What’s the best channel to market your brand for referrals?
Over 60% of all agent business is generated from referrals and repeat clients. Keeping that number in mind, where do you think you should spend 60% of your marketing budget, time, and energy? In this article I want to share with you the most profitable referral marketing strategy for Realtors.
Referral marketing is simple. Often times, Realtors overthink of all the different ways they can be marketing their business when over 60% of their clients are right in front of them.
Regardless of what your goals are with this any marketing campaign, there are two rules you must always follow in marketing if you don’t want to throw your money out the window.
- Your marketing must be targeted to an audience most likely to need or use your services.
- Your content must be relevant and meet it’s goal.
Do you get referrals from strangers?
Do you expect some random dude who liked your Facebook page to just start sending you referrals out of no where?
Do you expect your florist to seek you out so they can send you referrals?
Marketing your database with direct mail is the most profitable referral marketing strategy for Realtors. Let me tell you why.
The first question is very simple to answer. You get referrals and repeat clients from your past customers, clients, friends, family, or anybody else who knows of you, NOT STRANGERS.
So what does that tell you?
It tells you who you should to be marketing to. Real estate is one of the few businesses you can start in with a built in audience. Instead of spending tons of money on super duper ninja magical opt in websites, expensive internet lead programs, and other “noise”, why don’t you start by marketing the people you know first.
IF YOU DONT KNOW WHY PEOPLE REFER REALTORS YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THIS ARTICLE FIRST
OR LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST
Setting up a referral marketing system is all about keeping in touch with past clients, prospects who aren’t ready yet, and your entire network so they remember what you do for a living. It’s about keeping your brand in front of them with CONSISTENCY so you are not forgotten about.
When you are not “forgotten” you lose. When you are known as the go to real estate pro amongst your network, you win. It’s that simple.
People want to use someone they know, trust, and like when buying or selling real estate. However they can only use you when they remember what you do for a living!
Market people that you have a relationship ONLY…
I like to organize my database in a series of lists. They are groups of people I market to based on my relationship level with them. Just because I met you once doesn’t mean I’m going to market you. Once I feel I know you well enough, where I’d expect you to use me for your buying or selling needs, you bet your ass I am going to market you.
You cannot set up a direct mail referral marketing system if you don’t have a direct mail list so let’s start there. The very first thing you need to do to set up a direct mail referral marketing system is to build the list.
Build A Direct Mail List First
A concept so many agents fail to understand is that you need to create your direct mail “list” with qualified relationships. You need people you personally know and like and they must feel the same way about you. Part of having an effective referral marketing strategy is that you need to set up multiple ways to distribute your content.
Setting up your direct mail referral marketing system is just one channel you can set up a referral marketing system with.
Essentially referral marketing your database is much like farming a neighborhood. We are not farming a strange community, but we are farming your relationships. The relationship you have intact with your direct mail list is very important because it’s all about the quality of your relationship. It’s not about buying a list of names and numbers to market to.
If you do that, I am telling you right now, this is not going to work for you. Your direct mail list should be comprised of your most VALUABLE relationships.
We are marketing to our relationships, not farming strangers. Remember what needs to take place. These relationships have to like you to refer you. If they don’t know you, how can they like you?
Determining if you have a relationship worth marketing to comes down to a very simple test. If you were at the grocery store and came across someone you know, would you stop and say hi to this person with a smile? If that’s the type of relationship you have with them, then they definitely need to go on your direct mail list.
If you were at the same grocery store and saw someone you recognized, but you turned around and walked the other way, then you most likely do not want that person on your direct mail list. It’s not about the quantity, it’s all about the quality. You do not need thousands of people on your direct mail database but maybe a 50-100 would be a great start!
I like to call this mathematical marketing because it is. The image below spells it all out for you. Keep your name in front of people enough with consistency and it’s impossible not to get referrals or direct business.
I know what you are thinking. How am I going to get all of these peoples’ direct mailing addresses? It’s all about time management to build this database. If you are married, how did you send your wedding invites out? Crazy how that happens huh, so no excuses.
The first place is to start at your cell phone. How many contacts are in there? If you have their number they are most likely someone you should be marketing to. If you have their number and don’t really know them or like them then you should certainly not be marketing to them. It’s really that simple. Do not make it anymore complicated than this.
Start at the beginning of the alphabet and work your way through the end. Contact them and tell them you are inviting them to a party (I have client parties 1-2 times a year) and want to send them an invitation. You don’t have to tell them that you are setting up your referral marketing system and want to farm them for the rest of their lives.
You will be amazed that in the process you may pick up some direct business. The
script conversation is very easy:
You: “Hey Billy how you doing it’s been a while”
Billy: “What’s up Mike yea its been sometime”
You: “What have you been up to? I was scrolling through my numbers and I came across yours and told myself I have to call you and just wanted to say hi. What you doing now?”
Billy: “I’m doing…..(will explain his job and once he does this is almost always the response you will get) What are you doing now?”
You: “Oh, lol, I’ve been doing real estate for some time now love it. Actually I’m having a party (holiday or client referral) and I was going to send you an invite to it. I invite everyone I know since it’s just good to see everyone once in a while. Hopefully you can make it. What’s your mailing address? Spread the word to (name some mutual friends) if you can. It will be a good time.”
Billy: “It is …….”
You: “Well let me know if there’s anyway I can help you out with work or even personal. It was good talking to you and I hope to see you at the party!”
That’s really how simple it is.
Why Direct Mail?
It’s going to have the highest ROI of any referral marketing strategy you implement. Direct mail is not dead, it’s alive and well. As much of the world has gone digital, direct mail is still a tangible piece of marketing. This means that it’s recipient has to touch, feel, and see it. Don’t underestimate physical interaction. I know nowadays everyone wants to hide behind a computer, including myself, but good old communication is powerful simply because we lack it and it sticks out.
Think about it…
Do you check your mail? Of course you do, who doesn’t? This means your deliverability rate is 100% unless you have the wrong address. You cannot say that about social media or email referral marketing efforts.
How much mail do you get today as opposed to 10 years ago? Your mailbox is not cluttered like your email inbox, which allows you stand out even more.
If your mail gets thrown in the trash right away, you must still acknowledge it’s receipt. Every person who receives it must take mental recognition it’s from you and that’s why it’s so powerful.
The only goal for your referral marketing strategy should be to stay on top of mind, nurture your relationship, and encourage referrals. When you are known as the go to real estate pro, you will begin ATTRACTING BUSINESS.
Quite often, agents message me asking me about what they should send their database? Does it have to be about real estate?
HELL NO, as a matter of fact it shouldn’t. Quit trying to sell someone a house every time you are marketing your brand. As long as your database likes and respects you, you’ll get their referrals and repeat business when the opportunity comes. Just don’t let them forget about you!
Sell Without Selling Through Direct Mail
The most important part of referral marketing with direct mail is that it needs to market your services without coming off as a sleazy salesman. The mailing piece only needs to remind your audience what it is you do for a living without sounding like a a blood sucking commission sales person.
The key here is to not sell your services, but to stay on top of mind while at the same time quietly encouraging referrals. The back of my postcards always asks for referrals. We call this referral programming. It also thanks the recipient of sending referrals ahead of time. Your company logo, headshot, title and information will all go on there, which is where you infer you are an agent. This is why you don’t need to sell them on real estate, it will be known. Just stay in touch with cool stuff and be you!
Heres’ my annual referral marketing strategy using direct mail that I’ve been doing for the last decade.
Sports Refrigerator Magnets 2 x’s a year
There are two times throughout the course of the year that I recommend sending out magnets. Yes, these are old school, but they work! Baseball starts back up in the Spring and football season in the Fall. I personally use baseball and football magnets with my local professional teams to send out at these times. The reason I like these two seasons is that they are about 6 months apart, which means I’m almost always on my database’s fridge.
Magnets serve as a constant reminder and many people keep them. People spend more time in the kitchen than any other place and the fundamental concept behind referral marketing is being remembered and staying on top of mind. Referral marketing is not about creating leads, it’s about creating presence.
12 Monthly Postcards
I send one postcard a month that features fun facts about real estate. Nothing on my cards says anything about buying or selling a house Instead I cite interesting world record facts about real estate. I want to send my database content they will actually read like fun facts. One example is a postcard I send about the world’s most expensive house.
These are short, sweet, cute, and fun to read. Remember all I want it to do is keep me on top of mind. This is the difference between marketing and advertising.
9 Holiday Cards Touches
I also send out holiday-based postcards. They follow a very similar format. Each postcard cites a fun fact revolving around that holiday. These holidays were picked because most of them tend to be social gathering types where the recipients have the highest likelihood of having many conversations. We know that when there are more conversations, it’s more likely that a referral can be born since real estate is a highly talked about subject.
If it’s not a social gathering kind of holiday, it’s a holiday nobody would expect receiving mail for from you.
I send my postcards out on the following holidays.
- Groundhogs Day
- Valentines Day
- Patty’s Day
- April Fools Day
- 4th of July
- Labor Day
- Happy Holidays
That’s and additional 9 touches a year. These cards are very simple and cute. They allow me to stand out and do not sell at all. The purpose is to wish a happy holiday in a cute way and to not be forgotten about when a referral situation comes about.
My Direct Mail Referral Marketing Strategy Recap
- 12 monthly postcards
- 9 Holiday Postcards
- 2 Magnet/Repositioning Letters
The entire campaign consists of 23 total touches through direct mail per year completely automated. My database doesn’t forget about me and if they do, its because I failed to stay in touch with them in some other way.
Do you think your audience will forget what you do for a living after you tell the, non-chalantly 23 times a year?
Have you seen Attracktor yet? Attracktor automates direct mail referral marketing using one of our campaigns. We make referral marketing for Realtors simple. Ready to ATTRACT?