The secret power of subscribers for estate agents
All estate agents have their priorities, some may focus on getting landlords and others it maybe about hitting the numbers for new instructions that month. Where on the priority list should new subscribers sit? By subscribers I mean people who sign up or are on a list to have your newsletter sent to them via post, email or another channel.
The ‘Interest’ of the funnel is very important
Here is an example of a simple conversion funnel, so let’s break down the stages:
This is making people aware of your brand, most agents do not have an issue with this as most people know the estate agents in their area and it is only a simple Google search away. You can drive awareness with advertising such as direct mail or newspaper advertising, what you communicate in those awareness driven channels is key to the next stage.
This is the most important part of the funnel, the customer normally splits into two types:
- Known is where the consumer has come into contact with your business and you send them information (e.g. newsletter via email)
- Unknown is where you do not know the consumer (e.g. sending out a blanket direct mail newsletter and they read it every month)
Each has benefits but with both you have to keep sending out communication in a consistent manner otherwise you risk losing people out of the funnel at this key stage.
This stage is different to most businesses, no matter how great your marketing, you can not expect you’ll tempt someone to move house until they’re ready to do so. You can make it easier for them to engage with communications about local house prices and offering free valuations. The key question is how far along the interest phase do you offer this content or call to action?
This is the simplest of the stages it is where the consumer contacts you to give you a new instruction or converts with the sale of a service. You just need to give them the ability to do so easily, having clear contact information on your website and other media is crucial.
It still surprises me when I go to a website and I have to dig really deep into pages to find the actual phone number for the business or the right office, I would suspect that a higher percentage of traffic than you realise just wants contact or location information nothing else. There is also a case to make sure your website is super fast at loading and also your telephone numbers are ‘clickable to call’ for a mobile device. I visited a website a week ago and was unable to load it on my phone – the reason is they had added a snowflake animation over the website for Christmas but failed to realise this had added a huge amount of content (scripts/images… 30MB in fact) therefore making it impossibly slow for a mobiles to download it over 3g – removing all their mobile traffic.
Timing is everything
As with most services timing is key in all of this, the buying cycle for estate agency services could be years or it could be weeks after first coming into contact with your business. You just have to accommodate both within your sales practices, in fact you will realise the two are interlinked as well.
Where do subscribers sit within the funnel
Let’s break this down to the different types, for the Known subscribers which have made contact with your business but do not want to move onto the desire section yet. To keep them active in the funnel you need a stay in touch system so you are still front of mind and they contact you when they move forwards. Regular contact about the local housing market keeps them interested as being bombarded with sales messages will make them drop out of the funnel very quickly and you need to keep them happily engaged.
Let’s give some numbers as an example – you have 1000 people in the known interest phase, you then get a 7% drop off each month whilst 0.5% decide to make contact with you and move onto the next phase of the funnel. So that means your list shrinks by 75 people per month but you get 5 leads from it – which is great news but it is not a long term plan without topping up the initial numbers as your funnel will dry up in about year (if you can maintain that rate).
This is why adding as many people to that section is very crucial and also very beneficial, as 0.5% of 10,000 is a lot more than of 1000.
The more subscribers you have the more conversions you have at the end of the funnel.
It is harder to gauge the Unknown subscribers (they are more readers than subscribers) but people stand by the fact if you give it away free people will read your news and maintain interest if the news and views are engaging. It is hard to measure but you will find people coming to you when they reach the desire phase without knowing about them before, it is always good to ask ‘How did you hear about us?’ when people contact you to help validate external campaigns.
A key difference in subscribers
The main difference in the subscriber benefits are that the Known subscribers are a lot more trackable and that means you can take a lot more proactive action on them rather than blindly guessing at what they need and like.
By using the email channel you can also segment subscribers off to get different messages, for example.
You sent a newsletter email out to 5000 people with a clear call to action at the bottom for the local office contact information or see the latest local house prices report. You can now get a list of people who clicked this section (100 subscribers) and send them a separate email offering them a free valuation, a personalised property report or an attractive offer. If the timing is right you may get 2-5 or more valuations out of it – which is not bad just for a sending an extra email!
Subscribers are very important
As you can see subscribers are very important to your sales funnel as they are the bread and butter. You will get customers who just want the services and go through the funnel very quickly but to truly grow an estate agent business you have to engage with your database over time.
Some consumers can be reading your content and seeing your emails, maintaining positive awareness, for years, then when the time comes to sell you take it for granted when they call you but it is the time nurturing them which should take the credit.
Get adding to your sales funnel
What we have learnt by understanding the funnel more:
- Subscribers are very important, keep adding as many subscribers, emails and contact information to your database as possible, every single one helps the end conversions.
- Do not underestimate the Unknown readers opportunity, people are interested but do not want to commit to you knowing it.
- Use a stay in touch system and make sure you do it consistently.
- Results will come over a long time but soon as you get momentum you get a flywheel effect.