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Building a business in a new market: How to use YouTube to generate leads

Between 2009 and 2021, my wife, family and I regularly vacationed in the Okanagan— taking in all the region has to offer.

Our route home, which was in Alberta at the time, would bring us through West Kelowna and then over a bridge into Kelowna itself. 

Each time we would cross that bridge and look out at the lake, framed by the gorgeous mountainside, we would sigh and look at each other and wonder aloud what we were doing.

Well, in 2020, we finally figured out the answer to that question and committed to moving to Kelowna by the summer of 2021. We accomplished that goal and are almost at the end of our second year in beautiful British Columbia. 

Of course, a lot of research, discussion and planning went into making this move and not just about where we wanted to live and what schools we wanted our kids to attend.

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs and run our own businesses, so we had to figure out how we would run a business in a new market. 

At first, I leaned into referrals and connected with a local agent to take on referral business; I saw some success there. But soon, the market shifted, and that business began to dry up, so I needed to alter my business plan and return to what I knew best.


Finding leads through YouTube content


I was an early adopter of video in the Calgary real estate market, starting my YouTube channel in 2010. I decided to focus on good actionable information that any buyer or seller would be searching for.

I would take a video, write a blog post, and put it up on my website. It took two solid years of content creation until my business took off in 2012. 

When it did finally take off, I was generating 30 to 50 leads per month, seeing tens of thousands of visits to my website monthly, and not having to pay a dime for ads. It was two years of gruelling work where I was not 100 per cent sure it would pay off; lucky for me, it did.

Fast forward to 2022, the market shifted, and I’m a new fish in a small pond where I don’t know anyone. I have no database. I have no SOI. I have very few past clients. So I went back to what I knew, YouTube.

But this time, I had to do things differently; I didn’t have two years to wait for Google to index my site and start pushing leads my way. I had to hack the system and figure out what was working to generate leads.

Study the strategies of those doing what you want to do


I started my YouTube search and came across a couple of realtors in the U.S. who were doing what I wanted to do. I studied their channels to determine their strategy, and from there, I developed my own path forward to get back into YouTube marketing and start generating leads through the channel and not exclusively through my website.


After months of studying these channels, here’s what I found:

1. The focus is on buyer acquisition by highlighting the community and giving knowledge about the area.

2. Typically, they used four to six styles of videos, and they stuck to that strategy.

3. Always stick to the topic of the channel; if you’re talking about your community, don’t start posting videos about technology.

4. Consistency is key to building an audience and generating leads; think two to three videos per week (this may have changed by now as Google/YouTube have shifted their focus to the quality of content and not quantity).

5. Good lighting, good audio and a standardized intro are musts.

6. Know your hook and how to grab attention through the video as well as video titles.

7. Descriptions are like blog posts; use them to your advantage.


In May of 2022, I set up my channel; I took the time to develop the strategy and then began posting content there in July. The content I was posting was somewhat sporadic. I was sticking to the plan in terms of the style of content, but I was inconsistent.

In October, I started getting really consistent with video uploads, and that is when the shift happened. 

I have been tracking my analytics since August, and with consistency and sticking to brand messaging, I was able to increase viewership and subscribers. 

Here’s what else I found:

  • As I continued to post, my average monthly views and watch hours continued to increase
  • This has a direct correlation with the number of subscribers generated
  • The more content I post, the higher the impressions and views
  • Thumbnails matter
  • Video titles matter more
  • Consistency combined with searchable content equates to results

I know realtors like to hear about the theory, but they also want to know if it works, and I don’t blame you. There are a lot of gurus out there talking theory without ever knowing whether what they are instructing on will ever work.

I am here to tell you that YouTube marketing can be a game changer for you and your business.

Start with a plan and strategy


Is my YouTube Marketing working?

In short, the answer is yes, it is working, and it is worth the effort. I don’t have the biggest channel in my market in terms of subscribers, but since the start of the year, I have generated about three leads per month. 

I have had Zoom calls with all of those leads, and we have shown five of those clients properties and have one under contract as of the end of March. This came from a five-minute video that took less than two hours to shoot and upload. It is going to yield a five-figure commission.

If you want to leverage any new medium, the key is to get started with a plan and a strategy. Determine what your messaging is going to be and who is your ideal target market or avatar. Make a list of content ideas and start to put together a list of topics you want to cover, then start shooting. 

If you need help figuring out where to start, watch others doing what you want to do. Study the competition and hack their system to develop yours. Plan, strategize and execute; it will pay dividends later on.