BUSINESS & MARKETING

An Advanced Lead Generation System for Real Estate Agents

Mahmud Ahmed, CEO, New York
25 November 2019

Once you have interested parties coming in 24/7, you can focus on closing more deals

 

Generate Real Estate Leads on Auto-Pilot
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Being a real estate agent isn’t an easy job; it’s a lot of work up front. Especially the part about getting new clients to work with on a regular basis.

I am sure you know the industry motto, said by every real estate agent ever—something along the lines of, “if you hustle enough you will eventually hit gold,” “you should always be grinding,” “got to put in those hours,” “it’s a game of numbers”, etc., and even though you take the recommended steps:

  • Visiting neighborhoods
  • Distributing business cards
  • Giving out flyers
  • Cold calling
  • Door knocking
  • and whatnot …

Do you get enough leads or even a satisfactory response?

It is no wonder the average real estate agent gets out of the industry in about two to three years!

As I’m sure you know by now, realtors aren’t high on the totem pole of salespeople. Because of that, people (your prospects) tend to put an extra wall around realtors to avoid them at all costs. And let’s not forget how today’s ever-increasing technology is slowly putting realtors out of date. As a result, people see less and less value in working with a realtor.

I know that was very negative, but this is what’s happening in this industry today. I know because I was an agent until fairly recently. As most agents do, I also started my real estate hustle by buying leads from Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.

Buying leads is probably the worst way to get started and a waste of your hard-earned money. These companies are selling those same leads to other realtors, and when you do get leads, most of them lead to dead ends and a whole lot of wasted time because the client wasn’t ready to make a decision.

“I ultimately decided to forego buying leads because of how hard it was to get a deal out of them and tried to generate my own leads through Facebook ads.”
The ads went like:
Although the ads looked good, I had to trash them after spending over $1500 in a few weeks. I got some meager conversions at first but, in the long run, no deals. I couldn’t justify the cost. 

I struggled for months with this approach. I ran online ads and consulted with my seniors in the agency, which wasn’t much help because they relied too much on the old-school methods that got them started decades ago: word of mouth and open houses. Those methods did work from time to time, but I was trying to build something more reliable and didn’t want to leave anything to faith. I was on the verge of giving up, and I hadn’t even hit my one-year mark. 

That was until I took a course on digital marketing that showed me what to do to get the results I wanted from my online ads. One key takeaway was that, as a real estate professional, you need to build relationships with people in your market. 

Your prospects will hardly ever work with someone they don’t trust. Think about it; when you go into a grocery store and the clerk asks if they can help you, what do you say?

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

 

So how do you get around the wall they put around themselves and you?

That’s simple!

You give something of value to them for free.

Free always gets their attention, and you can use that to start your relationship with the prospect.

One of the easiest ways is by leveraging the power of social media (i.e., Facebook, Linkedin, etc. … ) You should view social media as an extension of your personal network and the network of the people you are trying to reach.

You are dealing with an extremely high-ticket product. Real estate is the most expensive item a person purchases/sells in their lifetime. It is unlikely that you are going to sell a million-dollar home because someone clicked on your ad; it’s simply just not going to happen.

What you can do is use social media to kick off a relationship, by building system (funnel), involving opt-in pages, follow up emails, and continued relationship building over social media and retargeting. The purpose is to be of value by educating your target audience and building connections within your local community.

I must warn you to have as little promotional content as possible because people hate ads. Be as authentic as you can while delivering value. This will expand your circle of influence and build relationships with people who may eventually become your next big client.

As I hope you are starting to see by now, in real estate you cannot expect to hit home runs every time. You have to use marketing to cultivate your relationship with your target market.

If you take this approach as I did, you can expect results like this:

Today, I will show you how you can do this, as well as getting all this automated. You will be able to build a system that goes on auto-pilot and build quality relationships with your target market so you can close with a lot less effort and stress.

Step 1. Defining Your Audience

It’s easy to believe everyone is your ideal customer, but can you really quench the thirst of everyone with a different set of wants and demands?

Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely service a referral you got from a friend of a friend; you don’t have to turn them away. But if you want to build a successful system that generates valuable leads, you have to define an audience to target (and put a lot of thought into picking this audience) because you can’t target the whole world and expect to be profitable.

That said, how do you define your target audience?

Think about your client base over the last year.

  1. Were they local or from out of town?
  2. How old were they?
  3. Were they first-time homebuyers?
  4. What kind of profession did they have?
  5. Why did they relocate?
  6. Where and how did you meet them?

Now think about whether there is a way to expand your current client base. Your target customers don’t have to be one set group. They can be in several groups.

Let’s say that your client base for last year comprised mostly newlyweds who were expecting a child and were from out of town. You still want to help newlyweds who are starting a family in their quest for homeownership, but you also want to expand your reach … So what do you do?

If you think about it, many newlyweds who are starting a family are also first-time homebuyers, so it would be easy to expand your reach to include first-time homebuyers. They don’t have to be newlyweds.

 

Step 2. Creating a Shareable Piece of Content 

When expanding your audience, your content becomes vital. You want to create a piece of content that can get your target audience to take action.

Content is the foundation of your automated lead system. Your system is all about targeting the right content to the right people at the right time.

Your content needs quality, variety, diversity, and relevancy. You need to figure out what content is valuable to your target audience and how to provide them with the information they need, so you can kickstart your relationship and build rapport.

Here are the target audiences we’ve identified so far:

  • Newlyweds starting a family
  • Buyers ages 25 to 35
  • First-time homebuyers

The easiest type of content you can make is a blog post. If you take this approach, you can write posts about:

  • How to purchase your first home without screwing up.
  • The top ten ways to save money for a down payment and still live a happy life.
  • Buying vs. Renting: Which should you be doing?
  • Top five schools in a neighborhood (if you serve a specific zip code).
  • Describe the history of a neighborhood.
  • Explain loan pre-approval, mortgage types, mortgage rates, etc.
  • Share fun things to do this weekend, places to shop, places to visit in your neighborhood.
  • etc.

Notice how all these content ideas apply to both audiences (newlyweds and first-time homebuyers).

You can also get their attention using video content. Would you rather read a long blog post explaining the Big Bang theory or watch a video with colorful scenes, soundtrack, and awesome visual effects explaining the theory?

That’s right!

As most people do, you will choose videos over text any day of the week. Videos are more engaging than an image or written form of content, 236% more to be exact. Did you know Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day?

Using videos to kickstart your relationship with your potential clients is a powerful strategy to foster engagement, get results like click-through and shares, and generate leads on social media.

Your video doesn’t need a big budget. It can be as simple as you recording on your cell phone and talking to your potential clients about whether they should buy or rent or something else they would be interested in.

But don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a little pizzazz to really pop your audience’s bubble — like these guys here:

Or you can keep it a little more subtle, like:

Make sure you end each video with a Call-to-Action (CTA), so you can get your viewers to take action after they finish watching the video (e.g., fill in a form, give you a call, etc.)

Another form of video that’s been making an impact is “explainer videos.” These are 60–90-second videos that look like this:

I always found explainer videos work the best because they get the point across in an engaging way. (The goal of our automated system is conversions, so why not take advantage of the fact that up to 73% of people are more likely to convert if they saw an explainer video first?)

 

Step 3. Promoting Your Content 

Now that we have our piece of content, we will jump into how we will get our target audience to see that content (i.e., the blog post or the video).

This is where social media comes into play.

We will use it to shed some light on our content and give it some proper exposure, because what good is our content if no one sees it?

Yes, we can try to get our content out there organically and get leads that way, but that does require some time and effort.

The way around that is to run PPC and social media ads. This way you are getting leads immediately and in real-time, instead of playing the waiting game.

From my experience, the best place to run ads is on Facebook. I’ve used Facebook Ads as the number one lead magnet platform to attract leads. It’s simple to use, and there are so many people there. With the targeting features Facebook offers, you are bound to find your next client on it.

I am not saying Facebook is a must! If your target audience is dentists and lawyers or some other respected profession, maybe it’s best to use LinkedIn instead of Facebook, which will give you a more specific targeting feature to target them.

Go where your clients are, do the proper research, and find out where they hang out online. It will be worth it in the long run.

Assuming you wanted to use Facebook Ads for this, you’d first go to Ads Manager and create an ad. Select Conversions as the objective.

The second thing is to set some location targeting based on the region you’ve gotten your past clients from.

It’s important to be a little loose here because you don’t want to get overly precise and target within a one-mile radius, since people may be moving from other locations. I’d advise targeting the zip codes that typically move to where you’re selling based on past selling/buying history.

From there, you’ll want to target your audience. The audience we defined earlier was male and female, age 25–34, who are recently married and starting a new family. They have a child on the way and are looking for a first home where they will raise their child. The home doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to provide a good school district with a fenced-in yard.

You can get even more specific by narrowing the audience. For example, if you want to make sure they meet a certain level of income, you can do that:

This is super valuable to real estate agents since this often determines the types of properties that people can buy and also pre-qualifies them before you spend your time with the wrong people.

And that takes care of the crucial steps of creating your ad to promote your content. The rest is self-explanatory, but if you need a little more help with creating Facebook ads, please check this out.

Step 4. Drive Traffic to a Landing Page That Converts

 

Since we’re using a system to build a relationship with your leads, we’ll need a way to follow up with them later on.

There are two ways we can do this:

  1. Remarket to them with new ads (can be $$).
  2. Collect their email addresses so you can reach out to them over and over for free!

The more cost-effective is definitely collecting their email addresses, and we do this is with a “squeeze page.” They look something like this:

This squeeze page offers to teach you how to turn your annual income into your monthly income in exchange for an email address.

For the most part, an effective squeeze page is short, informational, and has one simple goal: get the email address. This is further implemented by removing all other buttons, content, and extra hyperlinks that distract the viewer from this “in or out” choice and implicit ultimatum.

Once the prospect submits their email address, you can either email them the promised content or just redirect them to the webpage.

Step 5. Nurture the Lead 

Although this system we are creating brings in qualified leads, just having your prospect’s email address doesn’t mean you are ready to close yet!

You need to nurture the leads. Warm them up with info they care about and other valuable information via an email campaign (also known as a drip campaign).

Now, manually emailing each of your leads can be time-consuming and a whole lot of work. That is why I suggest you use email marketing tools such as Mailchimp (free!), Salesforce, and msCloud (provided by WOOagents) to automate this entire process.

A great email campaign is:

  1. Personal (not just promotional content; your customer hates ads)
  2. Conversational (Write as if you were speaking to someone very close to you.)
  3. Informative
  4. Valuable

If you can’t figure out what to write about, make a list of your prospects’ most frequently asked questions, and send out one email answering one question every day. You can also list your prospects’ objections and follow up with emails that help overcome them. This positions you as an expert, and when your prospect requires your services, they will know who to contact.

Your follow-up emails are another place you can leverage explainer videos to supercharge your system and efforts. Research by Forrester has found that including videos in emails can boost click-through rates by 200–300%. That means more prospects would see your content and be exposed to you and your services.

Normally you should end each email with a CTA (i.e., call now, book your viewing today, etc.). This takes us to our next step, where the CTA will …

Step 6. Send Them to a Free Consultation Page 

The call-to-action from your emails should bring your customers’ journey right back to you … to your free consultation page (service page)! This is where you make your “sales pitch.”

Tell them about you and your services: how exactly you can help them and how they should schedule a call with you. (Make this process as easy as it can be.) You can use Calend.ly or any other scheduling app for this step, or you can have them call you straight from the consultation page.

I may be biased, but I have found it helpful to include an explainer video on this consultation page. Don’t take my word for it; according to the landing page experts at Unbounce, “embedding videos on a landing page (service page) can increase conversions by 80%.”

If you really want to see the difference a video can make on your landing page, you should split-test with two different service pages and track the results, one with video and one without. The results can be astounding.

Step 7. Tracking Your Efforts

 

In any marketing campaign, it is crucial to track your campaigns’ results.

Marketing, whether online or offline, is pointless and profitless unless you understand what results you get from each campaign and track them accurately. That is why you must implement Google Analytics in all your efforts.

Installing Google Analytics on your website/squeeze page will allow you to keep track of all your site’s activity and other metrics as well:

  • Overall Traffic—Website Traffic and Blog Traffic
  • Referral Traffic (e.g., Which sites are sending the most visitors your way?)
  • Returning Visitors
  • Bounce Rate (e.g. How many visitors are leaving without doing anything?)
  • Conversion Rate (e.g. How many visitors to your site are performing specific actions?)
  • And more …

Here are step-by-step instructions for getting Google Analytics set up on your website:

First step

Set up a free Google Analytics account.

Second step

Go to Admin, select the account that you created and click “+ New Property.”

Third step

On the next screen, Google Analytics will have the tracking options you need preselected (Web). So you can go ahead and scroll down to the “Setting up your web property” section and enter your website’s name, URL (aka. web address), and time zone. When you’re finished, click “Get Tracking ID.”

Final step

Now comes the part of installing the code to your website. You need to copy the tracking code snippet and paste it into your website’s source code just before the </head> tag. If you don’t have access to your site’s source code (or don’t know what “source code” is), get in touch with your website’s manager/developer and ask for assistance.

Once you’ve added the tracking code to your website, it can take up to 24 hours for all of the data to appear in your Google Analytics account.

In addition to Google Analytics, you can add Facebook’s tracking tool, Facebook Pixel.

Here is a quick rundown on how to install Facebook Pixel on your site:

  1. Go to your Pixels tab in Events Manager.
  2. Click “Create a Pixel,” and name your Pixel.

3. Copy and paste the HTML tags to your website header.

Then you should be good to go, and within 24 hours your data should be visible, and you can start using it towards your benefit.

Step 8. Retargeting Your Audience

 

Besides the benefit of tracking all your website visitors and their actions, you add yet another powerful asset to the marketing arsenal when you install tracking.

That is retargeting.

Retargeting is very simple. If a prospect shows up to a service page on your website and doesn’t take an action (i.e., fill in a form, submit an email address, give you a call, etc.), you can retarget them with ads.

Here are a few reasons to do this:

  1. It’s cheaper than targeting newer clients.
  2. They had enough intent to show up to your service page.
  3. It’s a second chance to convert a visitor.
  4. It’s an additional route for your prospects to become familiar with you.

Even though we’re doing follow-up via email, it never hurts to stay in front of them with ads. That way you can stay on their minds.

To get started with retargeting ads is very easy. Since we already have tracking installed, we just need to create a “retargeting” audience.

We can do this with Facebook as follows:

  1. Log in to your Facebook Ads Manager and select Audiences.
  2. Click “Create Audience.”

3. Select “Custom Audience.”

4. Select “Website Traffic.” (You can also select “Customer List” to create a retargeting audience with your email list. All you have to do is upload your list, and Facebook will go out and find the people from your list on Facebook and show them your ad.)

5. Select your target audience from the dropdown menu.

You have the option of targeting the following:

  • Anyone who visits your website
  • People who visit specific pages
  • People visiting specific web pages but not others
  • People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time
  • Custom combination

For our example, we will target people who have visited our “Service Page” and didn’t visit our “Confirmation Page.” We do this so we don’t target the people who have already converted.

Next, you will want to name your audience and click “Create Audience.”

Once you have your retargeting audience set up, go ahead and create a new ad. Select your Custom Audience when selecting the audience to target:

This is another stage where you can use explainer video ads to supercharge your ROI.

Explainer videos are a great way to convey the value of your services in a clear, memorable way that gets your prospects to take action.

You can do similar retargeting with your Analytics data, but instead of using Facebook ads, you can use Google Ads and retarget your audience throughout the internet.

Use the platform that allows you to better reach your target audience with your content.

Final Thoughts

I hope you are beginning to see it now … generating leads online isn’t hard as long as you aren’t trying to hit home runs with the first or second touch you have with your prospects. It’s more about cultivating a relationship and building trust along the way until you do hit a home run!

And I hope this long blog post showed you that it doesn’t have to be all hard work and hustle. If you follow the steps given above, you can build a functioning system that does all the heavy lifting for you and generates workable leads that turn into deals.

Here is a quick overview of the system we have created:

  1. Craft a valuable piece of content.
  2. Promote the content with a Facebook ad.
  3. Drive traffic to a squeeze page.
  4. Follow up with emails (that overcome their objections and deliver further value).
  5. Then have a “next step” they actually want to take.
  6. Use retargeting to further your cause.
  7. Close a whole lot of deals.

I know I’ve mentioned explainer videos a dozen times by now, but they truly are a universal fit for every stage of your marketing system.

You can use explainer videos to:

  • Get and keep attention
  • Boost conversion rates
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive longer engagement times

And the benefits don’t stop there. Explainer videos are the ultimate multi-tool, making them one of the most effective assets you can have.

 

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