How To Get Leads In Real Estate: 14 Great Ideas

If you run a real estate brokerage, then getting leads needs to be your top priority. You’ll only attract and retain great agents if they know that they’ll be provided with a steady stream of great opportunities.

Likewise, if you are just starting your own real estate business, generating leads is critical to getting your first sale and earning revenue.

But competition in the real estate industry is high and finding a reliable source of real estate leads can be hard.

This article provides 14 real estate lead generation ideas to help you grow your business and increase revenue.

14 Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas

  1. Get Referrals from Family and Friends

We always say family and friends are the best lead generation source for a new brokerage or real estate agent. 

That’s because people are more likely to consider a recommendation from a friend or family member than they are from someone online they have never met. 

An amazing 41% of sellers found their realtor based on referrals from friends and family.

This doesn’t require much effort on their part. As they care about you, they will likely be happy to put your name out there and say good things about you.

💡Pro tip:

✔️ You can gradually reduce the proportion of real estate lead generation that you do through personal contacts as your brokerage grows and starts to draw business through marketing and word of mouth. 

  1. Get Involved in the Community

Getting referrals from friends and family is a great way to generate real estate leads because of the close personal relationships involved. 

By building new personal relationships, you open up more real estate lead generation opportunities. 

A good way to form these relationships is to get involved in your local community. This could involve helping out at your church or community center, or a local charity. Doing so will also be fun and spiritually fulfilling.

Below is a good example from a food charity called Parkland CARES on LinkedIn. Journey Home Real Estate helped out with this charity. They will likely have formed lots of valuable personal relationships in doing so.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Be authentic: If you’re in church trying to make a hard sale on the pastor each week, then you’ll quickly become unpopular and won’t get many new real estate leads! Be yourself and focus on enjoying people’s company.

✔️Choose something close to your heart: Don’t choose an activity or cause because you think it will give you the most real estate leads. Do so to make a difference and meet like-minded people. An opportunity will come up naturally in time.

  1. Stay Close to Past Clients

Your past clients are your very best customers. They’re the people who you’ve managed to buy or sell a home for.

Hopefully, they loved working with you and will do so again the next time they want to buy or sell a property. They’re also likely to recommend you to others. This makes them an invaluable source of real estate leads.

The problem is that many realtors don’t do enough to maintain close, personal relations with former clients.

Upon closing or on the moving-in date, they typically send a thank you note to the client and maybe a housewarming gift. 

Then they simply add the client to their email database and send them the same generic content that everyone else receives. This is not enough for them to remember you by. 

The average length of homeownership is eight years. And you need to check in with your past clients regularly—about four times per year— to continue maintaining a meaningful relationship with them. 

Do so and you’ll be the first person they think of when it comes to new deals and giving referrals. 

One great way to stay in touch with your past clients is to invite them to regular client appreciation events. Here’s a good example from Matt & Nate Real Estate Team. They made arrangements with a local bar for their clients, put on live music and gave out prizes—their clients are sure to remember this exciting event.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Send 3-4 SMSs per year

Sending short, personalized messages at appropriate times of the year—like Easter or the holidays—will keep you top-of-mind. Keep it simple and don’t ask for a referral.

✔️Send follow-up emails 

Send a follow-up email if you don’t receive a response to your SMS. This email should be one of care and concern for them. Don’t put pressure on them to respond or send you real estate referrals.

✔️Send personalized, handwritten postcards 

When it comes to important milestones like birthdays or moving in anniversaries, make sure you send the client a personalized, handwritten postcard. This shows them that your gesture is genuine and not part of some mass lead generation campaign.

  1. Join Professional Real Estate Agent Bodies

Meeting other real estate agents and brokers is a great way to generate new leads. 

That’s because they may get more clients than they can handle. They will want a reliable person to whom they can pass any additional leads. Similarly, they might get clients that don’t fit their niche or who don’t match their expertise. 

The best way to network with other real estate agents is to join your local real estate association. They will run a calendar of events covering everything from networking to professional development. 

For example, Texas Realtors holds a range of discussions, meet-ups and conferences for their members.

💡Pro tip:

✔️Get involved: If attending events and networking aren’t generating enough leads, then consider increasing your profile at your real estate association. You can do this by offering to host events, or run workshops and training seminars. You could even stand to serve on the organization’s board. 

  1. Join Local Business Groups

So far we’ve discussed building more personal and real estate connections. A good next step is to connect with the wider business community. 

This isn’t just a good lead generation technique for your real estate business. You can also meet other professionals who may be able to provide you with services in the future. Examples include lawyers, accountants, and home maintenance providers. 

Examples of local business organizations that you could join, include:

  • Chambers of commerce.
  • Small business associations.
  • Referral networking groups.
  • Mentoring programs.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Get involved…again: Like in real estate networking, a good way to boost your profile and draw more leads is to get more deeply involved with an organization. For example, you may wish to join your chamber of commerce’s housing policy board. This would put you at the forefront of local decision-making and probably get you some press coverage, too.

✔️ Meet liquidators and divorce lawyers: Sadly, the people most desperate to sell are often those who are either getting divorced or are bankrupt. This means building relationships with local liquidators and divorce lawyers can be a good source of leads—assuming you’re comfortable with these kinds of deals.

  1. Showcase Your Expertise on Your Website

Your website should be one of your main sources of lead generation. Unfortunately, most real estate brokerages fail to understand the type of lead that their website is best suited for.

Most assume that their website’s primary use is to advertise listings. But almost all buyers will go to sites like Zillow for this. 

Instead, most clients visiting your website will be researching your brokerage. They want to know if you are a good company to buy or sell with. 

Your website should highlight your experience and expertise, and explain how you can help them to buy or sell property successfully.

Here’s a great example from Briggs Freeman. They use their home page to introduce their magazine, their agents, and their blog—no sales, just expertise.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Produce useful blog content: Very few website visitors will be familiar with the buying or selling process and will need expert advice. You should provide informative blog content that helps them understand the real estate industry and its processes. Include calls to action that bring them into your marketing funnel—for example, by encouraging them to join a webinar on the same subject as the blog post they’re reading.

✔️Make contact easy: Ensure potential clients can speak to a real estate agent. Include an instant messenger option to encourage them to get in touch immediately. If you use an autoresponder, then give them a time when you will get back to them.

✔️Highlight team members: Include an ‘About us’ section on your website. Introduce the agents your clients will work with and highlight their experience, expertise, any big companies they have worked at, achievements, and awards they have won.

  1. Optimize Content for Search

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to attract high-quality leads. It involves understanding how search engines decide what they put on the first page of their results, and then creating content for your website that meets those criteria. 

If you can rank on page one of the search results, then people will be more likely to click on your website when they search online for information. You can then include calls to action that will convert them into leads and move them further along your sales funnel.

When starting out in real estate, local SEO is critical as you’ll want to attract people selling properties in your city or neighborhood.

The great thing about SEO is that if you do it right, you can get a steady stream of potential leads arriving at your website for free, with relatively little ongoing effort.

The downside to SEO is that it is fairly complex and it is time-consuming to do by yourself. It may be more efficient to hire a professional to do it.

Find keywords

There are many factors that decide how high Google ranks your website’s pages for each search. One which you can easily control is keywords. 

These are words that Google looks for on a page when deciding to rank it for the search terms that users enter. 

So, when buyers or sellers are looking for a real estate agent, they might type one of the following search terms into Google:

  • “Realtor in [your area].”
  • “How to sell a home in [your area].”
  • “What is the best realtor in [your area]?”
  • “Where is the best place for families to live in [your area]?”

You need to identify which search terms your customers are likely to use and choose a few that will draw the most traffic. Then you need to include words and phrases associated with this search term. This is difficult to do without the necessary tools and expertise.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Teach yourself SEO: If you want to do SEO yourself, then it’s critical to take time to understand it. This beginner’s tutorial from Ahrefs provides a step-by-step guide.

✔️Get the right tools: Also, if you’re going to do it yourself, then you’ll need the right tools. Ahrefs is great for keyword research, while Surfer is good for on-page SEO. Google Search Console is useful for monitoring traffic.

✔️Use an agency: Using an agency to manage your SEO for you will cost you more money than doing it yourself. But it will save you a lot of time and achieve much better results. It’s likely to offer better value for your money in the long run, assuming you can afford it.

  1. Get Listed in Online Directories

Directories are a great way to make your business easy to find online. You should use local, state, and international directories to give your business the best chances of being found. 

As a rule of thumb, the broader the directory’s geographic reach, the more specific its sector focus needs to be. 

In other words, locally you can advertise in any business directory. But on a state level, you may want to target directories focused on general real estate. Nationally, it is a good idea to only get listed in directories for your niche.

USDRE is an example of a general, nationwide directory. It helps buyers, sellers, and renters to find a real estate agent. It has a system for matching people to agents based on their needs. 

This would be a great way of attracting qualified leads and it’s free to use. The downside is that you will probably face a lot of competition from other realtors.

💡Pro tip:

✔️Use Google My Business: Google My Business is a free online tool and directory that helps you market your business on Google’s search page. It ialso serves the crucial function of good local SEO. It helps you generate leads by providing critical information like your website, location, and contact details. 

Your profile will appear on popular Google products, such as Google Maps and Google Search. It is easy to set up and an analytics tool lets you see how people engage with your profile.

  1. Use PPC Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is another way your brokerage can generate leads by appearing on page one of Google’s search results.

What are PPC ads? They are the first few links that appear at the top of search results that are labeled ‘Ad’.

As the name suggests, you pay a small fee whenever someone clicks on your ad. This can become quite expensive, depending on how valuable each click is deemed to be.

PPC ads will quickly generate leads, but you need to make sure that your website is optimized to convert leads. Otherwise, you may be throwing money away. 

You also have to choose the right keywords that you want to show up for when you create the ad. 

💡Pro tips:

✔️Use tools to find keywords: Tools like Semrush or WordStream can highlight new ideas for keywords that your potential clients are searching for.

✔️Convert visitors with landing pages: Once you’ve found your keywords, you need to create an enticing ad and follow it up with an effective lead capture form. A good way to do this is to create separate landing pages for each property or service you promote. 

✔️Use an agency: Like SEO, PPC is something you can do yourself. But you are likely to get much better results if you use an agency. We recommend PPC Genius.

  1. Create Useful and Original Content

When it comes to digital marketing, content is king. One of the best ways to generate leads online, is to create original content that your target customers will find valuable.

This real estate lead generation tactic isn’t a standalone tactic on its own. Instead, it’s the factor that enables the success of other marketing techniques. Campaigns like email, SEO, and publishing articles in industry publications are all more effective if the content that underpins them is top-quality. 

Great content is:

  • Original.
  • Useful.
  • Well-researched.
  • Straight to the point.
  • Engaging.
  • Well written and easy to read.
  • Understands the target audience.

Here’s a good example of an article on Asheville Real Estate’s blog. It covers a topic that’s of interest to people looking to buy property in the Asheville area—what’s the water quality like and how it could be improved. 

The writer has interviewed a local plumber to share their expertise and tips. This makes the article highly authoritative—from both a water quality and real estate perspective. It’s also interesting to find out what steps can be taken to improve tap water quality.

Other real estate marketing content ideas include: 

Market reports: These include an analysis of what has been selling, and where. They attract leads by showcasing your knowledge of the local real estate market.

Buyer/seller guides: Providing concise and easy-to-understand buyer and seller guides will make prospective clients feel more informed, empowered, and confident. If you help them achieve this, then they will be more likely to want to work with you.

Free home evaluations: Sellers always want to know what their house is worth before they put it on the market. A free valuation guide or tool is a great way to generate leads—a good call to action is to encourage them to sign up for a free in-person valuation. 

💡Pro tips:

✔️Optimize your content: As mentioned in the SEO section above, if you are posting content on you blog, then you should always optimize it to appear in search results. This makes sure that the people interested in your content will find it on Google. 

✔️ Write content based on customer queries: The best way to choose topics to write about is to listen to the common questions and concerns your customers have. By answering these questions in your blog content, you show you understand their needs and build trust with them.

✔️Use keyword research to choose topics: Another way to choose topics is by looking at what articles your competitors are writing that are ranking well on Google. You can then write even better quality content that is more useful so that you rank above them. It’s still important to make sure that the content you write is relevant to your clients. 

  1. Get Email Marketing Right

89% of marketers use email marketing as their main strategy for generating leads. It has also been voted the most effective marketing channel. 

This is despite the fact that most brokerages don’t manage to do it that well. 

Many just fire off generic campaigns providing outdated listings and telling customers that the market is “hot.”

For buyers this isn’t just useless, it’s also demoralizing. If they are struggling to buy a home, the last thing they want is to hear how competitive the market currently is!

Instead, your emails should focus on delivering useful content as described in the section above.

Like SEO, email marketing is a huge topic and we can only cover a fraction of it here. But we can provide some general tips to help realtors.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Be transparent: Clearly explain how frequently you are going to email subscribers and what information they can expect when they sign up for your newsletter. Don’t try to trick them into signing up and always give them the option to unsubscribe at any time.  

✔️Send new listings immediately: As mentioned above, sending listings in round-up emails means most recipients will only get notified when it is too late. Avoid this by scanning your multiple listing service (MLS) for new listings every morning and sending an email the moment you spot an exciting opportunity. 

✔️ Do it yourself: Email marketing is relatively easy to do yourself—with the right tools. Software like Mailchimp, Flodesk, and ActiveCampaign allow you to manage your own campaigns. Tools like Leadpages and AWeber enable you to collect email addresses and create messaging that specifically targets your ideal customers. 

✔️ Segment your email list: You can make your email campaigns more effective by targeting them at subscribers who will find them most useful. To do this, you need to segment your email list based on things like whether your subscribers are buying or selling real estate, if this is their first home, the type of property they are interested in, and more. You can collect some of this information when they sign up to your email list. You can also collect it by using surveys.

✔️Be responsive: It’s important to respond as soon as possible if someone sends a message based on one of your campaigns. This will become harder as your brokerage grows, so it may be helpful to invest in an autoresponder. This should assure people that you will get back to them and within what timeframe they could expect to hear from you. 

  1. Join the Conversation on Social Media 

Almost all realtors use social media to generate leads. 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of realtors use Facebook in their business. Around 50% use Instagram and LinkedIn. 52% of realtors generated more leads through social media than any other channel, including their CRMs and MLS sites. 

Having a strong social media presence and a strategy for managing it are vital for any realtor. 

The subject is too broad to cover here. Luckily, we’ve written about how to generate leads using social media before. We’ve also written in-depth guides on each social media platform on our blog

Below is an example from Stephanie Spann. She’s been using Facebook to generate leads by posting several useful guides that she has written.

💡Pro tips:

✔️Post genuinely useful content: If you write pointless posts just for the sake of it, your social media followers will lose trust in you. Your posts don’t have to be detailed guides, but they do need to be something that your clients and followers would want to read.

✔️Join conversations: Social media is for engaging, not for selling. You should try to join conversations and comment on other people’s posts wherever you can. You’ll probably gain more new followers by doing this than by creating posts.

  1. Create Enticing Videos

Videos came into their own for the real estate sector during COVID-19. With in-person viewings not possible in many states, real estate agents needed to find an alternative.

Now video walkthroughs and 3D tours are a great way to generate interest in your properties.

This is partly down to the technology. Agents can shoot high-quality videos using their cell phone and a tripod, while drones allow them to capture amazing ariel footage of homes. 

Here’s a good example of a simple but effective video from Suzy Valentin. In it she shows the entire property and describes its key features. The video was shot using a mobile device—it’s not professional quality, but it works. 

💡Pro tips:

✔️Use a tripod: A key differentiator in whether a video shot on a cell phone looks good or not, is whether the camera is held steady. It will be obvious to the viewer that wobbly handheld footage has been captured on a cell phone. But if the footage is steady, then they probably won’t notice and the video will appear more professional.

✔️Include a link: It’s important to include a call to action during the video to contact you either by phone or email. But you should also include a link beneath the video which viewers can click on to contact you to find out more. 

✔️Get a drone: In 2020, it was estimated that more than one out of every five commercial drone shoots were for real estate purposes. Drones are a great way to show off a property and the area that it is located in. Drones that are specifically recommended for real estate photography include the DJI Mini 2 drone, the EXO Blackhawk, and the DJI Phantom.

  1. Cold Calling

Many people dread cold calling, but it remains a critical way of generating leads—especially for new and growing brokerages that need the business. This has been proven by research from the Keller Centre.

To begin with, you’ll have to make cold calls on a daily basis to sell your first property. However, even after that you’ll still need to make regular sales calls to ensure that your business continues to grow. 

💡Pro tips:

✔️Used expired listings to find prospects: A good way to find prospects is to go on your MLS and search for expired listings. These may be people that have been unable to sell their home, but would still want to. It’s possible to go back as far as a year. Make sure you take time to understand why the home didn’t sell and check whether you would be able to help.

✔️Make a sales pipeline: Don’t go straight for the hard sell—after all, you’ve just called out of nowhere and they don’t know who you are. Instead, you should gradually develop trust with potential clients and get them to buy into your services. Ask them to commit to a short, no-obligation meeting or phone call to discuss how you could help them. 

✔️Stay motivated: If you’re not succeeding after five calls, change your script or try a new tactic. Ask yourself where the person started to lose interest during an unsuccessful call. Keeping up your momentum and not becoming despondent improve outcomes when an unreceptive person answers the phone.

Get Generating Real Estate Leads

Now that you have 14 ideas for generating real estate leads, it’s time to get out there and start bringing in clients for your agents!

If you need more information on real estate marketing, then check out our blog ‘Content for Closers’. Here you’ll find a wealth of useful guides covering topics like social media, and how you can generate referrals and repeat deals.

If you need to track your lead sources, then why not try Paperless Pipeline? We enable you to identify buyer and seller lead sources on transactions and track the source of your sales. 

This allows you to see which of your real estate lead generation tactics are most effective.