Like a bargain property that’s been knocked down and built back up again, the real estate marketing world has been flipped on its head. Park benches and billboards have been replaced by dozens of online listing sites, social networks, digital CRMs, blogs, and countless high-cost tactics that do more to empty your budget than to bring in high-quality leads. Ugh – who needs that?
We’ve pulled together expert tips from real estate agents & digital marketers who have ‘been there done that’ when it comes to generating real estate leads online. They’ll help you find creative new ways to make your business stand out both online and in your local neighborhood.
If you’re a real estate agent or broker looking to generate more buyer and seller leads online, this article is for you!
The Pros Reveal Their Top 29 Tips for How to Generate Real Estate Leads
#1 – Build Micro-Funnel Campaigns
Realtors can easily get more buyer & seller leads by setting up simple marketing funnels. We recommend focusing on 4 key elements: (1) a well-targeted Facebook ad, (2) a landing page/ opt-in page, (3) a thank-you page, (4) a follow-up email sequence.
Then don’t miss out on Real Estate Marketing Week, where we’ll give you 5 ready-to-go lead generation campaigns that you can launch right away.
#2 – Showcase Your ‘Already Solds’
When realtors sell a home or property in a specific postal code, it’s a great idea to showcase that sold property as a way to gain awareness and collect leads who are looking to buy, rent, or sell within that same region. Simply run ads about the sold property and target them to an audience within that specific zip code. In doing so, you’re priming people to have you in mind for their next real estate transaction and to contact you when they’re ready for additional information. When this strategy was deployed for Rose Real Estate, it increased the conversion rate of people requesting informational property booklets of recently sold houses as well as requests for home value evaluations.
#3 – Choose a Lifestyle Niche and Drop a Pin on It
Set up a ‘Google My Business Page’ (Google Maps page) for the one niche that is most important to your business. Because most realtors approach niches from a geographic perspective, try to focus on other demographics that could set you apart in the market. For example, you might consider going after a particular lifestyle niche such as young professional couples, dog/ pet owners, families with kids, LGBTQ, etc. Ensure your Google reviews are from the same type of people that reflect that niche and build your website, or at least a portion of your website, on that premise.
#4 – Host Open Houses on Facebook Live Facebook Live is a powerful digital marketing tool for generating buyer and seller leads online and the Facebook algorithm favors video content (that means increased reach for you – woohoo!). “When we hold an open house on Facebook Live it is broadcasted to everyone in our local network,” shares Evan Roberts. “We receive a high number of impressions and are able to answer questions that come across our chat feed in real-time. These virtual open houses have yielded several buyer and seller leads each month.”
Pro Tip: To extend the effectiveness of the open houses, we will then take the recording and run as a week-long Facebook ad campaign targeted to within 20 miles of the open house’s location. This provides even more impressions and yields additional leads every week.
Nearly 99% of real estate ads are purely photos and written copy. So, if you’re going to stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have to do things differently and do things better. Because property investors and homeowners will inspect the house before buying it, the more transparent and thorough you can be, the better. Try inviting prospective buyers into the property from the comfort of their own home and from there, they can make a decision whether they want to inspect the property.
Employ this lead generation tip and you’re likely to find your conversion rates improve dramatically. For every 1,000 views, you might get a 1% conversion rate which equates to 10 home inspections. With a video walkthrough, you can bump that up to 2%, which would double the inspections and could result in a higher selling price for the property.
This tip comes from Stanley Tan, Digital Marketing Manager at Selby’s.
#6 – Build Your Virtual Walkthroughs into a Neighborhood-Specific Collection
Once you have a number of virtual walkthrough videos, it’s time to put them to good use and let them help you gain additional visibility online. You can easily do that by creating an entire social media account to host your neighborhood-specific home tours. For example, you could set up a YouTube channel for “Bakersfield Virtual Home Tours” to host your videos and then link out to those videos from specific landing pages.
Just make sure that wherever you host your videos online, you take the time to write keyword-rich meta descriptions so that search engines will recognize the purpose of your content and reward you with increased visibility.
Whether or not you have a website, it’s an excellent idea to set up your Facebook Business Page – not only to start sharing high-value content but also to show your audience a more transparent side of the business (and highlight why they should work with you instead of your competitors).
Try posting video testimonials and reviews whenever possible. Younger generations (particularly millennials) seek social validation, so try to capture video testimonials and reviews of your clients’ experiences to solidify your culture in social media.
It’s no secret that people love photos and videos. That’s why “I like to take videos of open houses and use hashtags like #houseforsale #losangelesrealtor #forsale causing audiences to tag friends who are looking for homes,” says Alen Kadimyan.
This tip comes from Alen Kadimyan, Broker/President/Mortgage Loan Originator at IEI Realty
#8 – Create Blog Posts with a Hyper-Local Focus
Create strong, evergreen content that is local and beneficial to newcomers. Take pictures when you are ‘out and about’ so you have a library of images to use in these blog post. This will help make the article more unique and engaging.
Try creating a specific page or article that is geared specifically towards people looking to relocate to one of the neighborhoods or territories you specialize in. For example, “Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to Louisville, Kentucky.”
Once upon a time, creating video was both expensive and time-consuming, but that’s no longer the case. You can easily record high-quality video from your phone, publish, and track views, clicks, and engagement (depending on where you post it). Leverage video content to increase your visibility, position yourself as a thought leader, and capture leads by displaying a more transparent look into your services.
#10 – Add Text Animations to Your Videos on Social Media
Try to make your listings stand out on social media by adding text animations to your social media videos. There are many free apps that allow you to add this extra layer to your content and enable you to animate text over an image and post it to your social media outlets in seconds.
“This has worked for us, and our clients, to grab the attention of users in their social media feeds and is great for open house invitations,” shares Sean Snider.
Chatbots are the newest tactic to hit the real estate market. With easy DIY builders available, any realtor can build a chatbot that saves time by pre-qualifying leads right inside Facebook Messenger. Of course, more complicated strategies might require a professional chatbot designer, but basic information and requirements can be easily gathered via a chatbot.
This strategy isn’t a means of promoting specific properties to a wide audience (because Facebook has rules about promotional activities inside messenger), but as an information collecting mechanism chatbots can work wonders.
Boost your ranking position on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) by building a content silo around the specific lifestyle or type of property you are selling. For example, you may publish a page focused on San Diego historic homes for sale and embed your IDX. Your goal is to plan out a set of 3-5 pages, optimize each for a unique (but closely related) keyword, and link between your pages in addition to encouraging others to link to you (known as backlinks).
“I did this for my own historic listing and a few months later I am now on page one of Google for San Diego historic homes for sale,” shares Joy Bender.
This tip comes from Joy Bender, Real Estate Agent a Pacific Sothebys International Realty and Luxury SoCal Realty
#13 – Create a Free Downloadable Resource (Lead Magnet)
Turn web traffic into leads by creating highly valuable free resources that your target clients would be interested in downloading in exchange for their email address. For example, you might put together a PDF report entitled “The Ultimate Guide To Buying Your First Property,” or “The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make (And How To Avoid Them).” The bottom line is that this free resource will give massive value to your target clients and address the pain points they are facing.
Use this free resource as a “lead magnet” to get the name and email address of your target clients. From there you can continue to send them more valuable tips to their email via an autoresponder (automated email). Not only does this tactic build trust and credibility, it also positions you as an authority.
From there, through your emails, you can get them to schedule an appointment with you where you can then turn them into your clients.
“This is the exact model I use in my own business to get appointments and clients. With this model, you will turn the tables around and no longer be the one chasing potential clients, but rather have them come to you and see you as the expert, wanting your help,” says Davis Lin. “And the best part is that you can easily set all these up using Leadpages and that’s why I use them for my own business. Leadpages is an extremely valuable tool for my business and I rely on it heavily to create the various landing pages for my sites.”
“I recommend starting with a piece of content about the home buying process,” says Alexandra Bohigian. “For example, a checklist of things homebuyers should be aware of before looking for a new house, or expert tips for first-time homebuyers. You can make this content yourself or hire someone else to write it — but be sure to only include a teaser on your website. This will be enough to entice the user to download the full piece of content, which will be unlocked upon them providing their contact information. Now they have a great piece of helpful content and you have a qualified lead, so it is really a win-win!
#14 – Follow Up with Your Leads (After They’ve Downloaded Your Free Offer)
After visitors have opted-in to receive that piece of content on your website or on Facebook, step 2 is setting up a video retargeting campaign. “Don’t be intimidated!” says Brannan Glessner. “Creating a video is now easier than ever. Use a company like GoAnimate or Adobe Spark to build a high quality, low-cost video to stand out on your Facebook or YouTube remarketing campaign.”
Your leads now have downloaded or read a piece of content that you’ve produced, they have seen a video ad with you in it – that’s 2 high-quality impressions and you have their contact information! Now we go in to get them to convert into a phone call or a web lead on your website. Through email marketing campaign and continued retargeting on Facebook, you should run conversion campaigns to get them to giving you a call or filling out a form to discuss selling their home.
This tip comes from Brannan Glessner, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Express Homebuyers
#15 – Begin Remarketing Your Website Visitors with Facebook Ads
Remarketing digital ads can work wonders for realtors in search of more buyer and seller leads online. Most Realtors today have a website filled with listings and content that is relevant to their business. The best tactic that I’ve seen Realtors use who are trying to generate more leads is remarketing to people who visit their website and check out specific content.
If a user is visiting your page that talks about your selling process, it’s a great opportunity to target them with messaging about homes that recently sold in their area that you played a role in selling. If a user is visiting a listing page for a condo you’re selling, remarket them with ads promoting the floor plan and ask for an email if they want access. It’s these remarketing efforts that will drive relevant and quality leads.
This tip comes from Ross Simmonds, Digital Marketing Specialist at RossSimmonds.com
#16 – Get Your Message to Truly POP with Pop Culture Infographics
Television-show-themed infographics are a great way to drive traffic and leads to your landing page. First, identify a hyper-local Facebook group (this will be the audience for your content). Then, researching trending topics (such as popular television shows, artists, musicians, or news events) and create value-add infographics geared towards these audiences, that incorporate a pop culture theme. You then post this content to the group and drive traffic and leads to your landing page.
“For example, there is Baltimore neighborhood group called, ‘The Real People of Parkville.’ To leverage this group’s audience, we posted an infographic entitled ‘If Baltimore Neighborhoods Were Game of Thrones,’ which drove thousands of visitors and resulted in several buyer and seller leads,” says Jeffrey Miller.
#17 – Focus on Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Local Market
Establish your credibility and gain awareness by being attentive to the questions potential clients have and taking a proactive approach to answering them. Always try to answer people’s questions as an expert and find ways to turn your answers into valuable content that you can quickly and easily repurpose. For example, if you notice clients have similar inquiries, capture them and turn them into blog articles and take the time to ensure every article is search engine optimized with essential keywords.
“Transforming our traditional questions and answers (FAQ) section into a series of blog articles helped us to grow our revenue by 34.7% (yes, AMAZING!),” shares Cristian Rannella.
Pro tip: Remember to add a call to action at the end of your article or in the right margin so that if the article is of interest to the user, he or she can click and be referred to your landing page or contact form to generate the lead.
This tip comes from Cristian Rannella, VP of Marketing & Cofounder of elMelhorTrato.com
#18 – Actively Gather Social Proof & Be Your Own Champion
While it may be difficult, as a realtor, your success relies on building relationships and showcasing your credibility to prospective clients. That means you need to tell people all the great things you are doing for your clients. Get a message from a client who loved working with you? Make sure you share that on your social media (with their permission, of course). Did you sell a house in record time for your area? Now talk about it with a local reporter. It’s a fine line to not be overly confident, but you need to always make sure you’re promoting yourself and sharing your success stories.
This tip comes from Garrett Smith, Founder of RepCheckup
#19 – Find Facebook Groups & Be a Source of Valuable Help & Insight
Facebook groups are filled with people looking to create and exchange information about specific topics. By providing them with quality information and an expert perspective, you’ll have a powerful way to drive traffic to your blog or website. Try joining a few groups related to your niche, then establish a reputation as a thought leader in the space (by providing expert insight and advice). Once you’ve done that and have successfully warmed up the audience, you can post a few links in the group.
Try to actively engage with members who respond to your post. When Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm sees a high level of engagement, it considers the post “highly relevant” and will show the post to more members of the group.
This tip comes from Syed Irfan Ajmal, digital marketer at SIA Enterprises.
# 20 – Launch Hyper-Targeted Facebook Ads to ‘Likely to Move’ Leads
Facebook ads offer realtors a powerful toolkit of audience targeting potential. Of course, the regular demographics/ geographics are available, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Facebook provides realtors data on actual homeowners, their income brackets, their likeliness of having credit card debt, and the price of their purchased property. So, you can tailor ads that serve them specifically. Then, the question is – after you tailor your ad targeting, how can you tailor your content?
“Our audiences would consist of targeting people in a targeted financial bracket, certain net worth, and using videos that are created to look like it’s a piece of social media native content,” shares Alen Kadimyan. “Through this strategy, we are generating leads that speak to our exact audience in their language which is video and content marketing resulting in engagement with our brand.”
This tip comes from Alen Kadimyan, Broker/President/Mortgage Loan Originator at IEI Realty
# 21 – Break the Rules to Build Your Brand
Differentiate yourself online by developing a brand that’s better and different than what’s out there. Realtors that successfully innovate (and think differently in their approach to digital marketing) are those that will break through the competition and the clutter. While the top realtors can get away with following the status quo, new realtors (and there’s lots of them) must take a risk in order to expedite their careers to an extent to which they are in-and-out of productive meetings all day instead of spinning their wheels to no avail.
Realtors must consider their local markets and the makeup of the current and incoming population. For example, what fraction of the population are buyers? What fraction of those are couples without children? How many with children? How often do they move? What percentage move to another location in your service area? How many move outside your service area? Find your largest niche and build a brand around that. Every realtor wants to serve every possible buyer or seller. It may have worked when the competition was low but if you’re starting as a realtor in a high-competition area then the wise decision is to separate yourself from the crowd by specializing in a sector. It doesn’t mean you have to only serve that sector, it simply means that you position yourself that way and increase the likelihood of owning that sector of the market someday. Once the brand is built, your entire digital presence should reflect the pain points and desired solutions for your selected sector.
Realtors often struggle to differentiate themselves in highly-competitive markets in which everyone is focusing on property specs, costs of a home. While focusing on the features of a property is important, it fails to communicate why a particular buyer/ seller should work with you and not ‘the other guy.’ Try creating a list of ‘difference makers’ and what sets you apart from other realtors you’re competing against. What’s the clear benefit of working with you? It might be: responsive service, high close rate, fast close times, better price, saving time, etc. Include your unique value proposition across every ad and promotion where you’re seeking to generate new leads. By differentiating your services, you’ll be on your way to higher engagement, higher click-through rates, and more leads to listings.
This tip comes from Terence Channon, Principal at NewLead
# 23 – Watch Your Reputation on Google Reviews
Approximately 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business and Google is the No. 1 place where consumers leave reviews, according to research by ReviewTrackers.
Real estate professionals who manage their online reviews, while working to improve and maintain their brand reputation on Google especially will have an easier time generating leads.
No longer are apps only reserved for the biggest, wealthiest, real estate agents – now it’s possible for realtors to create their own app using a code-free app. Building your own realtor app can allow you to send clients geo-targeted automated or manual push notifications to let them know about new listings nearby, price updates – anything that you want. There’s also a super nifty feature that allows you to send geo-targeted notifications to let a client know if there’s one of your properties nearby.
Push notifications have a significantly higher read rate than the average email – and are a much more powerful way of reaching your audience. Your app can also provide a simple way for clients to book appointments, store their favorite properties and access important information, all in one place.
This tip comes from Ian Naylor, CEO & Founder of AppInstitute
# 25 – Know Your Audience
Know who your audience is and speak to them. Whether you are creating and running ads, posting on Facebook, or writing blog posts, understanding your audience is the key to reaching them. One of the primary difficulties is trying to be all things to all people, and it tends to be a message that passes by everyone without notice. People want to feel like you are speaking to them specifically. By knowing who your audience is for the particular message you want to send, you can get the leads you want to capture because it will resonate with the right audience.
Create a short, high-value eBook with real estate tips for owners and renters and publish it for sale on Amazon.com. Even if you’re not a professional writer or publisher, showcasing your eBook via Amazon’s KDP Select platform is free and relatively easy. Focus on identifying a frequent question your audience has and how you can answer that question (and solve their pain point). Include links to your primary website and social media accounts. If your eBook is well written, people will download it, especially if you offer it for free, and it’s a great way to advertise your agency.
# 27 – Run Google AdWords Campaigns Directly to Your Listing Pages
To drive more ready-to-buy traffic straight to your listing pages, try running targeted Google AdWords campaigns in which the ads include the address and neighborhood of the home and link out to your listing page. This way, you’re only paying for interested shoppers to click through to your landing page. Include a click-to-call link within the landing page and count those clicks as AdWords conversions. Try targeting your Google Adwords to a specific city or zip code level when it makes sense to do so.
# 28 – Skim Traffic from the Competition with Google AdWords
Realtors, especially beginners in the industry with a small marketing budget and in a highly competitive location can get high quality leads at a very low cost by using Google Adwords to bid on their biggest competitor’s names, instead of the usual high cost per click (CPC) real estate keywords.
To deploy this strategy, try to identify the top realtors in your area who are using massive amounts of marketing (both on and offline). These should be individuals and agencies who are frequently googled online. You can take advantage of that popularity simply by bidding on his or her name as a keyword. This is a common strategy for big brands in highly competitive industries.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to do this tactic tastefully, so ensure that your ads focus on you and how you’re able to help your clients.
Facebook and Instagram both offer features that allow you to share live-streaming videos and short form videos (stories), which allow you to speak to followers in real-time and record interesting parts of your day. You could take your followers on virtual property tours, give them exclusive access to new properties and offer ‘behind the scenes’ insight.
This, in turn, will make your business look more authentic, as well as setting you apart from the competition. When it’s time for your followers to buy or sell a property, you’re more likely to be at the top of their list!