If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a total real estate nerd. I’m constantly searching for ways to stay up to date with the market and trends within the industry. One of the best ways for me to stay in touch is with the emails I receive from businesses such as Zillow and Trulia.
“Did you just say………. email?”
You bet I did. Believe it or not, email is still a common way for businesses to communicate, even with the recent downfall of Blackberry.
Plus email isn’t only for old people (sorry mom). Millennials are the most likely age group to check their email from bed (70%), from the bathroom (57%), or while driving (27%).
With over 2.5 billion email users worldwide, email is still extremely relevant. In fact, 88% of businesses say that email is generating a positive ROI for their business.
Still not convinced? What if I told you that 81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make purchases as a result of an email. According to Create the Bridge, email marketing is a shocking 40x better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.
A study done in 2014 also found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. And guess what? It’s only increased since then.
But one thing we know is that we all hate spam. So how do we cut through the noise and reach our customers in a meaningful way.
Here is the breakdown:
1. Define Your Audience
Before you even consider what type of content you want to deliver, it’s important to think about your audience. The topic of buyer personas is something I have continually emphasized throughout my blogging journey.
But trust me.. listening to your audience will make or break your marketing efforts. What do you envision they’ll want to read in your emails? After you determine who will be receiving your emails, it’s a lot easier to figure out what to say to them.
When I worked as a Marketing Coordinator at a local RE/MAX office, I had the opportunity to launch a redesign of our monthly newsletter. BuyerMax Inc. already had roughly 8,000 subscribers scattered throughout the Northwest and British Columbia.
After digging further, it was clear that the bulk of our subscribers were from the Whatcom County area. Luckily, these residents were our core target market which gave us the chance to reach potential clients.
2. Content Creation
Now that we’ve determined our audience, it’s time to actually create the content. Consider why your audience signed up for the email in the first place. Are they searching for information? Looking for deals and discounts?
Do you have any content that you’ve already created that might be useful? Blog posts, social media posts, or articles might be the perfect thing to add to your next email.
At BuyerMax, we generated a general email template while still incorporating fresh content in each newsletter. The basic structure of our newsletter included:
- Featured/recently sold listings – this gave our audience some insight into how our business is doing and how the overall market is progressing.
- A relevant article or market analysis such as “5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Home”
- Upcoming local events that might be of interest from the Whatcom County Event Calendar
MailChimp recommends a few tips to delivering compelling content. One of which is to treat your readers like VIPs. You are privileged to have your users subscribe voluntarily to your emails. Make sure to honor this privilege with special offers, exclusive content, and benefits for your subscribers.
They also remind us to keep it useful, concise, and show some personality. No one wants an email that’s going to slip through the cracks with a lackluster design and average content.
Get inspired for your emails. Make sure to collect content regularly that might be of interest to your audience. Apps such as Pinterest are perfect for generating ideas.
3. Consistency and Scheduling
The frequency of your emails should be dependent on your audience. (Notice a pattern yet?)
ChimpMail recommends sending email communication at least once a month. That way you stay relevant and your audience doesn’t forget they subscribed to you.
The most important thing to remember is that content comes first. If you don’t have anything valuable to say, don’t say anything at all.
Plan your emails far in advance so that you can stay consistent.
If you’re worried about the amount of time that goes into email marketing, you’re in luck. It’s becoming more and more simple with automation.
Marketing automation is software designed to assists you in streamlining and executing marketing tasks. It will provide you with the extra free time you need to create authentic content which in turn will help you reach your goals faster.
- Lead nurturing: Automation options inform you how far along your leads are in the marketing funnel. From there, the automation will give suggests of next steps to take to stay in contact with your leads.
- Real-time updates: Making contact with your leads immediately after they interact with your content is one way to follow up. This will increase engagement with leads by reaching them while you have their attention.
- Saving money: Instead of requiring multiple software solutions to keep your marketing and sales efforts in order, automation provides an all-in-one fix that can reduce your spending.
Let’s take a look at a real estate firm that was able to successfully implement automation into the business. Smart Touch Interactive (STI) is one of the many platforms that provide automation and is built specifically for real estate.
STI specializes in lead nurturing and determining which leads are ready to buy or sell a home. The leads are essentially given a score that determines how far down the lead is in the marketing funnel.
After the leads are dividing into “sales ready” and “not sales ready”, the system suggests specific content dependent on their readiness. For “not sales ready” leads, this may include additional content about the market or a simply continuing with newsletter. On the other hand, “sales ready leads may receive more specific content regarding listings that they interacted with in previous emails.
The Lakes at Centerra is an urban development in Colorado that began marketing automation with STI. After implementing the campaign, the automation had a positive impact on roughly 60% of the leads. Out of the buyers who had closed, about 50% had experienced the automation system.
There you have it. Marketing automation can make a HUGE difference in your email marketing.
If you’re looking for ways to cut costs and streamline your marketing, there are a few different platforms that may meet your needs. All of these platforms have the capability to improve your email marketing and other inbound communications. Let’s take a look at your options.
Hubspot: We all know that Hubspot is the crown jewel of inbound marketing. What you may not know is that they offer a free trial which is pretty handy. Ranging from $200 to $2400 a month, Hubspot offers the whole package. The platform has social media, SEO, email, and automation capability and focuses on smaller/mid-size businesses communication.
Marketo: On the other hand, Marketo is geared more towards B2B communication by focusing on larger firms. This platform offers more in depth analytical tools which can impose a stronger learning curve. Even though the monthly payments are a little higher at roughly $800/month, Marketo doesn’t charge a start up fee. It provides real-time marketing, automation, customer engagement, and marketing management.
Pardot: Pardot by Salesforce is a platform specializes in B2B which makes it a premium service ranging from $1000-3000 a month. One of the biggest selling points is the built in reports that allow you to take a closer look at your ROI. Since it’s created by Salesforce, it has advanced CRM so that you can closely monitor lead activity.
SharpSpring: In contrast to the other platforms, SharpSpring targets smaller businesses by offering monthly packages starting at $400 a month. Another benefit of SharpSpring is that they offer the packages based on the number of contacts which means no long-term commitments.
Socedo: For us Seattleites, Socedo is a smaller firm that works with B2B communication and social media lead generation. One great thing about Socedo that it only costs about $100/month with no start up fees. (Wow now thats a perk). Now this doesn’t mean that this platform is limited, even big players such as Microsoft use it. In addition to the basic automation features, Socedo also offers CRM integration.
Depending on what your company goals are, each of these platforms offer similar products with different focuses. Whether it be real estate or another industry, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to nurture your leads while encouraging them further down the funnel. It can help you retain and extend customer relationships while promoting your business.
Till we meet again,