How much money are you leaving on the table by neglecting your clients?

By Simon Payn

I just read some astonishing stats about real estate agents (but the same will likely apply to your business) in RISMedia.

• Only 18% of real estate brokerages generate repeat business

• Only 6% of agents with three to five years of experience generate repeat business

• Only 17% of agents with six to 17 years of experience generate repeat business

• Only 38% of agents with 16+ years of experience generate repeat business

And all this is despite the well-known fact that it’s something like seven times cheaper to get business from repeat clients than it is to go banging the bushes for new clients.

Of course, if you are new in business, all your clients are new. But as soon as you have just one happy client, it’s time to start building a relationship that will see that client come back next time.

All you need to do is keep in touch with useful, interesting information to make sure that your client remembers you as the caring professional that you are.

Here’s some simple math to prove my point.

In real estate, the average homeowner might move every seven years.

Imagine you have successfully closed 10 deals, so you have 10 clients to keep in touch with.

You can subscribe to our newsletter service for $697 per year, which gives you fresh content you can send every month. So, for each of your 10 clients, the cost is $69.70 per year. Multiply that for seven years to account for the average amount of time they might stay in a home, and the cost per client is $487.90.

Now, imagine what happens when these people want to list their homes. Conservatively, you might earn $4,000 from each deal (depending on the sale price and commission, of course). So that’s a profit after your keeping-in-touch costs of $3,512.10 per closing. This is money that you likely would not have earned if you had not kept in touch.

Then imagine you have 20 clients to keep in touch with. Or 50. Or 100.

You can do similar math for whatever business you are in.

Figure out how often a client could buy from you and work out how much you make each time that client buys. Then figure out the cost of keeping in touch with that client and subtract one from the other. Remember, if the amount you earn from each client is small, it’s likely they will buy more often and you will have a greater number of clients, which means that the cost of keeping in touch with each is much, much smaller.

When keeping in touch is so easy, it seems a no-brainer way to build your business and income.

Print, email…or both?

Well, you know what I'm going to say - send both!

But seriously, let me explain the pros and cons of each.

Print newsletters

Pros:

  • They are a physical object. There's something about being able to hold something in your hand that makes the communication more powerful.
  • They won't get trapped in spam filters.
  • They provide, in many cases, a better return on investment.
  • You can send them even to people you don't know.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive to print and email
  • More time-consuming to edit and prepare

Email newsletters

Pros:

  • They are cheap and easy to send.
  • You can send large numbers.
  • You can send them frequently.

Cons:

  • Some will get trapped in spam filters.
  • People's inboxes are overflowing.
  • You can send them only to people who have given you permission.

Here is what I suggest you do. This is, of course, just general advice. You must do what is right for your own business.

Collect as many email addresses as possible and send an email newsletter to each of your prospects and clients, at least once per month. Doing this is a no-brainer because you can send 1000 per month as part of your subscription with us, and even if you want to send more, it costs only $1.50 per 100 extra. Continue to collect email addresses to build your database.

However, just because email newsletters seem more modern and are cheaper, you should not ignore printed newsletters.

We advise you to collect as many mailing addresses as possible but be strategic as to who you send your print newsletters to. We find that best results come from sending to existing/past clients. In addition, you can get good results from sending newsletters to your recent leads and occasionally sending them to your list of older leads. It is, however, important to keep an eye on your return on investment - whether something makes sense for you depends on your response rate and your profit per item sold.

One thing to watch out for is sending out thousands of print newsletters to people who are not in your database. While this can work as a long-term strategy, the cost of doing a large mailing means that you have to have deep pockets. The danger is, you will run out of money before you are able to judge whether your strategy is working.

Newsletters are for people who think long-term. That's why we give a big break on our prices to people who are willing to commit for a year. It's no good sending out just a handful of newsletters for a couple of months and then giving up. You'll never know if they would have worked or not!

So...while you're thinking of whether to send print newsletters or email newsletters, consider how best to mix them up to get the biggest bang for your buck.

How to get more clicks

One of the metrics you can track in our email sending system (powered by VerticalResponse) is clicks through to your website.

(This metric is often overlooked - people usually focus on open rate, bounces and unsubscribes.)

However, it is clicks that best predict someone's interest in what you have to offer. After all, people who click are engaging with you and taking another step in their relationship with you. And, thanks to the detailed reporting we offer, you can see exactly which recipients have clicked through to your website.

That's great for identifying your most active prospects and clients.

But most people fall down when it comes to generating clicks.

It's one thing to put a link to your website in the newsletter.

But that's often not enough to generate a click.

This is why people don't get as many clicks as they think they should - they're not giving people a reason to click!

Here are some ideas to increase the number of clicks you get:

Create an offer. It's not usually enough to just give people your website address. Instead, you need to give them a reason to click through. This is done with an offer - a compelling reason to take action. That offer might be a special offer on a product or service, or it might be something as simple as a link to a free tool on your website (a quotations engine or listings search, for example).

When you set up your email newsletter, you can create content that stays there each month. We can add this for you in several places: the top of the left column, the top of the main column, and the bottom of the main column. You could use these places to put links to offers or to the most popular or important parts of your website.

Add links after relevant articles. At the end of articles in your newsletter, create links that go to a page on your website with further information on that topic, or details of a product or service you offer that relates to that topic.

Use buttons as well as links. VerticalResponse allows you to create buttons instead of just links. These can make your link more obvious and appealing. You can see more information on VR's buttons service at https://buttons.verticalresponse.com

Sometimes you want action and sometimes you just want to say hi!

I was talking with one of our clients yesterday. We make custom email newsletters for her, as well as one-off “blasts” for special messages.

And something became very clear: newsletters and special blasts are often quite different creatures.

Newsletters are for building relationships. You’re saying hello, remember me? When you need me, I’m here. And meanwhile, here is some information that you might find interesting, entertaining and useful.

Blasts are for when you want action. You’ve got one thing to say and one action that people can take. Maybe you’ve got a new product or a special offer. Or perhaps you want people to visit a new page on your website.

That’s not to say that you cannot put actions in a newsletter. But if you want the best response to a specific request, send it as a standalone blast.

Here’s one more thing: don’t just send blasts.
Newsletters are about giving, but blasts are about taking. Newsletters give information, blasts are often asking for a sale. So make sure you do plenty of giving before asking for something.

Did you know you can use the VerticalResponse system for sending blasts? There are lots of free templates you can use. We can also design blast templates for you with your own look and feel. Ask us if you need help with that.

Email newsletter reporting explained

I've spoken with a few clients about the reporting we provide after you have sent an email newsletter, so I thought it would be a good idea to share that information with you all.

Reporting

A few days after you have sent your email newsletter, log back into your account, go to VerticalResponse, hover over Emails, then click on Sent Emails. Then click on the name of the email you have sent. You will then see an overview of the stats relating to that newsletter.

Open rate

This is the number of people who have opened your newsletter. NOTE: This does not count everyone who has opened your newsletter; it only counts those who have opened it and who are displaying images. The actual number is higher than the number reported.

Here are average open found by VerticalResponse from all their clients:

  • Prospect mailings 11% to 13%
  • B2B client mailings opens average around 22%
  • B2C client mailings opens average between 15% - 20%
  • Non-profit opens average around 15%

We find that most of our clients are within these ranges. However, your actual open rate will depend on the quality of your list. If it's a list of people who do not know you well, the rate will be lower. If it is a list of people who know you very well, the rate will be higher.

We always tell people not to be discouraged if these numbers seem lower than you were hoping. The figure you should care about is the impact on your business over the long term. (As an example, my own rate for prospects is 15%, but I am happy with that, as I always get new clients when I sent out a newsletter to them.)

Click rate

This is the number of people who have clicked on a link in their newsletter. We often find this number is quite low because not many people put many links back to their website.

You can raise your click rate by putting more links in your newsletter back to relevant parts of your website. We can keep some links permanently in your newsletter, in certain places. Contact Mayna for information on how we can help you.

Bounce rate

This is the number of emails that bounced, mainly because the address is bad. We find that people who mail for the first time after not mailing their clients for a long period get a high bounce rate - over 10%. If you have a high bounce rate, it will negatively affect your open rate and click rate. From time to time, there are emails that bounced temporarily. If you see an email that has bounced but you believe it to be a good address, it can be marked as mailable again.

Unsubscribe rate

This is the number of people who have unsubscribed from your newsletter. This number should be quite low, but if you are mailing for the first time to people who do not know you well, this number will be higher.

For more explanation on this data, click here to download this report from VerticalResponse.

Who did what?

You are able to download the list of people who received your newsletter to see what each of them did or didn't do. Go to the Download Lists link and save the file to your computer. When you open it, you can see what each person did, including which links they clicked on. This will help you see which are your most active clients and prospects.

If you need help with any of this, please contact Mayna at 877-976-6368, then press 2. She will be glad to help you. She can also be reached at help@readytogonewsletters.com.

How to benefit from your happy clients

Yesterday, we had a very happy client. (Although we are not perfect, we do get a lot of nice comments from clients - which makes the days of all of us who work here that much more sunny!). This client was so happy that he promised to post a positive review on the internet.

So that got me thinking of something you can put into your newsletter that will make it much more effective.

It's called Social Proof.

Here's the thing: people are much more likely to believe what other people say about you than anything you say about yourself.

That's obvious, really.

So that's why I encourage you to include testimonials from happy clients in your newsletter.

Of course, in order to include those testimonials, you need to collect them in the first place!

So if you don't have a bunch of testimonials, consider making it a priority to collect positive comments from your clients. For example, whenever someone says something nice, ask them if you can use their words as a testimonial, ideally with their full name. And think about ways you can create a system to collect testimonials from clients - perhaps by asking them to complete a survey about your service.

The best testimonials are in your clients' own words so that they sound natural. They also include concrete details of how your service has benefited them. The more real they are, the better.

When you've got some testimonials, edit your newsletter and put them in.

It's a very simple way to add social proof to your business.

(This should go without saying, but don't even think about making up testimonials!)

The biggest, best-est business card…in the world!

Who says business cards have to be little, credit card-sized scraps of paper?

While these teeny-tiny cards might fit nicely into a pocket or wallet - and so spill embarrassingly all over the grocery store checkout - they do little to make you stand out among your competitors.

That's why some Ready to Go Newsletters members are using their print newsletters as business cards!

Just think about it. Handing out a 2-page, double-sided newsletter allows you to say much more about yourself than any business card could. And you'll certainly stand out.

So, even if you just send email newsletter with us, consider printing out a few of your print newsletters and carrying them around with you.

It's easy as they are already set up for you with your contact info and logo.

Just download, print...and hand out!

Ways to use direct mail newsletters

To misuse a famous Mark Twain quote, reports of direct mail's death have been greatly exaggerated.

While bright young things are dashing around in a frenzy over social media (because it's...like...new..duh!), many experienced and successful business owners are continuing to use direct mail.

Indeed, in our business we have seen an increase in requests for help with mailings. Some clients are saying forget email, just make me a newsletter for printing.

Here are some ways to use direct mail newsletters.

Send your newsletter to your client list

Sending newsletters to your client list is the cheapest, easiest and probably the most effective way to use direct mail.

It's cheap because you are probably not mailing thousands of copies, and yet it's effective because you are sending to people who are already proven buyers.

If you have anything - anything at all - extra to sell to your clients, then it makes sense to keep in touch with them.

For example, if you are a real estate agent who would like a second listing from a client, or an insurance agent who would like to write a second policy (or continue to collect residuals on your existing policies), then it's a no brainer to mail to your client list.

And because (generally) printed newsletters have a better return on investment than email, it makes sense to send your clients something in the mail.

What to do: mail to your clients every month, using bulk mail (if you have more than 250) or first class mail. If you have a small number (around 100), mail them from your office in an envelope. Ask us for a printing and mailing quote.

Send newsletters to leads

If you're always collecting leads (which you should!), it is usually worth sending a printed newsletter to them. However, I always advise people to qualify leads and spend the most on those who are most qualified. Be very aware of the characteristics and behaviors of your ideal clients and spend the most marketing to those people.

Your most recent leads are also worth investing in. People are "hottest" when they first contact you; a cold lead who has taken no action over the months is less worth investing in.

What to do: mail to your leads every month using direct mail, but be very aware of lead quality and behavior and adjust your mailings accordingly. Ask us for a printing and mailing quote.

Send newsletters to potential leads

Until now, I have been skeptical about using newsletters to send to cold prospects. Unless you have a very well targeted database of mailing addresses, you can end up spending a lot of money on printing and mailing without having the results to justify that expense.

However, new products from the post office have made the cost of mailing more affordable.

In the US, the USPS recently launched Every Door Direct Mail, which is a way to send to a group of addresses for a very low price. You can find out more about that and similar products at https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm. In Canada, look into Unaddressed Admail: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/business/productsservices/marketing/unaddressedadmail.jsf.

What to do: if your potential clients live in certain geographical areas, consider using these methods of mailing newsletters. Customize your newsletter to include information that is relevant to these areas and to the needs of clients who live in these areas.

Send custom and unusual newsletters

While it's true that printed newsletters can attract attention (and thereby clients) better than other methods, you can go further and really stand out.

We've recently been working with clients to produce truly custom newsletters, either in format or in content. For example, we've helped a real estate agent produce a newsletter for a particular condo in her city in order to attract listings from just that building; we are helping another agent become an expert in his neighborhood by producing a newsletter with market stats and listings. We are also working with clients in a variety of industries to make newsletters about their industry - positioning these clients as true experts.

And newsletters needn't be your standard 8.5" x 11" size. We've recently quoted on producing a newspaper for a client (we'd be perfect to make this, with my background in newspapers and my access to newspaper designers and printers). What better way to stand out?

Basically, we can do whatever you imagine.

What to do: consider how you can make the most of direct mail newsletter. Talk to us to see how we can help you. Contact Frank Barbieri at frank@readytogonewsletters.com or at 877-976-6368.

How to use your newsletter to make your website better

Most websites I visit (and that includes the websites of many of our members) don't function as well as they could do.

The fact is, most websites look the same as every other website. They don't do anything to give people a reason to choose that person or company over any other option.

So it's no wonder that many people simply shop by price, choosing direct-sellers (in the case of the insurance industry, for example) or simply the nearest agent (in the case of real estate).

The result is that you are missing out on a lot of business - and your clients are missing out on the remarkable service you offer.

The good news is, you can use your newsletter to make your website work better for you in two ways.

A. Make your website into a demonstration of your expertise.

Here's the thing: You know a lot about what you do - you're an expert. But most websites don't demonstrate that expertise.

An easy way to fix that problem is to add relevant content to your website. Doing so will give you an edge over your competitors because you will be seen as someone who is able to provide useful information instead of someone just selling something.

As you're a member of our newsletter service, you have all the content ready-made for you. You can use it in several ways:

Simply paste articles onto your website. You are welcome to use our content for this. Indeed, you can use our entire library, for as long as you are a member. This way is best for someone who wants to build up an archive of valuable content on their website.

Most of our products offer an automatic way to put headlines from our newsletters onto your website. You just paste code onto your website, then article headlines (and links to the articles) are updated automatically every month. This way is best for someone who doesn't want to add articles themselves each month.

B. Make your website into a lead-capturing machine.

Most websites waste the majority of potential clients that visit them because they fail to attract people to sign up to receive their newsletter and other valuable information. The fact is, if you aren't able to attract someone on the first visit so that you can keep in touch, they will likely forget about you when they need what you have to offer.

The way to fix this is to have an easy (and attractive) way to encourage people to give you their contact information. This "magnet" should be on every page of your website - don't hide it away!

Members of our newsletter service can easily create a sign-up box through their email newsletters website. You just follow the instructions and the system spits out some code you can put on your website.

We then advise you to mention one of the special reports we give you as part of your subscription. Doing this - instead of just promoting your newsletter - makes it more likely that people will sign up.

These are two easy ways that you can make your website work better for you.

We can help you implement these ideas. Just give Mayna a call - 877-976-6368, then press 2.

This is Just for Me! A Secret to Higher Response

One of the ways to get a better response to your newsletter is by making the content directly relevant to your readers. Ideally, you would like them to consider that your newsletter "is for me".

You can, of course, do that to some extent when contacting your entire database. You have a feel for what your clients are interested in - in general.

But if you want to make your newsletter even more relevant, it pays to segment that database and send variations of your newsletter to different types of clients. By doing that, you can provide content that is more likely to be relevant to your readers, making it more likely that they will consider the newsletter to be "for me".

Ways to segment your database

You know your business better than I do, but here are some suggestions for ways to segment your database.

  • By demographics: age, whether they have a family, life stage.
  • By location: by town or type of home (for real estate agents).
  • By product or service bought.
  • By recency (how recently they joined your database or bought a product or service from you.)

(Segmenting by recency is worth considering because new names in your database or recent buyers are more likely to be responsive than older names.)

How to use your segments

You can use this new information either to send a more relevant newsletter to each list of clients or to send a newsletter just to one list of clients. The latter strategy can help you save money by avoiding the cost of sending information to your entire database that only a proportion will be interested in.

As you can customize our newsletters as much as you wish, you can tweak the content to match a segment of your database. This might require only a few minor changes, or you might want to replace one article (dip into our library for lots of choices).

With our email newsletters, you can make a copy of a newsletter in your VerticalResponse account, then edit the copy to make it more relevant to your segment. Then, you can either upload a separate list of clients or you can use VerticalResponse's segmenting tool to divide up an existing list (let us know if you need help with this).

With our print newsletters, you can simply make a copy of the newsletter and make edits to the copy. Because you can print the newsletters in your office, it's easy to just run off a new copies to each segment - you're not committed to a large print run.

Alternatively, you could on one month just send print newsletters to one segment of your databases. The newsletters would contain content and offers particularly relevant to that segment of people.

I do this myself, although I know I should do a lot more. For example, I send my print newsletter just to my existing clients and to people who have joined my database in the past few months. This helps me save printing and mailing costs because I am only marketing to those people who are most likely to respond.

If you would like to talk about how to segment your database, please let us know.

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