5 Key Factors for Email Marketing

By
Real Estate Agent with The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL

5 Key Factors for Email Marketing

  1. Figuring out who gets what.

    Most of us maintain a list of past clients, current clients, and prospective clients.  Do you divide it down further? Maybe by industry, gender, age...?  Having three levels deep information on your contact database enables you to hone your marketing efforts more effectively to your clients.  You don't want to send out an eflyer on first time homebuyers tax credit to your past clients or maybe your clientele above 45, and you certainly do not want to send a reminder to file for the senior citizens tax freeze to your clients under 30.  Having secondary information on your contact database aids you to provide a more direct message in your eflyers. 

    I also ask people who sign-up for my newsletter for their preferences.  Are they an investor? Do you want industry news? Do you want new listing emails? Are you a business owner?  Anything that will help me send than more targeted information in my emails to them I try and get.  If I am better servicing my clients by giving them target information, I am providing a better service to my client and in the end making them happier and not bombarding them with information that is deemed useless to them.

  2. Grab their attention.

     Your subject line is the deciding factor between your email being opened or trashed.  You should make your subject line clear and present the benefit that your email has to offer, such as "10 new product that save you money.", "Tax Exemptions - are you eligible?", "How to solve XYZ problem." 

     You also want to avoid words that may get caught in the spam filters.  Some of these words to avoid are: guaranteed, promise, get rich - to name a few.  Some times "free" can get caught in a spam filter, so you might want to use "complimentary" - i.e. "complimentary CMA". 

     In the "Sender" field, you want to use the name of your company, such as "The Kim Group, your commercial real estate specialists." 


  3. Timing is EVERYTHING!


    During the middle of the week is one of the best times to send emails, especially right before lunch or right after.  Avoid Mondays!  You know how crazy they can be for you. So your customers are probably in the same predicament - digging through their weekend email. 

     How often? It depends on your relationship with the client and the client.  A typical rule for type B prospects, once or twice a monthly is plenty. For type A prospects, maybe once a week. For longtime customers, once a week or so.  You have to gauge your client and your relationship with them. I recommend using the Keller Williams 8x8 and 36 touches for a reference.  Most importantly you want to make sure you are truly offering something new or valuable.  If you are not, you want to hold off on sending till you do; otherwise your emails will start to be perceived as not having any value and will start being deleted prior to even reading.


  4. Make it attractive

    If you are like me and do not have a degree in design or marketing, then keep it simple and professional. Your logo should go at the top of body.  For your content, use short sentences or bullet points so readers can scan the message. Use graphics or photos sparingly - stay away from clip art!  You will also want to include a line "Can't see this graphic? Click here..." to redirect the reader to the image on your website. It has been said/studied that people like to click buttons (I know I do when I visit the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago - great place! J).  Also make sure you are in compliance with email regulations and have a place for users to unsubscribe to your mailing list.

    Get help if needed!  Remember if you are the bottleneck, remove yourself! J  There are eflyer providers who have pre-design templates, color schemes, pictures, graphics, etc.  I use MailChimp. I know there is Constant Contact, Rate Point, and may, may more.

    Side Note: There is no mention of license rules & regulations in here. So make sure you double check with your local and state regulations in order to ensure you are in compliance with them.


  5. Measure your results

We only advance what we track....so what are you tracking?  Most of the emarketing providers also has tracking services along with them that can help you understand how many recipients deleted, opened, or clicked on your eflyer.  MailChimp has industry averages which can demonstrate to you if you are above average or below in your open-rate or click-rate. An open-rate between 10-13% is considered good via national standards and 13-17% click-rate.

MailChimp also shows me where the users open the email from. I love this because I can show my clients that my eflyers are being opened in California, Texas, Philadephia, Alaska, Ireland, etc. via the map they provide to me.  So I can graphically show my clients that my marketing is reaching far beyond the local area.  This is a HUGE win with my clients who believe they have to go with the "big player" in town in order to get the exposure needed to move the property.

Comments (52)

Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Christianne - I imported my contact database from an excel spreadsheet.  If you are using Microsoft Outlook, you can export your contacts into a comma delimited file and them import them into MailChimp or a lot of the other email providers. 

MailChimp (and I am sure other providers do as well) enables me to have one list and assign interests to each of my clients, or to let them select their own interests when they sign-up.  Then when I want to send out an emailing, I can select the whole list, which I rarely do, or I can select a subset of the list.  For example, if I have a new investment property, I can send the eflyer out to all of my clients that are interested in "investment properties", "new listings", and maybe even to my contacts that are "commercial agent" and "residential agent".  It is a great way to ensure your message is going out to the right target or subset of your contacts.

 

Jun 24, 2009 01:24 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Loree - If you check out MailChimp, you might want to start by watching some of their tutorial videos. I know you can access them off their site, and I believe off of youtube.com.  They were a big help for me prior to signing up with them, as it gave me insight into the software and demonstrated how to do it.

Jun 24, 2009 01:25 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Roger - I have gone back and forth with how to maintain my database. You want the information all in the same place, yet you need to be able to leverage it in multiple places. MailChimp enables you to import your contacts into their program. So you don't have to retype ANYTHING!!  You might want to start leveraging MailChimp for keeping your contact information updated and export the contact information into your previous system on a periodic basis.  I am not sure what system you are using now. So it's hard to say, but the best practice is to have one contact database. So you eliminate outdated data.

Jun 24, 2009 01:28 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Roland - I am currently using MailChimp. I checked out Top Producer, and I think it is a great program for Residential Agents.  However, my team focuses solely on commercial property. So it was not really suiting my needs.  Plus, I am knowledable in html. So MailChimp enables me to upload an html eflyer and send it out from there. So I can get the exact format and layout that I want. I don't have to fit into their templates.  Also MailChimp has a plugin for piknic (I believe I spelled it right) which enables me to purchase professional photos for as little as 14 cents and put it into my eflyers. So it makes them look polished and professional.  I am sure you can go to piknic and then import the pictures into other programs, but I am all about convenience when it comes to designing and developing an eflyer.

Jun 24, 2009 01:31 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Steven - you bring up an excellent point.  I am able to select a certain area as well to send an eflyer. I can select my entire contact list that has the city as Peoria or the state as IL. It's a great feature for sending out an eflyer with community information.

Jun 24, 2009 01:33 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Katie, all great points. In the make it attractive one I am a big believer in the use of color. Too many agents scrimp and want to save money with black and white. Color is better for the eye for attention getting for sure.

Jun 24, 2009 01:36 AM
Dee Neal
Palmer House Properties - Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta Area Real Estate

ok. im bookmarking this...great! im a face to face convo girl so i haven't really gotten the grasp of email marketing as of yet and i have been wrecking my brain trying to figure out the formula since i can't talk to everyone all of the time face to face

Jun 24, 2009 02:18 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I am a strong advocate of moving people from direct mail to email. Besides the obvious cost difference, it is permission based marketing that allows them to open up at their best time. I do like going through companies like www.onmarketer.com that can monitor what is being read. These companies can tell you whether the email arrived, and also if it was opened. Everything you said is so true, then after that we need to measure it's effectiveness.

Jun 24, 2009 02:25 AM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Katie: Thank you. For me, email marketing has been the most effective message. I try and send 1-2 pertinent emails/month to my database. The key is to personalize it (use either a service or through Microsoft Word) and educate your clients. It's funny how we try so many different things to garner business. And email marketing can be virtually free. It's often just our time. Thanks again!

Jun 24, 2009 02:26 AM
Scott Engle
Scott Engle - Realty Source, Inc. - San Diego, CA
Realty Source, Inc.

Great article......You presented some really good ideas for email marketing. You mentioned Subject Line....I think a catchy subject line is KEY!

Jun 24, 2009 02:43 AM
Beverly Fast Sinclair
Keller Williams Realty - Carmel, IN
CRS, GRI

I'm thinking about adding an email plan to my expired listings. I was wondering though how should I go about obtaining their email addresses to add them to my list. I was thinking sending out a letter with a questionaire that asks for it and doing like a monthly drawing for a gift card. I am currently sending out letters and the postage is costing me more than I think its worth.

Jun 24, 2009 03:21 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Dee  - I agree face-to-face is the best way to communicate if you can.  I leverage my eflyer as a way to keep my name in front of prospective clients and past customers. 

Please don't think you have to spend tons of time doing the eflyers. You can setup a template and leverage that every time.  It should take more than an hour or two once you have the template up and the contacts imported.

 

Jun 24, 2009 06:30 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Joe - you are absolutely right - email is definitely a more cost effective way to do mailings.

I was talking about a fellow agent the other day, and they said that they increased their direct mail because everyone else was backing off of it.  Just something to think about.

 

Jun 24, 2009 06:32 AM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Beverly - I think you are on the right track here. Make there be some kind of incentive for them signing up.  In the flyer, I would also recommend directing them to your website to sign-up.  This way they are going to your website and you know they are tech savy.  You might have some clients that will remain on paper mailings for awhile, but I think you will find a lot of your clients are open to the eflyers.

Some people offer their name to be put into a drawing for something - pair of Maui Jim sunglasses, dinner for two, gift certificate, etc. if they are the first 50 or 100 people to sign up.

Good luck! Please let me know what you decide to do and how it goes.

Jun 24, 2009 06:35 AM
ratemodify.com modify
www.ratemodify.com - Bothell, WA

Great stuff Katie!  Thanks for the blog and nice tips!

Jun 24, 2009 07:36 AM
Kathy Opatka
RE/MAX CROSSROADS - Ocean City, MD
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

Katie,

What a useful blog! I've printed it out and notebooked it for future reference,along with ALL the helpful comments!

Kathy Opatka

Jun 24, 2009 08:05 AM
Jeff Engle
Neighborly Realty - Lincoln, CA
PlacerAreaHomes.com

Being new to this industry, I was wondering what time period we are talking about for measuring results.  For a majority of the individuals in my current database they are 'holding tight' from an upgrade perspective.  I've gotten some interest for investment properties, and a referral to a new home buyer; but I expect my database to flourish once the economy kicks back in.  In the meantime, I'm convering as many snail mail contacts to email.

I love the idea of customized newsletters.  Thanks for that tip along with the rest!

Jeff

Jun 24, 2009 01:39 PM
An Marshall
Berkshire Hathaway - St. Augustine - Saint Augustine, FL
Your St Augustine Real Estate Consultant

I have been want some info on email; good tips.  I will have to work on making it more attractive.

Jun 24, 2009 02:41 PM
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

Jeff - I would encourage you not to wait for anything.  You need to get into action as soon as possible.

Jun 24, 2009 03:19 PM
Jana Hristova
Best Deal Realty - Tampa, FL

Katie, great info! I just started using Constant Contact for the buyers who are just browsing. I e-mail my newsletter once a month and I include local market statistics and links to some relevant blog posts. My open rate is around 9%. I am thinking of using PRWeb to promote my newsletter, which I call Real Estate Report.

Nov 04, 2009 09:18 AM