Does door-knocking still work in real estate?
Door-knocking is one of the best traditional means of lead generation in real estate, but it isn’t for everybody. Even people that love door-knocking can get to a point where it simply isn’t a dollar-productive activity anymore.
For others, social-distancing concerns related to Covid-19 have added a new reason to be hesitant about in-person door-knocking.
I see more and more real estate professionals asking questions about whether door-knocking real estate leads or a general geographic farm area is effective in today’s social distancing climate. With everything going virtual, there has been a similar spike in questions about how to effectively start social media marketing for real estate lead generation.
I’m a fan of both door-knocking and social media marketing, but I understand the constraints of both.
I feel strongly that digital door-knocking is the cross-roads of these two concerns, and that – done correctly – will be the most effective use of time for most real estate agents.
What is digital door-knocking in real estate?
Digital door-knocking hasn’t been solidified as a formal term, and even where it’s been discussed in other places it’s rarely been applied to the real state industry (Which is shocking to me!)
For example, a Google search for “digital door-knocking real estate” yields almost no useable results that aren’t pay-walled, and Google is only able to pull up these two related searches:
I define digital door-knocking as intentional, organic (unpaid), and direct outreach to an individual or business through their home profile on an online platform. By home profile, I mean the specific profile or account the individual or business has created themselves. By online social platform, I mean any of the places you can find someone online, including social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn,
I do not include paid advertising (because you don’t pay to knock on someone’s door in person) or outbound emails (because you should have permission before sending someone an email) as digital door-knocking. Other marketers might disagree here.
Digital door-knocking means that, instead of using paid ads and sponsored posts to reach people, you’re reaching people directly in an authentic and personal way.
Who do you target for social media outreach? Consumer vs. B2B real estate prospects
Most of the resources I found online for digital door-knocking focused on general social posting (which is a bit less intentional than what I consider digital door-knocking to be), and consumer outreach. Because the Estate Professionals Mastermind community focuses on B2B networking strategy as a way to position yourself as a trusted colleague and gain new clients through the reciprocity of the network you’re a part of, I’m writing this to encourage you to spend your door-knocking time focused on making B2B connections.
You probably are already short on time to post on social, right?
Advantages of digital door-knocking for real estate lead gen
So, focusing on B2B networking on social media is the ideal solution to overcome the constraints of broad social media marketing and in-person social contact. Let’s look at some of the major benefits of using digital door-knocking for real estate
- Intentional outreach to the right people helps you cut through the noise:
When you rely social posts to put you in front of people who don’t already follow you on a respective platform, you’re relying on the platform to put your post in front of that person; this is called an impression. Then, your post needs to catch their attention enough to elicit engagement, which could be a click, a like, a comment, a share, or even a follow. The most common form of engagement is a like, and although a like might tell a social platform’s algorithm that this person might enjoy more of your content and give your content more placements on their feed in the future, a like isn’t a permanent connection and in most cases you learn very little about who that person is.
In otherwords, someone could love your post but never follow you, and even if you get your hashtags, creatives, and messaging right, you’re still playing a numbers game with social media. This requires a ton of effort and you can’t falter in your consistency if you want this effort to pay off.
When you purposefully reach out to somebody on social media by sending a connection request or an introduction through messages, you’re not fighting with an algorithm for placement. You show up right in their inbox or their notifications. And because you’re initiating the outreach, you also have more control over who you’re reaching.
- It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t answer the door:
With digital outreach, your message or friend request or event invitation will live beyond the 60 seconds you spend waiting to see if someone will answer when you ring their doorbell in person, and longer than the 2 seconds someone might see your post on their social media timelines. That interaction is there to access today, next week, next month, and even if someone is hesitant to respond to your message, they can still click through to your profile and start learning more about you.
Which makes the next advantage extremely powerful….
- Your credibility and authority will snowball the more your network grows:
Have you ever heard the phrase “Act like you belong?” Well, every major social platform displays some sort of mutual friends, mutual connections, also-followed-by list to people that view your profile.
When people come across your profile – whether they found you or you found them and they’re checking to see who you are – and they see that you share connections with other people in the industry they know, you get a credibility boost. They might figure you’re worth knowing, or that maybe they know you already and are terrible with faces and names; but boom, they want to be connected with you. And while this boils down to perception at the very beginning, that perception is all it takes to start opening doors.
- And, the obvious advantages of digital doorknocking:
No gas or traffic, no doors slammed in your face, no jitters about what to say when someone opens the door!
- You don’t need to spend time nurturing people individually:
As you post content on platforms you use, your B2B connections are passively nurtured. They get to learn more and more about who you are and what you do, and start to feel like they know you on a personal level. This is easier to do than visiting offices one by one, or spending money on outbound marketing like direct mail or paid ads.
- You’re growing your connections for the long term:
When someone becomes part of your audience on a social platform, that’s an almost permanent connection.
Tips and tricks for digital door-knocking with success
This is the part where I’ll shamelessly ask you to subscribe to our mailing list and get in our Facebook group so you can continue to learn and make improvements to your B2B and social media marketing strategy.
But I do want to leave you with three things you should get clear on before you start reaching out to people and businesses:
- Your messaging: What should you say when reaching out to potential B2B partners and collaborators? The same USP we teach in-depth in Probate Mastery for cold-calling and in-person conversations is all you need. Who are you, why are you reaching out to them, and what is your goal for working together?
- Your target audience: What professionals might be the best to connect with broadly? What professionals might be best to reach out to when you’re working to solve specific needs for a client (in other words, you have a direct referral to give)? If you need some help here, we discuss B2B networking frequently on our Estate Professionals Mastermind podcast and YouTube channel.
- Your next step: When someone wants to meet with you to brainstorm working together, what do you do? If someone asks you “okay, what do you have in mind?” What’s your answer? We all know that a panicked “Uh, uh, I was thinking we could send referrals back and forth!!!!” can put a B2B prospect back on ice. Having a vision of what you’d like to accomplish through a business relationship before someone asks will arm you to give a clear, confident, and enticing offer to collaborate. If you get stuck on this, this is absolutely something you should bring to brainstorm in our Facebook Community.
I know when you get this right, you’ll be able to build a powerful B2B network that will grow into so much more than a few messages back and forth on Facebook or LinkedIn will seem to accomplish on their own. When you have more time, have successfully built your B2B network, or can hire help, you can surely begin digital door-knocking your consumer target audience as well.
Bonus: Check out this Social Media Marketing Mastermind with Certified Probate Experts: