pop up in google, which can lead a reader onto your website. Plus, the better, more interesting content you have, the more views you can get, therefore increasing the chance of someone navigating from your blog to your business pages, and contacting you for business.
Your blog doesn’t have to be strictly real estate related. Anything that shows your depth and connection to the local market can be an effective subject for blogging. Local restaurants, small businesses based in your community, the local schools, or community events — all of these can work well for a real estate blog. Testimonials from past clients as well!
Here are a few ideas:
- How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
- 5 Great Non Profits to Volunteer with In Your City
- Should You Buy a House or Build your Own?
- 10 Things to Do on a Saturday in your City
- How Much Money Do You Need To Buy A House?
- What is a Mortgage?
- My Story: Why I Buy and Sell Houses
Option #3: Newsletter
Your newsletter can contain blog content, links to your social media accounts as well as information on real estate properties that you are selling.
The goal of a newsletter is simple: by offering a sign up page on your website, you can create a large and active email newsletter list to market your content and your product to.
Option #4: Video
One of the most popular ways to communicate with potential clients is through video content. This can be a great option, especially for those who do not have the time or skill for extensive blog writing.
Videos can be housed both on the website and on a video platform like YouTube.
You can also create written content from videos by using a transcription service like Rev.com for both accurate closed captioning of the videos themselves and cost-effective transcription which can be uploaded as a blog post. This way, people can enjoy your content in a variety of ways and at a variety of times.
Option #5: Social Media
If you’re wondering how to get real estate leads, another answer is social media. This includes:
It’s an important way of reaching out to new clients and driving traffic to your website and other platforms. This is the goal of social media — not conversion, but an introduction, engagement, and staying on top of someone’s mind through consistent posting.
Option #6: Online Marketing
There are a variety of online marketing platforms to help you connect with potential buyers and develop ways for how to get real estate leads from sellers in your area. These include:
Craigslist can be used for a variety of purposes, including searching for investment properties, providing an affordable marketing platform for listings, and offering other services like staging.
It is important to familiarize yourself with Craigslist’s listing guidelines and to stick to them so that you are able to post there consistently.
Real Estate Portals (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com)
These portals pull from MLS (multiple listing service) listings and provide large, easy-to-use search platforms for potential buyers.
They offer a variety of paid advertising options that can generate leads, but these methods can be expensive, so compare the cost to the average advertising budget amongst other real estate professionals in your market to determine whether they are cost-effective for you.
Redfin and iBuyer Platforms
For real estate agents, these online platforms offer the opportunity to work with motivated buyers for a reduced commission.
While you earn less from these transactions, you also spend less time and money marketing and converting these buyers into clients.
Do a great job and you may be able to turn these leads into repeat clients and referral sources.
Option #7: Bird Dogging
Bird dogging is the process of finding potential investment properties for real estate investors and sending them their way for a fee.
Working with a bird dog has many advantages, including the fact that the bird dog will know what type of property you’re looking for, which can increase the chance of finding the right investment property.
Option #8: Driving for Dollars
Another great option for real estate lead generation is to utilize the method of driving for dollars. This method refers to the practice of spotting properties that are off-market and identifying an investment opportunity that would yield a considerable profit.
Off-market properties can be identified by:
- overflowing mail
- need for repairs
- absence of vehicles
The beauty of this strategy is that it can be done with little effort on your part — and little money.
Option #9: Real Estate Mailers
Real estate mailers have proven time and again that they are a great form of real estate lead generation.
They advertise your business while putting information in front of consumers that they want to see.
Real estate mailers serve the purpose of selling properties you already have listed and maintaining a relationship with current and previous clients.
Bonus: More Ideas for Lead Generation
While your online presence is an essential part of generating leads in your local market, there are a variety of other ways that you can get out and do some old-fashioned networking in order to ensure that you are bringing in new clients. These can include:
- Bandit signs on the corner of a busy intersection or on stop signs
- Teaching real estate-related topics at the local high school or community college
- Sponsoring local little league teams
- Providing branded tee shirts with your company’s logo for the local school’s Field Day or other festivities
- Speaking at local events, or at churches and civic organizations
- Teaching classes at your local real estate board or local meetup group
- Seeking out writing opportunities in your local newspaper or serving as an expert real estate source for the local television station
- Sponsoring a booth, ride, game, or other events at the local fair or festival
- Prospecting expired listings and For Sale By Owner properties
- Developing a niche such as military relocation, luxury properties, or senior properties
- Developing a related business such as staging, investment, insurance, title, or lending
- Developing a referral platform for local, national, or international agent referrals
- Reaching out consistently to past clients in order to stay top of mind, putting you in line for referrals and repeat business
- Participating in real estate investor workshops in order to develop relationships with these repeat buyers and sellers
The Bottom Line: How to Get Real Estate Leads
Don’t limit yourself to just one type of marketing strategy.
Go for a mix of online, social, and in-person marketing so that you can leverage both passive and active strategies as you determine how to get real estate leads more effectively in your current market.
Remember that your most important tool is your authenticity and ability to connect with your audience.
As you develop your own personalized strategy, remember that you can always brush up on your real estate education to help increase your profitability in the future.