In this blog post I’m going to outline five excellent real estate contact management and marketing tips that will help you build stronger relationships with your sphere, benefit from a consistent stream of referrals and repeat business, and become a more successful agent both short and long term.
1. Send targeted and personalized emails to stay in touch with your sphere and take a multi-channel communications approach
The “Dear Valued Client” approach or addressing your clients and prospects with a “Hello” comes across as impersonal and has generic, batch and blast email written all over it. Use your Realtor CRM or email real estate marketing software to personalize your emails so each one is addressed to the recipient’s name.
As well, be sure to send different emails to the different groups of people in your database to ensure relevancy. Your marketing email to a group of first time buyers will be different than the one you send to a longtime client. Remember, it’s all about providing value and growing the relationships with your sphere. Emails that don’t clearly provide any value, help, or benefit to your recipients shouldn’t be sent.
It’s also advisable to supplement your real estate email marketing with face-to-face meetings, direct mail, and phone calls. The best approach is to stay in touch in a variety of ways. Here is a good article that explains how to develop an effective, multi-channel communications plan.
Heather, a customer of ours, gets great results with her email marketing because she follows a number of key best practices. Before she begins, she understands the goal she has for the email, such as to keep clients informed on the real estate market or to get some new leads by offering a free home value consultation.
She then sends the email to the right group(s) of people and often has different variations that go to different segments to ensure relevancy. Heather makes sure all her emails pass the “WIIFM” test, which stands for “What’s in it for me?” If there’s not clear value in the email to whom she’s sending it to, she won’t send it.
All of her emails have calls-to-action (CTAs), so at the end of them, she is sure to ask the recipient to take an action (such as filling out a form or giving her a call).
Heather’s emails are also always interesting and visually appealing. She uses images and breaks up content into small paragraphs or bullet points/ numbered lists so the emails are easy to read. After all, people skim, not read, emails these days.
Lastly, she measures the results of her email marketing by using her real estate CRM’s Email Campaign Reporting dashboard to view information like open rate and click through rate. She then updates or deletes all emails that hard bounced (where the email address is no longer valid).
Heather knows that an effective email will have a good open rate and click through rate. Of course, if she notices that certain people are reading and/ or clicking on a particular email multiple times, she’ll give them a call to see if they’d like more information.
2. Identify the hot leads hiding in your database with Email Campaign Reporting
Regardless of the size of your real estate database, there are naturally going to be some hot leads and others… well… not so hot. Without Email Campaign Reporting, it can be difficult to know which leads are the ones you need to engage with right away (the hot ones). After all, you can send a Just Listed e-Flyer to your database and even though some motivated leads may see it, they may not get around to calling you.
Here’s how Email Campaign Reporting helps: Ryan, a REALTOR® based out of the Newark area, sent an email to his database about a property he just listed. He then was able to see that a handful of people in his real estate CRM read his email multiple times, forwarded it on to someone else, and clicked on the links. As they seemed like engaged leads, he called them up to see if they’d like more information. One of them did, and even though they didn’t put an offer on the property Ryan just listed, Ryan did end up finding them a great home in their preferred area.
Too many Realtors market themselves with their blinders on. When you’re marketing in the dark, it’s hard to understand what types of marketing resonates with people and what doesn’t. That’s why so many agents give up on email marketing after just a short time. With email Campaign Reporting, you’re no longer in the dark.
3. Follow best practices for getting client testimonials
John, another IXACT Contact customer, gets a lot of testimonials regularly. In fact, after each transaction, he usually captures a great one that he will then use in his marketing. John has a blurb in his email signature letting his clients know he values testimonials. But in addition to doing that (which a lot of Realtors do these days but they don’t accomplish a whole lot on their own), he does a number of other things that are really effective for him:
– He shares his previous testimonials with all his clients and makes sure they know he’s proud each time he gets one.
– He has a script he uses to ask for testimonials. The script sounds natural and has been proven to work well for him.
– He regularly touches base with his clients to see how well he’s doing and if he can improve in any way to provide even better service. Often times, clients will say nice things about John during these conversations.
– He stays “top of mind” with all his past clients by keeping in touch (he’s a big fan of sending a monthly real estate newsletter). This often leads to referrals, repeat business, or a great testimonial.
And in addition to the above best practices, John does a few other activities that I believe are quite unique (more Realtors should be doing these things):
– He scans the web and sets up Google Alerts so if someone mentions his name on the internet, he is alerted right away. In many cases, these mentions are former clients writing something positive about him. He reaches out to the client, thanks them, and asks if he can use that comment as a testimonial.
– At the end of each transaction, he sends his clients a survey asking for feedback.
– He looks out for positive comments via email exchanges and social media sites and asks if he can use those comments as a testimonial. He has received many LinkedIn and Facebook recommendations that he uses in his marketing.
4. Follow best practices for getting referrals
If you provide a really memorable service experience, you can get referrals. But a good Realtor doesn’t just wait for referrals to come to them, they take certain actions to make it easy for people to refer them and, in the process, increase their chances of getting those highly coveted referrals. To improve your likelihood of getting a lot of referrals, you need to ask, schedule, reward, communicate, sponsor, and introduce:
1. Ask for referrals from those around you. Mention the types of people who might benefit from your services and give examples of people who they can refer you to.
Example: “I can be a big help to empty nesters at our church looking to downsize.”
2. Schedule keep in touch calls and direct mail to go out to your best clients.
Tip: Direct mail can have a very big impact because it shows you put money into keeping in touch in a way a lot of other agents don’t.
3. Reward those who refer you; send them a card, and, if your board allows it, a meaningful gift to show your appreciation.
Tip: when the referee feels you haven’t really paid attention (or don’t really care) about those they’ve referred, you can be assured they won’t refer you again.
4. Communicate to those who referred you about the outcome of the referral. Be sure to keep them in the loop.
5. Sponsor local teams or organizations to generate goodwill in your community and get your name out there. It won’t be long before word of mouth about you will start to make its rounds community-wide.
Tip: This is a fairly inexpensive way to get a lot of exposure. And it’s unique. How many other Realtors do you know that sponsor events or organizations in the community?
6. Introduce yourself to a minimum of one new referral source per week.
Examples: mortgage brokers, attorneys, home stagers and interior designers.
Tip: Recommend reputable service providers to your clients. When you recommend these professionals, they’ll reciprocate and refer you to their clients.
5. Plan Loyalty-Building Events
Client appreciation nights, home expert seminars, BBQ get-togethers, Easter egg hunts, pumpkin carving contests, and other types of events can be outstanding loyalty-builders. And of course, they are yet another opportunity to stay in touch and remain top of mind with your sphere. Let me illustrate the power of an event, like a home expert seminar:
Susanne, a Realtor in Phoenix, plans a home expert seminar every month. She uses her real estate contact management software to organize the events and get reminded for every task she needs to do leading up to it. Last month, she brought in a Hardwood Flooring Specialist to speak in front of her clients about different flooring options. Her clients were encouraged to bring their friends and family members along to the event. So Susanne met a lot of new people, many of those potentially motivated leads. And so did the Hardwood Flooring Specialist. Next month she is bringing in an Interior Designer to talk about inexpensive kitchen and living room remodels.
Although these events take up time, Susanne finds that they are a great way to build invaluable loyalty with her past clients and get a good amount of new leads. And the “home experts” she brings in are usually more than happy to speak in front of her clients for free because it usually means leads – and sales – for them.
I hope I’ve provided you with some useful real estate contact management and marketing tips that you can put into practice right away. If you do, they’ll give your business a boost and help you reach that next plateau in your career.