Real estate farming is a prospecting strategy which, when done well, establishes you as the go-to real estate professional for a targeted community. This then generates leads for your business. Proven ways to grow authority, build your reputation, and increase name recognition using this strategy include techniques such as direct mail campaigns, advertising, networking, and online marketing.
That said, no matter which technique you use, location plays a significant role in success. That’s why you should always select your farm area with care. For help on this step, visit our guide on how to choose a real estate farm area.
The following are great ways to start cultivating a presence once your farm area has been defined:
1. Create Direct Mail Campaigns
The key to staying top-of-mind is touching everyone in your farm area multiple times. You should plan for at least two or three mailings before expecting a return. Staying consistent with your mailers is essential as many people dispose of mail they don’t recognize or find interest in within the first few times they receive it. Plan to send mailings at least quarterly, if not more often, to the same addresses.
There is a variety of postcards that you can send to prospects: “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” listings, a neighborhood introduction, or fun facts. Use your creativity to create attention-grabbing and entertaining correspondence so more people are likely to look and respond to it.
Using a provider like ProspectsPlus! allows you to send mailers to residents in your farm area, even if you don’t have their mailing address. In addition, it automatically schedules your mailers, so you can be consistent in contacting your targets.
2. Distribute Door Hangers
Door hangers are another tried-and-true way to reach homeowners in your farm area. These tend to work best for prospecting when you offer something like a free home valuation. The reason door hangers work so well is that unlike a postcard, which can easily get ignored, homeowners will see your door hanger and take it off the door, thereby increasing the odds that they read it.
Again, make sure to exude your brand and add your picture so people can match your face to your name. You can find door hangers available for print at many locations: Vistaprint.com, ProspectsPLUS!, and BestPrintBuy.com. For about 35 cents each, you can use this as an effective lead-generating tool that a homeowner is more likely to read.
3. Walk Around Your Neighborhood & Meet People
Walk around your neighborhood, say hi to people, strike up a conversation. In the age of so much technology, meeting people in person bridges any gaps that might exist in the digital divide. Most agents advertise online, but many sales opportunities happen organically through referrals and word of mouth.
Taking away the screen enables you to build trust within your community. Note that people work with people they trust. Door knocking may not be viable or totally safe in your area (or any area), but being out and about is one way to meet people and be top of mind.
4. Buy ZIP Code-specific Advertising on Zillow
Farming depends on targeting clients in your specific area, so focus your online ad spending on the ZIP codes in your farm neighborhood. Zillow Premier Agent lets you advertise to buyers in particular ZIP codes. It is estimated that for every $1 you spend on Zillow, you get $2.60 or more back in commissions. In addition, more leads give you more closed deals at the end of the day, and Zillow offers you targeted leads in your farm area.
Learn more about how Zillow Premier Agent works.
5. Target Buyers on Facebook & Instagram
Facebook and Instagram allow you to create lead capturing ads using various criteria, including income, interests, and recent jobs. While both are excellent for general brand building, they can also be used as an advertising platform for listings as well as prospecting for buyers and sellers in your farm area.
Facebook even has a category called “Ready to move,” which is comprised of people whose online behavior is consistent with people who are ready to move. To learn specifically about using Facebook as a real estate agent, read How to Create Real Estate Facebook Ads guides to help you get started.
When posting on social media, especially Instagram, use hashtags on your post to connect you to specific neighborhood feeds and appropriate threads. For example, utilizing #openhouse along with #nyc, #uppereastside, and #lenoxhill will bring up your post to those who are house-hunting in that area of the Upper East Side.
In addition, you may try hashtagging your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, and community events to further display your knowledge of the area. Including your brokerage as a hashtag can contribute to building your brand and prompt followers to reach out to you for listings of interest that your brokerage represents.
6. Participate in Online Local Forums
Another great way to build trust in your farm area is to participate in online real estate forums dedicated to your farm area. These groups can be found on sites like Facebook, Patch, Nextdoor, and LinkedIn. The best way to develop trust is to participate as an ordinary citizen who also happens to be a real estate agent. Find where your farm area gathers online and join the conversation.
You may also consider creating your own community Facebook group as a way to build your reputation in a specific geographic area. Provide real estate market information: trends, new buildings, weekly or monthly reports, host Q&A sessions for those interested in learning more about real estate, and so on.
As you integrate yourself into local community discussions, your name will become synonymous with that community. Contribute valuable insights—and remember that you represent your community and your business as well.
7. Set Up a Farm-focused Website
If you’re new to real estate, you will definitely need your own agent website. Not only will you create an online space for your brand and capture leads, but you include local events and neighborhood information. Sites like Placester and Real Geeks offer affordable agent websites with IDX pages to help capture leads.
With Real Geeks, you can quickly customize your website with templated layouts and content to optimize your lead conversion capabilities. Real Geeks websites are also mobile-optimized, so they will adjust automatically to display correctly on all types of devices.
8. Attend Local Events & Meetup Groups
Above all, be social, and business will follow. Once people get to know you, they’ll seek out your advice and services. Post photos of any social events to your Instagram and show the moments of connecting with the community. Look for community-oriented events you’d enjoy being a part of, including charity events, art openings, and talks.
When attending these events, remember to network and get business cards, emails, and phone numbers from those you speak with and follow up with a personal email afterward. Also, you can add these contacts to your email or call list to keep in touch and cultivate new business with individuals you’ve met in your farm territory.
9. Sign Up for Exclusive Leads
There are many real estate lead generation companies that assist agents in capturing and nurturing new leads. If you’re looking for a company that can assist specifically with farming in a specific area, BoldLeads could be an excellent option for you. You can also read about the 6 Best Real Estate Lead Generation Companies in our guide.
Lead generation companies like BoldLeads offer exclusive leads to one agent in a specific area or ZIP code. In addition, you get conversion-optimized landing pages, a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system, and marketing automation tools like drip campaigns to help you nurture the leads they generate for you.
Utilizing real estate farming to prospect for leads is an effective strategy as long as you maintain consistency. Without consistency, it will be challenging to get the lead results you are hoping to achieve. Over time, by employing a variety of these techniques, you will become a reputable agent in your area by building relationships and your brand to become the go-to agent in your neighborhood.