HOW I USED DIGITAL FARMING TO GROW A MULTIPLE SIX FIGURE PER YEAR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS.
Door hangers, mailers, bus benches, billboards…these are all tactics that have been taught in sales and more specifically-real estate, for what seems like forever. For good reason though…it works! Creating a presence in a specific area (farming) can be an important tool in any REALTORS® arsenal of lead generation techniques, and if done consistently over a long period of time, can produce results. That doesn’t mean there isn’t another way though…
When I made the transition from being on a team, to venturing out on my own…I realized I had no idea how to generate business. I relied too much on my team leader for leads, which made me a lazy agent. I was lucky that along the way I naturally kept in touch with some of my past clients, not systematically like I do now, but simply because I liked them. This was leading to a few referrals, and I had a number of friends who happened to be buying/selling so it was going great. I was making money, and seemingly had this whole real estate thing figured out. That was until I started to realize that the way I was generating business was not sustainable long term…I mean, what if all of my friends didn’t buy a house next year? This is where social media comes into the picture.
Facebook was a platform that I was on, and I even created a business page back in 2011 but I didn’t do much with it. If I’m being honest, I started posting more often for nothing else than to stroke my own ego about how awesome I must be since I am so busy selling houses. Along the way however, I noticed that the public’s perception of me changed or at the very least became noticeable. Again, this was great for the ego…but it also gave me credibility (perceived or not, it didn’t matter) among my greater sphere of influence, and people started coming out of the woodwork who I hadn’t spoken to in over 10 years. What started out as something I simply felt like I should be doing, quickly turned into something that was generating me numerous transactions.
I could see the massive potential with this whole social media “thing”, so I began to get serious about it. I learned everything I could at the time about Facebook advertising, I learned about landing pages, opt in pages, I got a serious CRM with intense follow up campaigns. I started posting weekly market reports in community pages, I posted real estate tips in real estate pages, I interacted with as many people as I could in my community (not real estate related but about anything), I did giveaways, I private messaged hundreds of people, I ran paid ads for every single one of my listings, price reductions and sales. I also ran a few general ads about me or my team that generated plenty of leads. The underlying message in all of these ads was that I knew what I was doing when it came to real estate, I was busy, and people trusted me with one of their largest decisions. Whether or not the ad I was running helped sell the house (turns out that actually works too) but even if the ad didn’t sell the house…I was that digital bus bench they saw on the way home every day.
Today my social media strategy is very similar to what it was in 2013 but is more systematic and thought out. I view Facebook as 3 lead generation streams. 1. Paid ads 2. Group postings 3. Community Interaction. Instagram and Youtube are now large areas of focus and have started to produce results.
I have never sent mail to a specified area (ok once…in 3 months I had sold 9 out of 12 houses in a particular neighbourhood and I thought everyone who lived there ought to know…zero phone calls) I only recently purchased a billboard as more of a favour to a friend of mine who owns a magnetsigns franchise and I happened to have a commercial listing it looked great in front of. I have never purchased a bus bench, I have never created door hangers and delivered them to a neighbourhood, I have never sent a physical market report to anyone other than my past clients. This is not me out to criticize anyone who uses these traditional methods, or claim that my way is better. I don’t actually know because I’ve never really tried it any other way. This is simply me trying to share some strategies that leverage technology to help grow your business. This year my team will close nearly 200 transactions with 70–80 coming from yours truly. Approximately half will be generated through Facebook.
Jesse Loader is a licensed REALTOR® in the greater Edmonton area and also offers real estate mentorship through his group “Reach Your Peak Coaching and Consulting”