Leads are the lifeblood of an agent’s real estate business, says Texas REALTORS. In the olden days, generating leads meant hours on the phone cold calling prospects, dedicating weekends to open house events and placing print ads in local publications. The internet and social media have completely redefined the meaning of lead generation. Now, there are dozens of ways to find and attract new clients. And no matter an agent’s unique talents, there’s at least one that will play to his or her strengths, whether it’s schmoozing online, running a Facebook ad campaign or using predictive analytics software that identifies likely buyers or sellers.
We checked out various lead-gen tools to see how brokerages and solo agents can harvest prospects online. One thing that a lot of platforms have in common is that they use customer relationship management technology. With a CRM, REALTORS can identify, track and manage interactions with clients. Some are designed for agencies to manage entire teams. Software developed for the real estate industry has features like MLS integration, transaction management tools and workflows custom-made for brokerages and solo agents. But to generate the actual leads that populate a platform’s CRM, agents have to know how to create and place pay-per-click (PPC) ads and understand how to improve their agency’s search engine rankings. Or, instead of learning the online-advertising and search-engine-optimization ropes, agents can subscribe to a platform that manages their lead harvesting strategy.
Here are just a few lead-gen platforms that offer a unique value proposition for real estate industry professionals.
BoldLeads (https://boldleads.com/), is a subscription platform for generating and managing real estate leads. In 2019, it was acquired by Propertybase, which solidified the company’s standing as a leader in targeting, capturing and converting real estate leads.
BoldLeads operates almost like a marketing agency in that the company harvests high-value prospects from targeted pay-per-click ads they create and then place on social media sites and search engines. By the time potential buyers and sellers are added to an agent’s CRM, according to the platform, they’re vetted high-quality leads.
There are a few ways for teams and solo agents to capture prospects with BoldLeads. Subscribers can manually develop and manage their own PPC campaigns using the platform’s tools, or at a higher subscription tier, agents can just collect leads generated by the campaigns that BoldLeads runs and manages.
One caveat with BoldLeads is that they offer area-exclusivity — one agent per zip code. Of course, for the REALTOR who lands his or her coveted zip code, it’s a pretty steep advantage.
Real Geeks (realgeeks.com) is a subscription platform for generating and capturing leads via internet data exchange (IDX) websites. It works by using Facebook and Google Ads to drive traffic to the agency’s IDX website and landing pages. Agents can customize lead capture forms and collect the information they want, such as where a prospect is looking to purchase a home and how much money potential home buyers plan to spend. The platform also tracks information on prospects, like how often they visit an agent’s website and how much time they spend on the site. Real Geeks then displays prospects’ data on subscribers’ dashboards. For nurturing leads once they’re in an agent’s pipeline, the platform has a variety of tools. Agents can contact leads via automated text scripts and autoresponders and create one-off or longer email drip campaigns.
BoomTown (boomtownroi.com) is also an IDX lead-gen platform, but one of its biggest selling points is that it’s specifically designed for managing teams.
The platform employs content and SEO specialists who create and manage Facebook and Google Ads campaigns for subscribers. When prospects click on an ad, they’re taken to an agency’s IDX website and from there, filtered into an agency’s CRM along with data they reveal about their real estate needs. There, managers can distribute leads to the team.
Agents use BoomTown tools like targeted SMS and email campaigns to nurture prospects. Meanwhile, every step is documented on a dashboard so that team leaders can track and view how leads are advancing through the funnel.
REDX (theredx.com) is unique in that it doesn’t harvest leads from PPC ads or IDX websites. Rather, the platform scrapes expired real estate listings. According to REDX, about 75 percent of expired listings will eventually relist with a new REALTOR. The thinking goes that working these prospects is a guaranteed way for agents to capture new clients and referrals.
The platform’s lead management system (LMS) lists hundreds of prospects, including their contact information. Agents can subscribe to different categories of expired listings, like for sale by owner (FSBO), pre-foreclosures, and expired MLS listings. REDX’s LMS is also populated with information about the property, from list price to days on market and listing agent. The phone numbers associated with leads are verified against the National Do Not Call Registry and listings are checked daily and updated if the property gets re-listed.
The next step is for agents to select prospects who seem promising and personally reach out, but with a 21st-century twist. Using REDX tools, agents create and blast out automated SMS scripts to batches of leads. Before a live call is ever scheduled, agents will have conversed with potential clients about their buying or selling needs. And for the most part, prospects don’t even know they corresponded with an autoresponder.
Placester (placester.com) is similar to other lead-gen tools in the way it helps agents capture leads using an IDX website. The way this platform stands out, though, is that it also helps REALTORS promote their brand.
Placester specializes in a lead harvesting via SEO strategy. Posting search-engine optimized content online makes it easier to rank higher on search engine results pages. Subscribers can create original content or use professionally written blog posts from the platform’s content library.
According to Hubspot, “companies that blog have far better marketing results.” They can grow website visitors by 55 percent and increase inbound links by 97 percent. The more inbound links a site has, the more it can move up in search engine rankings. And the higher a brokerage can appear in Google searches, the more website visits and emails from high-quality leads they’ll get.
With Autopilot Content, agents can choose and personalize professionally written blog posts from the site’s content library and then just schedule articles for publication. And agencies that publish original content can upload images and videos to their blog posts and write SEO meta titles and meta descriptions, all of which help the agency’s website rise higher in search engine results. The more content a subscriber publishes, the more they can boost their agency’s search rankings and, ultimately, increase website visits and conversions.