By: Emile L’Eplattenier, Fit Small Business
Updated: September 17, 2018
Repeat business is big business when you’re in real estate. With years passing between the time most clients need an agent, your clients could simply forget about you and go on to the next guy they find on Zillow or Trulia. In the meantime, you’re watching your repeat business numbers dwindle.
So how do you stop it? By staying in touch. It’s a simple equation. When your former clients are still hearing from you, you’re likely to be the first person they think of when they want to sell their house or buy a vacation home. You could use tried and true methods to stay in touch, like sending postcards or dropping the occasional promotional flyer in the mail, but there is a much easier (and cheaper) way to accomplish the same goal...email. With just a few minutes a week and some tricks-of-the-trade, you can earn a ton of repeat business through a simple email newsletter.
Here’s how to pull it off by following 5 easy rules...
1. Be Mobile
According to MovableInk, 66 percent of all email is now opened on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. That means every email you send has to be mobile-friendly, and if you provide links to your website (and you should), those links should also redirect to a mobile-friendly site.
If your emails and links aren’t ready for all kinds of screens, the majority of your readers won’t be able to read them at all. Text sprawling off the screen, images that are too large to load on a smartphone...these seemingly small mistakes can be just enough for a client to hit the “unsubscribe” button. Rather than go it alone, look into working with an email marketing software, like MailChimp. MailChimp, and others like it, provide users with email templates that are built to work on multiple devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet, desktop). This makes it easier for you to focus on the design aspect of email marketing and less on the background workings of sending out an email.
2. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
For your marketing plan to be truly effective, each and every email you send should include at least one link to your professional site. If the link is right there, clients are likely to click on your listings rather than go straight to a real estate listing database when they’re ready to house hunt again.
The problem is, if you’re still using the basic free site established for you at the real estate office, or your website is outdated, having a link on your email can have the opposite effect. Nobody is ever happy clicking a link and being redirected to a simple contact form page. Look into building a new website if you feel yours could use a makeover. To get the most use out of your website, it needs to be mobile, have a clean interface, and contain plenty of up-to-date information. These days, it’s easy to build and maintain your own website. It doesn’t require much, if any, coding experience and is likely cheaper than you would expect.
3. Write Great Content
Of course, mobile-friendly images and perfectly placed links won’t make much of a difference if the content of your emails isn’t engaging. After all, people open emails to read something, not just click a few links.
To make your emails something clients can get excited about, think of it in terms of a chat with a friend, rather than a sales pitch. In other words, apply the same principle that successful real estate agents use: make the email more about them than you. Use tasteful humor, include a funny gif, or talk about lighthearted local news, like a big team win. Include helpful advice that applies to homeowners, not just people buying and selling homes. For example, give winterization tips in the fall or include an infographic of how often to water your lawn in the summer.
The bottom line—give people something to read alongside information about your current listings. They’re much more likely to stay engaged longer.
4. Gather Good Reviews
Having good reviews is a great way to bolster confidence about your business. Sign up for review sites like Yelp and keep a Facebook business page. When you finish working with a client, shoot them a quick email and ask if they wouldn’t mind giving you a review (you might be surprised how willing people are to do this).
Once you have a handful of good reviews, put a link to the reviews in your email signature so your good reputation goes out with every email you send. And don’t forget about awards. If you win a business award, go ahead and brag a little in your signature line!
5. Stay Active on Social Media
If you haven’t already, set up at least three social media accounts. We recommend Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but any social media presence is a good idea. Once you’re up and running, include links to all of your social media accounts on all your email newsletters. Just a quick “follow me” at the end of your message is enough.
But don’t forget to keep those accounts active. If your pages are outdated or rarely updated, clients may assume you’re not using them anymore, and they won’t follow you. Instead, aim to post at least three times a week.
And don’t forget to tie your newsletter into your social media posts. For example, if you provided tips on winterization in your most recent newsletter, share a good video example of insulating your pipes on Facebook (and then make sure you're doing all the right things to get noticed there). By cross-posting related stories, you’ll get your social media followers to join your newsletter and vice-versa.
Email marketing may feel a little overwhelming at first, but it isn’t difficult at all once you get the hang of it. Just follow these five easy rules for every email you send, and you’ll be well on your way to building your repeat business.