Any real estate agent knows making the sale is a key to success, but one of the most important real estate marketing tools to remember is that there is a customer lifecycle. The customer lifecycle has four distinct phases, which, if handled properly, can add value to your business.
Customer Lifecycle Phases
Addressing the customer lifecycle is an important real estate marketing tool, as this goes further than simply focusing on the sale. Failing to recognize and address the four phases of the customer lifecycle may cause you to miss out on the growth and income opportunities that can be achieved when you recognize those phases:
- Phase One – Lead Generation: This is the beginning step in the customer lifecycle process. This is the time when agents try to attract the attention of potential customers by spotlighting their agency, hoping someone will be interested enough to call or visit.
- Phase Two – Nurture: Only a small percentage of the prospects uncovered during the lead generation phase are ready to buy. Because many of these contacts will need further convincing, the nurturing phase of the customer lifecycle begins. Although you have your foot in the door, you must still convince potential customers to open up and let you in.
- Phase Three – Purchase: This is the sales portion of the customer lifecycle. Customers decide at this point whether they chose the right agency, whether the service they receive is adequate, and whether they would return to purchase again.
- Phase Four – Loyalty: The final phase in the customer lifecycle begins once the sale is finalized. According to Bain & Company, finding and acquiring a new customer costs about five to seven times more than maintaining a profitable relationship with a current customer. Current and former customers can be some of your best ongoing sources for business as they may choose to upgrade, decide they need additional services, or simply refer family and friends.
Identifying Customer Phases
A database can be an excellent real estate marketing tool, but to benefit from the four phases of the customer lifecycle, you must segment your contacts into the different phases. Using a spreadsheet, search through your marketing database and organize your contacts based on where they are in the customer lifecycle. The names in the database you may have just purchased fall into the Lead Generation phase. The couple who called to request information on a property this morning is part of the Nurture group. People with homes under contract fall into the Purchase group, and the owners of the house that closed last week fall into the Loyalty group.
Marketing Based on Phases
Once you have organized your marketing list into the four stages of the customer lifecycle, you can use specific real estate marketing tools to target each segment. Some tips for each phase include:
- Lead Generators – Nothing works better than direct mail for the Lead Generation phase. Direct mail is tangible and low-pressure, and can be personalized to your target audience’s gender, income level, neighborhood, or other demographics. Direct mail campaigns are easy to create and implement, affordable, and easily measurable.
- Nurturing Tools – Direct mail is the best way to promote your relationship customers in the Nurturing phase. Send updates, customer testimonials, announcements, or open house invitations in order to keep your agency name in the minds of potential customers.
- Purchase Marketing – Although the ultimate goal is to make the sale, it is during this stage that you begin to gain the customer’s trust and confidence, which in turn, helps develop the ensuing Loyalty phase. Consider sending a welcome letter or small gift basket to thank new homeowners for choosing your agency.
- Loyalty Builders – Once a level of trust has been established and a business relationship built, using social media or email is acceptable for keeping in touch. However, it is still important to use direct mail, such as newsletters, surveys, contest announcements, and even referral requests to keep from overwhelming those in this phase with electronic documents.
Lifecycle marketing is not as complicated as it may appear at first glance. It is simply a real estate marketing tool that makes sales more likely to occur and to help you develop customer relationships that could last for generations.