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“Here’s the loaded question,” Jeff Lobb, CEO of SparkTank Media, told attendees at a panel at Connect Now on Tuesday. “How many of you, if you put yourself into your own drip marketing campaigns that you send to clients, would you open them, and would you find value in them?”
“The answer a lot of times is no,” Lobb revealed.
For the Connect Now panel title “From Farming to Sphere: How to Build a Deeper Referral Base,” Lobb was joined by Katie Day, team leader of The MoveMeToTX Team at Coldwell Banker, to talk about the importance of cultivating referrals by thinking outside of the box.
Day explained that what’s been most effective for her team in building a strong referral base is sending out regular communications to past clients and her team’s sphere of influence that focus on valuable information about the local community.
Day’s team creates a monthly email newsletter with a little bit of information about the current state of the market, and then documentary-style videos that spotlight local businesses, among other local updates. In 2019, the team actually hired a full-time videographer to create these spotlights, which they now generate every Wednesday and Friday to be pushed out on social media.
“I think everyone always talks about providing hyper local content,” Day said. “So it was something that really resonated with me because I like to eat, I like to go into bars and restaurants, and knowing their story around that.”
“It was basically that we wanted to show people that we knew about the neighborhood and about the area,” she added.
“People don’t just buy homes and houses, they buy communities,” Lobb chimed in. “Now you’re connecting all the dots: content that matters, things the consumer wants, and it connects you to the community.”
Day added that her goal is to repurpose those local business videos with a new page on her team’s website that’s centered around things to do Houston. That way, she can create a less branded space where the team can still provide value and draw in more consumers.
In order to strategically keep in touch with past clients, The MoveMeToTX Team divides its database into two buckets, Day said: One made up of the team’s “raving fans,” and another that comprises the rest of their past clients.
With the first bucket, Day and her team aim to create personal touches with them on a monthly basis through different things like postcards, emails, pop-bys, gifts or events (virtual or in-person, depending on the circumstances). The other group, she said they try to keep in touch with on at least a quarterly basis.
So far this year, the team is aiming to up its virtual event game, with the hope that they can plan in-person events again some day soon, but will always have the base of virtual events to fall back on.
Over Super Bowl weekend, the team hosted a virtual cooking class that gained about 50 attendees pulled from the team’s VIP list of referrers. For future virtual events, they’re considering a wine tasting, cocktail making class, cooking or baking classes, cookie decorating or painting.
“We’re taking today’s technology [and] leveraging it for engagements,” Lobb said.
As far as thanking referrers, Day said the team keeps a spreadsheet up-to-date with information when a new referral comes in, which is drawn from their CRM. The CRM also tracks where a new referral is sourced from so that they can see where that traffic is coming in from. Once a new referral is noted on the spreadsheet, the team sends out a gift to the referrer immediately, which is typically some cookies from a local bakery.
“We always want to reward the action, not the outcome,” Day noted.
As Lobb observed, this type of system doesn’t “let people slip through the cracks. That’s the important part.”