Email marketing is alive and well in 2020. With 260 billion emails opened every day, it’s not disappearing soon.
But in a world where attention is king, many real estate agents have opted out of email marketing for the more trendy social media marketing.
The biggest mistake is with ownership. You don’t own the lists on your favourite social media platform and that is costly. Get shut down by Facebook and your ‘25,768 followers’ are gone.
But email is totally different. You own your lists!
The other big mistake agents make with email is that they are boring and don’t know how to engage with prospects. With lousy open rates and pathetic engagement it’s no wonder why real estate agents have moved away from email marketing.
But they shouldn’t. So let’s fix that.
According to Emma here’s how we should start:
1. Real estate email marketing strategies – start with an actionable welcome
Let’s start with the first, and most important, email—the welcome email.
A welcome email is a great way to introduce both cold and warm leads to your services. Your customer may have opted in at an open house or your website, or they may be someone you’ve gotten through a referral.
You could also send a welcome email after your first contact with your prospects. This could be after the first day of house-hunting or following an initial consultation about selling their home.
At any rate, a welcome email will thank subscribers for opting-in and give them two critical pieces of information:
- What kinds of emails to expect from you in the future
- Why you’re the best agent to help them buy or sell their home.
Competition is fierce among realtors, so this is your way of getting the jump on the competition and positioning your brand for success.
No matter how you design your welcome email, make sure it’s clear and actionable.
That means there should be a prominent call-to-action (CTA) to schedule a phone call or meeting, connect on social media, or even a request to be “white-listed” so that your emails don’t end up in the spam folder.
And our friends at Stepps agree:
Strong Email Subject Lines
Strong subject lines are the secret sauce of email marketing. It’s the first thing people see when they open their inbox—a first impression of your content.
A recent Sendpulse survey revealed that roughly 62% of subscribers read emails when the subject line is interesting. If your content is compelling enough, consumers won’t care too much about how often you send them emails.
That said, anything too vague will immediately get sent to spam or be deleted by the email user. Same goes for anything too direct (like an obvious sales pitch) or something that implies that the mailing is part of a big email blast.
A strong subject line can capture the reader’s attention immediately, but not give anything away in the process.
Sacha Ferrandi of Source Capital Funding gives a good example of this:
- Bad – “Learn About an Amazing Property (Address) In the Centennial Park Area”
- Good – “Updated Information Regarding Your Neighborhood Property Values”
Notice how the second option entices the audience to read more? The “Bad” option gives everything away immediately and users don’t need to look any further to know what this is about.
Best Practices for Email Subject Lines
- Short and Sweet: Campaign Monitor found that email subject lines containing just 65 characters have hit the email sweet spot and that most email subject lines have 41-50 characters (which is about 5-9 average-length words).
- Personalize it: Experian Marketing Services found that personalized subject lines—think names, neighbourhoods, listings—result in a 26% higher open rate.
- Take note of the pre-header text—also known as the first 40 characters of the email. Make use of this section to expand on the email subject, and ensure you’ve strung together the characters that drive clicks.
- Do A/B Testing: Test out different lengths, different sentence structures, lines that use numbers or statistics versus ones that don’t. Don’t forget to test how the subject line length reads across different devices, too. Most email service providers offer a function that allows you to preview how your email will read on iPhone, laptops, etc.
Getresponse has a feature that shows you the effectiveness of your subject line and it also has an A/B testing feature. If you haven’t yet picked an email service provider (ESP) to use for your real estate email marketing, it’s a great option for beginners.
Interesting content keeps readers…………interested according to Emma
2. Add value with a newsletter full of relevant, interesting content.
Your prospects want to know that you’re an expert in the local market. There’s no better way to convey your expertise than in an email newsletter packed full of relevant, helpful information.
Not only do newsletters feature your own realty services, but they also keep you at the forefront of the prospects’ minds while they’re deciding how to proceed.
Newsletters can also keep you connected with former clients—especially the ones that might refer you to their friends.
Provide interesting, relevant content like the articles and tips found in newsletters, can be incredibly effective for your real estate business. Your newsletters should be short, skimmable documents with content that’s engaging and shareable.
Here’s a sample of one that also includes a video and visual graphics for those that want to skim for important information.
Be careful with your newsletters, though. Don’t ever send one without the permission or expectation of your prospect.
Sending newsletters to a brand-new lead can impact your chance of conversion. Here are some of the things you can include in your newsletter to educate and entertain:
- Recent or upcoming events
- Focus on local restaurants or businesses
- New homes listed or sold
- Open houses
- Mortgage news/advice
Here’s an example of a variety of newsletter topics sent out by an agent:
Finally, your email newsletter is a marketing device, so it’s okay to softly sell your services through those homes bought/sold announcements or through invites to open houses.
Just don’t make it the focus of your newsletter.
Real estate email marketing strategies must be engaging.
Brandon Stewart backs up Emma’s strategy.
By consistently sharing engaging newsletters, Brandon has built a growing, loyal community.
What started as a list of about 300 people has grown to over 3,000 subscribers. And with open rates reaching double the industry average, it’s clear Brandon is offering his subscribers something of value, while also allowing them to get to know, like, and trust him.
“Through my newsletters I’m able to bring something completely different to the real estate market,” he explains. “Most realtors only focus on sales numbers and how prices have decreased on increased throughout the year. I’m able to bring content with significance beyond just the numbers.”
3.A Clear and Concise Call to Action
Most agents send emails to convince the reader to take some sort of action. The agent is responsible for making sure the reader knows what they are supposed to do, so tell recipients what action to take on a given email and be specific about how they should use the information.
For example, ask them to request a comparative market analysis NOW or just to visit, like, or comment on your social media sites. When creating your calls to action, or CTAs, use action verbs. For example, “download your free e-book now” is more compelling than a button that just says “e-book.”
Make sure it is obvious as to what you want them to do: capture their attention with bold links, brightly coloured buttons, or even arrows to help direct their eyes to your CTA.
Be honest. There’s enough clickbait circulating the web as it is. If your CTA is just clickbait, it may appear disingenuous and turn them off. It pays to be honest. (thanks Stepps team)
4. Captivate interested sellers with emails.
Sellers want to know what their home is worth and whether or not you’re the right person to trust with its sale.
Answering both questions is important, so keep in touch with them via email to prompt them to action.
Your end goal is to meet your client in person to discuss their needs in-depth, so all emails should prompt a CTA to a meeting, or at least a phone call.
This is critical since 70% of home sellers interview just one agent before signing a contract, and only 4% of them get in touch with that agent through a website. Here’s a simple email that can get the job done:
Image: The Close
Standing out from the crowd and forming that relationship is predicated on a face-to-face meeting, so offer a comparative market analysis of their home after an in-home assessment.
Here’s another example of how to engage a reluctant seller:
Image: The Close
One of the best real estate marketing ideas is what this agent has done at the bottom of the email, including a CTA that offers a free guide that helps clients get more money for their homes.
The added caution here is not to overdo the listing email strategy too much UNLESS the reader is an active buyer or seller (Emma)
5. Bringing Back The Dead – Special care for former clients to promote lead generation
Referrals are the mainstay of a real estate agent’s business. The NAR states that 40% of buyers and 38% of home sellers choose realtors that have been referred to them by a neighbor, friend, or relative.
You need to plan carefully when marketing to former customers. They probably know all they need to know about the current real estate market, so include newsletters that focus on home and garden tips or local events instead.
Another approach is to forego newsletters and send personalized emails that are less frequent.
You can use the anniversary of their move to touch base with them or send holiday greetings to keep your name in the forefront of their minds. Personal greetings also let them know you value your relationship with them.
Here’s an email invite to a holiday party—a great way to get up close and personal with former clients:
Image: Keller Williams Beach Cities
If you’re an independent agent, don’t worry—you don’t have to throw a party to maintain relationships. Sending a card is just fine. The goal is to stay in touch and build trust.
Bringing back the dead is a difficult task but one that should be part of real estate agent email marketing strategies.
6. Maintain the connection using automation
You should put an automated email system in place to send transactional emails that are triggered by customer behavior.
If a prospect opts-in to your email newsletter, requests information online, or takes some other action on your website, send them an email.
Make it personal, because personalization is the key to more conversions and can increase the ROI of your email marketing campaign.
We’ve looked at a number of real estate marketing ideas that will boost your profile among your competitors and help you stand out in a crowded industry.
Supplying your customers with unique, relevant content and staying in touch with them every step of their buying or selling journey is critical for converting leads into clients.
And in real estate, keeping former clients connected and feeling valued is essential for earning the high volumes of referrals that are necessary for real estate success.
Email is definitely not dead and should be a major part of any real estate agents approach of keeping in contact with prospective buyers and sellers. Industry experts Emma and Stepps agree.