A Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Email Marketing

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When you want a new toothbrush, it’s often a quick, impulsive decision. You can even pick one up while standing in line at the drugstore.

The same cannot be said of buying or renting a property. Houses are high-ticket items that require a lot of thought and consideration before making a decision.

This means that real estate marketers need to spend time nurturing customers to gain their loyalty. They can’t jump straight to the sale or try to push prospective buyers into making a decision.

Having recently moved to London, I have many stories of realtors who bombarded me with tons of irrelevant emails for home locations I wasn’t interested in and were way outside of my price range.

Real estate email marketing can take a lot of effort, but the payoff is considerably bigger than that of selling one toothbrush.

Here’s how you can create a real estate email marketing strategy that will attract and retain customers.

Here are the top real estate email marketing strategies you can try:

  • Design targeted emails
  • Generate sign-ups with landing pages
  • Segment your customer base
  • Automate campaigns

What to consider when creating a real estate email marketing strategy

Before you start putting together your real estate email marketing strategy, there are a couple of factors you need to take into account if you want to meet your goals and drive revenue for your business.

1. Timing is everything

It’s important to stay top of mind with customers so that when they are ready to buy or rent a property, they contact your agency. But you also don’t want to be in contact too much -- nobody likes a pushy estate agent.

With that in mind, you need to create a real estate newsletter schedule that is not overwhelming but also doesn’t let your customers forget about you.

This will vary according to each business, so make sure you test different schedules to see what cadence produces the best results.

2. Be creative

When I started to look for properties in London, I wasn’t quite ready to make my final decision. I was just browsing the market, but all the emails I received from real estate agents were trying to get me to view properties.

You need to be more creative when it comes to thinking up real estate email marketing ideas by varying the type of content you send and making it more interesting than just property bulletins. That’s how you stand out among your competitors.

3. Update your email list regularly

Real estate marketing is a delicate process, with customer emotions often running high, so you need to do all you can to keep your customers on side.

This means only adding them to your email list or real estate CRM software when they’ve given you express permission, and making sure to remove them if they ask you to, if they rent or buy a property with you, or -- in the worst-case scenario -- they have a bad experience with your agency (whether it’s your fault or not).

It’s better to have a smaller, more engaged list than to have a long list of real estate leads who never even open your emails.

Top 4 real estate email marketing strategies to try

Successful real estate email marketing can help you build trust with customers and generate loyalty by showing them you care about them as an individual and not as another line in a database.

Here are four strategies you need to implement to create winning campaigns, all of which use common email marketing best practices.

1. Design targeted emails

Make sure the design of your emails is specific to the goal of your email campaign.

For example, you need to structure your property bulletins in a different way from your monthly newsletters, which need to be different from your appointment confirmations for property viewings.

While these emails all need to be optimized according to what you want to achieve (get clicks, provide information, etc.), they should all be on brand so customers can instantly recognize they are from you.

This is important, as there are so many real estate agents trying to sell and rent properties that customers can get confused with all the options. You need to make your brand memorable so customers reach out to you for their property needs.

How to design targeted emails

If you want to design your emails to maximize interactions with your brand, there are a couple of steps you can take.

  • Create templates: Instead of having to start from scratch each time, create a template for each different type of email. For example, create a property bulletin template that you can quickly slot new properties into. This will speed up the process in the future.
  • Sign up to your competitors’ newsletters: If you want to get an idea of what kind of design and wording is generating results, then keep an eye on the newsletters and property bulletins other real estate agents send their clients. Find email marketing examples that can inspire you to create better content. What works for realtors might be different from what works for e-commerce stores or accounts.

2. Generate sign-ups with landing pages

The first place that many people look when they want to buy or rent a house is online, whether that is a property aggregation site like Rightmove, Zillow, or your own website for real estate.

You need to make it as easy as possible for your customers browsing your website to either sign up to your newsletter or find out more about individual properties.

To do this, you need to create landing pages and sign-up forms to encourage people to provide their details. It’s especially important to optimize your property inquiry forms so that people don’t see a property they like, but decide not to get in contact because the form is requesting too much data, is overly complicated, or doesn’t work properly.

How to generate sign-ups with landing pages

If you want to maximize the number of sign-ups you get from your landing pages, then there are a number of factors you need to keep in mind.

  • Keep it simple: Make the copy succinct and catchy, and keep the design to a minimum while still making it attractive enough to complement the properties you are trying to rent or sell. You don’t want to distract or confuse website visitors.
  • Add custom fields for your business: Include important fields that are specific to real estate, such as budget, preferred location of the property, and when they want to move in.
  • Create a strong call to action: Make sure the button with your call to action is crystal clear in terms of both text and design.
  • Optimize the design for all devices: You don’t know what device people will use to sign up, so make sure the design and functionality of your landing page works across all devices.

3. Segment your customer base

People get a ton of emails every day; don’t add to that mountain by sending them irrelevant information. Instead, only send them emails that are pertinent to their situation.

This is especially important for people who you need to nurture over a longer-term basis if they aren’t yet ready to buy or rent.

You want to send them enough information -- and information that is relevant to the property market instead of just updates on your business -- to build up a relationship so you will be top of mind when they are ready, but not so much information that they unsubscribe from your emails.

To do that, you need to segment your customer base. Market segmentation examples include renters or buyers, budget, stage in the buying process, and location.

How to segment your customer base

When you segment your customer base, you provide a better experience and increase opens, clicks, and newsletter engagement. Here is how you do that.

  • Collect as much information as you can: Whether it be on the phone, via a sign-up form, or in-person during an appointment, make sure you get as much information as you can on your customers’ demographic data and preferences.
  • Centralize your data: If you want to be able to create up-to-date, accurate segments, then you need to centralize all the data you collect from different sources, such as in-person appointments, social media, email newsletters, phone calls, and other marketing channels.

4. Automate campaigns

Sending the right content to the right customers at the right time is the key to success when it comes to email marketing for real estate agents. Yet this is hard to do manually.

Automated email campaigns are automatically sent when a customer takes a certain action. This triggers a series of emails that are sent at predefined intervals and are specific to the action the customer took.

Creating automated email campaigns (otherwise known as drip campaigns or autoresponders) ensures customers are receiving personalized information that is relevant to their demographic, preferences, and lifecycle stage.

For example, when a customer signs up for your newsletter, you can send out automated welcome campaigns that provide data on the rental market. Then you can send out the next email with information on the best cafes, bars, restaurants, and schools in the areas they are interested in. The next email in the series would then be a property bulletin.

Automated campaigns can also help you avoid making mistakes that annoy customers, such as sending property bulletins to customers who have just bought a house.

How to automate campaigns

Automated email campaigns are not only more effective, but they also save you time and money. Here’s how to put together campaigns that work.

  • Identify common behavioral triggers: You need to identify what actions customers take on a regular basis that can help you nurture them along the process of buying or renting. This includes arranging a viewing or signing up to your email list.
  • Measure the success of each email: Keep an eye on the engagement rates for each message you send, and not just for the campaign as a whole, so you can understand if you need to edit the workflow or content.

The best email marketing software to manage your real estate campaigns

Email marketing software can be hugely beneficial when it comes to creating real estate email marketing campaigns. Not only can it automate manual processes to save you time and money, but it also makes it easier to send relevant, personalized content that improves email performance.

Here are our picks of the best software to manage your campaigns.

1. Mailchimp

Creating automated email campaigns can be tricky, especially if you’re new to email marketing or the real estate industry. That’s why having an email marketing solution that does it for you is very helpful.

Mailchimp popup screen to select an automation template based off of different triggers.

You can choose a Mailchimp template to create an automated email campaign. Image source: Author

Mailchimp provides automated email templates for common behavioral triggers so you don’t have to set up workflows yourself. You can also choose to only send these automated campaigns to specific segments of your email list. All you have to do to put together these campaigns is to create content.

2. SendPulse

You need to constantly update your segments to make sure you’re always sending relevant information to your contacts, but doing this manually is time-consuming.

Email and direct marketing software such as SendPulse can help by not only allowing you to create very specific segments with multiple criteria, but also by updating these segments automatically.

SendPulse segmentation selection screen with dropdown to choose from several data points including, email open, email click, sign up date, etc.

SendPulse allows you to add multiple conditions to your segments. Image source: Author

SendPulse’s dynamic segmentation functionality automatically adds and removes contacts as they stop and start meeting criteria.

If a customer hasn’t interacted with your company in three months, SendPulse will automatically add them to a winback segment.

If they click on a link in your email, SendPulse will automatically remove them from that segment.

3. MailerLite

Creating and optimizing landing pages to collect customer details is a key part of real estate marketing.

MailerLite helps you optimize your landing pages for SEO so they show up better in Google searches. It also lets you track the success of your sign-up forms and landing pages by measuring list growth and conversions.

Mailerlite pop-up behaviour screen showing options to adjust timing and frequency of a pop-up

MailerLite helps you tailor your landing page and popup settings to increase sign-ups. Image source: Author

If you want to create popups to help generate sign-ups, MailerLite's mode, frequency, and visibility settings can help. You can choose when the popup appears (after a user scrolls or at a timed interval), how long to show it for, and whether you just want to show it on certain webpages or devices.

Build trust to gain loyalty

Buying or renting a house is a big decision. Customers want to feel like they can trust their real estate agents, and that their agents care about helping them make the right choice and aren’t just trying to push them into making a quick decision.

Email marketing is a key way to show customers that you know what you are talking about, that you care, and that they can trust you to help them get the best property for their budget and specific needs.

Real estate email marketing services can help you improve this service by helping you personalize content and only send relevant campaigns.

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