I had a conversation last week with a friend who had recently hired a recruiter to fill a vacancy in her company.
At some point, my friend started receiving a regular enewsletter from the recruiter, which she always deleted among the thousands of emails she got on a daily basis.
However, when she had the need, the former employee was top-of-mind, despite the fact that the emails went unopened for years.
By now, I think we have all heard the stats of how many buyers and sellers say they would either use their agent again or refer them to a friend or family member, but they never do because a year later they can’t even remember the agent’s name.
That’s not the consumers’ fault — that’s the agent’s failure to stay top-of-mind with their clients. An enewsletter is an excellent way to remain on the client’s mind long after the transaction ends.
What makes the return on an email newsletter so exceptional is that it costs next to nothing to do. Whether you use an industry-specific newsletter program or a generic email service, it’s unlikely that a newsletter will cost you more than $50 per month to reach hundreds of future buyers, sellers and referral partners.
There are a three levels of engagement within a newsletter. Some people will not look past the subject line and will immediately delete it unopened. But even the people who never open it still see your name on a regular basis.
The next level of engagement is when people open the enewsletter and maybe read part but don’t do anything more with it. These individuals are slightly more engaged. Then there are those who fully engage.
Most email programs will allow you to track who opened the email and who didn’t, so you can see who you are reaching and evaluate your strategy.
Your campaign will pay dividends when you provide the type of content that entices readers to engage actively with it, either by clicking on a link, sharing an article or responding back to you.
Think about it this way: What are you more likely to remember, something you scrolled past on your Facebook newsfeed or something you took the time to comment on?
Four types of content to get your readers to engage
1. Provide an item of value
First and foremost, you want to be the first name that comes to mind when your sphere thinks about real estate. One way to do that is to demonstrate your expertise regularly by providing real estate related information.
This might be a homebuyer or seller guide, the annual remodel cost-versus-value guide or one of the National Association of Realtors local market reports (if available in your area).
They are available on realtor.org (login required) with a lot of economic data in addition to the typical real estate stats.
2. Promote an event
Everyone loves a party. Two agents in my office hosted a Halloween event this year where they hired a face-painter, bought craft material for kids to decorate pumpkins and, of course, lots of candy.
It was a great way to connect with their sphere and deepen their relationships with past clients.
You should decide in advance if you if it will be an open invitation, which means the more, the merrier, or invite-only. Both can work, but just plan, budget and promote accordingly.
Another idea in this category is a charitable activity. Each year our company hosts a Dress for Success clothing drive to benefit a local non-profit that provides professional attire for underprivileged women entering the workforce. This type of event is easy to get people to share on social media, and it helps the community.
3. Photo contest
Ask your database to send a picture of their holiday decorations or a nature scene for a chance to win a prize for the best entry.
Depending on how social your sphere is, you might suggest they post them online with a particular hashtag. Either way, when someone enters a photo, follow up with a personal thank-you note or even better a phone call.
The more you convert virtual interaction to real conversations, the higher your return will be.
Last year, our local Realtor association ran an “I love Clark County because” photo contest and received participation. Not only did it get members engaged, but it also generated social media content for a month.
4. Survey with a prize
The key for this is to make it informal. I like to start my newsletter with a short, personal note to my clients.
The best way to introduce this is to drop the call to action and the link right into this portion, saying something like, “I get asked a lot about the best restaurants, breweries and coffee shops, so I wanted to hear from you about your favorites.”
As an incentive, raffle off a gift card to respondents. There are many sites that provide free online surveys.
Like the other ideas, personal follow-up will greatly increase your odds of converting the response into a lead, either as an immediate referral or transaction or as future business.
Staying top-of-mind with your sphere and previous clients will result in more referrals if you are providing valuable content and positioning yourself as their real estate go-to person. For a minimal investment, you can reap enormous rewards in 2016.