The Role of Email Marketing in Real Estate Lead Nurturing
If you thought email marketing was dead, think again.
Even though many of us complain about it, the truth is we all love email. So much in fact, that we sent and received a total of 281 billion emails per day in 2018. And by 2022, that number’s expected to reach 333 billion.
For marketing and sales pros, it’s not just about volume; it’s about ROI. Research shows email marketing is nearly 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
But before you start firing off billions more emails, a word of warning: Even the best tools can become meaningless if poorly executed. Here’s how to successfully rock your email marketing and close more real estate leads.
What can email marketing do for your real estate business?
Real estate is not an impulse buy.
Helping leads travel the long road toward finding their dream home can be a lengthy process (one that can take anywhere from five to seven years). So it makes sense that the more leads you have, the greater your chances of closing those commissions.
This is where email marketing works its magic. Even with the rise of bots, AI and video, there’s still no better way to connect with hundreds or even thousands of people at the same time.
But how can you use email to warm up your leads without losing that personal touch?
Two words: relevant content.
More on that in a minute. First, you should know that in real estate email marketing, there is no greater sin than sending crappy content. Realtors are influential members of the community. To gain that trust and keep their personal brands intact, they need to make every touchpoint count.
And those that do, win big.
Research shows personalized emails generate up to 6x more revenue than non-personalized emails. So if you feel like you can’t be bothered, trust that generic messages will only alienate your leads. After all, no one likes to feel spammed.
3 simple rules for using email marketing to nurture real estate leads
For most agents, the temptation to set up every new lead on a year-long email drip is strong.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to convert leads. And while automation can definitely help you win back your time, it only works if you do it right.
Here are three simple rules to help keep your email marketing focused and effective.
1. Don’t confuse email marketing with lead nurturing.
Sometimes email marketing and lead nurturing get a bit tangled, but it’s important to remember they are NOT the same.
Lead nurturing is the process of supporting a potential client (a.k.a. any person who isn’t ready to make a transaction with you yet) as they travel the buyer’s journey towards a sale.
In real estate, there are lots of ways to nurture your leads. You can set up regular phone calls, have face-to-face appointments, exchange text messages, invite them to community events, and so much more. Email marketing is just one of the tools in a vast lead-nurturing toolkit.
But as mentioned, inboxes are noisy. And without a well thought-out, eye-catching email marketing campaign, your real estate email marketing risks falling flat.
2. Tell them something useful, engaging and valuable.
The most important rule for sending a real estate email campaign that will knock your leads’ socks off is to simply keep it relevant.
For instance, there’s no point sending a generic listings email to warm seller leads. They’re probably more interested in deciding whether or not it’s a good time to sell. If you want to get their attention, send them an email detailing how much similar properties have recently sold for in their area, rather than just another brochure-style email.
3. Adjust the message to your lead’s buying timeline.
A lead who was browsing your website may have a much longer buying timeline compared to a lead who searched for a specific type of property on a listing site like Zillow or Trulia.
So why should they get the same email?
In the former scenario, a year-long autoresponder with listings in their area might do just fine. In the latter, you may want to kick off with an automated text message and then move to short, targeted emails aiming to get the lead on the phone.
The top 5 email campaigns every realtor should send
Okay, you’ve tried email marketing before and it didn’t go great.
Maybe you didn’t convert as many leads as you’d hoped. Maybe you felt like it was a waste of time or money. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
Your approach might simply need a tweak.
Attention spans are getting shorter and with just seconds to hook your reader, you’re going to have to put in a little creative elbow grease to make every email count.
Here are some winning campaign types to try out:
1. Real estate listings: These need to be relevant and located in your prospect’s area of interest. Obviously, if someone is looking to live in Manhattan, you don’t want to send them listings in Jersey. Likewise, if you have a lead looking to downsize (let’s say the kids have flown the nest) don’t send them listings for large family homes.
2. Housing market updates: For buyer leads include house prices, mortgage rates, and property sales. For sellers, focus more on the latest intel on homes sold recently in the area. And don’t be shy, feel free to show off your recent deals and wins.
3. Resource lists: Home buyer resources, home seller resources, and homeowner resources. These can include:
- An ebook about buying or selling a home
- Newsletters with the latest market advice and tips
- Tips for sellers to entice potential buyers
- Simple hacks to present an open house
- Tips and advice for homeowners like home maintenance, how to save water, keep energy costs low, backyard maintenance, and decorating ideas
4. A blog digest: Your blog is your voice and your reputation. It’s how you show that you’re an authority in your field. So don’t make your leads work to get the latest news from you. Send it to them. And for extra value, share quotes and ideas from blog posts via tweets and other social media postings to help generate a buzz.
5. Testimonials: There’s nothing more enticing than reading about other peoples’ experiences. Case studies from happy former clients make for great email fodder.
Pro tip: A great way to connect with seller leads is to send a quick video with your market updates to share insider insights on what’s happening. (Source: Follow Up Boss)
A simple checklist for keeping it relevant
No matter which type of campaign you’re creating, remember it’s about relevance.
And relevance = revenue.
You never want to treat your leads like just another name in their database. Check to make sure you’ve covered the following bases.
- Personalize — You want to create trust immediately so use your own name, not just the name of the business.
- Smash it with an awesome subject line — This alone can determine whether or not your email is opened.
- Say something new — Sometimes this can include stating the obvious. What you consider common knowledge might be gold to your reader.
- Real benefits — Give your reader tangible benefits like resources, how-tos, advice, and free downloads.
- Keep it mobile-friendly — Most of us read emails on our mobile phones so make sure your emails will look ace on the small screen.
- Video email — Ditch the text and say it in person instead. There’s so much you can do with a video. 81% of businesses already use or plan to use video as a marketing tool. This is one trend that isn’t going away.
- Use an enticing Call to Action (CTA) — Give your reader a chance to act. For instance, sign up to a newsletter or download an ebook, or attend an open house. A well-written CTA is a great way to interact with your reader and get them to come back for more.
Seamlessly blend your email marketing and lead nurturing
From the minute you get a new lead, use your content as a way to find out more about them.
This will help you create an email marketing campaign with far greater impact. Set up opportunities in your CRM based on behavioral triggers such as when a lead reads your email, visits your website, downloads an ebook, comments on a tweet or Facebook post to help you understand what they’re looking for and when they need it.
Armed with some intel about your leads’ true intentions, you can engage them in a way that makes them feel like you really get them. Learn as much as you can about who they are and what they need. Then think about creative ways to make each message special until it’s time to pick up the phone.
And how do you use email marketing in your real estate business? Tell us in the comments below!
Author: Dave Lawrence is the Head of Growth at Follow Up Boss, a CRM for real estate teams. In his role he spends his time ‘under the hood’ of many of the top performing real estate sales teams in North America, helping them leverage technology and process to become more effective at delivering value and service to their clients.
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