Here's the perfect first contact email that gets them to respond

Hey there! Are you frustrated when you cannot get your Facebook leads to respond or any online leads to respond?

Today I am going to actually walk you through the process you need to have to get your leads to respond. And in particular I am going to teach you the perfect first contact email that they should get.

Because let’s be frank. Most of you all are sending out a whole long novel introducing yourselves and that is actually the wrong thing to send out. If you want responses I’m going to show you; I’m going to give it to you.

We are going to talk about today like I said how to get your online leads to respond to you. I’m going to slip in some “how-to use marketing” so that it actually works and so that you are not just contributing to all the noise out there so that you are not one of the people who is getting “less than 20% or less than 30%” open rate so that you are actually using this and it is actually working for you.

Alright here’s my question for you.

Do You Struggle With Getting Leads To Respond To You?

I really want to know. I need your help so I can help you, I really want to know do you struggle with getting leads to respond to you?

When they opt-in on your IDX or they opt-in through a home value ad or they opt-in in some way by giving you their email address, do you struggle with getting them to respond to you? If you do, comment below. Let me know!

And then if you have figured something out that you are willing to share, tell me, let me know because we want to curate everything that works. There are some things that I actually know work and then there are other things that make me go “oh, that works, that’s great!” And I would love to know that.

So if you are struggling with that, please comment below, it will give me a good idea on how to shape today’s session around you, the live viewer.

So again, we are going to talk about the steps that you need to do to get your leads to respond.

Now, here’s the thing with this. You need to know how to use it and why it’s the perfect first contact email.

When leads are first contacting us, first of all, we know that they are on the defense. We want them to be ready, willing and able and right away but the truth is that they are not.

They are on the defense. They are just kinda looking like when you go into a store and you just want to look around for the first time, see what’s going on and the sales clerk batters you and doesn’t let you think on your own, yeah, that’s what they think we are going to do to them. Because, heck, that’s what we have done to them in the past.

So what we need to do and remember is that they are just looking and they are most likely nine to twelve, nine to eighteen months out. That is every single lead that you come into contact with, by the way, not just online leads.

Unless someone you know is like “hey, my friends are out looking at houses, let me refer them to you,” that’s a little bit different and that’s actually rare. That’s actually what you do want to have, those instant ones. But right now we are going to deal with the 99% of leads that you get, that are not instant. The 99.9% of leads that you get are not instant.

Barb says

I received my first three opt-ins and have not gotten any responses yet from them.

So Barb, for all of you, here’s what you want to do. First of all, you always want to have opt-ins coming in. Always. You can’t just get a few and say “oh, I’m going to work with those!” No, no, no, no, you always have to have that pipeline always going, going, going, right, 

So then what we want to do is we want to use our email marketing so if they have not given you anything else except their email, I don’t care what they have given you- if they have given you their email then this must happen, 

This is the key with this- if they give you a phone number, absolutely stinking call them. If they have given you a mailing address, absolutely stinking send them a letter in the mail. If they have given you an email address, regardless of what they have given over here, regardless if you have contacted them via the phone number, regardless if you have contacted them via the snail mail, you must email them. 

This is not a pick one way and contact them.  You need to contact them always but there are different strategies for each way so that they are not feeling like “good grief would you pickin’ leave me alone?” Alright, so we are going to work on that email. We are going to talk about that email today.

When Somebody Registers on Your IDX

First of all when somebody is registering in your IDX, say they register into your IDX, they were looking for properties, or you were listing a house for sale, whatever, and they opted-in, they gave you their first name and their 

What’s the first email you should send them? In fact, most agents, I don’t think I’ve met an agent yet who doesn’t do this. Most agents say “this is an awesome property! It’s gonna go fast, do you want to see it?” They may not always say that first part, but it’s always “do you want to see it? Do you want to schedule an appointment?” And the customer is like “dude, I was just looking at the property!”

Think About The Customer’s Journey

The very first thing that you want to do, is you want to think about all of this, you want to think about the customer’s journey. What is their journey? And I’m talking about the micro-steps. Their journey is not opt-in, then suddenly say “I want to see that property!” That’s not the journey- you skipped a whole huge section here.

What’s The First Thing You Can Give Them Of Value

You need to think about, okay, when someone opts-in, to your IDX, what is the first thing that you could give them, that’s valuable, that could help them continue their process? Well, the first thing is, you could confirm is that, hey, is the system, is the tech working for you? Is it working? Are you struggling with this, here’s a video for this, etc. You want to teach them how to use it so that they become ingrained in your IDX system, into your system.

That is the very first step, is to make sure they are actually getting what they want, like tech-wise. Then you start going “do you want me to do tweak any searches for you?” Then you move though that journey.  

The whole point of this is, that you need to be giving value. You aren’t going to plug them for an appointment. Yes, if they want to see something there will come a time. If you notice them looking a the same piece of property over and over, then say “hey, do you want to go see this? I can get you in this Saturday, or whenever, if you want to see this.

You can be both assertive and not offensive. You can both be a closer without driving a nail into their head, you can do it both ways. The key to this is the journey, the journey. You want the next microscopic next step for them.

Your Two Goals In Your Email Marketing

Here’s the thing, you want that journey, but here’s the thing, when you are doing email marketing, I’ve shared this before, I think I shared this yesterday in “The Art of Nurture,” when you are doing email marketing, you have to realize that your, YOUR number one goal is not to get an appointment. Your number one goal is to get into the email inbox. Your number two goal is to get opened.

Here’s the thing, and I talked to you yesterday about the stats, three out of every ten emails that are sent never make it to the recipient. Never. They could be emails. They could be stuff sent normally back and forth. Just the morning, I had our email service provider, who sends us emails fairly regularly about our account, etc, I found one of their emails in spam. Makes no sense, because they have never been in spam before. But that’s one way that three out of ten emails don’t make it to the recipient.

The other way is through your ISP. So it’s not that it could just be blocked on my spam level. It could be blocked on the entire global email, like Gmail could block it before it ever even gets to you or your ISP could block it before it ever even gets to you, their outgoing ISP. There are so many places the email could get blocked, lost, etc. And it’s very typical 30% of emails don’t make it to the recipient.

Now, how do you circumvent that? First of all, you don’t just send one email, that’s the first thing. But second of all, you need to get into their inbox, which means that you need to have a subject line that they would be interested in. A subject line that is not full of spam, not a sales pitch that actually tells them what they are getting in the email because not only do you want to get into their box but you want them to open it.

How To Get People To Open Your Emails

The way to get people to open your emails is to number one have good subject line letting them know what is in the email.

Number two deliver what you promise. If they open that email and you have a sales pitch in there or if they open that email and it’s a long boring diatribe about yourself and your services and thank you and blah, blah, blah, they’ll never open another email again.

Because it’s not about them and it doesn’t serve them and doesn’t help them. You have to make sure that you are serving them and helping them.

And there are all kinds of other stuff! The number of pictures you include in the email, the number of links that are in the email.

If you are using a fancy email signature with all of your social media links on it you just killed your chances of getting into most people’s inboxes. If you are even using a fancy email with your brand name all over it and stuff, you just killed your chances of getting into their email inboxes.

Deliver What You Promised

You want to be sure that you are walking through that customer journey. You want to make sure that you are delivering what you promised.

If you say one thing in the subject line and if you are like every other email and your first email is like “Hi, I’m Jane Doe with RE/MAX or Century 21 or Coldwell-Banker (it doesn’t matter) and I’m so glad that you used our blah, blah, blah today and I just love helping blah, blah, blah.” You know Charlie Brown?

That’s what they hear. They hear nothing. They read the first line and go “boring!” And then delete it.

After that first email, if they don’t open up your other ones that affects your deliverability.

So if you don’t have something that’s focused on them, if you are not asking them to reply to you, in a way that allows you to help them where they are without forcing them to the next step you will never get email marketing to work for you.

If you keep sending them stuff that is out of left field, stuff that’s not related to real estate or if you use a vendor that says “we’ll get your emails open!” Well yeah, but so?

It’s unrelated to what they are even interested in. They are interested in their home, in their future home, in their family, in their friends or in the lifestyle that they live or want to live.

That’s what they are interested in and if you aren’t delivering that to them in their email in some way, it’s going to be pointless and meaningless.

In some way, it’s like “why bother doing any sort of lead generation if you can’t follow up that way?” Here’s the thing- your snail mail needs to be the exact same way. Your snail mail needs to be about them, not “hey, we just listed fifty new listings” or “we just did this, and we did that.”

Sure, great, you want to throw that out to them every once in a while but if that’s all you ever send out, whoosh, it gets thrown into the round file or square file, whatever it is, trash can.

So you need to be about them. You are trying to buy know-like-trust relationships.

Okay, so Jonathan says

Christina, I have +/- 68% open rate for my introductory e-mail (similar in tone to the sample ‘perfect e-mail’ you offered earlier), and 48%, and 41% for 2nd and 3rd follow-up (within 7 day period). I average about 4% reply rate. It seems as though I’m getting opened, but not able to get that direct engagement started. How do I increase the replies?

So, the way that you increase the replies, Jonathan is saying “I’m getting opens, but I’m not getting any replies.” Yes if you are getting opens but your open rate is collectively going down for each one- tweak the very next one.

So if your open rates are 68% for the first one make sure what you are promising in the subject line is what you are actually giving to them and only that in the email.  If there is just too much stuff in there, or like, more than one specific thing to do then that’s going to create confusion.

Your First Email Should Request A Reply

Your first email should also request a reply. Like this one is very specific, tech could be buggy, “if it’s not working for you, please hit reply and let me know.” That’s a quick little easy unrelated to “hey, come to my office and let’s meet.”

Then by the second email, because something should be happening between the first email and the second. If nothing has happened maybe you missed a step. What I mean by that is maybe the next step that they need to take, the next micro-step, is not what you think they need to take.

Maybe that’s why that second email has a lower open rate. Actually your emails should be getting a higher open rate as you progress through especially if you just keep giving them value.

So if you think through “what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing,” in shorter steps most of the time, we go too big, too long.

What else can I give them? What’s another resource that I can give them?

Also it could be how far apart you are sending your emails. They could be too close, too far apart. Just kind of depends. There are a lot of variables in that to know. You should want to tweak that and test that. Try them closer together, further apart, you know, the logical steps to take next.

Give People Something They Value

One of the things that I do with our emails is that lately, I’ve been doing an email every single day out to my email community. But I’m going to switch that up because I’m trying to get you guys to come onto the trainings because that’s where the value is so I’m letting my email community know that “hey, I’m out here on a training….you should come online if you can, otherwise you can watch it in replay.”

So if you want to have people stay subscribed to that, to actually be giving them something that they could use. If you just decided “okay, every Saturday I’m going to send out a special discount to do something.”

Here’s the thing- if you are going to be giving out a “coupon,” (I put the quotations around it loosely) or discount away, make darn well sure that that coupon or that discount cannot be gotten anywhere else.

Make darn well sure that it’s not the typical thing that everyone offers, because if it is, there is no value to it.

What we used to do is, we worked with one of the local coffee stands around here, and just say “hey, if we give out a $5 coffee gift card, whoever uses it, just charge us. Or a free drink, just charge us.” So that’s what we did- we would do it via email…You get a free drink on us. That’s it, just print this, go to this coffee stand and you get a free drink on us.

You can do that. And usually what the coffee stand would end up doing is they would split what half of that free drink costs with us and we would tell them “you have to use it on a certain day,” it wasn’t like a “you can use this eight months later” kind of thing. We wanted to keep the costs not “reigned in,” but not straggling.

So we did that, we did free frozen yogurt, we did a lot of free wine tastings announcements because we like wine. We used to do customer events like that.

You can also give them the latest news on what’s going on in their housing area. If there is something that got notified or something people might not get notified about like right now today is on track to be the hottest day of the year where we live.

I think that they said it was supposed to be, oh no, hold on, they said tomorrow is supposed to be hotter, wow it’s going to be 104 degrees today and 108 degrees tomorrow, which is just insane. That’s crazy for here!

We average the 80’s! That’s crazy insane for here. But because of that, there have been all kinds of “don’t use your fire pits,” and all kinds of fire warnings. That’s the kind of stuff I would send- not everyone is on Facebook all the time to see those messages. Not everyone’s got their TV’s and radios on.

You could send something like that. You can send out some breaking news anything related to their house, their living, etc. that they’re doing or events that they might want to do.

We had a situation a few years ago, like I don’t know if you guys know but the entire Northwest was on fire. We weren’t but the area surrounding our little town was. We were surrounded, completely surrounded, which the air was horrible, the air-quality was off the charts.

It was so bad, it was off the charts. So literally, we weren’t leaving our house, it was really bad. And that was something that you could notify people, like my parents wanted to take the kids up to an area for a couple of nights and I’m like “you can’t, because it’s worse up there!” They hadn’t realized how bad it was- like it was bad outside and really bad. It was like a blizzard up there but it was smoke.

Share Things That Relate To Their Lifestyle

So you could share that kind of stuff, all of the things that would relate to their lifestyle- this is their lifestyle, this is their living, this is all about them.

And then pop in things, tools that they can use to make their search easier. You know, if you also said “hey, have you been using Zillow? Here’s a couple of things you should know about using Zillow. If you find a home on Zillow, pop over here to your IDX, (just assume they are using it), and here’s how you can check to see if that home is still available.”

And pretty soon, they are going to realize that there are actually a lot of properties on Zillow that aren’t actually available and you are going to teach them how to check for themselves and at that point, once they start checking and realize “oh, this person has my best interest at heart!” or “oh, I will listen to them.”

That’s where you want to really be- you want to be helping them and teaching them, helping them to grow. That’s what you are going to use your email marketing for. That’s what you are going to use your snail-mail marketing for.

And you still keep putting house stuff in there because there will always be people who are interested in buying and selling and then wanting that data.

But here’s the thing, we put people on our email list and snail mail list and we think that we only want to help them through the home-buying business. They are only in the home-buying or the home-selling process for approximately six months.

Only a couple of times in their entire life, unless they are like me and move every three years because I’m abnormal, but typically, people only move a few times in their life. Like buying and selling houses- that’s only about a six month process through that whole thing.

So from the time that they get really serious to actually buying a house what are you going to send out the rest of the time to keep them interested? You talk about their life, their lifestyle, etc.

You engage them in everything that is surrounding what’s in it for them.

Take Microscopic Steps

Usually the steps that we go are way bigger than where they are so if we could just microscopic the very next thing, like if it’s the tech or “do you know how to use the search for this?” Then give them a video, “here’s how to use the search,” or “here’s how to save properties, “ or “here’s how to view that listing,” or “here’s how to see if that property had a price reduction,” or “here’s how to schedule an appointment to see the property!” and sneak that in there.

Then “here’s how to text me if you need me to answer any questions you’re not seeing answered on there,” things like that.

Show them how to do all of that. Because remember, most people aren’t techy. Like they just aren’t, most of them don’t know how to use this stuff. Most of the Realtors aren’t techy either, but when you are showing people how to use it, you’re going to have to learn it so show them.

That’s where they are seeing the value. That’s where they are going to see the value that you are offering to them.

What Was Most Useful For You?

So I have a question for you! I always, always want to know the answer to this- what was most useful for you today?? When I’m talking about all of this and teaching you all of this, what was the most useful for you that I could help you with? That really helps me when I know what was useful for you and if it’s something I should dive deeper on then I will!

Today was an example of what I needed to dive deeper on.

Q & A

Melissa says

I have Boomtown. Do you have follow up texts and drip email campaigns that have worked for you?

Okay so there are a couple of things- you can automate some stuff, alright, but you need to set up the journey. You need to figure out and map out the journey.

Here’s what I mean by that- when people opt-in to Boomtown, we used TigerLeads at the time as opposed to Boomtown.

When people opted-in the very first thing that I sent out was “hey, were you able to find what you were looking for? How was the tech for you?”

The very next thing I would send out was a video of where I would teach them on how to use the behind-the-scenes of that, you can automate all of that. You create it, then you can automate it.

So, you can’t use somebody else’s because it’s your Boomtown system.  You would have to show people on your system, how to use it, how to set it up. Then you are going to want to show them how to find certain things- sometimes it’s hard to find the details of what they want, show them how to find that.

Show them if they are looking and this is where you want to start customizing what they’re looking at and then set them up on a list. Okay so yesterday on The Art of Nurture I gave out a template of exactly what to set people up on the minute they opt-in. You need to set them up on automated emails as far as listings go.

So you need to map out their journey yourself and customize it which a lot of it can be automated, however, it’s going to be custom-automated meaning you can’t use someone else’s drip campaign for it.

You need to figure out what their journey is through your system and teach them how to use your systems.

Lois says

I have a Realtor program to give out 10% discount coupons to clients. Is that a worthwhile gift?

Eh…yes and no. They have 10% off coupons all the time. I mean, they’ve got some good options, but anyone can get those anywhere. I would still give it as a gift, but it’s more about raising awareness of the gift then the value of the gift. The value is in that you are raising awareness by giving them the gift- you need to give other things, things that they normally wouldn’t get as well.

So I am just now starting this, What can I give my #RIBBIT, my Messenger subscribers, my Messenger community that are getting notified of these live streams… what could I give them on Saturday because I’m not on live? What do I have of value to give them, that they are asking for and they are wanting. So that’s where I got that idea from.

You guys could do that for yours. You could give them a surprise value. Maybe there is an event going on where you could give them a surprise discount too or a surprise entrance fee or something, a ticket to the event.

Rick says

What’s most useful is the discussion on micro-steps instead of let’s meet and go see houses.

Exactly- now don’t get me wrong, you want to make sure they are available and that they know that you are available, I mean, they know that, obviously, but you don’t want that to be your main push because you want to build their trust. Once you have their trust, you can ask them for the sale as long as you keep giving value they are not going to turn away.

Here’s the key, we are building know, like and trust relationships because when somebody knows, likes and trusts you, they are loyal to you and they will stick with you because they know that you are going to teach them, that you’re going to help them, that you’re going to inspire them, that you’re going to give them.  

This is exactly what I’m doing on here you. You see me training every single day in the month of August. Yeah, I’ve offered a few of you entrance to the vault and you can get in, but I will be closing the vault that’s an absolute, I will be closing it, but here’s the thing- in the meantime, I’m still going to train you. Even if you aren’t in the vault. I’m still going to help you tackle a couple of things. If I can just give you a little idea that will help tweak your business because even a one degree change, a one degree tweak completely changes your destination.

That is my goal with you, to help you, all of you.

Barb says

The idea of doing tutorial videos for my clients is what was most useful.

Like, yeah, isn’t that surprising. We don’t even think about what they are using, how they are doing it, etc.

A lot of people come in and they are nervous about the contract and things like that- you don’t have to go every piece of the contract, but you could highlight a couple of things that people tend to have the most questions on about the purchase and sales contract, about the buyer agreement contract.

You can actually highlight it and talk about it and say “this is what it means,” and “here’s the questions to ask,” etc.

Teach them, educate them. Tell them what questions to ask the agent they are working with (just don’t assume they are going to work with you) but know that whatever they are doing, you are in their brain. You want to make sure they are making the best choices for them.

 Written by Christina Ethridge - the founder of Leads and Leverage, helping overwhelmed business owners eliminate the marketing chaos and get more customers. Simplify your marketing & bring in more sales. 
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