How to get real estate leads

When you’re running a real estate business, you need to be able to continuously generate new leads so you can build up your clientele. While there are many ways to gather those leads, some are more challenging and time-consuming than others. It’s important to consider which real estate lead generation strategies are the best fit for your business so you can continue to grow your client base.

There are a number of ways to get new leads for your real estate business. Here are some best practices that you can incorporate into your lead generation strategy.

Start by creating a real estate website

First, you’ll need to create a high-quality, professional website that represents your business. All of your real estate marketing materials will include a link to your site, so it’s best to hire a qualified website designer to create one that’s attractive, reliable, and easy to navigate.

Make sure that your site includes information on the areas that you serve and the services that you provide. You might want to write up a page detailing the areas you cover, demonstrating your understanding of the unique characteristics of each area. These pages can also improve your site’s visibility in results for web searches about the area or neighborhood.

Be sure that your contact information is displayed prominently on all of your website pages and make it easy for potential leads to contact you.

Explore search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important element of your marketing strategy, as it can help increase your real estate website’s visibility in search results. SEO techniques are particularly helpful when you’re trying to get your site to appear in front of local leads in certain geographic areas and neighborhoods.

SEO takes a while before it generates results, and it can be helpful to hire a professional at least initially to help you identify and implement the keywords that you want to target. When you put time and effort into your SEO strategy, it can help ensure that potential leads from local communities are more likely to see your site.

Make it easy to capture contact information for leads

Your site also needs to serve as a way for you to capture visitors’ contact information. Jotform’s real estate forms and templates make this easy.

These templates can help you gather the essential information you need from site visitors so you can follow up with them. The client information for real estate form is particularly helpful and makes a valuable addition to most real estate sites. You can customize the templates to reflect your brand and the type of information you want to collect. 

You can embed Jotform forms on any page of your site. It’s a good idea to minimize the number of fields included in your forms, as that increases the chances of your site visitors completing and submitting the form. Then, you can use Jotform’s real estate sheets to organize and manage all of the contact information in one place.

Hold open houses

Open houses are an excellent way to meet potential new clients, but make sure that you’re prepared to capture the contact information of everyone who attends. Have a physical sign-in sheet or a tablet with an online form ready at the door to collect names, email addresses, and phone numbers. This way, even if you have limited face-to-face time with interested buyers, you’ll be able to follow up with them personally after the open house.

Consider reaching out by phone, if possible, so you can have conversations about what the buyers are looking for and which of your other listings they might be interested in seeing.

Use direct mail

Direct mail may be an older strategy, but it’s still an effective one. There are several ways to approach direct mail.

If you’re targeting sellers in certain neighborhoods, you might explore a blanket mailing strategy. You can purchase addresses from a variety of data sales companies, and you can often sort those addresses by factors like household income. This allows you to target your ideal potential leads, saving you the cost of sending a mass mailing to homeowners who really wouldn’t fit your ideal client profile.

You can further target your direct mail efforts for specific scenarios. If you just sold a house in a neighborhood, you might want to send a letter to other homeowners nearby. Explain that you sold a home in their neighborhood and include how quickly you sold it. Then explain what recently sold homes in the neighborhood have sold for and offer to speak with homeowners via phone or come to their house for a walk-through and assessment.

You can also use this technique if you showed a client a house for sale in the neighborhood. Write a letter to other neighbors and explain that, though the client didn’t buy the house, people are interested in buying in their neighborhood and you might even be able to sell their home without it going on the market. Again, offer to have a phone call or meet the homeowner at their house for an assessment.

Host a seminar or webinar

Look for opportunities to get yourself in front of new audiences, like hosting a seminar or webinar. Sharing tips and knowledge that first-time homebuyers should have is a great way to connect with an audience of potential leads. And, since the people attending these webinars will already be interested in buying a home, you’ll be connecting with quality leads.

Make sure that you’re able to get an email list of the webinar attendees after it’s over. Then follow up to offer the attendees additional value. Send along a tip sheet or worksheet that you’ve created and offer to answer any questions the attendees might have.

Use social media

If you haven’t done it already, get active on social media. At a minimum, start Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, share tips for new homebuyers and sellers, and include photos of the families you’ve helped to buy or sell a home. Try to post daily and be sure to promptly respond to questions and comments that your followers leave.

While posting regularly is important, there are many more ways to connect with potential leads on social media. Join social media groups where your clients may be active, like groups that focus on tips for selling or buying a home or groups that focus on specific neighborhoods in your service area.

Once you’re in these groups, watch for members to post questions that you can answer as an expert. Provide detailed, thoughtful answers, explain that you’re a real estate agent in their neighborhood, and end by offering to speak with them by phone to answer any additional questions. This is a valuable way to establish a connection and build a relationship with solid leads.

Once you’ve developed a solid social media presence, you might explore using paid ads like Facebook ads to increase your reach and get your message in front of additional qualified leads. Social media ads let you dig deeply into audience demographics, so you can focus on social media users who are truly your ideal clients.

Pitch notable listings to media contacts

If you have a new listing that’s unique and newsworthy, consider pitching it to your local media, including contacts at your local newspapers. Publications that cover your listing in a story increase your visibility, and they do it for free. This could garner increased interest in your listing, but it also makes your own real estate business more publicly visible, which might lead to increased inquiries.

Look for additional press opportunities

Look for opportunities to act as a source for a journalist. Journalists are frequently on the lookout for professional sources they can interview for pieces or ask for answers to pressing questions.

The Help a Reporter Out (HARO) website publishes daily calls for pitches that journalists have posted. If you sign up as a source, you’ll receive these daily digests. You can then reach out to journalists directly and volunteer to let them interview you.

Many publications will include links back to a source’s website, which can be a valuable way to drive traffic to your site. Appearing as a source in these articles can help increase your reach and get you in front of potential leads. The articles also make for excellent content that you can share on your website and social media profiles.

Leave behind seasonal gifts

If you’re focused on gaining listings in certain neighborhoods, consider leaving seasonal gifts on doorsteps in those neighborhoods. Leaving behind your business card along with a small pumpkin at Halloween or candy cane at Christmas can help boost awareness of your business with homeowners. Do this repeatedly, and, if those owners decide to sell, they may contact your business first.

Contact owners of expired listings

Look through listings that expired without ever selling. If an agent never renewed or relisted a property, the owners might still be looking to sell. Contact those owners and offer to have a discussion about the challenges they faced and how you could help them get their property sold.

Participate in networking events

Look for networking events and opportunities, using them to make valuable connections and build your network. You’ll want to focus on events that let you build your professional network as well as those that can put you in front of an audience of people who may decide to buy or sell a home.

When preparing for these events, make sure that you have a way to quickly capture a potential lead’s information. You’ll want to have plenty of business cards on hand, but it’s also a good idea to make it easy for leads to give you their contact information, like using a digital form they can complete on a tablet. If you’re able to have conversations with each lead, make detailed notes that you can reference when you follow up with them.

Encourage referrals

Encourage referrals from past clients with a referral program. Offer gift certificates or other incentives to clients who refer potential buyers or sellers who then become your clients. This can be an easy way to generate seller and buyer leads that requires a minimal time investment on your part.

Consider reaching out to past clients by email or direct mail once or twice a year to keep your business and your referral program top of mind.

Use the leads you generate

Real estate lead generation is just the first part of the process. Once you’ve generated those leads, you need to ensure you follow up with them appropriately.

That’s often easier to accomplish if you maintain your leads in a customer relationship management (CRM) system or other database. Keeping your records digital and organized lets you quickly see where leads are in your sales pipeline. Many systems also let you set automated reminders to ensure that each lead gets the right follow-up.

Some CRM systems feature automated follow-up communications, like texts and emails that you can set to send automatically. While this can save you time, it does remove some of the valuable sense of personal connection that you can establish through a phone call, so think carefully when using these options.

Ensuring your leads get the follow-up they need will also depend on your having a sales funnel in place. You’ll need to develop a different funnel for potential buyers and sellers, and you’ll need to structure each funnel so that it thoroughly lays out all the steps in the process but also allows you to accomplish the activities on that funnel. This is easier when you have a team of multiple real estate agents who can all contribute to some of the follow-up tasks.

Follow-ups might consist of a direct mail piece, a phone call, a series of emails, and more. Templates can help save you some time in this process, but be aware that these methods can still demand a lot of your attention.

Putting these processes into effect ahead of time will mean that you’re better prepared to handle the potential leads that you do generate. As with all marketing, you’ll need to reevaluate and refine your system, but the above tips can help you get started generating new real estate leads for your business.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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