Finding low cost marketing ideas your real estate team is not as difficult as you think.

Buyers and sellers are increasingly looking online for their dream property. Cultivating those cold leads into sales takes time, money and effort.

In the early days of online marketing, CPC, keyword-driven advertising promised higher ROI than traditional advertising mediums. Today, agencies and brokerages are spreading their marketing budget strategically across multiple channels for better results.

The game is getting more competitive as agents and brokers become savvier at online advertising, but the cost of marketing your business online can quickly eat up your monthly budget.

Understand the problem, however, and you can find low-cost marketing alternatives that yield a high return without breaking your budget.

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

The Problem: Low Conversion With Online Ads

One of the biggest complaints launched by inexperienced agents is the low conversion rates so typical of cold leads generated by online ads. Many of them expect to convert cold prospects relatively quick. They get discouraged early in their career when they fail to move inquiries into leads. 

Although CPC advertising, Facebook, and ad networks like AdBuff and promise a higher ROI than traditional advertising, throwing more money into your ad campaign is not the only way to market your real estate team.

With a number of cost-effective strategies available, you can actually generate and cultivate leads regularly without stretching your marketing budget.

All it takes is a combination of low-cost marketing for both offline and online, along with the right tools to help your team capitalize on every opportunity in your sales funnel.

Reduced Ad Spend in Real Estate?

According to an analysis of ad spend by Borrell Associates Inc, ad spend is down across the board by 6.3% in real estate, including online advertising:


agent broker ad spend from 2012 to 2015

Agent/Broker Ad Spend Trends 2012 – 2015 By Borrell Associates

So how much does the average agent spend on advertising?

  • $4684 per individual agent (annually)
  • $400 monthly average per agent
67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

Should agents spend more on online advertising?

“The majority of home buyers now report that they found the home they bought on the Web, so it is unlikely that any major decline in online advertising will occur in the near future…”

Kip Cassino (Borrell Associates)

In other words, CPC advertising has become the dominant form of marketing for businesses, including real estate.

And yet, despite offering a better ROI than traditional print advertising, the nuances of CPC advertising can still be difficult to master.

Effective landing pages, lead cultivation, and onboarding strategies are all important tools needed to nurture relationships with prospects.

When you’re managing a team of agents, generating leads consistently each week is crucial to building momentum and growing your brand. Even with a large ad budget, you still need a strategy to convert leads into deals. But there are a number of low-cost marketing tactics you can implement to give your agents a competitive edge

Low Cost Marketing Ideas

Elite Real Estate Systems hosts a series of team building workshops, available as video, live streaming, podcasts, and live events. During a workshop interview hosted by Matt Johnson, Omaha realtor Jeff Cohn shared a number of useful tips for brokers and team leaders seeking low-cost marketing ideas:



What can you do as a team leader to generate leads, referrals, and brand exposure for your real estate team?  

Here are some key takeaways from the video, along with additional suggestions for brokers and team leaders:

7 Low-Cost Marketing Offline Strategies For Real Estate Teams

  1.  Yard signage on properties for sale should be well-maintained. Every 4 to 5 years, an agent needs to buy new signs costing around $30 – $40.
  2. Create a special 1-800 Google number specifically for listings so you can track results. Assign a specific member of your team to focus on the listing.
  3. Flyer box directly outside for they give people an option of engaging with you later. Don’t include all the information on the flyer or your prospects will not be motivated to call you for more details.
  4. Delay putting your sold sign up for a week after selling as it will continue to generate interest.
  5. Handwritten notes are more personal and will help you generate better referrals. Buy envelopes (target the clearance section), brand them, and anytime you get a personal interaction with a prospect that was memorable or significant, send a handwritten letter or note. Will it make the difference? For some clients, yes, others no. It doesn’t matter. Handwritten notes are simply part of the experience when you are building relationships with clients.
  6. Send Postcards to everyone in your sphere of influence at least once every 3 months. This might seem unnecessary but it costs very little and makes a better impression than your standard business card.
  7.  Interviewing business owners in your target farm is the #1 way to generate referrals and word of mouth business. Publish and share the interviews online and your sphere of influence will rapidly expand. Host the interviews on your company blog and website as well, and include them in your newsletter. You’ll be helping local businesses with free exposure in exchange for their referrals.

Low-Cost Marketing Online Strategies For Real Estate Teams


Often, potential buyers will search online for properties very early in the buying cycle. They may pre qualified yet or know their credit score, but they will still check Craigslist to get an idea of what is available on the local market.

If you post a real estate listing on Craigslist, you can include an html link to your listing in the content of your ad. Prospects can then copy and paste them into the URL browser.

Open a Craigslist account and post half of the total properties available in your area so that your exposure increases. Commit one person to Craigslist or hire a virtual team.


Search online listing sites for FSBO’s and contact them with an offer to help generate more exposure. Track the FSBO properties you find and reach out to the ones having the most difficulty selling their property. They might just be ready to enlist an agent’s help.

Expired Listings

Expired listings are among the easiest to convert. Owners of these properties are eager to get back on the market. Contact these listings using a strong cold call script that will help you win the in-person listing presentation. Get them excited about your marketing strategy for selling their home. If you win the interview, your chances of closing are at least 70%, since the vast majority of buyers and sellers interview only 1 agent.

Real Estate Marketing Must Haves: Tools Every Agent Needs

DC Stewart Title Marketing Director, Wade Vander Molen, shares some great tips for new agents who are not sure what their marketing toolkit should look like.

Spending an average of $500 – $2000/month, every agent should have the following marketing tools:

  • CRM:  A tool for managing customer relations is necessary in order to build your database of prospects, track contacts and manage communications. CRM’s range in cost and functionality but more isn’t always better. So get a CRM you can afford, that’s easy to use, and will grow with your team.
  • Website:  An IDX website should be visually appealing and branded. Most website builders (Wix, Weebly) are web-based services that allow users to build an entire website with little technical expertise.
  • Mobile Responsive: Your website should be mobile responsive and search engine optimized for the most traffic.
  • Facebook Business Page: Gotta have one of these! Facebook is the leading social media platform and most of your clients and prospects are going to be on Facebook. You can create a business page, or even a Facebook group, post content and boost it so that it appears in other feeds. Boosted ads are CPC (cost per click), so you can set a daily, weekly, or monthly budget for your Facebook boosted ad.
  • Email Drip Marketing: Drip marketing automates all your email messaging so that you’re in touch with contacts regularly. Timed messages can be scheduled for strategic delivery across your website or blog to cultivate leads more effectively over time.

Bonus: Our Recommended Apps For Real Estate Agents


Your marketing budget should be split between online and offline strategies in order to drive sales. Although most agents and brokers are scaling back their digital spend, there are still low- cost marketing strategies that will help you generate leads for your team.

Once you generate leads, you will need to have a strong lead cultivation strategy for converting them into sales. Expect to spend an average of 6 months nurturing the leads you get online and offline before you make a sale.

Build your sales funnel by using marketing automation software and drip campaigns to stay top-of-mind with prospects while you nurture your leads. Leverage your social media profiles to generate more exposure and interview local business owners for content that you can share.