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28 September 2017

Best Email Marketing Practices

In today’s fast paced digital landscape, email has become a daily life event and somewhat of an afterthought in the minds of many real estate marketers. We hear from clients that email marketing is dead and no one opens email messages, and it can be perceived as a spammy way of marketing. And that’s true…IF home builder marketers aren’t employing best practices for success they could be considered spam. With regards to email marketing being dead, we politely disagree. The Radicati Group, Inc., a technology market research firm, did a study reporting that over 100 billion emails are sent and received per day. Email still remains the predominant form of communication in the business space and the trend is expected to continue with business email accounting for over 132 billion emails sent and received per day by the end of 2017.

The best real estate marketers understand and incorporate best practice emails as an integral part of their campaigns, while avoiding the temptation to remove the tactic for an untested new mouse trap. Email is direct and personalizable, showing up on the digital doorstep of potential homebuyers, real estate agents, and current homeowners. It’s also cheaper than most other commonly used real estate marketing tactics. It’s critical for real estate marketers to understand the importance of creating best practices to harness the power of a successful real estate email marketing strategy.

First line and subject line connection

Aim for brevity in the subject line, but don’t let that dissuade you from being descriptive. Tease your email content without being too corny (e.g. “You won’t believe this!”) or too general (e.g. “February Newsletter”), then deliver on that tease and do it quickly.

Home builder and master-planned community marketers should carry a sense of urgency into their email campaigns, always remembering that they have a limited amount of time to communicate value before the reader sends the email to the trash.

When to send

Email real estate marketing is like door-knocking. If you arrive at the wrong time with the wrong message, you’ll probably be turned away—if the door is even opened to you.

Here are some basic guidelines for delivery time:

  • Across the board, “Open rates” are highest early in the morning. One study found that users open approximately 53 percent of emails that arrived in inboxes at 6 a.m.
  • Users respond well to emails that arrive after they get off work between 7 and 10 p.m. according to the same study.
  • Avoid the middle of the work day and weekends.
  • Avoid Mondays. Prospects are starting their work week and are probably stressed, and they likely don’t want to spend their time reading an email that doesn’t have bearing on their task at hand.

Short and sweet

According to one study your email should be concise. The subject line should be 6-10 words. As a home builder or master-planned community marketer, you’ll probably want to drive the reader to your website. Keep that in mind when making email content decisions, making sure your message is clear, personal, and not to salesy.

Ask questions

Your email message is meant to generate a response, whether it’s a click, a visit to your site, an R.S.V.P., a subscription or otherwise. Remember this as you create your content. One way to engage readers is a simple conversational tactic: Ask questions. Perhaps you’re looking for real feedback on a new model home or maybe you’re simply looking to tease a landing page on your website. Asking is a simple way to accomplish both.

Don’t forget mobile users

Make sure your links are clickable, which will cater to mobile users. Direct users to pages on your website that load quickly.

Test & Test again

The best real estate marketers live and die by testing in all they do. Use A/B testing as you hone your email campaigns.

  • Subject lines that get the best open rates.
  • Use alternate first lines to see how users respond.
  • Try capitalization variations to see how your readers respond.

Share the love

Making it easy for readers to share your content whether via email forwarding or social media is an easy way to increase your customer base and number of subscriptions. Offer a promo code or a giveaway to new subscribers and to those who share your message.

Measure engagement & conversions

Compile as much data about your readership as you can and test that data.

  • Measure against your subscription list.
  • What subject lines get you the best opens?
  • What are subscribers clicking on?

Final thoughts:

Email marketing is a powerful tactic for home builders and master-planned community marketers if you use the required attention to detail and have a clear vision on the message. By working through these 10 best practices, you should be on your way to real estate email marketing success!

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