Email marketing offers one of the most potent strategies for creating leads, making conversions and sales in the real estate industry. That said, there are some proven email marketing for real estate marketers and even more which are invariably doomed to fail. This is why we have compiled this comprehensive guide to the top ten mistakes to avoid when sending email marketing campaigns in the real estate industry.
The top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Here is a look at each of these common mistakes and how you can avoid making them or undo any damage you have already caused.
1- Failing to Make a Plan
Email marketing is all about putting a plan in place and executing it in the most effective way. Jumping headlong into the strategy just because you read somewhere that email marketing works better than other approaches just won't do. We have placed this mistake at the top of the list because it encompasses all the other mistakes we have outlined below this one. As we shall presently illustrate, all the other mistakes are either about not making a plan or making a bad plan.
2- Not Building a Database
The effectiveness of your email marketing campaign is wholly dependent on the quality of the contact list you are targeting. This takes even greater importance when we are talking of real estate business. Unlike other niches such as consumer electronics or fashion where someone is likely to place an order from an impulse or whim of the moment, real estate marketing is only effective when targeted at people who have made strategic decisions to put their money in a long term investment choice. That is why you must expend every effort in building a database of contacts who are interested in your offers and keep on improving it over time. Begin by sending your emails to the contacts you already have, no matter how few. Over time make use of proven strategies to build your email contacts database. Note we are talking about a database, not a "contact list". People looking to (or with the potential to) invest in the industry fall into different categories. There are the real big fish looking for opportunities to invest millions of dollars on the right property, there are some others who are more likely to place a property on the market, there are others who only want to rent an apartment and everyone else in between. That is why your database must contain more details than just the names and the contact emails. Ensure you classify your contacts into different categories such as "real estate agents" and "property developers". You can also classify your contacts depending on the region of the country where they are based. To build such an informative database requires careful and deliberate strategies to build your database of contacts. Here are some good approaches to do this most effectively:-
1. Import your LinkedIn,Gmail, Hotmail contacts
2. Place an email newsletter signup field on a conspicuous section of your website
3. Keep posting useful content on your Facebook page with call-to-action prompts for your fans to subscribe to your email newsletter
4. Ensure every email you send is easy and intuitive to share. This is the most effective way to gain referrals and generate profitable leads in the real estate business as people place a lot of trust in content shared by people they know and trust
3- Buying an Email List
Buying an email list is a definite "no-no" when it comes to email marketing in the real estate industry. As has been explained above, any strategy aimed at inducing people top make impulsive investment decisions in the real industry is bound to fail. You will be communicating with people who do not know you and trying to make them place a substantial investment, perhaps their life savings, on a project they have never heard of before. And even if that was not a harebrained idea already, you will be risking a lot more with a bought email list. For starters, email marketing service providers frown on the practice of sending unsolicited emails to people who have no connection to your business. You will end up getting blacklisted and losing all the benefits of a long term business relationship.
4- Lacking to Add a Personal Touch
Many people are naturally offended by emails which sound too generic or "spammy". With the right plan and tools in place, you can add a personalized touch to every email you send so that your readers get a feel that you took time to write the email and considered the offer adequately. If you follow the strategies outlined in 2.2 above to build you database of contacts, you will be able to address each recipient by their names and make an offer that is directed to their most relevant requirements.
5- Not Providing a Prompt to Opt Out of your Mailing List
Even if every one in your database of email contacts opted in out of their own volition, this does not mean they will remain as enthusiastic about your offers for ever. That is why each email you send must contain an explicit prompt for anyone not wishing to continue receiving the emails to opt out. As a matter of fact, this is required by law in the United States (the US CAN-SPAM Act of 2003). Failure to provide this prompt can lead to a hefty fine from the Federal Trade Commission for sending spam. While you can also request the recipient who wants to opt out to send an email to a specific address and be in full compliance with provisions of the act, it is more practical to provide an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of each email. Even more important than providing a way to opt out of your email marketing program is understanding the reasons for wanting out. The unsubscribe link should lead to a feedback form where the erstwhile contact should be provided with several choices of which they can pick one which best describes their reasons for wanting to stop the emails. You should also provide a text box where the unsubscriber can offer more details for their decision. Use the feedback provided by your unsubscribers to improve the email marketing approaches.
6- Sending the Same Email to all your Contacts
As explained in point 2, you must strive to classify your contacts into as many groups as possible. Only in very rare cases will you have an email that is relevant to all the contacts in your database. Even then, you can make the message even more effective by giving it a slant that appeals to different customers and fellow professionals. For instance, if you are sending leads to the latest property deals to come on the market, you should target them at people who are located closest to the offers. If you send all the deals to all your contacts, at least create several versions of the same email, taking care to ensure that each recipient gets an email with deals which are most relevant to them located at the top. Even the email subject should be as specific as possible to appeal to demographic characteristics of each group of contacts. Always keep in mind that relevance is the most important factor when it comes to email marketing.
7- Ignoring the Importance of Testing and Analytics
We live in the age of big data. The secret of success in any area of business lies on having access to the right numbers and deciphering the meaning behind them. You cannot perform comprehensive analytics of your email marketing success on your won. This is when the services of a proficient provider of email marketing services make sense. These programs are able to identify if the emails you send are opened and when they are opened. The service provider will also prepare regular reports about which campaigns yielded the highest conversions and why. Your provider will help to craft a program to test different approaches in order to identify which ones yield more effective conversions and viral trends.
8- Sending your Emails at the Wrong Time
While it is true that there is no such thing as a universally accepted hour to send your emails, research shows that the effectiveness of email marketing depends on working to a clear schedule. Of course you do not want to send your messages in the middle of the night. As explained in section 2.6, a good email marketing analytics program will help to identify the most effective time to send your emails.
9- Ignoring Users on Mobile Web Platforms
While ten years ago about 90% of all email was read on a desktop PC or laptop, today it is more likely that your recipients will be reading your emails on a smartphone or tablet device. Email marketing research shows that not only are more people checking email on mobile devices but also that readers are more likely to follow through a call-to-action link when this is on a mobile device than a PC email client program. This is why you should ensure that each email you send is optimized for easy access on mobile devices.
10- Not Offering Freebies
Let's be honest, everyone loves freebies. Sending emails which only prompt people to spend their money on your offers will only get you so far. Create brand loyalty by offering regular free items. However, just presenting any free offers is not going to work. The offers must represent real value for your readers. Think in terms of eBook guides, webinars and perhaps discount coupons are always excellent choices for freebies. If your contacts know they are likely to receive something with definite value when they open your emails, they are more likely to follow through and retain their subscription well into the future.
Our guide to the top ten mistakes to avoid when sending email marketing campaigns in the real estate industry have been compiled in conjunction with experienced players in the industry. They are presented in an easy to follow format so that you do not have to make the same mistakes as well.