I was speaking recently to a group of real estate professionals about how to use their Web site (and other online marketing tools) to get more repeat business, more referrals, and more renewals. Most people think online marketing is just about getting new leads. But if you use it for referrals, renewals, and repeat business, it can be much easier, more cost-effective and more profitable.
You can see how this could be very powerful in the real estate industry:
- Repeat: Most people don’t move house for years (or decades), so most agents don’t bother keeping in touch with their past clients. So the few who do will stand out.
- Referral: Our friends tend to be people like us, and often live close by. So they are perfect clients for the real estate agent who sold our house. The same applies to new friends we make in our new location.
- Renewal: Some real estate agencies run a very profitable property management arm, and their “rent roll” is a guaranteed source of regular income. So getting more renewals can be very profitable.
The good news is that this applies to all industries, not just real estate. So here are five simple ways to get more repeat, referral and renewal business through your Web site and other online marketing tools …
1. Publish a regular client newsletter.
Do your clients only hear from you when you send them a bill? Publish a monthly (at least) e-mail newsletter just for clients, with high-value material that your general subscribers don’t get.
That material doesn’t even have to be your own. You can “curate” and share other people’s material, as long as you do it with permission (or just link to it).
2. Make them special offers.
Give clients access to products and services that others don’t get. Or give them special access – such as bundling in other products and services at the same time.
For example, your Web site can have a “Clients Only” password-protected section. Or a discount code for clients who buy online. Or a quarterly “market intelligence” webinar.
3. Encourage them to invite a friend.
If you run special events for clients, allow them to invite a friend or two. This is better than just asking for a referral, because the client is doing a favour to their friend, not to you.
4. Recommend other people in your network.
Your clients have come to you to solve a problem, but in solving that problem you’re likely to discover other problems as well. Even if you can’t solve them yourself, refer them to others who can. Your client will appreciate you taking the time to think beyond your narrow scope of business.
5. Be accessible and current.
If clients do refer people to your Web site, is it easy for those people to contact you? They are more valuable than somebody who just stumbles over your site, so make sure you make their life easy. For example:
- List full contact information (including a phone number!) on every page.
- Make it easy for somebody who knows what they are looking for to find it.
- Don’t force them to jump through hoops to get to the information they need.
Are you making it easy to get repeat, referral, and renewal business?
This is not rocket science! But just make sure you do it.