Expected Vs. Unexpected Real Estate Investor Lead Generation Strategies

Today’s post will show you some unique strategies for Real Estate Investor Lead Generation.

As the real estate market gets increasingly competitive, the search for quality inventory becomes tougher every day.

If you’re like most of our members, you’d prefer to have your phone ring… you don’t want to cold call people from a list, right? I’ve done quite a bit of cold calling over the years myself, and even though I’m pretty good at it, it’s wayyyy more work… it’s a whole lot easier to learn solid inbound marketing practices from others, then replicate them for yourself.

My goal here on this blog is to take the best practices from others who do great Real Estate Investor Lead Generation and bring them to you. Like a butler carrying a silver tray…. I want to serve lead generation techniques to you with style. 🙂

The not-so-secret formula for lead generation is simple: traffic & conversions.

One fun thing to remember: traffic can come from anywhere. If you have a creative, fun or clever way to generate leads: do it! Don’t get stuck in “paralysis by analysis” — trust yourself when you think “hey, this might work”.

Here are some great sources of leads:

Expected: Google Search

Definitely one of our favorite places to generate leads!

A good chunk of our business comes from folks who search phrases like “real estate investor websites” online. They check us out, learn that we’ve got an awesome reputation… then start learning from us.

Unexpected: Bing, Yahoo and “off-Google” search

While Google gets about 66% of the traffic, they seem to get about 99% of the attention.

That leaves almost a third of the traffic out there without much competition. PPC costs are usually way lower on off-brand networks (although the conversion rates are often lower too, it still often ends up being cheaper than Google).

Expected: Optimize Your Websites

You know that you should be optimizing your website, right?

Optimization is critical to getting found on search.

Unexpected: Optimize Yelp, Facebook… Everything

Did you know that investors are using pages on other platforms to crowd out their competition in search, too?

I’ve seen pages from Yelp, Facebook, YouTube, Zillow, blog sites, and other big platforms used to dominate top keywords in busy markets.

This is a really smart strategy, because sites like Yelp and Facebook already have a ton of authority, so it’s way easier to rank your business’s page on their high-credibility site than on your brand-new domain name.

Expected: Craigslist

I love Craigslist, and I’ve gotten lots of real estate business from it. There are lots of investors crowding all over it in busy markets, often running very similar ads… and it’s still a great source of leads. It’s also free.

Unexpected: Backpage, Geebo, Reachoo, & Other Local Classifieds

The same techniques that work so well on Craigslist also work for other local classified sites. I know one real estate investor who has had the same tiny little ad running for years in his local paper… I think he said it costs him about $80 per month to keep it there, and he makes about $25,000 per year off of the transactions that ad generates.

If you’ve got a local newspaper that doesn’t charge a ton, it’s probably a good idea to run a tiny ad with your phone number, especially if your competitor *isn’t* doing it.

It’s also not a bad idea to post ads on a lot of the free online sites that imitate Craigslist. On some of those sites you might even get some SEO benefit when you link back to your site from your profile.

Expected: Bandit Signs and Bus Stops

Lots of investors have tried putting up signs or buying bus stop ads.

They work, although paid ads are expensive and bandit signs are illegal in many areas (that’s why they got called “bandit” signs… cause they’re breakin the law).

Unexpected: Flyers at Laundromats and Non-Profits

If someone can’t afford to fix their washer, they might need to sell their house, right?

Most laundromats have a bulletin board where you can hang a flyer.

Better yet, buy the freakin laundromat. People pump quarters into those things all day long. 😉

Seriously though, make some quality fliers (or if you don’t have graphic design skills, hire someone)… and find the places where people go when they’re down-and-out.

Talk to folks at non-profit agencies who help with foreclosure and probate assistance, and see if they need a partner who buys houses or helps with short sales (depending on your specialities). You may be able to give them a donation from every transaction, depending on referral laws in your state. Check with a good attorney to be sure.

If you can build trust with the right agencies, you’ll have an ongoing deal pipeline for a long time. There are some insanely smart community development organizations who build housing and are solid real estate professionals. Don’t underestimate them.

If you can provide a great service for the same population they serve, they’ll be a great business alliance.

Plus, the partnership that you establish with them is great for press and building future credibility.

Expected: Direct Mail

Direct mail still works well, and it’s easy to replicate. There are a lot of systems for sale out there. It’s pretty expensive, and everyone’s doing it… if you’re in a busy market and using a popular system, you’re probably sending the same stuff as your competitors.

It’s still better than doing nothing. Direct mail campaigns tend to have about a 2-3% success rate, on average… so you’re definitely playing a numbers game.

Unexpected: Door Knocking with a “Down Payment”

Sounds crazy, but I know investors who do really well just walking up to houses and knocking on the door.

Of course, they know who they are targeting… after signs of disrepair, utility notices, etc., they walk up to the door… and if the owner is home, they give that person a $5 bill along with a business card… and let the homeowner know that it’s just a “down payment” when that seller is ready to sell. It’s pretty easy to get their contact info – shoot, let ’em know you wanna send ’em another $5 on their birthday.

I love that strategy… it’s a powerful psychological trigger to take money from someone.

And if you’re thinking “whoa, that’s a fast way to lose $5” – then you’ve probably never run a pay-per-click campaign on Google. If you’re not planning to spend some time and/or money on lead acquisition, you’re not making a serious plan.

Developing a list of people who have taken your “$5 down payment” and actually staying in touch with those people is a great way to get access to properties before anyone else in your market. You don’t want to go around giving away money… but if you can set yourself up to buy houses before anyone else, you’re winning.

Expected: Bird Dogging

Lots of real estate investors team up with “bird dogs” to send them leads. These are folks who (hopefully) do the work of finding potential off-market property sellers and then send you the leads. Depending on the bird dog and the strength of the lead, this might average out to a cost of $50-$1,500 per transaction.

Unexpected: Turn Your Vendors Into Business Partners

Often the people you already know are your key to growing your business… you might just not see the opportunity.

If you know an ambitious person… might be a sibling or a cousin, could be a virtual assistant, a student or a partially retired friend… even your spouse.

If you find someone who isn’t afraid to knock on doors and talk to people, that person could be a great potential partner for your real estate business. Or maybe you’re the type of person who loves to talk but hates technical details — then you might want to find someone who can help you crush it with online marketing.

Depending on the laws in your state, it might even make sense for you to help that person buy property under his or her name – or even together under a new LLC.

There are a lot of creative ways to structure deals.

As many industry veterans will tell you, often the price doesn’t matter as much as the terms.

When you’re calculating your profit from a transaction, what’s important isn’t just the price you paid… it’s the money you made.

If your subcontractor, virtual assistant, and your family are all working to help your business grow – if they have incentives, motivation and a clear path – you’ll have a

So don’t be afraid to partner up with other people who can help you generate leads…. and don’t be afraid to publish in unexpected places!

Expected: Develop Properties

As a real estate investor, you should always be looking for easy ways to add value to properties.

If you could spend $5,000 to improve the landscaping and increase your sale price by $50,000 – that would be a no-brainer of a decision, right?

I like to think of my investments on a timeline… where can I add value today that I can pull out for the highest return later?

In other words, if I can get my hands on a fully-rented apartment building with crummy apartments and slowly rehab each one for pennies on the dollar by keeping a few decent workers busy, I’ll make a lot more money by never having to lose my cash flow.

If I build a 30-unit building from scratch, I’d have to have the money to wait until the building is mostly finished before I even take in any money… that means I’d have to take out a lot of loans, which all cut into my profit.

So generally speaking, I look for properties that are already occupied, but not making the kind of cash flow they could be making if they were cleaned up, improved and well-managed.

But either way, it comes down to the money… I like to find properties that need mostly cosmetic improvements, because those are the cheapest ways to develop.

Great investors know how to add value to the properties they own to get exponential rates of return.

Unexpected: Develop Communities

As some of you know, I spent my time in real estate…

I got involved with over $1 billion worth of real estate… most of it when I was the managing broker of a really busy real estate brokerage that helped to develop one of the coolest communities.

My boss then was a tiger, and I’m sure she still is today. She built an amazing business from the ground up out of sheer will and determination.

She represented some of the top developers – guys who would buy millions of dollars worth of properties each week, as inventory became available. My boss sold the condos and buildings. I managed the office, training leasing and sales agents. We sold over $100M in sales volume and leased out hundreds of apartments each year. It was the glory days of a booming economy.

But together, we sold a story. It was a story about the neighborhood, about the community… about the histories and cultures of the people who lived there.

After years and years of working in those communities, we saw incredible growth. Now, that wasn’t just from our efforts, or those of our developers… there were huge economic forces much larger than anything we were doing.

As successful brokers, we knew how to own the story of the neighborhood.

We sold it to our clients: buyers, sellers, investors, developers, and tenants.

Everyone wanted to participate in something larger than themselves… that’s that feeling of community that feels so good. When you’re really helping others, it shows… and people want to be a part of it.

Your real estate investor lead generation efforts should be centered around your community.

We do the same: we think of our members first.

We want to help you do the best possible marketing for your real estate investment business.

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About reibrain

Hey, my name is Trevor and I'm the founder of The REI Brain and editor/contributor. I started investing in real es.tate when I was 21... and love entrepreneurship, the internet, and real estate. My main focus today is growing my companies, systemizing my businesses so I can work less and make more, and spend more time with my family. Learn more about me at trevormauch.com.

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