This isn’t breaking news or an exclusive by any means.

If I did years of extensive research, analyzed data, built fancy charts, used 3-D graphs on my iPad, and touted inarguable, NAR homebuyer and seller survey-backed findings, it would lead to just five words.

Follow-up in real estate sucks.

I define “sucks” two different ways.

The first: It sucks that there is not more time in each day to follow up with people you have already built a good relationship with or helped buy or sell a home. If someone is not currently in the market to buy or sell, only so many minutes can be allotted to relationship maintenance.

Especially, I should add, if you actually produce significant GCI (gross commission income) or carry a lot of listings.

I wish there were a perfect world. One where all you did was chit-chatted with friends on Facebook all day whom you worked with previously, just calling your sphere to say hello and asking how the kids are.

Too bad you are busy as hell and reality is such an important thing to consider when running a business.

Bottom line? Past clients and referrals make or break your business, but you could likely receive more if you followed up effectively.

The other way follow-up sucks in real estate is that it lacks the most important thing in marketing right now: context.

As the social Web has evolved, experiences are becoming increasingly personalized. This includes ads and marketing messages that we are exposed to.

This change means you need to completely re-evaluate your follow-up marketing strategy with your sphere of influence.

Here’s why: When an ad runs in my stream on Facebook that says, “Are you 33? Do you love your iPad? Kids using it too?” The answers are yes and yes and yes. I actually welcome ads like that with open arms. I can’t wait to click them and see where they lead.

Meanwhile in the real estate industry I see marketing like: fajita recipe cards, sports calendars, set-your-clock-back reminders, open house invitations, emailed market reports, and just listed/just sold postcards.

These are things that lack context with 95 percent of people with a pulse.

You have to go deeper in 2012.

In fact, either dig deep or go to sleep (feel free to tweet that).

With everything you do moving forward, please take a moment and ask yourself, whether it is a post card, business card, Facebook update, tweet or phone call, “Is this RELEVANT to the recipient?”

Don’t bullshit here either. Be honest with yourself. It’s critical.

Relevant is the new black.

Contactually, a popular new social CRM (customer relationship manager), can help your efforts towards increased relevancy, both tremendously and immediately.

Money and Happiness

It makes staying in touch with the right contacts fun and simple. I especially enjoy the way it helps you segment your social and email databases into relevant categories. It happens in an interactive game called “The bucket game.” It’s a jovial and quick way to get your unorganized list of contacts into one or more categories (like buyer, seller, past client, Facebook friend, etc.) By approaching this tedious task with a gaming approach, it is actually really fun and you are done in no time at all.

Bucket Your Contacts

Contactually connects your email and social media accounts, analyzes your history with each relationship, and automatically prompts you in a daily email to re-engage with important people who are slipping off your radar.

By leveraging the social graph, anytime you call, email, tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn message someone from Contactually, you have what is relevant to them, in real time, in the form of their live social streams. If their latest tweet was about their kid’s baseball game, there is your reason to call.

The paid version of Contactually also brings integration into Gmail, Salesforce, Highrise, and many other popular and robust CRMs.

Increased context and relevancy with your sphere of influence, with a little help from a software. I dig it.

Of all the dings in your agent armor, an important person slipping off your radar should be considered a big, fat dent. Avoided at all costs.

If your current marketing efforts are extinguishing more interest in what you do than they are generating actual new business, time for a pivot.

You can learn more about Contactually or sign up for a 30-day free trial now.

Or you can reorder sports calendars for 2013. The choice is yours.

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