The real estate market moves fast and your lead generation needs to keep up. Check out some of these innovative lead gen ideas for 2023.
The real estate market is always changing, which means that lead generation methods need to change just as quickly. With a full arsenal of tried-and-true real estate lead generation techniques, your client relationships will rise and improve (even in the slow off-season).
As web experts that work exclusively with real estate professionals, we at AgentFire have years of insight into which digital and non-digital lead generation strategies truly work. This time, we’re taking a break from the overwhelming social media route and taking a deeper look into lead generation strategies off the beaten path.
1. Network In and Out of Real Estate Circles
Networking can be as small as a gathering with friends and acquaintances or as large as a real estate conference. The important thing is to have your real estate agent hat on, with business cards and a short elevator pitch ready. You should be able to explain in a few words what area you serve, what makes you different from other agents, and why connecting with you is mutually beneficial.
Here are a few places you’ll want to frequent (or people you should contact) if you’re looking for buy or sell-ready leads:
Home Repair and Landscaping:
Where there’s a real estate agent, there’s a repair person of some sort. Whether a prospective client is buying or selling a home, they’ll more than likely have someone to make minor retouches or inspect the house at least. Home repair employees are essential in preparing home to be sold and may be able to contact you with those who are actively looking for a new property. In addition, they are likely in search of new clients and would be very thankful if you referred them to yours.
Insurance Companies and Commercial Lenders:
Like repair people, these relationships are very mutually beneficial. Every home buyer and seller has been in contact with an insurance company and possibly with a lender. Professionals in this area may not be able to refer you to their clients outright, but they have rare insight into the real estate industry and may be able to advise you on smart moves to make. They will value your referrals and enjoy build strong, long-term relationships that draw in quality leads for them effortlessly.
Staging experts can make the difference between getting your client’s home off the market in a matter of weeks vs months. They understand the real estate market, how to please clients, and keep up with current trends. If a stager does a great job on one of your client’s homes, you’re likely to stay in contact with them for your next project. As they get to know you, they will also feel comfortable referring you to people they’ve worked with or industry acquaintances. Plus, the more business you do with them, the more likely it is that you will receive a discount on their services.
Your hyperlocal area is where many of the most promising leads are. The people who frequent local businesses either live nearby or those simply enjoy being there, even if they don’t live in the area. Both groups are likely to be looking for a home in the area. Leave your cards close to the cashier or post one on the bulletin board. Those entering the business just might note down your number. Take it a step further by befriending the business owners. They are likely to be connected to a ton of other locals and will seize the opportunity to get more local exposure. For example, offer cookies from your local bakery at your next open house. Make it clear either with signage or conversation that the goods were sourced from said local bakery. When given the opportunity, that business will find ways to promote your services as well.
Family and Friends:
No other group will promote you as unabashedly as your loved ones. They know your character and want to see you thrive in your field. Let everyone close to you know that you are a real estate agent and that you have a successful track record. When a conversation about real estate comes up at their gym, mall, church, etc…you’ll be top of mind.
2. Keep Real Estate Websites Relevant and Fresh
In today’s age, your real estate website is the first point of contact for most new clients. Before reaching out to you directly, most clients will look you up online to see what you can deliver. Your website should reflect a professional, yet personable image that quickly communicates your mission and skill. Social proof, SEO content, inspiring CTAs, and a killer CRM are especially important.
AgentFire websites are built with each step of the lead-generation process in mind. Let’s look at a hypothetical client journey through one of our websites. Smith Real Estate is a leading real estate team serving Western Montana.
Our clients have the option of writing their own blogs or working with our Blog Assist Add-on to receive professionally written, SEO, customizable blogs every week, straight to the backend of their website.
Next, customizable CTAs appear on the home page to instantly collect visitor info. In exchange for a prospective client’s information, they receive a comprehensive home guide that will help them along their buyer journey and encourage them to work with the Smith Real Estate team.
Real client testimonials give prospects an idea of what they can expect when working with their new realtor.
Learn more about our web stacks and add ons here.
3. Give Traditional Media a Try
We’re used to skimming through ads websites and social media networks. A traditional poster or bus stop ad is nostalgic, and when done right, can quickly build popularity in your hyperlocal area. A little humour and eye-catching visuals can go a long way. Just make sure that your contact information and company mission are clear.
4. Seek Out FSBO Listings
Did you know that only 3% of ‘for-sale-by-owner’ listings sell in the expected time and only 18% sell for the desired price? Selling your own home is an exhausting process that many homeowners underestimate. Everything from paperwork to client expectations and showing homes, is new to them. Selling a home is a full-time job meant for a real estate agent.
Craigslist and other online marketplaces are easy forums to find FSBO listings that could use a little extra help. Reach out with a brief idea of what only you can deliver and links to your contact information and website. When they take a look at your positive track record and depth of knowledge, they’ll be motivated to make the switch. Emphasize how much stress you’ll be taking away from them and the opportunity to sell for higher (meaning that your commission costs are well-covered).
5. Reach Out to Past Clients for Referrals
This tip is an oldie, but a goodie. No one can provide a better and more accurate review of your work than someone who has had a great experience working with you. In fact, 40% of buyer clients were referred to their agent by someone else.
Unfortunately, most people are busy with their lives, work, etc. and doing a favor for their past real estate agents isn’t exactly at the top of the to-do list. Most clients will need a little push to give out that referral. Staying top of mind and providing incentives are key.
A great example of this is pop-by gifts. Stopping by once in a while to deliver a holiday card and treat, puts you at the forefront of your client’s mind. The gift is a reflection of your good character and attentiveness, plus it gives the receiver that extra bit of motivation to complete your requests.
Check-in emails are a more frequent and less imposing way of requesting referrals. For example, send out a newsletter featuring your newest blog about waste-free home decorating for the holidays. In the footer and in CTAs throughout the article, provide buttons that say “click here to share this article” or “click here to share my info with someone you know”.
6. Contribute to Client-Facing Publications
Introducing yourself as a source of powerful information is an automatic way to gain client trust and interest. Real estate agents that write columns or opeds for real estate and lifestyle publications gain quick access to people who are already on the path to buying or selling their homes.
Consider what unique perspective you can contribute to a much-discussed topic in the real estate industry right now. Are prices in your hyperlocal area skyrocketing or plummeting? Provide your insight as to why and how customers can make large market changes to work in their favor. Are holiday lights irritating the population of light sleepers? As a home expert, you may have some useful tips on how to work through pet peeves. If you have opinions, you have a unique perspective to offer.
7. Work Expired Listings
If you’re up for a little challenge, expired listings are an area worth exploring. These listings are easily found on MLS. The trick is that the longer you wait, the more likely it is that another agent may reach out first. However, if you can approach the client with outstanding service and sensitivity to their unique situation, you might be the agent who gets the job.
Home sellers with expired listings are likely frustrated with their previous realtor, tired of the process, and disappointed that they haven’t been able to successfully sell their largest financial investment. Reach out by acknowledging the frustration of their situation and offering to take a closer look to find a unique solution that is right for them.
Don’t forget about sellers that went dark over a year ago without re-listing their property. These sellers may have been too discouraged to sell at the time, but can be renewed with the right pitch from you.
8. Scale Real Estate Lead Generation with a Great CRM
As you start to bring more leads into your pipeline, few of them will become buyers or sellers if they are left alone. It takes consistent follow-up and top-notch organization to turn a low-interest lead into a buyer.
Your CRM should organize contact information into categories that indicate where they are in the buying/selling process and when/how to reach out to them. Follow Up Boss, for example, allows real estate agents to reach out via email, phone calls, and more, plus it reminds them when it is time to do so. Anyone on your team with access to your Follow Up Boss account can see where you left off with a client and pick up the task.
9. Divorce Leads
Divorce may sound grim, but there’s no harm in finding the positive in a negative situation. It’s a long, gruelling, and emotional process that requires a multitude of outside professionals to step in. There’s no difference when it comes to selling a home.
Recently divorced clients are often desperate to get their homes sold quickly and with as little trouble as possible. Approach these clients with sensitivity and care while staying alert to potential and viable buyers and ready to make a deal.
10. Reuse Positive Testimonials
Reusing testimonials is especially important for agents that are new to the game and are focused on increasing the number and speed at which they are generating real estate leads. Just because your client left a single review on Google, doesn’t mean that you can only refer new potential clients to that page. Repost reviews on other social media platforms and reuse them in different forms of content. A single written review can be the backbone for an Instagram carousel or the opening image in a Facebook video where you expand on how you were able to achieve the results your clients are so excited about.
Additionally, if a review is from a few months or years ago, many of your new potential leads may not have seen it. Bring it to their attention in the footer of your email or social media post.
11. Offer Free Consultations or Home Valuations to Prospects
Free services can seem a bit gimmicky and may drain your energy if you continue for too long. However, a brief period of time in which you offer unconventionally free services to give prospects a peek into who you are and why they should sell their home (with you), will not only rope them in, but encourage them to tell their friends and family about you. Everyone loves a great deal and word spreads fast. Keep this freebie to one month or less in order to preserve your energy and continue to offer competitive, quality service to your current, loyal clients.
12. Redirect Your Focus to Investors
Repeat business is a lead-generating lifeline in the real estate business. Real estate investors are constantly on the hunt for the best next big purchase. Unlike homeowners who sell their home every 15 years on average, investors may purchase property annually or every couple of years.
The catch is that investors are known for low-balling and many agents are not willing to put in the effort to negotiate on such tight terms. However, once an investor finds an agent that they love, that agent is likely to score several properties from that single client.
Connect with investors by searching up cash sales on MLS or seek them out in social media groups.
13. Get a Grip on SEO
Any creator of online content should at least have base-level knowledge of SEO (search engine optimized) content and how it works. Keywords, ranking, and correct formatting can make the difference between a searchable article and one that goes unindexed and unfound. From your real estate website landing pages to blogs and social media posts, SEO spans all online content.
It’s simple to learn about SEO with these resources. As an agent, it’s not your job to be a content-writing expert. However, being able to recognize when a piece of your content is ready to go out or needs a bit of editing will save you loads of time and cash in the long run.
14. Use Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is a type of lead generation software that helps agents find the next big real estate market to focus on. The data collected from prospective analytics gives context and allows agents to target quality leads with high chances of conversions.
It works by using AI to sort through countless data points from across the internet and your local MLS to determine who in your hyperlocal area is most likely to sell.
Smartzip is currently one of the leading providers of prospective analytic data.
15. Cold Calling
The road less travelled could be the right route for you. While most agents are turning to social media for lead generation and marketing, cold-calling prospects can help you stand out and connect with clients who are not on social media. If your clientele includes senior clients are people who live in rural areas, social media is one of the least effective ways to get in contact with them.
It is suggested to prepare a natural-sounding cold-calling script in order to hit the most important points early on in the conversation and keep clients on the phone. Don’t be discouraged if you’re unable to get in contact with loads of clients initially or if you deal with a few (or many) hang-ups. Cold calling can be a hit or miss and it may take time to develop the perfect script.
If possible, leave a message and follow up with another call or another method of contact such as email.
16. Stick Around During the Holidays
Many agents take advantage of the winter and summer holidays to skip town and enjoy the festivities. If you stick around, you can be one of the few resources left in town for those searching for or selling a property.
The holidays are a unique and rare time to broaden your pool of clientele with those who may not have contacted you otherwise. Just make sure to integrate those contacts in your CRM and have a plan in place for long-term follow-up.
17. Contact Airbnb Hosts
Airbnb property owners are usually looking for their next best investment or selling their current short-term rental property. Many people have made Airbnb their full-time job and the group continues to grow. This client is looking for an agent that can understand what they’re looking for in a property that can expect to see lots of traffic.
There are tons of useful resources out there (including local legal information) about the Airbnb market that would be useful for you to review. This way, you can approach this group of evolving buyers with the knowledge required to be ready to work.
Lead generation is about consistency: consistency in your chosen strategy, consistently looking for new innovative ways to connect with clients, maintaining consistent communication, and consistently pushing to expand your real estate business – regardless of what is being said about the market.
There is no shortage of innovative and useful lead-generation tricks available to today’s real estate agents. When business is slow, you’ll be ready to get to work and put these strategies in place!
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