With the marketing environment getting more complex, it can be confusing for a Realtor to know where and how to generate real estate leads that convert. Luckily, we’re here to help. We put together this guide with the top 41 real estate lead generation ideas to help you narrow down the options and ensure your hard earned marketing dollars get an unbeatable return on investment (ROI).
According to the National Association of Realtors, 92 percent of buyers use the Internet to house hunt. With more than 160 million visitors per month, Zillow is the largest real estate website and the best place to establish your real estate business online.
If you’re already on Zillow and want to get even more leads, try Zillow Premier Agent, Zillow’s advertising platform that lets you advertise on local Zillow and Trulia listings. We estimate that for every $1 you spend, you’ll earn $2.60 in commissions. Click here to find rates in your area.
Facebook has more than 2 billion active users, making it the most popular social media sites out there. LeadsBridge, a lead generation platform, suggests that agents generate leads on Facebook by posting both listing-specific content like testimonials and property photos and more general content to attract follows. Ideas for general content include tips on home buying or maintenance, seasonal content and community events.
Remember the rule here is engagement, engagement, engagement. If you’re interested in advertising on Facebook but aren’t sure where to start, check out our guide to using Facebook to get real estate leads.
LinkedIn is not only a great tool for networking but an incredible place to generate new leads for your real estate brokerage. For that reason, it’s important to maximize your agency’s LinkedIn presence by creating a unique, professional and informative profile. If you want to generate maximum leads through LinkedIn, you should also use the platform’s advanced search tool to identify promising contacts in your market, engage with groups and share valuable content.
Realtyna’s comprehensive article covers everything you need to know to get started generating leads on LinkedIn.
4. Follow Up with Expired Listings
Phil Gerdes, Agent, Christie’s International
My go-to lead source is contacting expired and withdrawn listings as well as for sale by owners (FSBOs). Some agents frown on making these calls. Others are just too scared to dial. We dominate this lead source and can attribute much of our success this year to it. I do get yelled at — a lot — I do get hung up on, but the key is to understand the potential client’s disappointment and match it with the same level of intensity, be it low or high, but with recordable, proven solutions. In my market, the average days on market for a closed transaction is 52 — mine is 18.
To sum it up, if you’re not cold calling, you should start. Our guide to prospecting FSBO leads is a great way to jumpstart your lead generation efforts.
Buying leads often means getting a spreadsheet of contact information and being left to figure it out all on your own. In addition to offering exclusive seller leads so that only one agent (you) gets leads from a single ZIP code, BoldLeads provides training videos and weekly webinars to help you nurture and close those leads. Click here to claim your ZIP code.
Have a real estate website but not sure what the best way is to capture leads? This article discusses seven of the best ways to engage customers and capture leads on your website. One great tip is to offer a content upgrade. This means offering more exclusive content like an ebook or members area in exchange for contact information.
Did you know some divorce settlements force people to sell their homes? In fact, it’s estimated that 61 percent of couples who divorce sell their home as part of the proceedings. Generating leads from people going through a divorce requires some finesse. Agent strategies range from making friends with divorce attorneys and scouring court records for divorces or quitclaim deeds, to posting targeted ad campaigns on Facebook.
8. Tap Your Spheres of Influence
Matthew Kammeyer, Broker, CCIM, Five Star Property Management
Hands down, our best source of sales clients come from our SOI [sphere of influence]. The people that know, like and trust us are the ones most likely to refer us. I found that my job is to be on the top of their mind. The nice part of this is that I get to interact and do nice things for my friends, family and associates.
Providing gifts, running a charity gift drive, offering help in areas outside of real estate or being the source of the source has done wonders for my business. Also, when someone does refer you, be sure to thank them. You want to reward good behavior (referrals). Don’t be focused on the closings. More so, be aware and thankful for the initial introduction. Then, keep your referral partner updated and do a great job so that they look good.
9. Share Value with Potential Clients
Jlyne Hanback, Realtor, e-Pro, PSA, Keller Williams Realty
One of my greatest lead generation tools that I use is to offer a free home buyer’s handbook to potential home buyers. I have taken the time to write a concise yet informative handbook that I offer in either PDF, Word, disc or print format. I advertise this on my site as well as social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
The people who respond are typically in the market to buy a home or are considering starting the process, so this gives me the chance to open up a dialogue with them about starting the process of buying a home. I add their contact info to my CRM [customer relationship management] and to a special drip campaign that caters to potential home buyers.
The biggest benefit of door hangers over direct mail is that your leads are guaranteed to see your message. Door hangers won’t get lost in a pile of bills since people need to remove them to go inside their homes.
ProspectsPLUS! offers beautifully printed one-sided and two-sided door hangers specifically for real estate agents. Choose from one of their professionally designed templates or upload your own design.
Many first-time homebuyers are uncomfortable talking to Realtors because they don’t understand the process of buying a home. Hosting a seminar for first-time homebuyers is a great way to generate leads while earning the trust of people already planning to buy a new home. Take the time to plan and promote an educational event in your area, provide valuable content and then follow-up with attendees to let them know you’re available to answer future questions.
Having a responsive lead-generation website is important, but having your own branded app can take your lead generation to the next level. Use a service like AppInstitute to quickly and easily design and build your own app without any coding experience. Once users download your app from iTunes or the Google Play Store, you can send them automated or manual “push notifications” for new listings, price reductions or promotions.
Plus, since the message shows up in their phone’s notification area, the chances of potential clients seeing your content are much higher than with email marketing. Best of all, creating an app with AppInstitute is free. You only pay a monthly management fee, starting at just $6 per month.
Andrew Gale, a contributor at Inman and founder of FlyerCo, suggests using social communities like Facebook and LinkedIn, forums and local meetups to engage potential clients and generate leads. Find opportunities to meet members of your real estate market by engaging in your favorite hobbies, whether it be mountain biking or woodworking. Branching out from Realtor-specific events not only increases your exposure in the community, but it also distinguishes you from competitors.
14. Nurture Relationships Early
Vince Massara, Chief Growth Agitator, The Content Friends
In real estate, a great referral system is started early. Not after the sale. Odds are that you will meet with a seller and discuss what the measures of success are in their sale. This is a great time to set the scene early by explaining how vital referrals are to your business and to real estate in general (they may even be a referral themselves).
These touchpoints and conversations are opportunities to guide a referral. I have seen real estate agents generate one or two referred leads per client using a simple system like this. Considering the usual cost-per-lead in real estate, that can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars saved a year.
Market Leader owns “HouseValues.com” where potential sellers check to see how much their house is worth. Leads from this site are extremely sought after and sold out in many ZIP codes. Market Leader also generates buyer leads. Check to see if Market Leader has leads available in your zip code. Check now.
16. Reverse Prospect Luxury Open House Visitors
Tim Allen, Realtor, Coldwell Banker
I like to engage visitors strategically during my open house. Rather than pressure them with a sign-in sheet — I work in a luxury market so this is not the best approach — I ask where they’re from and, if they are local, I just need a first name and a street they live on — like I’m Jan, I live over on San Antonio Avenue — and I can use the free tax database to reverse prospect and find their address and tax billing address.
A simple thank you card sent to them with my business card in there is a good way to let your visitors know that you not only are a good listener but are also tech-savvy, which is a growing need for real estate agents.
For more information on how to follow up with leads after an open house, check out our free open house follow-up templates.
If you’re curious about working with investors, wholesaling or investing on your own, there’s no better time than the present. Inventory is tightening, but due to the popularity of flipping houses and investing in rentals, there are tons of investors looking for good agents to work with. Probate leads — people who inherit property after the death of a loved one — can be a good place to start looking for off-market listings.
18. Send Handwritten Notes to Your Leads
Gina Castrorao, Realtor, Triplemint
Handwritten notes are a way of continued communication targeted to people in your network who are going through life changes: relationship status changes, children, promotions, career changes, relocation and so on. These are all reasons to change your living situation and easy to find out about. In the handwritten notes, I often ask people to get a cup of coffee or chat on the phone because I want to catch up and chat about their life, but it is also an avenue to mention real estate and generate leads.
They can be people you haven’t talked to in years and want to meet for a friendly catch-up session. For example, I sent a handwritten note to a woman that I went to high school with because I saw she got a promotion. We ended up meeting for coffee and chatting about life for an hour, which resulted in a later conversation about her looking to buy an apartment in the near future.
19. Maximize Your Realtor Web Content
Mary Clare Bland, Blog Editor in Chief, Moving2Madrid
We get most of our leads from our website. The past year we have been generating long-form evergreen articles — 1,200-plus words — mixed with shorter term “news” articles. All of the long-form evergreen content is heavily researched and updated when appropriate.
People read these reference articles, which all contain two CTAs [call to actions], and then request a consultation with our experts directly online. This past summer, we have seen a large uptick in United States-based clients — all have come from our internet site.
One of the biggest mistakes newer agents make is not regularly following up with their leads and connections. Once an agent starts generating more than 15 news leads per month, managing leads merely through email and calendar reminders becomes infeasible. At that point, you’re better off automating it with a relationship focused CRM like Freshsales. Want a free trial? Click here.
One of the best ways to generate leads from your website visitors, Facebook, AdWords or other online advertising is to offer free market reports for homeowners or buyers that you can create quickly and easily with RPR.
In order to get their contact information, you’re going to need great lead capture forms on your site. Check out RPR’s guide to six powerful form builders to get started.
Hosting a real estate blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website via SEO and earn loyal followers by providing valuable content. If you want to leverage your blog to capture more real estate leads, check out Honey Bar Media’s real estate blog ideas. In general, blog content should be evergreen, helpful, high quality and at least 1,000 words in length. Plus, you should post content on your site at least once a week.
Visit Honey Bar’s blog for more details on SEO, article ideas and more. We also have a list of 25 real estate blog ideas and examples to help jumpstart your content.
23. Optimize Organic Google Searches
Shawn Breyer, Owner, Breyer Home Buyers
All of our leads come from organic Google searches. We spent 15 months just building out SEO for our site before we even started our business. We knew that we wanted a marketing channel that would provide us with free leads without much involvement or a massive marketing budget.
Everyday home buyers and sellers turn to internet forums like Reddit, City-Data and StreetEasy for advice. If you can help solve their problem, they’ll see you as an honest expert and might inquire about your services. Worst case scenario? You expand your sphere of influence and sharpen your problem-solving skills. Check out this list of top web communities for ideas of where to build relationships and promote leads.
Companies like Real Geeks create turnkey lead generation sites targeted to your farm area and expertly promoted via PPC [pay-per-click] marketing to gather as many leads as possible.
For buyer leads, it builds you a simple IDX [internet data exchange]-enabled home search site that it advertises for you on Google. Leads are encouraged to exchange their contact information for listing updates. Once they’re in its system, it offers powerful CRMs with drip campaigns, automated text messaging, automated lead nurturing and more. It even offers home valuation sites that will help generate seller leads.
26. Get Referrals from Other Realtors
Bruce Ailion, Broker & Attorney, The Ailion Team
My favorite lead source is a referral from another agent. Most Realtors come upon several people a year relocating out of the area. I attend the state and national Realtor conference and my national RE/MAX conference. There, I meet a large number of the top agents in the country. Only 2 or 3 percent of agents attend these events, and they represent the most professional and productive in the industry. The other place I advertise for referrals is on the Certified Residential Specialist website. This group represents the top 2 percent of agents nationwide.
Twitter, like other social media platforms, is an easy and effective way to share valuable content with followers and convert them into clients. With more than 336 million active monthly users, the platform is a great way to get your listings in front of buyers and generate leads. Plus, it’s estimated that 80 percent of users have used Twitter to talk about a specific brand.
However, there are a few guidelines you should follow to use Twitter to generate leads and improve brand visibility. For example, Follow Up Boss shares on its blog that Realtors should consistently engage with followers, share attractive and informative content and create a content calendar to ensure you’re posting regularly. However, the blog also warns that agents shouldn’t annoy followers with constant promotional material or be too generic.
If you’re ready to embrace the power of Twitter but aren’t sure where to start, check out our list of hashtag ideas for generating leads on social media.
It may take a bit more legwork, but hiring a dedicated on-site or virtual inside sales agent (ISA) to prospect leads on commission can take your team to the next level. Generating leads is an important part of growing your real estate business, but a lead is only as good as your follow-up. If you need help choosing an ISA and aren’t sure how to vet applicants, check out The Real Estate Trainer’s guide to hiring agents to nurture your leads.
If you need general administrative help, check out our guide on hiring and working with real estate virtual assistants.
Local press coverage occurs when your business is promoted or discussed by local newspapers, radio or TV stations. If you want to do a better job of reaching potential local clients, try generating more local press coverage for your business by developing relationships with newspapers and television stations and engaging with journalists. Visit our how-to guide for more detailed information on targeting appropriate media sources and increasing exposure for your business.
There will always be leads who visit your website but never fill out your lead capture forms, call, text or email. They will, however, often have questions they want answered. Freshchat is a messaging software that lets you directly connect website visitors with targeted content and automatically uploads lead information into your CRM. As with all lead engagement, you need to respond ASAP so use the Freshchat bot, your marketing team or a virtual assistant to monitor and answer live chat queries. Try it for free.
If you have an interest in architecture or interior design, chances are you’re already a shameless Pinterest addict. Amazingly, Pinterest can also be a great place to generate leads who share your aesthetic — or wish they did. If you take the time to master Pinterest, the next time your client asks what tile would look good in a mid-century modern kitchen, you can share your beautifully curated board.
Retargeting or remarketing means showing ads to your website visitors after they leave your site. To incorporate retargeting into your lead generation strategy, include a piece of code called a pixel in your agency’s website. Even after a visitor leaves your site, the code will follow them to Facebook where they will see your ad, thus keeping your property listings top of mind. Check out this article for more information on retargeting and visit our guide to advertising on Facebook to learn how to install a retargeting pixel on your site.
If you’re looking to build authority in your farm area, getting as many neighbors as possible to your open houses should be one of your main goals. A firm handshake and a smile can work better than a decade of real estate flyers or door hangers. However, you should also promote your open house early and often by using social media, the MLS [multiple listing service], signage and in-person neighborhood outreach.
Backlinking occurs when a website links to any other link. If you want to drive more traffic to your website and generate more leads, consider partnering with other sites to maximize your online exposure through backlinks. For example, providing testimonials, starting your own blog and requesting backlinks from other real estate bloggers can go a long way toward increasing brand visibility. Check out the LinkResearchTools guide to SEO link building for more helpful insight.
Tailored landing pages are an incredibly effective tool for generating leads because they are specifically designed to encourage visitors to share their contact information. Believe it or not, small tweaks to your real estate landing pages can have a huge impact on the number of leads who sign up for your services. Provide value to potential clients by providing a home valuation, free educational content or more. Instapage’s blog has even more ideas on how to optimize your pages for maximum impact.
Check out our guide to the best Craigslist posting services for real estate if you need help choosing the best tool for your agency.
37. Target Potential Clients Strategically
Jonathan Kobler, Agent, Keller Williams Realty
Even though the direct mail channel response rates have been decreasing for years, targeting specific homes in your farm area can increase response and generate leads. If you are willing to put in the effort to research, you can target specific homeowners by length of time at residence and estimated equity.
It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive if you don’t use predictive analytics software but more effective than blindly blanketing a neighborhood and hoping something works out. It also saves money because now you are not targeting whole neighborhoods — just certain homeowners within the neighborhood that are more likely to sell.
It may seem cheesy at first, but wearing a name tag at networking events, open houses, seminars and other events where you’re likely to be seen by potential clients is a great way to generate leads. You can also increase brand exposure by opting for a branded shirt, hat or laptop case that feels more appropriate traveling, playing golf or even running errands. Then, if anyone mentions your company or asks about your listings, be prepared with a quick elevator pitch and a business card.
Relationship marketing can help you and your agents generate leads in the short term while helping your team build those relationships and stay top-of-mind with potential clients. Do this by staying highly organized, having great content like emails, blogs and phone scripts, consistently following up and using analytics to glean insights from your performance. When relationship marketing is done properly, even leads who aren’t ready to buy or sell a home now will think of you first when the time comes to relocate.
Highlighting your successes in your blog, on social media and as part of interactions with the community is an incredible way to generate leads. Not only do potential leads want to see how well you performed for previous clients, sharing success stories on social media and linking to your happy clients is a great way to grow your sphere of influence and generate more leads. Just be sure to get permission from your clients first.
Radio may be falling out of favor, but it’s estimated that 48 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners and that number is growing. Many real estate podcasts are for industry experts to expand their knowledge and keep abreast of issues facing the markets. However, you can also use a podcast to communicate with potential homebuyers and sellers. Start a podcast using our six-step guide and create content that demonstrates your local real estate knowledge, educates potential clients and grows your business.
The Bottom Line
Real estate lead generation can help your agency drive traffic to your website, maintain and grow your market and increase sales. You can generate leads for your brokerage by using lead generation platforms, engaging with your community and more. Find the right combination of lead generation tools to increase conversions and make sales.