No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, a good marketing plan can help you generate qualified leads on an ongoing basis. Here are some ideas to help you optimize your lead generation strategy.
3 TIPS FOR
Buying leads is convenient, but high costs and low conversion rates make it a difficult strategy to maintain long term. If you’re going to buy leads, make sure they’re worth the investment.
Look for leads that are:
SPECIFIC TO YOUR LOCATION
A real estate marketing plan is your lead generation road map. It includes your strategies for developing your online presence, cultivating an in-person presence in your community, and sending out a mix of personalized marketing materials.
WHO SHOULD BE ON MY MAILING LIST?
Start with the people you know. An agent’s sphere of influence (SOI) often contains a large pool of untapped leads. Your SOI includes friends, family, recent acquaintances, past coworkers, your spouse’s friends, parents of your kids’ friends, your mail carrier – really anyone in your life with whom you have a positive relationship. These people either know you personally or trust someone who knows you. And having a personal or professional connection, no matter how small it seems at first, goes a long way toward building trust.
As your business grows, start reaching out to people who don’t have any prior connection to you as well. Farming, the process of sending a series of mailings to the houses in a geographic location, is a great way to find new leads. With this strategy, consistency is key. Make sure you’re sending something of value over a long period of time. An automated newsletter campaign is a great option for this type of marketing.
Whether you’re reaching out to your SOI or farming a new neighborhood, it’s important to remember that there are many highly qualified agents vying for the same clients. Now the question becomes: How will you stand out? In order to rise above the competition, you need to become both a strategic marketer and the local expert.
THE TOP 4 WAYS TO CREATE A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE
In order to generate and nurture leads, you need a strategic approach to your digital marketing. Here are the top four areas to focus your efforts in order to develop a strong, cohesive online presence.
- A professional website is nonnegotiable. Whether your brand provides a website for you or you need to create your own, a website is essential. Even if you already have a website, look into IDX websites (which connect directly to your MLS for up-todate listing info). Make sure your website is optimized to capture contact information from leads, and be sure to follow up as soon as possible.
- Social media can be utilized to generate some of the best free leads. Find out where your ideal clients spend the most time. Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? NextDoor? Wherever they hang out virtually, make sure you have a presence there. As the local expert, you can share more than your knowledge about your local market. Post about local news, upcoming events, deals at local businesses, the top places for free kid entertainment, and anything else that could be helpful and interesting to your audience. The more that you provide valuable content to your community, the more likely you will be to attract new followers who can turn into leads.
- Email marketing needs to be a staple of your marketing plan. It’s an important, noninvasive way to keep in touch with your contacts on a consistent basis. You can use emails the same way you use social media, or you can focus more on your real estate expertise. The best marketing campaigns (email or otherwise) are targeted, meaning you don’t send the same message to everyone. Divide your contact database into groups – such as cold leads, past clients, buyers, sellers, families with young kids, retirees, etc. – and then send an email to a specific group with content that’s likely to be of interest. You can save time by implementing automated drip campaigns based on the actions your leads take on your website or by sending out an automated digital newsletter on a monthly basis. Read more about marketing automation here.
- Paid advertising is an asset to any marketing plan, but it should be viewed as icing on the cake. Once you’ve established a reliable source of leads and built a good reputation in your community, it’s time to expand your reach. Pay-per-click ads can be purchased through Google or other search engines, as well as Facebook and other social media platforms. A typical advertising campaign includes a paid ad that drives visitors to a landing page on your website, which then captures lead information. Learning what to say in an ad in order to capture the most qualified leads takes skill, time and money. There is a lot of trial and error involved, but once you find the right combination, the growth can be exponential.
7 WAYS TO BE PRESENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Being present online is not enough to keep your pipeline full. You’re in a relational profession, which means you need to be physically present in your community. Consider these suggestions for networking and building relationships in your area.
- Show up. The more often you can appear in your community with a friendly smile, the more you’ll grow your reputation as a trustworthy professional. Attend nonprofit functions, volunteer at a food bank, sponsor a race for a good cause, visit local fairs and festivals, or offer to speak at an event.
- Wear a name badge. At networking events, wear your name badge with pride. If you feel an event is too casual for a name badge, try a T-shirt or polo with your logo on it instead.
- Always carry business cards. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure your professional business cards are always within reach. Don’t keep them in a bag or a backpack. If either your line of work or the housing market comes up naturally in a conversation, don’t hesitate to offer your business card as a tangible reminder of who you are and what you do.
- Answer the phone at the front desk of your office. This can be a great way to build experience as well as gain a few leads. You become the caller’s first impression of the office and get direct access to people interested in buying or selling a home.
- Knock on doors. Get out there and walk around your neighborhood or an area that you’re actively farming. If you see someone gardening or walking their dog, say hi and strike up a conversation. As you knock on doors, get comfortable with the fact that many people may not want to talk, and always be respectful of “no soliciting” signs. While you may not experience immediate results, meeting people in person can help to build trust over time.
- Make cold calls. Don’t be afraid to call, and then follow up with a personal touch. Consider sending a handwritten note or a postcard to thank them for their time.
- Sit at an open house for another agent. Some agents don’t have time to sit at their open houses and would be grateful for the help. You can be sure there will be great leads who walk in the door. Greet them with a smile and be as helpful as possible. The listing agent will appreciate you capturing contact information for all potential buyers who tour the home.
- Pursue FSBOs and expired listings. You know these people want to sell their home, and the help of an experienced professional may be just what they need. However, keep in mind that some of these homeowners may be hesitant to trust an agent. Perhaps they’ve had a poor experience in the past or they’re reluctant to pay a commission. Approach them with humility and a genuine interest in helping, and try to speak to their pain points. With FSBOs and expired listings, time is of the essence. A relevant, tastefully designed automated postcard campaign can help you reach homeowners quickly. You’ll never know until you ask, and you may just reach them at the perfect time.
PRINT MARKETING – IN THEIR HANDS, ON THEIR MINDS
Whether you’re using print materials for your first touch with a potential client or as a strategy for ongoing lead generation, direct mail marketing is guaranteed to get your contact info into a homeowner’s hands. Print marketing can be included in your marketing plan in a variety of ways:
- Referrals: You’ve worked hard to serve your clients, and now you need to generate referrals and repeat business. Your satisfied past clients will likely be happy to pass your name on to friends or family members who are interested in buying or selling – you just have to ask. Our automated Client Follow-Up program makes it easy for you to stay top-of-mind and ask for referrals on a consistent basis.
- Farming: Print marketing is a great way to introduce yourself to a specific neighborhood or zip code. Send Just Listed or Just Sold postcards to announce activity in their area. You can also provide valuable content on a monthly basis with automated newsletter campaigns.
- Lead nurturing: No matter where your lead originated, the key to conversion is follow-through. Sending automated postcard campaigns with recipes or season-specific content can keep you in front of your leads with little time or effort on your part.
Try any one of our automated print marketing solutions to consistently stay in front of your past clients and current leads. Your personalized mailings will be sent as often as you’d like, featuring eye-catching graphics and professionally written content, all done for you.
Your pool of leads will continue to grow, as will your transactions, when you commit to an online presence, show up in your community and reach out with personalized marketing products on a consistent basis.
If you need help determining the best marketing plan for your lead generation strategy, give one of our experts a call at 800-458-8245.