How do you select the best lead generation strategy for your real estate business?
There are many options available to real estate agents and many to choose from. New agents or even those that have been in business for a few years may have a tough time choosing the right strategies that work for them.
Generating good leads is vital to a real estate agent’s success. This article will help you identify the techniques that will work best for you.
Diversification Is Key to Productive Lead Generation for Real Estate Agents
As is the case with a financial portfolio, diversification mitigates risk. You want to mix it all up; blue chips, municipal bonds, growth stocks, etc. will give you the right returns and the returns are even better if you optimize your portfolio over time.
The same strategy applies to lead generation. Diversify your portfolio by using a variety of techniques, evaluate each method, and then optimize the portfolio over time.
Let us review some options:
Lead Generation Techniques
- Paid Lead Generation
- Opportunistic Print Marketing
- Social Media & Social Networking
- IDX Enabled Personal Website
- Content Marketing (aka. “Content is King”)
- Email Marketing/Newsletters
- Event Calendar
- Lead Measurement, Optimization, and Strategic Planning
There are lots of strategies out there and it ca take deep pockets to implement all of them. How should you prioritize the options?
Can we agree on something?
The key to choosing the right strategies is to educate yourself on each one of the methods, then decide which combination is optimal for you. It’s also important to determine which of these strategies will help you to build a sustainable “BRAND.”
Think – Building your brand take time, effort, resilience, and lots of sweat and hard work.
Brand = Time + Effort + Resilience (Impeded by Frustration) Catalyzed by (Trial & Error) Success
Determine – What is your budget? Is it a few dollars, hundreds of dollars, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars? In each case, your strategy and time horizon are going to be different.
Q&A – Do you think lead generation has become easier in this tech savvy world?
No! It has actually become a lot more complicated. A few years ago, you could send postcards, knock on doors, do some social service, and be the favorite neighborhood residential expert and generate a lot of leads. A lot has changed and will keep changing every month, every year, and every decade.
So, what to do? Let’s analyze briefly each lead generating strategy and then determine which one is optimal for you.
All the three websites are aggregators of MLS data and use this data to provide home value estimates and property details. Most sellers and buyers use these sites as a starting point to gather information.
Zillow has created its algorithms to determine the Zestimate of a house. The Zestimate® home value is Zillow’s estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes nationwide. The Zillow site has millions of visitors daily looking up their home values.
All three websites have significant name brand recognition and appear extensively on Google and Bing searches.
As a real estate agent, if you subscribe to the premier agent feature on any of the websites we’re outlining in this article, you will be purchasing semi-exclusive impressions for a Zip Code.
If you don’t mind spending a few thousand dollars a year on advertising, these platforms are very useful. Just remember that you do have to shelve out a lot of money to gain the semi-exclusive privilege to a Zip Code.
You also must be quick to respond if you get a lead from these systems. Since the leads are sent to 3-4 agents in the same zip code, the one who has the quickest response and has the most convincing elevator pitch stands to gain.
What are AdWords, Bing Ads, or PPC?
These are advertising services offered by search providers like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and their partner networks. Businesses set up a daily budget for search expressions for which they want their advertisements to be displayed. “PPC” stands for “pay per click and companies only pay for the ads when someone clicks.
AdWords on Google or Bing give you a viable channel to advertise. It’s a very niche area of advertising and is best left to specialists. It takes a lot of time and effort to master AdWords. If you’re relatively new to the business, we suggest that you tread carefully before trying to invest in AdWords. Having a lot of experience with AdWords, we can say that if you want to invest in this channel, then become knowledgeable about it.
You can read about the pros and cons of AdWords by reading 10 Reasons to Use Google AdWords in Your Real Estate Advertising and 6 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make When Using AdWords
Opportunistic Print Marketing
Most successful real estate agents rely on print marketing to bolster their brand, maintain visibility with their prospects, and advertise listings and successful sales.
Your print marketing portfolio can be expansive and diverse. That does not mean it should be expensive.
A basic print marketing portfolio has your business cards, presentation folders with stuffers, and promotional material introducing your products and services.
An excellent print marketing portfolio has touchpoints. It has Door Hangers, Quick Cards, Postcard mailing, and EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) as well as niche local print advertising. Throw in some clever marketing and your print marketing lead generation strategy becomes not only inexpensive but very useful as well. Can a print strategy be accomplished in a day? Certainly, not. It takes time, but the return is extensive. Click here to start now by choosing your real estate company and following the easy step by step process.
IDX Enabled Websites What is IDX? And what is MLS
Internet Data Exchange is a set of standards that determines how real estate listings are displayed on the internet.
MLS – Is a listing of homes for sale. There are several MLS databases based on region and locale that provide the data of homes for sale.
IDX provides data for all the homes for sale in an MLS. You can thus create your website and provide a search feature where your prospects find homes for a particular region which your MLS represents.
IDX gives MLS Participants the ability to authorize the limited electronic display of their listings by other Participants. Under IDX, brokers exchange consent for posting each other’s listings on members’ websites and applications for mobile devices that participants control. Click here to read more about Internet Data Exchange.
IDX is necessary for all Real Estate Websites, and the cost varies from about $20 to $30 for a single agent who wants to enable IDX on their website.
An IDX enabled website is a necessity for every real estate agent. In today’s digital world, most of the users begin with an online search, so if you don’t have IDX enabled on your website, your prospects are unlikely to go beyond your home page. With that said, IDX is a necessity. However, the meat and potatoes that’s likely to hook a prospect is the content and branding on your website.
Content is King
Content marketing is indeed the King. The most important search engine, Google, followed by Bing and Yahoo, have invested billions of dollars’ in triaging content to determine relevance and propriety. The goal of these search engines is to publish content that is genuine, extremely relevant for search criteria, and is likely to be the choice for users who are searching for that content.
Whatever you publish on your website should reflect your superior knowledge in real estate. With that said, it’s important to ensure that your site content clearly illustrates your knowledge of your locale and establishes you as the “go-to” Subject Matter Expert.
If you can achieve that, you will have won the search engine wars. SureFactor.com is building one such platform that will help you create a website that allows you to add appropriate content to your site along with several social and digital capabilities as part of our “Success 360” program.
Do they work? They do… and they don’t. If you’re sending a newsletter or creating an email program, do some serious introspection to determine if it will work for you.
Email marketing for real estate only works if you provide your customer base (people who have purchased or sold through you or have subscribed to your newsletter) enticing information and curated content about your neighborhood.
This information can include market trends, and information on properties that have been listed or sold in your area. A list of important events and important activities in the town calendar can also add value to your clients. Links to your blog posts or informational articles that you’ve recently published are also a good idea.
These emails should be purely informational and should project you as the residential subject matter expert for that locale/zip code.
Keep in mind that people receive a large volume of email, so to make your email marketing successful, you have to prove to your clients that your email is worth opening and reading. If you aren’t adding value, you can end up wasting a lot of time on a campaign that no one will open. Make sure that you’re committed to adding value to your readers.
There are a lot of email and newsletter providers that let you send emails to up to about 2000 contacts for free which is more than adequate for you to meet your email campaign needs.
Have you successfully used email marketing to generate leads? Let us know what worked for you in the comments.
Event Calendar and Volunteering
Create an event calendar. Focus on local events and other opportunities that allow you to network and prospect. An event calendar can include important days, like new year day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. Your calendar can include seasonal events like fall and winter but most importantly it should focus on the main events taking place in your town.
It’s likely that you’re focusing on one or two towns. The most successful real estate agents establish their farm in one town or one Zip code.
Building your brand in your community is critical. Volunteering for town events and attending key town events gives you an opportunity to network with the key town officials as well as your townsmen. Make sure to attend one or two such events each month and hand out your business cards. Integrate your event calendar with the town’s event calendar.
Localization works. Prove you’re the neighborhood expert, demonstrate that you know the community like your backyard, and use every opportunity to prospect in your community.
Referrals take a lot of time to build. Make sure to cultivate your referrals. You do this by maintaining positive relationships with your customers who have brought and sold through you and can recommend your services to potential prospects. They may know of candidates who are looking to buy or sell homes. Make sure you remain in touch with them at least 2-3 times a year.
Lead measurement, cost, & optimization
Whatever channels you use, make sure you have the means to track where your leads are coming from, how many of those leads have been generated per channel, and what is the cost per lead. The cost of leads is easy to calculate if you’re using paid channels but also try to quantify non-paid channels like networking or the hours spent on activities like blogging.
Successful lead generation does not happen in a few months; it takes a considerable amount of time using an omni-channel approach. Networking, social marketing, blogging, building a web presence, PPC, opportunistic print marketing, direct marketing, or advertising are some of the many channels available.
When you’re new to the business, it’s likely that you’ll be using only a few of these channels, but as your business grows, you might begin using several or even all of these channels. Document and measure which channels are most effective. Retain the channels that work and discard the ones that don’t. Keep adopting new channels and testing them out.
These are just some of the many lead generation strategies available to real estate agents when growing your real estate business. What strategies do you employ? What works for you and what have you found to be a less profitable use of your time? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.