J. Michael Manley had a problem with his automated email marketing campaigns. On day six, people were unsubscribing at an alarming rate.
“Consumers felt like they were being blasted. I needed something that touched them in a more personal way.” Though he was implementing the popular “10 Days of Pain” system - a process for consistently communicating to a new internet lead through email, phone calls and other media channels with the goal of getting a response - he wasn’t getting the results he wanted. Here’s how Manley said he turned his lead conversion systems around:
1. Reduce Email Frequency: When consumers unsubscribe, it means we can never market to them again,” noted Manley. They did two things: implemented a “21 Days of Gain” system and cut the number of emails in half.
2. Turn off some Automation: After the team started implementing the system, they were confronted with this question of personalization and value. “We were up against this disconnect between what the consumer wanted and what the computer could pull. We also wondered 'how are we going to convert an internet lead that’s being personally referred to another agent?’” Manley and his team settled on the fact that they were going to have to send more personalized emails … manually. “I believe you cannot ‘set it and forget it' and expect to become a millionaire. We’ve got to get back to being sales people.”
3. Hire a Virtual Assistant … When You Have Enough Profit. The more personalization - less automation strategy worked. Less people unsubscribed, more people were converting and profits were coming in. But his team was stressed. “They had wrinkles. We had to relieve the pain.” The answer came in the form of leverage. “We did a shortened version of the RSTLM process with a virtual assistant from myOutDesk.” Today, the virtual team member schedules 300 personalized emails a night; all going to internet leads in the “21 Days of Gain” program. She writes and posts three blog posts a day; inputs new leads into the database, and even does some html coding for their Website.
4. Don’t Let a New Lead Devalue Your Current Client. Several years ago, Harvard released a study that found people who responded to a lead within the first four to five minutes are more likely to capture and convert that lead than those who wait. Manley questioned whether that was functional for an individual real estate agent. “They’re lead generating or on buyer consultations while people are searching and signing up on their Websites. Am I supposed to stop the conversation with my current client to meet this four-minute limit,” asked Manley. Instead, he thinks agents should jot down a note when they have a moment and then when they get an opening, send the lead a quick text or email. “Thank them for their time and attention on your Website. Let them know you are currently working with another client and let them know that you will follow up as soon as you are out of the meeting,” he advised.
Manley offered the audience one more quick tip on converting a new internet lead to an actual client. “We take care to make sure the leads are worth our time,” he said. Manley and his team won’t show a client properties until they’ve done a buyer consultation and signed a buyers agreement. “We do it to avoid the people who have ulterior motives - like asking to wave a commission. We don’t ever want to be in a situation where we didn’t do a good enough job of setting expectations,” concluded Manley.