This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Organizing real estate events is a fun and effective way to grow your business. Whether it’s to prospect for leads, generate referrals, or thank previous clients, the first step is to identify your objectives before planning your event. You also need to set a budget, create a guest list, send invites, and establish a post-event plan to follow up with attendees. To ensure the success of your event, make sure to hire trusted vendors and professional event planners.
Download our free event planning checklist and follow the step-by-step guidelines on hosting real estate events to increase your sphere of influence (SOI), attract qualified leads, and build brand awareness.
1. Identify the Reason for the Real Estate Event
Before planning your event, identify the reason or purpose for hosting the real estate event. Decide on the desired outcomes—whether you aim to expand awareness of your real estate brand, gain leads and referrals, deepen connections, nurture prospects, or convert leads to clients and closed transactions.
Here are some realtor-sponsored events you can organize to meet new prospects, build brand awareness, and establish a local presence in your community:
- Community events: Educational seminars, fitness programs, and clean-up drives
- Promoting a new listing(s): Open houses, virtual tours, joining trade fairs, neighborhood tours
- Charity: Fundraising events, food drives, charity dinners
- Business and referral partnerships: Happy hour parties, vendor appreciation events, luncheons, real estate investing networking events
- Holidays: Halloween costume party, holiday potluck, Fourth of July BBQ
- Client appreciation: Housewarming party, going-away party
- Educational events: Seminars for first-time homebuyers, webinars for real estate investors
Once you’ve identified the reason and desired outcomes for your real estate networking events, explore meaningful ways to add value for the attendees. This value can include neighborhood familiarity, market trends, or information—helping solve a current real estate obstacle and highlighting your value as a real estate agent.
2. Decide Who to Invite
Strategically curating your lists of invitees for real estate agent networking events will directly affect the success of your event objectives. However, as much as you’d like to get everyone in a room, you need to consider who your guests would be. For instance, you wouldn’t invite prospective buyers to networking events for realtors or past clients to a first-time homebuyer seminar. If you’re hosting a charitable fundraiser, inviting clients who purchased high-priced homes, business owners, and landlords will ensure your event’s success.
If you’re unsure who to invite to your event, consider the following for lead generation:
If you don’t have a long list of contacts, invite your most enthusiastic existing clients and ask them to bring a plus-one to your event. Your current clients can boost your credibility and increase brand awareness in their network. Hosting a client appreciation party for them will make them feel appreciated, and they will be more likely to stick with you if there’s a down market.
Former clients can be your brand ambassadors at the event since they have already benefited from your real estate services and can speak highly of them. If your event includes a formal presentation, you might even include testimonials from satisfied clients.
Friends & Colleagues
You can expect your sphere of influence (SOI) to account for 66% of your business, so invite friends and colleagues to help promote your business. Your SOI can help if you have a low headcount. To secure more leads, send your SOI invitations, asking them to bring a plus-one who could be a potential referral client for you.
Landlords & Investors
These high-quality leads could potentially usher in multiple business opportunities for you. Plus, investors and landlords have a huge network of property seekers, which is a potential boon for referrals and ideal customers, while positioning yourself as an expert.
Invite prospective clients to your open houses or holiday parties for more business opportunities. You can also host community events to invite local prospects in your target neighborhood or give out free tickets to a game viewing party at a local bar in exchange for their contact information.
Tailor your event to get as many attendees that fit your target niche. For example, to become the go-to agent for first-time homebuyers, host an educational event that gives them tips on the sales process, the value of using a real estate agent, and current market trends. To establish yourself as a local expert, conduct a neighborhood tour highlighting its history and hot spots. If your area is less walkable, you can create a virtual video tour of the community instead.
Manage leads using customer relationship management (CRM) software like Market Leader, and work your contacts using advanced filters so you can target the right people. Market Leader allows you to import all your contacts to easily put them on email drip campaigns, add new leads you meet into your contact manager, and sort your contacts into groups (e.g., buyers and sellers). This makes it easier to prospect more leads and nurture them, so when you do invite them to an event, you’ve already developed a meaningful relationship.
Not everyone will be able to attend your event (and they can change their mind on that day), so remember to invite more people than you expect to have. In addition, give your invitees a plus-one or two, so they don’t have to attend alone. This gives them a reason to invite some of their friends, which, in turn, increases your brand exposure.
3. Create a Budget for the Event
Setting a budget determines how many invites you can send, the location, the vendors, and how much to invest to make the party successful. Additionally, you can better control how much you spend on the event when you have a budget and measure the event’s success on your return on investment (ROI). In a survey of event planners, 36% of an in-person event budget usually goes to food and beverage, while the remaining budget is divided among decors, space rental, marketing, and other event materials.
If your event objective is to grow your real estate business, track the estimated revenue potential from leads generated at the event. Note that many leads will convert weeks or months later rather than immediately after the event. To measure your ROI on an event, take into account the sales generated from the event and the total cost of the event:
If you made $300,000 in sales revenue from the event and the event cost was $175,000, calculate your ROI as follows:
[($300,000 – $175,000) ➗ $175,000] x 100 = 71.43% return on investment
A positive ROI depends on the metric you’re using to measure the effectiveness of the event. Most real estate events will measure the ROI from leads generated or sales completed objectives. However, your numbers may not be apparent right away since real estate transactions can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to complete or even more if leads need to be nurtured for a longer period of time. Overall, your goal is to make more money from real estate clients after the event than you spent hosting it.
Organize and record your key expenses into a spreadsheet to make sure you are budgeting correctly. By recording these expenses, you can easily calculate your profit and determine your return on investment from this event. To assist with budgeting, download and use our free event budget spreadsheet below.
4. Select an Event Location
Location is key to hosting memorable events. Make sure the location is accessible to your attendees and there’s enough room for everyone to mingle and enjoy the event comfortably. Also consider the ease of parking, available technology, capacity, and overall event ambiance. Your location is a representation of you and your business, so select venues that reflect your brand.
The event type and desired attendees will play a role in selecting the best location. Here are some of the best practices when choosing a location for your real estate event:
Did you know?
If you are hosting a virtual event, you will not need every item on the event planning checklist. Items like physical invites, RSVPs, audio speakers, and other collateral will not be necessary. For agents on a tighter budget, hosting virtual events is a great opportunity to generate leads while saving money.
5. Create & Send Event Invites
The next step is to give out invitations. Your invitations should contain key pieces of information, such as the time, date, location, and reason for the event. Include your contact information, logo, and a headshot of you so invitees will know who’s throwing the party and easily RSVP.
Give invitees as much advance notice as possible to fit your event into their schedules. Send the invite out one month in advance, follow up weekly, and send reminders just before and on the day of the event to maximize attendance. Client relationship manager (CRM) tools like HubSpot CRM have automated email with tracking and notifications to ensure all invitees receive their invitations. Alternatively, you can use HubSpot CRM for lead management and email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Evite to send invitations.
Sending digital invitations reduces printing or postage costs and makes it super-easy for attendees to RSVP. Use a design platform like Canva and choose from hundreds of free and premium premade templates to customize your invitation to your brand and event. If you are not design-savvy, hire a freelancer at Fiverr to make the invitation for you. Select from thousands of graphic design freelancers starting as low as $5 to find the right one to work with on your event invitations.
If you want to send invitations through direct mail, platforms like PostcardMania can create postcard invitations to send to your mailing list. Using their Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service, send invitations to everyone on a specific postal route so you don’t need to purchase or create a mailing list yourself. The platform can transform your invitation content into social ads to increase your event’s exposure.
6. Automate Event Marketing Messages & Record RSVPs
The content in your invitation needs to drive interest and attendance for the event. Your invitation is a representation of your voice and brand, and can also position your real estate business to stand out from the competition. In addition to your initial invite, send email follow-ups to encourage attendance and remind those invited to RSVP.
With CRM tools like HubSpot CRM, automate email follow-ups through drip campaigns. Include sneak peeks of the food, location, or entertainment in your series of follow-up emails or highlight networking opportunities and educational content that will be presented to create buzz around your event. Additionally, incorporate pictures and links in your emails for visual interest, and make your call to action (to RSVP) very clear and easy to take.
You may need to diversify follow-up strategies depending on the type of contact information you have. According to statistics, SMS texts have a 98% read rate, compared to emails which only have a 20% open rate. It helps to also send invites via text to increase your RSVP responses.
Send invites via both text message and email using Evite. The platform has RSVP tracking and allows you to communicate with guests one-on-one or as a group. Plus, Evite’s Polls enable you to gauge interest in certain topics, so you can customize your event to your attendees’ preferences, which increases attendance.
The final headcount will affect your budget for food, drink, seating arrangements, and other aspects of your event planning. As a rule of thumb, you can multiply the number of guests you invite by 1.5 to determine the number of non-disposable plates and cups you need. For example, if you expect 30 guests, it’s safe to prepare 45 sets of dinnerware.
7. Hire Vendors
To guarantee the success of your event, hire a reliable vendor or a real estate event planner. The downfalls of any of your event vendors or other partners (such as business referral partners) can also reflect poorly on you. Your vendors and partners are there to support and represent you, so stress the importance of accountability, punctuality, and description of provided services. Ask for references, check online reviews, and ask for any required licenses, especially for food or beverage service.
Vendors may fall into the following categories:
A custom menu is part of the overall experience of any event. Take into account how it will be served (e.g., buffet style, wait staff, etc.) to determine the event layout, like table and chair arrangement, and how you staff the event. Once you’ve set the event date, time, and location, lock down your food and beverage vendors.
Non-alcoholic beverage options, including water, should always be available at events, whether or not alcoholic beverages will be served. Depending on your budget and the laws of your state, you could purchase beverages yourself. Check with your local and state laws for food and beverage regulations before handling them yourself.
Bartenders & Servers
Secure staffing once you determine how food and beverages will be served. You may have people in your network who can assist or refer you to someone offering these services. If you want to save time, it’s best to hire an event company and outsource event staff. Companies like ATN Event Staffing can find staff for all event needs nationwide. If you’re hiring a catering company for food, ask if they have an in-house team to support your event.
Photographer & Videographer
Photographers and videographers can document your event for use in post-event marketing. Check their website or social media to see their work and customer reviews or ask for recommendations. If you’re low on budget, you can always ask a friend or colleague to snap some photos during the event. Create a real estate event hashtag that attendees can include when posting photos on their social media and offer an incentive like a free item for those who use the hashtag.
Security & Door Attendants
Hiring staff for security or door check-in stations may not be necessary but can be useful if you need to get an accurate headcount. This also adds a feeling of exclusivity to the event. It further eliminates the need for you to check in guests so you could focus more on networking with attendees. You can find security and door attendants through ATN Event Staffing, as well.
Develop relationships with trustworthy vendors and real estate event planners so you can use them at your events. Reliable vendors allow you to focus on your attendees and event goals without worrying about trivial tasks. You can further use the brand power of vendors to drive guest attendance. Do a quick search for any of the vendor types above through Google and read as many reviews as you can find. This will give you an idea of who will be reliable and provide you with a better vendor experience.
8. Give Out Party Favors & Branded Materials
Studies show that 76% of clients say their perception of a brand has positively changed after receiving a promotional product. Giving promotional items at your event, like coffee mugs, key chains, and tote bags, leaves a lasting impression on you and your business. Favors can be personalized to represent your brand and double as useful mementos that guests will keep around post-event to remind them of your business.
If you’re hosting a themed event, it will be easier to customize favors based on your theme and branding. For example, favors for a Halloween party could be a cauldron-shaped mug with candies or witch’s broom pens stamped with your logo and contact information. Keep in mind that favors don’t have to be extravagant to be memorable and effective.
For more promotional item ideas, take a look at AnyPromo.com. It is a one-stop shop for tailor-made promotional items with a catalog of over 200,000 items. They even have an event section for specific themes like Mardi Gras and Earth Day. Buy in bulk to save money and take advantage of their free shipping.
Branded materials can be used to keep your brand top of mind as guests navigate your event. If you’re giving away a branded tote, fill it with informational flyers and marketing materials as a takeaway from the event. If you have a beverage station, branded napkins add to the experience while low-key promoting your business. A practical notebook with your logo on it can carry the marketing message even after the event as clients may use it frequently.
9. Make Real Estate Event Follow-ups
Based on statistics, 80% of sales required five follow-ups for leads to say “yes.” This is why you need to send a follow-up thank-you note or email after real estate events to nurture your leads in their buyer journey. Follow-up messages must be as authentic as possible to build trust with those who gave you their time. If you had an interesting conversation with a particular lead, send them a personalized email to reference that conversation and take the relationship a step further by suggesting coffee or lunch.
Though not everyone on your invite list will be able to attend, there is still an opportunity to develop relationships with them by sending a “We Missed You!” note. You can send them an email recapping the event and include a call to action for them to connect. Successful real estate agents also ask for feedback after educational and networking events to gain a deeper understanding of their target audience, identify ready-to-convert prospects, and learn ways to improve future events.
Pipedrive is a CRM that enables you to nurture leads after the event. The sales software tracks your communication and has workflow automation to eliminate manual follow-up activities, thereby saving you time and effort. Set up a timeline within the platform to send personalized follow-up emails at different predetermined trigger points to successfully convert event attendees into paying clients.
10. Post-event: Share Event Highlights on Social Media
Posting event photos and videos on your social media after the event provides interesting content to engage your attendees and other followers. It’s also an opportunity to showcase the excitement of the event for those who missed out. More importantly, show your appreciation to vendors and attendees by tagging them in your social posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This increases post reach and often results in higher engagement and shares.
Social media posts can drive demand for future events. Leverage post-event content by creating social ads that extend reach to your target audience. Platforms like Sprout Social can manage all aspects of your digital marketing, including real estate Facebook ads that expand your digital reach cost-efficiently. You can also organize your post-event content into a social media calendar so you publish posts at an effective rate.
Best CRMs for Event Follow-up
To effectively monitor your lead’s journey before and after the event, CRM platforms offer tools that automate the process of communicating with leads. CRM tools are also designed with marketing capabilities via email, phone, online advertising, and social media, so you can easily promote your events to prospects and contacts using the same platform.
Here are the best real estate CRM that will improve your lead conversion rate while maximizing your time and money.
Agents, teams, or brokerages looking for a low-cost CRM with a mix of essential features
Realtors wanting built-in content management tools
Real estate brokerages needing built-in clerical and administrative tools with marketing capabilities
Real estate agencies looking for multichannel communication capabilities
Monthly Starting Price
$14.90 per user
$79 per user
$99 per month
Ultimately, your events should gather specific groups of people, generate leads, and network with prospects for your real estate business. Hosting one allows you to meet prospects in person, which could make a difference in converting them into a client. To orchestrate a successful and memorable event, download our free real estate event planning checklist, which outlines the 10 steps on how to host an event—from identifying your goals to doing post-event marketing and follow-ups.