Do you want your real estate clients to keep coming back to you again and again? Real estate agents need to employ good client retention practices, and the first rule of thumb is following up after a home sale. Never assume that the job is done after the sale – not if you want those clients to use your services again. Stay in touch. Follow up. Don’t let them forget you.
Buyers and sellers want to use the same agent for their next real estate transaction. According to NAR, 88% of buyers say they would use the same agent again.
So how do you make sure that they call you the next time they are moving? Communication. You need to keep yourself top of mind with your clients. That doesn’t mean you should email or call every day. Chances are they won’t use you again if you bombard them. Instead, aim to send them some sort of communication, be it by email, phone or mail, just a couple times a month.
If you want to ensure that your past clients don’t fall into someone else’s sphere of influence the next time they need to move, realize that the job isn’t over after you make the sale. There is an art to following up, but it’s not complicated. Here are the best strategies and practices for following up with your real estate clients.
1. Send Your Real Estate Clients a Survey After the Closing
Let your clients settle into their new home first. If you send them a follow-up the same week they move, chances are they will be too busy to give it any attention or respond to you. However, a quick five-question survey about three weeks after they move in is exactly what you want to do. This two-to-three-week time frame is the sweet spot because it gives your clients enough time to get comfortable in their new home so that a survey won’t seem like a chore. If you wait too long to reach out, a survey won’t seem as urgent anymore and they’ll be less likely to engage.
Include a personalized note at the top of the survey congratulating them and then ask for some feedback about how they thought the sale went and if they were satisfied with your service.
In most cases, your clients want to hear from you and will be happy to send you feedback.
2. Reach Out to Your Real Estate Clients on Their Birthdays and Anniversaries
Sending Christmas cards is a popular way for real estate agents to stay in touch with their clients. In fact, it’s a common practice for many businesses, so your card or flyer can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Be a little creative when it comes to mailers. Send a housewarming card and small gift. Send your past clients a card for their one-year anniversary in their home. No one else will remember that but you and them. You could do birthday cards and even pet birthday cards – anything with a little creativity that will set you apart from other business’s mailers is a good way to get their attention. Be sure to make everything you send personalized. Hand-write your cards, use their names instead of a generic, Dear valued customer, and try to put a personal anecdote in there if you can.
3. Be a Real Estate Resource to Your Clients
More than anything, people will come back to you if you position yourself as a resource to your clients. Be a one-stop shop for everything they need related to their home. Once they move in, be there to provide names of landscaping businesses, plumbers, electricians, roofers and more.
Follow up with something relevant to them every so often. You could send notices about home sales in their neighborhood, information about mortgage rates or new developments in their area such as a movie theater or mall. Your past clients will recognize your expertise and want to hire you again because of it. Also, being a resource of helpful information is much more effective than looking like a hungry salesperson. People see through that act. They want to feel like they are hiring an expert who also has their best interests in mind. So personalize everything and offer updates and advice.
4. Get Your Real Estate Contacts in Order – Otherwise Known as Your Sphere of Influence
You have no idea how many people you’re connected with who are moving or know someone who is moving until you get your sphere of influence organized. Your sphere of influence includes your friends, family, current and past clients, neighbors, and everyone you’re connected with on email and social media.
All of those categories combined leaves you with a huge pool of possible real estate customers. You should be reaching out to these people and making sure they know that you are not only a great agent but also a trusted resource for everything related to their home and moving.
5. Tons of Agents Are Utilizing Automated Real Estate Newsletters to Stay in Touch
You can stay in touch with your sphere of influence by sending out your very own automated email newsletter. Real estate email newsletters are one of the easiest and most effective ways of staying in touch with past and potential clients. Your newsletter can offer advice about buying a home, home improvement tips or information about your own listings.
An email newsletter is a soft approach to keeping in touch with your sphere of influence while offering them useful content about everything related to homes and moving. It’s also one of the best ways to position yourself as a real estate resource and stay top of mind with new and existing clients.
However, you will never be able to reach these individuals without organizing your sphere of influence.
A Real Estate Marketing Opportunity Awaits
Real estate agents are always on the move, so it is understandable that you might not have time to organize all the contacts you have in Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. HomeActions provides a twice-monthly automated e-newsletter to everyone in your sphere of influence by doing the organization part on your behalf. The setup takes no more than 48 hours, and you will be delivered an alphabetical list, organized by where the contact came from (Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), which will be used to automatically send your contacts a newsletter chock-full of great content. Once you have an organized sphere of influence, you can use it however you see fit, such as for real estate farming purposes.
HomeActions offers a set-it-and-forget-it product that you know is delivering your contacts valuable content on your behalf. However, there are tons of options to customize the content as you see fit, and we encourage you to feature your current listings.
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
Deliverability is generated by algorithms using a wide variety of signals to determine whether an email gets through to an inbox. In order to increase the chances that your emails are getting consistently delivered to your readers, it is important to maintain a good list.
When your subscribers open your emails, click through your email content or have some other positive responses to your messages, this helps your deliverability.
If readers simply delete your emails without opening them or mark them as spam, they are sending negative signals that can hurt your deliverability.
Here are three tips to help you keep a squeaky-clean list and improve your deliverability.
1. Remove or fix bad email addresses.
Some email marketing platforms will automatically suppress bad email addresses for you. If they do not, make sure you are taking steps to manage bad email addresses. A bad email address will be marked as such by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because it has one of the following errors:
- Bad format—A format error could indicate that an email address is missing a period, contains a misspelling, or has other incorrect or duplicated characters. This type of error could simply be a typo that needs to be fixed. When the format error is obvious, like a double period, this can be corrected by making a small adjustment to the email address in your subscriber record.
- Bad domain—Sometimes domain names are changed, merged with those from other companies or are simply deleted. When this happens, it renders the domain portion of your email address (or everything after the @ sign) ineffective. Watch out for company name changes, mergers, email service provider domain name changes and other domain name issues in order to avoid bad domain issues in your database.
- Bad account—When an employee leaves a company, his or her email address often becomes invalid after a certain period of time. For example, email@example.com may have retired. In the case of professional office environments, staff emails might be forwarded to a third party for a period of time before they are rendered invalid. When this occurs, there are often auto-response emails sent out asking you to delete or update a former employee’s contact information. Pay attention to these auto-response messages and take action to update information in order to avoid bad account issues.
On occasion, it will be impossible to tell why an email was marked as bad. If you have attempted to remedy format, domain and account issues, and the email address is still being marked as bad, it is time to either suppress the contact or remove the record from your database.
2. Remove generic email addresses.
When an email address is publicly available, it can often be harvested by unethical list sellers. Because of this, generic email addresses are often heavily policed by spam traps. Unless you absolutely know that the person or people behind a generic email address expressly consent to receiving your messages, you should remove any of the following generic email addresses from your account:
Additionally, generic email addresses often have low open rates and low engagement, which also negatively impacts your deliverability.
3. Remove inactive subscribers.
To keep up to date with email deliverability best practices, we consult with some of the top delivery and anti-spam engineers from major mailbox providers, as well as senders that are like our company, in order to coordinate better ways to get wanted emails to the readers.
One of the most important email marketing best practice trends we identified is to track user engagement and remove inactive subscribers. Engagement means that your readers have opened, read and/or clicked a link in your email. The major mailbox providers such as Gmail, AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo all track how long a message is open and whether the links within it were clicked. They take note if a message was deleted without opening it. They also detect when messages are sent to accounts that no longer check email at all.
Clean up dead weight
A common suggestion for cleaning an email list is to remove all disengaged or inactive subscribers. What this means is that you will be determining all the people who have not opened or clicked on one of your emails in a given period of time and simply removing them from your list.
Why does this help?
You may feel like it stings a bit to remove a bunch of people from a list that you’ve worked hard to grow, but if they are sitting in your database in an inactive or disengaged status, they are actually hurting your sending reputation. A bad sending reputation means you’ll be less likely to be successfully delivered to those who really want to hear from you.
Improve your reach
If there is no engagement for a large portion of your list, then it is more likely that your marketing emails will not reach a majority of your audience. To increase the chances of reaching inboxes and not getting filtered out, take steps to remove all list members who are not engaged.
Take a tiered approach
You can begin removing people in waves. First, remove those who have not clicked or opened in the past two years. Then change your email strategies to see whether you can boost engagement among your existing members. When you see open and click rates improving, take some time to do a second purge of all those who have still not engaged within the past year. You may also repeat this process as a last step, and look at all those who have not engaged within a six-month period as your final purge.
Purging long-term inactive subscribers also means you’re much less likely to end up in a spam trap. An extremely inactive list with long-term disengaged members can be “gravestoned” by ISPs. This means that ISPs will flag your messages as irrelevant or meaningless to your subscribers, thus negatively impacting your deliverability.
“Healing” your deliverability
Even though this process will cause the number of active list members in your database to go down, you will receive the benefit of better delivery rates among those recipients who enjoy your messages. When you view your metrics and reporting, you may notice that the number of opens and clicks will remain steady, but since fewer inactive email addresses are on your list, the open and click rate percentages will gradually increase as mailbox providers begin to recognize your improved sending reputation.
Over time, this process will result in more emails getting into the inboxes of your recipients, producing higher traction and engagement with fewer complaints and filtering issues. When the mailbox providers detect the higher percentage of recipients reading and clicking on links, they will tend to give those messages more favorable treatment by keeping them out of the spam folder. The absolute numbers of clicks and opens will likely go up as well, based on experience from testing this strategy with our existing customers.
Time to Grow
Now that you’ve cleaned the dead weight out of your database, you’ll have room to add more engaged, happy subscribers to your list.
When growing your database, avoid purchasing email lists. Typically, these lists are expensive, have inaccurate contact information and encourage opt-outs since the individuals don’t have a context of how they got on your list.
A good way to ensure that your list is always healthy and full of readers who really want to hear from you is to give individuals the opportunity to opt in.
Provide new prospects with opportunities to opt in to receive your email newsletter:
- Add an email newsletter sign-up call to action to your website and social media pages.
- Invite blog visitors to sign up to receive your newsletter.
- Design CTAs so they stand out from the rest of the page.
Where to place newsletter sign-up CTAs:
- On more than one page (test multiple pages to see which gets the most traction).
- Above the fold (the part of the webpage or email you see without scrolling down).
- On your high-traffic pages.
There are many other digital resources you can leverage to gather up new subscribers.
Here are some ideas to drive list growth:
- Include a “Sign Up for My Newsletter” link in your company’s standard email signature.
- Regularly post reminders for your social media followers to subscribe to your email newsletter.
- Post email newsletter articles to spike the interest of your contacts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn with an invitation to receive similar information if they sign up for your newsletter.
- Include your newsletter sign-up URL on your business cards as well as your direct mail and/or print marketing materials.
- Create newsletter sign-up sheets and distribute them at seminars, conferences, trade shows and events.
- Encourage current subscribers to share or forward your email newsletter content.
- Promote an online contest that includes signing up for your newsletter as a contest entry requirement.
- Place content on your website for visitors to download, making email opt-in an option for those who access the content.
- Host online webinars, and let attendees know how they can sign up to receive your email newsletter during your closing remarks.
- Use word of mouth — don’t forget to simply tell new contacts about your email newsletter. During in-person meetings, ask people whether they would be interested in receiving your newsletter and show them where they can opt in.
- Look to collaborate with influencers or business partners in your community. By establishing reciprocity with one another, you can ask them to promote your newsletter on your behalf while you do the same for them.
There are many creative ways to grow your email marketing database. The key is to get creative and always be looking for opportunities to add more valuable, engaged subscribers to your list.