How do you generate leads for your real estate investing business?
Just as important, how do you generate high-quality leads? How do you find motivated sellers? And what time-tested strategies or tactics are you neglecting?
The good news is that lead-gen for real estate investing is much more straightforward than most industries.
There are a few things that top real estate investors do — things that work really well — and anyone can do them. The key is spending your time and money on the right lead-gen tactics, answering the phone when it rings, and having a clear-cut process for following up with leads.
We’ll give you the best (and easiest) tactics we know of in this article for generating leads. And our investor answering service — Call Porter — can help you answer the phone when it rings.
(Click the link above to get some free follow-up scripts!)
To start, let’s take a high-level peek at your lead-gen strategy.
Understanding the Basics of Lead Generation for Real Estate Investors
It’s tempting to wanna be unique — that’s human.
But the reality is that finding motivated sellers and creating consistent lead-flow for your real estate investing business is basic. It doesn’t need to be unique, or creative, or ground-breaking.
The best real estate investors in the nation follow the same process as everyone else; they just dump more money into their marketing, which results in more leads and more deals.
Here’s the basic format for what you’re going to be doing…
- A) Build a list of potential motivated sellers — purchase data through a tool like PropStream, drive for dollars, FSBO listings, etc.
- B) Use outbound marketing toward that list — direct mail, cold call, Facebook Ads
- C) Network to find leads — attorneys, real estate agents
- D) Use brand awareness strategies for long-term growth — display advertising, SEO
If that’s all you needed and you’re ready to dive in, then go take action!
If you want more detail on those tactics, then keep reading — we’re going to cover the 8 easiest (and most effective) ways to accomplish those goals.
1. Direct Mail
To start, let’s talk about the undisputed KING of real estate investing lead generation: direct mail.
The great thing about direct mail is that you can pull a list from PropStream — say, of high-equity absentee homeowners — and send mail to thousands of potential motivated sellers all at once for as little as $0.30 per letter.
One real estate investor once told me, “Nothing gets the phone ringing quite like direct mail.”
The only questions to answer are…
- Who should you send mail to?
- How much mail should you send?
- What should your mailers look like?
For the first question, here’s a list of some of the best lists you can send mail to — pull this data through PropStream…
- Attorneys (Probate, divorce, estate, etc.)
- Realtors — It doesn’t hurt to send some brand-awareness-type mailers to real estate agents in your area to spread the word.
- Absentee owners — People who don’t live in the property.
- Out-of-state landlords
- People who own homes free-and-clear — i.e. 100% equity and no property liens
- Properties with liens
- Homeowners going through probate
If you’re just getting started, then focus on absentee owners with high equity.
Next, how much mail should you send?
This is really a question of your budget and the number of mailers you need to send in order to get a deal.
Expect that you’ll need to send about 3,000 mailers to get one deal — that’s pretty generous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’ll cost you a little over $3,000 (depending on the mailers you use).
As for the final question — what should you send? — we recommend using mailers from our sister company, Ballpoint Marketing.
Those hand-written mailers get wicked high response rates.
2. Cold Calling
Cold calling is another tactic you can use to find motivated sellers and generate leads.
This — just like direct mail — requires you to have a list of prospects.
You can pull that list through PropStream, drive for dollars (explained below), or collect that data through FSBO listings, agents, or attorneys (also explained below).
If you want to cold call a large list, then you’ll definitely want to use a dialer like CallTools — that’ll make you significantly more productive.
3. Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads can be a great way to generate leads for your investing business.
Here’s an example of what your ad might look like…
As for targeting, you basically have three options…
- Target by zip code
- Create a custom audience using your pulled data (you’ll need phone numbers or email addresses)
- Retarget people who visit your website using the Facebook Pixel
Targeting by zip code is a bit of a shotgun approach since you’re not targeting people based on their specific situation (however, this is useful for building brand awareness).
And creating a custom audience is difficult unless you actively skip trace your list regularly.
Retargeting people who visit your website, however, is a no-brainer — it’s a great way to stay on the radar of people who’ve already shown a bit of interest in your service.
4. Craigslist (Ad Posting)
If you’ve done much research into lead generation for investors, then you’ve probably stumbled across a lot of people recommending Craigslist.
Now there are two tactics you can use when trying to find sellers on Craigslist.
(But to be blunt, Craigslist is actually better for finding cash buyers)
The first tactic — what we’re going to talk about here — is posting free ads.
As you can see below, we’re not the first ones to have this idea…
The place to post this ad is under “housing” and then “wanted: real estate” — you’re essentially targeting people who are looking for somewhere else to live… so maybe they’re interested in selling their current house fast for cash.
When you post an ad, make sure to refresh it every day and replace it every 30 days (ads go away on Craigslist after 30-45 days).
To give you an idea for ad copy, here’s what one of those ads looks like when I click on it…
5. Craigslist (FSBO Listings)
The next strategy we’ll mention for finding motivated sellers on Craigslist is simply a matter of browsing the FSBO listings.
Go to “housing” –> “real estate – by owner” and scroll to the bottom or go to the last page to see FSBO listings that have been around for a long time. These people might be interested in getting a cash offer…
6. Display Advertising
When we say display advertising, we’re talking about TV ads, radio ads, billboards, bandit signs, posters, and flyers.
These marketing assets are great for building brand awareness and generating leads — even though they’re not all that targeted.
However, display advertising is definitely a long-term lead-gen strategy. Don’t put up a poster today expecting to get leads tomorrow. It’s cumulative. The more you do — the more aware that people in the community become of your business’ existence — the more word-of-mouth you’ll generate and the more your phone will ring.
As an example, here’s an ad that Edward Beck from Quicksell Homebuyers runs on his local TV station.
7. Search Engine Optimization (& Google Ads)
You might not know this, but motivated sellers are already looking for you through Google.
Just check out the suggested searches when I type in “sell my home fast”…
And remember, Google only suggests phrases that other people have typed in before — which means that just based on my search above, we know people are looking to sell their home fast in Hawaii, Atlanta, LA, Tampa, Miami, and San Diego.
They’re probably searching in your market as well.
Obviously then, you want your website to show up when they search in Google so they find your business and give you a call.
You have a few different tactics here.
First, sign up for a free Google My Business account — this will make ranking for local keyword phrases 1000x easier. Check out, for example, the organic “Google My Business” result on the right when I typed in “sell my home fast on Oahu”…
That’s free visibility.
You also might consider running Google Ads that target high-value keyword phrases in zip codes where you operate…
And finally, you might try to create content on your website that ranks organically for high-value keyword phrases — but don’t expect overnight success. Search engine optimization takes quite a while to take effect (3-6 months usually to see results).
It’s great for long-term growth.
Learn more about improving your SEO over here.
8. Driving For Dollars
When we were talking about pulling data from somewhere like PropStream earlier, you might have thought to yourself, But don’t all of my competitors also have access to this exact same information?
Yes, they do.
And that’s a potential downside to only using lists that your competitors are also using — competition for those leads is fierce.
(Still use them, though… it’s not so fierce that it’s unprofitable)
Driving for dollars is one way to find motivated sellers that might not be on your competition’s mailing lists — you drive around your community, write down the address of properties that look like they’re in distress, and research those properties once you’re in front of a computer.
You can then add those addresses to your mailing campaigns.
This is called driving for dollars — and it’s one strategy investors use to generate off-market leads.
Didn’t know how to start generating leads for your real estate investing business?
Now you have 8 different starting places.
Send direct mail, run Facebook Ads, optimize your website for search engines, or drive for dollars — none of these strategies are too complicated… they’re all straightforward and simple.
So you have plenty of to-dos — and successful investors are the ones who relentlessly take action.
Now it’s your turn.