The Comprehensive Guide To Real Estate Lead Generation In 2023/2024
April 2023: This article was updated to reflect up to date real estate lead gen best practices and strategies
Curious about the most effective real estate lead generation strategies for property brokers and agencies in 2023? Or would you perhaps be much better off putting your money into real estate lead generation companies?
Well, going by recent industry developments, it’s evident that technology is progressively refining real estate lead generation strategies. Gone are the days when brokers and agents were restricted to mailers, posters, newspaper ads, and property events.
In 2001, for instance, such traditional approaches saw only about 69% of home buyers making their purchase through a real estate agent or broker. The situation has since changed quite considerably, as today’s improved real estate lead generation strategies are now winning over at least 88% of home buyers.
And that’s not all. As it turns out, the new-school real estate lead generation principles are resonating well even with the corresponding property sellers. Market data published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that, in 2020, 89% of home sellers were assisted by a real estate agent.
So, you could say that things are seemingly looking up for real estate firms, agents, and brokers. Lead generation for real estate is now more promising than ever.
Or is it?
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The Problem With Real Estate Lead Generation In 2023
Now, don’t be quick to jump to conclusions. While real estate lead gen is now getting more positive results across the entire market, competition between individual firms is exceedingly getting stiffer.
As of 2017, for instance, the number of real hesitate brokerage firms in the U.S. had risen to 106,548. And in terms of professionals, the National Association of Realtors now boasts a membership of over 1.46 million.
NAR Membership Growth. Source: Statista.
The count doesn’t stop there, though – it gets worse. You see, the overall volume of commercial real estate businesses in the U.S. has already surpassed 2 million and counting.
Commercial Real Estate Businesses In The U.S. Source: IBISWorld
Then get this: while the volume of real estate firms continues to rise sharply, it just so happens that they’re still not selling as many properties as they did pre-recession.
In 2020, for example, only 5.64 million homes were sold in the U.S. Compare that with, say 2005, when the number of home sales topped 7.08 million.
Number of Homes Sold in the US. Source: Statista
And what does all this mean for you?
Well, the fact is, while real estate lead generation strategies and tools have indeed evolved substantially over the years, the scene is now more competitive than ever. The ever-expanding stockpile of firms is contesting for fewer sales opportunities.
As such, if there was ever a time you needed to perfect your real estate lead generation strategies, it is now. Instead of blindly trying your luck with random approaches, you ought to prioritize only a handful of proven real estate lead generation ideas – and then strategically execute them with finesse.
It’s only by engaging prospects at the right time, with the right message, and using the right channels that you get to outperform your competitors.
Now, to help you set up such a perfect plan, this post explains everything you need to know about lead generation for real estate in 2023. You get to discover not only the most effective real estate lead generation strategies, but also the corresponding real estate lead generation websites, apps, and companies that you might want to leverage.
Before we dive into all that nitty-gritty, however, let’s get the basics right.
What exactly is real estate lead generation in the first place? What types of real estate leads should be targeting? And what does inbound and outbound marketing have to do with real estate lead gen?
What Is Lead Generation For Real Estate?
Lead generation, to begin with, is a popular marketing term that describes the whole process of tapping into audiences, and then transforming the individuals into potentially high-converting prospects.
So, by “real estate lead generation”, we’re referring to the basic act of reaching out to possible property buyers or sellers, stirring up interest, and then bringing them in to kickstart the gradual process of conversion.
It’s this lead generation that starts prospects on their customer journey, after which lead nurturing is engaged to systematically channel them through the sales funnel.
Types Of Real Estate Leads
Real estate leads are generally classified according to their acquisition modes. The 4 main types are:
- Organic Self-Generated Leads: These are the leads that you’ve painstakingly acquired through organic marketing methods like content marketing, social media engagement, etc.
- Paid Self-Generated Leads: As the direct opposite of organic leads, paid self-generated leads refer to the prospects that you’ve obtained through paid digital ads.
- Purchased Leads: While self-generated leads come from your own marketing efforts, purchased leads are contrastingly sourced from third-party real estate lead generation companies and apps. These include even real estate lead generation websites like Zillow.com.
- Owned Leads: These are the leads who’ve already built a relationship with your business, and continue to be engaged in the hope of converting into repeat or long-term clients.
The corresponding lead generation methods, on the other hand, fundamentally engage two forms of marketing – inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Real Estate Lead Generation Approaches – Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing, for starters, is pretty much an indirect method of generating leads – as they’re first attracted to your real estate business by strategically placed initiatives like web content, social media posts, and SEO.
These primary attractions provide a foundation for stirring up interest among engaged audiences, in the hope of convincing them to commit to lead the conversion journey.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, tends to a be bit more direct and disruptive. Instead of gradually engaging prospects with organic incentives, it proactively tries to solicit sales from the word go.
That means target audiences don’t get the chance to develop relationships before committing. Outbound marketing hits them with blunt sales messages, seeking to convert them right on the spot.
Examples of real estate outbound marketing methods include in-person contact, digital sales ads, event sponsorships, billboards, cold emailing, and cold calling. This is why, in fact, another name for outbound marketing is “traditional marketing”.
Nevertheless, one thing you’ll notice about all these outbound approaches is, they tend to reach out to a much wider audience than inbound marketing. The goal here is usually to solicit sales from as many people as possible.
It turns out, however, that the aggressive tactics don’t necessarily push outbound marketing ahead of the inbound techniques. On the contrary, it’s inbound marketing that dominates in terms of the lead close rate and ROI.
Research, in fact, suggests that, on average, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than outbound marketing. And that’s not all – in terms of finances, inbound leads happen to cost marketers 61% less than their outbound counterparts.
Make no mistake about it, though. While it’s true that outbound marketing might lag behind in terms of close rate and ROI, it would be unwise to leave it out of your real estate lead generation strategies.
To understand why, just check out the current trends in the real estate market. You’ll notice that buyers discovered the properties they purchased through both inbound and outbound channels.
In 2020, for instance, 51% made the discovery through the web; 28% found out from a real estate agent; 7% got theirs from an open house sign/yard sign; 6% learned from friends, relatives, or neighbors; while 3% were informed directly by the property sellers.
As such, you might want to include both inbound and outbound approaches in your real estate lead generation strategies.
Here’s a perfect mix of more than 7 real estate lead generation ideas to get you going in 2023.
7+ Proven Real Estate Lead Generation Strategies For 2023 & 2024
#1. Host Open Houses
In first position is the traditional method of hosting open houses to attract buyers. This has always been a popular lead generation method for real estate because of its convenience and effectiveness.
In essence, an open house grants you a lot of visibility without spending anything on lead generation. Potential buyers will gladly come over to experience the property, and probably even bring their friends and families along – which subsequently translates into additional leads for your firm.
Going by 2018’s market figures, about 53% of prospective homebuyers in the U.S. attend an open house during their home search – leaving out just 47% of the market.
Open House Attendees in the US. Source: Statista.
Don’t get too preoccupied with selling the house, though. Rather, the objective of lead generation open houses is to give you the chance to interact directly with prospects.
The whole process is actually quite seamless, as the gratification that prospects get from the open house experience will form the basis for engagement. They’ll ask questions, provide feedback, and even offer insights into their preferences.
In the midst of all that, you should ask them to write their names and contact details on a registration sheet. At least then, you’ll be able to follow up with emails and calls after the open house event.
#2. Drive Engagement With Content Marketing
While open house events are admittedly important in the property search process, it’s the web that takes the crown above everything else. More than 90% of home buyers now use the internet to search for appropriate properties, as well as find suitable real estate companies.
Internet Usage Across All The Property Discovery Methods. Source: NAR
Google itself sees more than 13 billion real estate queries per yer year. And considering that the first page of the search results attracts up to 92% of the organic clicks, SEO is non-negotiable for real estate firms. This is one thing that you have to maximize if you hope to generate real estate leads from the web.
And while you’re at it, one particularly effective method you might want to prioritize here is content marketing. You should try to build relevant content in the form of blog articles, videos and listings.
The trick here is to identify trending topics in your field of focus, and then proceed to publish insightful pieces that provide real value.
When considering your field of focus, think about what makes you an expert in your field: do you specialise in high-end real estate? Or a certain location? This way, you can use your unique, expert knowledge to write compelling content that attracts the right audience for you.
If you’re a realtor selling high-end real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area, it follows that you should write content about that! You should write content that makes it clear you’re an expert in the field – in this example: “Why Real Estate Prices Are Going Up In The San Francisco Bay Area” or “10 Of San Fran’s Underrated Areas For Real Estate”.
To give you another (slightly “meta”) example, the content you’re reading is content marketing – our hope is that you’ll find this post via search engines and become curious about what Growform can do for real estate marketers. Your blog posts should work in the same way!
By consistently publishing such content pieces, you get to not only expand your search engine visibility, but also develop a lasting relationship with your audience. You’ll even notice that, with time, your site might establish itself as the thought leader in your space.
#3. Partner With Local Businesses
One smart idea that’s catching on is partnering with local businesses.
By teaming up with other entrepreneurs in your area, you can expand your reach and get in front of new potential clients. It’s all about providing value to both parties involved, and it’s a win-win situation.
Consider this – when you partner with a popular coffee shop or home improvement store, you’re not only gaining exposure to their loyal customer base, but you’re also offering your real estate expertise in return.
You can host joint events, like a first-time homebuyer seminar, or collaborate on content to share across your social media platforms. And let’s not forget the power of word-of-mouth marketing – when your local business partners recommend your services to their customers, you’re gaining trust and credibility in the eyes of potential clients.
Remember, partnering with local businesses isn’t just about increasing your visibility – it’s about strengthening your community ties and building lasting relationships. When you invest in your community, you’re creating a strong foundation for your real estate business that will pay dividends for years to come.
#4. Send Personalized Messages: Email Marketing & SMS Marketing
As you continue collecting contact information through open house events, digital forums, and web forms, remember not to leave your prospect database lying idle. You should, instead, set up an automated system that’s capable of conducting real estate lead generation follow-ups with well-personalized messages.
Two of the best messaging channels to adopt here are email and SMS. The bulk of realtors, in fact, are already quite familiar with them – as email itself is preferred by 89% of the agents when it comes to client engagement, while text messaging is popular with 93% of the professionals.
Now, to proceed, consider integrating an omnichannel messaging solution that supports both email marketing and SMS marketing. The messaging channels should also be perfectly synced to streamline the audience engagement experiences.
And speaking of engagement, the whole system ought to be automated to send follow-up messages based on pre-defined triggers. You’ll find basic tools for that on multichannel automation software like SendPulse, ActiveCampaign, and MailChimp.
They’ll help you set up well-detailed contact profiles, from where you could segment the prospects according to, say, the types of properties they’re seeking.
The same marketing platforms come even with intuitive campaign builders, which allow you to set up automated messages and triggers for each segment. At least with all that in place, you can leave the system to keep updating each prospect about any new properties that fit their needs.
Such real estate lead generation emails have been recording an average open rate of 19.24% and a corresponding click rate of 1.9%. SMS marketing, on the other hand, registers an impressive 98% open rate – but it’s only suitable for brief, text-based messages that are not accompanied by media illustrations.
#5. Drive Referrals From Past Clients
Another huge driver of real estate sales is peer-to-peer referrals.
So widespread is the trend, in fact, that while 12% of the home buyers in 2019 engaged real estate agents who they had worked with in the past, a whopping 41% used a realtor who had been referred by a family member, neighbor, or friend.
And it doesn’t stop there. The practice is pretty popular among property sellers too, as 66% of the sellers in the same year engaged their real estate agent based on either a referral or their past working relationship. As such, you might not want to leave out client referrals from your real estate lead generation strategies.
Now, to maximize the potential of these opportunities, find ways to keep in close contact with your past clients. And while you’re at it, try to transform them into your affiliate promoters.
You could, for instance, offer them attractive rewards and perks for bringing in new clients. Also, keep in mind that 69% of the home sellers today would be very much willing to write a review if requested.
Now that would be a thoughtful way to win free recommendations for your real estate company.
#6. Network With Real Estate Agents
Referrals don’t just come from clients and friends. It’s also possible to score a couple of real estate lead generation opportunities from your own peers in the industry.
Yes, that’s right – try not to always perceive other real estate agents as rivals and, instead, consider them as potential partners who might come in handy from time to time.
Such bonds are best formed by networking extensively with your peers. You can go ahead and join professional associations for realtors, participate actively in real estate conferences, or maybe start contributing to professional discussions across social media and digital community forums.
You never know – as the relationships develop, some of your close acquaintances in other cities might eventually start linking you up with clients who happen to be moving into your area.
#7. Establish Yourself As An Industry Leader On Social Media
While building a solid following on social media requires a lot of dedication and consistency, the results can be quite rewarding over the long haul.
You’re bound to appreciate, for instance, that social media fame translates to a much smoother real estate lead generation process. Prospects even find it easier to trust and commit to popular business pages that tend to appear as industry leaders.
What’s more, such profiles don’t just generate leads from their list of followers – from time to time, their extensive influence reaches even the followers’ networks, from where they manage to secure additional conversion opportunities.
That said, the social media platforms that you ought to prioritize here include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Facebook alone boasts more than 2.85 billion active users per month – which translates to immense real estate lead generation potential for realtors. You’ll particularly enjoy showcasing properties across its busy marketplace, interest groups, and page timelines. Additionally, the platform allows you to stretch and sync your real estate lead generation campaigns with Instagram.
#8. Run Paid Ads On Social Media & Google
The good thing about search engines and social media platforms is, they don’t restrict you to organic marketing. With a flexible real estate lead generation budget, you can go ahead and expand your opportunities with paid ads.
This is another area where Facebook truly shines, thanks to all the powerful granular targeting options that come embedded within its Ads Manager. From here, you can set up your real estate lead generation ads to run not only on the platform, but also across Messenger, Instagram, plus Facebook’s Audience Network.
Overall, the paid ads usually reach more than 2.1 billion people across the world – resulting in an average Click Through Rate (CTR) of 3.90%, a fair Cost Per Click average of $0.43, and an average Cost Per Milli (CPM) of $5.31.
Interestingly, however, a HubSpot study that sampled campaigns across 5,000 businesses concluded that Facebook isn’t exactly the leader of lead generation. Rather, the crown apparently belongs to LinkedIn, whose lead generation forms managed to outdo both Facebook and Twitter by 277%.
When it comes to ROI, though, Google Ads easily triumphs over the rest of the paid ad platforms. With its tools, your real estate lead generation ads are bound to maintain an average conversion rate of about 75%, which ultimately translates to an ROI of about 8:1.
Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t come easy for beginners. Most of these digital advertising platforms – including Google and Facebook – come with rather complex ad management tools that might take you some time to get used to. So, as you get started, I’d advise you to closely follow digital marketing leaders like Neil Patel for fresh tips on running ad campaigns.
Over To You – The Ultimate Hack For Real Estate Lead Generation
If you’re tempted by some of the ideas in this guide but don’t know where to start, we’ll make it easy for you: the first thing you need on your website to get leads is a high-performing form. You can’t just throw together a contact form with WordPress and expect people to fill it in.
This might sound too technical but, the truth is, it really doesn’t have to be. There is, instead, a rather non-technical – but effective – trick that strategic marketers have been implementing on their real estate lead generation websites.
Growform is is an intuitive form builder, capable of developing a host of elegant multi-step forms for capturing and generating leads. Among its collection of over 20 prebuilt templates, you’ll find high-converting forms that have been specifically designed for real estate lead generation.
You just need to pick your preferred style and then paste it onto your website – without needing to learn to code or hire a team of developers.
Consider, for instance, this multi-step form template that Growform has specially optimized for real estate lead generation:
You’ll notice that, unlike typical web forms, this example offers something in return for your contact details, and only requires a single piece of information to start off with.
The form then guides you through two additional “easy to answer” questions, before asking for personal information at the end.
This approach is based on a proven psychological principle called the sunk cost fallacy – and can double the number of leads you receive from the same traffic.
You can get started with a 14 day free trial of Growform without needing a credit card or any commitment.
At least then you’ll worry less about real estate lead generation and, instead, focus your efforts on nurturing the conversion opportunities!