A Rule of Thumb Isn’t a Rule of Everybody
You are an awesome REALTOR®. You have leads coming to your peoplebase from a variety of sources, at all different stages of the buying process. In an effort to gain the most clients, you research email send schedules, spend hours crafting the perfect email of the perfect length, and monitor each person’s activity on your website.
You’re a data gathering, researching, planning machine. Way to go!
Somewhere along the way, though, you may follow the rules too much and cut out who you are — the most valuable factor in your brand.
We don’t want that to happen, so we have some ideas to share with you.
Imagine you aren’t a real estate agent, and you’re a general store clerk instead. You serve a clientele in Depauville, NY. There have been studies about the best way to approach customers that are written for storefronts in New York City, you’ve learned about all of the new products that are catching consumers’ attention, and you’re fluent in the most appealing color scheme combinations.
When a customer walks through your door, you have a choice: Do you approach them based on the figures of the macrocosm that you’ve studied, or do you approach them based on what they seem to need at that moment?
Collecting data on consumers, watching how they’re responding to the newest trends, mapping their buying processes — it’s all important, especially for those who have an audience of millions for their products and services.
If, though, your audience hasn’t reached the one million mark yet, you’re working within a microcosm, and those guidelines might limit your ability to reach each potential client. Studies on the most effective Tweet length or the best time of day to send an email don’t apply to every person who comes through the doors of your CRM. Some people prefer checking their email at 7:00 PM on Mondays, even though studies say you should only be emailing Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
The studies can give you a good “Rule of Thumb” — but a Rule of Thumb will never be a Rule of Everybody.
Should You Ignore the Studies?
Simple answer: No. Develop a way to approach your leads so that it extends to a Rule of Everybody.
Here are a few specific areas in which you might want to consider a more comprehensive approach:
Email Length: We have many, many sources discussing why emails should remain as short as possible. They say they should be 5 sentences long and short enough to read without scrolling on a mobile platform.
These approaches may work to an extent… but they don’t apply to everyone, and the shortest, most efficient email ever might not make you stand out.
Instead, treat each message like a thesis, stating your most important points first.
You can show exactly how you’ll benefit the consumer in the first two sentences… and if you elaborate a bit afterwards to tell a story, share interesting information, communicate something of value, or simply help the readers get to know you better, you may capture a wider percentage of your audience.
Yes, some Millennials will only read the first two sentences of the email. Some Baby Boomers will do the same. Others, across all generations, will read much longer text if it’s relevant to them. In fact, engaging content can capture almost anyone in its entirety. (If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the email list at OK Dork and watch 15 minutes tick away as you read the full content every time Noah Kagan sends a message to your inbox.)
So — yes, short content can be effective. So can long content (you’ve read this post up until this point after all). Don’t be afraid of either.
Email Timing: As addressed above, when to send a marketing email is a huge discussion point. For example, here’s an article outlining six case studies that investigated when consumers open the most email.
We have found that being consistent about communication and always providing value in the messages will keep your open rates high. There is nothing wrong with planning your send schedules around high email traffic times each week, but don’t let these statistics keep you from sending timely information on a different day or cause you to send messages that lack value.
A person will intently read an email that has information they need at 10:00 PM on a Saturday night or even save it to read first-thing in the morning. Prioritize writing these kinds of emails above matching send schedule statistics.
Collecting Data on Users’ Web Patterns: In this scenario, you’re the one providing the “Rules of Thumb” to yourself, and while they’re extremely useful for determining who is interested in your service, they can also be misleading.
Sometimes too much data keeps you from making a personal connection at the right time. Perhaps a couple who registered on your website has been very active for a week or two — and suddenly, they stopped visiting. Many REALTORS® will assume the lead is growing cold — that’s what the data clearly says — but we suggest further investigation.
They may have simply downloaded the Realtor.com app and are more interested than ever in working with a REALTOR®. Only a phone call or personal email can tell.
Data is great — but it doesn’t show everything. Each lead is an individual, and each lead responds to different touches (especially human ones). Since you’re in the business of helping individual people, you can adjust to them accordingly.
Rules of Thumb are phenomenal starting points. They can serve as the platforms for your communication strategy. However, to be most effective, add extra layers that offer different levels of appeal — focusing on adding value, connecting personally with your leads, and understanding that each contact is a unique individual. Never, ever be afraid to try something new and different simply because it doesn’t comply with a Rule of Thumb.