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Business Marketing

Building stronger relationships with prospects and clients

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that there are better ways to build relationships with prospects and clients, and nurturing leads can be simplified and your efficiency improved with the right tools.

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Improving efficiency

In this article, we will discuss how you can make your life a whole lot easier and your business a great deal more efficient. You’ll learn how you can follow-up and communicate with prospects and clients more, while saving time and maximizing your efficiency.

Make sure you have a “Contact Us” form on your website that automatically pulls leads into your CRM database. As soon as a lead fills out your form, you’ll want to be notified by email so you can contact that lead right away and assign them to a drip email marketing plan. A good CRM will have drip marketing plans pre-designed for you. A drip marketing plan is a series of emails that get sent out automatically at various time intervals.

It’s important to assign all new leads that you’ve captured to a drip marketing plan so you can “nurture” that lead, build a long-term relationship with them, and stay “top of mind.” When the lead is ready to finally become a client, you’ll win the business, not one of your competitors.

Marketing plans

A good CRM should have a number of pre-designed marketing plans to choose from. These should range from marketing to prospects to keeping in touch with clients. One of the challenges busy professionals and small businesses face is keeping in touch with past clients on a consistent basis. The beauty of drip marketing plans is that they automate much of your marketing communications, which frees up time for you. While you’re on the road at appointments, you’re also keeping in touch with hot leads and building stronger relationships with past clients at the same time.

The best way to keep in touch with people is to use a multi-pronged approach. This means using a variety of marketing communication channels such as email, direct mail, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings or events. Use your CRM to plan and schedule all of your “keep in touch events” in your CRM. You’re reminded when key dates arise and when certain actions have to be performed. It’s like having a virtual assistant by your side! If you’d like to wish your clients a “Happy Birthday” you can also use your CRM to automatically alert you.

Staying organized and proactive

Effectively following up with your prospects can mean the difference between a highly successful business built from referrals and repeat clients versus just making enough money to get by. It can mean life or death for your business.

When you have the right systems in place, like the right industry-specific CRM, it’s easy to stay organized and proactive. When you take the correct steps to keep in touch effectively, you’ll see your referral and repeat business grow, and more of your leads turn into valuable, lifelong clients.

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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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. UV

    May 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Matthew,

    Aren’t drip campaigns dead?
    Property alerts+IDX & offline followup all that matters in today’s day & age?
    Don’t consumers smell automation from a mile away?

    Its cool when I’m following a company and there’s a shortage of information on that subject. But most consumers can’t shake a stick without pointing at an agent. What gives?

    The above are just my opinion. Not necessarily the facts. Seeking clarity to wrap my mind around this subject.

    Cheers

    • Matthew

      May 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Drip campaigns are absolutely not dead. They can be highly effective if done right. They key is to ensure the emails in the automation sequence are personalized and well-written. The beauty of a CRM is that you can assign drip email campaigns to different groups of contacts based on their unique needs and interests. And with a good CRM, you can add mail merge fields within the body of your emails so the contact things it was sent just to them. You can also customize the salutation preferences which also makes the emails more personalized.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails have run their course, they don’t help customers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Simple way to sent text, email appointment reminders to clients

(MARKETING) This new app has tons of automatic tools that help small businesses continue to move into the digital age with ease of use.

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reminders

As the world becomes more heavily reliant on automated messaging and computer-mediated communication, we become more reluctant to actually speak to someone on the telephone. While I often find myself in this category, I also feel saddened by what Alexander Graham Bell must think. I digress.

We can certainly argue that a major reason we prefer to text or email rather than sit on the phone is for convenience. We can send a quick text while working, as it’s much more difficult to get away with a phone call on the down low.

That’s why it’s become so popular for places such as doctor’s offices and salons to begin using text and email alerts as appointment reminders. Now, Remindr is getting in on the action.

According to their site, “Remindr.co is a tool for small businesses to schedule automated email and text message appointment reminders. Reduce your meeting no-shows by alerting your clients beforehand. Easily confirm appointments with your customers via text message.”

They proclaim that they’re “great for any business that schedules customer appointments or client meetings,” citing their top use cases as restaurant reservations, nail salons, personal trainers, barbers, tattoo shops, spas, real estate agents, independent car mechanics, and tech sales scheduling customer calls.

This is a win-win as it’s convenient for the customer, but also saves time on the business’s side because it eliminates hours of reminder calls. Additionally, the method supports the reduction of no-shows, which is incredibly important to businesses – especially small ones.

Remindr features include: text message, email, confirmation, reusable templates, schedule alerts, and easy user interface. With text messaging, businesses can send personalized SMS messages to customers from your Remindr phone number.

With email, businesses can send personalized email reminders to their customers through Remindr email addresses. Then, customers can confirm their appointment via text messages or email, and businesses can review confirmations on their Remindr account.

Businesses can create their own personalized reminder templates to pre-fill the reminder form (for example: “Hi NAME! We’re looking forward to your appointment tomorrow (DATE) at TIME. Respond YES to confirm your appointment.”) Reminders can be automatically sent via email or text at a predetermined time.

Remindr provides an easy user interface where businesses can start scheduling reminders instantly, use full-keyboard form navigation, and it is mobile friendly.

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Business Marketing

PHD job seekers shouldn’t scare employers, they should be welcomed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s time to change the narrative for PhD candidates on the job market. They have been through so much and can contribute just as much to your company

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phd grad

Employers have historically been skeptical of hiring PhD graduates for jobs, but it’s time for that to change. It seems counterintuitive, but many employers are scared of candidates who bring such a high level of education to the table. They worry that PhD graduates will ask for too much money, get bored with the work, or not be able to perform in a non-academic setting.

PhD graduates may come from an academic background, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable asset to your business. As for them asking for too much money, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but academics are not exactly swimming in pools of gold. People don’t go into academics because they want to get rich quick – or at all. By earning their degree, PhD graduates have proven that they possess dedication and grit to persevere in an environment that requires resourcefulness and strong problem-solving abilities.

Another common fear employers have about PhD graduates is whether or not the work will be interesting enough to keep them around long-term. The reality is this is something you should be concerned about for all of your potential new hires not just graduates. Keeping your employees engaged in the work can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business. PhD candidates want the same things as everyone else. Indeed recently talked to an expert on the subject, Vay Cao, the founder of Free the PhD, a company dedicated to helping postgrads find their place in the workforce. She says, “What PhD candidates are looking for is that opportunity to prove themselves [and] learn some new things.”

PhD graduates have long suffered from these misconceptions, but modern business owners have the opportunity to change the narrative. By ignoring graduates, you miss out on the wealth of opportunities their experiences offer your business. PhD graduates are often innovators in their fields with excellent presentation and inter-personal skills. These candidates can bring unique skill sets and experiences to your business that may give you that extra edge on the market.

At the end of the day, your priority as a business owner will be to do what’s best for your business. Hiring and interviewing candidates from a wide range of backgrounds will always be to your benefit. Take advantage of these unique and highly educated candidates. They are an asset you can’t afford to ignore anymore.

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