Some agents think email marketing for real estate is dead, but not the people who really know how to use it correctly. Sure, email marketing doesn’t get the type of results it used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a good platform to use. Even if your open rates went from 40 to 20 percent, that’s still 20 percent! Email is still a top way to communicate, and most people check their email at least once a day, while some check it much more than that.
Email is also a cheap way to reach people if it’s done in a way that people actually want to pay attention to. If your emails feel salesy, they probably won’t do you much good (and they might even hurt you). But if your emails read like personal emails rather than marketing copy, then it’s easier to get people’s attention and keep it. Attention matters, because when you get and keep someone’s attention, they remember you when it counts—when they need to buy or sell a house.
Here are X ways to make your emails sound less like marketing and more like they came from a real person. (Which means that they’ll continue to open and click on your emails after the first one or two.)
1. Send Emails that People Actually Care About
Frankly, we could end the blog post right here and you’d have everything you need to rock your email marketing efforts.
So many agents want to talk to their clients about buying and selling homes all the time. The problem is that almost none of the people in your database are going to be buying or selling at any given time. This means that people will tune you out, or worse, unsubscribe from your emails because you’re not providing anything valuable to them.
Remember, if you lose their attention because you’re not providing any value, you’ll miss out on the at bat you need when they ARE thinking of buying and selling.
The best thing you can do is send emails that have information people actually care about so that they actually pay attention to what you’re sending them.
How do you do this? Make the emails local. Everyone—homeowner, renter, college student, senior citizen—cares about the place they live.
For example, we sent a very successful email on behalf of our clients about top-notch local consignment shops. In fact, some of those people kept the email to refer back to because it was so useful. Six months later, when three of those consignment shops closed, our clients were getting emails letting them know. Their clients hung onto that email for SIX MONTHS because it was so valuable.
This is how you get remembered so that when someone is ready to buy or sell, they think of you. Give people personalized content they want to get, and don’t worry that it’s often not about real estate (in fact, worry if it IS often about real estate).
2. Get Permission
Everyone on your list needs to opt in to receive your emails. This helps you build and maintain a subscriber list of people who actually want to receive your messages.
Answer me this question: how much do you love getting emails you didn’t sign up for? The answer is always, “I don’t love it at all. I hate it.” EXACTLY my point. Don’t do to your customers what you hate yourself.
You also need to make sure you’re complying with CAN-SPAM requirements by making it easy for people to opt out (and more).
Adding a whole bunch of loan officers, for instance, will certainly make your database bigger, but it probably won’t do you a lot of good in the long run (and it may even harm your reputation).
It’s not about the quantity of people in your database; it’s about the quality. I can do a lot more damage with 100 fiercely loyal followers who actually want to open my emails than with 1000 lukewarm cold leads who hate my emails.
3. Optimize for All Devices
In 2019, your emails need to be designed to work for all devices where users might read emails. These days, that’s often via a small phone screen, but you also need to think about computers and tablets. 67% of all emails are read on mobile devices.
If your emails can’t easily be read on a mobile device, people aren’t going to take the time to read them at all. They’ll go straight in the trash. How much do YOU like to have to pinch and zoom to read something? Oh, you don’t? Yeah, neither do your subscribers.
4. Send the Right Emails to the Right People
The very best way to do email marketing for real estate is actually to segment your database into groups of people. It’s how you make sure you’re sending out the information people actually care about.
Divide your database into categories—homeowners and renters is a good place to start. This way, if you want to send info related to buying or selling, you can give people information that’s relevant to them.
You can further divide your database based on any demographics or behaviors you wish.
You can also send people a specific set of autoresponders, which is a series of emails they receive when they do something, like when they submit a form on your website telling you that they’re interested in buying or selling a home.
The biggest takeaway I want you to have here is that your emails need to be contextual to the person who’s receiving them. Don’t just blanket everybody with everything.
5. Don’t Be too Stylized
We’ve found (and research backs us up) that sending emails that are too designed and too perfect is actually a detriment to getting people to read them.
Remember that you don’t want your emails to look like marketing. You want your emails to look like they actually came from you. Don’t overdo it.
Highly designed and stylized newsletters look beautiful, but they get disregarded because they look like flashy marketing (which they are). Just KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
6. Be Consistent
This is probably the hardest thing for agents to do, but it’s also the most important.
Send emails out on a consistent basis. So many people intend to email their databases, and then before they know it, it’s been months since the last email went out. (Sound familiar?)
Pick several days a month where you are going to send out an email. Then stick to it. Even if you miss one, get right back on schedule. Don’t just throw your hands in the air and stop altogether.
Pro tip: Plan a content calendar for the month, quarter, or year. When you know what your email is about and when it’s going out, it’s a lot harder to make up excuses to not do it.
7. Personalize your Emails
People don’t want to read emails that feel like they were sent to 1,000 people (even if they were). This is why it’s so important to personalize your emails.
An easy way to do it is to include recipients’ first names in the subject lines, which should get you higher open rates. You can also include first names in your salutation.
Under no circumstances should you ever use “Dear Customer,” as your salutation. If you must, a generic “Hi there,” is an acceptable option.
8. Amp Up Your Subject Lines
Clickbait subject lines are obnoxious, and people will immediately bounce away if they see that your subject line wasn’t a genuine representation of what’s in the email. That being said, your subject lines need to be intriguing enough that someone will want to open them. Subject lines like, “8 Email Newsletter Tips, #4 Will Shock You…” is a little too clickbait. But, “8 Tips to Get Your Emails Read More” is more honest and makes me want to know how to get that result.
Experiment with catchy email subject lines (if you can, provide a bit of intrigue). Experiment with emojis, which can help draw positive attention.
And always ask yourself, would I open this email if it were in my inbox?
9. Make Sure Your Emails Get Delivered
Now, bear with me—I’m about to get a little technical here. This is important, promise!
If you’ve noticed a decline in open rates and replies to emails in the past few years, you may be having issues with your emails even being delivered.
First, it’s important to understand that all major email providers have systems that automatically route emails to spam folders (based on several factors).
If a lot of people who use an email marketing platform send emails that get marked as spam, the marketing platform takes a reputation hit. Future emails sent from this platform are more likely to be automatically marked as spam. In other words, other people’s emails can harm the deliverability of your own emails. Not very fair, right?
To avoid this, set up your own sending domain. This takes a little bit of work, and you’ll likely need to work with your email platform’s customer service to get it done.
Do you have any questions about email marketing? If so, shoot them our way! We love talking about how to make real estate emails better.