Lead generation: it’s a sore topic for many real estate professionals, but it’s crucial for growing your business and becoming a top producer. What’s the best way to generate more qualified leads in less time? The options are practically endless, but we’ve done our best to identify a few of our favorites.

Can cookie recipes generate more leads? Believe it or not, Facebook posts about unusual holidays like National Cookie Day can be an effective lead gen tool.

Can cookie recipes generate more leads? Believe it or not, Facebook posts about unusual holidays like National Cookie Day can be an effective lead gen tool.

Create engaging posts on Facebook

Facebook continues to be the most popular social networking platform, and when used strategically, it can also be a lead-generating powerhouse. Web and branding expert Tierra Wilson offers a host of ideas for piling up leads via Facebook on her blog, 10 Quick & Easy Facebook Posting Ideas for Real Estate. Here are some of our favorite ways to engage fans on Facebook, converting them to leads:

  • Post a comparison of two different images and ask for feedback on which one fans like better. People love giving their opinion and taking quizzes, which makes this a great way to increase engagement.
  • Post weekly ideas on home improvement, landscaping, and useful storage and organizational tips. Remember, the ideas don’t have to be your own! You can borrow ideas or share products from another source. Just be sure to provide links whenever possible.
  • Post about influential real estate activity in your area and link to the listing on your website via IDX. (Don’t have an IDX-enabled site? Read more about that below!)
  • Post fun facts about your neighborhood or city.
  • Create posts centered around national days (or months) like National Home Improvement Month in May or National Home Warranty Day on February 10th. Don’t be afraid to have fun with the more off-beat ones! The posts can even fall outside of the home and real estate realm. After all, why miss an opportunity to collect fans’ favorite cookie recipes for National Homemade Cookies Day next October 1st? Check out more ideas on the national day calendar here.
  • Share inspiring or funny photos of your day as a real estate agent. Fans like to know that you’re a real person, too!

Keep it professional, but be friendly and personable. Building trusting relationships through consistent positive engagement is key to generating new leads.

Set up an IDX (Internet Data Exchange) website

Having an IDX-enabled site is the best way to show off your listings. IDX technology updates your site with fresh MLS listings, so that once visitors are on your website, they’re immediately engaged, and they won’t need to go anywhere else! For a comprehensive guide on how to put an IDX site together using WordPress, a free website platform, click here.

Consider old-fashioned direct mail marketing

Top real estate producers agree: postcards are still an extremely effective (though long-term) lead-generation strategy. In a FitSmallBusiness article on 42 Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas, real estate influencer Bill Gassett of RE/MAX Executive Realty said that if he had extra marketing dollars to spend, he would spend them on postcard marketing. “This is still one of the best forms of marketing to get someone to pick up the phone and call you. Just-listed and sold cards can be extremely effective. The key is consistency. Far too many agents do something, and if it doesn’t provide immediate results, they give up on it.” Top producers know that you need to spend money to make money, so have some patience, and look to resources like Corefact for ready-made postcards.

Though not exactly “direct mail,” door hangers are another old-fashioned marketing strategy that still yields positive results. Probably the most well-known top REALTOR® to use door hangers successfully is Joshua Smith. He basically started from scratch and grew to 10+ closings/month after spending about $10,000 in door hangers. The tactic worked so well, he ended up closing 463 listings worth $49 million in one year, making him the Wall Street Journal’s 30th most successful REALTOR® in 2013.

Establish your presence on LinkedIn

Let us not forget about the lead generation possibilities you’ll discover through LinkedIn. Data compiled from more than 5,000 companies found that LinkedIn produced 277 percent more leads than Facebook and Twitter. If you do not have an active presence on LinkedIn, get on it today!

Be sure your LinkedIn company page is wrapped up tight with a bow. Fill out every nook and cranny — all your company contact info, a complete bio and photo — and make your banner image stand out. Get ideas by looking at other banner images, but make yours unique. Think about having a LinkedIn showcase page, too. Separate from your company page, it allows you to feature blog posts, offer promotions, and more.

This is where it gets fun! Use the “advanced search” tool to find people of interest in your community. Do some research on current leads and segment out new prospects. The “connections” tab even has a “tag” feature you can use to prioritize leads. Select the ones you think could help your business the most (or who may be ready to pull the trigger on a new home) and send them a personalized message. Remember, you’re “meeting” them for the first time, so treat it as if you were door-knocking. Be honest and to the point, asking them a few questions about themselves, their background, or their goals. If you find a common connection, be sure to mention it. If you’re able to tie it in with a contribution, all the better! For example, “Small world! I see you work with John Smith at XYZ Company. I just sold his house last month!”

Consider joining a few LinkedIn groups. Real estate groups are okay for referrals and professional affiliations, but make sure to look for groups that include local community members. That’s where your leads will be. If you end up joining (or even starting!) a group, consider inviting others you found using the “advanced search” tool or existing leads in your CRM (customer relationship management program), which you’ll learn about next.

Track and nurture leads with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program

Once you attract 15 leads or more per week, email and calendar reminders won’t cut it anymore. That’s when you’ll want to use a customer relationship management, or CRM, database program that can help you keep track of leads and automate processes. Contactually, voted best CRM for building and maintaining relationships by FitSmallBusiness, makes the process much easier and can even make staying in touch with your leads fun!

Here’s a brief description of four popular real estate CRMs:

  • Contactually: A fun, easy-to-use relationship manager
  • Top Producer: A great value CRM that offers MLS integration
  • Rethink CRM: For small brokerages who want sophisticated MLS integration
  • Insightly: A simple, affordable CRM

See a comprehensive list of CRM options and comparisons here.

These are just a few of the many ways you can increase engagement and generate more leads. Remember to keep it simple, ask questions, be personable, and track your leads. It could turn a sore topic into your greatest strength!