You’ve held open houses, sent direct mail newsletters and made the dreaded cold calls. You’ve handed out your business card so often it’s become a reflex. But you’re still not generating enough solid leads. Or maybe you are generating leads, but it feels unsustainable.

  • Digital and traditional prospecting methods build on each other.
  • Combining your boots-on-the-ground knowledge with data should give you all sorts of great ideas for prospecting.
  • Find creative ways to participate in the community, and get to know your neighbors.

You’ve held open houses, sent direct mail newsletters and made the dreaded cold calls. You’ve handed out your business card so often it’s become a reflex. But you’re still not generating enough solid leads. Or maybe you are generating leads, but it feels unsustainable.

The traditional avenues of prospecting still work, to an extent. But why stop at traditional when there are so many affordable ways to fuel your prospecting efforts?

1. Rethink direct mail with big data

Diminishing returns on direct mail may mislead you into thinking that direct mail is dead. Direct mail is not dead; $9 billion of the $11.5 billion spent on data and related solutions for marketers went into perfecting mailing lists in 2015.

What is dead is the old way of doing direct mail. Spending thousands to send mailers to every homeowner in a given ZIP code is no longer necessary when you can leverage the power of data.

By gaining insights on marital status, age and occupation, you can target your direct mail campaigns toward people who are most likely to need your services.

Combine that with the deep knowledge you have about your particular markets, and you’re certain to see new leads.

Xpressdocs offers a direct mail solution that integrates well with data-driven insights. Coldwell Banker offers an application called CBx, which also leverages data.

And RealMailers offers a real estate postcard service. You can take advantage of RealMailers’ targeting tools for free to see if you like it.

2. Embrace email marketing

Embracing email marketing doesn’t mean you must abandon direct mail. By combining the two, you cater to potential clients who may prefer one method over the other.

Besides the benefits of reaching more prospects, you also come off as more professional and competent.

A smart seller knows that 90 percent of homebuyers do at least some of their research online, so marketing yourself as a digital native is becoming a prerequisite.

You can fast track the integration of digital and print efforts with real estate marketing solutions that recognize and address the unique challenges of brokers and agents.

3. Find your niche

Whatever you’re doing — cold calling, emailing, sending postcards, holding open houses — spend some time thinking about the demographic you need to reach. Talk to people. Get to know your market.

Most areas will have places where there will be a concentration of potential move-up buyers: young couples renting one-bedroom apartments.

Other areas to target could be a maturing suburb where there might be lots of empty nesters. Combining your boots-on-the-ground knowledge with data should give you all sorts of great ideas for prospecting.

4. Search engine marketing

Google AdWords and the Bing equivalent are very powerful marketing tools. With nearly unlimited options on targeting, insightful analytics and complete control of budgeting, your search engine marketing will only become more effective over time.

Like email marketing, though, you’ll need a skilled expert to help you. Either that, or another software solution.

Of course, you could learn these skills yourself — Google provides tons of documentation and certification courses to help you. But it’s probably more efficient to hire a professional.

5. Paid social media marketing

There are some nuances to both methods, but search engine marketing and social media marketing offer similar targeting and budgeting options.

Facebook is one of the best social media platforms because of the flexible targeting options and the favorable demographics of Facebook users.

Facebook offers something called the Facebook pixel that tracks user activity on your website. Nate Dadosky shows you how you can use this useful tool to salvage missed lead generation opportunities.

6. Getting to know your neighbors

Full disclosure: I stole this idea from a financial planner in my colleague’s neighborhood.

She hired a professional pet photographer and offered her neighbors (in an upscale neighborhood) free pet pictures. It might seem a little bit silly, but for everyone who came to the party, she had an immediate conversation-starter: their pet.

And if you’re coming to get professional photos of your pet, chances are you love talking about your furry friend.

You could adjust this idea to fit your desired client base, of course. But it’s always great when your party or get-together has a built-in ice breaker from which you can build rapport.

Bring it all together

Remember your direct mail campaign? Why not partner with a local non-profit in raising awareness for a fundraiser coming up? You might be able to include your business card on their flyer as a sponsor.

Even if the people you reach aren’t ready to enter the market yet, you can use email marketing to keep yourself top-of-mind when they do decide to make a move.

Maybe you get a few responses that turn into good leads. See what demographic categories those leads fall into, and start optimizing your prospecting for more of those type of people.

Although it will take some time to dial these systems in, these prospecting ideas are powerful tools to add to your toolbox.

Chris Meyer is the founder of CM Business Writing in San Francisco. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Email Chris Meyer

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