How to Successfully Market for Real Estate Leads (Even When You’re Up Against Big Businesses)

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I have three truths to share with you.

  1. You cannot compete with big brand marketing.
  2. You shouldn’t even try.
  3. You can do it better and see greater results for less effort.

Stick around. This entire article centers around why your brand is NOT the first stop on the lead generation line—and what is.

If you follow this approach, known as lead generation marketing or direct response marketing, you will crush the big boys without a big marketing budget and flood your business with motivated sellers, qualified buyers, renters, and lenders without sacrificing your time and sanity.

Before we get into how, I want you to understand that marketing isn’t part of the business; marketing is the business.

The success of any business hinges on traffic and conversions. It’s true for every business, but it’s especially critical in real estate.

The only way to generate enough leads so that you have more deals than you can handle is through automation—unless you want to work more, make less, and not enjoy life, which I know you don’t.

So, you have to market. But maybe you think marketing is expensive?

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How to Compete With the Big Brands

How do you compete with a $46,000 a month marketing budget? (That’s the monthly marketing budget for one of the nation’s largest home buyers in the St. Louis market.) How do you get your slice of the pie, so to speak?

Well, you have to do it differently. The approach that will work for you doesn’t begin with your brand; it starts with the specific problem your prospects have that you can solve. It starts with them, not with you and not with your brand.

Related: 3 Steps to Create a System for Bringing in Real Estate Leads While Working Full-Time

You want to be asking this question: How do I attract the right people who need the solutions I offer?

The big boys market with a commercial fishing net; you need to market with a surgeon’s scalpel. That will make all the difference.

What’s more, traditional marketing like billboards, radio commercials, TV spots, and brand building isn’t accurately measurable. In the industry, they call it “fuzzy analytics.” Fuzzy analytics make marketing feel like an expense.


Let me ask you a question. Do you feel comfortable about building your business around “fuzzy analytics”? I didn’t think so.

In order to turn marketing into an investment and not an expense, you need to know where your time and money is being spent. Then you can track what’s getting the greatest results.

When you know the return for every marketing dollar you invest, you’ll feel a lot more confident investing in your marketing (which, like I said, you must do).

Marketing has to be:

  • Measurable
  • Trackable
  • Testable
  • Optimizable for better results
  • Targeted to a clear call to action

It’s that last one, that it has to lead to a clear call to action, that I’m going to focus on now. This is where it really gets good.

4 Steps to Successful Lead Generation

  1. Select a target market.
  2. Compel them to identify themselves.
  3. Educate and motivate them to meet you.
  4. Land the appointment.

There are tons of target markets out there, and each has its own problem and desired solution. Your job is to identify what they want and give it to them.

Some example target markets include:

  • Absentee seller
  • Bankruptcy lease option
  • Cash buyer
  • Distressed seller
  • Free and clear sellers
  • Lease option
  • Renters

Once you’ve identified your target market, you’re going to drive them to get more information about the solution you provide. This step is where so many people get it wrong.

So, Where Do You Drive Your Traffic?

Do you send them to your main website? Or do you send them to a landing page (also known as a squeeze page)?

The answer is the latter, and here’s why:

You’ve identified this micro market, but when you send them to your branded website there are too many options, and it’s mostly about you and all the things you do in your business.

Related: Beat Out the 48% of Investors Who Never Follow Up on Leads With These Tips!

If you drive somebody at this stage to your overall website, there’s so much information that it’s too overwhelming for them to take action (except maybe to click off your site and launch Facebook, which is obviously not the desired action). If you send them to a landing page that speaks directly to their problem and offers a specific solution (in the form of a lead magnet) for which they will exchange their email, however, then you’ve successfully sourced a lead.

After identifying your market, your job is to discover what they want and offer it to them in the form of a lead magnet so that it’s their choice to take action. Get inside their heads. What’s the number one problem that they have that they’d like solved yesterday? That’s the focus of your lead magnet.

Lead magnet examples might be:

  • Special report
  • Educational video
  • Webinars
  • Pricing guides
  • E-book

Let me ask you another question, just to drive home the branded website versus lead page point. If you have a problem, do you care what brand is solving it? No! You just want it solved. If you’re in the desert and you’re thirsty, do you care what kind of drink is offered, whether it be Gatorade, Powerade, or a glass of tap water? You’ll take whatever’s on hand; you’re thirsty!


That’s why, at this stage in the game, your brand doesn’t matter; the solution does.

Now, once you’ve captured the lead, your job remains to educate and motivate the prospect to meet you. It’s called a follow-up campaign, usually done through a series of autoresponders. This is where we introduce your brand.

At this point, we are building trust, establishing credibility, starting a relationship, and showing your unique solutions.

The ideal result of this step is to have built enough of a relationship and established enough rapport to lead to landing the appointment.

This process is a typical marketing funnel, and it’s how the small guy wins. It’s how you will win. And it’s the only way you’ll be to be able to track your results—because if you don’t track, you can’t know for sure, and you need to know.

Marketing this way is:

  • Simple
  • Scalable
  • Trainable
  • Repeatable
  • Delegable
  • Systematized
  • Automate-able

…and highly effective!

It’s what CRMs specialize in so that you can cherry pick your deals, spend time with family, and remove the shackles of your desk job. Again, there are many CRMs out there. The one I am referring to is REI Blackbook. But please find the right CRM for your business needs.

How do you get the attention of leads in a market saturated with big businesses?

Let me know your approach with a comment!

About Author

Nasar Elarabi

Nasar is a corporate failure who was saved by Real Estate. Nasar is now a Wholesaler, Rehabber and Landlord in the Charlotte area. Nasar may have just barely graduated college but can flip a house like an acrobat. Nasar’s work can also be found at


  1. Cornelius Charles

    Great article Nasar. But don’t you also need to drive these leads to your squeeze page? My understanding is that to get enough leads for this, you either need to spend a lot of money on marketing, or a lot of time (and/or money) on SEO to increase your organic rankings. I understand squeeze pages and follow up, but to me that’s only part of the marketing equation. Would be interested to read what you are doing to drive these leads to your site.

    • Nasar Elarabi


      That is correct you pick out a niche like Tax delinquent. Send them a mail piece stating they can get more information on your site. You dont need to spend alot of money to get deals when you are going after niches. Thanks for reading man

  2. Aaron R.

    Nasar, how is it going with your business and are you still using REI Blackbook at this point? I’m researching marketing automation and have been curious of this solution for awhile now. Are you spending significantly more on marketing beyond the monthly fee for this solution?

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