It sounds too good to be true, we know: But you can actually generate real estate leads with no upfront costs. It will take some effort and focus, but the leads you receive will be warmer and more likely to convert than those you’d buy from any number of companies offering supposed “quick, easy leads.”
The main activity you’ll need to focus on to fill the top of your funnel is building a strong online presence and improving your online reputation. That, in combination with outreach and lead nurturing, is the recipe for generating and ultimately converting real estate leads with no upfront costs. Let’s dive into the details.
What Is a “Strong Online Presence”?
A strong online presence means that it’s easy for buyers and sellers to find information about you and your business on as many corners of the Internet as possible.
Being visible and easily findable online is table stakes for most transactions nowadays. Consumers look up every business they’re considering working with, from dentists to real estate agents to restaurants. Inevitably, the first place they’ll go to start that search is Google.
If you don’t have a Google business profile and well-maintained website, it’ll be hard to find you online — leaving buyers and sellers wondering if you’re a reputable agent or whether you’re still practicing real estate at all. And that’s just for the people who actively search for your name. Imagine all the buyers and sellers who Google terms like “real estate agents near me” and miss out on learning about you simply because you aren’t there.
Make Your Business Easy to Find on Google
Being present on the world’s most popular search engine is step one. The best thing you can do to start building your presence is to create a Google business profile, which is the large info box that appears to the right of Google Search results or at the top of Google Maps results. Like we mentioned earlier, doing this requires no upfront cost. You can go to Google and start the process of claiming and verifying your business right now.
The key, though, is maintaining your profile by updating it with new content and new reviews on a weekly basis. Yes, weekly. This helps with SEO and building trust with Google so that the search giant will be more inclined to show your profile over competitors when a local buyer or seller searches for “real estate agents near me” or the like. After all, Google doesn’t want to show its users defunct profiles or poorly reviewed businesses over active, well-reviewed businesses.
Here are our top tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile for better ranking:
- Fill in all information fields, including contact details, business hours, and your bio.
- Publish photos, including a professional headshot and images of your recent listings and sales. Add new content weekly to show Google that you are keeping your profile active and up-to-date.
- Publish content posts with helpful tips, market insights, and information about your services. Show off your real estate knowledge to position yourself as an expert. Add new content weekly so Google knows you’re keeping your profile active and up to date.
- Request reviews, and then request more reviews—often! Consumers need to read at least 10 positive reviews to begin to trust your business, and nearly three quarters of people only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. As with photos and content posts, adding new reviews to your profile on a regular basis is a positive signal to Google, too.
- Respond to all reviews, including negative ones. If you don’t publicly acknowledge negative reviews, consumers are left with more questions than answers, and it also sends a negative signal to Google.
Respond Quickly to Leads as They Come In
We’re living in a world where you can track your food delivery order from the oven to your door. Consumers’ expectations are very high, and it’s no different when they submit their contact details to receive more information about your listing or services. If you wait too long to respond, you’re more likely to lose that lead to another agent or even just cold feet. We recommend responding in less than an hour — ideally in minutes — to catch them while their interest is still high.
Nurture Leads Who Aren’t Ready to Transact
Although a potential buyer might reach out to you through your Google business profile, they may not be quite ready to jump into the real estate market. It’s important to nurture every lead you receive.
Nurturing leads means engaging with them regularly so you’re top of mind when they are ready to buy or sell. You can do this by supporting leads in whatever ways they need, such as being available to answer questions or referring them to trusted lenders or other professionals in your network.
You should also reinforce your market expertise whenever possible. This is easily achieved by including leads in your email workflows for e-newsletters, neighborhood spotlights, trend reports, and market updates. The more that potential buyers and sellers interact with you and your content — even digitally — the easier it is to build trust and ultimately be the agent they turn to when they’re ready to buy or sell.
Reinforce Your Expertise Through Marketing
You can generate real estate leads with no upfront costs, but marketing isn’t free. The cost of ads, direct mail, etc., shouldn’t stop you from having and executing a marketing strategy. This is critical for any business, including real estate agents, in order to extend your reach, increase brand awareness, build trust, reinforce your expertise, and move leads down your funnel faster.
Digital marketing is the perfect tool to use in conjunction with your lead generation tactics. That’s because advertising platforms, such as Facebook and Google, allow you to add specific people to your custom audience. As long as these ad platforms are able to identify your leads on their network, they’ll serve your digital ads to them. The more often these leads see you pop up in their newsfeed or around the Internet, the more likely you are to make an impression of being a successful real estate agent.
How Homesnap Can Help
Although you don’t need to pay a dime to generate leads in the way we described, it does take continuous work to maintain an online presence that builds trust with consumers and ranks high on Google.
Let us do the hard work for you. Our Homesnap Pro+ service will keep your Google business profile updated with news of your latest transactions and content consumers find valuable, as well as help you gather new, positive reviews regularly. As a Google Premier Partner, we are intimately familiar with the best ways to optimize your profile to perform well in search and even show up in Google Maps results.
If you don’t have time to quickly respond to and nurture leads, have a look at how Homesnap Concierge can help. This best-in-class service manages your digital marketing with always-on ads that utilize custom audiences to nurture leads. Concierge can even get you access to Google’s new click-to-call Local Services Ads, which have premium placement at the very top of search results and deliver live phone call leads. The best part of these particular ads is that you only pay for qualified leads.