You’ve put your marketing plan in action and you’re already seeing leads come in—maybe you are even using a matchmaking service like All Property Management to find new owners. Congratulations! This is the first step in an effective marketing campaign.
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Your next step is to nurture those leads. After all, not every lead that comes in is ready to sign a contract. It takes time and effort to get property owners to convert to clients.
To do that, you’ll need some patience, some great marketing tools, and a solid sales process to help you close.
This is the second post on marketing yourself to drive new business. We started with lead generation, or the process of attracting new owners. Now, we’ll talk about lead nurturing and provide some strategies to deepen interest from property owners and turn them into clients fast.
Lead Nurturing and the Marketing Funnel
When we talk about lead nurturing, we’re talking about your sales process. Once you get new property owners interested in your business, lead nurturing strategies help you keep them interested in, and eventually sell them on, your services.
In the first post, we explained the marketing funnel, a tool to help you organize your leads into categories and implement the right strategies at the right time.
Top of the Funnel: This is your lead generation, or acquisition stage, where you make new property owner aware of your business.
Middle of the Funnel: Also called the consideration stage, this part of the funnel is where you begin nurturing leads.
Bottom of the Funnel: This is the conversion stage, where leads become clients.
Lead nurturing takes up time and resources small businesses just don’t have, so focus on those that are the most likely to convert to clients.
Setting up a lead management plan before you start the nurturing process can help you do that.
When a lead comes in, the first thing to do is to enter it into your customer relationship management (CRM), which is best de a system for managing every relationship and interaction you have with prospects and customers. Your CRM can be a simple Excel spreadsheet (if you dare) or a more complex tool like Salesforce or Hubspot.
The important thing is to get all of a lead’s information into one spot as soon as possible. That should include contact information, the date the lead was generated, how the lead got in contact with you, and any other relevant information you may have—like the number of properties an owner has and the kinds of services they would need you to manage (groundskeeping, pool maintenance, etc.). You’ll also want to make sure you keep track of how frequently you’ve tried to contact them and should include dates, times and contact channel.
You’ll also want to create different stages for the leads that come in, which will help you manage the process and quantify your success. Below are some you might want to consider implementing:
- Prospecting: In this first phase, you’d want to qualify a lead that you get in and make sure that they are actually a property owner that you would be able to help with your services. If they aren’t, you can move them to a Closed-unqualified category. If they are, you can move them through the phases listed below.
- Discovery: At the discovery phase, you’re making that initial contact with the property owners you’ve qualified, making them aware of your services and how they can benefit.
- Consult: In the third phrase, you are actually meeting with property owners to better understand their needs and offer solutions. You begin to talk about pricing.
- Negotiation: The negotiation phase is exactly what it sounds like; you are going back and forth with prospective clients about pricing and services until you come to a mutual agreement.
- Closing: The closing phase occurs when you have reached a verbal agreement with, perhaps, a few small issues left to work out.
- Closed-won or Closed-lost: Whether you bring on a new property manager or not, you should mark them as closed. The property managers who sign with you are marked closed-won. The property managers who pass on your services, you mark as closed-lost.
Pro Tip: Noting a reason why they passed could help you win them in the future. If, for example, they go with another property management company, it could be worth it to check in down the road to see if the property manager is happy with their services or if they’re considering another company.
It’s important to be very disciplined about managing your leads. All of this information helps you keep track of who has been contacted when, and what part of the sales process they’re in.
It also allows you to look back on your process to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Are clients you meet at community events converting more frequently than those that come through Google paid search? How many emails do you send before you hear back from a prospective client?
Thorough analysis can help you tighten your process and focus on the more promising leads.
Lead Nurturing Tools
Once you have your management plan in place, it’s time to start nurturing. There are several methods you can use to reach out to leads and pull them further down the marketing funnel. Here are some of the most common.
Despite frequent rumors to the contrary, email is an extremely effective way to pull in customers—even more effective than social media. According to McKinsey & Company, 91 percent of consumers check their email daily.
If done right, emails can engage potential clients directly with customized messages and information.
Follow up with a phone call immediately after a lead makes contact (more on this later). But don’t just pick up the phone and start talking. Hubspot recommends doing some research on your lead to get some background on who they are and what kinds of properties they own.
Engage with prospective clients through their social media. That’s not to say you should message them directly or leave messages on their business page every week. Instead, keep your own social presence strong and use it to like and share posts on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. Respond to or retweet their tweets on Twitter (occasionally) or pin them on Pinterest.
While you may not be speaking with them directly, you’re keeping yourself top-of-mind.
You can use direct mail to keep your name in the minds of prospective clients, as well. Brochures, postcards, and even holiday cards are great ways to remind leads of your services.
Not all lead nurturing is about direct contact. It’s also about putting out the right information to keep prospective leads interested.
Content marketing can help you position yourself as a leader in your field by showcasing your achievements and your expertise.
At this stage in the marketing funnel, you’re not really going to use blog posts. That’s more of an awareness tool. Instead, you create white papers on property management topics that showcase your expertise, or case studies on improvements your company made in other clients’ properties or processes.
Content that focuses on the value you provide to clients can keep your leads interested. Even content curation (or sharing other people’s content) can be a huge part of this—since you won’t always have the budget or time to put out something original. Even if it’s not your own, you can still cultivate your relationship with your audience by sharing relevant, current stories and your spin on them.
The Most Effective Lead Nurturing Strategies
As you’ve seen above, a sound lead nurturing strategy is multi-channeled, focusing on those tactics that make the most sense for your business and budget. Now that you have the stages of nurturing a lead and the tools in mind, it’s time to put it all into practice with a detailed followup plan that will help you close the sale.
Start by contacting every lead that comes in with a quick email or phone call—or both. Then, create a plan using the following tips.
When a prospective lead fills out a contact form on your website or leaves you a business card at an event, it’s important to follow up with them as quickly as possible. According to All Property Management (a Buildium company), reaching out to a new lead less than one minute after they initially contact you increases conversion by 391 percent. Conversion drops to 160 percent at two minutes. If you make contact within 24 hours, that conversion opportunity drops to 17 percent.
Even if you can’t make contact that quickly, or if it doesn’t make sense to do so, following up with leads as soon as you can increases your chances of signing on that new property.
Contacting a prospective client frequently may seem pushy, but it actually increases the likelihood your lead will become a client. In fact, the likelihood that a lead will convert jumps every time you contact them.
By the sixth call attempt, according to All Property Management, 93 percent of converted leads are finally contacted. So, don’t think you’re being a pest, and don’t give up too quickly!
Contact in a Variety of Ways
From vendors to residents to junk mail, rental property owners get a lot of emails. It’s easy to get lost in their inbox. That’s why it’s important to reach out in a variety of ways.
Call them or drop a postcard in the mail. Follow them on social media and like or share their posts.
Personalize Your Outreach
We’ve all gotten the emails with the generic greeting and the templated message. It’s not memorable and generally not worth our time.
Property managers are busy people, so you need to make the most of your contact attempts.
Personalized emails, for example, generate more conversions and more revenue than generic emails. Start by addressing property managers by their name. Instead of writing something generic like “thanks for your interest,” include something more personalized that reminds them who you are and how you got in touch.
There are tools that can automate the email process to keep you from having to spend half your day maintaining your inbox. Zoho or Convertkit, for example, automatically send personalized emails that are triggered when a lead takes a certain action, like filling out an online form.
If you’re planning a direct mail campaign to prospective leads, include quick notes with your brochure or postcard.
Pro tip: Since this kind of direct mail strategy can be time-consuming and expensive, use it only for very targeted campaigns, where you know the return on investment will be high.
Make Contact Meaningful
When you do get a phone or in-person session with a prospective client/property owner, don’t just throw your sales pitch at them. Ask questions. Listen to their needs and address their concerns.
Allow them to ask questions of you, and answer them genuinely. Don’t talk at them with rehearsed responses.
When your marketing efforts yield a lot of leads, it’s a great feeling. But there’s still work to do to turn those leads into clients. Implement a solid lead nurturing plan and be persistent to pull those leads further down the marketing funnel—and into your roster of longtime customers.
For more learnings on lead gen strategies to get more doors, check out the first post in this series: Amp Up Your Lead Gen Game: How to Get New Owners in the Door.Read more on Marketing