Real Estate Lead Generation | The Basics

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Las Vegas S.0075212

What is Real Estate Lead Generation?

Real estate lead generation is the process by which you attract potential clients to your business.

A real estate lead is a contact who has directly expressed interest in buying or selling real estate. In essence, this person “raised their hand”. The hand-raise signals potential for you to do business.

To succeed in your business long term, you must create a steady stream of real estate leads.

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When to Engage in Lead Gen:

Organic real estate lead generation is the process of using systematic strategies to naturally draw visitors to your website or blog. This is not the same as buying leads from a lead bank, or paying for pay-per-click advertisements. Organic lead generation, while costly in terms of time and effort, is the least expensive way (and longer lasting!) to generate leads for your real estate business.

Real estate lead generation is not something in which you engage only as you’re starting in business, nor only when you hit a slow spell. In fact, by the time you hit a slow spell, it’s too late.

You can avoid a slow spell altogether by attracting new leads on an ongoing basis. Best practice suggests that you work on generating leads as a part of your every day work habits.

The goal is to have several contacts in each phase of your sales funnel to ensure continued business growth.

Also selected for you: Do You Have these 10 Essentials in Your Real Estate Website?

How Much Time Should You Dedicate to Generating Leads?

For real estate lead generation to be truly effective, it’s best to dedicate at least three hours per work day for generating leads.

Although three hours per day may sound like a hefty chunk of time, your efforts in this portion of your business are the seeds from which your future business stems.

Think about it this way: You wouldn’t leave the house in the morning without first getting ready, right? What does “getting ready” mean? Generally, it involves a healthy breakfast, a shower, a shave, a hair-style, perhaps some meditation or devotionals, and gathering the tools you’ll need for your day. Would you go to work without first getting ready? Would you meet with a client in your pajamas? No.

Well, not likely.

Your three hours of real estate lead generation are your way of “getting ready” for work. It’s the process by which you guarantee that you’ll have work to go to!

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Print Marketing

Once upon a time, your print marketing materials were the fundamentals for promoting your business. Yard signs, business cards, and well crafted brochures still have their place in today’s market. But no longer can print marketing alone propel you forward. Most print marketing today is used to power up digital marketing.

Do you still need business cards? Absolutely! But the reality is, business cards in today’s era are geared more to drive traffic to your website than they are to provoke a phone call.

Do you still need fancy brochures outlining the features of a property? Perhaps. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that if a drive-by shopper sees your yard sign, they’re far less likely to get out of their car to snatch up a brochure than they are to whip out their phone and Google the address.

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What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is 100% online. The world-wide-web is now the central hub for consumers. We are a search-driven society empowered by the all-mighty Google. Here are the basics:

Website: Your website is your digital business card. Generally speaking, real estate websites are not found by accident, and rarely found in search. However, if your website is imbued with IDX listings, you may gain some traffic. But most traffic is driven by content, which is where your blog comes in.

Blog: Your blog is where you can “publish” high-quality, valuable content for your viewers, while at the same time “waving a flag” so the search engines can see you. Blogs can be used for developing new relationships as well as nurturing ongoing relationships. On your blog, you can publish things such as:

  • Community pages
  • Real estate articles for buyers
  • Real estate articles for sellers
  • Hyperlocal content featuring venues and events in a particular community
  • Market reports

The more often you publish in your blog, and the more valuable your content is to web viewers, the more power you’ll pull from the search engines.

Video and Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn are all powerful platforms through which you can generate real estate leads online.

You may also enjoy: Content Marketing - The Lifeblood of SEO and Success for Every Online Business

Search Engine Optimization for Real Estate Lead Generation

Knowing you need a website and a blog is one thing. But if you don’t know how to “prime” your Internet material for the search engines, your efforts will be wasted.

First and foremost, you must design your digital offerings for your real estate website and blog visitors. Equally important, you must customize your web presence so that it can be found online. With the millions upon millions of websites and blogs on the world-wide-web, finding yours can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is a combination of content marketing, keyword strategies, and meta-data.

Keyword Strategies

Keyword strategies are designed to help website visitors find specifically what they are searching for online. Someone might type in “real estate” into a search engine, but it’s more likely they’ll search by location, by price, by feature. By understanding what your potential clients are searching for, you can then begin to customize your content around those search queries.


Meta-data encompasses the title of your website or blog page (known as an H1 or title tag), the page description (known as a meta-description), and image alt tags (the text that appears when you hover your mouse over an image).

Bounce Rates, Actions, and Time on Site

Other factors play into search engine optimization as well. The longer a visitor spends on your site, the more “authority” the search engines assign to your page because it recognizes the viewer finds value in your content. Likewise, the more actions (clicks) a person takes on your page, the more authority you gain because the search engines recognize the visitor sought out more of your content, deeming it valuable. However, you can LOSE authority in the search engines if you abuse keywords, publish “shallow” or irrelative content, or if you have high bounce rates.

A bounce rate is when a web visitor finds your website in a search query, clicks the link, and then clicks right back out almost immediately after realizing your content isn’t a match for what they had originally been searching.

Also selected for you: SEO Tips - Especially for Real Estate Agents and Local Businesses

Lead Capture

Your website and blog efforts are all for one purpose - to serve as a magnet to attract visitors to your content. But your content has no bearing on your success with generating leads if you don’t have a method by which to “capture” those leads.

To capture a lead means to obtain, at the very least, their first name and email address. First and last name with email is even better. But beware - the more information you ask for, the less likely the viewer is to comply.

Creating an Offer for Lead Capture

In many cases, such as on a blog, you would create an “offer”, an item of value for which a viewer is willing to exchange their information. For example, if your blog post was about parks in a particular community, your “offer” could be a downloadable PDF of parks organized by feature such as sports fields, picnic areas, rentable areas for parties, fitness equipment, dog friendly, etc. When the viewer clicks for the download, they are first prompted to enter their name and email address.

Creating Forms for Lead Capture

There are many resources available for lead capture forms and capabilities, such as Lead Pages, or email newsletter programs like Constant Contact.

Make sure each piece of content you publish on your real estate website or blog includes a call to action (CTA) such as an offer to download.

Your Database

There’s no point in generating leads if you have no where to organize and store those leads for follow up.

Your database can be super simple or ridiculously complex, depending on your preferences and budget.

Worst case scenario, you have a “manual” database, meaning you physically type in each contact into a spreadsheet - or for completely “old school” methods, write them in a notebook.

Best case scenario, your database can filter, sort, and task your leads for productivity.

You may also enjoy: Internet Marketing Tips | Using Infusionsoft Campaigns to Automate Your Marketing

Lead Cultivation

Once you’ve attracted a viewer to your website or blog with search engine optimized content, have provided a valuable offer that allowed you to “capture” that lead, and you’ve received that information in a database, that person becomes a genuine lead. Your next step is to cultivate that lead. But we’ll save the basics of lead cultivation for another tutorial.

So Now What?

You may now have a solid understanding of WHAT real estate lead generation is, but that doesn’t mean you know HOW to effectively generate real estate leads on your own. That takes a lot of time and tons of practice. You’ll need to give yourself permission to fail forward and learn from your mistakes.

Resources for DIY Real Estate Lead Generation

If you’re a do-it-yourself, hands-on kind of marketer, there are valuable resources available to you from which you can learn, step-by-step, how to conduct your own real estate lead generation.

For example, The Ballen Method is a self-guided, jam-packed digital marketing curriculum for real estate agents. Learn all about:


Lori Ballen with hands displaying best practices for real estate lead generation through The Ballen Method

  • Building your own website on WordPress
  • Creating a blog within your WordPress website
  • How to blog for lead generation
  • How to create real estate videos
  • Best practices for SEO
  • Keyword strategies
  • Resources for tracking and measuring,
  • And everything else you need to succeed in marketing your real estate business.

Leveraging Real Estate Lead Generation

But maybe do-it-yourself isn’t your preferred method. There are several companies, such as Ballen Brands, who can assist with all of your digital marketing needs. Ballen Brands offers:

  • Ballen Real Estate Websites (B.R.E.W.)
  • Content creation services
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Lead nurturing systems such as AutoPilot ISA
  • Training and Coaching

Ballen Brands is a digital marketing company helping business professionals rise above the noise. Reach out today to see how we can help you master real estate lead generation. Consultations are always free. Give us a call at 702-917-0755 or email

A Gift from Ballen Brands

Oh, and we have something for you:

Keywords are such a powerful force in real estate lead generation. So we’ve put together an Ultimate Guide to Making Money with Keywords, a gift from us to you.


But There's More!

Check out this catalogue of articles about real estate lead generation:

Real Estate Lead Generation with Keywords

How Not to Suck at Real Estate Lead Generation

Building a Daily Community Page During Lead Generation Time

Setting Up Your Lead Generation Toolbar

Lead Generation Marketing | Create Offers Viewers can Use

Real Estate Leads | Get Yours Now!

How to Get Leads Online through Your Real Estate Website

Get More Real Estate Leads Online by Learning SEO and Social Strategies

How to Get Seller Leads Online

Real Estate Listing Marketing to Get More Leads Online

How to Close 10 Million Dollars in Real Estate Volume from Web Leads

How to Get Seller Leads Online

How to Generate More Real Estate Closings from Web Leads

Get More Leads Online with SEO Driven Content

Get Seller Real Estate Leads Using These Keywords

How to Create and Publish One Piece of Content that Gives You Back Traffic and Leads for Years

100 LISTINGS in 12 Months FROM THE INTERNET | 5 Steps to Make it Rain Seller Leads

Email Marketing | Internet Lead Generation Strategies

Real Estate Video Tips for Lead Generation

Internet Lead Generation Wizard


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Posted by

Lori Ballen

Digital Marketing Strategist
Ballen Brands - Helping Business Professionals Rise Above the Noise.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lise Howe 11/23/2016 04:40 AM
  2. Eileen Burns 11/25/2016 11:58 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
lead generation marketing
real estate lead generation

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Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Lori Ballen - This post is loaded with great information for anyone still on the fence, or thinking about starting their on-line lead generation program!  Well done!

Oct 11, 2016 12:26 PM #1
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lori Ballen - such a simple thing - they have all the steps they need to generate business! (As much as lead generation is important, so is lead follow-up.)

Oct 11, 2016 12:37 PM #2
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

thanks for laying out all the steps - this is a post that I will refer back to and contemplate!

Oct 11, 2016 01:20 PM #3
Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty in Lake Nona - Orlando, FL
Million $ Guild Cert Luxury Home KW Land Division

Such a simple process, NOT!  Yet more agents at Keller Williams master this feat every day and get off the lead buying machine such as Zillow, Realtor.Com, and trulia.  

Oct 11, 2016 02:20 PM #4
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for sharing the great tips. I will bookmark this post and read again.

Oct 11, 2016 09:17 PM #5
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Lori Ballen wow.... this is a powerful post that will guide real estate agents to soar with the eagles in 2017....

Nov 23, 2016 04:46 AM #6
Dusty Rhoton SRS, MRES, ABR, SRES, GRI
RE/MAX Fine Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff Real Estate

Great Post Lori!  Thanks for sharing!   As chair of our local MLS, this is perfect for new AND old agents!

Nov 23, 2016 05:23 AM #7
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

WOW! This post is so full of great information that I bookmarked it for reference.  Thank you!

Nov 23, 2016 06:39 AM #8
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I agree that the more you post the more you get noticed.  I used to write 15-25 blog posts a month but have gone down to around 5-8.  The phone calls have gone down correspondingly . . .

Nov 23, 2016 07:15 AM #9
Mike Bjork
American Pacific Mortgage - Redondo Beach, CA

Lots and lots of great info here, Lori!  Thanks for sharing.  All of it is extremely helpful.

Nov 23, 2016 09:34 AM #10
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

 All I really have to say is that I am very impressed with this blog post  and I had to book market i for further readings Lori Ballen 

Nov 23, 2016 10:25 AM #11
Alek Babaa
Prostead - Charlotte, NC
Realtor, Your Carolina Connection

Thanks Lori for all of the great information. As a new realtor this will definitely be something I will be referring back to on a regular basis. 

Nov 23, 2016 01:48 PM #12
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

Looks like you have covered the majority of the basics in here Lori Ballen, and potentially went into some of the intermediate topics. Great job!

Nov 23, 2016 06:22 PM #13
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Thanks, Lori Ballen -  Revisiting this post. As always, saving the post.

And thanks for the guide.

Nov 23, 2016 08:44 PM #14
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Lori, I will refer to this post weekly from this point forward.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Nov 23, 2016 11:28 PM #15
Kathryn Acciari
Cameron Real Estate Group - Shrewsbury, MA
RSPS, SRS, REALTOR(R) Sturbridge-Shrewsbury MA

To-the-point, straight up and succinct. The most valuable post on lead generation that I've seen in a long while. Thank you for all of this information.

Nov 24, 2016 02:47 AM #16
David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
HomeSmart - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

Now that is what I call a full article, full of great information.

Nov 24, 2016 07:15 AM #17
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks for a terrific post - there is so much here to consider, and act on in a planful way. Bookmarked for reading again and again.


Nov 24, 2016 09:41 AM #18
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

What a wonderful post - and so deserving of a feature- I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Definitely worth bookmarking! 

Nov 25, 2016 06:12 AM #19
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Lori Ballen

Digital Marketing Strategist
Find Out what Your Home is Worth
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