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5 tips to increase real estate referrals with better email communication

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Five email personality types

In July, we shared with you the work of Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. regarding how the five primary personality types convey over email and how to use them to better understand real estate clients.

We spoke with Dr. Whitbourne who shared with us a wealth of information on how to apply the five email personality types to emails from Realtors to consumers. Dr. Whitbourne says the five personality types are actually boiled down from a more complex set of 30 facets but still hold true.

The challenge Realtors face with email

Dr. Whitbourne noted that email is an informal means of communication that is “somewhere between a phone call and a phone message and is usually written on the fly without giving the email full attention.”

She said that Realtors using email should remember that in every message, they are conveying their professionalism, organization skills, helpfulness and how closely they tend to detail. When a message is poorly written or expresses elements of personality types a consumer finds less than desirable, Dr. Whitbourne says the email may fail.

Just as with handwriting, most people are completely unaware of how revealing their every choice is, and while most consumers are equally unaware of the nuance, they are aware of how they are made to feel by an agent’s email.

We recommend that Realtors first identify which of the five types of email personalities (open to experience, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, and neurotic) they most closely match and follow Dr. Whitbourne’s recommendations for their type below (and a more detailed description of the five can be found by clicking here):

Recommendations for personality type one:

Realtors, if you are the “open to experience” personality type, Dr. Whitbourne says you should be mindful of editing carefully and avoid hitting “reply all,” a potential downfall of this personality type.

“Impulsivity is bad, and it is hard to control out of excitement,” Dr. Whitbourne said, and notes that Realtors should take a step back and make sure everything is accurate before hitting the send button, especially for liability reasons.

Recommendations for personality type two:

Realtors who have the conscientious personality and email types should note that this type often is overly wordy, and editing should keep emails concise, but this problem isn’t as relevant when Realtors are emailing consumers as it is in other industries (or between coworkers).

Regarding email to consumers, “It is probably better to over explain than to under explain,” she said. Unlike a phone call, emails remain forever, so keep real estate laws in mind, as the main risk of being too wordy over email is making sure everything is clear and nothing is subjective.

Recommendations for personality type three:

Dr. Whitbourne noted that extroversion is likely a chief characteristic of most Realtors, but notes that this personality type should be more authentic than overly enthusiastic (as this type is prone to do).

Extroverts, limit all emails to one exclamation mark only! Matching a consumer’s tone (rather than douse them with smiley faces) can be as effective as matching your demographic with your dress and car.

Recommendations for personality type four:

Realtors should never get grumpy or defensive over email and should always be agreeable but without being a pushover, Dr. Whitbourne said. Realtors have to balance being tough and kind.

In a down economy, consumers can be frustrated and even downright mean, but this personality type will remain agreeable but should avoid being agreeable for the sake of being agreeable and going along with any request simply because a consumer yells.

Recommendations for personality type five:

The neurotic email personality has the biggest challenge in real estate, especially now because sellers and agents are anxious, Dr. Whitbourne said. In email, this type must be reassuring and not let anxieties show in any way over email. Be truthful, stay confident, and project hope without lying.

This personality type often projects their anxieties when communicating, thus, should hold their digital tongue and not put those anxieties on to their clients.

The takeaway

The real estate industry is tough and housing is undoubtedly a disaster, so any improvement a Realtor can add to their arsenal of communication tools can mean repeat business and referrals when consumers are happy. Extroverts, keep the exclamation points to a minimum and over analytic agents, don’t project your anxieties on to your consumers.

Buyers and sellers are looking for their hand to be held but for an agent that is tough, so make sure your emails effectively communicate what you intend them to rather than thoughtlessly sending poorly edited, poorly informed emails into space.

Click here to learn more about University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. and her book “The Search for Fulfillment” (a groundbreaking 40 year study on life fulfillment, with a great deal of the book devoted to career development).

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Business Marketing

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

(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

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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