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Automated Gift-Giving Platform Scores Huge Return on Investment

Have you heard of Lolo Gifts? Here's a look at how one Realtor spends $100 a month to send gifts to 100 clients—and how it's paid off in a big way.

Last spring, Matt Owen’s company was doing a test run of a gift-giving platform called LoLo Gifts, and he decided to give it a try. “I was interested to see what the interaction and engagement would be,” says the sales associate with Illustrated Properties in Jupiter.

Each month, for a flat fee, LoLo outsourced a different gift from a local independent business and sent Owen’s recipients a digital gift certificate to redeem with the merchant.

These Small Gestures Can Make a Powerful Impact for Realtors

It’s not always what you do for people that lands clients. A lot of the time, it’s how you make them feel. Real estate is about making people — because happy people will refer you. Tiny but thoughtful things you do for clients, such as sending a gift on the first anniversary of their closing or packing snacks and games for their toddler during a day of house showings, can have a huge impact.

It cost him $1 per client, per month to send gifts to about 100 in his sphere of influence (family and friends, current and past clients).

The result: During the first four months he got one listing and two buyer referrals. “My return on investment was in excess of $10,000,” he says. “The platform has paid for itself for the next 10 years.”

Owen, of Illustrated Properties in Jupiter, Florida, uses LoLo ...

... to show appreciation

Sending a gift of the month is a great way to show customers you value their business long after the sale, Owen says.

“The first gift we sent was a free pint of gelato and people loved it. My engagement score was 59.3 percent, which is incredible.”

In the following months, he sent gift certificates for a free pizza, a free breakfast sandwich and coffee from a local restaurant, and a free hour of paddle boarding.

“My clients said what I’m doing is extremely clever—engagement scores are 72.3 percent right now—and some are wanting to take me out for drinks or dinner. I have a listing appointment coming up on a $1 million property because of it, too.”

The only drawback, Owen says, is one member of his sphere is out of state. “If someone only comes for the season or is an [absentee owner] or investor, it’s not for them.”

...to reconnect with old contacts

A past customer with whom Owen hadn’t spoken in several years called him after receiving one of his gifts.

“She said she had a friend who was moving from Orlando and wanted to buy,” he says. “It was actually two sisters and their husbands. I found one of the couples a place and I’m still working on the other. Also, the woman who referred me wants me to list her condo on the beach. So, I got three deals out of sending one gift.”

...to help the community

Since LoLo only works with independently owned vendors, your marketing dollars are supporting the local economy, Owen says.

“It’s gives [the local business] an opportunity to get their name and product out there, which is a win-win for everybody.”

Businesses are preselected and franchises or national chains cannot participate. (“If you’re interested in getting a local business involved, you can put them in touch with LoLo,” Owen says.)

Interacting with local businesses also gives Owen an opportunity to find out if they have any real estate needs.

...to measure results

Owen can edit, remove and add new contacts, change his gift message and keep track of campaign stats to see exactly how many people he engages.

“You can either upload a contact list from Excel or manually input names,” he says. “It gives you 48 hours to make edits before the gift goes out via your default [email]. So, if you know somebody is going to be out of town, you can deselect them beforehand.”

“LoLo has brought me the greatest return on investment,” Owen says. “I’m going to put as many people as I can on my [campaign] because it’s a lot less expensive to send somebody a free pizza than it is to [do other promotions].”

Have you heard of Alyce?

With the help of artificial intelligence, the corporate gift-giving platform Alyce helps businesses find the right gifts for clients.

The business uploads a list of gift recipients and the platform hunts for all publicly available information on the internet about each individual, such as their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and their videos or podcasts.

Based on Alyce’s findings about hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, the software matches each person with a personalized gift from whichever merchant the business chooses.

Other automated gift-giving programs: 

Leslie C. Stone is a Vero Beach-based freelance writer.