Real Estate Prospecting - Turning Cheese into Soul - Newsletters, Part Deux

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Education & Training with Sell with Soul

cheeseheadIn yesterday's installment of the Cheese to Soul series,  I commented that I might have half a dozen posts in me about how to create an effective newsletter. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that might actually be true. We'll see how far I get today.

Remember, the goal of a newsletter is to make the recipient of the newsletter smile and think of you fondly. Which is best accomplished not with gardening tips, Just Sold notices or descriptions of your listings, but rather with interesting content that reflects YOU - your voice, your personality. And the best way to do that is to write the content yourself.

Now, don't freak out on me. Writing interesting content YOURSELF is not all that hard, especially if you work under the principle that less is more. As in - don't feel your newsletter has to be formally formatted with a Volume Number, Table of Contents and a three-column layout. Nope. In fact, a simple email-style newsletter will work much better. If you're on my mailing list, you've seen my "newsletters" which are nothing more than me rambling about something, hopefully of interest, with my cute little signature logo at the bottom. No sidebars, very few graphics, and only the occasional sales-pitch (which I usually apologize for).

And, by the way, my newsletters are probably the most important (and effective) self-promotion I do.

Write your newsletters with the goal of inspiring your audience to respond. Responses are good. They open the door to ongoing conversations with your readers and you never know where they'll lead. You're much more likely to get meaningful responses to your newsletters if they're done in a casual format, rather than a formal newsletter format. Whenever I get a newsletter that appears to be professionally-designed, I might be impressed, but I'm not inspired to respond. And, frankly, I make the assumption that the newsletter is mostly boilerplate or sales-pitchy anyway, and not likely to be of interest to me. If I'm pressed for time, I hit DELETE. Which is most of the time.

Make sure your newsletter goes out from YOU - as in, from Your Name. Not from some professional-sounding company or even your fancy tagline. YOUR NAME. Period. I can't tell you how many newsletters I get from people I know, but I'd never know who they were from because the "From" field is a company I've never heard of.  

One last tip for today ... DON'T use a program to send out your emails that doesn't allow replies! I was recently added to an acquaintance's Avon drip campaign and right across the top of my daily marketing email (sigh) is the note:  "PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. This email box is not equipped to handle correspondence." Sheesh.

So... what might you write about that would be "meaningful" to your audience and inspire them to respond?

You know the drill... stay tuned.

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Lisa Lambert/PMN/AHWD/SRES 12/03/2009 01:48 PM
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Rainmaker
130,196
Carolyn Shipp
Source 1 Real Estate - Mineral Wells, TX
Mineral Wells Texas Real Estate

I've been sending out, via postal service, newsletters with my own content for almost a year now.  I've had a great response from people and received at least five listings (that I can think of right now) through this technique.  I design it and write it all myself.  I don't make the content long because I know a lot of people don't like to "read" mail.  It is glanced through at most. 

I include my newest listing, a short paragraph on the market, an event that will be happening in town for the month, an event that is taking placing at our local state park, a brief article about something that will help someone sell their home (I mainly work with sellers) and last a listing of sales for the previous month.

From the feedback I've been getting, it seems to be a positive marketing tool.  People enjoy the information I include and especially like that I include special events taking place for the month and the previous months sales.  It is definitely on my schedule to keep this up for 2010.

Dec 03, 2009 09:49 AM #31
Rainmaker
230,847
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Jen--- all I can say is "arrrggghhh" (Charlie Brown for something less "soulish".)  Now I have to redesign my newsletters again to be less professional.  My content is mostly real estate news, but written in a letter form, from me. I add Links to my website, and they always get hits.  The "November Newsletter from..." was on the recent advice of the email newsletter company and their tips for success. I had never used it before, but tried it this time.  I'll go back to my old way (the soulish way) for next month.  Thanks as always for great advice, and the great comments too.

Dec 03, 2009 09:59 AM #32
Rainer
17,240
Jill Carlson
Park Co. Realtors - Fargo, ND

Great advice that I think applies equally as well to our blog posts! Everyone is being bombarded with information these days and I think they tend to tune it out UNLESS the content is unique in some way. Anyone can regurgitate information - the key to unique content is writing your own newsletters and blog posts and injecting your personality into them. That's my two cents worth.

Dec 03, 2009 11:14 AM #34
Rainmaker
323,839
Melissa Brown
Helen Adams Realty - Charlotte, NC
Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale

Jennifer - this is why you are my GURU!!!  You always have the best ideas, and they're so well-put that I wonder why I didn't think of it myself!  Like the newsletter - I just figured it was too time-consuming for format, think up clever articles, etc.  It's much easier to just be me, anyway.  I'll definitely put it on my New Year's resolutions!

Dec 03, 2009 12:41 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,006,502
June Piper-Brandon
Long & Foster Hampden - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

This is very important.  Our office has a newsletter template and when the newsletter is complete it is in your name, not any unknown company.  However, you do have to write the articles or ask for guest submissions.

Dec 03, 2009 01:08 PM #37
Rainmaker
231,989
Emily Lowe
The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty - Nashville, TN
Nashville TN Realtor

Hi Jennifer - I sent out newsletters throughout 2008 and you are right - they got me both remembered and I got listings from them.  2009 I have not done newsletters, but I think I may start doing them again - people like to get to know you, whether on your blog or in a newsletter!

Dec 03, 2009 01:29 PM #38
Rainer
8,246
Colleen Fantini, Northeast Cincinnati Realtor
Comey & Shepherd Realtors - Landen, OH

Your post could not have been more timely for me!  I'm back in real estate after a 3 year hiatus to have a baby and get my husband through police academy (and lots of night shifts!), and am amazed at how much has changed in this short time in the way of marketing.  I have been able to develop a much more productive marketing plan - what is proving to be an effective marketing plan - based on the type of real-life, relationship-building sales that you profess.  Anyway, back to the timeliness of your post - I was debating with myself about starting a self-produced newsletter in the new year, and your post has confirmed what kept coming to my mind.  Thanks for all of your useful and realistic advice!

Have a great weekend!

Dec 03, 2009 02:34 PM #39
Ambassador
2,007,827
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Alright, you got me.  I'll stay tuned.

I've sent out different types of newsletters.  I think short emailed ones make sense, and definitely ones which allow you to respond.

Dec 03, 2009 03:41 PM #40
Rainmaker
335,091
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA

You definintely have my attention....I really love your approach....definintely want more!

Dec 03, 2009 03:44 PM #41
Rainmaker
678,889
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Hmmmm..I have the same question as a few others, Jenn. E-mail or regular mail? And how often, and most importantly what to include and not to include. I know that you mentioned a few things, but I think that I would need more details to finalize things...

Dec 03, 2009 04:00 PM #42
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for all the comments!

To answer the question - Print or Email? I have to agree with Fred that doing a printed newsletters is simply too expensive and time-consuming for the value received. I used to do 100% customized ones and jeez - they were a pain. And, I never really got any measurable response which made it even less appealing to keep it up.

However, that doesn't mean I don't send out "stuff" via the mail - and again, most of that "stuff" is 100% created by me. I just don't do boilerplate, ever. My approach (which is certainly not the ONLY one) is to send out one personal, family-type "newsletter" a year (What's new with me? sort of thing - I actually really like receiving those from my friends, so I don't hesitate to send them out). Then, later in the year I'll send out a few more snail-mail pieces - what they are depends on my mood, budget and idea-of-the-moment. But it's never anything I bought off the shelf. My main goal in snail-mailing anything is to periodically get my physical business card out there in some form.

For Christmas 2009, I'm doing my Doo-Dad magnets (http://sellwithsoul.com/soulful-doo-dads)

But otherwise, I just use email. It works for me.  

Dec 03, 2009 10:12 PM #43
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

If you got nothing else out of this post, I hope I got across that your mass-communications don't have to be long, drawn-out, fancy pieces. Short and sweet is just fine - maybe preferable. However, don't make them so short as to not have any content. I get a few newsletters on a regular basis that basically just say "Hi!" and "Have a Great Week!" I've learned pretty quickly to delete those unread.

If you're truly not capable of creating decent content, then focus your prospecting/stay-in-touch efforts somewhere else. Seriously! Not everyone is suited to every prospecting activity and if the idea of coming up with written material on a semi-regular basis sounds ghastly to you, don't fret! I'm sure there's something else you're great at - do THAT!

Dec 03, 2009 10:16 PM #44
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jo - sounds as if you have a great template. Keep up the good work! And please - everyone else (Linda....), if what you're doing is working for you, don't just change it 'cause I say so! Mine is but only one opinion...

Dec 03, 2009 10:18 PM #45
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Oh, forgot... to subscribe to my newsletter(s) - just go to my home page www.sellwithsoul.com and scroll down a bit - it's on the left side.

Dec 03, 2009 10:19 PM #46
Rainer
7,898
Dawn Tittsworth
ReMax Patriots 717-676-0189 - Stewartstown, PA
Realtor - Buyers York County

Dawn Tittsworth Your County Buyers Agent here !

 

Great post! I agree less is more !

Dec 03, 2009 11:00 PM #47
Rainmaker
1,512,838
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

Jennifer,

 

I have found newsletters to be a very effective tool. However, recently I've slipped from the one per month rate. So, this post reminds me that I need to get one out asap.

 

Brian

Dec 03, 2009 11:17 PM #48
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Rainer
97,912
Lisa S. Mullins
Glen Allen, VA

Very interesting comments on mail or email.    I was surprised you only send one true newsletter per year and othe mailed stuff.   Print and mail is sooo expensive.   Thx for the imput.

Dec 03, 2009 11:46 PM #50
Rainer
10,334
Neil Venketramen
Chicago, IL

Jennifer

Thanks for the good post. I like the idea of use personality in your email marketing.

I agree in this way no one can copy or steal your thoughts because it is coming straight from YOU>

 

I look foward to reading your next tips

Neil

Dec 04, 2009 07:13 AM #51
Rainmaker
3,795,055
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the great post. Writing in a fun and intersting style is a must. I agree anyone sending an e-newsletter and then having a no reply button has missed the point! The call to action is to get them to response!!

Dec 05, 2009 12:05 AM #53
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