Take Flight – Develop Your Top 100 Nurture Campaign

On today’s 201st episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I'll take you through the steps of creating a Top 100 "nurture" campaign that will help you maintain momentum with your top clients throughout the year. There are many different ways that a nurture campaign can be created, including through your CRMs like Cloze, Follow Up Boss or Salesforce. If that is the case, you can use today's call as a guide to setting up the internal programming and tasking that you need to execute for what I feel is a thoughtful approach. You can also schedule your follow up tasks and reminders through your Microsoft Outlook or Google Suite, or if you are more analog, a spreadsheet can be used as well. The key is that you maintain a constant drumbeat of activity with your clients throughout the year. We'll explore different ideas and strategies on today's episode.

First, let's define the word nurture. Nurture is defined as the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something. There is a complete business plan wrapped up in that definition. It's pretty much what I talked about in episode #199 where I covered what I learned in 2011 about using "giving" as a business plan. My focus was to create a culture within my business so that my clients wanted to come back to me for all of their real estate needs and I didn't have to stay on the lead generation treadmill of constantly needing to generate new business.

During 2008 to 2013, when I was actively in the brokerage business, I scheduled out a nurture campaign on an annual basis. Knowing what I know now, I think planning quarterly is the best approach because it syncs with our 12 Week Year planning method, allowing you not only to build out your personal and professional goals and tasks for the quarter, but to create your marketing and nurture campaigns ideally within that same time frame.

Let's get into the "HOW.”

Just to review, you've decided on a CRM (or a more analog method), you've got it fully set up…  now what? It's time to execute consistently on creating your personal brand around giving, caring, or - like the definition stated - nurturing the relationships that know you, like you and trust you as their real estate broker/advisor. You should look at your entire Top 100 like a big tray of batteries and each battery is a client; now ask yourself: "How much of a charge is in each battery?" "Which batteries need charging through a touch or reach out?”  Look at the bigger "D" batteries in your Top 100 as your Platinum, the "AA" are your Gold and the “AAA” are the Silvers clients. The level of the "charge" of your set of batteries will determine the level of profitability of your business, confirmed by simple math.

Here's how you "charge those batteries":

Reach Outs/Touches

Reach outs are defined as personal, thoughtful one-on-one attempts to connect. They can be phone calls, text messages, a quick video sent via text, a direct message via a social media app or a handwritten note. (Email marketing, social media posts and direct mail do not count as personal, thoughtful, one on one attempts to connect. More on that later.) If you have an opportunity to "gift,” do it. The "nurture return on investment," when you thoughtfully use an appropriate opportunity to gift, cannot be underestimated. The key words here are thoughtful and appropriate.

I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you again that "You cannot automate thoughtfulness." Because of this, I created a hierarchy of communication methods for this episode starting with the most effective to the least effective.

The Hierarchy of Reach Outs/Touch Methods

  1. In person coffees, lunches, drinks or dinners
  2. Appropriate and thoughtful gift
  3. Handwritten note
  4. Events (Pro Tip: use events to help categorize your Top 100)
  5. Phone call, depending on the person
  6. Direct Message on social media. Take note of who is commenting on your content and actively following you
  7. Text messages/text with video - 98% read text messages
  8. Direct email
  9. Mass mailed holiday cards (labels vs handwritten)
  10. Email marketing or direct mail campaign (transactional)

No communication at all will have your business in the danger zone quickly. Remember, you lose 10% top-of-mind marketing placement each month that you fail to maintain a relationship with a client.

Pro Tip: one of your tags should be a contact's preferred mode of communication (#text, #call, #inperson, #DM).

Here is number of times I would "reach out/touch" my Top 100 each quarter:

Platinum = 3 reach outs/touches per quarter. Understand that person's preferred method of communication. The gifting and acknowledgment of their birthdays and anniversaries should be special. Remember, 80% of your business is somehow impacted by this small group of people. They should be treated like VIPs. It’s quite possible that you will see this group often in your local area so "reach outs" could be converted to "review the contact,” meaning that you'll ask yourself "Am I in a good place with this person?" If it's a "not really,” or “I'm not sure,” you need to make that person a priority. They should be appropriated tagged in your email marketing system (like ActivePipe) so that they get only the relevant content from your direct mail campaign.

Gold = 2 reach outs/touches per quarter. The strategy is the same as Platinum but your level of gifting will be different. This is an incredibly important group of people but they do not rise to the level of VIP.

Silver = 1 reach out/touches per quarter. The strategy is somewhat the same but, again, you may not "gift" this group unless it is an incredibly important change in that person's life like a graduation, wedding, birth etc. And even then, the level of gift would not be to that level of a Platinum or a Gold. As a side note, with your Silver category, you are trying to convert them and move them to Gold or Platinum. If the relationship doesn't advance, that relationship could be moved to "Fringe or Everyone Else" if a higher quality relationship is added to your CRM. I looked at it like a game of chess, moving my relationships/contacts around as needed and I did not go past a week without making those changes as they arose.

Fringe/Everyone Else - 6-7 emails per quarter minimum.  Make sure you are connected with them on social media as well so they can consume your content.

Email Marketing Campaigns:  Send an informational email, that provides value, at least 6-7 times per quarter to your entire Top 100 and Fringe that have a "newsletter" feel or general information about the market. If you are a Jameson Sotheby's International Realty agent using ActivePipe, you would want to use our Quarterly Market Snapshots, Imagine newsletters and a few of the other myriad options our marketing department provides. Using "tagging" within your CRM, send hyperlocal "Just Sold" and "Just Listed" to those that live in a close proximity to the specific property.

Hot List - review it daily and contact the client as needed, never going more than 3 days.

Warm List - review the clients' needs each week and make contact at least every 2 weeks or as needed.

Top 100 Referral Partners - 1 touch/reach out per quarter.

Here are specific ideas you can use to connect thoughtfully and appropriately with your Top 100:

  1. Birthday Recognition program. The best ROI on anything I got on any effort was sending out a handwritten card and $10 gift card to Starbucks.
  2. Anniversary Recognition - recognize the annual anniversary purchase of their new home. A real estate review should be part of this process.
  3. Book reservations at restaurants for special events and "arrivals" if you are in a 2nd home market.
  4. Thanksgiving and Holiday gifting.
  5. Happy New Year text messages or emails.
  6. Tax status reporting - Is the homeowner's exemption active for your clients' home? I'm guessing that your client doesn't know either. Do the research and outline the process for applying for the homeowner’s exemption. Send them their closing disclosure for their taxes if they closed the previous year.
  7. Events: Support a boutique/small business and host a event. Most will be happy to be introduced to new clients. They will in turn refer you to their clients.
  8. Cooking Classes with a small group of clients, up to 8.
  9. Invite clients to broker open houses of spectacular listings in their neighborhood.
  10. Family picture events.
  11. If you get invited to a party with kids, arrive with party appropriate toys. If the kids are entertained, everyone is happy.
  12. Bring a bottle of Magnum wine to dinner parties with super important clients.
  13. Last but not least, don't forget to gift the pets. It's a thoughtful and appropriate way to connect with your Top 100.

Now you've got a few ideas to get the creativity flowing for how best to connect with your clients. It's not always about the price tag, it's about the thought - the fact that you took the time to remember and act.

Look at the quarter and prepare, as much as you can, on the "who, how and when" to best manage your nurture campaign. Most of this should already have been set up into your CRM. This is why having the systems and technology built and set up is so important because it will pay you back your time and investment over and over and over. If this all seems overwhelming, here's a pro tip… Focus on your Platinum and Gold and move your Silver to Fringe. I'd rather have you go all in with your top groups than get frustrated and not do anything. Also, I would take another look at your 3-Year Vision. Is it big enough? If you are not jumping out of bed every day to build your business brick by brick, client by client, you are not thinking big enough.

Team, to wrap up this episode, I cannot emphasize enough the power of creating, maintaining, and compounding strong relationships within your business. There is no marketing strategy that comes even close to the ROI (return on investment) to that which we discussed today. Creating a quarterly nurture campaign is high impact, low cost and fairly easy to implement. You don't have to have a big budget to execute on what was discussed on this episode.