7 Proven Techniques for Real Estate Lead Generation Online

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  • Real estate agents have a lot of lead generation techniques to choose from.
  • The Internet facilitates this process by giving you access to a large audience.
  • This article explains seven online strategies for real estate lead generation.
  • It focuses on proven techniques such as blogging, social media and PPC.

You probably already realize the importance of real estate lead generation, when it comes to sustaining and growing your business over time. So let’s skip over the “why” part and get straight to the “how” side of things.

In this guide, you’ll learn some of the most effective real estate lead generation techniques and strategies for attracting clients online.

Why read this? This is not a random list of marketing methods. We have used these very techniques on behalf of our clients for over a decade, and with positive results. They are time-tested and proven in the real world. And you’ll learn how to use them effectively!

The seven strategies covered in this guide:
1. Social media platforms
2. Real estate listing websites
3. Blogging and content marketing
4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
5. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
6. YouTube real estate videos
7. Email marketing and newsletters
[Bonus: Generating website leads]

7 Real Estate Lead Generation Strategies

Most of the strategies on this list have one thing in common. They give you a way to demonstrate your market knowledge and expertise to a specific audience, in order to generate inquiries and leads.

Value is another common thread here. With most of these techniques, you’ll be sharing valuable and useful information with prospective clients.

Lead generation techniques graphic

This is one of the most effective lead generation strategies for real estate agents, because it allows you to establish a level of trust with your intended audience. And trust is one of the things you need to turn prospects into clients.

So without further ado, let’s explore these lead generation techniques.

1. Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter enable you to connect with a potentially large audience at little to no cost. They can also help support your real estate lead generation efforts—when handled the right way.

And by “large” audience, we’re talking about most adults in the U.S.

The following graphic shows the results of a Pew Research Center study that found 81% of adults use YouTube, while nearly 70% use YouTube. Another survey revealed that seven-in-ten Facebook users visit that site on a daily basis.

Graph showing social media usage statistics for various platforms

The takeaway: Social media gives you a great opportunity to engage with potential clients on a large scale, and at practically no cost.

But if you’re going to use social media for real estate lead generation, you have to go into it with the right mindset. Heavy-handed marketing tactics typically don’t work well on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Instead, view it as a place to share helpful information, start a conversation, and join ongoing discussions.

The Right Approach to Social

For example, you could use Twitter to provide regular updates about real estate market conditions in the area you serve, and in a structured way. This gives people a good reason to follow you on Twitter.

With this approach, you’re providing a kind of information service relevant to your target audience. You’re providing value, by offering insights that can help them succeed.

But it also serves as a real estate lead generation strategy, due to the potential for discussion and interaction.

Every time you create a Twitter post, people have the opportunity to leave comments, questions or feedback. This gives you an opportunity to interact and share even more of your insights.

When it comes to social media, you get out of it what you put into it. If you work hard to create and share useful information for a specific audience, they’ll be more inclined to give you their full attention. This is the key to real estate lead generation online.

Here are some things you could share on social media sites:

  • Local real estate market reports, updates and trends *
  • A recent blog post that offers a more detailed report
  • Information about neighborhoods in your area
  • Home prices, most and least affordable areas, etc.
  • A helpful PDF guide you created for local home buyers
  • An infographic with current real estate market data
  • Client success stories (recent home buyers or sellers)
  • A featured listing / hot property that just hit the market
  • Video explainers related to any of the above
  • Anything else that informs or helps your target audience

* Local real estate market insights will likely generate the most interest from people in your area, and therefore help you generate leads. It’s a recurring theme in this guide!

2. Listings Websites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.)

This guide features several real estate lead generation techniques you can employ on your own website. But you can also leverage third-party websites to connect with potential clients, and this includes all of the popular property search websites.

You can create a pro on popular real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to increase your visibility and reach a wider audience. These sites usually offer premium options as well, such as boosted listings, real estate lead generation packages, or targeted advertising for increased visibility.

The Pros:

  • Visibility: These platforms attract millions of visitors every month, which could greatly increase your chances of being seen by potential clients.
  • Inquiries: The property listings featured on these websites often produce inquiries from interested home buyers, via form submission, phone call or email.
  • Targeting: Many platforms allow you to customize your pro and listings to target specific buyer demographics or property types.
  • Analytics: Some of these sites offer data insights on user behavior and engagement, helping you tailor your marketing efforts over time.

 The Cons:

  • Competition: The major property listing websites are saturated with agents, making it hard for an individual agent to stand out from the crowd.
  • Cost: Some of these platforms offer agents a basic pro for free. But to get some actual results, you’ll probably have to pay for premium placement and advanced lead generation tools.
  • Quality: Real estate agents often complain about the quality of leads delivered through sites like Zillow and Trulia. (Visit the “/realtors” subreddit on Reddit, and you’ll find plenty of these discussions.) So you’ll probably have to sift through the leads to identify serious clients.
  • Unpredictability: Your visibility and success will largely depend on the platform’s algorithm and ranking system, which is unpredictable and beyond your control.

If you do use listing websites for real estate lead generation, I encourage you to do it as part of a broader marketing strategy. You’ll be better off in the long run if you develop other channels as well, including the ones listed below.

You never want to become dependent on a third-party lead provider.

3. Blogging and Content Marketing

I’m a big fan of blogging and other content-related strategies, as a real estate lead generation technique. I’ve even built a marketing service around it.

Blogging offers benefits you just can’t find from traditional marketing methods. It allows you to create and customize your own lead generation channel, directly through your real estate website.

The idea here is to create useful and helpful content geared toward your target audience, and to publish it on a regular basis. Blogging programs like WordPress simplify the process by handling all of the technical stuff for you.

Let’s assume I’m a listing agent in San Diego, California. I could use my real estate blog to publish informative articles about the local housing market, geared toward homeowners who are thinking of selling. I could blog about home price trends, buyer demand, sales activity, and other topics of interest for potential sellers.

This does several things:

First of all, it allows me to show up in relevant Google searches conducted by my target audience. It helps me attract potential clients to my website and encourages them to contact me. It also helps me position myself as an expert in this particular niche and geographical area.

Blogging supports your real estate lead generation efforts in several ways:

  • It helps you increase your search engine visibility and website traffic.
  • It helps you connect with a specific audience researching a specific topic.
  • It allows you to demonstrate your expertise on real estate matters.
  • It gives you a way to educate your audience, which in turn builds trust.
  • It gives you content to repurpose for social media and other channels.

You’ll enjoy greater success by providing high-quality information on a regular basis. In this context, “quality” refers to the kind of content that helps a specific audience achieve a specific goal.

You can also improve your results by combining a real estate blogging strategy with some basic SEO techniques. So let’s talk about that next…

Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy that can support and improve your real estate lead generation system over time. It increases your visibility and website traffic, which in turn allows you to convert more visitors into potential clients.

SEO goes hand-in-hand with the blogging and content marketing strategies mentioned throughout this guide. They’re like peanut butter and jelly!

For the most part, search engine optimization comes down to three things:

  • Creating website content that matches the searches conducted by your target audience.
  • Creating a well-organized website to help people and search engines find that content.
  • Attracting and earning “backlinks” from other websites to your website, to increase domain authority.

SEO offers many benefits within the context of real estate lead generation. For one thing, it’s a scalable strategy you can expand over time, by publishing new content on a regular basis. Need more website traffic to support your lead generation goals? Just publish more content.

You could create a list of keyword topics related to your target audience, and write an informative blog post for each topic. This will increase the chance that your real estate website appears in search engines when someone searches for those topics.

Example: An agent trying to attract local home buyers could write a detailed blog post about popular neighborhoods or communities in the area. Each post would be naturally optimized for the name of the neighborhood. The agent could also create blog posts optimized for broader categories like “best family-friendly neighborhoods in [city].”

Here are some SEO steps that can support your real estate lead generation efforts:

  1. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant search terms for your local market.
  2. Optimize meta titles and descriptions with targeted keywords for each page on your website.
  3. Regularly publish high-quality, informative content that addresses common questions and concerns in the real estate industry.
  4. Create an XML sitemap and upload it to your server to help search engines find all of your pages and content.
  5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly to improve user experience and search engine rankings.
  6. Obtain backlinks from reputable websites in the real estate or related industries to boost your site’s authority.
  7. Use local SEO strategies by optimizing your Google My Business pro and obtaining reviews from satisfied clients.
  8. Monitor your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track traffic, rankings, and user behavior.

And if you’re serious about SEO, check out my comprehensive services package.

5. Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Some agents also use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as a real estate lead generation technique.

The idea here is to bid on certain keyword phrases commonly used by the intended audience, and to present a relevant ad that encourages them to click through to a landing page.

Pay-per-click marketing can be an effective strategy in the short term, because it allows you to appear in relevant search results within hours of launching a campaign.

While search engine optimization is a long-term strategy for increasing visibility and traffic, PPC can deliver results overnight. If SEO is a long-distance jog, PPC is more a sprint.

It’s called “pay-per-click” because you only pay for your ads when somebody clicks on them. Google AdWords is the most popular PPC advertising program. Facebook ads also offers a pay-per-click option.

When using pay-per-click as a real estate lead generation technique, you want to present a specific offer (or information) to a specific audience. You should also create a clean and compelling landing page that expands on the text contained within the ad.

Keywords >> Ad >> Landing Page >> Call to Action

That’s the sequence that needs to take place, when using PPC to generate real estate leads.

But you really have to know what you’re doing when using PPC advertising. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of money with no results or real estate leads to show for it.

6. YouTube Videos

A lot of real estate professionals have realized they can use YouTube to increase visibility and support their lead generation efforts. So it’s another strategy worth exploring.

Like other social media platforms, YouTube allows you to connect with a large audience at little or no cost. It has been estimated that YouTube has well over two billion active monthly users. And a lot of them are seeking “how to” advice that helps them accomplish a specific task, like buying a home.

To leverage YouTube as a real estate lead generation strategy, start by creating and sharing informative videos geared toward your local audience. Focus on topics that will capture the attention of local home buyers and sellers, while showcasing your expertise at the same time.

You can publish YouTube videos for free, just by using your smart phone. So there’s no budgetary or technical barriers holding you back.

Here are some good topics for real estate YouTube videos:

  • Local housing market updates with meaningful statistics *
  • Video tours of local neighborhoods and communities
  • Information about mortgage rates, home prices, and similar trends
  • Interviews with local experts like mortgage brokers or builders
  • A behind-the-scenes look at a typical real estate transaction
  • Anything else that provides useful information to your audience

* I told you this was a recurring theme. People love this kind of content.

The most important thing is to make each video as useful and helpful as it can possibly be. That’s how you increase views and interaction on YouTube—not with slick production or fancy intro music. It’s the content that matters.

Evidence: There’s a husband-and-wife real estate team in Southern California (Glen and Kelly Nelson) who post videos on YouTube offering local housing market updates. Their informative videos generate thousands of views, with one video exceeding 20,000 views.

That’s also what makes YouTube work as a real estate lead generation technique. By publishing informative videos on a regular basis, and optimizing them with the appropriate keywords, you can put yourself in front of the very people who need your services.

Be sure to put your contact information in the video description area, and also within the video itself. Encourage people to contact you with their questions about local market conditions.

7. Email Marketing and Newsletters

While it probably won’t produce as many leads as strategies like pay-per-click, social media and listing websites, an email newsletter can help you stay in touch with past and potential clients. It’s a long-term messaging strategy with unlimited potential.

When you send out an email newsletter, you’ll have the undivided attention of each individual subscriber. How long you hold their attention will depend on the quality of the content you deliver.

But the fact that you can communicate with people one-on-one puts email marketing in a class of its own, when it comes to real estate lead generation strategies.

The key to email newsletters is to provide useful and specific information that helps a specific audience accomplish a specific goal.

(Yes, that’s a lot of “specifics.” And yes, I keep repeating that phrase. But with good reason. It’s one of the most important concepts you should take away from this guide.)

If you fill your newsletter with generic or “canned” content that’s not useful to your audience, you’ll have a hard time retaining subscribers. On the other hand, if you turn your email newsletter into a valuable information service, you’ll have an easier time attracting and retaining subscribers.

You also want to make your content specific to a certain geographical area. Most real estate professionals focus on a specific city or metro area. So you want to create content that speaks to that particular audience.

It also helps to offer some kind of “freebie” to attract newsletter subscribers. For instance, you might offer a free e-book or an exclusive housing market report for local buyers. This is what marketing professionals refer to as a “lead magnet.” It’s a valuable item you offer to people in exchange for their contact information or subscription.

Bonus: How to Generate Leads on Your Website

Some of the strategies listed above (like blogging and SEO) can help you increase your website traffic significantly. But there’s an important distinction to be made here, in the context of real estate lead generation.

People often assume that web traffic automatically increases leads or sales. But that’s not the right way to think about it. Traffic equals traffic. Period.

In order to “convert” those visitors into potential clients, you have to implement certain “lead generators” across your website.

A website “conversion” occurs when a passive visitor transforms into someone who actively engages with your business. If somebody visits your website and signs up for your newsletter, or contacts you directly, they’ve converted from a casual visitor to a subscriber or a live lead.

In some ways, website conversion is the most important aspect of real estate marketing online. After all, you could own three different websites, blog daily, and get 2,000 visitors per week. But without a plan in place for lead generation, all that activity and traffic would do you little good.

Here’s how to increase conversions on your website:

1. Define conversion goals in advance. What’s the number-one thing you want people to do when they visit your real estate website? What’s the second most valuable action? You can’t develop a real estate lead generation strategy until you have some clearly defined conversion goals in mind.

2. Increase website usability. Create a well-organized and clutter-free real estate website. Organize your site logically to help people find the information they need. Website usability can make your visitors more likely to stick around, increasing the chance they’ll contact you.

3. Combine multiple lead generators. Offer property listings and encourage people to contact you about them. Create a sign-up form for your high-value real estate market newsletter. Place call-to-action hyperlinks at the top of all blog posts. Place contact info in the header area, so it’s highly visible on all pages. Use exit-intent popups to present a strong offer to people who are about to leave.

4. Overcome skepticism and encourage trust. Create a detailed bio that includes your background, education and training. Make sure your website is secure with the “https” prefix in the URL. Offer testimonials and reviews from past clients, with videos if possible. Allow people to schedule a no-obligation Zoom consult so they can get to know you.

I hope this guide to real estate lead generation points you in the right direction, and I wish you well in your business endeavors. And if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Brandon Cornett

Brandon Cornett is a mortgage content marketing expert with 17 years of experience. He also created the Home Buying Institute, one of the nation's leading informational websites for home buyers.

Brandon Cornett

Brandon Cornett is a mortgage content marketing expert with 17 years of experience. He also created the Home Buying Institute, one of the nation's leading informational websites for home buyers.