Do you want to create a high-performing email marketing campaign to stay in touch with potential buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants or developers?
If you take the right steps, and use the right tools, you can create email campaigns with high impact on your real estate business in very efficient ways, especially with the advent of marketing automation. But maybe you are not yet convinced to spend time and resources on this old, long-here medium email. So you might be wondering:
Is email marketing worth my time?
Nowadays social media and online advertising are the go-to methods for generating leads and sales online, and email outreach can feel like something from a different time and not in line with today’s best methods.
If you believe this, you are seriously mistaken: Especially when it comes Return on Investment (ROI) considerations, Email is ahead of all the other marketing avenues. 73% of marketers say that email marketing brings the best results in terms of ROI. For E-commerce and consulting businesses, the right email, at the right time, is often key to convert a lead into a customer. For real estate agents, a similar logic applies. Before entering the active search phase, buyers often scout the market, both in terms of listings and agents. Having an Email campaign can help yourself with staying on the radar, and presenting yourself as an authority, always up-to-date on market trends and developments. So, yes: email marketing should definitely be part of your digital marketing strategy.
To get you on track, I have put together an easy to follow step by step guide to get your email marketing off the ground.
Compile a list of existing subscribers / email contacts
Before getting started with how to create, send, and schedule your emails, we need to make sure you have a clear idea who you are going to send these emails to. The more comprehensive data you have on your (potential) customers, the better you can tailor your message.
If you don’t have already, move all your email addresses in a single Excel spreadsheet. Create columns that help to segment your contacts. Depending on your niche, segmentation will differ, but you should think about which information you have available about your subscribers that is important to tailor the email content. Typically those would be the current step they are at in the customer life-cycle, e.g. lead, current or past customer, products used/bought, etc. You could also segment by budget or age. Either way, keep it manageable.
The goal is to send the right message to the right prospects at the right time.
Something that is very important to consider here: You are only allowed to send newsletters to those who gave you consent to do so. And if they revoke consent, you must stop sending them newsletters. Further, if you are located in the EU, you are forbidden to collect or store information of persons who did no express their either, and if they request that you delete the information about them, you have to follow suit.
Draft a content plan
Next, you should draft a plan for your email outreach activities. This plan should outline:
- what message you plan to send, such as promotions, insights, or seasons greetings,
- which audience you are going to send which messages, based on the segments you came up with,
- and when you are going to do so.
This is useful, because it helps you to prepare content in time, and to bring consistency into your activities.
Choose an email marketing suite
If you thought, that once you have your recipients and content lined out, the next step would be to copy email addresses and content into Outlook or your favorite email desktop client to send it all out, and then to do it again, and to update your excel file when somebody unsubscribes or moves to a different step in the customer life cycle, etc.pp., we have good news: There is a more efficient and much more powerful way to do these things.
There are dedicated email marketing suites that will help you to
- import and manage your subscribers,
- create professional-looking emails,
- measure important metrics such as open rate and link clicks,
- send a larger amount of emails without ending up in your recipients’ spam folders,
- automatically remove persons from the list of recipients who unsubscribed,
- use auto-responders,
- test and split test your emails.
Thus, please do yourself a favor, and opt for one of the many available solutions, such as Mailchimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor, or Hubspot CRM. The time you save and the increased quality you get from these tools is worth far more than their subscription fees. To find out which one is most suitable for your goals and personal preference, you can try them out first: The first four offer free 30-day trials, while Hubspot CRM is free forever.
Creating your email newsletter
All email marketing tools mentioned above offer templates that make it super easy to get started with attractive looking emails right from the first message you send. If you have the budget to hire a designer, or the time and skill set to develop your own design, these services will also allow you to make use of self-made templates.
These days, many marketers find well-formatted text-only emails to yield the best results, but it depends on the content of course. If you are presenting a new listing
Add a newsletter signup form to your website
Another advantage of the above tools is that all of them already have prepared tools that let you quickly and easily embed sign-up forms on your website. This is a must to grow your subscriber list.
Think carefully about the placement of your opt-in form. While it is good to have it easily reachable, you don’t want it take valuable space before you assured your website user that your newsletter has something good to offer. You can also think about a small number of strategic popups or popunders as they can be really effective – but don’t overdo those. If your website has a good amount of traffic that allows you to conduct meaningful split tests, I recommend you A/B test which placements lead to more signups. Make sure to state the benefits of joining your mailing list by explaining what kind of content your website user will have access to by joining.
Don’t forget to also explore options on your social media profiles to either embed or link to a newsletter sign-up form.
Create a dedicated landing page
You can use online online ads to grow your subscriber list, and link those to dedicated landing pages that are optimized for getting visitors to sign-up for your newsletter.
Some of the above email marketing tools offer you landing page creators, but if your pick doesn’t, you can try out third-party services like Unbounce or Instapage – or just use them for inspiration, as their price tags are a bit hefty for our purpose. These landing pages are made by people with strong expertise in creating and optimizing them.
Start testing your newsletter
While you are basically ready to go, I would rather recommend to test your newsletter before sending it out to real subscribers. Depending on the language and settings you choose, there is still a chance that your email gets spam filtered by some email providers. So, if you don’t have already, create an email account for each of the big providers such as gmail, outlook, yahoo, zoho, or those that are popular in the countries your customers come from. After drawing up your newsletter, send it to your email address and see if all emails arrived.
Some of the mentioned email marketing tools even offer their own calculations for a spam score of your newsletter draft and can point you towards increasing the likelihood of arriving safely at your subscribers’ inboxes.
It shouldn’t be a big problem, but also make sure your newsletter is correctly displayed across all mail providers. check out what it looks like on a mobile phone. In 2019, around 42% of all opened emails where read on mobile clients. Try to arrange your content in a way that it can trigger the readers’ interest without scrolling down, both on mobile and desktop of course.
Sending your newsletter to real people
Split-test your newsletter and record results
Split-testing, also know as A/B-testing, means creating closely related variants of your marketing material, which ideally only differ in one aspect. That difference could for example be found in the title, in order to find which variant leads to higher opening rates. It could the voice you choose for presenting your newsletter content to find which style leads to higher click-through rates. You can experiment whether the sending time influences your newsletter success.
This approach of course works best if you have a large subscriber list. First, you will send your variants to only a part of your subscribers, and when the winning version becomes apparent, you can then send it to the remaining subscribers.
Record all your findings and use them for the following newsletters, working your way towards an increasingly effective email marketing campaign.
Leverage the possibilities of marketing automation
Traditionally, newsletters would follow a schedule defined by dates or seasons, and events or shop-wide promotions. With the advancement of email marketing, you can design email drips, sequences of emails that depend on time passed since the last email, user interaction with your newsletter (e.g. a click-through) or even with your website (such as an inquiry). You can pre-program which follow-up message should be send when, depending on how a specific reader interacts with your emails.