No budget for real estate prospecting? Find quality leads on Twitter, Pinterest, Zillow for free

Knowing client type that consistently closes business with you will help focus marketing efforts

Are you paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your lead generation? If you would like to reduce your ad spend while increasing the number of high-quality leads that you generate, it’s much easier than you realize if you know where to look and what to do.

Here are five simple steps you can take to achieve that goal:

Lead generation image via Shutterstock.
Lead generation image via Shutterstock.

1. Identify a target market

To really do this right, begin by looking at where you did the bulk of your transactions in the last six to 12 months. This is the geographical area where you are achieving the greatest success. Next, look for patterns among the clients with whom you have closed deals. What professions are they in? Approximately how old are they? Are you attracting clients born outside the U.S.? What price range do you sell to most often? Are your clients predominantly younger or older singles, married couples, families, or some other type of household?

Once you have this information, you have a picture of the type of client who consistently closes business with you. This is where you should target your marketing efforts.

The next step is how to reach them. CoreLogic has a new program called REiSource that allows you to obtain lists of names that meet the criteria you specify at 8-10 cents per name. This is much more effective than paying for Internet leads where you know nothing about the person.

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For example, if you find that you are attracting a lot of teachers and police officers, this service will allow you to identify those people who fall into this category and who make enough money to afford to purchase. The secret is to design your marketing piece specifically for this group.

... Search for high school students who will be attending the local university next fall ... Let them know that if they plan on living off campus, there are condos their parents could purchase that could be an excellent alternative to renting."

To illustrate this point, a program called “Homes for Heroes” provides a 5 percent grant to assist buyers with their initial down payment. Your marketing piece would briefly explain the program and the opportunity. When a lead contacts you, help them become preapproved with a lender. If they qualify, you have a strong buyer who will probably be telling his or her colleagues about this program and your services as well.

2. Prospect for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs) for free

There are two great places where you can locate potential FSBOs at absolutely no cost to you. The most obvious place is on the for-sale-by-owner sites. While this is not for the faint of heart, if you have good FSBO conversion skills, this one tactic can be a gold mine for your business.

The other place to search is on Zillow’s “Make Me Move” section. This is a place where people who may be considering moving or preparing to move often post the price at which they would be willing to sell. An important caveat: Make sure the property is not currently listed with an agent.

3. Search Twitter

You can find potential buyer leads on Twitter by using the Twitter search function. Simply search your city’s name and the term “moving.” When I searched “Moving to Austin,” there were six matches posted in just 12 hours.

Another smart strategy is to actually search for high school students who will be attending the local university next fall. When they post “Just accepted to UT” (University of Texas or Tennessee), follow them. If they follow you back, congratulate the person on being accepted. Let them know that if they plan on living off campus, there are condos their parents could purchase that could be an excellent alternative to renting.

4. Capitalize on Pinterest

As with Twitter, you can search “moving to your city.” When I searched “Moving to Austin” on Pinterest, I pulled up a number of matches.

A different approach is to create a board under your city’s name and the term “real estate.” When I searched “Austin Real Estate,” a number of savvy agents were marketing their listings there. In addition, there were boards posted on “New Home Construction Questions,” “Austin Real Estate Rebates” and “Austin Horse Properties.” Remember, you can also post videos to Pinterest.

Before you pass on this suggestion, here are some important points to note: As of December 2013, Pinterest generates 2.5 billion page views per month and 5 million “pins” per day.

5. Search preforeclosures and auctions for free

There are two great sources here that will cost you nothing. If you search “homes” in your area on Zillow and sort by “cheapest,” you will bring up the auction feed from Auction.com. If you have investor clients who like to purchase this type of property, this can be an excellent source.

A second source is ePropertyWatch.com. If you live in the area where you sell real estate, you can sign up for this service. They will alert you to the changes in your property value; however, they also provide a list of properties that have had a foreclosure notice filed on them. This gives you an opportunity to contact the owner and see if there is any chance of selling the property before it goes to sale. In many cases, the owners may not be aware that a short sale or some other alternative may be an option.

If you’re still blindly marketing using the same old tactics and not generating the results you want, experiment with one of these resources. The ideal place to start, no matter what or how you market, is by having clarity about who your target market is.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.


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