Millennial home-buyers are a big part of the home-buying market. While they’ve gotten a late start in homeownership compared to previous generations, there is now a significant uptick in the number of house hunters who identify as millennials.
This new group of home-buyers requires unique tactics when it comes to marketing yourself to them as a REALTOR®. If you’ve been in the biz for a long time, your old tricks might not work on millennials.
Use these tips to market yourself as a real estate resource to millennial homebuyers.
Be Comfortable Texting During Off-Hours
Millennial house hunters are going to expect you to use text as a means of communication. That doesn’t mean that calling is out the window, but millennials prefer texting to get quick information at their convenience. Not every question requires a long conversation — millennials may see phone calls in response to quick questions as time-wasters.
It also makes sense to anticipate the typical evening and weekend contact from millennials you would typically expect from someone working a job in a standard workweek. Millennials may also be attending college courses in order to advance their careers or chance vocations altogether, so be prepared to work around busy schedules.
Be Active on Social Media
Millennials, like no other generation before them, are getting the bulk of their news online — even through social media. These days, you can follow all kinds of news outlets to get quick updates about what’s going on in the world. Being active on social media is a great way to get in front of millennial home-buyers. Be sure to post about your listings, share what sold, feature open houses and give other real estate updates. Also keep your social media content varied by sharing interesting tid-bits related to home-ownership. Millennials will follow the businesses they frequent in order to stay connected with ongoing events.
Provide Reliable Reviews
Since the internet is inundated with reviews, millennials know they can’t trust all of them. That’s why you need to provide reviews in more than just a written format. If you can get a past client to submit a video testimonial, it will come off as much more authentic than a written review that could have been faked easily.
Not only that, but make sure your business website as well as your Facebook and LinkedIn pages have verifiable reviews. Facebook is now following the online review trend, offering review posting to its users.
Be an Educational Resource
A great way to promote yourself to millennials is to be a real estate resource for them; position yourself as a voice of authority in the industry to increase your clout and gain their trust.
Millennials will engage through experiential learning, so give them just that. You can host events at your office or at a local restaurant or pub as a networking opportunity for newcomers to the area to get to know their local real estate agent. Or you can offer first-time home-buyer classes in person or online. Sessions like these give your audience a taste for the kind of expert advice you can offer.
Be Consistent With Your Real Estate Newsletter
One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind with home-buyers from every generation is through consistently reaching out with your email newsletter. Millennials in particular are accustomed to this kind of communication from businesses dealings, and they typically subscribe to a variety of email newsletters as a means of accessing deals or keeping up with offerings from their favorite businesses.
Providing bimonthly e-newsletters featuring great content about real estate news and trends will give you an edge with millennial home-buyers. If you don't have your own real estate email newsletter yet, click here to get started with HomeActions™.
Are you unsure about how to handle objections from potential real estate clients? Sometimes certain questions can throw you off your game, but it’s important to deal with these situations head-on. These tactics will help you do just that.
You will find that these tips are actually quite simple but will have a lasting, positive effect on your real estate business.
Get (a Little) Scripted
Anyone in the real estate game knows that they will be faced with objections from clients. Since you know it’s coming, prepare yourself for some of the most common objections agents receive. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little scripted in your response. It’s much better than floundering in your answer and not coming across as confident when clients push back.
Take this common objection for example: I want to list the house myself and avoid paying commission fees to a seller’s agent.
Your response can be something along the lines of: “I hear you. You want to save wherever you can. However, are you prepared to do all of the legal paperwork after the sale of the home? After the home is sold, there is a slew of legal legwork that the listing agent typically handles to make sure that the sale goes through. If you decide to sell the home on your own, you have to be OK with the fact that you could potentially be sued if you don’t file the paperwork correctly — even if it is just a simple mistake. Are you willing to take that risk?”
Also mention, “Consider the fact that it may be tricky to get a buyer’s agents to work with you. Many of them won’t even consider working with the homeowner directly because of the risk it poses to their own business.”
Know Your Worth
Realtors get faced with this request often: “Can you lower your commission fee?” The short answer should be, no, but you can present your response in a way that highlights the kind of value you offer and why agreeing to a lower fee would be a detriment to both parties.
If a client asks for a commission cut, lay out the marketing plan, your negotiation skills and your track record, and don’t waver. For example: “Let me take you through a breakdown of where that number comes from. Part of what you’re paying for with that fee is the marketing strategy I will put together to sell your house as quickly as possible for the best price. You’re also paying for my expertise. Perhaps there are agents out there who will settle for a lower fee, but they don’t have the same track record as I do when it comes to selling homes. And they definitely don’t have the same level of negotiating skills as I do. If I instantly gave in when you asked me to lower my fee, what does that say about how I’ll perform when we are negotiating the sale of your home?”
State the Facts
A client may reject your offer because they have a friend who is an agent who they promised to work with. While you should let them know that their loyalty is admirable, it may not be the wisest decision to work with a friend.
Remind them: “Have you ever given a task to a friend and weren’t 100% satisfied with the outcome? Is that a risk you’re willing to take on the sale of your home?”
Then, state the facts. If you sold 80 homes in the past year, make sure they know it. If you’ve been in the business for 20 years, state that too. These are favorable attributes that should not go unnoticed.
You could even be so bold as to bring up their friend’s MLS listing and yours at the same time to compare, assuming that you know you have stronger stats than he or she does. That will really paint a lasting image in their minds!
Write yourself a rough script to answer the objections you get all the time.
Don’t waver on the commission fee — explain where it comes from.
Reiterate your track record.
DON’T FORGET! HomeActions provides automated real estate newsletters for you to send out to your clients. We design the newsletter, write the content and send it out on your behalf so you can easily stay top of mind with your real estate clients.
Getting all your real estate contacts in order is a first crucial step toward consistently reaching your entire sphere of influence. Whether you’re a new or seasoned agent, your referral business is a vital portion of your pipeline.
You can only connect with your current clients, past clients, referral sources and prospects if you have an organized central database of your contacts. Plus, you’ll need to be routinely communicating them.
How Can Your Sphere of Influence Help You In Real Estate?
Your sphere of influence is a network of people you know on one level or another. Think of it like LinkedIn – you have first, second and third-tier connections.
Your first-tier connections are those you know personally, such as a spouse or family member. A second-tier connection could be a colleague, and a third-tier connection might be a neighbor or acquaintance.
Why are these people important to your real estate business? Because they all offer some kind of opportunity for you. Someone in your sphere of influence could be moving or know someone who is moving. Your network offers an infinite amount of referral business.
Who’s In Your Sphere of Influence?
Close family members
Your children’s teachers
Your spouse’s friends
Most agents know how important their sphere of influence is, but few are using it to its full advantage.
How to Quickly Organize Your Sphere of Influence
The simplest way to get your contacts organized is to merge them all into a spreadsheet. Then you can start organizing by what level of connection they are to you: “client,” “prospect” and “refferal source” may be a useful way to initially identify individuals. It is also important to include any all contact information you have for each person in your sphere of influence, such as email address, complete physical addresses, and home, office and cell phone numbers.
As time moves on, you may also decide to tag individuals with additional demographic information based on whether or not they are vacation home buyers, senior citizens, residents of certain trendy districts or neighborhoods, event attendees, or other information that will help you group segments of your contact list together.
The Best Ways to Connect With Your Sphere of Influence
The initial outreach can seem a bit daunting, but simple email marketing tools you can use to get started. One of the best ways to stay top of mind with home-buyers is through consistently reaching out with an email newsletter campaign. Providing e-newsletters featuring great content about real estate news and trends will give you an edge with home-buyers. Plus, some platforms (like HomeActions™) will even help build your real estate marketing database for you.
How To Ask For Referrals
When you ask someone in your sphere of influence for a referral, mention a recent article in your email newsletter about home prices, for example, and ask your contact if they know anyone who is moving and might be interested in current low home prices in your area. Always be on the lookout for ways to creat new opportunities with the people you meet.
Visit HomeActions.net, and let us help you get organized with a real estate marketing database that we’ll build for you!
Real estate agents know the value of putting on a stellar open house. But how do you ensure that people show up? One of the best marketing strategies to promote an open house is through social media.
You can easily create quality social media posts to get the word out just by following these guidelines.
1. Post on Multiple Platforms
As an agent, you should have multiple social media platforms. In particular, you should have business accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. When you begin a campaign to promote an open house through social media, you should be posting across all your platforms.
2. Pick Images That Will Make People Show Up
Take good photos of the house. The quality of the photos you post will determine whether people show up. Here are some factors to keep in mind when you’re choosing photos:
Use pictures that highlight curb appeal.
Use images that capture the home’s best features, like a newly renovated kitchen.
Capture impressive views to entice buyers.
Here are some things to avoid in listing photos:
Dark or just plain bad lighting.
Bad aspect ratio of the photo.
Don’t show off bad décor, messy rooms or property flaws.
3. Don’t Forget Pinterest
It’s a common misconception that Pinterest is only for crafting and recipes. Many people use it as a search engine for the things they are looking to purchase. If they type “colonial-style home” into the search bar, they know Pinterest-quality photos will appear.
You should use this platform to set up a board specifically for your listing photos. You can link back to your Pinterest board of professional-quality photos when you tweet or post about your open house.
4. Write an Engaging Message
Employ good copywriting practices when you write your social media posts. You don’t need to become a copywriting wiz, just follow these simple tips and your posts will be instantly more engaging and make people click through.
Avoid using too many adjectives, like beautiful, cozy home. Verbs speak louder. Try, “Check out this historical home featuring all the amenities that the modern homeowner seeks. Stop by this Saturday to take in the amazing views/architecture.”
Speak to personal experience. The best way to hook people is to trigger an emotional response. Write about universal experiences when house hunting. People like to be reminded of things they are familiar with.
5. Consider Your Landing Page
The landing page is where you will direct people in your social media posts. At the bottom of your post, there should be a clear link to a page that offers more information about your open house.
You can drive traffic to a Facebook event page, LinkedIn event page, Pinterest board, your website or a blog post. Wherever you lead traffic, make sure that page has all the details about your open house and great pictures.
6. Create a Posting Schedule
Create a posting schedule to promote your open house on social media. If you come up with a couple of messages for each social platform, organize them into an Excel sheet and put the dates and times of when they should be deployed.
For more information about optimal times of the day to schedule social posts, check out this infographic from HubSpot.
7. Put It in a Real Estate Email Newsletter
If you have a real estate newsletter that goes out to your sphere of influence, make sure to include a shout-out to your open house. Whatever messages you post on social media should be reinforced in your newsletter.
If you don’t have a real estate newsletter yet, check out the HomeActions automated e-newsletter for real estate agents. A newsletter is one of the most effective ways to stay top of mind with your real estate contacts. Check us out today!
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
Successful real estate agents know the importance of setting goals for themselves. Since real estate agents are in large part responsible for their yearly earnings, setting realistic goals is part of ensuring that they can bring home the bacon. If you want to increase your real estate sales, you have to learn the right way to set goals and the appropriate action steps to complete them.
One of the biggest reasons real estate agents don’t achieve what they set out to do is because their objectives are too broad and they don’t know how to follow through. We’re here to help you narrow the focus of your goals and make sure that you reach them.
Put Your Real Estate Goals in Writing
Get your goals out of your head and onto the page. Use a notebook or Word document to write them down so they are not just floating in space. Writing down your goals sets them in stone so that they’re tangible objectives to shoot for.
Keep your goals realistic by thinking only one or two years ahead at first. Instead of writing down, Run a successful real estate business, narrow your focus to something you can achieve in six months or a year – for instance, Increase sales by 40% by 2019.
Quantify Your Real Estate Goals
Part of setting clear goals is assigning a numeric value to them so you know exactly what you’re reaching for.
Let’s use the last example, Increase sales by 40% by 2019.
Assigning numeric values to your goals allows you to reach higher success levels. If you simply write down, increase sales, that could be as easy as gaining one more sale than you did in the previous year. And that kind of goal setting will not make you satisfied. You will still be left wondering why your real estate business is not as successful as your competitors’.
Continually Read Over Your Real Estate Goals
Get in the habit of reading over your goals once you’ve written them down. It doesn’t do you any good to write them on a scrap of paper and place them in a drawer where they will be forgotten.
You should keep your goals in a place where you have to see them every day, such as sticky notes on your fridge, above your desk or on your computer’s desktop.
Looking at your goals daily will give you a sense of urgency and motivate you to take steps toward what you’ve set out to do.
Create Action Steps for All of Your Goals
Goals are useless if you don’t know what to do to achieve them. For each goal, write an action step or two to accomplish them. If your objective is to increase sales by 40% by 2019, here are a couple of action steps to take.
Reorganize my database of real estate leads.
Have two phone calls a day with new leads in my pipeline.
Once you act on your goals in these small ways, you’ll see some minor success and start to realize how the rest of your goal can come to fruition.
Hold Yourself Accountable for Your Goals
One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable for your goals is to share them with your team and/or colleagues. If you have other agents or an assistant on your team, let them know what your goals are. Making a public declaration of what you plan to do to grow your real estate business – or any business – has been shown to increase your chances of success because you now have people, besides yourself, who are counting on you. If you work in an office with other agents, spread the word about your 2019 goals – seek feedback and ask if they will help keep you on track.
Stay Organized and Connect with Your Sphere of Influence
Your real estate contacts should always be up to date and organized. If they aren’t, you will have a difficult time remembering who you have in your sphere of influence and at what stage of the moving processes they are in.
Maintaining your database of leads is a no-brainer if you want to increase sales or achieve other real estate goals.
HomeActions gathers all of your contacts from places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and more and creates a spreadsheet of everyone in your sphere of influence in alphabetical order by what platform they came from.
Not only will HomeActions jump-start this process for you, we will then send a bi-weekly email newsletter to your real estate contacts on your behalf, using our database of hundreds of real estate articles. Click the button below to read more about HomeActions services and how we can help you achieve all of your goals this year.
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
It’s not just the real estate industry that’s going digital — almost every industry you can think of is taking the plunge. But digital marketing is especially essential for real estate agents because homebuyers are looking at websites like Zillow and Trulia as their first step toward finding a home.
They are also checking out social media to find inspiration for their dream home and recommendations for REALTORS®. That means you need to position yourself in front of these homebuyers online.
If you already have a real estate website and social media accounts, are you utilizing those spaces correctly in order to get leads? If you’re not keeping yourself abreast of how to improve your digital footprint, chances are you will get overlooked for agents that have a more robust online presence.
1. The Most Important Social Platforms for Real Estate
Some of the more important social platforms for real estate agents are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. If you don’t already have a presence on these platforms, get on them today. Your potential clients use social media to find referrals for all kinds of services, including real estate agents.
Social media is also where you should showcase the best of the best when it comes to images and videos of your listings. Always post high-quality images that highlight the best features of the homes you’re selling. The standard for content is very high these days, so a few grainy images won’t cut it. You will get buried by competition using professional-looking photos.
When you post content on social media, make use of relevant hashtags. This will help you get recognized by more users and increase your followers. You can easily research hashtags by typing in some keywords into the search bar on Twitter — such as “open house” (#openhouse) or “real estate agent” (#realestateagent) — and see what popular posts come up and take note of other hashtags they’re using. Then you can incorporate those hashtags into your own social posts.
2. Paid Advertising to Promote Your Real Estate Business
Consider paid advertising using Facebook Ads or Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising.
Facebook makes it easy for you to “boost” a post, whereby you put a certain dollar amount behind a post. You choose your budget and the audience you want your post to target. For instance, you can target buyers or sellers based on location or demographics, or even their hobbies and behaviors.
You should also consider Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for your real estate website. It’s a way of advertising your website on Google so that it appears at the top of the page when users search for different keywords, such as “homes for sale,” “local realtors” or “open house.” Every time someone clicks on your ad, leading them to your website, you pay Google a fee.
There are still things you want to do to get organic traffic to your site, which we’ll go over, but PPC is a way to bring in additional paid traffic through advertising.
3. Make People Come Back to Your Website
Make sure that your real estate website is easy to navigate and a place where users want to return. Start by making sure all your images look professional. If you have pictures of yourself or your business, these photos need to be high quality. First impressions matter, and potential clients will choose another Realtor over you if their website looks more professional.
Another way to keep people coming back to your site is to create content that interests them. You could post weekly blogs about the real estate industry or certain markets. You could also blog about open houses, listings, up-and-coming neighborhoods and more. Try mixing up the content with some charts, videos and infographics. Creating interesting content will keep users engaged.
4. Collect Emails
The purpose of your digital efforts is to get leads, so you need to give users the option to provide their email addresses. In marketing, a squeeze page or landing page is where you collect the email addresses of those who visit your website.
Make an Offer
A squeeze page should act as an offer to the user that requires them to input their email. This could be in the form of an e-book, e-newsletter or an estimate on the value of their home. Whatever the offer is, make sure it’s essential for them to give out their email in order to receive the special gift.
5. Use Website Analytics Tools
The only way to know whether your website is working is by tracking views and the behavior of users on your site. How long are they staying on your site? How many unique visitors are you getting a month? Are users visiting your site and then navigating away almost instantly? The easiest way to track this is with a tool like Google Analytics. Google makes it easy for new marketers to learn how to use their features, which you can read about here.
Once you understand some basics of website analytics, it’s simple to start developing your website around what users want to see. Perhaps your site isn’t user-friendly enough. Maybe your content isn’t as engaging as your competitors’ content. Tracking the analytics of your site will help you identify and fix these issues.
We always recommend making sure you have a digital footprint because most of your clients will hear about you through the web. A great way to get started is by following these guidelines and signing up for biweekly real estate email newsletters. We make it easy for you by writing email newsletter articles and sending them out to your sphere of influence on your behalf. Check us out today!
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
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 just a couple times a month.
There is an art to following up after the sale, but it does not need to be complicated. Here are some tips for staying in touch with your real estate clients.
1. Send Your Real Estate Clients a Survey After the Closing
Send your clients a quick five-question survey about three weeks after they move into their new home. This three-week time frame is the sweet spot because it gives your clients enough time to get comfortable in their new home. You don't want your follow-up to seem like jusn another chore in the middle of a slew of moving boxes.
Include a personalized note at the top of the survey congratulating them. Ask for some feedback about how they thought the sale went, and inquire if they were satisfied with your service. It may also help to include a housewarming gift with the survey so clients feel as if you were a part of welcoming them into the next chapter of their lives. 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 holiday cards is a popular way for real estate agents to stay in touch with their clients, but since December greeting cards are so common, they can easily get lost in the holiday shuffle.
Be a little creative when it comes to mailers. Send your past clients a card for their one-year anniversary in their home. No one else will remember that but you, and it's a nice reminder of their milestone. You can also send birthday cards and wedding anniversary cards – even pet birthday cards! If you inject a little fun and creativity into your mailers, this will set you apart from other businesses. Be sure to make everything you send personalized and not generic.
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 authority 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. You can even create a referral network of local businesses who will mention your services when you mention theirs.
It's also important to let past clients know about other home sales in their neighborhood, information about mortgage rates or new developments in their area that may impact property values. Your past clients will recognize your expertise and want to hire you again if you possition yourself as an expert and a helpful resource.
4. Get Your Real Estate Contacts in Order so You Can Reach Your Entire Sphere of Influence
You might be surprised to learn how many people you're connected with who know someone considering a move. Your sphere of influence includes your friends, family, current and past clients, neighbors, and everyone you're connected with on email and social media. You should be reaching out to these people on a regular basis to remind them that your services are available and you're a trusted resource for everything related to their home and moving. Make sure you organixe all your contacts into one centralized list and communicate with them regularly.
5. Most Agents Utilize Automated Real Estate Newsletters to Stay in Touch
You can easily 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 reaching 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 home-ownership. 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.
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 with your clients after the sale and building more referral opportunities.
What will fill your marketing editorial calendar in the months ahead? It can be daunting to lay out writing assignments for your marketing efforts, but it does not have to be. With a bit of forethought and planning, you can tap into writing inspiration on a regular basis.
Focus your real estate newsletter writing.
Your first step should always be to consider your audience. To really craft meaningful lead-generating content, you need to focus on your target market. The goal is to keep your readers’ needs in mind while also keeping your business growth goals in mind when writing marketing content.
What are your goals?
Map out a hierarchy of what is most important to building you pipeline.
Are you trying to build up specialty areas, such as vacation properties or retirement properties?
Looking to generate more new opportunities overall?
Seeking to improve client retention and nurture existing relationships?
Want to stand out in a competitive marketplace?
Growing a base of referral sources?
Lead generating content has a pain/gain approach. It is important to consider your goals when you begin building lead-generating content. Your articles should provide a path toward solving a pain point so readers naturally follow that path to seek out your services.
Think about how your services could tie into an article and offer an obvious connection back to you for help. Focus on providing just enough relevant advice to give your prospects the confidence that you are the expert source who can address their real estate needs.
The next natural step for your readers should be to connect with your firm to solve their needs.
When you have key articles focused on generating new opportunities and leads integrated into your strategies, be sure you’re setting lead alerts so you can follow up on new warm prospects.
What should you write?
Inspiration can originate partly from preparation and partly from borrowing existing ideas. It’s always good to have a stockpile of starting-point themes to fall back on when writer’s block inevitably strikes.
“Inspired” Ideas for Your Next Article
Q&A – Or “Dear Abby” Approach
This vs. That Strategy Comparison
All of the ideas here could come from a single interview with a client. If you sat down and interviewed a client for just 30 minutes, you could get all the information you needed to create five articles with each of the above approaches. If you did this with just several clients, you could stagger that content out and have a full calendar of meaningful content for a year.
More Ideas to Inspire Creative Content:
Trending Topics Following Current Events
Common Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
Spotlight Your Team Members
Feature Events and Philanthropic Involvement
Don’t forget to invite a bit of the human element into your content marketing to help readers develop brand loyalty and keep your audience engaged. People stories for fun, and features focused on your staff members’ pets, babies and activities can be a delightful addition to your marketing.
Fun Topics to Consider:
A dog day at the office
Match the staff member with the baby photo
Birth announcements – tiny tee shirts with your brand logo on new babies
Take Your Child to Work Day
Holiday or seasonal themes
Office family picnic highlights
“Where’s Waldo” theme following staff members on vacation snapping a photo at a noteworthy spot with your company mascot
When does timing impact my writing?
You should be following deadlines and seasonal trends to develop an annual content calendar for your firm. Take note of holidays and changing seasons to inject timely, fun themes into your writing. Incorporate these strategies to keep your content marketing fresh and engaging.
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.
In order to get leads flowing in through your digital marketing, you must first make sure you have set automated lead alerts on key content. You should also check your click-through reporting to monitor prospect click activity.
“Great! I have a lead… Now what?”
Once you start generating leads through your email marketing, implement a strategy for converting click-through activity and lead alerts into new clients. Lead tracking is a key component to your success. Lay out a basic and intuitive process for monitoring and responding to leads.
STEP 1: Look at What Generated the Lead Alert or Click Activity
Check which article or banner piqued your readers’ interest, and make a note of the topic that generated the lead.
STEP 2: See Who Responded to Your Lead
Look at the individual’s contact record in your database. See if they have also been clicking on other content in the past. If you notice a trend, you definitely have a warm lead in-hand. If this is the first click, you may still have an opportunity to convert your lead into a client.
STEP 3: Follow Up on Your Leads
Send a personal email with a follow up message to your prospect. Say something like, “I noticed you recently read an article in our newsletter about [topic here]. Is this something you’re thinking of exploring? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help.”
After one or two passive emails like that, take the next step and call your warm lead with a friendly approach to feel them out on their level of interest. Even if they don’t access your services at that time, you have successfully reminded them that you’re available if their needs change in the future.
STEP 4: Track Your Leads
Creating accurate and comprehensive records of your lead follow-up is a vital aspect of successful lead conversion. Make a record of your phone calls and follow-up emails either in your email marketing platform, CRM tool or tracking system of your choice.
STEP 5: Act or Release
If your prospect shows interest, schedule an appointment for a consultation or take appropriate next steps. Be sure your team is aware that you will be connecting them with new prospects generated by your email marketing.
If the lead does not show any interest after a couple emails and phone calls, step back and wait for future interactions. Review your follow-up records to make sure your team is not saturating the prospect with sales calls. As long as your prospect is subscribed to your email newsletter program, there will always be another opportunity to connect.