With 15 years’ experience working for multiple Estate Agency businesses and software providers to the EA sector, Lauren Ali explores how advanced Database Marketing is helping EA clients buck the trend in the current market and increase revenues and profits at mid-large EA businesses.

In today’s ever-changing and unpredictable market, it is clear that estate agents need to find off the shelf solutions to generate qualified leads. Gone are the days of telesales teams hitting the phones to try and gain new business or re-engage existing customers – we know that more often than not it leads to frustrating potential vendors and closing any future relationships you may have. Door drops are proven to be successful for certain campaign types, but how are you measuring that and are they delivering the best ROI for your business? Are you still sending people out to tread the streets and hope they put the leaflets through the door?

Often, we all continue working in the same way we always have, but we don’t take a step back to analyse our theories properly. Our working days and weeks have changed and evolved yet we are still targeting prospects and marketing in the same way. Is it not time to evolve the way we use our marketing budgets too, to ensure we are seeing the optimum return for the effort we expend and the money we invest? Sitting back and waiting for the good old days to return in which deals land at our feet are gone and it’s time to approach the market in a different and more analytical way.

With buyers and sellers alike being more cautious as to when the right time to put their property on the market is or indeed invest their life savings in their dream home, we need to reassure them more than ever that they need an agent who works for them. An agent that is knowledgeable. An agent that works smarter than the rest.

The ever-increasing importance of online portals seems to take a huge chunk of your marketing budget, almost holding you to ransom. But if we go back to ‘the good old days’ they didn’t have such a hold over you then? We didn’t need them like we think we do now. Have you really analysed the true amount of revenue they bring in for your business or do we all just assume it’s where the budget should be going?

Data has been a hot topic of late, especially since the implementation of The GDPR in May of last year, but it has also always been one of the biggest headaches in most agents’ lives. We know it is one of the most vital assets in a business and yet most of the data we hold isn’t applicable today or is not being fully utilised to drive our future sales figures from past and present customers once the initial sale has been made – staff turnaround and inaccurate record keeping make it a minefield for any new starter or agency veteran for that matter. Who should they be targeting? Are they allowed to contact them? Do they still live at the address you have for them? This results in scenarios that are all too common, Mr Smith has been bombarded with marketing material now doesn’t want to hear from you at all; Mrs Jones died 5 years ago, yet you are still sending her mailers, which are returned every time; your wastage costs are only ever increasing and potential customers are disengaging with you.

What if you could cleanse your existing data, remove not only duplicates and unmailable records, but also deceased people and access updated contact details for those who have moved? What if we could enhance your data to identify those consumers living in your catchment area with a high propensity to move in the next 3, 6, 12 months? What if you could automate your print and email communication and never have to frank a letter again or pay full rate postage on any letter or mail piece your business sends out?

What if the solution to all your issues was already out there? Demonstrably improving data quality, increasing lead generation, measuring and improving your Return on Marketing investment and your customer lifetime value, as well as saving you money? Would you believe it?

greenstone data solutions ltd has a solution that across the marketing mix is able to make a significant and measurable difference to your business. It is why I now work here and am taking this solution to my clients and contacts across the UK. 

We can take your customer data from whatever operational software systems you rely on for your Business as Usual process (ReapIT, JUPIX, Vebra Alto and others), cleanse it and cross match it (for free) to the most extensive consumer database in the UK, Orchard Consumer and The UK Property File enhancing it with details that will enable you to target your marketing like never before.

As someone who has worked in the estate agency industry for more than 15 years, it is simply mind blowing. Not only does this solution help ensure you are GDPR compliant, it also enables customer profiling, customer and prospect segmentation and improved marketing strategy, which all results in you being able to target the right people, at the right time with the right message – whilst not interrupting or changing your existing operational software that runs your business as usual activities.

You will also have access to a prospect pool of prospective customers just like yours, from your entire target area of people who are happy to be contacted and, (if we utilise all the information we have combined with your customer data), people who want to hear about you because they are likely to be ‘in-market’ for your services. That and the ability to run completely automated sold-in-your-street campaigns, at branch level or from a centralised office and completely automated customer journey marketing campaigns across print, email and digital channels – a few clicks and the rest is done automatically, every day, week and month thereafter. And we can tell you exactly how profitable every campaign you run actually is for your business.

Whilst data is where we start, it is not where our solutions end. We have a team of marketing strategists who analyse your marketing and your business and measure the EXACT return on every marketing £ spent, to optimise your marketing and to always strive for maximum return on investment. We have worked as database marketing expert providers to the retail, insurance and financial service industries for the past 13 years, and we are now taking all that we know from these sectors and bringing advanced database marketing capabilities to the Estate Agency sector too.

We run KPI report’s and Marketing performance reports, daily, weekly, monthly, as required, all automatically (which alone has saved one of our clients 60-man hours per week) and now delivers accurate sales forecasts and ROI reports to the Management Team for the whole business (and broken down by performance of sales, lettings, financial services, property investment, area, brand, branch, and individual agent).

Talking the talk is one thing, but we all know that seeing is believing. I can show you that our clients are getting a MINIMUM 486% ROI for every £1 spent on marketing through our solution on new business campaigns and a MINIMUM 701% ROI for every £1 spent on marketing to existing and previous customers. Serious statement, right? But it’s what we are seeing and we can proudly demonstrate it. Our clients stay with us, because they are seeing the results. More leads, increased lifetime value, no additional marketing spend to achieve vastly improved results (or a reduced spend and budget that achieves the same result as in previous years).  

We have found that saving our customers money (and improving their sales and lettings revenue and margin figures year on year) comes down to cleansed data and targeted, intelligent marketing – put simply, it results in less returns, less wastage and increased response and conversion rates. We have helped our clients reduce their average return rate from over 19% in some cases to less than 2%.

Plus, because our marketing system is fully automated and modular (so we just deliver the elements you need), you no longer have any franking costs, no envelope stuffing, no hand delivered door dropping. From our modular marketing solution, you can personalise collateral and send it straight to print, where your order is fulfilled and posted out to head office, branch or customer. You benefit from our Hybrid Mail solution that guarantees to save you money on postage – we typically save clients at least a quarter of their current postage costs in year 1, regardless of the number of letters or leaflets they need to send out each day, week or month.

Looking at the bigger picture, our solutions free up your staff so they can do what they do best – build relationships! We know that people buy from people and getting that deal across the line means agents having the time (and the focus) to do that. Our solution allows you take advantage of technological advances in marketing, to enable you to bring back the personal approach that’s always worked in closing sales with customers.

We already work with some of the largest and most progressive brands in the sector.  If you would like to take us up on the offer of a free data audit and see the results that we are already generating for other Estate Agency clients already on board, so you can see exactly where you could be saving money and achieving more sales too, then please do get in contact with me on 01732 240290 today.