7 minute read

Open your inbox right now and — depending on how lenient you are with giving away your email address — there are likely many emails waiting to be opened.

You’ll scroll through, taking note of the sender, followed by a quick glimpse at their plea to click: the subject line.

As a real estate agent, you’ve already dedicated a great deal of time to growing your email list. You’ve realised that relying and ‘renting’ space on social channels alone won’t be enough. The most valuable audience to build is the one you own – your email list. Not only that, email is (by far!) the most preferred digital channel to receive marketing material from brands.

Because of the value behind each and every email address you have at your disposal, it only makes sense to treat each message you send with the same care. And it’s easy to think that care should apply largely to the body of that email, the letter inside the envelope.

When you think about it though, the envelope is just as, if not more important.

The Importance of Subject Lines

Think about opening physical letters sent in the mail. What do you examine first?

You scan the outside, making judgements on what might await inside, based on sender’s address, style of packaging, urgent call-outs stamped on the envelope, handwriting, and other clues you can try to make sense of before opening it.

That same type of analysis occurs with email as well, amplified tenfold. The reasoning here comes down to volume and technology. For every letter a person may receive in the mail, they’ll have ten new emails (at least!) waiting in their inbox.

Of course, they’ll also have technology at their fingertips to open or trash it within an instant.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can drive more email opens and inevitably, clicks, as a real estate agent.

Here are ten tips and best practices for writing catchy real estate email subject lines:

1. Keep It Simple
As you write your email subject lines, it’s easy to get caught up in a need to constantly engage your audience with clever, entertaining wordplay.

Hey, House it going?

Anyone? Anyone?

However, sometimes the old adage that ‘less is more’ really does ring true. Rather than concerning yourself with the fluff, don’t be afraid to use simple language to help bring context to what’s inside.

Steal real estate email subject lines ideas such as:

  • Your New Home, We Found it!
  • Your Home Value is Increasing/Decreasing
  • 10 Off-Market Homes For Sale in [Location]

And don’t get caught up on word count.

Sure, shorter can work better for the sake of mobile, but studies have shown that the actual length itself really means nothing when it comes to open rates.

2. Make It Personal
Personalised experiences are what customers crave.

And when bombarded with content and messages on the daily, it only makes sense. Below the surface, all of these messages are saying the same thing: ‘open me’. How are people supposed to connect with that?

Whether you’re prospecting or setting up a ‘drip’ campaign, there are plenty of email tools that can assist you with personalisation.

For example, many will allow you to insert first [and last] names into real estate email subject lines, automatically. If you’re working with a segmented list, you can also take the time to create different subject lines based on where they’re at in the sales funnel.

But be careful… Make sure your email list is squeaky clean. There is no shortage of agents sending emails to people on their list with the subject line “Hi FirstName”.

3. Speak to Urgency
Sometimes, nothing gets you moving quite like an exclamation point! But before you start scattering them everywhere, it’s important to understand that there are other ways you can imply urgency.

These Homes Won’t Last Long
Is the housing market slowing down? What you can do to prepare.

When immediate action is needed, you don’t have to shove it down your readers throat with an ‘Act now!’ voracity. Give your email context and let the subtext of that text do the rest.

4. Shock and Awe
A little bit of shock and controversy can go a long way. At the least, it certainly knows how to grab attention. When applied to your email subject lines, it’s okay to channel this idea every once and awhile. Just be mindful of the correlation between your subject and what’s inside.

If there’s no healthy correlation between what you’re suggesting through the subject line and the body of the email, your opens may soar but the clicks and return will remain lacklustre. Don’t forget that open rates are only half the battle.

5. Pose a Question
When there’s a question on one end, people are likely to assume that an answer lies on the other. It just makes sense.

Steal these real estate email subject lines to create a curiosity gap for readers to click through and answer for themselves:

  • Is your dream home for sale in [Location]?
  • How long is too long for a house to be on the market?
  • Do you know what your neighbour’s home is worth?

6. A/B Test
Writing catchy real estate email subject lines is sometimes a matter of trial and error. You have to put something out there to see how your audience reacts to it. The key in doing so is to learn from what doesn’t appear to be working and tweak accordingly.

Set up an A/B test within the same email list segment. Put a subset of that audience into test A and the other into test B. Distribute the same email across the board but change up the subject line for each and see which performs better. The more you do this and regularly apply learnings to subsequent tests—in theory—the more you should see your open rate rise over time.

7. Segment Your Lists
When your email list is small, it may be difficult to separate subscribers off into different buckets.

However, as your email list grows by the hundreds, thousands and beyond, segmenting becomes a necessity for driving conversions.

Some segments might include:

  • Active buyers $500k -> $700k
  • Vendors -> Selling in next 30 days
  • Homeowners -> Not actively selling
  • Clients -> Sold in the past 120 days
  • Landlords from PM department

This ties back to the idea of personalisation. You want to connect with not just who your customers are, but where they’re at in the buyer’s journey. Think of segmenting by what seems most natural for your real estate business, whether that be by seller/buyer, location, or prospect/lead.

8. Put Action Verbs at the Forefront
Your subject line is your email’s call-to-action. It should paint a clear picture of how you want people to engage with it and/or what they can expect upon doing so.

Rather than burying the good stuff at the end of your opener, move it to the forefront. Having that action in the form of a verb right at the beginning immediately catches the eye by establishing a natural sense of movement.

For example, in an email inviting people to an investor information event, the email subject line might read, “Learn the  secrets of Sydney’s leading property investors,” rather than a more generic (and less actionable) “FREE EVENT: Investor information night.” The former email uses “Learn” to build intrigue.

9. Give People a Reason to Feel Special
There’s a sort of power in exclusivity. When people feel like they’re in the know on something—especially in a world where information is literally always at your fingertips—they clamour for it.

With these real estate email subject lines, this can be projected in a number of ways:

  • Private open home invite
  • A gift to my clients in [Location]
  • Take advantage of this exclusive offer

10. Fill in the Blanks with Preview Text
Preview text is underrated. So much so that businesses will often let it auto-populate with miscellaneous email body text (i.e. Email not displaying correctly?). Especially on mobile, where real estate email subject lines are likely to get cut off, it allows you to provide additional context as needed and lead your potential customers further down the path to purchase.

Final Thoughts: 10 Tips to Write Catchy Real Estate Email Subject Lines

Email marketing doesn’t have to be your full-time job in order to find effectiveness with this tactic. Keep things simple and stick to these guidelines. Test your results and continuously refine your messaging and tactics until you land on something that works for your brand and audience.

Have a great real estate email subject line tip to share? Let us know and drop it in the comments below!

Author: Josh Cobb

Phone Number: 0427 184 183

Email Address: josh@stepps.com.au

Stepps was founded by Josh Cobb in 2014. Josh has advised more than 100 brands since starting the company and hundreds of agents who have attended his workshops. He is the host of the popular Real Estate Pros podcast, oversees digital strategy for top performing real estate agents and teams, and travels the globe with several international speaking engagements each year.

Recently, Josh was named as a finalist in the 2017 REB Awards for Industry Thought Leader of The Year and the winner of  Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 – Marketing, PR & Events.

In addition to web development and digital strategy consulting, the company also runs Stepps Media, a fast-growing education company that produces an iTunes top-ranked podcasttraining events, email and webinars.