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Automation Tools for Real Estate

Automation Tools for Real Estate

Some Realtors® feel that automation is the death of personalization. That’s not true at all!

In fact, you can make your leads and customer feel even more attended to by automating a few things, while giving you more time for you to interact directly with the highest probability leads and give them the personal touch.

What Can Realtors® Automate?

If you’re not automating or using a Customer Relationship Tool (CRM), you’re probably doing something like this:

  • A lead emails you or fills out the form on your listing/website
  • You manually check your email (Hopefully, not too long after they reached out)
  • You follow up with them with another email, and try to schedule a time to get together, when you get a chance
  • You manually follow up when you can, and add them to your newsletter/e-blast list to possibly nurture the lead.

Or, your CRM tool can take over those responsibilities for you.

“Enter marketing automation. Most automation platforms allow you to set up workflows that dictate what email messages to send after certain actions are taken on your website,” wrote Inbound marketing expert, Matthew Bushery.

“You can even set up multiple emails following a download: one to thank the user, then three, four, or more emails over the span of months to provide them with your digest, newsletter, and/or promotional emails.”

Imagine CRM as a paid employee who follows up with leads right away, and manages your relationship with customers at every phase.

Should I Automate Social Media?

The jury is actually out on social media. There are those who have data they claim proves that using a third party automated social media tool (like Hootsuite) actually hurts at post’s performance and visibility.

“Using scheduling services such as Hootsuite, Viral Heat, or Sprout Social to schedule your Facebook posts will gain you only one thing: an even lower reach,” wrote social media blogger,  Ash Reed.

“That’s because Facebook recognizes, and penalizes these third-party apps, giving them less credibility than posts made directly on Facebook.  This is true for businesses that push their Twitter feed through Facebook as well.”

Keep in mind, Facebook has openly denied this. So it’s your call on what you want to believe.

What Automation Tools Are Good For Realtors®?

You will find a ton of tools out there, but Infusionsoft is one of my personal favorites. It’s a complete CRM tool that helps you automate your lead management, customer interactions, and marketing, all in one place.

“Those in tune with their audience (or those who would like to be) will love Infusionsoft,” wrote Matthew Toren, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com.

“Staying connected becomes second nature after importing and organizing contacts using tags and segmentation. Infusionsoft tracks and records leads’ behavior (like checking your website or archiving your emails), then scores each lead based on ease of conversion.”

In my own business, Infusionsoft improved my revenue 472% and my marketing ROI by 4000%. A good CRM tool like Infusionsoft can help you reclaim your valuable time, by handling the burden of doing everything yourself, while making MORE money than ever!

They can also remind you to follow up with clients and send out postcards, thank you notes, and other materials on time. If you don’t have print marketing ready to go, you should! Let us help get it ready for you.

Don’t Let Real Estate Leads Fall Through the Cracks

Real Estate Leads Falling

We don’t have to tell you that generating real estate leads, only to lose them, is a big problem. However, we can tell you how to fix it.

The good news is that you’re generating leads, so you’re clearly doing something right. That means your advertising (either online or print form) and your referral game is on point. We just need to tweak a few things to turn you into a lead-conversion machine.

To begin, here are 3 things you need to start doing ASAP.

Follow Up on Your Real Estate Leads Quickly

You have such a small window before a real estate lead will move onto “the other guys.” So don’t give them that chance. When you get a lead, jump on it!

“Studies have shown that when an inbound lead is contacted within five minutes of visiting a website, reps are 100 times more likely to connect with them. Another study shows that connection rates drop by 400% if a rep responds in 10 minutes instead of five,” wrote Hubstop’s Mike Renahan.

“Time is of the essence. Reach out to inbound leads ASAP … or risk losing them forever.”

This doesn’t mean you have to drop everything in the middle of a showing or open house to respond to every email, text or phone call. It means you need to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to do that for you – I personally use Infusionsoft. Speaking of which…

Automate Your Real Estate Leads Management

You may not be sold on the value of a CRM yet. Let us sell it to you in simple terms. A CRM lets you spend most of your time doing what generates money for you right now: Selling houses. You can spend most of your time attending to current and past clients, while the CRM nurtures your leads and build a relationship.

“By making your past clients—people who already trust you—a priority, agents can increase their chance of generating more business, wrote Realtor® and blogger,” Chrystal Caruthers.

“The odds of selling to a new prospect are always lower than the chances of getting a referral from an existing customer or having that existing customer call on you for another transaction.”

Of course, your new leads will still need your human touch. But a CRM gives immediate follow-up and lets you add the personal touch on your own terms.

Never Be Too Hard to Contact

Are you making your leads work too hard to get in touch with you? The main failing of any website that can’t convert leads is the user experience. If someone is on your site, your phone number should be accessible at all times, and your inbox should only be a click away from any listing or blog.

“Your leads aren’t going to do research to find your phone number,” wrote Real Estate web marketing expert, Rich Gaasenbeek.

“They’ll get frustrated, go to another website, and call the Realtor® down the block. As well, it’s a good idea to have a form on your site which lets people get in touch with you right there and then.”

And don’t forget about your printed materials! Make sure your phone number and email address are easy to find and read. Also, for goodness sake, make sure your information is still current. Having to scribble your new phone number or email address on a card when meeting someone is unprofessional and dares them to misread your handwriting. New contact info? New cards, right away. It’s that simple.

Take a look at your brochures and postcards and ask yourself if your website URL is easy enough to remember and enter without the card handy. Maybe consider a new shorter URL like QueenWestCondos.com instead of BryantandMcEntireRealty.com.

Very few Realtors® really know how to manage leads. The successful ones know how to follow up right away with a lead, properly leverage a CRM to do so, and make sure their digital and print advertising is sending leads to the right place. When you follow these steps, you won’t lose leads, and you’ll maximize your sales and income.

As you generate your leads and follow-up, you need to make sure your print materials are customized and effective. We’d love to help – visit our website to see our professional templates and personalize your materials today!

How Realtors® Can Create Systems for Success

Realtor Systems for Success

None of us have enough time or mental energy to think carefully through every decision we make. Some decisions are worth a lot of thought – like whether or not to invest $1000 into your marketing. Some decisions are not – like whether to wear the red shirt or the blue one. Knowing the difference is a key to success.

You may be thinking that I’m being silly – no one wastes time on what color their shirt should be. (Oh, but we do…) But I’m making a broader point. Having appropriate systems is essential for success. Systems that automate what can be automated and leave you time – and energy – for the places that your personal touch matters.

Here are some specific ways that Realtors® can create systems for success.

Have a Daily and Weekly Routine

It can’t be emphasized enough how important routine is when it comes to handling the mundane portions of your life. When you go to bed, when you get up, how you prepare your family in the morning, and much more can be made easier when you develop a routine.

When you have a routine, you know that certain things are going to happen without fail. You don’t have to think about it, and you can easily tell others that specific times are booked. Some of the things to include in your routine could be:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning. This routine alone will give you tons of energy and help your body be ready for the day’s challenges.
  • Preparing for the week on Sunday night, and preparing for each day the night before. Whether you lay out clothes, check for key appointments, or prepare your breakfast or lunch ahead, you’re positioning yourself for a much more successful day.
  • Realtors® seem to always be on the go, and yet we rarely get real exercise. Scheduling specific time in the calendar for exercise is a key part of success – it will keep you healthier, help you burn off stress, and improve your focus.
  • As Realtors®, we don’t get vacation days very often. But we can schedule specific downtime into our days and weeks. Put it on the calendar and protect it as strongly as a client appointment. You need to refresh in order to be your best.

Use Technology That Solves Specific Problems as Part of Your System

It’s easy to buy technology that promises to make you better, faster, and more efficient, but do you have a specific problem that you’re solving? Does it fit into your existing work system? If not, the money is better used elsewhere.

When you buy technology, be clear on what problem it’s solving and exactly how – and when – you’ll implement it. Add the technology to your existing systems. When you have a clear goal and plan, you’ll be much more likely to reap the rewards of your investment.

Too many Realtors® spend a lot of money on tools to become more effective, and then never implement the tools. Obviously, this won’t make anyone more successful. Technology is an amazing boon to the real estate industry, but only if it’s the right technology for your specific practice and way of doing business. Invest wisely, and then implement promptly!

Automate Lead Follow-up

Speaking of technology… the tools we have available that allow us to do personalized, automated follow-up are unbelievable. As you know, I personally use Infusionsoft and have seen my lead follow-up reach 100% and my business growth explode as a result. I invite you to give it a try yourself.  But even if you don’t use Infusionsoft, you need to create a system to automate lead follow-up.

Remember that follow-up can be automated without being impersonal. A referral from a friend shouldn’t be treated the same way as a lead from the internet, but both can be automated. It’s just a matter of personalizing your system in the right way, and using different email campaigns for different types of leads.

You can’t afford to have leads fall through – a fail-safe system will make sure that you stay in contact with everyone you meet, whether it was yesterday or three years ago. You never know when someone will be ready to buy or sell.

Systems are an amazing way to reduce the drain of certain types of decision making. You can create routines and habits that make your daily and weekly tasks easy to execute. You can adopt specific technologies that fit your work systems. And you can automate your lead follow-up to make sure you’re not leaving any money on the table. These systems will help set you up for tremendous success.

What systems do you use that contribute to your success? Share in the comments!

Time Management Tips for Busy Realtors®

Time Management for Realtors

If there’s one thing I know we all wish we had, it’s more time. Realtors® have a ton of demands on their time – farming, answering inquiries, marketing listings, keeping up on social media, running clients to showings, managing their budget, and keeping their important partnerships intact. No one I know thinks real estate is a 9 – 5 job. But they still find it worth the work.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make time management easier. Here are four. Take a look at these and see what you can implement next week – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!

Automate Your Lead Follow-up

If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you know I’m a huge advocate of marketing automation. That’s because before I implemented it, I was losing 70% of my leads because I simply didn’t have time to follow up with everyone. Now that I’ve automated my follow-up, I lose ZERO leads. The transformation has been amazing.

Automated follow-up sounds very impersonal, but it’s not. I use Infusionsoft, and couldn’t be more in love with its versatility. You can customize not only the emails – which can include the customer name and other personalization – but the actual flow of email itself. Based on what the reader clicks, you can trigger different email paths. It’s the ultimate in reacting to each customer individually.

I wrote a post that gives far more details about this a few months ago, called “How to Have a Full-Time Marketing Assistant for $199/month”. Take a look if you’re interested!

Be Choosy with Social Media

I hear so many Realtors® say “You have to be everywhere on social media,” and it makes me cringe. You DON’T have to be everywhere. You simply can’t!! Instead, be choosy. Select 1 – 3 social media platforms that make the most sense for your business demographic and neighborhood. Then, do the absolute best you can with these. It’s far better to have a great presence on a few sites than an inconsistent presence on many.

Like all marketing and relationship building, consistency is the key to success. No Realtor® or real estate office can be consistent on every social media platform in existence. Instead, choose 1 – 3 and focus on building those relationships. You’ll end up with far better marketing results in far less time.

Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant

In today’s world, you no longer need to have an on-site full time administrative assistant unless you want one. If you’re in a position where you could use the help, but can’t afford a full-time employee, consider hiring a virtual assistant, or VA. A VA is a contract employee that you simply pay an hourly fee. You are not responsible for office space, benefits, or anything else.

A general VA can do basic office work, filter email, answer the phone, mail outreach material, and more. This can make a world of difference in how much time you have available. If you need more specific real estate help, there are also real estate VAs available. These people are often former Realtors®, and can help with more specific real estate paperwork, deal with banks and inspectors, and much more. In either case, a VA is a great solution for an overworked Realtor®.

Systematize Your Prospect Outreach

A lot of us put a TON of thought into what we are going to send our prospects each month/week. We all know that we need a ton of “touches” before we’re going to make a sale, but often we panic because we don’t know what to say. But what if you created a system?

Decide on how many “touches” you want to do, and designate specific content for each one. Touch #1 could be a specific welcome email you write in advance. Touch #2 could be a newsletter. Touch #33 could be a Buyer FAQ. Whatever it is, decide and create it in advance. Then, when a new prospect comes in, they just go into the system. No more deciding what to send – just send the next item on the list. How much easier is that?!

There are tons of ways you can plan your day and organize your time. These four tips are actionable, solid approaches that will dramatically reduce the amount of time certain tasks require. If you put them into practice, you’ll be less harried and more able to focus on what you love – helping people buy and sell homes.

What do you do to focus your time? Share in the comments!

Creating BUZZ in Your Marketing!

I got to sit down with two real estate marketing superstars – Dobbin Buck of GetUWired Web Services and Greg Harrelson of The Harrelson Group Century 21. Greg has over 20 years of experience in real estate, is in the top 1% of all Realtors® nationwide, and his office sells over 1000 homes per year.

It was a great conversation – watch below!

 

Topics discussed:

  • Marketing Automation
  • Print Marketing
  • How to overcome a “scatter-shot” marketing approach
  • How to understand prospect engagement and build relationships
    • Key tactics and strategies by minute 15!
  • Marketing automation services specifically for Realtors®

For more information about the detailed, Realtor®-focused marketing solutions we discussed, visit the link below. You don’t want to miss it!

Click Here for More Information!

If you don’t have time to watch the full video, the link will give you details of the marketing solution. However, be sure to come back and watch later – you don’t want to miss the in-person tips and strategies shared!

What did you enjoy most about our talk? Share in the comments!

 

Five reasons Realtors® are flocking to Lead Pages

Realtors Flocking to Lead PagesCapturing leads online and getting them into your CRM can be a challenge. Often Realtors® are faced with a lot of manual work to make this happen. You have to have some kind of website that encourages people to sign up or schedule an appointment. Then you get a notification, perhaps in email. Then you have to type in all of the customer data into your follow-up program.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. LeadPages produces landing pages – webpages where people sign up for your list or a free giveaway – that are specifically optimized for the best response. They integrate with all major email service providers, and they have several templates designed specifically for real estate. This can save you a tremendous amount of time in lead generation, as well as ensuring that no lead gets overlooked.

Tons of Realtors® are using LeadPages, and it’s easy to see why. Here are five reasons Realtors® are flocking to LeadPages for their landing page needs.

Extremely Easy to Use

Realtors® are many things, but “technologist” is usually not on the list. It’s unusual for a real estate agent to know how to code a website, and even if they do, they certainly don’t have the time. LeadPages has easy-to-use templates that you customize with your own words and images, making them unique to your company. Promoting your offer and building your list of prospects becomes a job you do in minutes rather than hours.

Already Optimized for Best Response Results

Did you know that you are much more likely to get a sign-up if you have an attractive woman on the landing page, as opposed to an attractive man? And that which direction her face is looking impacts whether you get clicks? Neither did I. But LeadPages does. That’s why so many Realtors® love using them – they are already scientifically designed for great response rates.

No Realtor® has the time to do all of the market research that tells you how to put together a perfect landing page. That’s why it’s so great that LeadPages has done the work for you. It saves you time. And that time can be spent making connections and sales – the real reason you’re in this business.

Integrates With Almost Every Email Service Provider

Regardless of which email service provider you use, you need your leads to import in as easily as possible. If you have to receive a notification and manually input the lead, you could end up with delays of hours or days. This, of course, means the lead is no longer hot when you get to it. LeadPages solves the problem by automatically integrating with every major email service provider.

This gives you another gold nugget in lead generation – automation. Honestly, before Printerbees started using email automation, we were losing 70% of our leads just from not having the time to handle them while they were hot. We were constantly marketing to get new leads. Now, we capture 100% of our leads, and our ROI has increased 472%. Imagine that every new lead you received got a personalized email response without you having to lift a finger! LeadPages integrated with your email service provider can make it happen.

Built In Analytics

There’s no sense in putting money and energy into a free giveaway or other sign-up incentive if it’s not working. Do people actually visit the page? If they do, how often do they sign up? Without analytics, it’s impossible to know. However, Realtors® also don’t want to spend their days trying to understand obscure conversion statistics. You have houses to sell, for goodness sake!

With LeadPages’ built-in analytics, you don’t have to spend a lot of time to understand what’s working and what’s not. Intuitive graphs and conversion rates make it simple to know at a glance if your page is working or if you need to tweak your offer or your wording.

There’s So Much More Than Landing Pages

There are many other aspects of LeadPages that can help you generate leads in your business. Use LeadBoxes in your blog posts, or leverage text message marketing through Lead Digits. Email addresses – and even phone numbers – can be collected and seamlessly added to your database.

Did you know that the more steps you have in a process, the less likely the lead is to complete a sign-up? LeadLinks allow your prospects to opt-in to your email list with a single click, without entering further information. By removing barriers to enrollment, you can grow your lists of prospects and use your marketing to turn them into customers.

Realtors® who use LeadPages gain a lot of benefits in terms of saving time, money, and hassle. Online marketing doesn’t have to be about being a technology expert. Sign up for LeadPages today to grow your business while focusing your time and energy on what you love best – helping others buy and sell homes.

 

Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links, but I would never recommend something I don’t 100% believe in. I want you to have phenomenal success.

3 Essential Marketing Truths for Real Estate

Three Truths of Real Estate Marketing

When you get into this business, it can be very overwhelming. You can feel like you’ve got tons of tactics, rumors, and ideas about marketing flying around your head, but you don’t know what to grab on to. As a result, many new agents get paralyzed and do very little.

Even Realtors® who have been in this business a long time are susceptible to similar overload. The online marketplace has brought dozens of new platforms and “must do” marketing tactics. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and either ignore online marketing or do a little bit, and badly.

Obviously, neither of these scenarios is a path to success. Many times it helps to step back and remember the principles that transcend platforms, technology, or rumors. Here are the three essential marketing truths for real estate.

Inconsistent Follow-up DOESN’T WORK

This is absolutely true ALL of the time, whether you’re talking about door-knocking, email, or social media. If you’re not consistent in your marketing, you’re not going to win the sale. Prospects need to see your face over and over before they feel the sense of trust needed to work with you on the biggest investment they’ll probably ever make.

In the book Millionaire Real Estate Agent, the Gary Keller advocates 33 touches per year for prospects in your database. He writes that for every 12 people you touch 33 times, you can expect two sales. How many people have you had 33 contacts with in the last year?

Keeping your follow-up consistent can be time consuming. That’s why I advocate marketing automation so often. I personally use Infusionsoft, and I’ve seen revenues increase 472% without increasing staff headcount at all.

Personalized Follow-up Matters

When I tout the benefits of automation, don’t get confused and think I mean “depersonalized follow-up”. In fact, personalized follow-up is essential in any marketing, especially real estate.

Buyers and sellers want to know that they, specifically, are important to you. If you treat them like a number, they’ll treat you like a number – and demand more for less. But if you treat them like a person, providing full-service real estate assistance, they won’t worry about the numbers – they’ll be so impressed by your professionalism that they’ll be happy to pay your commission.

When using marketing automation, personalizing your responses is important. That means a lot more than just making sure the email includes their name. It also means that you build systems that send different responses based on how your prospects act: whether they click a link, download a report, or don’t do anything at all. If that sounds complex, consider a service like GetUSales, who has specific automation packages for real estate agents where all of your systems are built for you. It makes it simple to implement marketing automation straight out of the box.

Combining Multiple Platforms Brings the Best Results

Too many people get hung up on the newest marketing platform. Unfortunately, that means that their other marketing efforts get abandoned. It’s not worth it to chase the new, shiny social media outlet – they never end! Instead, focus on your best platforms and stay consistent.

The best mix of platforms include in-person, traditional mail, and online outreaches. Taking advantage of open-house visitors, participating in community events, and hosting holiday parties are great in-person ideas. Traditional postcards and Every Door Direct Mail are great ways to farm an area – when done consistently, of course. And online, there are a host of social media platforms. Focus on one or two, as your time allows.

Successful Realtors® know that it takes multiple types of outreach to bring good results in real estate marketing, but they don’t allow themselves to get bogged down by doing too much. Instead, they choose a simple mix of online and offline efforts that allow them to maximize their time and return on investment.

With all the excitement, rumors, new platforms, and new marketing ideas that come out each day, it can be helpful to remember the basics. The three essential marketing truths of real estate are: 1) Inconsistent follow-up doesn’t work. 2) Personalized follow-up matters, and 3) Combining multiple platforms brings the best results.

How are you going to put those truths to work for you today? Share in the comments!

How Not To Suck At Following-Up

Is following-up and knowing who to follow-up with one of the challenges you face in your business? Do you have a system for keeping track of names, phone numbers, email addresses and notes about your conversations? Do you have a “Customer Relationship Management Tool” (CRM tool) that helps you manage your business relationships so you know when it’s time to follow-up? If you don’t have follow-up systems in place, you’re likely struggling with being good at it and if you’re not doing a good job of following-up, you’re surely leaving a lot of business on the table…A LOT! It’s a very simple problem to fix, here’s how:

Automate…automate…automate! If you want to be great at following-up, you MUST automate every step of the follow-up process that can be automated. If it doesn’t REQUIRE human interaction or a very specific message, phone call or hand written note, you need to automate it. Anything you do repeatedly can be automated and automating your follow-up will explode your business…radically and quickly.

How to do it:
You need a way to create and manage a list of people who need following-up. The list needs to be in one central location, it needs to stay organized and I highly recommend a good CRM tool or an email marketing tool, like Constant Contact. Being great at follow-up is easy when you communicate via email and have the right tools to help you succeed. With smart phones being a new normal, email communication is an extremely effective means of keeping in touch. (This is coming from the owner of a real estate print marketing company, I might add)

The CRM tool we use is called Infusionsoft, it’s not the cheapest, but it IS absolutely the best. I spent years searching and researching CRM tools and upgrading to Infusionsoft from a more basic email marketing tool more than doubled our business immediately. It’s worth the time to schedule a demo to get the nitty gritty on what it can do for your business. Setting up a tool like this in your real estate business is like having additional staff, it’s so effective at handling follow-up.


Automating your follow-up can also be done with more basic email marketing tools like Constant Contact (offering a FREE 60-Day Trial), which also include basic list building tools and a central location for you to keep your leads that need to be followed-up on. These are great tools that are super affordable and will allow you to get your feet wet with email marketing and automating certain aspects of your follow-up. You can easily create registration forms, contact forms and it’s an easy way to get the people you meet in to your database. You can schedule email messages to be sent out at specified times that are just as personal as if you sat and wrote it at the time it was sent.

Emails for Small Business with Constant Contact

How to get started:
The first thing you need to do with any email marketing program is to get your contacts in to the database. All email marketing tools will allow you to upload your database as long as it is in a MS Excel or .csv format. There are very specific step-by-step instructions on how to upload your database and once you get it uploaded…you’re done! It will take you about 1o minutes if you have your database in the required format. If you don’t have a list in excel, start one immediately and work at it all day, every day until you have at least 100 people on your list you can follow-up and get in contact with.

Once you’ve uploaded your contacts:
You will need to create different email lists that your prospects and customers will be in depending on where they are in your sales cycle. You will create your email lists within the email marketing tool.
Time Saving Tip: To segment your list faster, you can create separate spreadsheets, so that when you upload your “buyers list”, you can assign everyone to the “buyers list” when you upload. You need to set your lists up in the email marketing tool prior to uploading.

You might want to create lists that include:

  • Buyers
  • Sellers
  • Past Clients
  • Referrals
  • Website leads
  • Facebook leads
  • Open House Follow-Up
  • In Escrow
  • Top Referral Partners
  • Etc

By segmenting your database and creating separate lists, you will be able to automate much more and be much more specific and personal with your automated follow-up. Buyers wouldn’t receive the same follow-up that sellers would receive and you definitely don’t want to be marketing to people who are “in escrow”, so they need a separate list too!

This is the most important step in getting started with automating your follow-up and getting some purpose and organization around your follow-up. Once you get your contacts uploaded and start keeping them in one tidy place so you can follow-up, your business will truly explode. Now all you have to do is set-up the actual following-up process which is also very easy and will save you a ton of time once it’s complete. Make sure you subscribe to Real Estate Marketing Magazine, so you don’t miss part 2 of “How Not To Suck At Following-Up”. Get those contacts organized and uploaded so you’re ready for step 2.