Effective lead generation for real estate is the life force behind every successful agent’s business. Generate real estate leads organically through family, friends, and networking or paid means like lead generation services, advertising, and marketing. Using various real estate lead generation strategies simultaneously ensures a steady stream of prospective new clients for your business. Learn how to generate real estate leads with these top 17 free and paid techniques to foster growth and success in your real estate business.
Free Real Estate Lead Generation Strategies
Many agents prefer cost-free and organic real estate lead generation strategies, such as networking and establishing a referral system, especially in their early careers. These approaches can effectively lay the groundwork for a lasting business. However, it’s crucial to note that they may require a significant time investment. Before fully committing, carefully evaluate all your options to ensure you choose the approach that aligns with your goals and resources.
1. Generate Referrals From Your Sphere of Influence (SOI)
Your sphere of influence (SOI) includes family, friends, colleagues, and those you know personally and professionally. This network is one of the best ways to get real estate leads since they already know and like you. The latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) member profile suggests successful lead generation for real estate agents comes from past clients and referrals (a total of 51% combined).
While building relationships doesn’t cost anything, effectively obtaining real estate referrals from your SOI requires consistent outreach. So, there is a significant time investment. Despite friends knowing you’re in real estate, regular reminders are essential. They may not recall your entire range of services or the areas you cover. They may also have other agents in their network, so you want to be top of mind when they’re considering real estate. When reaching out to your sphere for leads, remember a few essential tips:
- Be direct yet not overbearing, expressing your readiness to assist with real estate needs while keeping the conversation natural.
- Position yourself as a helpful resource, emphasizing your willingness to answer questions without obligation.
- Prioritize connections over sales, clarifying that your primary goal is maintaining relationships rather than seeing them solely as potential clients.
You can easily connect with your SOI through a text, personal email, Facebook Messenger, or an Instagram direct message. However, you need a real estate customer relationship manager (CRM) to help you stay on top of follow-up and communication. Pipedrive is an affordable CRM that provides a visual, easy-to-manage pipeline, an automated sales assistant, and communication tracking for every contact. Start using Pipedrive today.
2. Be Generous With Agent Referrals
Agent referrals involve connecting another agent with one of your leads, earning a real estate referral fee upon the successful deal closure. This strategy fosters trust with fellow agents, increasing the likelihood of reciprocal referrals. It lets you concentrate on leads within your target audience, enhancing your reputation as a reliable professional and the go-to source for your specific real estate niche or location.
To effectively grow your business through referrals, you can host client events, volunteer and participate in charities, or host workshops and seminars. You can also use a referral network, which helps develop lead generation for new real estate agents.
Here are some real estate agent referral networks to consider:
- RealEstateAgents.com: Agents can access this service for free referrals and business growth. Powered by ReferralExchange’s 15-plus years of experience, it leverages data science and optimized marketing campaigns to connect you with buyers and sellers.
- Agents Referral Network: A resource for agents who want to keep their licenses active and collect referral fees. Costs $100 a year to join.
- Referral Exchange: This service qualifies and nurtures leads, returning them to the referring agent when they are prepared to transact. If a client is relocating, agents can refer them to ReferralExchange’s extensive network of over 140,000 high-performing agents across the nation. It costs $95 a month and $3 per lead verification, plus a one-time setup fee of $995.
3. Pick Up the Phone & Call
Although texts and emails are more comfortable for most people than phone calls, talking to someone one-on-one is undeniably powerful. In fact, 57% of realtors say cold calling is the second-most effective prospecting strategy, beat only by real estate referrals. When done correctly, cold calling old acquaintances or leads who have fallen through the cracks can recreate a relationship that generates new leads and referral sources.
Real estate agents spend hours devising the perfect cold call script when contacting leads. However, when communicating with a contact for the first time, even the most seasoned agents still need help with their words or sound robotic. Before picking up the phone, practice with a real estate cold-calling script several times to gain confidence and communicate effectively.
4. Target Business-savvy Buyers & Sellers
There are over 3 million active licensed real estate agents in the U.S. Most agents focus on residential homebuyers and sellers, which means the competition is steep, no matter your location. However, there are many other types of real estate clients that agents aren’t marketing to at all. For example, agents can specialize in a niche and work with homebuilders and real estate investors. Unlike the average homeowner, investors and builders buy and sell multiple properties. While it doesn’t cost anything to reach out to these prospective clients, you could offer to buy them lunch or meet for coffee.
You will need experience and skills working with new construction or investment properties to generate investor and builder leads. Additionally, you must create a specific marketing plan to connect with this audience and demonstrate that you are the best agent for their needs. A bonus with this niche is that professionals in the investing and construction industries are well-connected with homeowners and homebuyers in their communities. They are likely to become excellent sources of real estate referrals.
Paid Lead Generation Strategies
Although free lead generation strategies are appealing, investing in this part of your real estate business is essential. When you are serious about scaling your business, using lead generation companies and paid strategies can save you time and quickly multiply your pipeline, closing more deals.
5. Subscribe to a Lead Generation Service
The best resources to buy real estate leads provide names and contact information of highly motivated buyers and sellers. You may receive leads by email, text, and phone, depending on your chosen service. They may come in batches or one at a time.
One of the best ways to generate buyer leads is to use a popular lead gen platform. These online sources use targeted communication and nurture leads toward your goal of getting clients. Some also specialize in targeting seller leads by using predictive analytics to determine when a homeowner may be ready to sell. If you need a robust system to target both lead types, consider the following lead generation real estate sources:
Real estate professionals looking for exclusive buyer and seller leads
Agents who want an all-in-one lead gen and marketing platform
Real estate agents and brokers with multiple location niches
Professionals wanting to target listing leads before the competition
Monthly Starting Price
Free; pricing is based on selected ZIP code (around $20 to $60 per lead)
6. Farm Your Neighborhood With Direct Mail
Farming to generate leads for real estate means you’ve focused your efforts on a particular area or neighborhood. Direct mail is an effective strategy for acquiring real estate clients in your farm area. It allows you to reach people in a specific geographical location, and many brokerages offer free postcards or branded print templates.
Real estate farming postcards can feature new listings, market updates, or engaging content like recipes or inspirational quotes. Focusing on a specific area through targeted marketing and community involvement increases your name recognition, making it more likely for someone to contact you for real estate needs.
The most efficient way to start generating real estate leads from direct mail is by using a resource made for agents like ProspectsPLUS!. ProspectsPLUS! offers thousands of premade real estate templates for various print products, like postcards, door hangers, newsletters, and brochures. You can create a custom campaign with just a few clicks. If you want to outsource the process, you can even use Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) to have your prints mailed and delivered.
7. Advertise on Search Engines & Social Media
Search engines and social media generate both organic and paid leads. While organic real estate marketing is effective, paid advertising is another great way to supplement your organic strategy or speed up your results, and you should use both. To get the most out of your online advertising strategies, use them within a comprehensive real estate marketing plan. Ads alone can generate leads for real estate, but they will be significantly more impactful when combined with other marketing and lead-nurturing strategies.
A few of the best opportunities to generate leads with real estate advertising include:
- Facebook and Instagram advertising: Facebook and Instagram ads offer precise targeting based on geography and interests. Get a step-by-step guide to creating real estate Facebook ads.
- Search engine advertising: Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising target keywords and feature your listings at the top and bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). Learn how to use Google ads to generate leads.
- Google Business Profile: When you create a business listing using the free Google Business Profile, your information, such as your name, phone number, and link to your website, will populate the entire right sidebar of the screen.
- Local community pages: These are dedicated landing pages that can be linked with Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds and display homes for sale in a specific target market. This makes them a great tool to include in your listing marketing plan.
8. Host an Open House
Anyone who walks through the door at an open house is a potential lead, making it a rare opportunity for you to meet potential leads in person. You’ll meet buyers who are actively looking to purchase and neighbors who are contemplating selling. This makes open houses one of the most potent low-cost real estate lead generation strategies.
However, generating leads from real estate open houses requires you to do more than leave a sign-in sheet and a pen by the door. There are many ways to connect more effectively with open house visitors and generate high-quality leads from these events. For example,
- Use an open house checklist to set your event up for success.
- Optimize open house lead generation by engaging with all visitors upon entry, offering various ways to collect contact information, and implementing a follow-up email plan.
- Provide printed materials containing property details, market information, and your contact info.
- Consider using a QR code for easy access to your contact information on the materials.
9. Build Targeted Landing Pages
Real estate landing pages enable agents to attract leads by offering niche-specific content in exchange for contact details. These pages use a lead capture or hook, like a home valuation report or listing pages, and cater to potential sellers and buyers. Creating a unique landing page allows agents to market specific offerings.
Create a straightforward landing page with a targeted heading, contact form, and call to action using real estate design services like Placester. With over 35 customizable templates and a code-free approach, Placester simplifies the process. It offers a marketplace for outsourcing marketing tasks, enhancing efficiency. Designed for content marketing, Placester provides search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly tools and unlimited landing pages.
10. Send Targeted Email & Text Messages
Like direct mail, email and text messages, or SMS marketing, they can be sent to niche audiences and leads, which helps you nurture leads more effectively. In 2022, approximately 60% of global marketers reported that their email marketing campaigns achieved an open rate exceeding 20%. It’s ideal to combine every method of communication when generating and nurturing leads, but text and email are compelling for connecting individually with future clients.
Here are a few ways you can use email and text messages to connect and convert leads:
The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits you from sending unsolicited messages to anyone. Instead, your leads must sign up, and you must be permitted to send notifications—that is why using various strategies in lead generation for real estate is so important. Once you have permission to contact leads by text or email, you have a few opportunities to nurture them and build a connection.
11. Provide a Resource Through Experiential Marketing
When you host an event and offer an experience, you position yourself as an expert and place yourself in front of potential clients. This is also known as experiential or engagement marketing. Experiential marketing allows potential clients to meet you in person and get to know you in a pressure-free environment.
Try hosting a tour of the area where you sell or an educational event at one of your listings, or participate in a panel discussion. You could also host a “neighbors-only” open house once you list a new property or an invitation-only open house. With this strategy, you increase the odds of being hired or recommended because you give potential leads a chance to get to know you in person and feel comfortable. Follow up immediately to thank them for coming.
12. Host a Live Webinar
As an alternative to an in-person event, consider creating a real estate webinar to attract targeted types of leads. A webinar is a two-way online seminar where you present material, just like you would at an in-person event, and attendees can engage with you to ask questions or provide discussion. It is also possible to record the webinar and provide it as an evergreen resource to other leads.