Today’s consumers are accustomed to personalized communication everywhere they go. From the barista writing your name on your drink at the coffeeshop to customizing the apps on your phone, it’s never been easier to get what you want. This is no different in real estate, which means your marketing approach needs to fulfill the expectations of today’s customers.
Email marketing is a personal, customizable, and powerful way to communicate with your target audience. You can reach thousands of people at once without it feeling insincere.
On its face, email marketing may sound simple, but it actually has a lot of nuance. Getting it right requires a little bit of technical knowledge, the right timing, and a human touch in your language. Keep reading to learn the essentials of email marketing for real estate agents.
Choosing an Email Service Provider (ESP)
The first step in email marketing is getting an email service provider, or ESP. An ESP is the software tool you use to create emails, send them, analyze their performance, and segment audiences.
If you haven’t used an ESP before, that’s okay. Think of it similar to your personal email inbox, such as Gmail or Yahoo. Personal email accounts have standard features, like email draft and send buttons, a list of contacts, and an outbox.
ESPs, however, have several other functionalities necessary to email marketing. An ESP gives you control over when emails are sent, how many people opened your email and clicked a link inside, and if people unsubscribed. These features show where your email marketing stands today and what improvements you can make with it tomorrow.
It’s important to choose an ESP that meets your needs as a real estate agent. The basics to look for are ease of use, website integrations, affordable pricing, and helpful customer service.
Here are some of the leading ESPs:
- Constant Contact
Take a look at a few of them and pick one that fits your needs. Remember that choosing based on quality is always a wise decision.
Setting Up Your First List
Once you’ve created your account, the next step is setting up your first list. An email list is a list of people who have signed up to receive email updates from you.
Over time you’ll want to segment your audience based on their needs, but starting out it’s perfectly acceptable to make a general list. This is where brand new subscribers will go, and you can use this list to broadcast general updates about your business.
Every ESP’s backend differs, so consult your service’s tutorials or help center for how to set up your list. In most cases, there will be a “Create a List” button or something similar. Once you find the respective button, click on it and follow the onscreen prompts.
Connecting Your Website and Email Opt-In Form
After your list has been created, there’s a little bit of technical work to do. Your email sign-up form needs to be visible on your website. Your email sign-up form is usually called an opt-in and must be easy to find and use. Without that, no one would be able to join your list–and you don’t want that, do you?
Integrating your email list opt-in with your website depends on which platforms you use for both. In the event you use WordPress, things are pretty straightforward.
How to Set Things Up
First, go to the Plugins section of your WordPress administrator dashboard and click on Add New. Second, search for your ESP’s plugin, then click Install. Once it’s installed, click Activate. After activation, click on its tab on the left-hand side of the page.
Now the plugin is ready for your ESP’s API key. An API is similar to a code snippet that connects two different software programs. To get the API from your ESP, go back to your ESP dashboard and look in settings or applications. If you can’t find any menu options labeled API Key(s), consult your ESP’s help center for assistance.
Once you have the API key, copy and paste it into the plugin’s settings. Now each time someone signs up for your email list, their email address will automatically be sent to your ESP.
Now that your ESP and website are integrated, the next step is creating the opt-in form itself. The form is the area on a webpage that allows people to enter their email address–the same as when you’re buying a product or purchasing a ticket online.
To create it, go to your ESP’s plugin within WordPress and look for a button that says “Create Form” or something similar. Click on that and follow the onscreen steps that appear.
You’ll be able to customize the colors, font size, and other aspects of your form. Best practices include matching your form to your website colors and not adding too many form fields. Keep necessary fields to first name and email, or just email. The fewer fields to complete, the more likely people are to subscribe.
When your form is complete, the plugin will provide a way to add the form to the pages you want. If your plugin gives you a shortcode, this is a snippet of code that’s added to the HTML side of the page. Other plugins create forms as drag-and-drop elements that can be added more easily.
If you don’t make frequent website changes and you remain in regular communication with your subscribers, this is all the technical work necessary for email marketing. As people visit your site and sign up for your emails, you’ll have new people on your list each month.
Speaking of adding people to your email list, this is part that everyone gets excited about. Attracting new email subscribers requires effort, but also has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) of any digital marketing activity. For every $1 invested in email marketing you can expect to get $36 out, especially with the right strategies.
So, what’s involved in learning how to generate real estate leads? It’s good to start with what’s called a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a downloadable asset or information product offered in exchange for someone’s email address. Common lead magnets include eBooks, case studies, and checklists.
Since you already have an ESP available, setting up delivery of your lead magnet is a piece of cake. The following steps assume that you have already created your lead magnet. Not sure how to make one? Check out this blog post for a step-by-step walkthrough.
First, upload your finished lead magnet to your cloud storage of choice. When the upload is complete, copy the link to it. Second, log into your ESP and go to your opt-in form. Within the form’s settings, there will be an area where you can choose which URL new subscribers are directed to.
Third, paste your link into this field. Now whenever someone signs up for your email list, as soon as they’re confirmed they’ll be directed to your lead magnet page.
You can repeat this process for as many lead magnets as you want to create. Once your list starts to grow, maintain a regular emailing schedule. The day you email subscribers isn’t the most important aspect, but being consistent is.
Coming Up with Email Topics
The nice part about being a real estate agent covering email marketing basics is much of your work is already done for you. Whether you’re announcing new listings and open houses with buyers or sharing industry news, most agents will have plenty of content topics to choose from.
Even so, it’s wise to have content topics you can share via email. A necessary component of digital marketing is keeping your audience engaged with useful or delightful information.
Here are some examples of content you can use:
- The email newsletter
- The listing or event announcement
- The post-sale follow-up
- The neighborhood guidebook
- The client testimonial
- The resource email
Let’s unpack what each type of email accomplishes and provide a brief example on how to use it.
The Email Newsletter
The good news for those researching email marketing tips is that newsletters have never disappeared, they’ve just taken a different form. In other words, people love hearing about what’s new–whether they’re a customer, industry expert, or both.
A great way to use newsletters is to keep them consistent, helpful, and personal. Send your newsletter out the same day and time each week, which fosters reliability in readers’ minds.
If you’re wondering, “When is the best time to send an email?” We have you covered; simply click on the post link above. Remember to be helpful by offering pictures of your latest listings with links to more details.
Finally, include some personal info, like a restaurant, TV show, or sports event you enjoyed recently. All of this information wrapped up in an email that’s 150 words or less is perfect. It creates an impression in readers’ minds that you’re experienced and knowledgeable, yet approachable. This is a powerhouse combination that’s increasingly necessary in real estate.
The Listing or Event Announcement
Sending out short emails for brand new listings or an open house is a great strategy. It helps keep you top-of-mind for your subscribers, many of whom are at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
When you send out a new property, your subscribers can check it out immediately and respond if they want to. Even if they aren’t interested, your proactiveness demonstrates that you’re on top of your game.
This email marketing tip works great for open houses and events, too. In-person events are cases where you need to spread the word to dozens of people in minutes. By sending out a quick email for new events, you give a reason for people to interact with you. The more face-to-face time you get with prospects, the more likely you are to find your next client.
The Post-Sale Follow-Up
Though following up after a sale may seem natural to some, you’d be surprised by how few agents do it. Fewer than one in five real estate agents maintain relationships with previous clients, which is a huge missed opportunity.
Instead of only looking for new clients, send strategic follow-up emails. This is especially helpful for home buyers, as they’re dealing with a lot in a short period of time.
Send a follow-up email two weeks and one year after your client moved into their new place. Two weeks after is good because it’s given them enough time to settle in, and one year after is perfect because they’ve had time to reflect on their purchase.
Bear in mind these email marketing basics aren’t an attempt to fix problems that you can’t help with. It’s a means of collecting feedback and understanding what your client liked or didn’t like about moving into their new place. Each client’s experience is different and you can use what you learn to make future transactions better.
The Neighborhood Guidebook
This type of email is a little more involved but will position you as the authority in prospects’ minds. The neighborhood guidebook is a periodic update on new buildings, events, and bits of culture in the area.
Living in a new or better neighborhood is the sixth biggest reason people buy a new home. As such, you should be well informed of what’s going on in your area so you can talk with clients about it.
Keep track of entertainment venues, live events, and other local happenings. Then, send an email to your list about once per quarter with the most important updates. Not only will people want to hear more from you, they’ll start seeing you as the authority on neighborhood events.
The Client Testimonial
One of the most powerful forms of communication at your disposal is the client testimonial. Humans are hard-wired to trust the opinion of a third party rather than the person selling to them.
Whenever you receive positive feedback, document it. Over time you’ll build up a treasure trove of testimonials that authentically present your work as the best.
Similar to new listing emails, this type of email shouldn’t be overdone. While sharing glowing client reviews isn’t a bad idea, if you do it all the time you’ll come across as arrogant. The best real estate agents know that their work does the talking and occasionally patting one’s own back isn’t extreme.
The Resource Email
There’s another type of email that’s often overlooked by real estate agents, and that’s the resource email. This is a message you send your list that offers contractors, websites, and other resources that are helpful to them.
The key here is to not overwhelm people with resources they’ll never use, nor to send the same resources to everyone. Relationship selling in real estate is contextual, so the emails you send your contacts should be, too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing for Real Estate Agents
Starting an email list looks intimidating at the outset. You need to know your way around tech tools, have a sense for what looks good, and be ambitious on top of it. It’s enough to make even seasoned professionals break a sweat.
All of this may have brought up questions that are difficult to answer. Have no fear, though–we have insights for frequently asked questions about email marketing tips for agents. Take a look now:
What Is A Drip Campaign In Real Estate?
Similar to other drip campaigns, a drip campaign in real estate is a series of messages emailed to your subscribers over a period of time. The term drip campaign is the idea of sending emails one “drip” at a time, instead of bombarding readers with tons of information.
A drip campaign can be used for several purposes. You may write three emails to be sent to each attendee of an open house, or four emails that follow up with buyers after a sale.
You may also use drip campaigns as part of your regular email marketing. If you work in a busy area or large state, you may have several regions that you’re familiar with. A drip campaign can educate prospects and past clients on which locales have hot listings.
What Are Real Estate Email Marketing Statistics?
Real estate email marketing statistics are any stats about the outcomes of email marketing within the industry. This may include broad-ranging information, like how many agents use real estate marketing or how often emails are opened.
For example, in real estate the typical open rate (OR) is 28.37% and the clickthrough rate (CTR) is 2.42%. Both of these are higher than the average marketing email OR and CTR, which are 22.02% and 2.13%, respectively.
Send That Email
When done right, there are few digital marketing strategies as effective as email marketing. That’s why it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before you start firing off emails.
This blog is your guide to email marketing basics. Once you have the essentials in place, you can scale faster and reach more people in a fraction of the time. As you send emails, remember to observe what your subscribers love most so you can send more of it to them.