Is Database building still relevant in Real Estate?
All this talk about social media got me thinking about what we did in the past to promote our brand, generate new business and clients. One of the biggest things, just a decade ago, was building your database. The people added to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) were a core supply and source for new business and clients. If done properly, databases are very valuable assets for a business, especially a Real Estate one. Data is so valuable now more than ever! Whilst social media has changed the landscape of marketing and taken it to a whole new level it got me thinking about how relevant are our databases now?
Building a database is marketing 101. You generate leads, you add them to your database and you market your products and services to them. A database is still relevant and an important asset for a business. Building email lists, as some people refer to them, is still essential to the marketing funnel in any business. These days they are actually a value add-on especially when it comes to Facebook ad campaigns. By that I mean, you can upload your database or email lists into Facebook to generate a targeted audience for your specific offer or services. You can even go a step further and build a ‘lookalike’ audience generated off the back of the same interests, hobbies, and geographical areas that your actual audience possesses. That’s for another blog topic though!
HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR DATABASE?
Website Contact forms
One of the traditional and simplest ways to generate contacts to add to your database was to have a contact us form, register your interest, or subscription form on your website. It is still a means to collect contacts, but more often than not these days the data is spam and not worth entering into your database. Driving traffic to your website is key and investing time and money into SEO, google ads and google reviews is a must-do for you to reap any benefits from your website.
It is very easy to get complacent and forget about the people already engaging with your business. Ask yourself; “Where are your online or phone inquiries going”? Are they being added to your database? Just because they might not purchase the property they are currently enquiring about, down the track though it could be a different story. Every person and every client you come into contact with, be it another business, vendor, potential buyer, even tenants should all be going into your database. These contacts are valuable sources of potential business, maybe not right now, but certainly, down the track, your tenants could become first home buyers, your buyers could become sellers or investors. Ensuring you have systems set up to get these people added to your database is ultra-important. Relying on people to add them off their own back rarely works, unfortunately. Often we get busy and just store a number in our iPhone or leave an email enquiry in our inbox, but these contacts must go into your database and be seriously valued and considered as a potential source of business at some stage. Have a system, team, or a person responsible for ensuring contacts from every avenue of your business get added to the all-important CRM.
Some of the systems we use:
Sales agents submit attendees from open homes to a dedicated person on a Monday and the contacts are added to your database. We now use an app and the attendees register themselves at the open home and these contacts are automatically added to your database, extremely streamlined and efficient.
Tenants applying for properties get added to our database by a virtual assistant.
Our receptionist adds phone enquiry contacts to the database.
If you are hosting an auction event, have a guest register, for everyone who attends to complete.
Any clients you meet with and exchange business cards with, should be added to your database, you never know when they might come in handy and you won’t have to go digging through old handbags or car consoles looking for them.
These are freebies or offers you give a potential client or customer in exchange for their emails or contact information. The offer could be something as simple as a free market appraisal, or more complex like an information video, an e-book, or an annual property report.
You can run social ads with the specific intention of generating leads or building your database. Just like the lead magnet generally, you have something of value to offer your potential client or customer and they provide their contact details to access your information.
The production of useful content that relates to your products and services and offers free value to your potential clients is becoming a more and more popular avenue to generate leads and build databases. Blogs and podcasts, for example, with an offer are a great way to build your database quickly. It also helps new audiences find and resonate with your brand.
Listings and Opens
This one is old school but still works a treat in terms of building your database. The more listings, rentals, viewings, or open homes you have the more clients and contacts you are likely to attract or come into contact with. So, get out there and secure as many listings as you can and then host as many open homes as you can. Finally, ensure your system for having these contacts added to your database is foolproof. The same goes for ensuring phone and online enquiry is also saved in your CRM.
Collecting the data and building your database is one thing, but what you actually send these contacts is also critical. The quickest way to have them clicking the unsubscribe button is to send them marketing spam that is completely irrelevant to why they signed up or contacted you.
Some databases have really advanced features now where you can set up categories for your contacts, I seriously recommend you set these up and utilise them, as this will allow you to target the exact person you are wanting to sell or promote to. If you are adding buyers to your database ensure that you also get specific details of what and where they are interested in purchasing. For example, a tenant probably doesn’t want to receive your latest million dollar listing flyer, or a single buyer looking for a unit in the city, won’t be wanting to look at a family four bedder in the suburbs.
There are several keys to successful database marketing, including ensuring you give your clients what they want or are interested in and provide a solution to their problems. The adage data is ‘king’ has never rung true more than right now, so keep collecting, keep communicating and keep consistent with utilising your systems.