By Matthew Collis
Some self-proclaimed “experts” have said that email marketing is dead. Others swear by it. But at the end of the day, email marketing can be highly effective if it’s done right. In our business, IXACT Contact, we get tremendously positive results from email marketing, and I know that our customers who use our system see great results as well.
Email marketing should be one way you keep in touch with past clients and stay “fresh” in their minds. It should also be one way you nurture the leads in your database (with the goal of eventually getting them to convert into clients). With a real estate contact management system and drip marketing campaigns created for you, you really have no excuse. The time commitment is minimal, as you don’t even have to write or send the emails – it’s all done for you.
Simply put, email marketing has a lot to offer. It’s affordable, fast and efficient compared to other marketing channels, and you can track and measure the success of any campaign.
Not only is it easy to create and send thousands of emails from your real estate customer relationship management (CRM) or email marketing system, but it’s cost-effective. Think about how much money it would cost to design and send out 1,000 flyers by mail versus the cost of email. And mail takes time, but people will see your email sooner (this is especially important if your communication is time-sensitive).
Consider this: with email marketing, you’re not guessing. These days, email marketing systems or CRMs with a robust email marketing component let you see the open rate, bounce back rate, click-through rate, forward rate and other key information that points to how successful your email marketing is. You can use this data to tweak messages, alter your distribution list and even identify potentially hot leads to further engage with (those who are reading, clicking and/or forwarding your emails the most).
Let me share with you some best practices. First, don’t make your emails all about you. Ask yourself, “Why would my recipients want to read my email? What’s in it for them?” People don’t want to read why you’re No. 1; they want useful information, such as market reports or how to assess the value of their home. Make sure your content is interesting and valuable to those you’re sending it to.
Also, make sure your emails are personalized (the email has their name on it) and directly relevant to them. Your emails need to be targeted and address the unique needs of the recipients. My suggestion is to use your real estate CRM to group your database (for example, “A-List Clients,” ”B-List Clients,” “General Prospects”) so you can easily send different emails/ messages to different segments of people.
Finally, ask your recipients to add your email address to their address book or Safe Senders List to increase the chances of your email being successfully delivered and not blocked by spam filters. If you use a real estate CRM that utilizes a dedicated email service provider (ESP), you’ll get better deliverability rates than sending out emails yourself through a mail client like Gmail.
A word of caution: don’t purchase email lists. You should be emailing people who you’ve had some sort of contact with in the past and know who you are. Otherwise, there’s a good probability that people will see your email as junk, delete it and flag it as junk mail. When a high percentage of your email list flags your email as junk, your overall email deliverability can decline, due to penalizations from email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo!.
You will have a competitive advantage over other Realtors if you’re using email marketing to nurture your leads, to position yourself as a “home expert” and to stay top of mind and relevant with past clients. But in order to do this, you need to be well-versed in email marketing and understand what it’s capable of and important best practices. When you’re email marketing the “right way,” you’ll see great results!
Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, collis works with REALTORS to help them achieve their goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system designed to help Realtors get more referrals and manage the transaction side of their business, keeping them more organized and in control.