3 free online lead gen sources for real estate agents

Take advantage of Google My Business, Nextdoor and LinkedIn, and watch the leads roll in

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If you happen to be in any real estate Facebook group, then you know that every day there’s a real estate agent asking about some paid leads program and whether it’s worth the money.

Almost every other day, there’s an equal number of questions around SEO or some other semi-technical lead generation strategy such as re-marketing.

On top of all of this, I know I personally get a call at least every week from someone who wants to sell me no. 1 placement on Google or Yelp — or both.

I’m here to share with you three free overlooked online lead generation opportunities that you’re probably not taking advantage of in your business.

1.  Google My Business

This is quite possibly the lowest hanging fruit for real estate agents, and it’s still untapped.

We’ve written about this for years, yes years. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, open up a new tab and search “real estate agent near me.”

More than likely a map will pop up, and you’ll see a list of real estate agents near you. Now that the map is open, grab and pull it over your home.

Take note of the agents, not just to spy but also to see the competition level. Now do another search, “real estate agents in city,” using the city of your office.

Google My Business

How many agents in your office are using this address? If it’s a bunch, you might want to use your home address; if it’s not many, use your office address for the verification step.

To get started you simply need to head over to Google.com/business and set up your account. If you were wondering why I talked about verification, then this next step will bring it all together.

Once you enter in your information, Google will want to verify your address. So pick wisely as you’ll have to be able to receive a post card/letter at this address. Once you verify yourself, you’ll be off to the races.

Google My Business is completely free and allows you to pop up for a very heavy buyer intent search (meaning the people looking really want an agent now).

Once you log into your verified account, you can add photos, link to videos and even make weekly posts about specials (I recommend new listings or open house announcements).

Action item: Set up an account; that alone will help you.

2.  Nextdoor

If you happen to live in a planned community, you might already have heard of this.

Nextdoor is like Facebook for neighborhoods. It doesn’t sound too inventive, but it’s a relatively new social media platform that is address based.

Essentially, it allows everyone in a geographic area to share posts. Yard sales, neighborhood watch and community events are what seems to be getting the most play on it for now. Nextdoor is just waiting for real estate agents to grab on to this platform.

Let me explain. One the job functions of a real estate agent is to know the market and the community. The strategy I’m proposing is that you become the “mayor” of the area.

Update your neighbors on their market value, open house, new developments — all with a helpful attitude.

What would be spammalicious on Facebook feels informative on Nextdoor.

Next, you’ll want to look for the “claim your business” button and claim your business. It will search for whatever you have listed your business as.

So if you did the first one, then this one will be much easier as Nextdoor will pull from Google.

Action Items

  1. Set up an account
  2. Engage
  3. Claim your business

3.  LinkedIn

LinkedIn might be the best social media network for real estate agents that no one uses.

I know you’ve heard this one too, but you still don’t use it. I see some agents on LinkedIn, and it’s a spam fest. I can’t imagine that they are generating business that way.

Here’s some ideas for you to leverage what could be the best social network — the right way.

First things first, optimize that profile.  Don’t put weird names like “Sean City Realtor Jones,” use your real name.

Your first “connections” should be your friends, so don’t go and make it awkward by using a fake name. I know the reasoning behind it, it’s all about ranking. You don’t need to keyword stuff anything for ranking anymore.

As a side note, calling yourself CEO is pretty cool. But when your list of “jobs” is real estate agent, it’s really a tough sell. I think you’re a CEO and small business owner. I get why you’d want to call yourself that, but will your friends and family?

Of course, on your profile, you should add everything from your past experience; just keep in mind this is like a resume for jobs you want to get selling other people’s homes. Short and sweet works.

Be sure to add your groups, your charity work and (pro tip) especially your college if you attended.

Let’s assume you have a full profile, now what? Here’s a few rapid-fire things you can do that you probably didn’t think of.

Content distribution

  1. Blog on LinkedIn: I don’t think LinkedIn should be your main blog. It should be used with what we used to call a “reblog.” Essentially, you take your old content and post it on LinkedIn. No, I’m not worried about duplicate content, but if you are, here’s a little hack for you: copy and paste most of your content, and then add a link at the bottom that says, “Read the rest of this original article here.”
  2. Add video content to LinkedIn: Earlier this year, I posted a video on LinkedIn and got over 300 views. That might not sound like a lot, but when I posted the same video on Facebook, I got less than 100.
  3. Do both 1 and 2 with a market update: You’ve been told for years you should be talking about the real estate market. LinkedIn is a very appropriate place to do that. Do a video market update, blog about the market, and post it. Your connections will see this content as valuable, and they’re the right audience for it.

Staying in touch

Touch base with anyone who has had a recent job change, birthday or anniversary.

LinkedIn offers an easy way to stay top-of-mind by notifying you of someone’s recent career change. If you’re in a hurry, you can just hit a button on your phone, but a better approach might be a personal note or better yet — a phone call.

Pro tip: Did you know that you can download all your connections on LinkedIn, including email. This isn’t permission to send them a newsletter, but it could be a way for you to periodically email them to opt into your newsletter or perhaps just stay in touch via your CRM.

 Lead generation

There’s a ton of lead generation options on LinkedIn from paid advertising to joining groups. Ultimately, all of them require you to have an open mind about networking and an understanding of relationships.

For example, let’s say you wanted to do more relocation clients. You could look up HR directors for firms in the area and get connected. From there you could ask them out for coffee.

As an agent, you have access to resources that could ease someone’s move into a new town.

Many companies don’t have relocation packages or departments, but sometimes they will allow guest speakers for lunch or sponsors of events such as company picnics. Find ways to partner with these companies, and you’ve found a whole new niche.

Take advantage of these three free resources, and watch the leads roll in.

Joshua Jarvis is a digital marketer with 4rd Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.