It is with great pleasure that I may tell you finding real estate leads doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, I would go as far as saying that capturing leads in today’s real estate landscape is unequivocally easier than it has ever been in the past. The advent of technology and our ability to communicate over several platforms has lessened the burden of reaching out to those homeowners that are in need of investors’ services. And what is a great lead generating campaign if not for the ability to offer a solution to someone in need? When you really think about it, finding real estate leads is a lot like looking for someone to help. How hard can that be?
There is no doubt about it: countless homeowners, the nation over, are in need of assistance. Whether they are on the verge of bankruptcy, going through a difficult divorce, or any number of problematic issues, the need for investor intervention is more justified than ever. How else would you explain the 43,615 single-family homes and condos flipped in the first quarter of this year? People want to sell to investors, and those that know how to capture leads with the best of them could be in for a treat.
Despite what you may think, however, it’s not as hard to capture said leads as you may think. In fact, there are a few tried and true lead generation strategies that even the newest investors can find useful. If you have ever wondered where to find real estate leads, look no further. The following strategies are a great place to start.
I like to think of finding real estate leads as another way of connecting with people that need my help. And if you want to give yourself the best odds of helping someone, may I recommend the following?
1. Reengineering Old Leads
Real estate leads for investors aren’t just important; they are everything. It’s no coincidence that some of today’s most prolific investors are those that know how to capture real estate leads, but I digress. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, knows how to capture leads, and you are no exception to the rule. Chances are, you have already gotten some leads of your own from previous marketing campaigns, but failed to convert them. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. There isn’t an investor out there that has converted 100 percent of their incoming leads, and I’d be willing to bet there never will be.
It’s worth noting, however, that those leads you captured in the past aren’t useless. While they may not have turned into an immediate deal in recent history, they represent one very important thing: a motivated seller. How else would you explain receiving their information? At one point, said lead felt inclined to give you their information because they were convinced you might be the answer to their problems. But who is to say you can’t still be the answer to their problems? Simply because you weren’t able to convert the lead into a deal earlier, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future.
If a previous marketing campaign of yours resulted in numerous leads, but failed to produce an actual deal, all is not lost. As it turns out, those names still hold value; you just need to know how to tap into it.
A good place to start is to initiate a follow-up campaign. Simply check in on those you have already made connections with, and get a feel for where their current housing needs stand. A simple email sending your best wishes or a direct mail piece with a polite summer greeting can go a long way in strengthening a relationship. Feel free to maintain a friendly rapport, but don’t forget to check in on them. Do they have any questions? Are their housing needs currently being met?
At the very least, you are broadening your exposure and placing your brand at the forefront of their minds. Every now and then, however, you may get just the answer you were looking for. It’s entirely possible that some of your contacts are still in need of help, or that their situation has changed, and therein lies the secret to reengineering old leads. You have the names already; you just need to find a new way to speak with them.
Not surprisingly, most of the old leads you reach out to will have probably already moved on, but there is a good chance someone’s needs have changed. You will never know until you try. If you can identify those homeowners still seeking help, it stands to reason that you can turn a cold lead into a hot one.
2. Bandit Signs
Those familiar with the real estate investing landscape have most likely already been acquainted with bandit signs. However, if you have yet to hear about these awesome lead generation machines, I’ll do my best to fill you in. They are essentially small billboards with a simple message; one that typically suggests your willingness to buy houses and a way to get a hold of you. Anything more, and those passing by will miss the message altogether.
As their name suggests, bandit signs are illegal in most municipalities. That said, they are typically regulated by city ordinances to prevent the mass accumulation of signage on public streets, and for good reason: nobody wants to see their neighborhood turn into a glaring advertisement for everything under the sun. It’s worth noting, however, that bandit signs aren’t illegal everywhere, and some municipalities will actually work with investors that approach the situation amicably. Any attempt to initiate a bandit sign lead generation campaign should be preceded by an inquiry with local authorities to determine whether or not it’s allowed.
In the event you are operating in an area in which you can utilize these mini advertisements, you could quickly find yourself the beneficiary of a relatively cheap and easy lead generation strategy. Not only that, but few lead capture vehicles — for that matter — can compete on the same return on investment (ROI) level as bandit signs. The amount of time and money spent on a calculated bandit sign campaign can be justified by the acquisition of a single hot lead, but I digress. It’s not enough to simply post bandit signs like propaganda whenever and wherever you feel like. You must, above all else, mind due diligence and track your results.
First things first: you must familiarize yourself with local city ordinances. If for nothing else, a lot of municipalities do not permit the use of bandit signs, as they are often in violation of city codes. Punishment for violating a city’s sign ordinance can include fines ranging from $200, $500 or more per violation, so you must be absolutely certain to operate within the law. Therefore, I implore anyone considering whether or not they want to implement a bandit sign lead generation campaign to check with local authorities and their stance on the matter. With any luck, you may find yourself in an area that promotes responsible bandit sign practices.
In the event you receive a “green light,” the next logical step is to determine a budget and a sound plan. As I already said before, it’s not enough to simply slap a sign on every corner and hope you see immediate results; you must be calculated in your approach. What type of budget can you see yourself dedicating to a bandit sign campaign on a weekly basis? Bandit signs are nothing if not consistent.
Next, do a little research and uncover the areas your signs are most likely to see the most traffic. Busy stoplights and intersections are usually a good place to start. Remember, the more people that see your signs, the better. Once you have an idea of the most ideal locations, proceed to place your signs. Not only that, but keep a detailed record of where you placed individual signs. Remember, if you are working with local authorities, you will most likely be expected to retrieve your signs, so you don’t want to miss any. Keeping a map of where your signs are will also help you track where your leads are coming from. Simply ask those that call from your signs where they saw the advertisement and take note of those that are both performing and underperforming. That way, you will know which signs have the greatest impact and where to remove signs that aren’t working.
Bandit signs may not represent the pinnacle of technology, but they are absolutely a tried and true method of generating real estate leads. Some of today’s greatest real estate marketers rely on a steady stream of leads produced by bandit signs, and there is no reason you can’t expect the same. Better yet, it’s entirely possible to automate almost the entire system. There is no reason your bandit sign campaign can’t send inquisitions to a squeeze page that automatically takes down the information of sellers. Can you imagine generating leads without even doing a thing?
Learning how to find real estate leads is an intimidating undertaking for investors of every level. If for nothing else, seasoned investors need leads just as much as new investors; they are the heart and soul of any prosperous investing business. It’s worth noting, however, that finding real estate leads doesn’t need to be nearly as hard, expensive or time consuming as many make it out to be. In fact, I maintain that generating leads is easier than ever — so long as you know where to look.