Email marketing can be a very effective and inexpensive way to build brand awareness, stay “top of mind” with your sphere of influence (SOI), nurture the leads in your real estate database and forge stronger relationships with clients.
According to The Canadian Marketing Association, on average, you’ll get $39 of revenue for every $1 invested in email.
Overall email marketing is perhaps the most effective marketing channel around. Other channels don’t even come close to bringing in this type of ROI. And what’s great about email is that it’s easily sharable. A 2012 survey conducted by ExactTarget found that the No. 1 way people share content with their family and friends is via email.
But if email marketing isn’t done right, it can be costly. It can damage your reputation and weaken the trust and relationships you’ve worked so hard to build. That’s why you need to know the do’s and don’ts of email marketing and what constitutes an effective marketing email.
Here are seven practical tips to take your real estate marketing to the next level and make all of your emails shine. Keep these in mind next time you send out a mass email or create a drip marketing campaign in your real estate CRM:
1. Be relevant. Personalization and relevancy will be a key factor to the success of your campaign. The emails you send out need to be directly relevant to their recipients. You wouldn’t want to receive an email about buying a home when you just purchased one two months ago. Or, imagine a teenage girl receiving an email from a neighbourhood retailer about their great selection of men’s clothing.
Use a real estate CRM or email marketing system that automatically personalizes each email so each is addressed to the recipient’s name. The “Dear Valued Client” approach often comes across as cold and impersonal. It makes people think, “Jeez, I wonder how many thousands of people this went out to!” As Hubspot’s Hannah Fleishman says, “Write the way you’d like someone to write to you – clearly, naturally and genuinely.”
2. Don’t use an email client like Hotmail or Outlook. To maximize deliverability rates, you’ll want to make certain you’re not using an email client to send out mass emails. To ensure high deliverability, use a dedicated email service such as Constant Contact or a real estate CRM with email marketing capability.
3. Make it about them. “What’s in it for me?” For each email you send out, ask yourself, What value does this email provide to my recipients? Does the email help them in some way? Offer them something they’d be interested in? If not, you may want to think twice before sending it out. Don’t make your emails all about you and your business. Make them about your clients and real estate leads.
4. Be proactive when it comes to spam. Make sure you don’t have your spam-blinders on; understand which words are often flagged by spam filters and try to avoid these words. There are many free spam checkers online that you can run your email through for that extra peace of mind.
Also, make sure you comply with all anti-spam laws. For instance, ensure you have an unsubscribe link at the end of each email.
According to marketing strategist Jay Baer, “43 per cent of email recipients click the spam button based on the email ‘from’ name or email address,” which is why it’s a good practice to personally reach out to people who you haven’t made contact with in a long time before adding them to your email list.
Avoid sending emails with large attachments because this often is a “red light” when it comes to emails from a spam filter perspective. Instead of attaching files, link to them or embed them in the email itself.
5. Be interesting. If you want people to open and read your emails, you need to give them a reason to do so. This is especially true considering the volume of emails an average person gets these days. Make sure the email subject line is catchy and the email content is interesting and valuable to the recipient. For instance, if I’m sending out an e-newsletter, instead of the subject line being “My Newsletter” I might instead use “Matt’s Monthly Real Estate Tips.” Be sure to include images, as well, to spruce the email up.
6. Include a “call-to-action”. Don’t make people guess; tell them exactly what it is you want them to do. That may be to pick up the phone and give you a call, complete an online form or click on a particular link. If you’re asking leads to call you, try to provide an incentive for them to do so and be sure to make your phone number clearly visible.
Let’s say you send out an email about a great new housing development with no call-to-action. A lead may read the email and say to himself, “Wow, this looks nice, I’ll keep it in mind” and then get on with their day. But if the agent explicitly asked people at the end of the email to call him or her for special pricing information, they would surely get a lot more leads. That same lead would likely pick up the phone and call.
7. Measure and analyze results: If you’re serious about email marketing, you’ll want to use a real estate CRM or dedicated email marketing system with campaign reporting functionality. Data such as open rate, click-through rate, and bounce-back rate will help you improve your email marketing moving forward and allow you to A/B split test to see which content or campaigns work best.
We’ve had customers of ours use email campaign reports to identify hot leads in their real estate database. They’ve sent Just Listed e-cards to a group of leads and could easily view who clicked on their links and read their emails (and how many times each one was read). They got insight into who was interested in what they’ve sent out and from there, were able to give these real estate leads a call and set-them up on a drip marketing campaign.
I hope that these tips will help you get the most of your email marketing efforts. As any top producer or marketing whiz will tell you, email remains one of the best and most cost-effective ways to nurture your leads and keep in touch with clients. Be sure to update your real estate database on a regular basis to ensure all of your email addresses are still correct. Good luck!
Matthew Collis is part of the sales and marketing team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, he works with Realtors to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps Realtors better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-newsletter.