Believe it or not, when it comes to email marketing, real estate agents actually have an advantage. What other industry gets new, local inventory that changes daily, with each and every product being unique?
So if you’re sitting on the fence about adding real estate email marketing to your daily grind, just remember that real estate is THE perfect industry for email. That’s why we decided to put together this guide showing you 15 actionable real estate email marketing tips and tricks that actually work in 2020.
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6 Rules for Effective Real Estate Email Marketing in 2020
Since there’s a lot of conflicting (not to mention dated and terrible) advice on how to start and grow an email list in 2020, we reached out to Olivia Tormenta, Marketing Director for Manhattan luxury brokerage Warburg Realty. She came back with six ironclad rules for effective real estate email marketing in 2020.
So no matter how you end up using email to nurture leads or grow your sphere, keep these six rules in the back of your head:
1. Find Inspiration From Your Favorite Email Newsletters
Look to your own favorite fashion/business/foodie newsletters for content inspiration, and what stories or hot topics you and your friends and other industry professionals are talking about.
2. Plan Ahead
Start out by brainstorming a few topics in your niche to potentially write about. Continually gather bits of information and different visual assets so when you’re ready to sit down and get it done, you’ve already done your research!
3. Focus Content on What You Know
What is your value add? Curate your content and theme based on your unique expertise, skill set, or interests.
- For example, if you have a special talent for staging, take a time-lapse video of redecorating a listing and getting it ready for sale. Write about how important staging is in the current market, and cite past case studies that prove it gets the home sold faster. You can even go a step further and touch on the interior design aspect of the room, sharing where each item is from and any feng shui tips for styling different types of spaces.
- If you’re more of a number-cruncher with an audience in the finance world, your newsletter could be formatted as a market report with research on your city’s performance each quarter and your opinion for the forecast of where the market might be heading.
- If you’re new to real estate and still finding your footing, you could start out with a theme that explores a list of “the best of” a popular neighborhood in your city and cover a different area each time. We all love listicles! You could also focus on interests like food, music, pets, or fitness and think of creative ways to tie those things back to real estate.
- Interviews/Q&As with industry professionals is another interesting angle. Think of any architects, interior designers, artists, gallery owners, or fashion designers you know who may be related to or shaking up the real estate industry in a unique way
4. Keep Your Emails Short, Sweet & Relevant
Offer relevant, interesting information in digestible amounts. Your newsletter shouldn’t take longer than five minutes to read.
5. Be Visual
Incorporate visually appealing images that are relevant to your topic. Free stock photo sites like unsplash.com are a great resource for great photography. Services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer free newsletter templates with your paid membership; take advantage of those or hire a freelance designer to help create something more custom.
6. Commit to Engaging With Your Audience With Email Marketing
Decide whether you will send on a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly basis. Consistency is key to stay top of mind!
Similar to newsletters, you will see the same return from social media as the effort you put into it. Sending one newsletter a year or posting every other month will just be a drop in the bucket. Without thoughtful planning and consistency, neither strategy will be very effective.
Case Study: Elements of a Perfect Real Estate Email Newsletter
We wholeheartedly agree with Olivia that you should look to email newsletters from brands you love. In order to get you started, we decided to dissect an email newsletter from one of Compass’ top-producing Los Angeles teams, Smith & Berg Partners.
Here are our takeaways:
Get Right to the Point
Since the whole idea here is to get your audience to read your emails, don’t confuse them with a million things to click, random images, categories, contact information, or any other distractions. In this case, Smith & Berg wanted to highlight their hero content for the week, which is a piece on boutique hotels. So instead of forcing people to scroll through random links and images, they get right to it.
Include “Read More” Buttons That Link Out to Articles on Your Blog
If you look at the beginning of their newsletter above, you’ll notice that there is only one place to click, and more importantly, the email makes it perfectly clear where you need to click to read the whole article. Your audience has a limited attention span. Make it easy for them and show them explicitly what you want them to do.
Below the first story, they link out to another blog post they wrote, this time on lessons learned from Kobe Bryant on hard work and perseverance:
After linking out to two separate and totally not salesy blog posts, Smith & Berg includes some relevant links to open houses for the week. We like to call this approach the “ice cream before dinner” technique, and it’s one we use all the time on the site. The idea is to give your readers the things they want, “ice cream,” and then hit them with what you’re trying to sell them or teach them, which is the “dinner.” Here’s what Smith & Berg’s “dinner” looks like:
Again, dead simple. No superfluous copy, no links to a million and one sites—just the important information about the open house below a pretty picture.
From here, they list a few more open houses, going from most expensive to least, then include a few more listings that they want to drive traffic to. Note how “by appointment” sounds so much nicer than “MORE LISTINGS!!!”.
Then they have a “coming soon” section to highlight some new listings that haven’t hit the MLS yet:
Finally, they have two more sections that include their team, charity donations, and links to their umbrella brokerage and legal disclaimers.
Let Your Images Do the Talking Instead of a Complicated Theme
If you noticed, Smith & Berg doesn’t use a complicated theme for their emails. It’s just a simple formula of headline, pretty picture, and link to article or listing. That’s it. This achieves two key goals for your email marketing:
- It simplifies the experience for your reader.
- Streamlined code means a better chance of avoiding the spam folder.
The Best Real Estate Email Marketing Templates for 2020
One thing that many agents tend to take for granted is how their emails look when they finally get opened up by their audience. There’s a very good reason for this, of course: Good design takes time, even if you’re just picking out templates from your email marketing software.
What we’re not going to do here is recommend a template that is perfect for your real estate business. The reason why is fairly straightforward. As we saw with Smith & Berg’s email above, simplicity wins every day of the week, and what template you use won’t really matter much.
That said, choosing the wrong template that’s laden with too much code and gives your audience a million places to click will likely keep your open rates (how many people open your email) and click-through rates (how many people click on a link in your email) low.
Instead, work with the most basic and minimalist template you can and let your pictures and content do the talking. Just make sure that whatever template you use is responsive. In other words, make sure it looks good on both desktop and mobile. Every template available through Constant Contact or any email marketing software in 2020 should be responsive. When in doubt, choose another that is labeled as responsive.
Best Real Estate Email Scripts for 2020
One of the most common questions we get from newer agents is what in the world they should actually write about in their emails. Most probably won’t like our response, but here it goes anyway: We can’t tell you what to write about because we don’t know you or your audience. All we can say is to keep it simple, and make sure it’s something that will be of interest to your audience.
When it comes to more strategic lead-generating emails, we have a bit more advice to give. That’s because with these emails, you’re generally reaching out to cold targets to generate leads, not to nurture an already warm audience of your past clients and sphere.
If you want to learn more email scripts for lead generation, we have an in-depth article covering just that here: 17 Best Real Estate Email Templates & Scripts for 2020.
The Best Email Marketing Software for Real Estate Agents in 2020
At the end of the day, the best email marketing software for real estate agents is—the one you actually use. There are really only minor differences between big players like Constant Contact and Mailchimp, so which software you choose is less important than committing to actually using it to reach your audience.
Traditional Standalone Email Marketing Software
The two biggest players that provide email marketing software that works for real estate agents in 2020 are Constant Contact and Mailchimp. Like we mentioned above, the differences between the two aren’t all that big, so go with whichever works best for your business.
However, while Mailchimp offers more and arguably better designed templates than Constant Contact, Constant Contact wins out in one key area: deliverability. In other words, choosing Constant Contact as your email marketing software means that your email is slightly more likely to end up in your audience’s primary inbox and not the spam folder.
This isn’t anecdotal evidence either. Email Tool Tester ran a study that found Constant Contact emails were more likely to be successfully delivered to a reader’s primary inbox or promotions folder in Gmail, and less likely to be delivered a user’s spam folder.
Over to You
Have a great real estate email marketing idea that you think our readers need to know about? Let us know in the comments.