Table of Contents5 Myths about Real Estate Lead Generation3Real Estate SitesPros and Cons of National Real Estate Sites6Search Engine MarketingGoogle AdwordsIntro to Google Adwords for Agents8Bing AdsAre Bing Ads Worthwhile for Real Estate Agents?11Organic Search“Free” Traffic isn’t Free, Intro to SEO15CraigslistHow to Generate Leads on Craigslist18Social MediaHow to Stop Wasting Time on Social Media21Direct MailHow to Use Direct Mail to Get Seller Leads24ReferralsHow to Boost Referrals27Why Online Real Estate Leads Don’t Suck32How to Convert Leads to Clients with Lead Nurturing342 Page

5 Myths AboutReal Estate LeadGenerationIf your optimized website and social media presence are not generating any leads, you arenot alone. Numerous real estate businesses fail to generate leads because they buy intosome common myths. Understanding some of these myths will put you on the right coursefor successful lead management.1. Organic Traffic Converts Better Than Paid TrafficOrganic traffic is generated by peoplefinding your website from a searchengine such as Google. Basically, asearch engine gathers information aboutyour website and determines what it’sabout, so people searching for keywordscan find the most relevant website. In anutshell, most people who find websitesby searching keywords are windowshopping. The keywords you used onyour website matched whatever theywere looking for online.Paid traffic comes from someone seeing your ad and coming to your website for aparticular product or service from your real estate business. “In my experience paid searchtraffic converts at twice the rate of organic traffic. People who click on the Google Adsare in more of a transactional mode. They are “shoppers.” People who click on organicsearch results are usually in more of a research mode. They are more like “browsers,” saysJun Choo, VP of advertising for Market Leader. “Browsers” are more likely to peruse yourwebsite, sign up for a newsletter and read your blog than they are to purchase a home.That doesn’t mean you should abandon organic traffic – it is also essential to attract peoplein their initial stages of buying a home.2. Focus on People Who Want to Buy Now3 Page

Developing a marketing campaign aroundpeople who want to buy a property now will notproduce enough leads to keep you afloat.Consumers who know they are ready to buyare usually already working with an agent,according to Choo. Because people don’t buyhomes every day or every year, it is importantto catch (market to) people in the early stagesof buying a home. The typical homebuyerstarts looking for homes many monthsbefore they actually make a purchase. Usinga lead management system will help you keepin touch with customers until they are ready. Alead management system allows you to manage your automated emails, contacts andproperties in one system. By staying in the forefront of customers’ minds, you are morelikely to be the agent they choose when they finally decide to buy or sell a home.3. SEO is FreeWhile you don’t need to pay Google to show up in their rankings, it doesn’t mean SEO isfree. It especially doesn’t mean that it will generate free leads. SEO strategies costmoney. “In order for SEO to work for you, you need tocreate unique content, optimize your on-page SEOfactors, build backlinks to your site, build a social mediapresence and optimize your website for keywords,” saysChoo. Unless you are an SEO expert, web developer andsocial media specialist, you will not slide by without payingsomeone to help you with your SEO.4. People Care Who You AreCustomers want exactly what they are looking for online – it’s not you. “If customersfound your website on the Internet, they did not find it by doing a search for real estateagents, they did it by doing a search for home listings or home values or somethingsimilar,” says Choo. Spending too much time showcasing who you are (your hobbies,interests in food, who you’re going to root for in the next Super Bowl) on your website willnot benefit you. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create a bio page. Your bio pageshould be about appealing to your target market. If you are targeting people buying luxurylofts, express how you are an expert in that market.5. Lead Generation is Simple4 Page

Everyone would be making money if lead generation was easy. Lead generation costsyour real estate business time and money. Even if you try to cut corners by doing someof the grunt work (blog writing, SEO, PPC management, social media strategies, etc.), yourefforts may not generate leads and there’s no guarantee that you can retain leads.Retaining leads alone is a full-time job, so it’s important to strategize your time. Hiringsomeone, breaking down all of the steps to generate leads, or using lead managementsystems can help carry the load. But one of the most important steps that you can do is tounderstand the myths associated with lead generation and strategize your marketingcampaign.5 Page

Real Estate SitesThe Pros and Cons of NationalReal Estate SitesSure, it may sound trite, but it’snonetheless true: Agents have alove/hate relationship with thenational real estate sites.ActiveRain is full of complaintsfrom agents regarding the mistakescommonly found on the sites andabout how chasing after thesedead-end leads for their clients,wastes precious time.Love them or hate them, agents still need to be featured on these national sites because,as one ActiveRain poster states, “You can spend all of the time and money you want onyour own website but the big three are still going to get the major rankings.”Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of working with “the big three.”ProsProbably the biggest thing going for the national real estate sites isthe fact that they rank at the top of most real estate-related Websearches. This means millions of real estate consumers visitthese sites. That’s a lot of eyeballs to have on your brand.Since most people don’t visit these sites unless they’re activelylooking at property, their audience is interested real estate –another mark in favor of national real estate websites.Most of the sites allow agents to restrict their ads to be seen only byconsumers searching in a certain geographic area, so you connect with home buyer andsellers in the areas you want to work.Finally, there’s the branding benefits that appearing on these sites provides. Whetheragents like it or not, the big real estate sites lend agent’s credibility – and that’s whathelps win more clients.6 Page

ConsStanding out in a sea of other real estate agents is challenging, and most places thatagents choose to market their businesses are heavily populated with other agents vying forthe same client pool.The national real estate sites are no different. The one savinggrace is that many real estate agents find it difficult to partwith money, so if a site charges to advertise, there will be lesscompetition than you’ll find on free sites. Consider theenormous amount of competition you find in the Craigslist realestate section compared to what you find on Trulia, forinstance.The cost of advertising on these sites is prohibitive formany agents. Like any advertising campaign, however, you’llneed to give the process from three to six months and track your performance during thattime period. You’ll also need to follow up and remain responsive to capture the leads.Does it Work?“My experience in this market is that Zillow and Trulia at least are excellent ways for me toallocate my advertising dollars,” claims Scott Larson, a Park City, Utah agent in a responseto a post at ActiveRain.“I have already closed one deal that will pay for all of my advertising at my current level ofcommitment for the next four years with several more in the pipeline,” he continues. “So farI would say that about 25 to 35 percent of my leads through these sources are good leads,”Larson concludes.The flip side to this comes from Noah Seidenberg, Chicago agent and reviewer onActiveRain: “You can do better on ActiveRain for 20 or 40 bucks then you can do in Zillowfor hundreds. I tried it and got leads that were asking about homes already under contract,sold or off the market for years.”National real estate sites can be a great source of leads if “you actually know how to work alead,” according to Missouri agent Jeremy Johnston. We might also add that it helps tohave a system in place to assist you in turning the leads into sales.7 Page

Search EngineMarketingGoogle AdwordsIntro to Google Adwords for AgentsWhile a lot of real estate agents know about Google Adwords, it’s a safe bet that manydon’t understand how it works and why they should consider using the paid search modelto advertise their business.So, How Does Google AdwordsWork?Google is the largest search engine in the worldand has at least 60 percent of the search marketshare. Basically, everybody uses Google – butyou already knew that. What’s important tounderstand about Google is that people go thereto search for things. Duh, right? But think aboutwhat this means. They are already on Googlelooking for you (or what you offer). All you haveto do is find a way to get in front of them.This is very different from traditional advertisingor even other forms of digital advertising. Whenyou send a postcard to someone, or air a TV commercial, or take out an ad in a magazine,or put a banner up on a website, you are interrupting them from whatever they were doingin order to get your message across. The first thing you have to do is get their attention.That is why people pay millions of dollars to ad agencies to make funny TV commercials,and why magazine ads feature scantily clad women, and why real estate agents put theirface and brand on calendars and kitchen magnets.8 Page

But on Google, you are not interrupting the customer. Home buyers and sellers arelooking for you. They are already in the store, so to speak. All you need is a simple textad describing your product or offering. The fundamental question for the advertiserswitches from “how do I get this person’s attention” to “how do I find the people who arelooking for me.” It’s a whole different ballgame, and a completely different way to thinkabout advertising. And that is where keywords and keyword bidding come in.KeywordsLet’s say you are selling skinny jeans. What would be more effective, targeting ads towomen aged 16 to 45 or targeting ads to people who typed “skinny jeans” into theircomputer? I mean, demographic targeting can work fine, but compared to keyword basedadvertising, it is barbarically imprecise. There is no form of advertising that exists today thatallows you to target your ideal customer as accurately as Google’s keyword biddingsystem.Here is how it works. Let’s say someone searches for “homes for sale inBellevue.” Google is going to show a bunch of results. The ones in the middle of the pageare the organic search results. These are not advertisements, and you can’t pay to be here.(SEO is another huge topic and a whole different beast, and is discussed in anothersection.) The results at the very top and on the right-hand side are advertisements.9 Page

These people ended up here because they bid on the keyword phrase “Bellevue homes forsale” or something similar. The order in which they show up, or whether they show up at all,is determined by three things:1. Their budget, and how much of it is left.2. How much they were willing to pay for a click(their bid).3. The quality score of the landing page where the adtakes you.There are also some advanced features like geo-targeting, day-parting and negativekeywords that may affect the results, but let’s ignore these for now and focus on the twomain components of how an ad shows up – quality score and max CPC bid.Let’s say you have a list of keywords you want to target. Maybe it’s 10 keywords, maybe it’sa 100, maybe it’s 746,000. Each of these keywords needs to be assigned a max CPC byyou (or you could let Google do it, but that’s not usually a good idea). The bid tells Googlehow much you are willing to pay for a click. The more you are willing to pay, the morelikely you are to show up and the higher up on the page you will show. This is why theAdwords program is often referred to as an auction. The person who is willing to pay themost is generally able to buy the most clicks.But the bid is not the only factor that determines where you show up (referred to by Googleas your “position”). The other factor that affects your position is your quality score. Yourquality score is Google’s assessment of how relevant and “good” your landing pageis for a particular keyword. Each keyword you bid on is assigned a quality score between1 and 10. So let’s say that your website is devoted to homes for sale in Dallas, and thepage that you link to from your Google ad shows a bunch of stuff that is specific to realestate, and specific to Dallas, and has good quality content. Your page will likely get a highquality score for “Dallas homes for sale.” But this exact same page will probably have apoor quality score for San Diego Real Estate. And it may get a decent quality score for“homes in Texas.” Your eventual position in Google’s search results is determined by acombination of your quality score and your bid.It makes sense that Google cares about the quality of your landing page. If all of Google’sads pointed to junky websites that were irrelevant, their users would soon get burned outon using Google, and people would stop clicking on the ads – or even worse, stop usingthe search engine. The good news for advertisers is that if you take the time to build highquality, relevant landing pages and bid on relevant keywords, you can keep your costsdown. It’s not just about having the keywords on the page. It’s about providing a goodexperience for people searching for those keywords.10 Page

Cost per ClickBesides keyword bidding, the other salientfeature of Google Adwords is that it is sold as acost per click. The great thing about cost perclick is that instead of paying when someonesees your ad, you only pay if someone clickson it. Until Google came along, mostadvertising was sold based on impressions. Ifyou buy a TV ad, for instance, you pay acertain amount for every 1000 people who(supposedly) saw your ad. Leaving aside thequestion of whether they actually saw your ad ornot, this model still puts all of the pressure onthe advertiser (that’s you) to make sure thatyour ad works.In the cost per click model, if your ad copy is so bad that nobody clicks on it, you don’t payfor anything. If your bids are too low so that you show up in position 10 or 11 and nobodyclicks on it, you don’t pay anything. So the downside of not getting a response to your ad isthat you’ve wasted some time. BUT IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANY MONEY!That’s great, and buying clicks is way better than buying impressions, but that doesn’tmean it is foolproof. If you pay too much for the clicks and you don’t turn enough of thoseclicks into customers, you could end up losing a lot of money.So how do you know how much to bid? Well there is the rub. You don’t. Adwords pros, likethe ones at Market Leader, spend hours every day figuring this out. You can only learnthrough measuring your results, making adjustments, measuring again and repeating overand over. It is an iterative process that requires a lot of time and analysis. But if you do itright, it works.Bing AdsAre Bing Ads Worthwhile for Real Estate Agents?According to recent data from the National Association of Realtors , 90 percent ofhomebuyers start their search online. It is thus vital for agents to have an online presence ifthey want to catch homebuyers when they first start searching! Online advertising is a greatway to capture consumers early during the home-buying or selling process. When you thinkabout online searching, you may just think of searches conducted through Google, the11 Page

world’s preeminent search engine, which has a 65 to 70 percent market share of searchesin the U.S. Don’t forget Bing, though! While Bing only receives about 30 percent of searchengine traffic, it still receives over 5 billion searches a month.What are Bing Ads?Bing Ads are text advertisements that appear in Bing and Yahoo! search results. Bing Adsare virtually identical to Google AdWords, the text ads in Google’s search engine resultpages, except they are run by Microsoft. These ads show up on the top and right-hand sideof search engine results pages, and the top two to three ads often appear a second timebelow the search results.You pick the search terms you want for your ads. These are known as keywords, and caninclude terms like “real estate” in the example below. You can also choose to havesearchers from specific regions see the ad when they use your selected keywords, astrategy known as IP targeting.Where your ad shows up in search engine results is determined by your bid price(the max price you are willing to pay every time your ad is clicked), quality score(relevance of your landing page and ad to the keyword you select) and how fierce thecompetition is with other advertisers. The bid price you enter is not necessarily the priceyou will actually pay per click; instead, it is the maximum amount of money that you will becharged for the click.12 Page

All of this should sound familiar if you have worked with Google AdWords in the past. If youare running Google AdWords campaigns for real estate, the process will easily translate toBing.Easy to Set Up for Existing Google CampaignsIf you already have Google AdWords campaigns, Microsoft has made it easy to importthem into Bing Ads. Simply click the “Campaign” button in the header, and log in to yourGoogle Account through Bing to import all your keywords, ad text and settings directly fromGoogle.Two pieces of advice on Google AdWords vs. Bing Ads While it is easy to import ads from Google AdWords, be advised that what works onGoogle may not work on Bing.Google AdWords and Bing Ads both require testing and optimization to make themwork well.Here are some best practices for importing Google AdWordsinto Bing: Use the Bing and Yahoo networks only.Check and adjust your negative keywords (search terms that you don’t want your adto show up on) and IP targeting (searchers’ locations you want your ad to show upon).Use/update tracking codes so you can compare the performance of your Bing andGoogle ads in your website analytics.Bing Searchers are More Likely to Be HomebuyersHome searchers who are actively looking for listings and agents visit both Google and Bing.However, Bing users may be more likely to be homebuyers, since they are older andmore likely to have children.Bing’s Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Is Less Than Google’sSince Bing is still ignored by many advertisers, it is a less competitive advertisingmarketplace. This means that Bing has a lower CPC. Hubspot, a marketing softwarecompany, recently compared its clients’ CPC on Bing and Google and found that Bingsaved them 49 to 71 percent per click.13 Page

A case study by Bing found that a travel company achieves 50 percent lower average CPCwith Bing Ads.These are great stats, but how do they apply to real estate? Let us share how we use BingAds. Market Leader has incorporated Bing Ads into our advertising mix, and we build outcampaigns for each and every Leads Direct customer. Using both Bing Ads and GoogleAdWords has allowed us to deliver more leads to customers – at a lower overall cost perlead – than we are able to achieve using just Google.Market Leader has also experienced lower Bing CPCs when managing ads for itscustomers. Bing CPCs vary greatly by location, but Market Leader’s real estate adcampaigns have found that the cost-per-click savings on Bing are greatest in highpositions. This doesn’t mean that Bing is always the better deal. The amount of traffic Bingcan deliver is lower, so an ad with a low position on Google can sometimes get the sameamount of traffic as a highly positioned Bing ad – for the same price. Using both Bing andGoogle is the way to get the most traffic at the lowest price.Should You Start and Manage Your Own Bing Campaigns?If you are looking to do search engine marketing (SEM) yourself, Bing would be a valuableaddition to your search marketing campaigns. Both Google and Bing require a lot ofwork and expertise to get the most out of them. Taking the time to learn and optimizeGoogle AdWords and Bing Ads will take time away from your core business activity –selling real estate.It may make the most sense for you to hire someone to create and manage your searchmarking campaigns for you. There are many agencies and consultants that do this type ofwork, but their services are expensive. They may not be willing to work with you if yourbudget is small. If you are interested in SEM, but have limited budget and time, MarketLeader’s Leads Direct product might be the answer.With Leads Direct, Market Leader builds out and optimizes Google AdWords and Bing Adscampaigns for you. Instead of paying search engines for clicks, Leads Direct allows you toget homebuyers and sellers – leads – to register directly on your site. Market Leader makeslife easier for its customers by setting up and managing their search engine advertisingcampaigns and delivering quality leads directly to them.14 Page

Organic SearchOrganic Traffic isn’t Free:Beginner SEO tips for AgentsOrganic – it’s not just what’s for dinner. Like organic food, organic traffic to your website isobtained naturally – without paying for it or having it referred from a directory or anothersite.In fact, organic traffic is sent to your site because the search engines “think” your site isinteresting or relevant to the search terms. They like you – they really like you.Since not every real estate agent can make it to the front page of Google, the question ofthe millennium is: “Why not?”Why Doesn’t My Site Show up in Google?Google uses a long list of criteria – over 200 factors – to determine which pages rankfor which search terms. The wholeprocess is bundled in what is knownas an algorithm, defined by Googleas “ computer programs that lookfor clues to give you back exactlywhat you want.”When a user enters a search term,the algorithm clicks and whirs andtries to guess what the user wants tosee. It does this by considering terms on the site, how fresh the content is, what region thesearcher is in, and “page rank.”So, although just owning a website and publishing it to the Web doesn’t necessarily meanyou’ll automatically rank, it is the first step.Organic Traffic isn’t “Free”Earlier we defined organic traffic as being that which you don’t have to pay for. Althoughthat makes it sound as if it’s free, don’t be fooled.It takes time and effort to optimize your website for search engines – to have the contentand links that Bing and Google find rank-worthy. Because your time is better spentdrumming up clients, chasing after organic Web traffic can actually be quite expensive.15 Page

Then, consider that there are no guarantees that all that work will pay off and put youabove all the other agents in town when someone is searching for an agent.Tips to Improve Your RankingLet’s take a look at some ways to nudge you ahead in Bing’s and Google’s rankings.Compelling ContentMarket Leader’s senior trainer, ShannonShimabukuro, suggests beefing up your content.If you’re just starting a website, ensure that thecontent you use is “relevant, fresh and unique”so that it provides value for the user andpositions you as the hyper-local expert.Don’t just promote your latest listings, but tellreaders what’s so great about living in yourarea. Let them know about interestingrestaurants, the best dog parks in the area,where to get the best cup of coffee or hamburger. Sprinkle in advice on home buying andselling.This isn’t a one-time task. Content has to remain fresh, which means you’ll need to spendtime (or pay someone else) to make consistent updates to your content library.Use Target-Audience KeywordsThink of keywords as a breadcrumb trail that will lead potential clients to your website.The keywords can be anything that your potential clients will enter into the search boxwhen looking for an agent or a home. These keywords need to not only show up in yourcontent, but in your page titles and images as well.Shimabukuro cautions against “trying to rank for popular real estate search queries,” andrecommends using hyper-local terms instead. For example, you’ll get a lot more hits using“condos in Hayes Valley” than you will for “San Francisco real estate.”Finally, Shimabukuro cautions against the overuse of keywords; you don’t want to riskbeing considered a spammer by the search engines. She recommends using three to fivephrases per page.16 Page

LinksThe Miss Congenialities of Google have lots of links. Google’s algorithm takes a good lookat the number and veracity of the sites that link to yours. Shimabukuro likens them to votes– the more links, the more popular the site. Link to your site from your blog and yoursocial networking pages, and be sure to use your keywords when you create thelinks.Nothing in Life or on the Internet is Guaranteed.The folks at claim that “Google changes its search algorithm around 500 to 600times every year.” Not all of these changes have the impact of a Panda or Penguin update,but all you need is one big one to kick you back to where you started, leaving all your hardwork in the dust.While organic traffic is important, it’s just one aspect of a multipronged approach to Internetmarketing.17 Page

How to GenerateLeads on CraigslistA jar containing the ghost of George Harrison, a porta-potty, expired cans of shortening,and an empty iPad box for 20. These are just some of the items available to purchase onCraigslist. There is no question that it has become the king of classified advertisementwebsites. Despite the fact that it is probably one of the most unattractive sites on theInternet, Craigslist attracts a huge number of users across the United States.Many agents are getting amazing results from advertising their listings on Craigslist. Sure,it’s time-consuming, but, as one agent put it, “It’s free and it produces tons of leads.”Create an AccountCreating a Craigslist account is the first step, and, like all things Craigslist-related, it’s freeand easy. Type in your email address, prove you’re not a bot, and you’re off and running.Every time you want to post an ad, go to Craigslist and click on “My Account” on the leftside of the page to log in.Choose a Target MarketLas Vegas agent and Craigslist whiz kid Albie Vas goes after foreclosure buyers by offeringa list of foreclosed homes. He also runs Craigslist ads in Spanish to capture that market.While you don’t necessarily have to focus on a narrow niche, many agents insist that itworks.Foreclosures, types of properties, neighborhoods, certain ethnic groups (if you speak thelanguage), and starter homes are all examples of types of niche markets you can focus on18 Page

at Craigslist. Nobody is saying you have to confine yourself to one niche; choose several ifyou like. But make sure the ads, from top to bottom, serve that niche.The foreclosure list ad is quite successful for Vas. He also posts ads in the “Events” sectionfor the short sale and foreclosure workshops he holds. “Real Estate Services” is anotherarea for posting this information along with ads for meet-ups for investors and homebuyerworkshops.Track Your AdsMost Craigslist experts track the effectiveness of each ad they run. Those that get the mostclicks are worth repeating, and those that don’t work should be trashed.The folks at Market Leader, as well as many of the agents who are finding the mostsuccess at Craigslist, recommend Craigslist Ad Tracker. This program will tell you howmany people clicked on the ad’s headline to read the ad and the click-through rate.This information is vital to the Craigslist advertiser. Those headline clicks will let you knowhow effective your headlines are and which ones work better than others. After all, if theheadline isn’t compelling enough to get a visitor to click on it, you need to make someadjustments. Unseen ads equal no leads.Which ads are generating the most leads? Knowing this allows you to tweak your other adsto get the same performance. Tracking your ads will also help you learn: The time of day you get the most clicks.Which of your ad’s images bring in the most clicks.Where your visitors are coming from with IP address tracking.Write HeadlinesNow we’re talking nitty-gritty. Your ad’s headline will make or break your success withCraigslist advertising. The headline must be short, related to the target audience andattention-grabbing. Never use all caps in your headlines, and watch your spelling andgrammar.Here’s a fun one Vas does a lot of tracking and tweaking of his Craigslist ads. He has found that thecombination of pool plus location plus price in his headlines brings him a 28.8 percent clickthrough rate. Now, Vas is a Las Vegas agent, so the hot button in your area will probablybe different. He also warns that this headline only works for homes under 200,000.19 Page

Take a tip from Josh Schoenly and grab their attention with an exciting headline. He gotgreat results from: “ 206,900. LIKE it? You’ll LOVE it! (Can you believe the price on thisgem?) Click here to see other JUICY deals like this one in the Houston area. INCLUDESFORECLOSURES.”Now, some experienced Craigslist advertisers would call that headline spammy. Obviously,a lot of consumers don’t feel that way about Schoenly’s ads. In one of his webinars, heposted a screen shot of his contact management system showing that he generated 4,285Craigslist leads over a 12 month period.Don’t Disappoint theConsumerEvery property ad you post onCraigslist needs to lead the consumerto information about that property.Some agents use a lead capture website;others use the IDX pa

Lead generation costs your real estate business time and money. Even if you try to cut corners by doing some of the grunt work (blog writing, SEO, PPC management, social media strategies, etc.), your efforts may not generate