Writing to real estate prospects. How much is enough – or too much?

This question comes to me with regularity, and while I’d love to answer with a hard and fast rule, there isn’t one.
There’s one marketer who emails me at least once a day – sometimes 2 or 3 times. I think that’s too much!
On the other hand, there’s at least one who writes daily and it’s fine, because what they send is interesting and often useful.
How often is “just right” depends upon your target audience.
If you’re writing to your geographic area or a niche market such as absentee owners, every 3 or 4 weeks is probably fine – although you should send a “just listed,” “under contract,” and “just sold” card every time you have such news.When should you be in their mailbox?
If you’re sending one of my “I have a buyer” sets and your buyer is getting anxious, it might be good to write every couple of days.
Past clients and those in your sphere of influence should hear from you monthly. If you can’t manage that, at least write them quarterly at a bare minimum.
If you’re writing to people who have received a notice of default and need to get busy making a decision, then you need to contact them more often. I’d say every 2 to 4 days for the first two weeks, then switch to every 5 or 6 days.
What if you’re courting a FSBO or the owner of an expired listing? My advice would be to contact them twice a week for 2 or 3 weeks, then switch to once a week.
How about buyers? If they opted in on your website to get information, they may be getting ready to find a home. First, contact them immediately – new studies show that calling within 5 minutes yields the best results. If you can’t do that because you’re busy with other clients, call just as soon as possible.
After that, write them or call them twice a week.
So the answer is: Think about the people and their situation. Are they on the verge of choosing an agent, or do you simply need to make sure they don’t forget about you? The more urgent their need, the more often you should be in touch.
Remember: “Contact” doesn’t necessarily mean “send a letter.”
If you have a phone number, give them a call once in a while. If they’re in your territory, stop in now and then. If you have both an email and a postal address for them, switch back and forth between methods of contact.
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do Your Marketing Pieces Tell this “Lazy Lie?”

You can’t be all things to all people.

You know it and your clients know it, so if your marketing claims you can, what does Choose good marketing over badit say about you?

What the heck am I talking about?

I’m talking about the mistake I see both online and in print ads: The habit of writing “Call on me for all your real estate needs.”

Both you and your prospects know that you cannot fulfill everyone’s real estate “needs” any more than I could provide good copy for every business in the universe. Some areas of real estate require specialized knowledge, as do many areas of marketing.

Since it’s unlikely that any one agent will possess specialized knowledge in every area of real estate, to say that you can fulfill all of anyone’s “needs” is simply a “lazy lie.”

Telling this lie is a way to avoid taking the time to reveal what you actually do.

So don’t do it. Instead, get specific. Focus in on the segment of real estate that you do know, and market yourself in that segment. You can do it even if you haven’t developed a specific niche. (Which you should do.)

For instance: If you sell homes, but not specific homes, you could say “Your guide to homes in …” and name your City or general territory.

At least then you wouldn’t be claiming to handle commercial development properties, multi-family properties, farmland, leasing, or any other specialty for which you don’t have expertise.

Think about what you offer, then take the time to write ad copy promoting your true services.

Don’t tell a lazy lie by claiming to be able to handle all of anyone’s real estate “needs.”

<em>Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</em>

Farming Your Geographic Territory

Farming is just a bit different from prospecting.

When you prospect, you’re searching for those gems that you can cash in on right now. In other words, someone who wants to list and sell today – not next year.

When you farm, you do what farmers do. You plant the seeds, then nurture them while your “crop” grows to maturity.

The letters you write, the calls you make, the advice you give – all are the sunshine, water, and fertilizer that make your crops grow. And then, year after year, as you establish yourself as your territory’s most knowledgeable, trusted agent, more of those homes will become your listings.

So get the Geographic Prospecting Letters and use them… but don’t stop there.

(Get the letters here: Buy Now)

Instead, make yourself visible…

  • Stop by now and then to say hello and offer to answer questions.
  • Attend their yard sales.
  • Cheer for their team at sports events at their schools.
  • Have coffee at the neighborhood shop.
  • Attend HOA and other community meetings.
  • When you get a listing, send a just listed card, then invite the neighbors to the open house.
  • When you have a closing, send them a card.

In other words, make yourself a recognized name and face in the community.

Why Use Drip Marketing in Real Estate Prospecting?

Why use drip marketing for real estate prospecting? A steady drip reaches more prospects
Because it works.

Real estate agents who hope to reach prospects by mailing just one letter are in for a disappointment. While they might get a 1% or 1/2 of 1% response to their efforts, it’s unlikely that they’ll reach enough listing prospects to pay for the time, effort, and money they invested in the campaign.

People who test such things say that it takes between 5 and 12 contacts before a “cold” prospect will respond to a marketing message. The more messages, the higher the response rate.

Why is this so? Why don’t people with an interest in buying or selling real estate respond the first time you write them?

For a few reasons.

First, your single real estate marketing message may arrive on a day when they won’t even look at it. They might be extremely busy, they might be ill, there might be a family crisis going on, they might simply not be in the mood, or they might even be away from home.

Your second, third, or fourth message might be the one that catches their attention.

Second, when you send just one message, they don’t know who you are. Why should they trust a stranger?

When you keep mailing, they’ll begin to recognize you. And if you send solid, useful information, they’ll begin to see that you know your business. They’ll also see that you’re willing to share your expertise, even with people who have not paid you to do so.

Third, drip marketing allows you to send your information in small bites – making it easy and quick to read. Everyone seems to be in a hurry today, so if you invest all your efforts into one multi-page mailing, it’s likely that few will take the time to read it.

Drip marketing accomplishes four things:

  • It increases your chances of having your message read.
  • It presents your message in small bites – making it easy to read and understand.
  • It builds name recognition.
  • When you send interesting, informative, and useful information, it builds trust.

Just as dripping water can wear away rock – the steady drip of useful information from you can wear away resistance to your real estate marketing message.

“Touches” can be more than just letters or just emails…

When experts speak of touches, they encompass all the ways you might reach out to a prospect. If you’re mailing letters, you can send a postcard now and then. And depending upon local laws and restrictions, you can also stop by to say hello or call on the phone. And of course, if you have their email address, you can send some of your marketing messages electronically. The more ways you find to reach out, the better chance that you’ll hit on the method that resonates with each of your prospects.

Remember that your messages should include an invitation to visit your website and your blog. The cumulative effect of seeing you in the postal mailbox, in the email inbox, and in various places on line will help build your reputation – and your prospect’s trust.

If you don’t know what to say…

Choose one or more of the real estate prospecting letter sets available right here, or write me and let me know what you need.

Yours for prosperity,
Marte Cliff, Real Estate Copywriter