If you are looking for a super effective, low cost and (mostly) hands free way to lead generate on autopilot, I really can't recommend anything more highly than email marketing. From autoresponders to databases, listings and buyers to everything in between, all my best tips and ideas so you have a great understanding of email marketing for real estate agents!
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What Is Email Marketing For Real Estate Agents
If you are reading this post you might be thinking about doing an email newsletter, a drip campaign or even an autoresponder series. You may be an experienced internet marketer or be brand new to email marketing.
That said, I thought that it would be worth us taking a minute to talk about how email marketing can help you save time and money!
When you have a rock solid email marketing strategy and system set up, it can be sitting out there, churning away behind the scenes attracting, sorting and nurturing internet leads, while you are just going about your real estate business.
I have been doing internet marketing for almost 20 years now and email marketing is without a doubt my very favorite form of marketing!
How Email Marketing Works (CRMs, Databases, Lists)
Functionally to do email marketing you need to use some kind email marketing company to host your forms, emails and database.
Some you may have heard of are Constant Contact or MailChimp. You may also know about Wise Agent or Top Producer that are more “real estate” focused. I tell my Realtor friends to use the real estate-y ones for their business… after a lead comes in, when a listing is signed or when you go under contract.
What we are gong to be talking about today are “internet leads”. BEFORE you have a relationship and are just trying to convince them to call you and become a client!
The examples today are from ConvertKit, the email provider I use and one that I sincerely recommend my real estate friends use because of the internet marketing capabilities it has!
The first thing you need is a form where people can sign up for your email list. You need to make sure that you let them know what is in for them. I see too many agents put their logo or headshot and offer a plain jane email newsletter. Which one would you sign up for if you were a potential buyer or seller?
Signing People Up
The thing about email marketing now is that you have to be super careful of laws against spamming people. The fines are pretty huge, so it really is just best to use a reputable email company and NEVER add anyone who hasn't expressly said they want to get your message. (for example, just signing into your open house isn't permission to email unless you ask them about that specifically)
It IS okay to add people who you have asked! For example, I asked everyone I knew if they minded if I sent them my real estate newsletter, sent a signup sheet into my husbands work and actively asked people at open houses if I could send them messages.
The thing about using a email company is that they will automatically handle “unsubscribes”. This is super important because you can get in trouble if someone requests to leave your list and you don't remove them!
Should You Use “Fancy” HTML Emails or Plain Jane Emails
One thing that used to be a bigger deal than it is now is whether you should use just text in your emails or if you can have fancy ones with colors and pictures.
One thing that I think you should really consider is who your regular readers are. If your clients are all hip 20 somethings, maybe skip the fancy emails because they will be reading them on their phones. If your clients are in their 50s and 60s, maybe do more cool pictures because they will probably be on the computer.
What Is Your Goal For Email Marketing
Before we get too far, let's talk about what your goal is for email marketing. Here are some that you might have…
- Getting locals to sign up for neighborhood Facebook group
- Grow your Instagram following
- Prospect for buyers
- Find incoming relocation buyers
- Get traffic to blog posts
- Nurture listing prospects
Your goals should match your overall real estate business goals! If you are a sellers agent then having an offer for current available listings isn't a good match because mostly buyers will be signing up. If you hate listings then doing an email campaign promoting your neighborhood Facebook group doesn't make sense because that works best for listing prospecting!
Segregating Your List
There are two kinds of email providers, tag based providers (like ConvertKit) and list based providers (like MailChimp and Constant Contact) What this means is that you can sort people out into different types and send them different messages. Here are some types of people you might have on your list…
- First time homebuyers
- Luxury buyers
- Potential sellers
- Move ups (sellers you can double dip on)
- Age groups like seniors who want to sell their big houses and move into a 55+ community or early 20 somethings who are getting married and might buy their first homes
The reason to segregate your list is that send messages just to different kinds of email subscribers.
For example, you could send your “Just Listeds” to your buyers list with a fun message about scheduling a showing, BUT send the same “Just Listed” to the sellers list with a message about all the things you helped the seller do to get in order and potentially the highest price possible. TWO messages that are super targeted to the right audience!
Real Estate Email Newsletter
The first thing you will probably do with your email marketing is send a newsletter (sometimes called a “broadcast” email). This is a message that goes out to your entire list or just segments of it if you have segregated your list.
The more regular you are with your sending, the more opens (people “opening” and reading your emails) you will get. The biggest mistake I see agents make is that they worry about “bothering” their email list so they don't send them very many messages.
When you do this they forget you and mark your messages as spam when you send them something 3 months after they signed up for your list!
Additional Resource: 10 Super Easy Email Marketing Tips To Make Your Newsletters Better
Writing A Good Subject Line
The very first thing you need to do is write a kick butt subject line for your email. Nope, “The Deb Ward Team Newsletter” won't cut it, you need to make it exciting and interesting!
Which of these would you actually open if you got it in your email?
- The Deb Ward Team Newsletter
- Whoa Nellie, Home Prices Are Moving… But Is It Up or Down?
The second one obviously is much more interesting and uses curiosity to get your readers to click to open and find out about home prices. I honestly spend about 20-30 minutes a week writing my email newsletter and another 20 minutes brainstorming a good subject line.
Here are 100 Great Email Subject Lines – Email Newsletters to get your wheels turning if you are stuck for ideas!
What To Send In Your Newsletter
When you start your emailings your newsletters might just be okay (I know mine were when I started!) Please don't think you have to include everything on this list. Pick one or two things and start with those and then test to see what your readers like!
- Market stats
- Neighborhood news
- Content from local websites and news stations
- Favorite places to visit
- Free events
- Just listeds in your farm
- Real estate / house related tips & ideas
- Client spotlights
- Upcoming open houses
- Pocket listings that won't be in the MLS
- Mortgage or insurance news
- Recipes (I don't get this one, but they work for some agents!)
Remember, your whole newsletter should be a big old, “what's in if for them” message!
Additional Resources: Real Estate Marketing – Real Estate Newsletter Ideas
Getting Them To Respond
A huge part of email marketing is deliverability. Deliverability is based on how many messages you send, how many get opened and how many are marked as spam.
Deliverability means the difference between winding up in spam folders, the Gmail promotions tab or someone's main inbox.
One way to increase your deliverability is to have lots of people hit reply and answer you back! This is super simple to do, just ask them a question at the end of your email like…
- What is your favorite style of home?
- When was the last time you had your house painted?
- Do you love your school district?
As you can tell, these are not typical “realtor” questions. They are questions that real, live people might actually be interested in answering! Make sure you answer them all back. It doesn't have to be a novel, a “thanks so much, I will post the best answers in next week's newsletter” is fine. Functionally you just want to help your open rates AND get a dialog started with your prospects.
Real Estate Drip Marketing Campaigns
Okay, this is a little harder to explain. Drip marketing campaigns are also called autoresponder messages because once someone signs up, they automatically get a series of messages from you, dripped out over time.
Most drip campaigns start with an offer for a free item of value (sometimes called a content upgrade). Here are some ideas…
- First time homebuyer guide
- 10 things you MUST do before you list your Fox Hollow house for sale
- Tampa Bay Relocation Guide
- How to get the down payment for your house as a wedding present
The more interesting the offer you give, the more likely someone is to signup for your email list and let you market to them!
Here is an example of a drip marketing campaign for a Relocation Guide…
In this example the out of town buyer would:
- Request a relocation guide
- Get “tagged” as an out of town buyer
- Get a series of emails about relocating to Clearwater
- Get “tagged” as a newsletter subscriber after the emails run out
The reason I said above that this is my very favorite kind of marketing is because once you set this series up, all you have to do is promote your guide on your website or social media and the rest is done automatically.
An out of towner who gets your amazing guide, then a bunch of helpful emails from you and your newsletters is going to be calling you when they are ready to come look at some houses and make an offer!
Additional Resource: How To Do Email Autoresponders
Once you start doing drip email marketing statistics (stats) really start to matter and you should take a hard look at least every few months to see what is working.
Conversion rates are for your lead magnet or content upgrade. This is a test of how many people have seen it and then gone ahead and signed up to join your list and get your free offer.
If your conversion rate is really low, then you know that your signup page needs work because they were interested enough to click over to see it, but they didn't sign up to actually get it.
This is my 100 Free Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents offer… I feel like 65.71% is a great conversion rate considering I use it as an example in blog posts even when people aren't real estate agents!
Open Rate Click Rate
Another metric to check out is “Open Rate” and “Click Rate”. Open rate is how many people received the email in their inbox AND opened it. Click rate is how many times they clicked links in the email.
33.1% is a pretty good open rate for emails. If that was super low I should write better subject lines. I wish my click rate was higher… my goal is to get people from my emails to my blog posts so click rates are my most important email goal.
Real Estate Email Marketing FAQs
Should Your Include Your Picture In Your Email Signature?
Should You Send A “Welcome” Email – Real Estate Agent Introduction Email
Handling Internet Leads
This kind of marketing will result in a A LOT of “internet leads”. Fortunately you can filter the crazy people out with your autoresponders, but I really advise against using your “real” real estate database for email marketing. When I was an agent I had a marketing email database and my real database which was super clean and had real prospects, current clients, sphere and past clients only.
How Many People Should You Have On Your Email List?
The number of people you have on your email list is a pure vanity metric.
Say you live in Los Angeles and are giving away a free guide to local hot spots to see celebrities. You could have a HUGE list, but not a super “real estate-y” one. Or say you were giving away a guide to selling your home in the most expensive neighborhood in your town and you only had 50 people on your list. That list could potentially be worth considerably more than a list of random people off the internet!