One of the most important things for estate agents to do in the battle for recommendations and recognition in their neighbourhood is to involve themselves in the local community. There are the obvious options including school sponsorships and the like, but today I’m going to talk about creating a members club for your customers.
Estate agents are very often the first business a buyer or tenant will visit in an area they are new to. From coming in to register to arriving for viewings, you are at the centre of their world. They won’t be using the dry cleaners, florist, deli or barbershop just yet, but they will definitely start looking for them after they’ve moved into their new home.
And guess what, all the local businesses will be looking to welcome these new additions to the neighbourhood. And who is the connecting link in these potential new customer relationships? Estate agents!
There is a unique opportunity to weave your estate agent’s marketing strategy around introducing new residents to local businesses. In doing so you can – and will – create massive amounts of goodwill from the local business community, not to mention future sales and lettings from delighted and loyal buyers and tenants, who, let’s not forget, are the landlords and sellers of tomorrow.
Does this sound like a lot of work? Trust me, it’s not. So here’s my list of how to create a members club for your estate agent’s customers and clients.
- Think of a name, but don’t spend too long on it. Steal one from your favourite airline, club or brand. You could simply call it: The Agent X Members Club.
- Talk to your graphic designer and get them to put together some designs for membership cards. Something credit card sized. You can choose between one and two sided designs – whatever woks for your budget.
- Get some membership cards made. They are not expensive and you can use sites like Company Cards, Premier Plastic Cards and Simply Plastic Cards. If you want to go eco-friendly, try Plastic Eco Cards.
- Set up a page on your estate agency’s website where you can show your membership benefits – you’ll need some text and then a simple design that allows you to list the businesses taking part in the scheme and the offers they are making. WordPress can be a good tool for this because you can manage the uploads yourself very easily.
- Talk to local businesses. Tell them what you are doing. Make sure they know it’s for new people moving to the area so they’ll be reaching a new audience. Ask them what sort of discount they’d be happy to give. Really, you want an ongoing discount for anyone with the membership card, so the offer needs to be something each business is comfortable with for as long as they are part of the scheme. Between 10 and 15% off is usually enough to make the offer enticing enough.
- Upload the offers to the new membership page on your website. Decide on whether you’d like to feature images of the companies’ business premises, or of the people who work there, or their branding. Choose a theme you can continually use.
- Promote it! Stick a sign in your window, post to your social media, write about it in your blog, tell sellers and landlords at valuation appointments and tell buyers and tenants on viewings. Tell everyone who might become a customer to give them even more motivation to use you.
- Hand out membership cards to people on their moving-in day. You could include sellers if they are staying in the area, but make sure every buyer and tenant gets a membership card and ask them if you can update them periodically as new businesses join the scheme.
- Build an email list of the people who get membership cards so you can stay in touch with new offers and businesses. As well as presenting people with enticing reasons to visit local businesses, it’s a way of you staying in touch without asking for anything in return, which keeps your estate agency in their minds for their (and their friends’) future moves.
- Keep in touch with the businesses who join your members club to see if they’re getting any business from it and whether they’d like to try out different offers and discounts – perhaps for new services or products they are offering. They might even want to pay to go into your newsletter.
- Keep an eye out for new businesses opening up and for any you may have missed. Don’t just keep it to shops; there are all sorts of services people may want from living in the neighbourhood: sports clubs, yoga studios, architects, dentists, plumbers, gardeners, electricians, storage centres, car dealerships… The list is endless.
And remember, let me know how you get on!