How many Marketing Channels Should You Use for Lead Generation?

Real Estate Agent with The Kay-Grant Group

Lead generation is everything in the real estate industry. You can have the most extensive knowledge of your geo farm, have world-class customer service, and be the most likeable salesperson in your area, but without clients, it's going to be an uphill climb to find success.

Nowadays, there are a variety of different avenues to generate leads, both buyer and listing. There are also several factors that determine which of these channels will be the most effective for you and your team.

The key question is: how many do I need to maximize the number of leads I generate? One? A few? All of them?

The goal of this blog post is to help real estate agents and teams determine which lead generation tactics are most effective, and the best practices to implement them.

Factors in Determining Lead Generation Effectiveness

Not all lead generation methods and tactics are created equal. Here are a few of the factors to consider when determining how effective a lead generation method is.


Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is a crucial component in determining the effectiveness of generating real estate leads. On the highest end of the spectrum, you'll find buying leads directly from a service like Zillow and generating organic leads via SEO.

Social media posting and activities like reaching out to your Sphere of Influence, cold-calling and door-knocking are on the cheaper end from the spectrum, at least from a monetary standpoint. There are always opportunity costs associated with any marketing method, but for an agent with a limited budget, there is usually more time available to leverage lower-cost marketing methods.

Time Required to Implement

Time is an invaluable resource, and as you add clients to your pipeline, the less time you will have to focus on generating leads. Instead of working harder, top-producing agents will find the path to least resistance and utilize marketing methods that require less time to implement.

Google Ads (for buyer leads) is a great example of a lead generation source that needs a minimal amount of time once they are up and running. For listings, real estate postcards take only a few minutes to send each month once the mailing list(s) of your farm are set up. 

In comparison, attending networking events, posting on Instagram, and calling expired listings all require a more significant time investment. It doesn't mean they are bad or ineffective; it just means that if time is limited, there are options to generate leads that free up more hours a week for you and your team.


Intent is the 4th stage from the top of a typical sales funnel, and the type of marketing you utilize can say a lot about how close your prospective real estate leads are to the Intent stage.

Search Ads (via Google or Bing) are the closest to the Intent stage. When someone searches for "Scottsdale homes for sale", they are (at the very least) evaluating the homes in the area and choosing from a list of cities, and could very easily have their mind made up about buying a home in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

On the other hand, most prospective home buyers and sellers don't engage with social media with the intent of completing a real estate transaction. Your Instagram video may get a lot of engagement, and may attract a few followers who can be converted into clients down the road, but they will still be near top of funnel in comparison to search Ads.

Choosing The Right Marketing Channels for Your Needs

To recap, here is a list of the typical marketing options real estate agents utilize the most for generating leads:

  • Engaging with your Sphere of Influence (SOI)
  • Networking
  • Door-Hanging
  • Door-Knocking
  • Calling Expireds
  • Client Events
  • Joining Business Organizations
  • Cold-Calling
  • Postcard Mailers
  • Social Media
  • Google Ads
  • SEO

Should one agent, or even a small team, use all of these methods at once? Probably not. There simply aren't enough hours in the day, and as leads start to trickle in, something will have to give.

So, how do you narrow it down to the best avenues for your needs and preferences? Ask yourself these two questions:

What Types of Activities do you Love?

Not just like, but love. If you would rather spend your time building Ad groups and retargeting posts towards your Facebook followers to vs interacting with prospects at an ice cream social, then you will probably benefit from focusing on Ads and SEM, assuming you have an adequate budget and an understanding of the work and money involved in effectively leveraging this type of marketing.

On the flip side, if you prefer spending your days showing properties to clients, but still want to demonstrate your expertise as a real estate agent, monthly postcard mailers provide the highest ROI with the least amount of time invested (usually less than an hour a month). 

Can You Stay Consistent with Your Lead Generation Method?

Consistency matters more than the method itself. The sporadic video on YouTube or the occasional Google Ad isn't going to cut it. The consistency has to be there if you want to see results. 

This is the major reason choosing an option you'll actually enjoy is so important. If you lament the time you have to spend picking up the phone or sending out emails, you will be less likely to stick with it.

Taking Action

Once you have asked yourself the above two questions, which of the lead generation methods do you think you can be consistent with and enjoy doing? Start with that method, and stay committed for at least a year. 

Although it will be tempting to pivot after a few months, it can do more harm than good to consistently change your strategy if you don't see immediate results.

As you find a rhythm with your lead generation, feel free to explore an additional option, keeping in mind that the consistency is key throughout.

Comments (1)

Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Geoff,
This is a nice summary of marketing options for lead generation. Thanks for the post.

Feb 07, 2022 10:14 AM