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Introduction

Real estate is a competitive industry: According to real estate educator Tom Ferry, 87% of real estate agents leave the industry within five years because they didn’t earn enough.

As a realtor, you know you must stay top-of-mind for potential leads and grow your network by consistently marketing yourself.

And there’s one form of digital marketing that outperforms the others: email marketing.

In this article, we explain how to use email marketing for realtors to stand out from the competition, grow your network of potential clients and referrals, and lead to your most profitable year yet.

Chapter 1

Why realtors need to engage their audience

It’s not enough to just be visible online—realtors must also engage their online audience.

What is engagement? Engagement implies interaction: how often your audience interacts with your content through comments, shares, replies, and more.

Here’s why engagement is especially important for realtors.

Competition for clients is high.

There are more than two million active real estate licenses in the US, which means the competition for clients is steep. Having high engagement with your marketing can ensure that your customers are taking notice of your content and remembering you when the time comes to sell or buy a home.

Engagement can lead to more referrals.

Thirty-nine percent of home sellers find their real estate agent through a referral from a friend or family member. When your audience is paying attention to and interacting with your content, you’re more likely to come to mind when someone in their network needs a realtor. This is also why your past clients should still be a part of your engaged audience.

The bottom line: Email marketing is the best tool for real estate agents who want to engage their audience.

Chapter 2

Email is perfect for nurturing potential buyers and sellers.

You know that buying or selling a home is a huge decision for your clients. It can take months or years for homeowners or would-be homeowners to make the leap and contact a realtor.

Instead of just hoping potential clients in your area find you when they’re ready, you can use email marketing to nurture an audience that isn’t ready to buy right now but will be eventually. Then, when they need a realtor, you’re already someone they know and trust as an expert.

Here’s why email marketing is fantastic for nurturing potential leads.

1. With email, you have more control.

Compared to other digital marketing platforms—like social media or digital advertising—email marketing puts you in control. For example, when you post on Instagram or Facebook, you can guess who will see your content and when they see it. But you can’t be sure.

By contrast, your emails will be delivered at a set time directly to your email list. No confusing algorithm will get in the way of your content being seen.

2. Email feels intimate.

Email is one-to-one. It creates a relationship. And your emails can be personalized so that they read like a private letter from you. The closeness of an email relationship can quickly turn cold leads into warm leads.

3. Every demographic uses email.

With email, you don’t have to wonder how to reach your ideal clients online, because all demographics use email. So, whether you focus on a special type of home buyer or seller, or you serve everyone in your area, email marketing will work for you.

4. You can segment your audience.

Email is one of the only marketing tools that allow you to divide your audience into segments and deliver different content to each segment. To illustrate how this helps you nurture leads, consider the following scenario:

  • Subscriber A signs up for your email list after attending an open house. She didn’t make an offer on the house, but she’s indicated she’s interested in working with you in the future.
  • Subscriber B signed up for your email list months ago when he first started looking for a new home. Now, he’s successfully bought a new place he loves–with your help.

If you send both subscribers the same content, you quickly run into trouble. Subscriber A would best be served with content about your new listings or educational content about preparing to move. Subscriber B, on the other hand, would find such content useless, since she bought a house recently.

Email segmenting means you can target both types of subscribers with content that’s useful for them. Hopefully, Subscriber A will buy a house with you and Subscriber B will refer her family and friends to you.

5. You can educate potential clients.

On average, homebuyers spend three weeks looking for a new home on their own before contacting a real estate agent. By using email marketing to educate these buyers about the home buying process from the start, you position yourself as a trustworthy expert. If these leads don’t succeed in finding a home on their own, they’ll decide to hire a realtor. Likely, they won’t have to look much further than their own inbox.

Email marketing vocabulary for realtors

As you implement your own email marketing and research email marketing software, you may come across unfamiliar terms. Here are some quick definitions to get you up to speed:

  • Subscribers—people who have chosen to receive marketing email from you
  • List—your list of email subscribers
  • Subject line—the part of the email you read before opening the full email
  • Preheader or preview text—the few lines below the subject line that you can read before opening the full email
  • Spam—marketing email sent to someone who has not elected to receive it
  • Open rate—percentage of people who opened your email
  • Click-through rate—percentage of people who clicked a link in your email
  • Bounce rate—percentage of emails that never made it to an inbox (more here)
  • Conversion rate—percentage of people who followed a call-to-action in your email, such as “Schedule a walk-through”
  • Double opt-in—asking subscribers to confirm they want to receive email from you by clicking a confirmation link in the very first email
  • Email campaign—a single email or series of emails designed to achieve a certain goal, such as encouraging people to attend an open house
  • Landing page—a single web page that a link in an email (or another form of marketing) leads to, usually designed to facilitate a purchase or a form fill

We suggest saving this list to refer to as you begin your email marketing journey.

Start by choosing an email marketing software.

If you’re ready to start email marketing, the first step is to choose an email marketing software. Your personal email account cannot be used for your email marketing because most personal email clients (like Gmail, Yahoo) limit the number of emails you can send at once. In addition, personal email clients don’t offer any analytics or scheduling.

You should research different email marketing software or tools to find the one that best suits your needs. During your research, here’s what you should look for:

Simple drag-and-drop templates

Unless you’re trained in graphic design, you should find an email marketing software that’s beginner-friendly, with drag-and-drop templates.

Mobile optimization

At least half of all email opens are on a mobile device. That means that mobile optimization is a must-have for your email marketing software.

Pro tip: Campaign Monitor has column stacking options, so you can choose exactly how your email stacks and displays on a mobile device. Learn more about the feature here.

Personalization

Personalization features allow you to add subscriber names in the body copy and subject lines of your emails, encouraging a higher open rate.

Automation

You’re too busy to send every email out individually. That’s why you should look for automation features in email marketing software. Automation allows you to schedule emails in advance or even send emails to new subscribers automatically in a welcome email.

Beginner-friendly analytics

Analytics are valuable for creating an effective email marketing strategy. But if you can’t understand what they mean, analytics won’t help you. So, look for analytics features that are designed for regular business owners, not data experts.

 

Chapter 5

The email campaigns all realtors should be sending

Once you’ve chosen an email marketing software, consider what type of emails are best suited for your workflow and your clients’ needs. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled the five best email types for realtors.

Email newsletter

The email newsletter is the simplest form of email marketing, so it’s perfect for email marketing beginners.

Just like print newsletters, email newsletters go out at a set frequency, such as weekly or monthly. Most commonly, newsletters share your latest listings, upcoming events, the latest real estate trends in your area, a recent blog post, or a summary of your real estate blog.

The purpose of a newsletter is to provide expert content your readers can count on and to keep your services top-of-mind for potential new clients. The newsletter below is an idea example of how you can stay relevant to your audience.

This realtor newsletter from Larry Kloess keeps his brand top of mind with highlights around his city and featured listings that month.

Follow-up and referral request emails

Email is a great way to keep past clients active in your network. Create an email or an email sequence that sends to past clients a set period of time after the sale closes. You can use this email to follow up on how they’re enjoying their new home or ask for a referral.

This email from Ben at Genesis Realty reminds the buyer of their home purchase a year ago and points them to resources if they need help.

Welcome email or sequence

A welcome email or sequence is an automated email (or set of emails) that is sent to a new subscriber. These types of emails help new subscribers feel good about their decision to join your list. In addition, welcome emails help set expectations for how frequently emails will be sent and what the content will be.

Finally, welcome emails can drive engagement from the start, encouraging subscribers to reply directly to your marketing emails, click a link, or share.

 This welcome email from Compass gives three really easy ways to get acquainted with their offers

Open house and event announcements

Do you do your best selling in person? You can use these types of emails to encourage your online audience to meet you in the real world at an open house or an event.

Chapter 6

What content do you share in your emails?

Now that you’ve got the basics of email marketing for realtors down, it’s time to start writing. Here are some content ideas to get you started with your email marketing.

Listing announcements, open houses, or video tours

Send your new listings to your email list, describing what makes each one a beautiful new home for the right buyer. If you have the budget for it, include virtual video tours to help drum up excitement for your listings.

Regular neighborhood guides

Part of your expertise as a realtor is your insider knowledge of the neighborhoods in your area. Share your knowledge with your email list, and help subscribers who are looking to move to a new neighborhood make the right decision. One way to share your neighborhood insight is to release neighborhood guides every week. Guides can be as simple or in-depth as you’d like.

Your take on local real estate market trends + tips

Your email list might not understand what real estate trends mean for them as a home buyer or home seller. You can use your email marketing to break down trends for your readers in a digestible and applicable way, or share general education content about selling a home.

Client success stories

Email is a wonderful medium for sharing longer stories, so take advantage of it: Share how you made a past client’s new home dreams come true or sold a client’s home in record time.

How to launch a successful email list as a realtor

Email marketing is more than just the content within. For email marketing to be a worthwhile venture, you should spend time crafting a strategy that will grow your list, drive engagement, and allow you to adjust based on subscriber feedback and behavior.

Make your email list readily available.

Before you spend time on your email marketing content, you need to have subscribers. Here are some strategies for getting people to sign up for your email list.

Tell your network about your new email list.

First, simply make it known that you’ve launched an email list. You can:

  • Share your email list launch on social media
  • Add your email list to your personal email signature
  • Bring an email signup sheet to your next open house

People who are already interacting with you online and in-person will be the easiest to convert to subscribers.

Include an email opt-in on your website.

Make it easy for someone to find your email list sign-up. Consider adding an email opt-in:

  • On your contact form for potential clients
  • As a pop-up on your website
  • At the top right corner of your website
  • At the end of each blog post

Putting your email list sign up in a prominent place on your website means any website traffic you get is an opportunity to build your list.

Run ads to your email list sign-up.

If you’re serious about using email marketing to scale your real estate career, then you should consider running paid social media ads that direct traffic to your email list sign-up.

Even though there’s a cost upfront to run social media ads, once someone is on your email list, you have a much better chance of converting them into a new client than if they were a cold lead.

Give people a reason to subscribe to your list.

Don’t just set up an email form and hope people will subscribe without a reason. Instead, present a compelling reason for people to want to sign up.

Offer something in exchange for signing up

Create a free download, or lead magnet, that new subscribers will receive in their inbox right away. This should be something that provides value and that potential subscribers will want related to real estate.

Your free download could be a PDF, an ebook, a mini video training, or even a diagram. Here’s an example from Genesis Realty:

Share what value your emails provide.

Sharing what subscribers can expect when they sign up is often a compelling reason in itself.

Do subscribers get exclusive video tours of new listings? Do they receive a new neighborhood guide every week? Whatever format your email marketing takes, let potential subscribers know.

Partner with other real estate industry professionals.

Partnering with another industry professional is a way to fast-track your email list growth because your list is introduced to two networks and audiences at once.

You can either launch an email list together or feature one another in a single email or series of emails.

Good candidates for an email marketing partner for realtors are home stagers, relocation specialists, remodeling construction companies, or interior designers. Ideally, your partner should be someone who serves similar clients as you do and offers a supplementary service, not another real estate agent.

Give your email list a memorable name.

Rather just saying “my email list,” give your list a name. When your list has a name, it’s instantly more recognizable and shareable.

Chapter 8

How to create real estate emails that drive engagement

Once you’ve started getting your first subscribers, you can start creating your emails. Here are our tips for creating emails that drive engagement.

1. Plan your emails in advance.

With email marketing, consistency is key. Rather than writing an email to your list whenever you feel like it, plan your emails in advance.

Decide on a manageable frequency.

There’s no right answer for how many emails to send, so you should aim for what you can commit to.

It’s better to start with a frequency you are certain you can make time for, such as a once-a-month email, and increase the frequency later than to promise a frequency you can’t deliver consistently.

Plan a welcome email or welcome sequence.

Start your email marketing planning by creating a welcome email or a welcome sequence.

Welcome emails establish your relationship with every new subscriber. They introduce who you are and set expectations for how many emails subscribers will receive from you, the content in your emails, and how subscribers can reach you directly.

Welcome emails also have a 34% average open rate, compared to a 17% overall average open rate, so they help jumpstart your engagement from the beginning.

2. Focus on getting your emails opened.

If no one opens your email, then whatever you’ve written inside doesn’t matter. That’s why you should spend most of your time on the aspects that affect open rates: the subject line and preheader text.

Opt for clear over clever.

When in doubt, use your subject line and preview text to tell people exactly what to expect in your email. For example, “New Beverly Hills Listings” may get more opens than a clever (yet vague) subject line that doesn’t reveal the content of the email, like “Beverly Hills – That’s where I wanna be.”

Keep your subject line short.

A subject line of 41 characters or fewer is the optimal subject line length. Shorter subject lines are easier to read at a glance, and they won’t get cut off in mobile viewing.

If you want to share more about the subject of your email, use your preview text to elaborate.

Try to stand out in the inbox.

To make your subject lines stand out, consider trying some of the following tactics:

  • Write your subject line in all lowercase
  • Use emojis
  • Use playful punctuation, like multiple question marks
  • Incorporate time-sensitive words
  • Tease their curiosity
  • Personalize the subject line with a subscriber’s first name
  • Call out your target audience, such as “Young families will love this neighborhood”

A good place to start your subject line brainstorming by scrolling through your own inbox and noting which subject lines caught your attention. How were they different from the other subject lines?

3. Optimize your email copywriting for a call to action.

Once you get people to open your emails, don’t waste their hard-won attention. Optimize your email copywriting to drive readers toward a specific action.

That action depends on your goal for the email. Do you want people to sign up for an upcoming open house? Give you a referral? Read an article you wrote?

Whatever your goal, here are a few tips to achieve it:

Greet your reader like a real person.

Most people don’t want to receive emails that read like a marketing brochure. Instead, make your emails feel like a letter between you and the reader by greeting them personally.

You can either choose a greeting like, “Hi there,” for every subscriber, or you do even better by personalizing greetings. For example, “Hey, [subscriber name].”

Include only one call to action.

A common mistake in email copywriting is having more than one “ask.”

So, don’t ask readers to reply to your email and share it. Or click to read an article and hire you. Choose one call to action and stay firm with your goal.

Add a P.S. that repeats the call to action.

Consider including a P.S. after your closing to repeat your call to action. Many people skim the email body copy but will stop to read a P.S.

4. Take advantage of email analytics to make adjustments.

After you have been email marketing for a few months, you should take advantage of email analytics. Analytics can help you see which types of emails, subject lines, and body copy are most effective. You can use what you learn from your email analytics to guide your future email marketing strategy.

Here are a few things you should review:

Campaign open rate
This is the percentage of subscribers who opened your email. Ideally, you should aim for a 20% to 40% email open rate.

Click-through rate
The click-through rate is the percentage of subscribers who followed your call to action and clicked on a link in your email. We suggest a click-through rate goal of about 15%.

Unsubscribe rate
This is the percentage of subscribers who unsubscribed after reading your email. This should be less than 2% to maintain a strong list.

Delivery rate
The delivery rate is the percentage of emails that did not get sent to a spam or junk folder or bounce back as undeliverable. Your delivery rate should be as high as possible.

Your top five campaigns
Investigate which emails have delivered the top results for you over the past month. This metric reveals which emails got the most opens, clicks, and engagement.

Check out our email marketing benchmarks for a standard that you can compare your metrics to.

Examples: promotion and example of email marketing for realtors

Let’s take a look at how a few real estate agents are promoting their email marketing efforts as well as what works about different email marketing approaches they use.

Grid Real Estate’s clever email list name and placement

Grid Real Estate is a boutique agency in New Jersey that has created a memorable name for their email list: Grid Bits. Also, they place their email list sign-up link in a prominent place on their website, driving subscribers.

Unlike other real estate agents who expect to get sales right from their website, Grid understands that converting new clients takes time. So, they drive their website traffic to their email sign-up, where they can nurture new leads effectively.

Grid Real Estate screenshot of their home page with email sign-up button

Halton Pardee’s clear sign-up form

Halton Pardee, a real estate agency in Southern California, offers a compelling (and simple) reason to subscribe to their list:

Halton Pardee screenshot of email list subscription form that says “Get the latest scoop on the real estate market in your inbox.”

Chapter 9

Wrap up

Email marketing for realtors is a tactic that can help you achieve your earning goals this year. By choosing the right email marketing software, planning strategically, and implementing the techniques in this guide, you’ll have a headstart on your competition.

What next? Try exploring the beginner-friendly ways to build beautiful and effective emails with the Campaign Monitor template builder.

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