Email marketing is a great way for real estate agents to engage, and stay engaged with buyers and sellers. Although email newsletters have existed for more than two decades, innovative tooling and improved design have made this form of marketing more attractive than ever.
Whether you’re looking to outsource your email marketing or keep it in house, we’ve broken down common questions, shared our favourite tips and tricks to increase engagement and nurture conversion, as well as the best methods of growing a mailing list from scratch.
What can email marketing do for your real estate business?
Simply, email marketing is a highly effective way of increasing brand awareness amongst those who are already familiar with your business, generating leads and strengthening relationships.
By focusing on sharing relevant information as part of an email marketing campaign, recipients are unlikely to recognise your correspondence as a marketing attempt. For this reason, the specifics of email correspondence are very important.
Email marketing is noted to be an extremely effective method of generating leads, and is the primary channel used by 89% of marketers to do so. What’s more, close to 75% of customers prefer email as their primary method of communication with businesses . When considered alongside the fact that the average return on investment for email marketing is 4200% – or more than £30 for every £1 spent – the benefits of email marketing only become more apparent.
Email marketing produces rapid results. Unlike flyer distribution or static adverts, email content is consumed quickly – just under a quarter of all emails are opened within an hour . The nature of email marketing also means that you can provide a more immersive experience with a lower risk of disengagement. For example, when advertising a property you can provide a brief description of the property and a photograph, and then link off to the full listing – an effortless process for the recipient. This ultimately drives engagement and increases conversions.
What content to share in real estate marketing emails?
Email marketing is a great way to increase engagement with previous or potential clients, particularly when you manage several mailing lists. Rather than simply sending a weekly update to each subscriber outlining new properties for sale, consider sending different types of content to different categories of client (this is known as email segmentation).
If you know an individual is looking for a house, then it is wise to send a weekly email outlining new properties. For clients that are only casually interested in moving (or even previous customers), it is best to only send monthly newsletters, perhaps outlining agency news, property-related information that may affect them (e.g. council tax changes, stamp duty changes), and your three favourite properties from the past month – ideally one from the low, middle, and high end of the market.
Most important of all is to keep your email content relevant and interesting. Otherwise, they will soon unsubscribe from your newsletter, or worse: mark your correspondence as “junk”.
When should I send email newsletters?
There’s no perfect time to send an email newsletter, as the engagement your piece receives depends on countless factors that vary from person to person, week to week. This can include timezone, significant events (such as sports finals or national holidays), and even the weather. Furthermore, the behaviour of commercial clients is very different to that of residential clients.
Whilst there is no perfect solution, analysis of recipient behaviour by email providers has produced the following guidance:
- Tuesday and Thursday are considered the best days to send emails
- The optimum time to send an email is 11 AM
- Weekends offer the lowest email-opening statistics and worst click-through rate
The best thing you can do is experiment, and adjust your email marketing strategy based on your own findings. Varying email distribution time is a perfect candidate for A/B testing.
How to build up a mailing list
Whilst building a substantial mailing list will take time, the process is not complicated. Once again, it’s a case of providing value. Specifically, highlighting why subscribing to your newsletter is of benefit to any prospective subscriber.
It is vital you begin building a mailing list as soon as possible. Every individual you have interactions with in a professional capacity is a potential subscriber, and therefore a potential future customer. Therefore, the sooner you start, the larger your mailing list will be – increasing your revenue.
When promoting your mailing list, it is important to stress the benefits to anyone who signs up. Offering to inform subscribers of new properties matching their search criteria before they are published to portals is seen to be extremely valuable. This benefit should be listed next to your signup form, and acts as a hook. Whilst sending such specific, timely emails may sound challenging, the process can be readily automated.
Offering a free download is also a popular way of providing value and gaining mailing list subscribers. Local guides or “property renovations tips” are perfect examples. Dedicate a page of your website (and link to it from anywhere relevant) to the resource. It should include a form requesting any information you wish to collect and an opt-in/opt-out to your mailing list selector (subject to local laws). Once submitted, a link to the digital document should be sent to the recipient’s email address for download. Again, this process can be fully automated.
Whilst the most effective and common way of obtaining signups is through a web form, it may also be beneficial to offer an in-office sign up option. A great way of achieving this is to present your webpage at an optimal location within your office on an iPad. QR codes containing links to your sign up page are also an option for printed merchandise, stickers, and flyers.
How does GDPR affect mailing lists?
Although GDPR has made the process of creating and managing mailing lists more complicated, it is still possible. The broad effect of GDPR with respect to mailing lists is that the recipient must specifically opt-in to the communication, and should be able to easily unsubscribe.
Either a recipient should have opted-in to your mailing list, or be an existing customer who had previously bought a related product or service from you – this is known as a soft opt-in. In both cases, they must be provided with a link to opt-out of communication in every piece of correspondence.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) specifically state that a soft opt-in ‘does not apply to prospective customers or new contacts’ .
How to make sure email marketing is read
There’s no point in sending emails if they’re not going to be read. Tailoring content to your subscribers is key to increasing engagement. Segmenting your mailing list based on behaviour and interests is a common way of achieving this. You should also consider sending emails at different times of day depending on the type of client.
One option is to split your mailing list into three major categories: those interested in buying, renting, selling, staying up to date with local/property news. You might then perform further categorisation on factors such as price bracket, location, minimum bedrooms, etc.
When initially funnelling people to your mailing list you should gain as much information about their relevant interests as possible. This will help you to target them with the most appropriate content. However, do not ask too many questions as this may be interpreted as a “hassle” by the registrant, resulting in an abandoned sign up.
No matter if you’ve determined an individual’s preferences or not, you should consider utilising analytics. Using a variety of tracking techniques it is possible to determine whether a recipient opened an email, and which content they found most engaging (through link clicks, for example). By acting on this information you can increase engagement, and therefore drive conversions.
Whilst it might not seem overly important as a provider, it is vital that you offer your subscribers a way to opt out of your email marketing. Aside from any legal obligations, you might have (such as GDPR), if too many recipients label your emails as junk, email providers might automatically label all emails from yourselves as junk – or worse: your distributor could block you from sending emails altogether.
Email marketing can be highly lucrative. If you or your real estate business need assistance with email marketing, or are just keen to learn more, get in touch today.