Can you or should you rely on social media to do your prospecting?
That’s the claim I’ve seen in my email this past week or so.
According to the person who wrote me, you need only to learn how to automate your social media accounts to post and interact with others. You’ll save time, energy, and money, because it will take you almost no time to get it all set up.
And – by maintaining an almost constant presence on all of your social media accounts, you’ll gain all the prospects and clients you could possibly need.
This person is offering a course in how to do this automation, of course. I didn’t read far enough to learn the cost. It should have occurred to me that I’d probably write about it, but oh well.
Other emails I’ve received are from those who would love to be hired to do all that posting and interacting.
It really is kind of funny…
If you think about it, the promotion is pretty funny, since the person used email rather than social media to attract my attention.
Would you want an automated chatbot to interact with your possible leads?
I know I would not. Every time I try to deal with chatbots all I get is frustrated. They never answer the question I ask. I don’t think they even understand questions – they’re just programmed to reply with something.
I think they’re artificial intelligence at its dumbest, but that’s just my opinion.
Social media is a good prospecting tool…
But it is only one of many.
When it comes to attracting new clients, you can use social media, print ads in magazines and newspapers, and even billboards, signs on bus benches, or golf scorecards. These methods employ the shotgun approach. They strive to get your name out there in front of as many people as possible in hopes that some of them will respond.
You can also buy leads, and hopefully they won’t be the same leads that were provided to several other agents.
If you’re ambitious, unafraid, and have more time than money to spend on gathering prospects, you can go door-knocking or make cold calls. (Do mind the do not call list.)
Direct postal mail is still the tried and true method for gathering new leads.
By now you’ve probably read statistics showing that people DO still love to get postal mail – and millennials lead the list of age groups who favor it.
Direct mail allows you to focus on a neighborhood or a niche. You can use Every Door Direct to pinpoint a neighborhood, or you can purchase lists that let you zoom in on specific homeowners.
By focusing on a niche, you can send information of interest directly to homeowners in that niche. And that matters. After all, couples facing divorce have different concerns than homeowners who are downsizing, the owners of vacant rentals, people facing foreclosure, or those who simply want to relocate.
One size really doesn’t fit all when it comes to sending real estate marketing messages. Focus allows you to spend your marketing dollars reaching people who are most likely to become clients.
The best marketing/prospecting method is a combination of methods.
First develop your website so that visitors find information of interest to them. Include a well-written bio, niche-specific information pages, and community pages covering the area you serve. Blog about your niche and your community, and include enough personal information to allow visitors to see your personality.
Use social media, postal mail, email, networking, and every other means of becoming acquainted with people to invite them to your website. If appropriate to the conversation, be sure to send them to the specific pages that include the information they’ll be seeking. This is important.
Whether using postal mail, email, or social media prospecting, remember this…
First, the message HAS to be about them, not about you. There isn’t one stranger out there who cares about you, your opinion, or your desire to do business with them.
So instead of an “I’m wonderful” ad, give them good information. Show them how wonderful you are through the information you’ll provide over time.
Second, you must be consistent. One letter will probably be a waste of time and money. (Marketing statistics show something less than 1% response from a single mailing.) Five touches should be the minimum, but…
Keep in mind that only a small percentage of people will be ready to act when you begin mailing to them. That means that if you’re using my niche-specific pre-written prospecting letters, you’ll eventually come to the end of the set before every possible lead on that list contacts you.
Then what should you do? And what should you do to stay in touch with non-current prospects like past clients and those in your sphere?
Choose from several things you can send to keep their attention from wandering. One is your personal newsletter, if you write one. Another is a monthly market report. And don’t forget about just listed/under contract/just closed cards. People do like to know what’s going on in the neighborhood.
Even if you don’t write a regular newsletter, you can send information that affects people in your niche or your community. For instance, you can share news about new commercial or residential developments in the area, changes in zoning or in local services, celebrations, or events promoting a local non-profit.
To make it easier, you can use my event-themed staying in touch letters. These are short messages with little-known facts that your prospects might find interesting enough to share with friends. Go to this page to read about them and access the link to one of January’s letters. And yes, as long as you’re there, feel free to take that letter to send to people on your list. The set of 26 letters includes 2 per month, plus Easter and New Year’s greetings.
If you want buyers instead of sellers, a quick Internet search just took me to this site: How To Get Home Buyer Leads: Target Renters (homevalueleads.com) It appears that they have a service to sell, but also share other ideas for reaching tenants.
Remember that you can capture both buyers and sellers by placing “capture boxes” on your website.
Offer some kind of special report specific to your niche or a copy of your monthly market report in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. Since these leads will have come to you via email, you will continue marketing to them with email, so the cost will be very little.
It is tempting to ask several qualifying questions in that capture box, but I advise against it. Those folks don’t know you yet, so they won’t want to give you too much information. You might want to ask whether they’re interested in buying or selling – just so you can direct their names to the appropriate list for follow up mailings.
Speaking of too many questions, I almost opted in to receive some kind of information earlier this week. But when I got to the second box, which asked me things like how many employees I had and our annual revenue, I decided I didn’t need the information.
Don’t take chances with that happening to your potential clients!