Emailing: The Secret to Relevant Content (and keeping your readers from snoring/unsubscribing)

By: Markell Hardin

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Congratulations! You have leads, and they need managed! This is a GOOD thing, although frustrating at times. In today's market, leads today can turn into a closing 3, 6, 9, 12 months from now, and you need to have a system in place that keeps your prospects interested in YOU. Never before have consumers had so much access to real estate and transaction information, it's easy for them to think they don't need you anymore. Or perhaps they feel Realtors are a dime a dozen and see no need to stick with anyone in particular at the moment. Your drip campaign is your opportunity to change their mind.

With that in mind, what are you sending them? Recipes? Glossy Just Listed and Just Sold postcards and e-flyers? Information about buying a home? Information about selling? Is the information you are providing them unique to their specific situation? If you can't answer that question, you need to re-think your strategy.

Here are some oldies but goodies for organizing your leads. Obviously this will take some time for past leads; but it's easy to implement on new leads coming in from this day forward:

One thing is definite: These leads fit into your 'Before' category; as in 'Before the purchase, Before the Sale'. (other categories should define your contacts as 'During' - in an active transaction, and 'After' - closed a transaction.)*

Get back to your 'Before' category: Divide them into 3 categories: 'Before Sale' meaning they are going to sell their home, or 'Before Purchase' meaning they are going to buy a home, or 'Before Move-Up' meaning they are going to sell their home and buy another. Now, take those categories, and develop 90 days of touchpoints that give each category SPECIFIC, relative information to their situation. Here are some examples:

* Before Sale - these people need tips for selling. Don't EVER count on a verbal 'Oh yea I'll hire you when it's time to sell my home'. Until you've got that listing contract signed, it's not your listing. Send them useful tips such as curb appeal tips, home inspector recommendations if they want a pre-inspection, information on appraisals vs. market value, etc. The key is to send them a wide enough variety of information that you send them something they DO NOT know. The more you can illuminate the gap between the information they have on the market and the knowledge you possess, the more valuable you are going to seem.
* Before Purchase - these people need tips for buying. You have to remember they will fall into many categories within this one: Relocation, Investors, First Time Buyers, etc. Keep your topics general enough to apply to all of them. ALL buyers want a deal! ALL buyers are curious about short sales, bank owned homes 'REO's, Auctions, etc. Scan local headlines and see what grabs your eye. This will grab your buyers eye as well.
* Before Move-Up - Selling one home and buying another. This is a special kind of client, and you've got to prove to them you have what it takes to make this happen. They definitely need information on the importance of pricing, staging, and timing the sales so they can try to avoid a 'double move'. Unfortunately, not all people in this category will be able to avoid this, and you can help prepare them for what may lie ahead. You can be THE SOURCE for their information!

Sounds good, but where do you start? There are several places. Constant Contact is THE BEST email campaign system out there when it comes to organizing leads. You can have lists of leads with the exact names listed above 'Before Sale', 'Before Purchase' etc. You can create the campaigns in advance and schedule them to go out monthly. You can easily move a client from the 'Before' list to the 'After' list once they've closed on their sale. There is a drawback: you have to create the content of the emails. It's easy if you belong to a larger company, you can simply copy and paste from their marketing materials, and have control over what is sent. The bonus is that you get to customize. When you sign them up for a 'canned' drip; something already created for you, you increase the chances of giving a recipe to someone who has no desire to cook, or telling a distressed home seller facing foreclosure how to buy a new home. Focus on the lead and personalize it!

If the idea of creating your own content does not appeal to you, then you can use a more 'canned' system for your database of 'During' and 'After' leads. (Again, During are active buyers and sellers who are already under contract with you, After means they have closed a transaction with you and could be a source of referrals.

This is where I'm counting on your feedback: What drip campaigns do you like for clients that automatically generates content. We all know that REMAX and Keller Williams has these tools, but what is available in the regular market place, and at what price?

*Giving credit where credit is due! The Before/During/After module was developed by Joe Stumpf and By Referral Only at the Main Event Seminars.


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