There are steps to take to effectively plan and execute a lead generation campaignBuying a home is a process, with time-tested and well-defined steps. Good agents counsel their clients on the process, outlining the steps they should take – and in what order – to reach their goal. Don’t surf the Internet for houses, for instance, until you’ve seen a lender and know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a house.

Unfortunately, far too many agents know exactly what their clients need to do to meet their goals and very little about how to meet their own. The first goal is, of course, to obtain leads. The truth is, without leads, real estate agents can’t remain in business.

There are steps to take when planning and executing a lead generation campaign. Like in an algebra problem, shortcuts will only lead you down the wrong path.

Ask the Right Questions

Before setting out on a lead generation campaign, ask yourself some baseline questions:

  • What is your income goal?
  • How many leads do you need to generate to reach your income goal?
  • What’s in your wallet?

“Virtually every real estate professional has some idea of how much commission income they would like to earn annually,” claims Market Leader’s SEO coordinator and community manager, Andy Fulton. So the first question is the easiest for most agents.

“Unfortunately, few Realtors® know exactly how many leads they need to generate in order to actually attain their desired income levels,” Fulton laments. So, the second question may be your stumbling block.

Fulton suggests using Market Leader’s free Reverse Lead Calculator to help you determine how many closed transactions you’ll need in the coming year to meet your income goals. Then, it will let you know how many leads you’ll need in your database to hit that transaction goal. Finally, the calculator will determine how many additional leads you’ll need to generate per month to get the ball rolling.

Although this information is basic, it – combined with the third question, your budget – is invaluable in choosing how to set up your lead generation campaign.

Spend Some Money

Are you familiar with Titus Maccius Plautus? He once said, “You must spend money to make money.”

Top-producing agents (those that earn more than $100,000 per year) spend five to 10 times more money on marketing than agents who earn under $35,000 per year, according to an Active Rain study.

While the takeaway from that statistic is obvious, there’s a more subtle one as well: Whether you are a “rich agent” or a “poor agent,” and whether you spend money on postcards and postage, on an assistant to post your ads on Craigslist or on leads generated by a third party, you have no choice but to spend money on lead generation. That’s why it’s important to make every dollar count.

Spend Some Time

Most busy real estate professionals understand that time is just as much of a commodity as money. Since planning and executing a lead generation campaign requires time, another question to ask yourself is how much time you’re willing to devote to the process. Even more important is to determine how long you’re willing to wait to determine if your campaign is working.

If time is in short supply in your business, consider hiring an assistant or outsourcing your lead generation tasks to another company.

Choose the Right Lead Mix

If you’re hoping to get all the leads you need by posting freebies on Craigslist, you may be in for a big surprise. To get your pipeline full of folks in varying degrees of readiness to transact, you need a mix of lead-generating techniques. The Reverse Lead Calculator suggests using a mix of the following:

  • Craigslist
  • Referral
  • Social media
  • Paid

When you plug your numbers into the calculator, the results narrative will let you know which technique to concentrate on the heaviest.

Once your campaign is up and running you’ll need to work it every day. Consistency is the key to keep the leads coming in, and persistence in following up on those leads is the key to becoming a lead magnet.