When connecting with your clients and prospects, you can’t get a much better return on your investment than email marketing. Email marketing allows you to speak directly to your readers in a personal, almost intimate way. That’s what makes it so effective.

The secret to getting a great response from your client emails is understanding some of the psychology behind why it works. Agents who don’t understand how and why email works so well often make mistakes that take them out of the game before it even starts. We’ve compiled this list of 11 cringeworthy email marketing mistakes we often see agents make. 

But we didn’t stop there. We dive deep into the psychology behind why each of these mistakes can cost you business. We also explain what to do instead to really bring your emails to life.  

As we kick off the new year, we want to give you all the tools to stay on top of your overall marketing strategy for the entire year. We put together a marketing calendar and playbook with tips and strategies you can use each month to keep your real estate marketing moving forward. Check it out:

Get the Real Estate Marketing Calendar + Playbook

1. Subject Lines That Aren’t Compelling

Typewriter with the word "headlines" showing on a piece of paper

In email marketing, the subject line is probably the most important factor in determining its effectiveness. The subject line’s job is to compel the reader to click on the email and open it. And you only have a couple of seconds to grab the reader’s attention. After all, if the subject line doesn’t entice someone to open the email, all the work put into crafting the rest of the email is a waste. 

We see so many emails with subject lines that don’t encourage action in the reader. Ever get an email that just says “market update” or “newsletter” in the subject line? Well, those are the types of subject lines that end up buried in your reader’s inbox, never to be opened. Agents who don’t understand the importance of the subject line are doomed to a sad open rate.

But you don’t have to be one of those agents who writes flat subject lines. Here are two different approaches to crafting a subject line that delivers:

Let these examples guide you as you draft your email subject lines. Getting your audience to open the emails you send is half the battle. Don’t leave it as a second thought.

Related Article
9 Easy & Actionable Real Estate Email Marketing Tips

2. The Wall of Text

Shattered red glass with "be visual" written across the screen

We live in an age of short attention spans and scannable content. The worst thing that can happen is you get your reader to open your email only to lose them at the sight of a giant block of text. No one wants to work that hard to digest your marketing messages.

The more you can do to appeal to the eyes of your audience, the more receptive your message will be. You can easily add visual elements to help readers’ eyes as they scan your copy. Add bullets, images, and infographics, and keep your paragraphs short to maintain reader engagement. These elements not only break up the copy, they also help to keep your message easy to scan and read.

If you really want to take your email marketing game to the next level, consider using a service like BombBomb to embed short videos in your emails. BombBomb compresses your videos so they fit neatly inside your emails and turns them into an interactive GIF to grab your reader’s attention. It’s an excellent way to boost engagement.

Check out BombBomb

3. Misunderstanding the Customer Journey

Woman walking with a backpack on a long road. With "Awareness" "Consideration" "Decision" and "Loyalty" written across the picture

I get it: Real estate agents aren’t necessarily digital marketing experts. And you don’t have to be. But one thing that you should get a handle on is the customer journey. This term refers to the mental steps your future clients will take as they decide whether to work with you or with someone else. 

Create a lasting connection with your audience by letting them know you truly understand their point of view and their pain points, and that you’re there to help them. You can do this by thinking of yourself as a doctor. Start by diagnosing a problem your client may be facing. Demonstrate empathy for their plight. Then, show your client the benefits of what you have to offer.

Step 1: Awareness

In this step, your reader may not be aware of you, what you offer, or whether or not they even need you. When you make contact with readers who are in this step of the journey, your job is to introduce yourself, your services, and why readers might need your help. You’re creating awareness around your real estate business.

Step 2: Consideration

Here, the reader is getting to know more about you and considering whether you’re the right solution for their problem or needs. It’s crucial that you make a human connection with your reader at this stage of the journey. They’ll compare your services with others who may be vying for their attention.

Step 3: Decision

This is the crucial moment in your client’s journey. It’s when they decide to continue to listen to you or unsubscribe from your list. If you’ve done your job in connecting with the reader, but they decide to go with another agent, don’t take it too hard. It only means the other person was a better fit. Don’t sweat those who choose to work with someone other than you. You only want to retain the readers who see your value and have a true connection with you.

Step 4: Loyalty

So many agents skip this part of the customer journey, even if they get all the other parts right. And that’s a shame because this part of the journey has the potential to bring you future business without much effort on your part. When you have a client who enjoys their experience with you, they’ll evangelize you to everyone they know, bringing you so much referral business you’ll have clients for years to come. So, don’t skip this part of the process. Always reach out to your clients for testimonials and continue to nurture those relationships for future referrals.

4. Not Cleaning Your List

Green bucket full of cleaning supplies including spray bottles and gloves.

As we just mentioned in the previous step, there will be people who unsubscribe from your list. And you need to be OK with that. When people unsubscribe, they opt out of your list because they aren’t the right match for you. Sometimes they end up working with someone else. Sometimes it’s because their circumstances change. Regardless, you shouldn’t focus on the ones who leave. Focus on the ones who stay.

We often talk about list hygiene in the email world. In practice, this means going through your list every so often and cutting out the people who have no business being there. There may be some names in your database who have never interacted with any of your emails or never even opened one. Keeping them on your send list hurts your email power. You may try to engage with those subscribers first. But if you still can’t elicit a response from them, it’s likely a good idea to remove them.

5. Failing to Ask for Business

Woman shaking hands with another woman while a man looks on smiling

No, you should not be a pushy salesperson in your emails. Some of your emails will ask people for things like referrals or testimonials. Others will be informational in nature. But no matter what type of email you send, gently remind people why you’re sending them emails in the first place: You would like to help them with their real estate needs

But you don’t have to beat your readers over the head with that information. You can discreetly remind them in each email that you are an amazing real estate agent with something as simple as a professional email signature at the bottom of each one.

6. Forgetting That Connections Create Loyalty

Dog looking into the camera smiling

Never forget that your future clients are people first. And people don’t connect with logos, presentations, or credentials lists. They connect with humans. Sure, your readers want the market information, the comparative market analysis, and all the great data you can share. But they are also trying to decide if you’re the right person for them. 

People connect to people they can relate to. So, let readers get to know you as a person, as a human being. Interestingly, most people only interview one agent before they decide to work with one. That’s because people choose who they want to work with not based on credentials or reputation but because they like and trust the person they’re talking to. Be the person who listens and connects with humans well.

A great way to remind your readers that you’re human is to share personal stories with them in your emails. It doesn’t have to be all your dirty laundry. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Simply share a short little something from your everyday life that will help your audience see you as another human who has the same day-to-day issues they have. Give them a way to say, “Hey, I totally understand how she feels.” When you do that, you’ll create the kind of connection that lasts.

7. Not Understanding Reader Motivation

"Fear Of Missing Out" written on a chalkboard with letter FOMO in colors.

In a perfect world, you could motivate your readers to take action toward a greater good. But psychology has proven over and over again that humans don’t work like that. Humans respond to pain

In real estate, your readers might want to move to another house because they want to improve their lives. But the reality is they won’t move until a pain point arises that makes them so uncomfortable they feel they have to move to get away from the pain. 

That pain could be the fact that their rent is so high that it’s difficult for them to keep paying it. Or property taxes may have caused them considerable stress. Either way, it’s the pain of the payment, not the promise of savings, that’s forcing their hands. 

Even positive opportunities are impacted by the pain calculation. Say your readers are witnessing many of their neighbors sell their homes at lofty prices. Your readers may fear they’re missing out on a nice profit on their home if they don’t sell now. 

Appeal to your reader’s fears and pain points, including FOMO, in your emails to get them to get off the fence and make a move. And you’ll be there to guide them when it’s time.

8. Ignoring Objections

cup of tea, a pen, and a napkin with "listen with empathy" written on it

If your email subject line says, “It’s still a great time to buy,” you may be making this mistake. The truth is it may not be a good time to buy for everyone. Showing empathy is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. If you really want to impress your readers, tackle their biggest concerns head on. Don’t shy away from their objections. 

For example, one common point of contention with potential clients is validating your commission. So, don’t let it be the big pink elephant in the room. Bring it right out into the open. But do it in a way that puts you in a positive light. Try this:

9. Trying to Do Too Much in One Email

Man standing looking at a long piece of paper that rolls off the screen.

Email is a long game. Think of it as an ongoing conversation between you and your readers. You can’t do it all in one email and call it good. Instead, stick to one point per email; don’t try to do everything in one conversation.

I know you’ve seen those long sales letters that go on for pages and pages. But those are not the easiest things in the world to write. In fact, they are a super-heavy lift for any professional copywriter. So don’t try to do that with your emails. Take your time. Build trust and rapport. Create a bond that will last longer than one transaction. Trust me, it will pay off in the long run.

10. Being Inconsistent

"Consistency is the key" typed on a piece of paper.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but consistency is the name of this game. When you begin your email relationship, you can’t just drop a couple of emails and disappear. That will not build trust. And in fact, it could actually backfire. When you send inconsistent emails, you look scattered, unorganized, and chaotic to your prospects. That’s not a combination most would want in an agent handling such an important transaction.

Instead, block off one day on your calendar each week or month to draft and deliver messages to your email list. Some of these emails can be set up as a drip campaign. Most customer relationship managers (CRMs) that are worth the money have an automated system to help you set up an email campaign. Many of them have ready-made templates that you can customize and send out, making your email life a ton easier. You might create a “welcome” sequence that goes out every so many days once a new member is added to your database, for example. 

LionDesk is one of the best in the business for email automation, and they come with a full range of email sequences you can set up for your database with just a few clicks. You can read Emile L’Eplattenier’s review of the company’s offerings here

Check out LionDesk

You can also set up and consistently send out a monthly newsletter where you share important information that’s timely for your readers. 

No matter what you decide to do with your email marketing, make sure to set a schedule that will allow you to be in your reader’s inbox consistently. That’s the only way to develop the relationships that will bear fruit.

11. Forgetting the CTA

An alarm clock at almost 12:00 with a flag that says "Take Action"

One last thing you want to ensure you’re always including in your email marketing: a call to action. The CTA is what gets your reader to take action. If you don’t have a solid CTA, your marketing efforts are wasted. 

Most agents who write marketing emails think all CTAs must be a selling action. But that’s not the case. The point of the CTA is to get your reader to take any action that continues their engagement with your content or moves them closer to a buying decision. 

A CTA can be as simple as “Click to see the property details” or “Follow me on Instagram.” If the CTA encourages your audience to continue to engage with you, it’s a win. The more engaged the reader is with your content, the more likely they will build trust with you faster and get to that buying decision sooner rather than later. 


Your Take

Email marketing takes some practice and a little trial and error to get it right. Don’t feel defeated if you’ve been guilty of making some of these mistakes. We’ve given you some great tools you can start using right now to build up your email marketing skills. 

If you don’t have a database of contacts yet, don’t worry. Get your email marketing strategy set up as you’re building up your list. You’ll be ahead of the game when those leads start coming into your CRM. 

Do you have a favorite email marketing strategy that you’ve found successful? Is there anything I missed in this list of cringeworthy email marketing mistakes? We’d love to hear about those! Drop some good ones in the comments. And if you’ve used any of these tips and tools, let us know how they worked for you!

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