Email is 40 times more effective in generating new leads than social media. This means a successful email campaign can bring you more leads than dozens of social media messages. Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a practical guide to creating a fantastic real estate newsletter and maximizing the value of your digital marketing efforts.
In one of our recent posts about email Vs Social media, we were taking a look at what email marketing means for realtors today. Its benefits are huge and aspiring agents shouldn’t abandon this powerful marketing channel.
In addition to your follow up campaigns, a great way to nurture leads and generate more sales-ready inquiries is a real estate newsletter. Turn it into a helpful educational resource and your audience will get yet another chance to grasp the value of your expertise. Let’s see how to do this.
1. Brand your newsletter
A real estate newsletter is as much about valuable content as it is for your branding. Your subscribers get dozens of emails every day so your email can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of their inboxes.
One great way to make your emails more recognizable (and more frequently opened) is to be consistent with branding. No need for expensive designer tricks (although why not if you can afford it?). You can use the brand visuals you already have: logo, branded images from your website, brand colors, and slogans.
All in all – nothing complicated and very quick as you can take brand visuals from your website.
2. Organize and format your newsletter
Just like any email, your real estate newsletter should have a good structure.
A quick greeting
Choose a friendly conversational tone rather than formal. You can also include a short opening line which will give your readers a better idea of who is addressing them and why.
Content is the most valuable part of your newsletter. A good rule of thumb is to include an excerpt from whatever you’re sending (blog post, market report, etc.) with a link pointing to a full version on your website. You want to gain traction of email traffic too, and invite people to check out even more great info on your website. Don’t forget about the title and an image.
Call to action (CTA)
What action do you want your readers to take once they read your newsletter? Offer them an easy way to get a free valuation, local property advice or help with financing options. Just include a button with your desired CTA and make sure it redirects people to the relevant landing page.
Now that the most important part of your real estate newsletter is ready, it’s a good time to make it even more content-rich with featured listings. Include a couple of them at the end of your email. Invite readers to check out your curated selection of the best market deals right now. Keep it short – a compelling image, price and location is about all you need to include. Should someone get interested, they could use a handy link to find more details directly on your site.
Never underestimate your real estate newsletter’s footer. This is a perfect space to place links to your social media profiles, testimonials page, etc.
As much as it’s sad seeing your subscribers go, follow email etiquette and give them an easy option to unsubscribe. Never take it personally as for some people that info might no longer be relevant. Most CRMs and email marketing software automatically add this option to your campaigns.
Of course, the structure of the newsletter is entirely up to you. You can play around with things but remember that content always comes first. Featured listings or other property info you’re promoting come second. Lastly, remember to format the text. Just stick to one simple, visually appealing font and layout to keep things nice.
3. Personalize everything
There are a few ways to make your email marketing campaigns more effective. Personalization is one of the most actionable techniques to connect with prospects. Here’s what you can do:
- personalize your subscriber’s first name. I.e., not just ‘Hi’ to everyone on your contact list but ‘Hi James’ or ‘Hi Mary’;
- personalize the subject line. This trick is said to secure an average of 5% more opens. For example, not just ‘New offers in the most sought after Greenville neighborhoods’ but ‘Mary, new offers in the most sought after Greenville neighborhoods’;
- personalize content. The more relevant your content is for readers, the bigger the odds they’ll open your emails and click to your site. Capitalize on the power of your CRM. Create segmented email lists and send the right content to the right people. Buyers, sellers, investors, vacation home seekers, etc. – whatever niche you’re targeting.
4. Play around with a subject line
It’s crucial that a subject line is really good, otherwise fewer people will open the email and click to your site. On the other hand, even high open rates aren’t bringing you much value as such: It only means your subject line was good. Ultimately, you need high click rates too.
It’s good to know the real estate industry benchmark data to evaluate where you’re standing. For example, MailChimp email marketing software estimated the following metrics for the real estate industry (as of Feb 1, 2017):
- open rate – 20,84%;
- click rate – 1,91%.
A few handy tips to improve your subject line:
- use local names. MailChimp reports that city or area names in your subject lines are even more effective than using first names. Great news for agents who send hyperlocal content anyway;
- keep it short. Fifty characters is usually a sweet spot, especially so as half of your readers read your emails via mobile phones. Keep your subject lines short;
- avoid sales language. It’s better not to include words like ‘buy’, ‘sell’, ‘FREE’ in your subject lines. Your real estate newsletter should have a more educational value and sales language can be a turn-off.
4. Prioritize content that invites to act
The truth about most real estate newsletters is that people delete them right away if they only include property info, latest deals and featured listings. Which is why you need to prioritize helpful, informative content.
In a nutshell, you should create content that promotes your local area at large. If it’s a great place to live, everyone will see the value of investing in real estate here. The following types of content are excellent picks to include in your newsletter:
- local guides (neighborhood info, amenities, tourist attractions, nature spots, cultural and outdoor activities, job opportunities, etc.);
- real estate news (launch of resorts, residential or commercial developments, public projects like parks or schools);
- local businesses (great places to eat, drink and entertain in your area);
- market updates (home prices, trends to expect, supply and demand, new offers);
- home buying / selling / renovating / renting / financing tips;
- your personal musings and experience of living in the area.
[Related post: 7 Types of Real Estate SEO Content That Make an Exceptional Blog]
5. Include images
Images make any text more digestable, and a real estate newsletter is no exception. Remember to add a relevant image to reinforce your message.
A good practice is to optimize your images before adding them to emails so they load faster, especially on mobile devices. Compression usually works best and here’s how to do this: Real Estate Image Optimization 101: Lightning Fast Site & Stronger SEO.
6. Test before sending
It’s a really smart move to test your email campaigns before sending them out to your audience. Are there any broken links? Does personalization work? Are all images displayed correctly? Shoot an email to yourself and check if everything plays nicely together.
By the way, scientists from Stanford University made an interesting observation in one of their surveys. People tend to perceive senders who use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation as more credible. Apps like Grammarly or Hemingway App help you spot mistakes you might have left unnoticed.
7. Time wise: find the best frequency and stick to it
Frequency is one of the most controversial topics in email marketing. It’s hard to say for sure which frequency works best as the data differs for each industry. This is one of those things you’ll be able to decide for yourself after sending out a few campaigns and tracking the results.
Overall, anything more frequent that once a week is usually too much. The trick is to find a sweet spot: get in touch exactly at the right timing (so you readers won’t entirely forget about you) but do so in a gentle and intelligent manner so no one gets annoyed.
[Related post: CRM for Real Estate: 6 Perfectly Actionable Follow-Up Formulas]
Only 1% of your social media followers will see a message you’re posting on Facebook or Twitter. But your email won’t fail you: A message is 5 times more likely to be seen via email. 66% of users say their purchase resulted from email marketing.
This means you need to power your marketing campaigns with better emails. Make sure to optimize your real estate newsletter to deliver the best impressions about your brokerage!