Without leads, your real estate investing business can’t survive… much less thrive.
You became an entrepreneur (or started your side hustle) because you want to make more money and have more freedom, but that can’t happen unless you create systems for doing a predictable number of deals every month. And you can’t do a predictable number of deals every month unless you generate a predictable number of leads.
Like a car requires gasoline, your business requires a consistent lead-flow.
In this guide, we’re going to define lead generation, make some predictions about the future, and give you 8 proven tactics for generating leads for your real estate investing business.
The good news is, it ain’t rocket science.
What is lead generation for real estate investors?
Lead generation for real estate investors is the process of finding motivated sellers through marketing, sales, and good data management.
REI lead generation tactics include direct mail, social media advertising, display advertising, and skip tracing (each of these is discussed in more detail below).
Creating a consistent and systematic lead generation process is critical for real estate investors because it allows them to grow their businesses more seamlessly and do a predictable number of deals every month.
The Future of Lead Generation for Real Estate Investors
Lead generation for real estate investors has changed a lot over the last couple of decades.
Direct mail, display advertising, cold calling, door knocking, bandit signs… these used to be the only methods by which real estate investors could find motivated sellers.
But technology has changed that.
Now organic social media content, Craigslist, SEO, Facebook & Google ads, and skip tracing have been added to the investor’s toolkit.
This means a couple of things…
- There’s more opportunity than ever before.
- There’s more competition than ever before.
In other words, investors who want to stand the test of time should learn how to generate leads consistently with multiple methods, market to their lists as effectively as possible (and not let any leads fall through the cracks), and make use of modern systems that streamline the lead-gen and deal-closing processes.
At REISift, we’ve blazed a trail and created software that allows investors to manage their data with ninja-like precision that results in more effective marketing campaigns and more sustainable lead flow.
If you’re serious about streamlining your lead-gen process for your REI business, then you can join our 14-Day Auto Lead Gen Challenge for just $99 — it’s a game-changer.
Now, let’s talk about 8 proven lead-gen tactics for real estate investors.
1. Direct Mail
A lot of real estate “gurus” and coaches will give you little-known tips and tricks for consistently generating leads…
Most of them are crap.
Here’s the reality: with direct mail and clear-cut processes for managing your data and leads (*cough* REISift *cough*), you can build a thriving REI business.
You don’t even need to be active on social media, pay for ads on the radio, or get your website ranking in Google.
All you need to do is…
- Collect valuable data.
- Consistently send direct mail every month.
- Have a process for recycling data.
- Follow-up with leads.
(We recommend our Go-No-Go Challenge for pulling more juice from your existing prospects)
That is 80% of building a good real estate investing business.
Here are some of the best mailing lists for real estate investors…
- Tax Delinquent List
- Code Violation List
- Equity List
- Inheritance List
- Yard Sale/Garage Sale List
- Arrest Record List
But keep in mind, the deeper you dig into your data, the more people you’re going to reach who your competitors aren’t reaching.
Here’s a simple example of what your mailers might look like…
Most real estate investors get about one deal for every 2500 mailers that they send. So it’s important to have realistic expectations about how much mail you’ll need to send every month to hit your lead-gen goals.
Here’s a nifty calculator from Carrot that will help you determine your direct mail budget.
You can use YellowLetterHQ to create your mailers (REISift also has amazing letters, with postcards coming soon if they have not already by the time you read this) and Propstream to collect your data.
2. Leverage Existing Data
Most real estate investors are terrible at managing their data. They “exhaust” their data too quickly, don’t follow-up effectively, use sub-par targeting, and resend the same mail, skip trace, or call to the same people (wrong numbers, DNC, and wrong PEOPLE) over and over again (without knowing it).
When you’re just starting out, that’s to be expected.
But it’s also bad for the long-term sustainability of your business.
At REISift, we give investors the knowledge and tools to manage their data so that leads stop falling through the cracks and marketing dollars stop getting wasted.
More specifically, we teach the “Go No Go” methodology. We group data as belonging to four different buckets: vacant, stacked, ouchies, and equity.
We market to each bucket of data in a different way for maximum impact.
Then we take all data through three targeted marketing cycles — this ensures that you’re getting as many deals from your data as possible before abandoning it.
There’s also some skip tracing involved and some advanced filtering (that only REISift allows for).
But explaining this process in detail goes beyond the scope of this article; you can learn more about our “Go No Go” process in this article we did a few months ago: How to Find Real Estate Deals Using Your Existing Data
3. Skip Tracing
Skip tracing is the process of finding someone’s phone number by using other personal information: address, name, etc.
And it’s a very effective lead-gen strategy for real estate investors.
Imagine that you’ve found a distressed property via driving for dollars and you want to reach out to the owners to see if they’re interested in selling. Problem is, you don’t have their phone number.
Skip tracing allows you to find their phone number with just a name and address.
It’s not 100% effective, but it’s like 80% effective.
4. Organic Social Media Content
Direct mail is the most tried-and-true lead gen strategy for real estate investors, but there’s still value to other strategies.
Sending mail, managing data, and following up with leads is 80% of your success... but once you’ve mastered those tactics, then you might want to try and get a competitive advantage by widening your marketing reach.
The following strategies will help you do that.
First up is organic social media content.
We’re talking about posting organic (non-paid) content on Facebook or Instagram. Christopher Ellyn Homes is an REI business that operates out of Indianapolis and then consistently post value-add content on their Facebook page.
Here’s an example…
Here’s one more example…
You can see what they’re trying to do — by providing consistent value for their followers on Facebook, they’re hoping to catch the attention of homeowners and home sellers.
But the truth is that they don’t get much engagement on these posts.
They average about 1-5 “Likes” per post.
Still, the primary value of this strategy is that you’re (allegedly) building brand awareness in your market. Even if people don’t interact with your posts, they’re still seeing them and being reminded that your company exists and that, if they or anyone they know needs to sell their home fast for cash, you can help.
Craigslist is another common lead-gen strategy that investors use.
And while it’s not nearly as effective as direct mail or even Facebook ads, it can still get you in front of some motivated sellers — and it’s not particularly time-consuming if you hire a virtual assistant to do it for you (highly recommended).
There are a few different methods here.
First of all, you (or your VA) can scour the FSBO real estate listings and then add those sellers to your marketing campaigns.
Another tactic is to create a post inside the real estate listing areas (buy or sell) that promotes your “cash buyer, fast selling” services, in hopes that motivated sellers will stumble across your listing.
If you go this route, you’ll want to make sure and refresh your listings as often as possible and re-post listings after they’ve expired.
For finding sellers, Craigslist probably isn’t going to be a game-changer for your business. But it can certainly be a small piece of your marketing repertoire.
Craigslist can be quite useful for finding cash buyers, however. For that, it’s a good idea to post ads in the “real estate - by owner” category so that you capture cash buyers who are trying to find deals. You can post your deals directly on Craigslist or you can post general ads about your wholesaling business and drive people to opt-in on your website.
6. Facebook & Google Ads
Facebook and Google are the two best advertising platforms for real estate investors.
What we don’t recommend, though, is just throwing up some advertisements and crossing your fingers — to keep costs reasonable, you’ll want a more clear-cut system for how you use Facebook and Google ads.
For Google ads, we recommend targeting high-value keywords that sellers in your market are already typing in (especially keywords that your website isn’t ranking for organically).
As for exactly which keywords you should target, Carrot analyzed 50 Google Ad accounts and over 29,000 keywords. Their research indicated that these are the 20 best-performing keywords to target…
- “Sell My House”
- [We Buy Ugly Houses]
- +Sell +My +House
- +We +Buy +Houses
- How To Sell The House Fast
- Need To Sell House Quickly
- [We Buy Houses]
- [Sell My House]
- Sell House For +Cash
- “Sell My Home”
- Sell Your House For +Cash
- “Sell Your House”
- +Home +Investors
- “Sell House Online”
- “Ugly Houses”
- +Sell +My +Home
- Sell My House
- “We Buy Ugly Houses”
- +We +Buy +Homes
You can add a zip code to these keywords so that you’re only targeting people in your area of operation.
As for Facebook ads, we recommend retargeting people who’ve visited your website — this is a great way to “stay in touch” with people who visited your website but didn’t give you their contact information.
To do that, you’ll need to add the Facebook pixel to your website. You can learn all about how to do that over here.
7. Search Engine Optimization
What if you could drive high-value leads through Google without paying for it?
Well, that’s the value of SEO.
Search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like — it’s the process of optimizing your website to rank for phrases that sellers in your market are already searching for.
That typically includes optimizing your homepage and creating blog content.
What specific keywords should you try to rank for?
Here are a few to get started…
- Sell my house fast in [market_city]
- Sell my house for cash in [market_city]
- Sell my house without a real estate agent in [market_city]
- Tips for selling a house in [market_city]
- How does probate work in [market_city]
- How much is your home worth in [market_city]
Optimize each landing page or blog post for only one of those keywords by doing the following…
- Include the keyword phrase in the title tag, meta description, and URL of the page.
- Include the keyword within the first 100 words of the page.
- Try to create a page/content that’s more thorough and valuable than what’s currently ranking on page 1 in Google.
If you get on page 1 for those keyword phrases, then you’ll drive traffic to your website every single month without additional work.
That’s why SEO can be such a valuable lead-gen tactic.
8. Display Advertising
Although bandit signs are illegal in most places, they can still be a relatively effective way to get the phone ringing.
And there are other display advertising methods you might consider that aren’t illegal — radio ads, billboard ads, and newspaper ads are some examples.
Display advertising methods aren’t as sure-fire as direct mail, but they can still build brand awareness in your community and generate leads… so it might be worth considering.
Without a consistent flow of leads (and property management of your data), you’re going to lose.
That might be hard to hear… but it’s the truth.
The real estate investors who will be around for the next decade are the ones who use clear-cut and proven systems for generating leads.
That consistent lead-flow turns into doing a predictable number of deals every month… which turns into a business that’s sustainable.
If you’re ready to build a REI business instead of just a side-hustle, take the challenge below for just $99. It’s a game-changer.