Take a moment to think about your online marketing activities. If you’re like many other real estate agents, a good amount of your time is probably spent on social media – writing status updates, boosting your posts, monitoring your engagement and replying to comments. Now, take a moment to think about the time you spend on email marketing – growing your list, publishing helpful content to your website, and looking at analytics on your list growth and engagement.

If you’re spending the majority of your time on social media, and little to no time on building an email list, it could be a potentially tragic mistake that is costing you leads.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we look at which channel is more effective when it comes to marketing ROI, and how one top performing agent added 600 new contacts to his email list – via his website alone – in just 90 days.

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According to our 2015 Real Estate Industry Social Media Marketing survey, 85% of real estate professionals said they use social media platforms to market themselves or their business.

85% of real estate agents in Australia use social media for marketing purposes.

In recent years, most social platforms have made it harder for all brands and individuals to reach their followers for free. You’ve likely noticed this yourself. In the ‘olden days’ of social media, if you posted something to Facebook, it was likely that 90% – possibly more – of your followers would see your posts.

Today, average organic reach for a brand page on Facebook is less than 4% and some are predicting that this will reach 0% in the coming months, as Facebook’s latest algorithm changes take effect.

This is bad news for real estate agents and agencies who aren’t paying to promote their content on social media. The days of free promotion on social networks are well and truly over.

This is the danger we all face when we use someone else’s platform to promote our business – they can change the rules whenever they like and we, as business professionals, need to consider which platforms will be most effective for communicating with our clients and prospects.

According to a study by MarketingSherpa, only 17% of consumers prefer social media to receive promotional content from brands.

Social media has the word social in it for a reason. If we’re only talking about our businesses, we’re really just interrupting why people use social media in the first place – which is to catch up on the latest with their friends, family and things they care about the most.

On the flip side, the same research by MarketingSherpa found that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional messages via another channel… Email.

72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.

Social media is no doubt a powerful medium to engage with our clients and prospects on a more human level, but when it comes to which channel performs better for communicating our marketing messages, there really is no competition. People prefer email.

Not only that, when you send someone an email, you’re almost guaranteed they’re going to get it. They might not open it, but you’re sure as anything they’re probably going to get it. The same cannot be said for your social media campaigns.

According to GetResponse’s 2016 State of Email Research, for every $1 invested, email marketing generates an average return of $38.

While it’s clear email has a much better engagement and response rate than social media, you may be thinking that it’s much more difficult to get people to give you permission to email them as opposed to getting them to become a fan on Facebook or follow you on Instagram.

But that’s not the case.

portfolio_bcTake Ben Collier from McGrath Estate Agents for example. Considered as one of Australia’s top agents, Ben is highly regarded by his peers and the number one agent for the McGrath network two years running. In addition to all of their other marketing activities, Ben and his team publish an article to their website every Thursday focused on local development activity, property and lifestyle trends within the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

In just 90 days following the launch of his new website, more than 600 local homeowners had already opted-in to receive Ben’s weekly email covering his latest article. In an industry where agents would be lucky to get more than 20% open rate and 4% click-through rate on their emails, Ben’s weekly article receives above 40% open rate and 13% click-through consistently, every week.

How would you like those numbers in your business?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should give up on social media. In fact, social media can be an integral part of growing your email list by using things such as Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Articles to get your social media fans and followers onto your email list.

What I am saying is that rather than getting lured in by the hype of social media, stop and consider whether it’s really the best marketing channel to be focusing your limited time and effort on.

My question for you this week is this: If you were your own potential client, what content would you be happy to hand over your email address for? Start there.

Good luck.

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