Passive Real Estate Marketing Tips

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Today we’re exploring passive real estate marketing tips. If you want to generate real estate leads in your sleep, you’re in the right place!

So many agents are spending huge amounts of their day actively marketing: cold calling, door knocking, holding open houses, canvasing, the list goes on and on.

And, really, those aren’t bad things. If you invest enough time in active marketing, you’re bound to earn new leads and grow your business. And that’s a great thing!

But an even better thing is to make the leads come to you. If you can wake up every morning to five new leads in your inbox, you get to spend more of your time closing deals and less of your time searching for viable clients. The real estate marketing tips in this post are aimed specifically at that goal. I want to help you transform your business by finding ways to have your leads chase you instead of the other way around.

One quick caveat: you won’t find anything in this post about straight-up buying leads. I don’t want you to get trapped in that pay-to-play cycle. Buying advertising space is one thing, but paying thousands of dollars per month to Zillow is something most agents just aren’t interested in doing. We’ve found other ways of generating leads passively. And some of them cost a whole lot less than buying leads.

Note: this article was originally published in 2019. Here is the new and improved version.

Ok, let’s dive in…

Old-School Advertising

Old-school advertising is the classic way to land real estate leads passively. You invest some time in a photoshoot and/or recording session, pay for your message to be distributed, then kick back and watch the leads roll in.

But there are a few problems with old-school advertising. 1) It’s expensive, and 2) its effectiveness is questionable.

If you’re going to invest in old-school advertising, stack the deck in your favor with these real estate marketing tips:

1. Skip photo-only ads

Unless you have genius, stop-people-in-their-tracks imagery, skip photo-only ads. Image-only advertisements (like magazine ads, bus benches, shopping cart inserts, billboards, etc.) don’t provide much opportunity to share a memorable story with your audience. They may get lots of eyeballs, but those eyeballs usually move on pretty quickly unless there’s something stunning about your image.

In most markets, image-only ads have an exceptionally high cost-per-lead. Why waste your marketing dollars when there are lower-cost ways to generate more leads?

2. Try video and audio instead

Instead, try more interactive advertising through video and audio. If you have an aging demographic who still watches local TV and listens to local radio, you could try purchasing a spot on either medium. The 30-second spots give you time to share some value with your audience and build a little trust, making these methods generally more effective than print ads.

If you’re working with a younger demographic, consider buying ad space on streaming audio services (like Spotify or Pandora, both of which allow advertisers to target specific geographic areas). Or for a lower-cost video advertisement, consider sponsored posts on social media, which also allow for targeting by certain demographic features, like geography.

3. Focus your message on your clients and your results

Getting your name and face out there isn’t enough. You have to convince people that you’re the perfect agent for them.

The best way to do this in a short advert is to offer social proof. Share your success stories, with a focus on how they benefited your clients. Better yet, invite your clients to share the story! Hearing from satisfied clients is a powerful motivator for prospective clients.

4. Your community involvement can also be a lead generator

Do you sponsor any community teams and events? Why not?

Sponsorships are a great way to give back to your community. And, as an added bonus, they provide built-in advertising opportunities. You might have your logo on the backs of tee-ball tee-shirts, for example. Or, better yet, sponsor an event (like a food drive, youth community service awards ceremony, or financial literacy workshop) where you can introduce yourself to the attendees and their families and explain how you serve the community through your real estate practice.

New-School Advertising

New-school advertising has a smaller reach than old-school advertising, but it’s also more personal and less expensive.

Examples of new-school advertising include:

Basically, you go about your business, but you’re letting people know that you’re a real estate professional at every turn.

Laptop decals are my favorite form of new-school advertising. Imagine, you’re sitting at a coffee shop, drawing up a contract (or browsing Insta, whatever), and people come up to you to ask how the market’s looking for sellers. That’s what happens when you have a “Real Estate Agent at Work – Open For Questions” sticker on your laptop!

Invest a few bucks in a laptop decal that will generate real estate leads while you work from a coffee shop. Check out more real estate marketing tips

The key to new-school advertising is this invitation to engage. Just having your logo on something tells people what you do, but it doesn’t necessarily invite conversation. If you’re going to use new-school advertising, invest in items that include an invite.

Here are just a couple of the best new-school advertising items I’ve found (all available on Etsy):

Genius example of inexpensive advertising ideas for real estate agents. Need more real estate marketing tips? Click through! #realtorlife #realtor

Genius example of inexpensive advertising ideas for real estate agents. Need more real estate marketing tips? Click through! #realtorlife #realtorGenius example of inexpensive advertising ideas for real estate agents. Need more real estate marketing tips? Click through! #realtorlife #realtorQuick side note: I’m not a fan of car decals. Here’s why: no one is going to stop you at a light to talk real estate. Very few people are going to jot down your info or snap a photo of it while they’re driving. And if you make any mistakes while driving (real or perceived), you end up with road-ragers who know who you are.


Blogging is the single most underutilized marketing method in residential real estate. And it’s a real shame because a strategic blog post can provide passive leads for months or even years after you click “publish”.

Most agents don’t fully understand how blogging can generate passive leads. As a professional real estate blogger, I have the inside scoop for you! Here’s how it works…

Search engines like Google are constantly evaluating websites to find the most relevant information for search inquiries. For example, if someone Googles best neighborhoods in [your city], what comes up? How great would it be if your blog post about the best neighborhoods in your area was listed on that first page of Google search results?!  That person could visit your website, read your take on your local neighborhoods, see how knowledgeable you are about your market, and grow to trust you as a valuable source of real estate information.

And why is this person trying to figure out which neighborhoods are best? Most likely because they’re actively looking to buy. So the end of your post includes an invitation to contact you for an up-to-date market report for their chosen neighborhood(s), and boom, you have prospective clients flocking to you!

If it’s this easy, why aren’t all agents blogging?!

Well, there are a few reasons.

  1. Agents simply don’t know how beneficial blogging is. But now you know, so you can’t ignore this!
  2. It can take some time to see big results. You’re building a business here; that’s not going to happen overnight. Be prepared to blog for 6-12 months if you want to reap the long-term benefits of blogging.
  3. There are some tricks to successful blogging. And they aren’t common sense; you have to actually find someone (like me!) who can show you the shortcuts to building a successful blog. To get a rundown of the best tips and tricks for building a successful blog, check out my post on Blogging for Real Estate Leads.

You might be thinking, wait, this post is about passive real estate marketing tips, but I have to actively write blog posts. How is that passive?!

And you’re right; blogging requires you to either invest time in creating your blog posts or invest money in hiring someone to ghostwrite your blog posts. And, as I just mentioned, this takes time. You may need to blog regularly for several months before you start seeing real results. This is because you need to give Google time to trust you. Blogging consistently over time shows Google that your site is updated regularly, and it gives Google more content to index so Google can recommend you for more and more searches.

But here’s the thing: a post that you spent an hour on this week can potentially generate leads for years to come. Once you have enough posts created, you’ll be able to simply re-publish them on a rotating schedule to keep the leads rolling in.

Invest the time now for passive leads in the future.


Ah, referrals! The holy grail of passive real estate leads. You’re just going about your business when you suddenly get a call from your client’s niece, who wants you to list her house today.

But what does it take to build a referral business? Well, you can read our post How to Build a Referral Business for the details. But, if you’re in a hurry, here’s a down-and-dirty guide:

  1. Provide stellar service to your clients. No one’s going to recommend you if they don’t feel like they were well cared for.
  2. Surprise and delight your clients. This is a phrase I picked up from Pat Flynn, author of Will It Fly? In today’s competitive market, meeting expectations isn’t good enough. Aim to delight your client with little surprises instead.
  3. Show your gratitude. Thanks to your client’s business, you’re able to put food on your table and a roof over your household. Closing gifts are a great way to show your appreciation. Some agents are trying to move away from gifts because they think they’re unnecessary. They may be right, but you don’t only do what’s necessary for your clients, right? You surprise and delight them and show them that you value them.
  4. Stay Top-of-Mind. You know people have short memories, right? You need to be in regular communication with all your prior clients (and everyone on your CRM, really) if you’re going to earn referrals. This is another great reason for blogging. You can provide ongoing value to your past clients through useful home maintenance posts and engaging market updates. You can also send your clients an annual Happy Housiversary Card. Add in some fun social media posts and a quick text to say hi every once in a while, and you’ll be swimming in referrals!

How Are You Going to Generate Passive Leads?

Did you get anything from these passive real estate marketing tips? I would love to know if you plan to implement any of these ideas in your business. Let us know in the comments!

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