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A multi-channel approach to marketing communications

Make money by doing more

As a business professional, you want to make sure you’re taking a multi-channel communication approach with your sphere of influence (SOI). Just like firing off a “Happy Holidays” card every year usually isn’t enough to stay top of mind or successfully win more business, simply calling the clients you feel most comfortable with every year isn’t enough either.

In an ideal world, most Realtors would plan to see all their past clients every quarter, call everyone in their database every month, and so on. Unfortunately, in the real world, this just isn’t practical. Keeping in touch with people takes time and money, two things that are often in short supply. As a result, many sales people swing to the OTHER extreme; they give up trying to keep in touch with their database entirely. And that – as I’ll talk about later in this article – is a tragic mistake!

The keep in touch dilemma

One of the best ways to break this “keep in touch dilemma” is to take an intelligent multi-channel approach to your marketing communications. A multi-channel approach means communicating with your SOI, your prospects and clients, through a variety of different methods or channels, focusing the most expensive communications on your highest value contacts, and using less expensive methods for keeping in touch with lower value contacts.

What do I mean by communication channels, and how do they compare in terms of cost? The most common, in order of decreasing cost, are meetings, phone calls, direct mail, and email. If your time is worth $50 an hour, a two hour lunch costs you $100 plus the actual cost of the meal. A 15 minute phone chat costs you $12.50, a direct mail piece in the range of $.50-$1.25, and an email often less than a penny. Group events are another possibility, and the cost per contact can range from very high for an exclusive event for a select few at a swanky venue, to very low for a Halloween pumpkin patch giveaway.

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How to implement

The way to implement a multi-channel approach is to segment your contacts database into three categories, an A-List, B-List, and C-List, and apply the communications methods that give you the best return on your investment. Your A-List would include all current and past clients, hot prospects, and active referral sources. Your B-List would include the rest of your prospects, while your C-List would include everyone else in your database.

While the best approach to keeping in touch is a highly personal thing, here’s a starting point to get you thinking:

If these numbers don’t feel right to you, use the model and define your own multi-channel approach. It’s far more realistic than hoping (and failing) to give everyone in your database a call every month, as so many coaches would like you to do. And it’s far more effective than giving up entirely and watching all the referral and repeat business that should have been yours fade away into nothing.

The most effective approach

In order to be effective with this multi-channel communications approach, a CRM system is an absolute must. A good CRM is like having a top-notch Personal Assistant by your side, remembering important dates and reminding you when they arise, simplifying the planning process for you, sending out emails on your behalf, and keeping track of communication history with each one of your clients and prospects.

This multi-channel communications approach will help you stay top of mind and build stronger relationships with your sphere so the next time someone in your SOI is looking the services you offer, you will be the one they choose.

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that 85% of home sellers said that they would use the same real estate agent again or recommend the agent to others. Of course, in order to do this, these sellers would have had to have remembered the agent’s name. Sadly, less than one quarter actually used the same Realtor again simply because the agent failed to stay in touch and was forgotten.

This finding is likely characteristic of a lot of other industries and services aside from real estate. It underscores the magnitude and significance of staying in touch and continuing to nurture the business relationships that you have.

Written By

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

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