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Old School Marketing

This free old school trick improves referrals, earns you repeat clients

There’s a free old school way to connect with people that will improve your referrals and keep current customers coming back.

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A little gratitude goes a long way.

As with all businesses, in real estate, the best customers are the ones you already have. You instinctively know that you save tons of time, money, and effort, by retaining and satisfying current customers, rather than constantly seeking new ones. In the real estate trade, a happy customer is more likely to refer you, and referrals bring in valuable new customers.

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But how do you keep track of existing customers, and keep your agency fresh in their minds, long after the sales have been completed?

There’s a simple, old school method for this

I’d like to propose a simple way to stay in touch with customers, and let them know you value their business: a thank-you note campaign.

When I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t let me play with any of the Christmas toys sent by my aunts and uncles until I sat down and crafted a handwritten thank you note to each and every family member who sent a gift. I’m sure I protested at the time, eager to play with my new swag, but this important childhood lesson taught me the importance of expressing gratitude. It was hard to take the gifts for granted when I had to sit down and appreciate the thought, effort, and money that my relatives put into making my Christmas special.

How to get started, and what to say

Thanking all of the people who make your business possible may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by creating a list of recipients (clients, vendors, other agents, title folks, lawyers, and so forth), get some classy stationary together, and try writing and mailing just one handwritten note per day. Once you get used to it, you should be able to squeeze in a thank you note during dull moments or on your commute to work.

Try to avoid using generic compliments (“thanks, you’re the best!”) and go for specific feedback. Take a few minutes to contemplate what impresses you about the recipient, or what they have done to improve your life. Think about what makes the recipient unique, and cite examples from interactions you’ve had.

One thing you should NOT do

Keep your thank you notes separate from other offers or solicitations. Personal thank you notes will let recipients know that you value them as people – not just as a referral source or dollar sign. Of course, this will have the pleasant side effect of making you look charming and thoughtful, all of which will increase your likelihood of repeat customers and referrals.

Gratitude also helps us keep a positive perspective, even when things are stressful. Think of them as mini meditations that will remind you of your many blessings, while simultaneously improving your business.

#StealThisIdea

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

Old School Marketing

This simple questioning technique will help you convert more sales

Will you read this article? According to the latest research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be, “yes.”

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Will you read this article? According to the latest research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be, “yes.”

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that asking someone a question about a behavior made much more of an impact than telling someone what to do.

Just asking someone a question about a behavior increases the likelihood that they’ll do it.

It’s called the question-behavior effect. According to lead researcher, Eric Spangenberg, the question-behavior effect is most notable when the question encourages behaviors that are already socially celebrated. For example, will you try to eat healthy in 2016? Will you exercise today?

Exactly why questions are more effective than statements remains unknown, but it probably has to do with the mindset of the answerer. If someone tells you, “you should volunteer for this charity” you are more likely to bristle at being told what to do, rejecting the authority and advice of an outside opinion.

But when asked, “will you make a donation?” even if you don’t answer right away, you become more open-minded to the possibility.

Your options become expansive, rather than set, which makes you feel empowered and self-confident that you can make a positive decision for yourself.

The study also found that the effect was strongest when questions were administered through a computer or on paper, rather than orally, and when the question called for a direct “yes” or “no” answer. Perhaps having to type out or write down an answer made people feel more accountable to following through with the behavior.

Could you use the question-behavior effect to improve your business? (You see what I did there?) Asking an employee, “will we see your report in time for the deadline?” may just increase the chances that you will. And perhaps asking if your customer wants to purchase your product will put them in an open-minded state to say yes.

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Old School Marketing

MailSnail helps you quickly design, send, and manage direct mailers

MailSnail is a new startup aimed at simplifying your direct mail campaigns and allowing a new level of customization; worth checking out.

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Although most companies have abandoned direct mail for more cost-effective email, you shouldn’t discount this valuable tool (most Realtors don’t). The majority of the people that get emails don’t actually open them or spam filters snag your email before it ever reaches the intended inbox.

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While direct mail is more expensive than email, it still works. Direct mail allows you to reach high level customers and prospects that don’t open emails. It also helps reinforce your email message and reminds your customers of the offer you may have emailed them. Plus, with fewer people using direct mail, you’re better able to stand out among your competition.

Direct mail simplified

However, direct mail is complicated. Many factors contribute to its success or failure, which makes it difficult to do effectively in-house. This is where new company MailSnail comes in. The startup takes the hassle out of direct mail. You don’t have to worry about finding a designer, a print-house, a mail-house, or even customers. MailSnail takes care of it all for you from their easy to edit design templates, to printing and delivery of your custom mailer.

MailSnail lets you craft your mailers to your specific needs. You can choose one of their templates and add content to create a custom mailer that fits you. You can also upload your own design.

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Schedule ahead of time, customize fully

MailSnail also lets you schedule your mailers ahead of time, so you can send your direct mail when you need. Other features the company provides is the ability to segment your customers for easy management and send geographically targeted mailers to new potential customers.

The startup also touts their ability to send a mailer to any size audience. Send your customized mailers to thousands of addresses or only a handful – it’s completely up to you.

MailSnail gives you the power of direct mail without the hassle. While the startup hasn’t officially launched, if you’re interested in trying the service, you can sign up on their site to get beta access.

#MailSnail

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Old School Marketing

There’s still one reason people look at newspaper ads; is your brokerage meeting their needs or ignoring them?

Most think the printed newspaper is on its way into extinction, but many wallet-holders are still flocking to newspapers, but why?

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We’re living in the digital age, so more likely than not, your business is relying heavily on internet marketing, leaving behind those old newspaper advertisements.

But wait, not so fast. According to the latest marketing research, there may still be some value to providing discounts and coupons via local newspapers. An August 2015 study by CreditCards.com found that newspapers are still the most popular source for discounts and coupons amongst price-conscious consumers.

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They found that 37.7 percent of female respondents, and 30.1 percent of male respondents cited newspapers as their go-to for finding discounts and coupons, compared to the internet, snail mail, email, or direct offers from banks and credit cards.

Breaking the stats down by age

However, the picture becomes a little more complicated when you break down the statistics by age. The CreditCards.com study revealed that consumers ages 18 to 49 are mostly getting their discounts from the internet. Youngsters under age 34 are also more responsive to coupons in their mailboxes than to newspaper coupons.

For all respondents over age 49, on the other hand, newspapers were their first source for coupons, leveling out the average such that newspapers still rank number one when all age categories are combined.

A similar August 2014 study by Valassis, a direct mail marketing service, found less variation across age groups, with millennials, gen Xers, and baby boomers all stating that they used paper coupons far more than digital ones.

Gender and income influences

Shoppers with higher incomes don’t seem to worry much about finding coupons and discounts, whereas lower income shoppers rely on them heavily.

Nonetheless, the CreditCards.com study found that 30.6 percent of female internet users use coupons when shopping for their day to day amenities. That’s nearly twice as much as men, of whom only 16.8 percent use coupons regularly.

An overlooked opportunity?

In short, it appears that supplying discount offers and coupons in your local paper may not be such a bad idea, especially if your customer base is largely female, and over the age of 50.

While advertising a multi-million dollar listing may not yield results, inserting a coupon for a free analysis or an offering to waive $500 off of closing costs, could be a tool your competitors are ignoring. Time to open up a newspaper to see if there’s opportunity for your brand.

#Newspapers

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