In a world where attention spans run low, and the web is covered end to end in written content, it can be hard to get the right eyeballs on your site by just simply existing.
Sure, social media can drive traffic and referrals. But, if your website doesn’t rank on those coveted front pages of Google, how are you going to get the eyeballs on your page you need to drive business results?
The short answer? It’s all about email.
There are an estimated 3.2 billion email accounts worldwide, equivalent to about half of the world’s population. People check their inboxes multiple times throughout the day without fail, and many businesses (and customers) take action with this in mind. This is why many are hesitant to give out their email addresses to yet another business—they know to expect an endless flood of marketing materials as a result.
According to an infographic from Dekh, about 95 trillion emails are sent each year, but of that whopping figure, about 97% is spam.
Consumers are becoming increasingly more careful about what they allow into that crowded, sacred inbox space, so it is essential to know some fundamental real estate email marketing techniques—boosting open rates, increasing the number of people on your list, and even how to go about converting your email subscribers.
Here’s an essential guide to email marketing best practices in real estate and what to consider when using email to connect with clients and prospects.
Strong Email Subject Lines
Subject lines are the secret sauce of email marketing. It’s the first thing people see when they open their inbox—a first impression of your content.
A recent Sendpulse survey revealed that roughly 62% of subscribers read emails when the subject line is interesting. If your content is compelling enough, consumers won’t care too much about how often you send them emails.
That said, anything too vague will immediately get sent to spam or be deleted by the email user. Same goes for anything too direct (like an obvious sales pitch) or something that implies that the mailing is part of a big email blast.
A strong subject line can capture the reader’s attention immediately, but not give anything away in the process.
- Bad – “Learn About an Amazing Property (Address) In the Centennial Park Area”
- Good – “Updated Information Regarding Your Neighborhood Property Values”
Notice how the second option entices the audience to read more? The “Bad” option gives everything away immediately and users don’t need to look any further to know what this is about.
Best Practices for Email Subject Lines
- Short and Sweet: Campaign Monitor found that email subject lines containing just 65 characters have hit the email sweet spot and that most email subject lines have 41-50 characters (which is about 5-9 average-length words).
- Personalize it: Experian Marketing Services found that personalized subject lines—think names, neighbourhoods, listings—result in a 26% higher open rate.
- Take note of the pre-header text—also known as the first 40 characters of the email. Make use of this section to expand on the email subject, and ensure you’ve strung together the characters that drive clicks.
- Do A/B Testing: Test out different lengths, different sentence structures, lines that use numbers or statistics versus ones that don’t. Don’t forget to test how the subject line length reads across different devices, too. Most email service providers offer a function that allows you to preview how your email will read on iPhone, laptops, etc.
MailChimp has a feature that shows you the effectiveness of your subject line and it also has an A/B testing feature. If you haven’t yet picked an email service provider (ESP) to use for your real estate email marketing, it’s a great option for beginners.
A Clear and Concise Call to Action
Most agents send emails to convince the reader to take some sort of action. The agent is responsible for making sure the reader knows what they are supposed to do, so tell recipients what action to take on a given email and be specific about how they should use the information.
For example, ask them to request a comparative market analysis NOW or just to visit, like, or comment on your social media sites. When creating your calls to action, or CTAs, use action verbs. For example, “download your free e-book now” is more compelling than a button that just says “e-book.”
Make sure it is obvious as to what you want them to do: capture their attention with bold links, brightly coloured buttons, or even arrows to help direct their eyes to your CTA.
Be honest. There’s enough clickbait circulating the web as it is. If your CTA is just clickbait, it may appear disingenuous and turn them off. It pays to be honest.
Writing Engaging Emails
Though we can share tips for creating beautiful emails, the truth is, what keeps people reading your emails and not marking them as spam is the content. Even though you’re a business, write like you would to a friend. That friendly expert tone keeps consumers engaged and helps build trust—especially in real estate, where you’re facilitating some of the biggest purchases consumers will ever make.
When writing, beware of spam filters. Their jobs are to keep unwanted email from our inboxes but can sometimes be “too smart.” For example, statements like ‘take action now’ or ‘free access’ may be included with the best intentions, but may inadvertently get sent to the spam folder.
Minimize your risk of sending emails straight to the spam folder by ensuring that you have a good IP address or ask your subscribers to add you to their address books with your initial welcome email upon sign up. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t emailing people who already bought a home or are sending otherwise irrelevant info—that’s a surefire way to get sent straight to spam.
The Best Times to Send Emails
As they say, “timing is everything”. Never has this old standby been more relevant than in the case of email.
CoSchedule conducted a study that revealed that the best days to send email messages are Tuesday and Thursday if you’re mailing twice a week. A once a week email should go out on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
The study also found that the best times to open emails are from:
- 10 am-11 am (when people check email in the office)
- 8-12 pm (when people check email before sleep).
- 2 pm is also a good time, when people are on a break and looking for distractions.
- 6 am works as well, as most people check their email first thing when they wake up.
Obviously, there are tons of exceptions, but this study and others like it can serve as a guide—tweak as needed with your own testing.
Update Your Email List
If you want to improve open rates, you have to clean up your email list now and then. Some subscribers may have changed email addresses or do not interact with your emails because they’re too lazy to unsubscribe. Or worse, you’re emailing people who have already completed the buying cycle.
Some email marketing platforms are structured in that you pay per subscriber. Cleaning up your list can not only reduce your spend but also ensure that your emails reach only those that want to hear from you.
We suggest using Neverbounce – an easy-to-use online tool that allows you to upload your email list and it will return a segmented list of valid, non-valid and unknown email addresses in your list. When sending your next campaign, you can be confident that your emails are only going to valid email addresses and not being caught by spam filters.
Before completely giving up on an unresponsive subscriber, try sending them a last resort email to see if they still want to receive updates from you—these might be people who signed up for your emails a long time ago but never interacted with them. Or maybe they started the home buying process, but never made the purchase. If they do not reply, remove them from your list.
To keep subscribers actively engaging with the emails you send, every once in awhile, send emails asking subscribers to update their contact information. To continuously serve up valuable content that people want to read, periodically send out simple surveys to fine tune your content offerings.
Segment your Audience
Marketers that segment their audiences reported their emails had 39% higher open rates and 24% better deliverability.
There is no set way to segment your audiences, but creating groups (a la Facebook) can be an excellent way to start. Try grouping your contacts by:
- How they got on your list
- First-time buyers vs seasoned homeowners
Email Marketing: Best Practices for Real Estate Agents
Email is likely the best way to reach your audience—both to inform them and get them to take action. That said, so many other companies are competing for that small slice of attention in people’s inboxes. Implement these best practices to get more people to open your marketing emails and take action.
What would you add to our list of real estate email marketing best practices? Let us know in the comments below!