How to effectively build, manage, and market to your real estate database.
As a real estate agent, you have many different marketing tools at your disposal. One of the most powerful is your database — but it’s important to realize that it’s a long game, not one that will pay immediate dividends.
Here is why a real estate database is so important and how you can effectively build, manage, and market to it.
What is a Real Estate Database?
Your real estate database is simply a list of those you have worked with in the past, are currently working with, or who may be interested in working with you in the future. Your database can be kept in something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, or it can be entered into a CRM (customer relationship management) system to help facilitate marketing campaigns.
While the number varies depending on the source, some experts recommend having a minimum of 1000 names in your database, as that number can reliably lead to an average of 100 transactions per year regardless of market conditions. Of course, those have to be quality leads who have not already chosen to work with another agent and who are still engaged with your marketing and receptive to furthering the relationship. Even if those in your database have already sold or bought property with you, they can still be valuable people in your database as they are an excellent source of referrals.
Why is Your Database So Important?
Your database is your key to staying in touch with those who may do business with you or who are likely to give you referrals. If you don’t have a way of keeping in touch with them and engaging with them, they will likely forget about you and their business (or referrals) will go elsewhere.
While many agents think they can keep track of those they need to touch base with by retaining their business cards, writing them down in their planner or simply remembering who they are, most are not organized and disciplined enough to do so. They need to rely on a system that involves not only building their database, but also effectively using that database to develop marketing campaigns that can include email newsletters, text campaigns, phone calls, or social media marketing strategies.
Some real estate agents decide to split their databases into two distinct groups: a lead generation group that includes only those who the realtor is attempting to gain as clients, and a sphere of influence group that includes past clients, networking and referral partners, and others who are likely to pass their names on to others who need a real estate agent. While both of these types of databases are useful, most agents find they get more business from their sphere of influence group than their lead generation group — especially if they are not using a professional, unique lead gen system.
What Mistakes Do Agents Make When Building Their Database?
Many agents suffer from “shiny object syndrome” when it comes to building their database. Instead of playing the long game and focusing on ways to slowly build their database with solid leads and close spheres of influence, they jump on the latest and greatest marketing trend and shift their efforts to a strategy they think will make them some quick sales. Unfortunately, a change in algorithm or other occurrences out of your control can easily put an end to the effectiveness of trendy marketing techniques. When you focus on building a solid database, you’ll insulate your business from external changes and reap the benefits a few years down the line when your list pays dividends and your income skyrockets.
Other agents do a good job of building a strong database, but then fail to utilize it by not creating a robust marketing strategy connected to it. Compiling the names is only part of the battle. The more important component is developing a system that consistently engages those in your database to keep them up to date and interested in what you are currently doing. Your system also needs to have “triggers” to let you know when someone in your database is at a stage where they might make the decision to work with you or pass on a referral so you can follow up with a phone call or an in-person meeting.
How Can an Agent Effectively Build and Market to His or Her Database?
The best way to build your list is to be consistent and diligent. When you meet someone new who might be a good fit, work with a new client, or get a solid lead, add them to your database. Then create a system of staying in touch with them via email, text, periodic phone calls, or mailers. Many agents inform those in their database of events going on around town, tell them about changes to interest rates or other market conditions, or just send them a nice note during the holidays or their birthdays. Those in your database should not get a “hard sell.” Instead, they should just receive a light touch regularly so you stay top of mind.
As we mentioned above, a good system will also alert you when you should reach out to someone on your list personally. This “trigger” could be time-based (for example, a trigger could come after a person has been on your list for three or six months). It could also be activity-based, triggering you when one of your database leads visits your landing page, fills out a form, or comments on a social media post.
Most agents don’t have time to create and market to their database on their own, as they are busy networking and buying and selling property. Those who have an in-house marketing team can task them with managing their database, while those with smaller offices will benefit from working with an outside company like Luxury Presence, which can help develop a system to effectively market to their databases.
If you need help with your database creation, management, and marketing, please reach out to our experts for more information!