Real Estate Lead Farming; The Ultimate Strategy
Part I: Homesteading
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 18 months, we are experiencing an inventory crisis across the United States and realtors are drowning in buyers with nothing to sell them.
Days on market are at historic lows, prices are at historic highs, and everybody NEEDS MORE LISTINGS. The usual lead gen platforms are notoriously buyer heavy, and agents are being forced to reevaluate (see what we did there?) their listing generation strategies. Many people are taking this opportunity to revisit some of the time tested methods of old: door knocking, circle prospecting, physical mailers, whatever it takes to generate opportunity where they are increasingly less evident. But do people like strangers knocking on their doors? Does anybody read the mail anymore? Is it worth it? And most importantly, how do I do it more efficiently?
Under all is the land
Before we can answer any of these questions, I think it is beneficial to first understand A) What is a farming strategy? and B) Your intent behind the strategy. Farming can mean many things to many people.
“Real estate farming is a marketing technique used by many successful real estate agents to develop business in a specific area or market demographic. They “farm” the area for leads and contacts, as the name suggests. This can involve direct mail, door knocking, postcards, newsletters, email, or any other form of targeted advertising.” – James Kimmons (https://www.thebalancesmb.com/farming-an-area-or-market-segment-in-real-estate-2866611)
For most people, a start to a farming strategy is setting up a mailing campaign to go out at a certain cadence to the farm of choice. This can mean EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) campaigns to an entire city, or a more targeted subdivision, and usually means once a month mailers about the market conditions, home valuation, etc. People who implement EDDM campaigns typically have a call to action on the mail piece, whether it be to call in, or go to a website. The intent behind this type of strategy is to position yourself as the resident expert on Real Estate in that community. By consistently popping up in the mailbox the goal is for you to create familiarity, or “brand recognition” with your real estate farming prospects, and when the time is right they will call you as the obvious choice.
The current rate for EDDM mailing postage is $.18 per piece, so if you’re mailing 10k homes in your farm, that’s $1800/mo in postage, not to mention the cost of the mail piece itself, and the creative, it can add up quickly. Further more, direct mail is not a one and done strategy – it can take 6-10 impressions to get results over many months. If we call it $2500/mo x 12 = $30k on mailers annually and no way to contact the recipients unless they reach out to you. That’s a lot of faith that the postcards won’t just end up in the recycling bin before they even get looked at, with the rest of the junk mail. There has to be a better way, but let’s not throw away the baby with the bathwater!
Revaluate has proven to be excellent at delivering tools to agents/brokers/teams when they are in high demand. With the launch of our Reside product back in December, Revaluate dove in head first into the newly coined “smart farming” world, providing data insights in geo-targeted databases for our clients. Our clients and others jumped in quickly trying all sorts of different approaches: some worked, some didn’t. After countless hours of consulting and listening to clients experiences on what has worked for them, and what seemed like a quick failure, I wanted to compile all of the intel into one “ultimate gameplan” to help those of you still trying to figure out the best strategy for a cold approach farm.
So let’s use 10k contacts as our example. 10k contact farm for EDDM campaigns. Using the Reside service we will be able to find contact information for ~ 40% of that farm. (Name, Email, Phone, and physical address) which brings us down to ~4-5k contacts useable through Reveal’s predictive modeling.
Direct Mail Smart Farming
- Step 1: Begin monitoring all available emails in the farm
- Step 2: EDDM campaign introducing yourself as the neighborhood expert. CTA involves providing email to a landing page (homebot?)(home search?)(neighborhood FB group?)
- The hope here is not to get a listing, but rather to begin collecting emails for the contacts you do not already have, as well as updating emails for anyone who responds to the mailer.
- Step 3: Begin a weekly mailing campaign to all VLM in your Reveal dashboard with a CTA specific to listing the home (preapproval/homebot/home valuation/etc.). Have a landing page, or QR code so that you can track engagement and once you get an alert, up the ante with either a phone call or a door knock (covid compliant)
- Step 4: Begin a monthly mailing campaign to the Engaged Movers with longer cycle messaging (credit repair / home repair / etc.)
- Step 5: Quarterly EDDM campaign adding value, but not focused on listing (newsletter, referral, local flavor, CTA = something to capture email for those you still don’t have)
Up next – The second part in our Ultimate Farming Strategy: PART II: The ReDeux