Building Lifelong Relationships with Customers – Part Two

Nurturing lifelong customers

 

While not all inbound leads immediately convert, building lifelong relationships with them is still possible.  Automated nurture streams keep real estate agents in regular contact with any that go dark. This type of sustained contact creates urgency for leads while they are actively searching, in their moment of need.  Akin to the online shopper who leaves something in their cart, the need may still be present, but the lead’s preferences may have changed, or other matters may have taken priority.  If a real estate agent initially respond with thoughtful messaging but doesn’t get a response, that doesn’t mean the lead wasn’t interested. It means the lead wasn’t ready in that moment.  A good nurture strategy will ensure that when that agent’s leads are ready, they will be top-of-mind.

Understanding Customer Lifetime Value

In the first installment of this blog series, we provided examples to help you create a great first impression with new inbound leads. But when viewed with a wider lens, those leads represent an opportunity to foster a relationship that can grow as their housing needs change over a lifetime.  That value can also extend to include potential customers that may come from referrals from that first customer.

Entrepreneur and CEO of Adwerx Jed Carlson puts it best.  He says “instead of thinking about your portfolio of business as a client list, think about it more as a portfolio of spheres — spheres that are connected to any number of circles and can operate as huge referral engines.” Thus, calculating the lifetime value should encourage agents to take better care of clients throughout the initial transaction.  This second installment will teach you how to nurture that relationship into a closed transaction and beyond.

To develop a lead nurture strategy, you’ll want to put your CRM system and digital tools to work. Here are tips to get you started.

List Segmentation And Cadence

A communication cadence is made up of three parts.  It is the number of messages sent, the content of those messages, and the audience who receives them.  Your communication strategy should be based on your market, your audience, and your experience.  Your strategy should map the objective of each message with the audience’s information needs.  For example, someone actively looking for a home is looking for the latest news on listings.  Conversely, someone passively considering a move when a variety of factors align, may be more interested in tips on evergreen topics.

This is where technology can streamline the process.  A real estate agent should classify a lead who has recently engaged via phone and email on a weekly “buy now” cadence.   They can nurture that lead’s interest in available homes in a particular neighborhood as a follow-up to that conversation.  But agents may assign other “casual browsers” to a monthly cadence. This is because “casual browsers” may just be beginning to research a new home, or are researching values in the hopes of selling their current home.

A weekly cadence keeps the hungry “buy now” leads up-to-date, and a monthly cadence gives the curious “casual browsers” a summary of what happened.  Your CRM or email marketing platform can also be set to alert you when a “casual browser” re-engages.  At that point, you can decide if a phone call or text makes sense to restart an active sales process with that lead.

Content Marketing

Once you have established a cadence of messages for your lead nurturing strategy, your attention should turn to the content your include them. The resources you provide in a drip nurture campaign build trust and a rapport with your leads.  Whether they are a new lead, or past customer, if you provide ideas and solutions, your As we discussed in the first part of their series, personalizing the content to address their place in the buyer/renter journey is key. 

First-time home buyers will benefit from educational content around mortgage options, home inspections, moving services, and interesting dining options in their preferred neighborhood.  Some agents, with active social media profiles produce video market reports to educate leads on the real estate market trends in certain locations. Whatever you share with your leads, make sure your content is educational and fresh. Sharing good content builds relationships. Share enough of it and over time your leads will see you as a trusted and knowledgeable resource now and in the future.

“Show Me You Know Me”

The more deeply you profile your leads, the more sophisticated your messaging to leads can be.  Connect Now’s platform make it easy to access enhanced data about inbound leads.  It also then automatically transfers that rich profile data to the agent’s CRM.  Once in the CRM, agents can create as many segments as needed to address the various preferences of their customers.

An essential part of developing a long-term relationship with a customer is consistently providing a mix of general topics with “insider” insights that are highly relevant to that lead.  For example, if an agent serves an neighborhood famous for historical Victorian homes, leads tagged as part of a “Victorian Home” segment will be included in a mailing with relevant news on new listing for Victorian homes.  


3 Content Ideas
  1. Ask past customers for testimonials. Instead of telling prospective customers how great you are, let your satisfied customers speak for you.
  2. Create spotlight videos that show what makes a neighborhood unique. You can talk about the restaurants, parks, schools, history, and so on.
  3. Feature upcoming local events. Show your connection to the community and your knowledge of the area by promoting the local scene.

Send a Newsletter

A monthly newsletter is a great way to nurture long-term relationships with your customers. A newsletter keeps customers informed of new listings and helps you develop your brand and reputation over time.  If an agent blogs regularly, or aggregates content from third-party sources, like Inman, compiling the content into a newsletter is easy.  But for those who don’t, Home Actions is a great resource for custom branded newsletters that are full of engaging content. Home Actions also provides reporting metrics on the content with which your leads engaged.

Share on Social

To ensure you’re reaching your customers where they’re at, condense your emailed content into quick takeaways and post them to your social sites.  When scheduling posts, remember that not everyone may have seen each post the first time it is there, so consider posting it several times over the course of a week and with alternate headlines.  And consider recording a short video as an alternate way to provide tips or trend information, because that medium performs well on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Love thy Mailbox

Before there were social feeds and inboxes there were mailboxes. And, there are still mailboxes. Direct mail remains an effective marketing strategy. Postcards, flyers, and brochures are all great ways to stay in contact with your leads in a tangible way.

When creating a direct mail piece think about your refrigerator, would you put this piece of mail on your refrigerator? Paper that makes its way to the refrigerator is important, interesting, and/or nice to look at. Your real estate direct mailer should be no different.


4 Tips for Fridge-worthy Mail
  1. Make it pretty. If a picture is a worth a thousand words, think about the good one picture can do for your business. Pair a beautiful shot with a “Your Dream Home”  headline and your customer’s imagination will do the rest.
  2. Ask a question. Do you know your home’s worth? Pose this question on the front of a brochure and inside share information on home appraisals, home selling, and home buying.
  3. Make it formal. Send Open House invitations just as you would a Save the Date invitation. A personal invite will make your customers and event feel extra special.
  4. Say thanks. Create custom cards thanking clients for their business and offering your support for all their future real estate endeavors.

Conclusion:

Real-time communication and thoughtful nurture strategies are effective ways to convert leads into clients. But remember, leads are people first and the relationship an agent builds with them can last a lifetime.  They’re out looking for content that is relevant to them and appreciate the real estate agent who is fast to respond with helpful information.  And even if that effort doesn’t immediately lead to a sale, that agent is likely to be the one they call when they ARE ready to buy…or when they know someone else who is.

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