OK, so you have a blog, a web site, an email marketing campaign. Or whatever media you’re currently using to get your message out. And you frequently hear yourself saying, “But I’m not a writer.”
Of course you’re not. But you can be one for long enough to get the job done if you will answer these seven simple questions as you write:
- Who are they?
- What do they want?
- What’s the hook?
- What’s your story?
- What’s in it for them?
- What are other people saying?
- What do you want?
- Who are they? Before you begin to write, you need to create a very clear picture of your ideal client. It’s not just anyone who wants to buy or sell a home. You need to see your prospective clients as real individuals, not a generic crowd. You need to feel what they are feeling and see the world through their eyes. What does their dream home look like? What does the perfect selling experience look like (to them, not to you)?
- What do they want? Be very specific here. Are you trying to appeal to downsizing seniors? Young families with school-aged kids? Young urban singles? Obviously, every client sub-group has very specific and very different needs and interests. Stop trying to be all things to all people or to cover all your market bases with a single blog post or email blast. It’s fine to have multiple market segments. But you need to target each segment regularly with specific messages in order to be effective.
- What’s the hook? OK, now you’re actually ready to write. First, you have to get their attention. That means starting with a good headline. Be dramatic, shocking, humorous or even silly. But never be boring. As an example, let’s dissect the headline for this article. First, How to. Everybody wants to know how to do things better. There’s an entire web site (eHow.com) where every article starts with How to. It’s been around for years, so they must be doing something right. Next, Write Passionate Prose. OK, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but it made you smile, and maybe even think twice about being a writer, didn’t it? Last, When You’re Not a Writer. And you said, “Yep, that’s me!” You identified with it immediately. And if you’re still here, it got you to keep reading.
- What’s your story? You need to do two things: first, let your readers know that you understand them because you’ve been where they are. Second, provide them with something of value, a takeaway they can use. For example, you were a young mom whose only must-have in your first home was a bathroom door that locked from the inside. Or you know what it’s like to down-size, because your parents just bought a condo in Florida.
The second part of your story is information, news they can use. You’re an expert in all things real estate. You’ve got market data. You know what’s hot and what’s not. You can give them tips for choosing a home inspector, or a how-to checklist for home staging.
- What’s in it for them? Here’s where you get very specific about the services you offer. Describe in detail exactly what you can do for the client, how you do it, how long it takes, and how much it costs. This is a little intimidating, because you don’t want to scare away any potential business opportunities. But it also helps your clients self-select so you’re not wasting time chasing people who aren’t serious or who don’t fit your ideal client profile. Tell them exactly how to get started doing business with you.
- What are other people saying? Of course you have a file of testimonials from satisfied clients, don’t you? Almost any client communication can be enhanced with a positive client comment. On a web site you can devote an entire page to testimonials. You can start or end a blog post with a quote. For example, “I just got an email from Joe and Martha Smith. They said, “Working with Ginni was the easiest and most painless real estate transaction we’ve ever been through.” Of course, if you’re using Joe and Martha’s real names, you’ll get their permission in advance.
- What do you want? You want them to contact you, of course. But you have to be more specific than that. And you have to make it easy. If you want them to visit your website for more information, provide a link that works and takes them straight to your home page. Should they subscribe to your monthly email bulletin? Keep it simple—just a name and email address will do. Should they call your office to make an appointment? Provide phone numbers that are answered by real people during business hours. Tell them how soon they can expect a return call.
So now it’s your turn. Follow these simple steps and come up with some passionate prose of your own. Your clients will be interested and entertained, and they will understand exactly who you are and what it will be like to do business with you. And because you’ve asked them to, they will take the next step in starting a mutually rewarding relationship.