Switch to e-mail newsletter cuts costs for real estate franchisor

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RE/MAX of Michigan is the regional real estate franchisor for all territories outside of the Detroit metro area. Currently serving the state with 101 offices and more than 1,200 sales associates, RE/MAX of Michigan holds responsibility for communicating essential company information to all regional agents, brokers and owners in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Until recently, RE/MAX of Michigan used a monthly paper newsletter as the primary medium for communicating to employees, distributing surveys and other corporate announcements on an as-needed basis.

Couldn't paper over problems

However, producing and mailing a paper newsletter each month proved both time consuming and costly, forcing RE/MAX of Michigan to depend on third-party vendors and providers for execution and delivery.

Moreover, the newsletter content varied depending on the recipient - with different subject matter for agents, brokers and owners - further increasing production costs and execution time.

Considering the regularity of print newsletter distribution, RE/MAX of Michigan also lacked a fast, efficient method for communicating unexpected or urgent announcements.

Additionally, RE/MAX of Michigan would often conduct employee surveys after events in order to gain valuable feedback. But the method involved relying on attendees to complete a paper survey during the event and then on employees to manually review and record all data. The process was time consuming and survey response was low.

Lastly, there was no way to track whether a particular person did in fact receive an announcement. With increasing amounts of mail delivered to each employee's inbox, the corporate announcement or newsletter was easily lost in the shuffle.

E-mail to the rescue

RE/MAX of Michigan adopted an online strategy for its internal communications efforts a year ago by implementing Bronto's e-mail marketing technology.

As content differs according to job title, three separate online newsletters are sent each month to the 1,326 contacts in its distribution list - segmented by owners, brokers, and agents - with surveys and other announcements sent out as needed.

By switching to online newsletters and other online announcements, RE/MAX of Michigan eliminated layout, printing and postage costs altogether. The newsletter and announcements are now produced in-house from start to finish, also saving substantial time.

The online communications strategy also makes it quick and efficient to send surveys following corporate events.

By using online surveys, RE/MAX of Michigan IT manager Dan Troup can easily increase survey participation rates by including incentives like free registration for an upcoming event or the chance to view photos from the previous one. People love to see pictures and RE/MAX of Michigan has gotten great responses by making the photos available upon completion of a survey.

Bronto's e-mail solution provided an API (application programming interface), enabling RE/MAX of Michigan to integrate Bronto with its existing database of subscribers. This integration allows for easy data synchronization and greater flexibility for updating lists.

An online newsletter also provides accountability, allowing the regional office to ensure receipt of the message and track reader click-through rates. The newsletter contains essential company information, so it's important to know the message is being received and read.

Paper cut, costs trimmed

Since implementing Bronto's e-mail marketing solution, RE/MAX of Michigan has reported tremendous cost savings. Prior to implementing Bronto, the company paid $18,000 in design costs, $16,800 printing costs and $7,000 in postage for its paper newsletter - for a total cost of nearly $42,000 each year.

By switching to Bronto's e-mail marketing software, the company is now saving 92 percent of those related costs.

The online software's ease-of-use has also resulted in substantial time savings - layout and design is quick and easy, and there is no time lost waiting on third-party vendors. Additionally, important announcements can be sent out instantaneously if required.

With Bronto, RE/MAX of Michigan can now easily capture and maintain vital employee feedback through online surveys. Since adding incentives, employee response has increased dramatically.

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