We are going to discuss the best real estate lead generation systems that are available to you in 2022. Before we begin, I’d like to clear the air first. There is no such thing as the perfect lead generation system. There are tons of ways to generate leads in your real estate business so you have to find the right one for you.
Take the information on this page and apply to your decision making process so you can get some guidance on selecting the correct approach for you. It really comes down to the system that works well with your style, how fast you want to grow, the amount of time you have to grow your business, the amount of money you have to invest in your business, and a couple other factors that we will discuss.
Lead Generation Comes Down To Your Resources
You have time and you have money. Which one do you have more of? The first thing you need to do is sit down and figure out who’s time you want to utilize in order to generate your RE leads. If you don’t have a lot of money to put towards your marketing efforts, then you better get ready to put some time into getting your own leads.
Once you are making more money or if you make enough right now, I always recommend investing money to have someone else handle your lead generation because then you can focus on your number one income producing activity, which is selling. Prospecting comes before selling, but selling is what closes deals.
You also can’t get your time back so valuing your time more than your money means you understand that time is a finite resource and money is technically unlimited. As long as you know how to earn more money, you can always increase the resource of money whenever you want. Once you’re old, you’re old.
Different Types Of Real Estate Leads
Before you select a lead generation system, you have to determine what your end goal is. Do you want to get more listings, would you prefer working with buyers, or are you looking for both right now? The real estate market is always changing so it probably goes back and forth for you with your lead preferences. Whatever your prefer at the moment, lock in on that decision before you begin hunting for the top real estate lead gen systems.
Price Per Lead
Make sure you also look at your budget before you make your final decision because there is a different cost for each type of lead. For example, seller leads are usually a lot more expensive than buyer leads. However, we run buyer lead campaigns all the time and get tons of listings from those buyers because a lot of buyers are also sellers. I know, there’s a lot that goes into this and I don’t want to see you make the wrong decision.
We also run ads targeting sellers right now and pay the higher cost per lead because nobody wants buyers in this current market as there are a plethora of buyers and not enough homes for them. This leaves most agents running around spinning their wheels with their buyers so everybody wants more listings and it is worth focusing strictly on listing leads.
Types Of Real Estate Lead Generation Systems
Nowadays we have two different worlds we live in, the online world and the offline world. The online world has opened up a whole array of new techniques to get in front of people and there are still a ton of agents that are slacking online. The ironic thing is that there are a ton of real estate agents that are also slacking in the offline world with their marketing. Coming up with your lead generation system is so important and it can be totally online, completely offline, or a mix of both.
Digital marketing to acquire online leads is a different type of marketing campaign because you are not working face to face like an in person prospecting strategy. It is a skillset that many people have not mastered yet because it is still a fairly new type of prospecting. However, it is a very powerful type of marketing that can bring you dividends for many years to come. Online marketing as a lead generation strategy is not going away so now may be the time to master this skill.
We have some various types of online marketing strategies listed below that you can include in your personal lead generation system or in the system or systems that you invest in.
Video marketing is an incredible way for a real estate agent to not only generate new leads, but to also build trust and authority with buyers and sellers in the marketplace. Video is not just the future, but it is now the present. There are so many different types of videos you can create for your audience. You have social media videos, explainer videos, welcome videos, CMA videos, and so many other types of video strategies.
Videos can cost you money to create, but if you don’t have a large advertising budget you can create a video on your cell phone all by yourself. You can also build a YouTube channel and use your video in emails, text messages, your website, your other social media accounts, and so on. Video is extremely effective and I highly recommend standing out from other agents in your area by utilizing video because most people are scared to hop on video.
Gathering a database together with names and email addresses is super important in today’s economy. Email is such a great way to keep in touch with people because it keeps you top of mind and it is not invasive like a phone call, a text, a door knock, etc. Email marketing allows you to provide value to both buyers and sellers at scale by being able to email hundreds or even thousands of people all at the same time with the proper software.
An email address is actually worth money in the lead generation world. Some people will pay money or give something away, known as a lead magnet, to receive an email address from a lead so there is actually value in each email. The marketing standard is that you should make about $1 per email address on your list per month.
Here is a controversial marketing tactic that is either hated or loved. A lot of agents have either tried marketing on Facebook through the form of paid ads or they are have thought about it at one point or another. Paying Mark Zuckerberg gets a lot of negative feedback because people want these leads to turn into deals right away and it doesn’t work like that.
Advertising on Facebook is a great way to grow your business, but it is the first form of contact so it really comes down to what you do after you advertise on Facebook. Boosting posts and building your brand works on Facebook, but I usually recommend an ROI based type of campaign that captures information from people, including their name, email, phone number, and some more information to then be able to remarket to them and communicate with them via email and phone.
Lead cost is fairly cheap and it is such a great way to grow your sphere on autopilot every month. You might not convert as many people as you like in the short run, but Facebook advertising is a great way to grow your database and continue to keep in touch with people at scale until they are ready to buy and/or sell a home.
Organic Facebook And Instagram Lead Generation
Organic Facebook marketing is pretty amazing as well and it goes even better with paid advertising. You can literally begin posting value on your timeline and attract people to you that want to do business with you on a regular basis. You can meet people for free through posts, commenting, and more and then bring them to Facebook Messenger to start a private conversation that can convert them into a future client just by typing some words on your phone screen.
Organic marketing is always a great place to start because it only takes time and does not involve spending money to build your sphere. It will probably take a little time and some consistency to build up your audience and your followers, but it is so worth it in the end.
Google marketing is pretty awesome because there is intent behind people that use Google. Unlike Facebook, people go to Google to get an answer and if you can be the website that pops up and gives them that answer they seek, you can actually get a lot of business by being in the right place at the right time.
The cool thing with Google is that you have the organic section and the paid section, or Google Ads. The paid section, powered by Google Adwords, is usually at the top of the page and at the bottom of the page. The organic section starts with the maps section and then the official organic section, where most people actually click. You can pay Google Adwords to put you at the top and they only get paid when someone clicks your link.
You can also optimize your website and your Google My Business page to become more relevant in Google’s eyes and pop up at the top so Google’s algorithm shows your website over your competitors in the area. SEO or search engine optimization takes a long time to get results with but it is worth it if you figure out how to get ranked at the top or if you can afford to pay a company like White Noise Digital to handle that for you.
Zillow Premier Agent
Of course you have Zillow. Zillow is the 100 pound gorilla in the real estate space and they are making some major strides in the industry the last year or two with the acquisition of Showing Time and the purchasing of homes around the country for themselves. Zillow also launched their own brokerage so a lot of agents are moving away from Zillow because of the way they have been handling their Premier Agent platform since the changes.
Zillow is great because when someone goes to Zillow to find a home, they are usually pretty serious and ready to speak with an agent. It can be costly and you might only get a small zip code you don’t want because of the competitiveness of Zillow and availability of zip codes and spots in each one. You still need to know how to handle those leads after they come in just like Facebook leads, Google leads, and the other sources of leads.
Realtor.com And Opcity
Realtor.com is right up there with Zillow and very similar. They did purchase a company called Opcity and what a lot of agents like about Opcity is that they don’t charge you anything until you actually go to the closing table. There is no risk to you from a monetary standpoint, but you will usually end up paying 30-40% of your commissions to Opcity after each closing.
You can make Realtor.com or Opcity referrals part of your lead generation system to help you find potential clients, but it all comes down to what you’re looking for in your lead gen system. Some people don’t mind giving up 30-40% of their commissions as long as they don’t have to worry about landing page templates and other marketing technicalities.
Other Social Media Apps
TikTok, Clubhouse, Snapchat, and all the other social media platforms are wide open and ready to go if you are prepared to take massive action. TikTok is probably one of the most popular social media sites right now as it is growing at a rate unparalleled to most other social sites so that might be the place to start. You can simply build an audience and get eyeballs on your posts and then throw out some call to actions to reach out to you if someone is interested in buying or selling a home.
Positive reviews are like currency in the online realm of business. You can get a lot more incoming leads that convert better just from what other people have to say about you. Imagine if you are looking for a real estate agent yourself and you find one agent with 1,000 five star reviews and another agent with 6 five star reviews. Which real estate agent would you trust more based off of the story the reviews tell you?
Qualified leads are going to come to you but you have to be a qualified agent to attract those people to you first. You might be the best agent in the area but if you don’t have the social proof to show people, you will lack in your conversions. Customer reviews are trusted as the equivalent of old school referrals since we can now be pretty transparent by reading what other people think about local businesses.
Webinar marketing is pretty neat because you can get multiple people on to a Zoom or another webinar hosting platform to show them a presentation all at once. This works great with first time home buyer seminars and any other type of niche in the real estate industry. You can do seminars in person as well, but utilizing technology allows us to make everything easier since you can teach people things form the comfort of their own home.
This lowers the barrier to entry by getting people to hop on a computer instead of getting a shower, getting ready, driving 20 minutes, having to meet people, and more at a live seminar. I am a big fan of webinar marketing and you may want to use it as a piece of content as well after you record the webinar. Definitely consider using webinars in your system if you enjoy teaching people things.
Of course cold calling has to be on here. Why? Because it works! Most people don’t want to cold call people because we all hate rejection, but the people that cold call will definitely be making more money than most people that won’t. You can cold call expired listings, FSBO houses, and you can do some circle prospecting to connect with more people every day.
Any real estate professional that refuses to get on the phones might want to throw in the towel. Not just for cold calling, but getting on the phone with people in general. Getting on the phone is so important to move relationships forward so even warm calling is incredibly important to close more deals. Cold calling is not needed if you have some other forms of marketing or prospecting in place.
Knocking on doors is definitely not fun, especially with covid around and winter if you live in a cold area. However, it freaking works. Face to face prospecting is the best because you can’t beat face to face communication and getting in front of someone at their house that they might want to sell is a phenomenal way to discuss their property.
The problem is it is not the most exciting form or prospecting. You have to get some exercise in by walking door to door and you have to be “that person” that might get on someone’s nerves. I would rather get a phone call than a door knock from a stranger because it is easier to hang up on someone than slam a door in their face (if you are nice like me).
Most people won’t answer the door for someone they don’t know nowadays, but if they do it is pretty easy to start a conversation about their home while you are looking at it. Make sure you check the door to door sales laws in your area before getting started. It won’t hurt to try it out once just to see if you like it as well.
Friends And Family
How can you beat a friend or a family member that wants to buy or sell a home? That has got to be the top lead source for anyone because you don’t have to sell them at all. They know they are working with you because you are friends or even related so it’s the perfect transaction most of the time. Once you let your circle know that you got your license they will be coming your way when they are ready.
Just make sure you let them know and remind them once in a while because I’ve seen some pissed off agents talking about how their cousin bought a house from someone else because they forgot they were an agent. It happens and we are all busy nowadays so any real estate professional better be ready to remind your friends and family that you are still an active agent once in a while.
Referrals are probably the second best type of lead generation on this list. The reason is because they probably came from a friend or a family member and the trust is already there. Nobody would recommend you if they don’t trust you and like you so the person coming to you as a referral is going to carry some of that trust with them when they reach out to you for real estate services.
Your marketing strategy should definitely include referrals from your past clients as well. Potential sellers usually ask a friend for a referral before they go looking online for help so stay in front of past clients to remind them that you are still here to help them and their friends. You can also offer them a referral fee to entice them to want to refer you even more.
Networking is amazing because it allows you to get face to face with people, build a relationship with them, and help one another in multiple ways. Business networking meetings like BNI groups, Meetup.com groups, and other local networking events are amazing for any sales person or entrepreneur looking to grow and expand their book of business.
You might find some potential buyers or even sellers in your first meeting or it could take multiple meetings, but it is always worth it because you might be able to help someone else too. Sharing is caring, isn’t it? Prospective clients can be found at every meeting as new people usually show up each week. Some of these business networking groups only allow one real estate agent per group so there are pros and cons to each type of networking group.
Newspaper advertising is considered old school nowadays, which might be a good reason to advertise there if your target market still reads the newspaper. That means your target market is probably in the older category age wise since most younger people utilize the internet to get their news. A lot of newspaper companies have also added upgraded packages that include ads on their website since a lot of their readers have made the transition to reading the local news on their websites now.
You have so many marketing tools on your belt that now combine offline advertising and online advertising together. You have to think of unique ways to stand out amongst the competition so you end up showing up everywhere to your prospective clients.
Check with your local newspaper to see how many daily and weekly readers they still have and see if you can utilize their newspaper as a way to get in front of more people. You might even get a good deal since most people are putting their money into online advertising methods.
Of course open houses are a classic way to get in front of interested buyers, and possibly sellers as well. Open houses are not the most fun way to get valuable leads, but it does work. You can have open houses for your own listings or you can sometimes work together with someone in your office or your team to host an open house for one of their listings to help them and also help yourself.
Since covid hit, open houses slowed down for a while but it is still a viable way to advance your real estate career by getting in front of more qualified people. Whether you build open houses into your lead generation system or not is completely up to you and your goals.
Managing Your Leads
After you put your lead gen system together, you are going to need to manage your leads. You can go old school and do that on paper, but I highly recommend a customer relationship manager or CRM to manage your leads. There are many softwares out there that you can and perhaps your brokerage has provided you with one. The best advice is to use the CRM that you will actually use.
I talk to tons of agents all the time and most of them have a CRM already, but few actually use their CRM. You need to choose a software that you like to use or you won’t use it. Our favorite software is Clever Prospector, but we are biased because it is our custom software for real estate professionals. We have been through tons of CRM softwares and having all of the features and benefits inside one software like Clever Prospector saves our team and our clients so much time.
You can choose a software dedicated to real estate agents or you can select one that can be customized to your liking. Take some trials and actually dive in and use some before you plant your flag in the CRM you plan to use long term.
Putting Your Real Estate Lead Generation System Together
There are many different types of lead generation techniques listed up above that you may like or you may dislike. Building a prospecting system and lead generation system is vital to growing your business so you have to choose what resonates with your workflow and personality the most.
There are companies out there that have prebuilt systems ready to go and there are courses and coaches out there than can help you build your own. You don’t even need to invest in a system or a training to help you build a system as you can totally get started today with many items on the list above all by yourself.
Maybe you want to start cold calling expired leads or for sale by owner leads. Maybe you want to host an open house or knock on some doors tomorrow to start the momentum up. Perhaps you have some money to invest into advertising on Facebook to get in front of people. It really comes down to what you resources consist of (time and money) and what you are willing to try. Everything above works if you work it correctly and/or get help from the right people to help you implement a system for your real estate business.
Next Steps For Choosing A Lead Gen System
Don’t wait and contemplate for something to happen. If you have more time than money, I highly suggest grabbing some of the ideas above and putting together your own system to generate leads for your business. Yes, it takes time and hard work but it is worth it! If you have some money to invest, I highly recommend finding a reputable company or an assistant to help you build a system out to save you time and get things implemented as soon as possible.
You have to take a tally of your resources and make your next move based off of your current assets. You can also do a combination of using your own effort combined with someone else’s effort to help you put together a system that works for you. Remember, the system you choose to use or create is always a work in progress. You can make changes by adding or subtracting whenever you choose.
Test and test some more. See what works for you so you can move up the ranks and become a top agent in your market. If you are looking for more guidance on setting up your own lead generation system, reach out to our team to setup a strategy call and we will gladly provide you with more clarity by answering your questions and helping you out the best we can. Either way, go crush it and put in the work!