Do you use marketing emails?
- Yes. (61%, 11 Votes)
- No. (39%, 7 Votes)
Total Voters: 18
Email marketing is a practical way to expand and maintain your client base – all from the comfort of your home office. Consider these tips to create successful email marketing campaigns and expand your use of digital resources.
Step 1: Choose an email campaign program
Most standard email services do not have the capacity to deliver mass emails – this requires a special program. Multiple emailing services and programs exist to facilitate your mass email marketing, such as:
- Constant Contact;
- Thunder Mailer;
- SendBlaster; and
Program types and payment plans vary by provider. Some programs are downloadable for a one-time fee, but require more setup. Most offer mailing service plans with a monthly or annual fee based on the number of sent emails and recipients — your target.
Your selection will depend on your marketing needs. Consider the number of recipients you are targeting, the frequency you intend to send emails and the type of program features you want. For example, some programs offer pre-made email design templates you can choose from, or the ability to keep an individualized profile of each client to help you identify which emails to send them – both features may simplify the email marketing process.
Step 2: Harvesting client information and create lists
Client contact information is essential to the development and growth of a long-term email marketing campaign — and your business success. When you do not advertise, people do not know what you are offering and do not contact you.
Request contact information from any past or potential clients you have any contact with. Make this a routine practice to provide a steady stream of additional email addresses.
Methods for harvesting client email addresses include:
- providing a way for visitors to subscribe to your emails on your web site and other social media accounts – a pop-up may help draw attention;
- requesting potential clients fill out a form during open houses and other points of contact;
- advertising your email newsletter in marketing material you hand out; and
- asking for family and friend referrals from existing clients.
When gathering contact information, consider also collecting information about a client’s homeownership status, family (i.e. whether they are single, married or have children), occupation, education, investments, affiliations and any other criteria that may be useful for creating email lists tailored to specific interests and demographics.
For example, a client who has children may be interested in listings near top rated schools, while recent first-time homebuyers may be inclined to open emails about home maintenance tips and ignore new listings. You may also want to divide emails into separate databases for prior, existing and potential new clients as you will likely target them with different content.
Categorize each newly acquired email address under all email lists relevant to them to ensure they receive content they will relate to.
Ethical data collection and email marketing
Successfully building your contact list is not just a matter of reaching as many people as possible but about knowing your audience and marketing respectfully. Avoid spamming your clients by sending excessive or unsolicited emails.
- prohibit use of false or misleading information in the subject line, sender field or header [15 United States Code §7704(a)(1)];
- require you to provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails or request removal from your mailing list [15 USC §7704(a)(1)];
- prohibit you from knowingly sending additional emails to a recipient more than ten business days after you have received their unsubscribe request [15 USC §7704(a)(4)]; and
- require you to provide a valid physical postal address in the email. [15 USC §7704(a)(5)]
Further, only send to clients whose email addresses you have collected with their consent. These recipients are more likely to read your emails. Anti-spam laws prohibit some methods of harvesting email addresses, as it is unlawful to:
- obtain email addresses from a website or service that claims it does not sell or share email addresses to third parties (e.g., by purchasing an email address list from them); and
- use an automated system to generate potential email addresses by creating random combinations of names, letters or numbers. [15 USC §7704(b)(1)(A)]
Rather than purchasing email address lists, focus on requesting email addresses from existing and potential clients. Market your real estate services through online platforms like social media accounts, possibly even Google search pay-per-client (PPC) arrangements, to attract clients to your brand and introduce them to your emails.
Your goal is to create and maintain a viable contact list that will yield more business and client relationships — best accomplished through pointed, courteous marketing and not aimless, all-purpose spam emails.
Step 3: Narrow down your content
Once you have a solid list of contacts, create campaign lists for the different types of emails you will send to each client group. The list of emails and information you send likely depends on your client base and grows as you collect more email addresses.
Popular ideas for real estate marketing emails include:
- listing advertisements;
- solicitations to new potential clients;
- upcoming events and open houses;
- real estate news and market trends;
- home maintenance and finance tips;
- emails related to a client’s transactions, such as reminders and follow-ups; and
- seasonal and holiday messages.
Consider blasting pre-designed flyers regarding various homeowner and real estate topics, or providing answers to frequently asked questions many clients have — your helpful flyers will identify you as a dependable source of real estate information.
You may also use your emails to share content from your own real estate blog, or make valuable use of diverse real estate news sources online by forwarding information — crediting the source — or linking to articles.
A simple rule: when deciding on content to send to clients, remember to opt for material that is useful to clients and piques their interest. Focusing on local trends and news is one way to keep readers interested in receiving your emails.
However, even short messages and updates about your business are useful. They keep your brand top-of-the-mind for your clients, reminding them you are still active in the business – and they will be more inclined to turn to you when they decide to buy or sell.
Step 4: Design your email
To reach out to your clients, you will need to create a design to use as your email template. Not HTML conversant? No need to draft a template from scratch. Locate a ready-to-use template online here, here or here.
Many marketing and email campaign programs offer premade designs you can choose from.
When selecting a design, consider the content of the email you are sending and choose a design appropriate for each type of email. For example, a marketing email to advertise your listings may be best delivered through a clean, simple template with a toned down color scheme. This maintains professionalism and makes it easier for clients to glean the important information they need.
When you send reminders and seasonal emails to keep in touch with past clients, consider indulging your creative side and playing with color – an embellished template with more playful themes may spark your readers’ interest and match the casual tone of the email.
Smart design for better reading
An important aspect of designing marketing emails is ensuring your template is user-friendly and readable. Start your design with a catchy but simple subject line to call attention to your email.
To streamline the appearance of your emails, limit the number of fonts and font sizes. Aim to include only legible, standard fonts that will display properly on most computer platforms and browsers.
If your template embraces a more colorful design scheme, avoid overusing bright colors or overwhelming readers with too many colors at once – both may render your email unreadable.
Consider the content of each email when determining whether you want to employ a single-column template or a multi-column design. An email containing multiple photos and listings benefits from a multi-column design that allows readers to see more information at once. Simple announcements or updates are more suitable for single-column designs.
Regardless of the layout you select, reduce the amount of text to keep your email concise and simple. Focus your titles and subtitles, when applicable, to easily convey the content of your email and any webpage you are directing your recipients to, avoiding excessive or repetitive wording. One scan by your readers should tell them what they need to know about your content.
Now that checking emails and news on mobile devices is common practice, it is crucial that your email design is also readable on a mobile device. When browsing templates, look for designs that are “mobile-friendly” or “responsive.” This means they will automatically resize to fit the smaller screens on mobile devices and make it easier to read for your clients.
Step 5: Create a schedule and start tracking
Maintaining a drip campaign – automated emails sent on a regular schedule – is a great way to keep in touch with your clients. You can schedule some campaigns or emails for specific dates and seasons, while ensuring others are sent on a recurring basis. Some emails may even be sent only once. Your campaign schedule is entirely up to you and will be influenced by the content of each email you send.
In addition to scheduling, tracking how your clients interact with your emails helps you improve your marketing. Most email programs and services provide a way to track subscriptions, as well as when your emails are being opened and how often they result in a reader clicking on a link.
Stay on top of scheduling and tracking to adjust the type of content you send or how often you schedule emails. You will soon learn what type of content is more popular among your clients and be able to maximize your use of email marketing.