Is direct mail a part of your integrated marketing strategy? If so, do you maintain your own mailing lists and mail your direct mail pieces yourself thinking you’re saving your company big money?
Well, think again.
According to the USPS, over 40 million Americans change their addresses annually, which makes maintaining a high-quality mailing list a near impossibility. In fact, the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) reports that Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail costs the United States Postal Service approximately $2 billion each year.
Too many small businesses shy away from data management practices, usually because they don’t think they’re big enough and/or they don’t know how to get started. The truth is, small companies can benefit greatly from keeping their customer data clean. Implementing some simple controls¾like checking addresses against the National Change of Address database (NCOA) and making sure there are no errors in content or address formatting¾can ensure ongoing data quality.
If these activities sound daunting to you, consider outsourcing this task to a mailing services provider to maintain your lists. Oftentimes, mailing services can actually save you more money than if you tried to do it all yourself. Not only can a mailing provider ensure the data you are working with is as clean as possible, they can save you money by improving deliverability and maximizing postal discounts to help you mail at the lowest possible rates with the fewest possible UAA mail pieces. This not only saves you money, it protects the environment by reducing paper waste.
So the next time you’re getting ready for a big mailing, give outsourcing a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised.
It’s not enough to just get email leads: there must be follow-up.
When prospects submit an online form for listing information, 40% expect an instant response, and 70% expect a response within 30 minutes. But only 20% of agents respond within an hour, and some do not respond at all, according to the National Association of Realtors® Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers.
That’s throwing money in the trash.
The latest upgrade to ConnectionSM for Co-Brokerage provides the most efficient online lead solution on the market. Now, ConnectionSM for Co-Brokerage offers these enhancements:
More importantly, ConnectionSM for Co-Brokerage helps agents connect to consumers. Increased engagement means higher conversion rates.
More than 43% of consumers found their homes online—up from 11 percent—according to N.A.R.
Internet leads are an irreversible trend the brokerage community must capture—or watch their business falter.
Today’s real estate agent has to work smarter, not harder. The best way to gain the highest return on time and money is to prospect more effectively— to prospect with verified email leads for faster results.
With ConnectionSM for Co-Brokerage, there are no cold calls. Each conversation is impactful and meaningful, because agents are armed with intelligence.
Successful agents know if their pipeline isn’t filled with potential buyers and sellers, they are quickly out of business. Quality leads mean everything.
It’s easy to get inundated with the day-to-day transactional business of selling real estate. There are inspections to schedule, showings to get feedback on, and appraisal issues to contend with. All of that must be juggled with cultivating new business.
Quality online lead referrals must be a spoke in your prospecting wheel.
Every agent needs multiple streams of business—referrals from past clients, family members and friends, as well as strangers actively searching for a new home or considering selling the house they own.
Buyers and sellers start their search online. If you’re not capturing those potential clients when they are without representation and searching for advice, you are not optimizing all of your resources.
At least 20% of home buyers said they found their agent on realtor.com®—compared to 13% and 12% on the two top competitor sites, respectively, according to the February Consumer Brand Tracking Study by Westerberg Consulting.
ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage Works for You
Unclaimed buyers searching active listings on realtor.com® are funneled to agents signed-up for ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage.
Because realtor.com® listings are updated every 15 minutes from more than 800 MLS systems across the country, buyers are searching current inventory. There are sites that sell leads from closed or expired listings; that does you a disservice.
“We know you have choices," says Steve Pacinelli, Vice President of Industry Events for Move, Inc., operator of realtor.com®. "Various companies offer leads. I say evaluate them on quality, time invested and ROI. Once you put that time in, you can’t get it back.”
Kimberly Grogan, a REALTOR® from Arlington, TX, won Rookie of the Year in 2012 for the national Keller Williams franchise. She credits ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage for her success as a new agent.
“There’s always that moment when you’re hesitant to call your sphere,” says Grogan.
She circumvented the fear by signing up for leads.
“When I first started, I was spending about $1,000 per month on leads,” she adds. “I was making about $8,000 a month off of those leads.”
She said she closed two deals a month as a direct result of ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage.
Realtor.com® delivers better leads, according to a June study by PAA research, an independent research firm. The study shows agents are 30% more likely to convert a realtor.com® lead versus the competition.
But it’s not just about getting the lead. Agents must also follow up on those leads quickly, as Grogan did.
“The moment a lead came in, I responded,” she says.
ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage Works Fast
For consumers thirsting for timely information, fast responses are the key to converting them into clients. A Harvard Business Review study noted 70% of buyers expect a response to an online inquiry within 30 minutes. Yet, it takes REALTORS® two hours to respond, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
That disconnect has been addressed in the latest update to ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage.
Now, the system will automatically send a text or email response you can customize, to the client, within 15 minutes.
“It’s your words,” says Pacinelli. “Remember, the best agent is the available agent.”
ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage Just ... Works
Grogan sold $6.3 million in residential real estate in her first year using ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage. Now three years into the business, she has a team, The Grogan Group, with a buyer’s agent to handle online leads.
With ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage, leads come with an actual phone number and email address. It will even import useful demographic information about the lead such as household income, marital status, place of employment and job title, when available. It also shows the last three houses the prospect looked at online as well as the ones saved as their favorites.
The point is to move the conversation along. The first conversation is no longer an expedition into their wants and price range; it’s a revelation of how knowledgeable you are.
“We make you smarter," Pacinelli adds. "You can introduce them to new homes because you already know what they are looking for."
Many people live in smart homes, drive smart cars and use smart phones. REALTORS® should be no different, especially with all the tech tools at their disposal nowadays.
While some brokers still use paper documents, fax machines and push button lock boxes, mobile and connected agents can manage deals from their car using their iPad or other tech tools in their arsenal.
If you’re looking for an entry point into the connected world, here are the Top 10 tech tools to help you become more productive, efficient, and current.
1. Yesware. This is an email tracking add-on. It alerts you when the emails you sent have been opened. The mobile version of the software provides push notifications alerting you when an email you sent was opened. Yesware works with Gmail, but it’s also compatible with Top Producer® CRM, so you can track emails to groups.
2. Market Snapshot®. Create “Just Sold” and “New Listing” alerts for current, future, and past clients with this tool that works within Top Producer® CRM. Designed for mobile, Market Snapshot® sends agent-branded email alerts to deliver timely and accurate information, with your name and logo prominently featured.
3. HelloSign. This app targets those who want to go paperless. It lets your clients sign documents electronically. You can then send them to the co-op agent without ever printing, scanning or faxing a piece of paper. It works seamlessly with Gmail and Google docs. There’s even an option to create a form you can host on your website or send via email.
4. Vidcaboodle. Creates a video channel for your website from your phone. All videos can be displayed in one place fully integrated into your website. Video drives traffic to your site, not to YouTube.
5. EasilyDo. This is your personal assistant without the monthly expense. This free app accesses your digital life, finds the most important stuff and surfaces it for you. It gives you a daily snapshot of important reminders: flight information, order confirmations, and appointments. It even scans your social media presence to let you know when past clients have a job change, get married, or have a life event you can use to reconnect with them.
6. Ginger. Never send another email loaded with misspellings or misused auto-corrections. Ginger is an app following you online while you type and automatically spell checks everything. It makes you look smarter, because your text messages and emails will be corrected for grammar, synonyms, definitions, re-phrasings, and punctuation.
7. Mailboxapp.com. Designed for Gmail and iCloud accounts, the Mailbox app redesigns your mobile inbox to make email easier to use on the go. Swipe to hide a message from view, snooze messages you will get to later, and organize all of your confirmations to list. Mailbox learns from your swipes and organizes your inbox—leaving you with more time to prospect.
8. Sitegeist. For those pesky questions you can’t answer due to Fair Housing laws, direct your clients to Sitegeist. They can discover local demographics, school data and bevy of other interesting tidbits. Referring your client to an app shows you’re not just an authority on local real estate activity—but you’re plugged into resources they can depend on for useful information, as well.
9. MileIQ. Make tax time easy. This app knows tracks your auto mileage automatically. It separates business trips from personal trips—all you need to do is just scroll left or right to file your trip under the appropriate heading. At the end of the year, print your custom mileage expense report and hand it to your accountant—your mileage is done.
10. Rapportive. This Gmail extension allows agents to quickly identify who is emailing them. With Rapportive, every email address is linked to the sender’s social media accounts. Instantly, you see what city they’re in, their job title, employer and their Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts. Rapportive allows agents to see who is emailing them and have a face to look for when a client requests a showing.
Email marketing continues to be one of today’s most economical and cost-effective marketing tactics. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that the ROI on email marketing remains far above that of search or other marketing channels.
But before readers dive into any email message, they must deem it time-worthy, typically with a cursory (and highly critical) glance at the email subject line.
The subject line has one job and one job only: to get your email opened. If it fails, your cleverly crafted content is off to the glue factory. If it works, you’re in the run for the roses, perhaps on the fast track to higher open rates, more sales and increased retention.
Use these tips get out of the gate quickly and increase your odds of finishing strong:
Regardless of campaign size or complexity, email subject lines have the same job: to convince readers they need the information contained therein. Use the tips above (and others posted here) to make your emails the favorite to win customer attention, not the long shot.
TC On Point - Transaction Coordinator
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why, yes, I shower daily, use deodorant, etc.”
Good for you. (And good for those around you!)
What we’re actually referring to here is list hygiene. List hygiene is a data management practice that ensures your list is complete, verified and free of duplicates and undeliverable information.
Consider the facts: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people in the U.S. move an average of 12 times in their lifetime. And, the U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that people change jobs every 2 1/3 years. That’s a lot of address and email changes to keep track of!
Email list hygiene: When it comes to email, you should strive to identify and remove bad addresses, update changed email addresses and add new email addresses with every eBlast you send. Reputation aside, poor list hygiene leads to increased open and click-through rates. If you use a third-party email provider, removing bad addresses can reduce your associated CPM charges.
Snail mail list hygiene: When it comes to USPS mailings, if you haven’t updated your mailing list lately, a higher percentage of your direct mail will likely be undeliverable or reach the wrong recipient. With rising postal costs and shrinking budgets, cleaning up and maintaining your mailing lists just makes good business sense.
Whether you use snail mail, email or both, without proper list hygiene, you risk damaging your sender reputation, getting your emails blocked by Internet service providers, and wasting a lot of money in undeliverables. You make a large investment in your direct marketing programs. To get the best return possible, always practice good hygiene.