In today’s world of social media it’s easy to dismiss the humble email as yesterday’s news. But as a real estate agent, email marketing could be your greatest weapon when it comes to converting and retaining clients.

Email, the elder statesman

Email has been around for a while, so it’s easy to relegate it to history when you’re planning your digital marketing campaigns. Many real estate agents assume that social media marketing is the way to go if you want to promote your real estate agency to a mass audience. Of course, newer communication methods like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat are trendy, and they’re only just beginning to come into their own. They’re like the Generation Y and Millennials of the digital marketing world.

Email, then, is a member of Generation X, or even a Baby Boomer. It’s still very much alive and well, and it’s improved with age – it’s older, wiser, and more sophisticated than ever before! So don’t be too hasty to write off a medium that’s in the prime of its life. Let’s take a look at why email is probably more important than ever in the digital marketing of real estate.

An invitation to communicate

Email is much more than another marketing channel. It’s an address. If you have someone’s address, you have their permission to keep in touch with them, which is the first step to converting people into clients and even loyal advocates. If real estate is about building relationships, being given someone’s email address is like being invited into their home. This is why it’s essential to prioritise email captures and getting people to subscribe to your email newsletters as one of your key marketing goals.

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Research has shown that marketers consistently rate email as the most efficient marketing channel for brand awareness, customer acquisition, conversion and retention.

The trouble with social media

Many of us now are pouring our marketing budgets into our social media strategies. However, the world of social media marketing can be a little hit-and-miss. The point of social media marketing is to be seen in people’s feeds; but this isn’t as easy as it used to be, especially now that social media channels are changing their algorithms in favour of paid advertising.

One of the best things about email is that the way it works doesn’t change every time a company changes its business goals. Your emails are still seen in the order in which they are received. We still manage our inboxes diligently, whereas our social media feeds are managed for us, with algorithms choosing what they think we should want to see.

Email gives us back control

Perhaps it’s because of this greater degree of control that 72 percent of consumers prefer to receive promotional content via email, compared to just 17 percent who would sooner view it on social media. Email gives customers the freedom to decide what they want and don’t want to read. But that doesn’t mean your eDM content will go unread. Statistically, real estate marketing emails have an open rate of between 20 and 26 percent, depending on the size of the real estate agency sending the email. And according to Epsilon in the U.S, the email open rate across the board is growing, not shrinking.

Because consumers are choosing to access content delivered by email over that shown on other marketing channels, email marketing is 40 percent more effective for acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. So it’s not really surprising that social channels have developed messaging solutions of their own, which allow you to message people individually or many people at once. They’re not as sophisticated as email, but it shows how powerful email is as a business opportunity if social channels want to copy its model.

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The key to customer behaviour

One of the most important elements of real estate marketing is to capture as much information as possible about your contacts, as this can help you to target your advertising in the most efficient way. Getting a potential customer’s email address is a vital way of doing this, as we normally use our email address to log into every website we’ve signed up to. Some also allow mobile numbers now, but email is still the main method. This is why it can be extremely useful in giving us all the online data about our potential customers that we need to target the most likely leads.

Google has seen the potential of this. It treats email as an extension of its product, not just as another online marketing channel. Using the vast amount of information it collects about its users’ online behaviour, it then segments its customers into target groups and offers them highly personalised marketing content at times when they are most likely to be receptive to it.

As a real estate agent you can also use this technique to our advantage. Many promotional emails now are designed to look like personal communications, and these are much more likely to be opened than newsletters. You can set up bots to send personalised emails to your contacts based on their online behaviour and interests, and they’re an excellent way of nurturing leads.

This works best when you layer your eDM communications on top of each other, so you can reach out to warm leads using a combination of email marketing and search remarketing. Using these techniques together will keep your brand fresh in the minds of your potential clients.

Tracking your data

It’s important to track the online behaviour of your target audience if you really want to capitalise on the potential of email marketing. Using tracking pixels in your emails will enable you to see who has opened them, and it’s a good indicator of how interested they’re likely to be in your real estate services.

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It can also show you more details such as what time they opened your email, and whether they clicked through to your website to read your content. These are the leads you should be following up with more personalised messaging, to show that you care, as they obviously have a level of interest in using your real estate agency. You can then follow this up in person, bringing your online relationship into the real world.

Optimise your emails for mobile

It’s increasingly important to make sure your email communications are optimised for use on mobile devices. About 53 percent of all emails are now opened on mobile devices, and 80 percent of customers have reported that they delete emails that are not mobile optimised. Almost one-third will unsubscribe from an email list for this reason alone! So it’s vital that you cater for your smartphone-addicted customers as well as those who only check their emails on a computer.

Grow your email list

These days there is so much more to email than generic newsletters. It’s actually a great medium for building and nurturing productive relationships with potential clients. That’s why it’s so important to continue to grow your email list and make sure you’re still getting people to subscribe.

Make sure all your marketing efforts are working together by promoting all the useful information you offer to your email subscribers. All your other marketing materials such as brochures and mail cards as well as your online marketing content should include a call to action encouraging the reader to subscribe to your email newsletter. Because a digital address is the key to someone’s home, and as all of us real estate agents know only too well, homes are where the sales are!

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Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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