Keeping in touch with old clients is a powerful but sometimes poorly executed marketing strategy. When done correctly, it can lead to new referrals or new business. The upcoming holiday season is a good time to reconnect with past clients. Let’s look at how Realtors and real estate agents can properly contact clients during the holidays.
Before you contact past clients, ask yourself ‘why’
It’s important to be authentic and empathetic to your past clients at all times. If the only time a past Buyer or Seller hears from you is during the holidays and you’re only asking for referrals, it may turn them off to referring you to others. Contacting during the holidays assumes that you’ve built a relationship with them beforehand.
If the reason you’re contacting past clients is solely to ask for a referral, you may want to reconsider this strategy. The holidays are special for many of your past clients. You don’t want to seem inauthentic by appearing out of the blue and asking them for something during this special time. It’s also a time when they’re likely to be bombarded with sales, offers, and requests from other businesses. You don’t want to get lost in that shuffle.
Make sure that you’re comfortable with your relationships first and foremost. If you are, contacting during the holidays is a great way to leverage the goodwill you’ve built throughout the year and differentiate yourself authentically.
Now, let’s look at five marketing ideas you can use to successfully reach out to past clients during the holidays.
1. Send personalized cards
Sending a personalized, handwritten card in the mail can go a long way toward building memorable relationships.
Though email marketing is certainly useful in general, your clients likely get hundreds of emails a day. Getting a personally addressed, handwritten card in the mail is much rarer and much more meaningful. That personal connection can also make former clients feel like their relationship with your business is authentic and personal, making it more than just a business transaction.
While email and social media holiday greetings are fine as a token gesture, they aren’t nearly as effective as a physical card sent through the mail. People are also understandably reluctant to open attachments for fear of computer viruses.
Again, make sure you have a good relationship and know your past clients well when sending a personalized card. You might wish them well in the coming year, ask them how they’re enjoying their home, and offer any help you can provide. Though it may seem counterintuitive, resist the urge to flatly ask for referrals in holiday cards. It will likely come off as shallow.
2. Offer a memorable gift
If you want to give small gifts to your former clients or customers, make them memorable. Things like personalized cutting boards, wine keys, throw blankets, and the like serve as reminders that you care about your clients beyond the transaction. This is another reason why you need to have confidence in your relationships with past clients, as it will help you send memorable gifts that are also meaningful.
Regardless of the type of gift you send, make sure it’s memorable. A really memorable gift can encourage past clients to contact you to reconnect.
3. Get creative
Special events or extra holiday touches also can go a long way in getting your past clients’ attention and setting you apart. Here are some ideas:
- Help them prepare for the holidays. From meal tips and recipes to gift ideas and complimentary gift-wrapping services, think about ways you can take some of the holiday work off your past clients’ shoulders.
- Provide relevant information. Planning can be hectic during the holidays, especially with family and friends in town. You can send information about local holiday deals from your local business alliances, winter-themed events like ice-carving shows, or other holiday activities.
- Print a calendar. Print out a personalized calendar to give out to your clients that highlights your specialties and personality. Consider pretty pictures from around the neighborhoods you work in and cute pets if you have them.
4. Do a good deed
More than ever before, people want to work with people who have a higher purpose. Doing a good deed is a good way to show your clients what you stand for.
The holidays are an ideal time to give back to the community and demonstrate your commitment to making your neighborhood a better place. Choose a charity to support, and get your past and present customers involved. Offer a discount or a gift card to customers who volunteer a certain amount of time during the year.
5. Forge meaningful connections
It bears repeating: Consistent and authentic interactions are key to building memorable connections with previous clients. You can’t simply pop up during the holidays because it’s convenient. Contacting during holidays should be a part of, not the start of, your marketing strategy.
The best way to forge meaningful relationships is by constantly providing value. Whether you provide home maintenance tips for your Buyers, virtual open house staging tips for your Sellers, or even a home warranty, helping your clients succeed will help you leverage your holiday outreach even more successfully.
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