2020 has been an unprecedented year of uncertainty, which has evolved the way real estate agents plan and execute lead generation strategies for real estate prospects. Digital marketing strategies have taken off, while face to face prospecting and large in-person events have been canceled somewhat indefinitely.
The best real estate lead generation strategies for 2021 require using a variety of digital and traditional marketing methods to target your audience and see what they best respond to. Reflecting on 2020 and reviewing what worked for your real estate business is crucial.
Succeeding in the competitive real estate market will involve establishing your brand and ensuring your business is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Read on for more ideas on how to gather leads, re-engage your prospects, and implement the best real estate lead generation strategies for 2021.
Capitalizing on Opportunities in 2021
While it is difficult to create housing market predictions for 2021 due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there will always be buyers or sellers on the real estate market. Or if they aren’t ready to buy or sell now, they might be exploring and act on their plans later. It is up to you to streamline your digital and traditional marketing strategy to capitalize on these leads and opportunities in the new year.
Worldwide spending on advertisements on Facebook and Instagram will rise more than 22% this year, up to approximately $95 billion in 2021. Implementing a social media campaign through Facebook Ads can get people interested in your listings as you can provide links to information, property photos, virtual video house tours, and more.
With precise targeting and the vast amount of users on the social media network, Facebook Ads will still be used prominently in real estate lead generation strategies in 2021. However, these precise ad targeting options may be removed or reduced from the platform as privacy concerns and intense scrutiny from the public, media, and government escalates over time.
In 2021, you should commit some of your marketing and advertising budget to targeting people who already know you rather than trying to capture the attention of an audience that does not know you.
Consider focusing on retargeting people that have already visited your agent website by incorporating the Facebook Pixel into the HTML/CSS code of your website. This Pixel code follows each person that visits your website, allowing you to show your Facebook advertisements to these specific people the next time they log onto Facebook or Instagram.
Start a Podcast
Demand for podcasts and creative coverage is at its all-time high, which provides a unique opportunity for real estate agents to create content other than simply blogging or posting articles.
A podcast is a great way to connect with your local community. Featuring local real estate updates, local events, local sports updates, and interviews with local businesses will appeal to your niche, which is your local community. Instead of asking business owners to meet up to pitch them for referrals, you can interview and feature them on your podcast.
This gives you credibility and opens the door to more referral opportunities. You are coming through a stance of contributing value to your listeners and the individuals you are interviewing and gaining more exposure through the local community.
It is important to push podcast episodes to gain traction consistently. Create a timeline or editorial calendar and launch your first show.
You can purchase podcast hosting software and audio editing software, set up your Google Play and iTunes accounts, and launch your first few episodes. It is important to launch with a minimum of 5 podcast episodes already pre recorded, as it will give people a diverse range of episodes to listen to.
Podcasts do not cost a lot of money to launch, but it does require time. But creating a podcast creates a bond with the listener because you are talking to them consistently, and feels more intimate than reading a blog article. Your leads are still reading emails and blog articles, but you can also nurture your relationship with them in the car or while they are exercising by recording audio podcasts for them to listen to.
Apple Podcasts confirmed in 2018 that there were over 550,000 podcasts and over 18.5 million episodes. Considering that it is 2020, there is probably more than that currently. However, your goal is not to compete with the popular shows such as NPR or Joe Rogan, but rather expanding your brand on a local level.
Podcasting is growing at a steep rate, increasing about 30% more in 2019, and more than 80 million Americans tune in and listen to podcasts every week. A podcast is a great way to get exposure for you and your business, and audio serves as a unique opportunity to explore in the new year.
Divorce rates have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic as couples have been tired of each other after the shelter-in-place quarantine. Due to the combination of high rates of unemployment, stress, loss of loved ones, sickness, and homeschooling children, approximately 31% of couples admitted that the quarantine lockdown has harmed their marriage and relationships.
The approximate number of people seeking divorce was about 34% higher in March through June in 2020 than the same time frame in 2019. Newlyweds found it more difficult to stay together, as approximately 20% of couples who looked for divorce were married only up to 5 months. This newlywed statistic was close to almost doubling the rate when compared to 11% in 2019.
In 2021, divorce rates may continue to rise due to the impact of economic, social, psychological, and more factors that stem from the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering that more than 60% of all divorcees list their home for sale, about 732,000 houses go on the real estate market in the United States. These are very motivated sellers and may even be ordered by the courts to sell the property with a deadline in place.
The best way to get these listings and divorce leads is to access your county’s Clerk of Court website and pull them up individually. You can also use a paid public record search aggregator such as SearchQuarry to look up the latest divorces in any state.
Considering the previous divorcee home listing statistic, if you manually pull up 100 prospects, 61 prospects will be leads that end up listing their property on the market. As a real estate agent, you can then pursue them as leads.
Another way to obtain leads is to work closely with a divorce and family lawyer in your local area. In exchange for the divorce or family lawyer to send referrals your way, you can also agree to send referrals towards their law practice.
Having a referral gives you more credibility than simply reaching out with cold calls, so both you and the lawyer can win business while providing a valuable service for the prospects.
Text message marketing gives you a great communications channel to connect with your prospects quickly. About 40% of buyers prefer communicating with a real estate agent over text rather than calling via phone, and text messages have an open rate of about 98%. Considering that almost every text is opened and read, this is a great opportunity to use text messaging to capture leads.
You can use an SMS texting service such as SimpleTextin to send text marketing campaigns to promote your real estate listings and generate sales. For example, if someone spots a sign that says “Text WOODST to #40145”, they can text that custom keyword and receive an automatic text with a photo, link, information, and contact details for the listing.
Afterward, you can set autoresponders to follow up and nurture interest. They will either want to show up and view the listing or take steps to remove themselves from your text subscriber base.
Client Appreciation Events
While in-person client appreciation events are on hold, you can host virtual client appreciation events. A lot of people think that virtual events are boring and awkward, but they do not necessarily have to be this way.
You can hire a virtual entertainer or a live music event to make the event more exciting. You can also send a basket of snacks or pizza for each attendee to munch on during the event.
Another great interactive client appreciation event idea is retaining a bartender or local mixologist to teach how to mix classic drinks. Take a step further and make the event more special by sending each attendee a DIY cocktail mix with liquor to mix their own drinks. Include a personalized glass with their name etched into the side, and it will be an event that they will never forget!
In 2021, we will most likely go back to hosting smaller events with people we trust to limit COVID-19 exposure and spread. Attendees will need to test often to ensure they are negative, or perhaps there will be a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. But there will always be a demand for in-person events as people value relationships and connecting with others.
Create a Farm Area
Real estate farming is a marketing tactic that involves nurturing business in your local area. It means that your goal is to establish you and your business as the local expert.
This is crucial as, according to Zillow Group’s Consumer Housing Trends 2019 Report, approximately 75% of sellers consider an agent with local knowledge or neighborhood-specific information as very or extremely important in deciding an agent to work with.
Before creating a farm area, you should check if your local community already has a well-established agent farming your area because it may not be worth competing against them. But you can always figure out what marketing methods they are not using and use those marketing methods instead.
For instance, if they are not leveraging social media properly, you could come in and expand your exposure utilizing digital marketing methods.
To market in your farm area, leave informational door hangers with your contact details and open houses on the homes. This is helpful as people tend to be wary about opening doors and to talk with strangers. You can also send your farm area mailers in the early January of 2021 to see if they are interested in selling their homes.
A lot of homeowners with plans on selling their homes paused or put their selling plans on hold due to the pandemic. With the new year, homeowners may want to start putting their homes back on to the market.
Schedule Coffee Meetings With Sphere of Influence
Become a “coffee house consultant” and schedule meetings over coffee with prospects. Homeowners can feel pressured when real estate agents want to meet at their home, so a public and neutral territory can help them relax. The first step for a prospect to turn into a client is to enjoy working with you.
Meeting for coffee is low pressure and takes from a few minutes to an hour. Coffee can also offer the lead more flexibility as it can happen early in the morning before work, during the lunch workday, or even at night for a quick pick-me-up cup. They are a great opportunity to catch up with past clients or if you are working on strengthening your sphere of influence.
Contact Old Expired Listings
Rather than reaching out to newly expired listings, pay attention to the listings that expired more than one to two years ago, especially if the listings were not relisted again online. These homeowners were once willing to sell, so it is up to you to leverage this knowledge to reach out and see what their current plans are.
You can offer your expertise as a real estate agent to see if they are willing to relist their property. You can also provide them with your contact details when they are ready to sell their home sometime in the future.
Join Non-Real Estate Business Groups
If you are attending real estate events where everyone is most likely a real estate agent, you are lowering the chances of meeting a quality lead. Rather than attending these real estate industry-specific events, consider branching out and attending networking events at other industries.
Instead of selling a scripted sales pitch, go to the event with the decision to enjoy and engage with people. Ask them for their expertise, and learn something new. The more you broaden your horizons, the more likely you will find leads to engage with over time.
While joining non-real estate business groups usually signifies in-person events, most large-scale networking events are on indefinite hold due to the pandemic. You can spend this time by using social media in digital marketing strategies instead.
Instead of being only a part of real estate specific LinkedIn groups, you should also join the Groups that your clients are a part of. You can search for online groups by name or keyword, or even groups recommended for you by the LinkedIn algorithm. After joining a group, you can start engaging with the LinkedIn Group’s members and expand your audience.
Schedule Seasonal Pop Bys
Most of your fellow agents will decide to take days off and relax during the holidays. But staying in the office and working with your prospects can lead to easy lead generation, especially for new to the real estate game. Use the fact that you will be available and present during the holiday seasons.
You can tie in the holidays by holding holiday-themed events or holding open houses or showings during the holidays where people can attend as they have time off work during the holidays. You can add more festivities and holiday cheer with decorations and holiday music to make your open houses feel more welcoming, and use these photos to promote your social media posts.
Pick Up the Phone and Call Your Sphere and Past Clients
This 2021, commit to calling your sphere of influence to catch up with people around you and see what they are doing these days. Instead of pitching a sleazy sales call, show that you genuinely care about their wellbeing and be clear that you are not pushing your business or any hidden agendas.
You are making an effort to connect with people to establish stronger relationships and see if you can contribute any valuable information or assistance in the new year.
This year has been a chaotic and unprecedented time for many people due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you plan on boosting your real estate business in 2021, it is crucial to review what marketing strategies worked for you and what did not.
The focus on digital marketing strategies is already evident due to the pandemic as people are housebound, and face-to-face interactions were reduced significantly. Most likely, digital marketing will continue to be a great opportunity for you to gather more leads, increase their visibility, and establish their brand.
Ultimately, it is up to you to adapt and implement new marketing methods to ensure your real estate business thrives in 2021.