What is real estate farming?
Real estate farming is a marketing and lead generation strategy where you niche down on one area or demographic and focus all your marketing efforts to attract real estate leads over time1
With geographic farming, you use digital outreach tactics to target real estate leads in a specified area (farm area).
It's the ultimate investment into your pool of potential listings.
It could be a specific zip code, neighborhood, or town.
This geo-specific targeting allows real estate agents to generate consistent leads with homeowners who might be ready to give you a listing.
Curaytor generated 2,127 seller leads from Facebook last month. Want success like that? Let's connect.
What are the benefits of real estate farming?
There are many benefits of real estate farming, but the three main ones are:
- You become the real estate expert in your local neighborhoods.
- It's a great way to generate consistent real estate leads.
- You build long-term relationships within your farm area or areas.
Real estate farming is an effective marketing strategy that allows agents to focus their time and resources on a specific geographic area or demographic group to generate leads.
As a broker, you can better capture people's attention when your message is tailored to a specific group. It'll sound more sincere this way. This means that potential clients will be able to connect better with you.
How do you identify a good market for farming?
There are many factors to consider when identifying a good market for lead prospecting. For example, think about where you live or have been before. You'll see success sooner if you live in or near the farming area.
But, we think the four most important criteria are:
- The real estate market must have growth potential.
- There should be little real estate agent competition in the area.
- The demographics of the area must meet your target clients.
- Location and neighborhood boundaries.
In addition to a high-growth area, you should consider what that region or area offers to potential buyers and sellers.
- Types of properties.
- Turnover rate.
- Income and budget of the area.
- School ratings and options.
- The number of houses in the area.
- Nearby employers.
Finally, ask yourself, 'how popular am I in this area?'
Consider the brand awareness you currently have in the area.
Is there a general understanding of who you are among the locals? Likewise, do you have the relevant experience? This will determine the amount of effort required to successfully farm the area.
What are the best methods for real estate farming?
We've found that the most effective strategies for real estate farming are done online.
Online real estate farming is when you use online advertising techniques to attract leads in your farm area.
This can be done through various tools such as SEO (search engine optimization), social media, YouTube, Google AdWords (PPC) and, recently, TikTok.
Offline real estate farming is when you focus your efforts on traditional marketing methods like door knocking, cold calling, or direct mail.
While both online and offline real estate farming have their own set of benefits, we believe that the best way to execute real estate farming is by using a combination of both methods.
This way, you can reach the widest audience possible and maximize your chances of generating leads.
Local content on your website
Your website is often the first contact between you and your clients.
Especially first-time home sellers whom you haven't had a chance to interact with on a personal level.
But this is commonplace to the more than 70% of licensed realtors with a website.
Farm-tailored content is what makes a big impact.
You'll want to establish yourself as a neighborhood expert. To do this, dedicate a specific page on your website where you post the happenings of your real estate farming area.
Create content and blog posts for each category if you have segmented your geo-farming area into smaller subdivisions.
Become the go-to source and guide for everything local.
The point is to have relevant content for every prospect that visits your website.
Here are some examples:
- Tips on how to improve a home's value.
- How to save money on moving.
- An article on curbside appeal.
- A listicle of the most popular coffee businesses.
- Market statistics and home values.
Show your expertise and build trust all year.
A prospective seller in your geo-farm pops into your website and finds you've posted about a just sold in their neighborhood and they knew the seller.
Immediately, the prospect calls the seller (your previous customer) and enquires about their selling experience with you.
If you did a good job, your past client would recommend you.
In fact 70% of most agents rely on referrals for new business.
And, just like that, you'll have earned a new customer, all because you took the time to post about an everyday deal most other realtors would overlook.
That is what farm-tailored content can do for you. Be sure to place your contact info where its easy to find and offer potential leads multiple contact details, including your email address and phone number.
Social media using local hashtags
Posting on your social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others) without using hashtags(#) sells your posts short because there's no guarantee they'll reach the audience in your farming area.
You can drive high engagement with your social media posts but fail to get leads if you don't reach your target demographic and geo-farming area.
For instance, if you're farming Manhattan, using #NewYork hashtags to engage on your socials may get you traffic but not necessarily from Manhattan.
You'll attract prospects from all over New York, where thousands of other realtors are farming, thus decreasing your chances of scoring leads. Conversely, using #Manhattan hashtags will engage prospects in Manhattan who are more likely to convert.
Micro hashtags are niche and have a smaller reach, less than 100k. Do some research into the micro hashtags that are relevant to your area. They are a great opportunity to stand out and have some longevity in the newsfeed.
Another benefit of using neighborhood hashtags on your socials is longer engagement.
Hashtag posts last longer on social media feeds and timelines than plain posts because they're often reused.
Social media platforms have varying guidelines regarding the use of hashtags. As such, you should be aware of the best practices for each platform so you use hashtags effectively.
Join local Facebook groups
Most likely, there are existing homeowner association Facebook groups in your farming area.
You'll want to join these online communities and start contributing meaningful and engaging real estate content that members will find helpful.
You can use your membership privilege in such online groups to organize online or in-person community events, real estate workshops, or opportunities for members to get your eBooks for free.
Even if none of the group members is selling, they'll acknowledge you as the local real estate expert they would go to if they need to sell their house in the future.
Also, they'll readily refer their friend to you because they'll keep you top of mind.
In particular, consider joining Facebook Groups in communities with good turnover and absorption rates (also known as a strong demand).
To calculate these rates in a certain locality, look at how many months of inventory are available in your farm area.
The absorption rate is calculated by dividing the time frame (usually one year) by the number of sold homes.
That gives you the rate of home sales. Next, multiply the number of active homes listed in your area by the rate of home sales.
That gives you the absorption rate. Looking at turnover and absorption rates to understand the dynamics of a specific real estate market and its sales activity.
FSBO (For Sale By Owner) real estate groups
In the age of DIY, For Sale By Owner (FSBO), websites and groups are snowballing. However, going by these stats from the National Association of REALTORS®, it’s not always smooth sailing for FSBO sellers as:
- 11% have challenges understanding and filing paperwork
- 14% struggle to set the right price for their house
- 17% have difficulties prepping their home for sale
If you join FSBO online circles and share your knowledge with them, you'll be the go-to realtor for those FSBO sellers who have a change of heart and decide to go with a realtor. Also, those who complete the FSBO process but find it too taxing will call you next time they sell.
Email market updates to your local area
Do what most realtors skip.
Filter through your email list and segment it per the buyer's journey.
At the very least, separate past clients and prospects. This will help you customize your email newsletters and updates to keep them relevant to every recipient.
For instance, your newsletter to a past client would read:
"Hello, Mr/Mrs. X . Since we last spoke, house prices in your market have increased threefold. Curious about the average sale price in your neighborhood?…… To a prospect Hello, Mr/Mrs. X. I know you haven't decided on selling yet, but I wanted to let you know the house prices in your neighborhood are at an all-time high. If you sell within…."
Another way of leveraging email marketing is to send out a periodic Property Report, Market Activity Report, or Neighborhood Report.
It doesn't have to be super-detailed.
Even a mini property report to property owners can deliver useful consumer data, including average sales price in the farm territory (like digital versions of seller valuation postcards), information on current market conditions, a few comparable current listings, property history, taxes, and school information.
Let your custom audience know they can reach out to you anytime for a Property Report if they want to know the income potential on their home. You can also include information about this service you offer in your email signature or social media posts.
Such personalized emails will eventually earn you more leads and referrals as long as you keep at it.
Email list segmentation and personalized emailing have been the most effective email strategies since 2017 - DMA These online tactics are solid and practical, but only if you implement them effectively.
Commitment and consistency to your marketing efforts, including digital farming, will be the key to your success.
What are the most common mistakes made with online farming?
The most common mistake agents make with online real estate farming is not having a plan.
Without a plan, it's easy to get lost in the sea of real estate content and marketing techniques.
It's important to have a clear idea of who your target audience is, what type of content they're looking for, and how you can reach them.
Another mistake that's often made is not being consistent with your content.
Consistency is key when it comes to real estate farming.
Execution will help you farm areas and expand your sphere of influence.
You need to consistently produce quality content that's relevant to your farm area if you want to see results.
And lastly, another mistake that agents make is not following up with their leads.
Just because someone isn't ready to buy or sell right now doesn't mean they never will be. It's important to stay in touch with your leads and continue to nurture those relationships.