Defeat Database Decay
If you’re a savvy business owner, you know that when you’re building out your business what you’re really doing is building a database. As we discuss in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, your lead generation strategies should be tied to building a database that you can then work toward having a self-sustaining collection of referrals and contacts.
Real estate is a contact sport. What happens when you lose contact with your leads?
Your database is full of people and businesses that you’ve either done business with, hope to do business with at some point, or hope to be referred business from. But here’s the thing: people and companies are always changing. That means their data is too.
To keep your database up-to-date and your business top-of-mind, you’ll need to be purposeful in your campaigns and communication. Follow these best practices to keep your database alive and active:
Engage Often And Call Quarterly
Don’t neglect your most valuable business asset. In The TwentyPercenter, Jay Papasan discusses how to calculate the opportunity in your database, often to the tune of millions. According to Hubspot, email marketing databases naturally decay or degrade by approximately 22.5 percent each year.
If you’re not engaging your database; those opportunities aren’t coming your way.
There are hundreds of ways to engage with your database: events, newsletters (wink), market updates… but our research has shown over and over again that a quarterly call can be the most impactful. People really respond to someone who is reaching out to see how they are doing and if they can be of service. Of course, as in all your business’s calls, ensure that you’re TCPA compliant and avoiding anyone on the Do Not Call (DNC) list.
Make Sure You’ve Got The Essentials
While you’ll always be adding new people with new information, you also need to check on the people who have been in your database for some time. Life always happens. People get married, relocate, start families, change careers. As you work your database and continue to feed it, make sure you not only create new segments and tags but also keep all of your contacts updated. A database is only as good as it is accurate.
The following bits of information are essential for your database, and they are listed in order of importance:
Essential Information for Your Database
- Cell phone number
- Important dates
If you’re missing any of the above information for a lead, don’t be afraid to reach out and have a conversation with them to fill in the gaps.
You don’t need to have all of this at once. But you can make it your long-term goal to fill out all of this information over time. Each time you do a quarterly call, a priority should be to fill in another piece of essential information for your database.
Don’t Be A Pest: Purge
It’s natural that some people in your database won’t want you to contact them, will unsubscribe from your newsletter, and won’t return your messages. That’s business. But what about the people who haven’t done any of these things and are just sitting idly in your database? It’s possible these leads already feel spammed by your emails or other attempts at contacting them, they just haven’t said so. Or maybe their information isn’t correct. If a lead isn’t moving along your business pipeline at all, then it may be time to purge.
You should remove people who haven’t engaged with you, people who aren’t giving you any new information that’ll help complete or update their profiles, and people who aren’t opening any of your emails. Spamming people who don’t want to hear from you can negatively affect other aspects of your business.
Here’s a quick three-step process to clean out your database without simply scrubbing any unresponsive leads.
- Send one last email asking if they are interested in receiving content from you.
- Make “Is this goodbye?” the subject line
- Say that you notice that this person hasn’t been engaging with you and ask if they would like to be removed from your database.
Asking people whether they want to be in your database or not more often results in the person realizing they want to stay in rather than leave. It may also remind them to read your newsletters, which they might have missed among their endless onslaught of emails.
A database will naturally ebb and flow. The last thing you want to do is put effort where it doesn’t belong and fail to be effective where it matters.
Time Block Your Tending
No matter the size of your database, you’ll do a better job of keeping it tidy and up to date if you approach the task with a system in mind.
If there is one habit you should adopt before anything else, it's time blocking. Time blocking is a method that treats your time like the precious resource that it is. Instead of allowing a to-do list to set the agenda of the day, time blocking means creating a schedule around what’s most important to you.
You will need to time block at least an hour each day to import contacts, segment them, and create campaigns. We also recommend tending to your database for about two hours every two weeks. During this time, you can update any information and check on your incompletes, do a DNC check, and purge if necessary. If your market or value proposition is shifting, you need to time block additional hours to create new campaigns. If newsletters are a big part of your database’s lead generation, there should be a time block on your calendar for you to write and edit every edition you send out. No matter what stage your database is in, you need to consistently time block it so that you are tending to it properly.