Updated: Nov 16, 2020
It’s easy to dismiss ‘personalised marketing’ as a fad: most of us understand, rationally, that when we receive an email addressed to us from a business, it doesn’t mean that business really cares about us as an individual.
But the reality is, personalisation works: merely personalising CTAs has been shown to improve conversions by 202%, and the more personal you can make your communications the more effective they will be.
The key, for estate agents, is to see personalisation not as a simple introduction of personal information in communications, but an overarching approach to every elements of their comms strategy.
While this is tough to pull off, the benefits it offers are numerous. And given the reputation estate agents often have, going the extra mile to achieve better personalisation will not only add a human touch – it will help you stand out from the crowd.
In this article, we’re going to explore why and how this works.
A large part of the reason personalisation is so effective is simple: people love to hear their own name. A body of research – primarily by Brett Pelham – has demonstrated that we each get a little flash of pleasure when we hear our name.
So deep is this bias that even things that simply sound like our name appear to please us – men named Lawrence and women named Laurie are actually statistically more likely than average to be lawyers, and people called Dennis and Denise are slightly more likely to become dentists!
Reading a personalised message therefore activates our vanity, and makes us feel good about the message we’re receiving – which in turn makes us more disposed respond positively. But there’s more to personalisation than simply including personal information – you should also be matching the kinds of messages you send to specific individuals.
Clients come first
Agencies should always be looking to ensure their communications are as valuable to the recipient as possible. In the research literature, this is known as ‘other-orientation’ – the willingness of businesses and brands to focus on the customer rather than themselves.
Sending out newsletters to keep customers up to date with your agency’s achievements is hardly going to create a personal connection – if anything, it signals that you see them as something to add to your trophy shelf.
Instead, agencies need to be focusing on sending out the kinds of information specific clients want know about, and tailoring the message to ensure clients feel seen and valued.
Personalisation of this kind is particularly crucial to existing customers: global consultancy Accenture has found that nearly half of all customers and clients expect specialised treatment for being loyal to a business, but very few manage to deliver such treatment.
Estate agents have terrific data on their existing customers, yet few make proper use of it. Think of the impact simply sending personalised messages on special occasions – like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas – or keeping clients updated about how much money they’ve made in the last year can have.
This level of care not only makes clients feel good – it activates their innate instinct towards reciprocity.
The final element of personalisation is not the content or context of the message – it is the person actually sending it. Ensuring, for example, that appointment emails are sent from the person who will undertake the appointment – not the office – immediately creates a personal connection and sets the stage for a more productive meeting.
We tend to think of digital communication – emails, websites – as cheap and disposable, which is why we are so much more comfortable ignoring an email, say, than a handwritten letter. But if we add a human face to it, it becomes much harder to ignore.
Robert Cialdini has demonstrated that a fundamental element of human behaviour is reciprocity: we are hardwired with a drive to return the favours we are afforded, and for an estate agent this is vital information.
By treating our clients and leads like human beings, we make them want to do the same back to us; that sense of mutual giving makes it harder for them to treat us as disposable, to ignore our communications or to dismiss our business.
Conclusion | Creating connections
It’s a strange paradox that personalisation can work even when we see through its strategies, but the proof is in the pudding, and for agents attempting to compete today, personalisation is key to creating advantage.
Not only does it ensure your communications are more impactful, it creates a clear differentiation between your agency and most of your competitors.
If you’d like to learn how Active Agent can help you develop and deploy a more effective personalisation strategy, book your free demo today.