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RISMEDIA, March 13, 2007-Despite the rising use in the everyday vernacular of the real estate industry, many individuals still do not know what a DRIP constitutes or even stands for. Short answer, DRIP is not an acronym for anything in particular. DRIP may have its roots in the ancient torture technique associated with water, where the recipient was subjected to a constant drip of water over a long period of time on the same location. Today's definition of DRIP relates to an individual receiving a steady flow of correspondence over an extended period of time.

DRIP campaigns initially gained popularity with real estate agents as they attempted to keep in touch with clients during the passive stage of the home-buying process. Recently, brokers and recruiters have started to deploy DRIP campaigns as a mechanism to build brand equity and awareness with potential hires.

As creators of the iNTELAGENT and the Real Estate Simulator, we are constantly asked, "How can I effectively use the DRIP campaign for recruitment?" The response is a DRIP can be either electronic or a combination of e-mail and snail mail.

Best practices point to segmenting the list or targeting a niche market and sending relevant or educational pieces that are directly related to the prospect's position in the decision-making process. For example, if you are targeting prospects currently enrolled in real estate school, the campaign could include such pieces as:

"The Roles & Responsibilities of Agents"

"How to Select a Brokerage Firm"

"What Differentiates your Firm in the Marketplace"

Interspersed with the educational pieces, you can add marketing pieces or even personal correspondance. Remember, send information that will be valuable to the recipients and position your firm securely and positively in their consciousness.

When selecting an application to manage your DRIP campaigns, make sure that the solution:

Allows for multiple campaigns

Allows for different file formats such as PDF, Word or plain text

Provides automatic release based on a determined schedule

Provides flexible duration and the inclusion of multiple pieces to be included into the campaigns.

Includes an opt-out link and the system should track these individuals and provide the required reporting.

All DRIP transmissions should appear to come from you and not from a mass e-mail server or the pieces will automatically be classified as SPAM. The recent CAN-SPAM legislation provides rules for commercial e-mail. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are able to block any e-mails that they consider to be SPAM and each may have their own definition of what constitutes SPAM. To avoid ending up in someone's junk mailbox, it is best to provide your materials in either all text or all graphic formatting, not a combination of both.

The successful deployment of DRIP campaigns in your recruiting processes is a very cost-effective way to build brand equity, awareness and loyalty with a prospect. Remember, eventually most prospects will buy a home, so even if they do not work in the real estate industry, they could become your client.

Don Kottick is vice president, products and services for AlignMark. Contact him at dkottick@alignmark.com.

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