Real Estate Email Tips, Pt. 1 – Don’t Do This!

In the highly competitive Real Estate market, agents bend over backward to earn business and close sales, and to differentiate themselves from the rest. They’re some of the most aggressive and industrious salespeople out there.

A lot of them are adding permission-based email to their marketing mix (which naturally we think is great :)), but they aren’t sure how to use it to build their business. Maybe this is the situation you find yourself in.

While they recognize the need to build and follow up with a list of subscribers, agents can easily fall into the trap of taking the “easy way out” when it comes to how they implement email marketing. Namely, they use email solely to send out listings and solicitations for business.

That approach is probably better than nothing, but it’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off.

Let’s take a look at why not.

Define Your Purpose

What goal/s have you set for your email marketing campaign?

In general terms, most Real Estate agents are looking to increase their sales. That’s a good broad goal, but not quite what I’m getting at.

What I mean is, what have you defined as the way to grow your sales via email?

One goal that a Real Estate agent may have is to make subscribers aware of current home listings, and get them to contact the agent about those listings.

Let’s Take a Look at That Strategy

Say I sign up to your list because I’m interested in seeing what properties/prices are out there. I get an email from you later that month with new and/or featured listings.

A few weeks later I get another one. And then another one.

So What Have You Accomplished?

Well, you’ve shown me some properties, which may or may not be in my price range. (Sure, you could ask me what price range I’m in the market for when I sign up, but then you run the risk of me abandoning your form because it’s too complicated, or because I don’t yet want to tell you how much money I have to spend.)

You’ve also done the same thing that I could do directly on your website, or on your competitors’ websites – browse available properties.

Whoop-dee-doo (pardon my enthusiasm). That’s not a whole lot of incentive for me to get on – or stay on – your list.

What Haven’t You Done?

You haven’t…

  • …shown me how to get into my dream home – or first home – faster, smoother or cheaper.
  • …given me any reason to contact you over the hundreds of other agents in your area when I am ready to get more serious about finding a home.
  • …given me any insight on the seller’s perspective, and how you can help me get out of my current home – or the one I’m about to buy (after all, don’t most people move more than once in their lives?).
  • …shown an interest in anything but the sale. You’ve made me feel like a number.

In addition, you’ve probably ensured that I won’t be listening to you for long – I can only take so many listings before it’s just not worth my time to open your messages. Even if I don’t unsubscribe, if you’re not delivering value, I won’t open your emails.

So What’s My Point?

For this discussion, we defined our goal as making subscribers aware of current home listings. And then we talked about a way to do that.

The thing is… there’s a lot more to buying a house than picking the one that looks pretty on the computer. And there are a lot of places that subscribers can view house listings already, on a timeline that they choose.

Your real estate business sells houses. Nice houses. So do a lot of your competitors.

To differentiate your real estate business from the rest, get away from just giving out a “catalog” via email, and start focusing on the other sources of value that you can provide potential customers.

Until Next Time…

I’ll be following this up with ideas on alternative goals you can shoot for with your email campaign.

In the meantime, start thinking about how you can better market your Real Estate business via email. We’ll compare notes next week.

(By the way – if any agents have taken the “catalog” approach to their email marketing and have found it to be the most effective, or even moderately effective, please chime in. You’ll note I’m not quoting any numbers above – this article is my perspective and is totally qualitative and open to discussion/rebuttal.)

Want to Learn More?

For more information on email marketing for real estate, view our complete Email Marketing for Real Estate Agents Guide.

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UPDATE: My post on real estate email marketing ideas is now up on the blog – take a look and let me know if you agree/disagree/have other ideas on how to best market to potential buyers!