Before discussing how to get real estate leads online, let’s first understand the basics. Generally, real estate leads can be categorized into two parts: Buyer Leads & Seller Leads.
Buyer Leads means leads who're prospective real estate buyers. Whereas Seller Leads means leads who're propective real estate sellers. Getting buyer leads is generally considered more challenging in the real estate industry. Therefore, I would focus on the same in this post.
I started my career in a real estate company (as an Internal Auditor). During that stint, I learned about the various digital marketing tricks that I'm going to share here.
So, without wasting time, let’s dive in.
HOW TO FIND REAL ESTATE LEADS ONLINE - FOR NEW AGENTS
1. Outsource To An Online Lead Researcher
Want high-quality leads FAST? Then hire an online lead researcher.
An online lead researcher is a professional who can serve you with high-quality leads in no time. These researchers have immense experience in the lead generation industry & they know how to deliver. For a beginner like you, its better to take help from a professional rather than wasting time & money with trial & error online campaigns.
Let's admit it: online lead generation isn't easy. It's an art & therefore requires practice & patience before you see result. So, if you're in a hurry, take help from lead generation experts. Simultaneously, you can learn the art yourself. Makes sense?
Online lead researchers use their experience & network to mine targeted leads. Then, they check the quality of those leads against various parameters. After those checks, they pass on the leads data to you.
So, on your side, you don't need to vet the leads data. You know they're fresh, relevant & valuable. Go on & pitch your portfolio to them. It's that simple.
To sum up, following are the advantages of dealing with an online lead researcher:
- Read-made & high-quality leads
- Vetted & tested leads
- Assured return (rarely you'll find an online lead researcher not delivering)
- An extension to your own marketing efforts
- No trial & error marketing cost
- Consistent lead flow
- Fast & productive
If you decide to go with an online researcher, I would like you to recommend Task Drive. They're one of the best lead generators & trusted by companies like Optinmonster, Single Grain, MaxCDN, etc.
On signing up with Task Drive, you'll be assigned a dedicated lead researcher who'll be responsible for your project. Yes, you can ask for more than one researcher for your project. What's more? You can also change your dedicated lead researcher if you're not satisfied with your results.
No, you don't need to enter into a long-term contract. Task Drive's pricing is based on weeks, rather than months or years. So, the best thing would be to sign up for their weekly plan & see if meet your needs.
Note: Lead researchers do provide good quality leads but do not guarantee conversion. The responsibility of converting leads into customers is on you.
2. Lead Magnet + Landing Page + Email Autoresponders + Facebook Ads
Facebook is one of the best ways to generate real estate leads online. (Albeit, a paid one.)
Because of the low lead cost offered by Facebook ads (as compared to Google AdWords & other native ads). In fact, Austin Wilson ran an experiment & got leads from Facebook ads for as low as $7.
But, simply using Facebook ads won’t work that effectively (since every other real estate agent is doing the same). Also, the age of direct marketing is long gone. You can’t just go & run a direct facebook marketing campaign for one of your real estate properties & expect buyers to show up.
Instead, offer a lead magnet to your prospects in exchange for their email. Then, target the leads with a series of emails where you can pitch your real estate portfolios.
Example: If you want leads from San Francisco then run a Facebook ad offering a free e-book (lead magnet) titled “10 Things To Look For In Your Next San Francisco Property”. So, the people who click on your ad will be directed to a landing page where they can download the free e-book by submitting their email addresses. Once they submit their emails, they'll become your leads!. Now, you can target & re-target them by sending timely & automated emails.
The whole process can be broken into the following steps:
Step 1) Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you offer to your target audience in exchange for their contact information like email address. It can be in various forms like e-book, report, template, checklist etc.
Ideally, a lead magnet should:
- Be immensely valuable (solve a big problem of your target audience)
- Arouse curiousity
- Contain an idea that can immediately be implemented
- Be aligned with your final product or objective
- In a format that's suited to your target audience
- Should contain a call-to-action link or button (like "Schedule a free consultation", "Call me at 98XXXX", "Get in touch", "Book an appointment")
To come up with the right lead magnet, think about the pain-point of your audience. How can you solve that pain-point? Can you make a valuable resource to solve that pain-point? Can that resource be aligned with your final offer or product? If yes, then that's your lead magnet.
Example 1: You can offer a FREE report titled "The Secret Method I Used To Double My House Valuation"
Example 2: You can offer an eBook titled "Top 10 Mistakes New Home Buyers Make & How To Avoid Them"
Example 3: You can offer a checklist "The Exact Checklist I Use To Buy Million Dollars Real Estate Every Week"
I use Beacon.ly to create lead magnets & would recommend the same to you. It works best for lead magnets like templates, checklists, ebooks, etc. Alternatively, you can also use simpler tools like Microsoft Word or Excel.
If you find this step overwhelming, you can use outsource the lead magnet creation part to a freelancer on Fiverr.
Step 2) Set up a landing page
A landing page is an online page where you host your lead magnet. Yes, to pitch your lead magnet, you need a dedicated page with lead magnet title, benefits, form, testimonials, contact number, etc.
Here's an example of a real estate landing page:
Don't worry, you can create a landing page within a few minutes by using a tool like Lead Pages. They offer a robust solution to build conversion-optimized landing pages like a pro. They also offer a plenty of ready-made templates.
Here's how to create a landing page on Lead Pages:
The best part? You can use your own custom domain name with Lead Pages. Example: https://www.your-realestate-agency.com
Make sure that you upload your lead magnet to Lead Pages. So, if your target lead enters her email address & clicks on "Submit" or "Download", she'll automatically be redirected to the lead magnet.
Following are the features of a winning landing page:
- Catchy title & sub-title
- Download form box
- Benefits (preferably in bullet points)
- Contact information
- Count-down timer
- An image of your lead magnet (like ebook cover)
Still, if you find creating landing page not your cup of tea, then outsource the same to freelancers on Fiverr.
Step 3) Set up an automated email campaign
So, what after a lead signed up for your lead magnet on your landing page? Good question. Your job isn't done yet.
You should connect an email marketing app like GetResponse with Lead Pages & pull all leads from there. Why? To nuture those leads.
Having lead is not same as having customers. Yes, you need to nurture the leads & convert them into real clients.
Email marketing is a huge industry in itself. Marketers use emails to convert a lead into a sale or customer. And, real estate is no different. Email marketing is a tool used by top real estate agents to nurture & convert leads into deals.
Email marketing can be categorized into two parts: Autoresponders & broadcast.
Autoresponsder emails are a series of automated emails you send to a new lead over a period of time (7 emails in 7 days). On the other hand, broadcast emails are the emails you send occasionally to your leads (like newsletter). Makes sense?
In Autoresponders emails, the objective is to build rapport & credibility. When the lead is new, your aim should be to introduce yourself, invoke response from the lead & help the lead with valuable information. At this stage, you shouldn't be pitching your portfolio, instead focus to giving valuable information related to real estate industry. You should pitch your offers only via broadcasts email. Why? Because by the time a lead gets a broadcast email, she is already nurtered, she knows you well & is ready to trust you.
Example: You can set up the following autoresponder emails for new leads:
Day 1: Welcome email - Your story, background, etc. Also, ask the leads to reply with their story. The idea here is to break the ice & build rapport quickly.
Day 2: Talk about your credibility - Number of clients, projects, past success. Here your aim is to show your leads that you're qualified & know a thing or two about the real estate industry.
Day 3: Share a valuable information - May be a case study or a client success story
Day 4: Share a valuable information - May be a startling statistics or fact about real estate industry
Day 5: Share a valuable information - A how-to guide or blog post or video
Day 6: Reveal for social media profiles - Ask them to connect you on LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube
Day 7: Offer A FREE consultation session - Preferably add an urgency element to it like limited-time offer.
Here's how to set up autoresponder emails in GetResponse (It's easy peasy):
Remember, the crux of nurturing relationship with email is helping your leads & providing value. That way you won't project yourself as a typical salesy real estate agent. Instead, your leads will consider you a real estate expert whom they trust. And, as they say, there's no sales without trust.
In broadcast emails, your strategy should again be to provide value & then pitch your portfolio at the bottom of your emails. Make sure you include your contact information like phone numbers, address in those broadcast emails.
If you think you aren't good at writing your own email sequence, you can always hire copywriters on Fiverr.
Emails are one of the greatest assets that a real estate marketer or agent can have. So, use them judiciously.
Step 4) Set up & run a Facebook ad
OK. By now, you've all ingredients ready - a lead magnet, a landing page, an autoresponder sequence. What's missing? People!
Nothing works until & unless people visit your landing page. Isn't it?
There're numerous ways to drive traffic to your landing page. The fastest among all is - Facebook ads.
Facebook ads has changed the face of the online advertising with its ultra-targeted & effective ads. Using Facebook ads, you can laser target people who're specifically interested in your portfolio.
Example: Let's say you want to target young male buyers looking for a new home in San Francisco area. For that, in Facebook ads, you can choose demographics as USA > Sans Fransico, gender > male, age 25 to 35, interest > real estate > behaviour > Looking for a new house.
In Facebook ads, following are the most crucial elements for success:
- Curiosity-driven images, video & title
- Laser targeting
- Type of bidding (manual or automated)
- An effective landing page
Here's a video that explains how to set up Facebook ads:
After you start running an ad on Facebook, make sure you're keeping an eye on important metrics like CTR(click through rate) & conversion rate. If required, you should test out different creatives, headlines & landing pages to see what works the best. Ultimately, your aim should be to reduce the cost per lead.
Most newbies make a mistake of stopping a Facebook campaign if they don't see immediate result. Remember, Facebook needs time to understand the kind of audience reacting to your ads & show your ads to only audience with similar characteristics. Also, its about measuring, testing & optimization.
The targeting part is very crucial in a Facebook campaign. So, make sure you get it right.
Also, to avoid loss, do not invest more than $ 50 a day. As you start seeing results, you can always scale up your budget.
So, to sum up here's how this lead generation strategy works:
From your point of view:
✔ Create a lead magnet > Host the lead magnet to a landing page > Funnel leads from the landing page to an email marketing app > Drive traffic to landing page using Facebook ads
From a lead's point of view:
✔ Clicked on your Facebook ad > Submitted email address on landing page & downloaded the lead magnet > Receives email autoresponders emails > Gets nurtured with value > Responds to emails by calling you or scheduling consultation with you.
3. Start A Real Estate Blog
Nothing is ‘free’ in today’s world. Either you invest time or money. So, if you are short on money, try investing your time.
As a real estate agent or marketer, the best way you can invest your time is by creating a real estate blog.
A blog can help you drive massive traffic to your real estate website. How?. When you write a blog post, there are chances that the same will show on search results of search engines like Google. After getting traffic to your website, all you need to do is pitch your portfolio in the forms of banner ads or internal links.
Example: If you write a blog post on “Top 10 new villas in San Francisco”, there are chances that the post will show up in search results when typing in the query “villas in San Francisco”.
Please note that this real estate lead generation idea is a long-term strategy & therefore you shouldn’t expect an immediate return from it.
For best results, try to add as many blog posts as possible on regular basis.
The whole process can be broken down into:
Step 1) Start a real estate website
It’s not that tough as it seems.
Simply use a drag & drop builder like Wix to create a beautiful website within a matter of a few minutes. They have got ready-made templates for the real estate industry.
Alternatively, you can also create a self-hosted website using WordPress & a hosting provider like Siteground. (Not recommended for beginners)
Following are the features of a good real estate website:
- Home page contains a clear call-to-action button like "Contact me", "Schedule a FREE consultion"
- Contains a dedicated blog section with sidebars, headers & footer offering a lead magnet
- Clearly displays contact information on each page
- Has an "about" section telling your story
- Has a "testimonial" page featuring endorsements from your clients
- Has a "portfolio" section featuring your real estate properties
- Has exit-intent popups (a popup offering lead magnet to someone who's abou to exit your website without taking an action)
Step 2) Write & optimize blog posts for social share & SEO
Time to write blog posts & make sure the same are optimized for social share & SEO.
Social sharing means sharing your blog posts on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Blog posts are generally shared by readers by clicking on social share button available at the start or the end of a blog post.
To make sure the readers share your blog post follow these best practices:
- Choose a subject that has the "viral" element in it
- Go for a curiosity-driven headline
- Make your blog post actionable & practical
- Reply to each & every comment
- Request (at the end of the blog post) readers to share your blog posts
- Add images & videos whereever necessary
You would ideally like to write blog posts targeted at user queries.
Use a tool like SEMrush to get an idea of what people are searching for in your industry. Once you finalize the topic, write an awesome blog post around that topic. Try to include images or videos wherever needed.
And, do not forget to implement SEO best practices while writing the posts (since blogging is a competitive space).
Step 3) Convert the visitors into leads
Remember, the goal of this strategy is not just to drive traffic but to get LEADS.
Therefore, your post should make users stick to your website for a long period of time. The more time they spend on your website, the more chances of them clicking on your internal links or banner ads.
Pro tip: Add a newsletter subscription form to your website (preferably at the footer or sidebar).
4. Be Active On Online Real Estate Forums
Online forums are a great way to generate high-intent leads. These forums are places where anyone seeking help can ask a question & anyone willing to help can answer the question. These answers is where you give value & then drop a link to your landing page. Makes sense?
Let me show you an example. This following is a snapshot from Quora, one of the world's largest forums:
To answer questions on forums, follow these best practices:
- Add a high quality answers.
- Do not spam. Link to your landing page preferably at the end of the answer.
- Keep your answers short & crispy. Not too long, not too short.
- Format the answers with bold, italics, bullet points, etc.
- Add images wherever applicable
- Stick to the point. Don't deviate away from the topic.
Here's a screenshot of my stats on Quora. One of my answers got viral & generated more than 106,000 views with 675+ upvotes. Crazy, right? This is the power of online forums. They can help you go viral & if that happens, you'll get more leads than you can handle.
Also, give special importance to your profile or bio page. Write a short description about yourself there & add a link to your landing page. The core idea is to help forum users with your valuable answers. Once you gain popularity, it'll rain leads.
To sum up, following are the features of a good forum answer:
- Tells a story
- Shares a personal experience
- Shares unique ideas
- Free from grammatical errors
- Contains short sentences & paragraphs
- Formatted with bold, italics & bullets or numbering
- Contains a clear call to action link (your landing page link)
5. Upload Real Estate YouTube Videos
The video industry is booming like never before. In fact, as per OutBrain, 87% of the online marketers are already using video content to generate leads.
For consumers, a video is visually more appealing & hence more engaging. And, for marketers, a video signifies an opportunity to better pitch their products or services.
Needless to say, YouTube is one of the world’s best platforms to host videos. As a real estate agent or marketer, a YouTube video is an effective way to showcase visuals of your portfolio & drive leads.
Look at the following example:
Alternatively, you can also drive traffic to your real estate website by linking it in the description.
You can add variety to your video content like:
- Property Tour/Showcase
- Tips & tricks
- Legal requirements
- Best practices etc.
This strategy can be broken down into the following steps:
Step 1) Use Fiverr to create professional videos
Fiverr is an excellent service where you can create professional YouTube videos at an affordable price.
Alternatively, you can shoot the videos yourself with a few professional video equipments.
Step 2) Optimize the videos for social share & SEO
Following are the features of a good marketing video:
- Focuses on providing value
- Short & properly edited
- High quality
- The description contains a clear call-to-action link
- With a professional voice-over (audio)
- Curiosity-driven title
- Deals with an interesting subject
Make sure the content is such that it evokes response from viewers like comments, like, subscribes, shares, etc.
Create a YouTube channel if you don’t have one. Then, start uploading your videos with a professional title & description (Follow YouTube SEO best practices).
Step 3) Publish the videos to your YouTube channel
Now is the time to publish your videos & start gathering some leads.
Remember, to succeed on YouTube, you need to publish a stream of high-quality videos regularly.
6. Get Online Referrals From Existing Customers
Believe it or not, but your existing customers can be your biggest source of leads.
Follow these steps to implement this real estate lead generation idea:
Step 1) Craft a winning referral incentive program
An referral incentive program is a program that rewards your clients for referring their friends, colleagues or family members.
Following are the features of an effective referral program:
- Attractive rewards for referrers
- Easy to understand & implement
- Trackable by referrers
- Capable of getting viral
- Tied to actual sales (pay only if the lead gets converted into sale)
Needless to say, you need to motivate your existing customers with attractive incentives. Don’t complicate the incentive structures. A simple percentage type of incentive will just work.
Step 2) Create a lead request form & email it to your clients
Use a google form to create a simple lead request form. Once done, email it to your existing client.
Make sure to explain the incentive program clearly in the email body.
Step 3) Process & follow up the leads
Google form helps you to export the leads easily. After exporting, you can follow up with the leads for closure.
There may be cases where a client overlooked your email. Therefore, resend the email (asking for referral) to all those who didn't open your email at the first instance. This is easy to do in GetResponse. Simply filter the email addresses with zero open rates.
You can also offer special incentives to those who didn't respond earlier. Just to make the offer more appealing to them. Or, you can also add a countdown timer & make your referral program time-sensitive. That'll make your clients pro-active.
And, do not forget to send a thank you email to the clients who respond with leads.
7. List On Craigslist & Zillow
All you need to do here is to list your properties. The visitors searching on these platforms may find your property & contact you if needed.
8. Google My Business Online Listing & Review (FREE)
Positive online reviews generate trust in the minds of the prospects. Therefore, this strategy especially works great for new real estate agents.
Step 1) List your agency in Google My Business
Google My Business is a free listing & review service from Google. You can list your business or agency there at no charge.
When Google users search for real estate agencies, then your agency can feature in the first place.
While applying for listing, try to include as many details as possible. Basic ones like phone number, website, timing etc. are a must.
Step 2) Request your clients to rate you on Google
Users generally prefer & trust businesses with high rating & good reviews. The quickest way to get ratings is to request your existing customers for the same.
A simple request email should do.
9. Use A Real Estate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) App
BoldLeads is a software to track & communicate with your leads effectively. Using the software, you can have all your leads at once place & manage your communications from there. Whether its email, call or SMS, everything stays at one place. Yes, that makes follow-up easy.
Following are the advantages of using a real estate CRM:
- Gives a bird's eye-view over leads data
- Helps nurture leads with timely communication
- Helps categorize leads at cold, warm & hot
- Helps keep a trail of all follow up events
- Streamlines all marketing efforts
The only downside is the price they charge (About $269 a month).
The other alternatives that you may consider:
- Easy Agent Pro
This lead generation idea is highly recommended for established real estate marketers.
10. Buy Keywords With Google AdWords
Google adwords are the ads that run on Google search engine. They're keyword based & hence the name.
Following are the advantages of using Google Adwords:
- Fast way to drive traffic to your landing page
- Intent-based traffic (Someone who searches of Google has a specific intent to buy something)
- Bid-based costing (You can target less competitive keywords & lower your CPC-cost per click)
Keywords are the terms users input while searching for stuff online.
Example: If someone is looking for a house in San Fransisco then he may input the term “house in San Francisco” in a search engine like Google. Such a term is called ‘keyword’ in marketing parlance.
Google allows you to buy keywords & show your landing page at the top of the search page (Ads).
Step 1) Sign up for Google Adwords
Here is the link to get started with AdWords https://ads.google.com/home/
Step 2) Get your landing page ready
As I discussed earlier in this post, you need to drive traffic to your landing page. The same goes here.
When visitors click on your ad, they'll be directed to your landing page. There you can offer your lead magnet.
As discussed earlier, you can create landing pages within a matter of few minutes using LeadPages. Landing page is the page where visitors will land after clicking on the Google Ad.
Step 3) Do keyword analysis & target low-competition keywords
Use SemRush to do keyword analysis. Ideally, you would want to target low-competition keyword so that the CPC (cost-per-click) remains low.
Step 4) Set up & run the ad
You need to configure Ad title, description & targeting in the AdWords dashboard. Once done, publish the ad & monitor performance.
Just like with Facebook ads, you can lose money with Google Adwords. Therefore, make sure that you try running the ad with a small budget & then scale up from there.
Following are the best practices for running a Google adwords ad:
- Make sure the title is disruptive
- The ad description should be enticing
- Don't sell directly. Instead offer something valuable (lead magnet) keeping in mind the keywords you target.
- Make the landing page light & fast. A slow loading landing page will annoy visitors.
- Make sure the landing page best practices are followed (I discussed this earlier)
Getting real estate leads online is not that difficult as it seems. With the aforesaid ideas & strategies, you can win at it.
Some bonus ways to acquire real estate leads online:
- Be active & regularly post on social media. Here are a few social media marketing tips to get started.
- Comment on other real estate blog & add links to your landing page there strategically (Do not spam).
- Actively follow real estate influencers like Grant Cordone. Like, share & comment on their posts. This practice will improve your visibility & those influencers' other followers will start recognizing you.
I have tried my best to explain the stuff with as much clarity as possible. Still, if you need help then get in touch with me.
What do you think of the aforesaid ideas to get real estate leads online?. Please comment below.