Your Format is More Important than your Message

Mortgage and Lending with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Your Format is More Important than your Message



     Like many of you probably relate to all too well, the first thing I need to do when I check email each day is sort through the important emails and Spamweed out the crap marketing and spam that my filter didn't catch.  More and more these days, there's a lot of it.  From Nigerian Princes to company's with a system to net LO's 20+ deals/month! (if they figured that out, why aren't they LO's?), I get all sorts of crap.  I also occassionally get legitimate marketing emails from companies that may have something useful to me, and for this reason, I give everything at least a glance unless it's obvious spam.



     Today, it dawned on me that I pay just as much attention, if not more, to the format of an email and how a template is put together and executed as I do the message within the email.  Let me 'splain.  If I received a marketing email from a name and a URL I didn't recognize that said something along the lines of "Hey John, I just checked out your AR and LinkedIn profiles and visited your website, and my company has a few marketing tools that I think you might find interesting, is there a good time I could catch you for a few minutes to explain?" that person would likely get a positive response, a warm lead, and 5 minutes of my time.



     That's a solid template & format - short, sweet, shows they did their research, and has me wondering "what about me and what's in my profile makes them think they're a good fit?".  Now let's look at perhaps a better, or at least more "put together" email from a url I recognize - today's example?  Trulia.  First of all, THANK YOU Trulia for thinking since AR is now under your umbrella, AR members will be dying to take advantage of all the marketing "opportunities" you offer (sarcasm font).



     This email from a Trulia 'Team Lead -StrategicAccounts' started off great Dumb- I recognized the Trulia URL and know they are obviously an ok company when it comes to marketing (after all, I've heard of em).  When did they lose me?  The part where they explain "Costa Mesa (92627) one of the hottest markets in all of Texas right now, just opened up on Trulia Mobile Ads!"  HUH?  Costa Mesa?  Texas?  1) Costa Mesa is in California, 2) I'm not licensed in Texas yet so I don't care how hot the market is, my license would be revoked if I advertised there.  Was this a simple slip up?  Sure.  Is it obvious they're just copying/pasting and plugging in zip codes and states for their ad pieces?  Yep.  Why is it a big deal?  It shows they're careless.  It shows they don't proofread.  It shows my business is not really worth the 10 seconds it would have taken them to make sure their template was correct.  It shows they have no interest in me or my business - they're simply throwing crap against the wall and hoping something sticks.



How bout another one?



     "Dear Realtor" the email began.  And for me, ended.  No idea what they were selling, or promoting.  No idea if their product could benefit me, or would benefit the agents I work with.  If you're pitching me and don't even know what I do, you've lost me.  Your format sucks, I no longer care if your message is decent.  Again, throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks. 



     Maybe it's just me?  Maybe my gnat-sized attention span just can't overlook this kind of stuff, but it's the same when I'm reading blogs, columns, or articles - the format and template is vital.  If it's 1000 words with no pictures or white space, you've lost me.  If it's 1000 words broken into sections with white space, and maybe a picture or 2, I'll probably at least start reading it.



     In marketing, your results will be MUCH better if you not only craft a good message, but also make sure your templates and format are on point.  Your message won't get across if no one wants to read it.  In blogging, you'll get a lot more comments and views if you have a clean template and it "looks pretty".  When it comes to writing - whether marketing or any other avenue that requires the written word - your message may be amazing, but it'll never get read if your format or template are terrible.  And for that reason, your format is more important than your message.


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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I pay attention to them too... you have to look just in case one of them might be a real client, but I do hit that delete button a LOT

Nov 18, 2014 09:56 PM #19
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great post John, spam does come in all sorts of flavors, I have even received plenty of it through the AR email system, which seems like a totally poor way to spend their time considering how much time it takes to send each of these messages.

Nov 19, 2014 12:13 PM #20
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

John Meussner ~ spammers are not cool, but it is just part of this era we live in today... I wish more could be done to stop spammers and maybe one day there will be

Nov 21, 2014 12:40 AM #21
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Hi John: What about emails like there are only two spots left for our preferred agent in your market? Sign up. This offer ends today.

Then I will get the same email a week after.

Nov 21, 2014 05:58 AM #22
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Haha, but Maria Gilda Racelis you'll be the PREFERRED AGENT!  For the entire market!  How could you not bite!?

Nov 21, 2014 07:56 AM #23
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Hi John - I also get so many emails that I usually just hit delete. Sometimes I unsubscribe but I have heard that puts you on a list of "real emails". I had one fund raising company where I unsubcribed like 10 times and I got so frustrated I called them to take me off!!!

Nov 22, 2014 12:17 AM #24
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

I'm with you. Short span of attention. Grab me right away or lose me. I have too much to do. 

Nov 22, 2014 07:03 AM #25
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

What I learned

                        Thanks for the Ah-ha moment John Meussner 

Nov 22, 2014 10:39 AM #26
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

John. sifting through the junk to get a useful message is a real journey! Enjoy your day!

Nov 22, 2014 08:27 PM #27
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

good morning John. Neat title but substance does matter and if I get an email from a stranger it is generally gone.

Nov 22, 2014 08:54 PM #28
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Oh yes, I think this can make a big difference.  I also get a lot of calls and emails where people think I'm a realtor (since I'm on AR).  Annoying.

Nov 22, 2014 09:40 PM #29
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I can see why kathy included it in her weekly wrap up this week!

Nov 22, 2014 10:47 PM #30
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Good morning John.  Yes our spam mail has grown exponentially over the past year or two.  No one likes to be lied to or BS'ed.  Yet it continues.  Another good post John.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and hope you're enjoying the weather in Texas.  (Just kidding John)      Mark

Nov 23, 2014 01:30 AM #31
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

There are a lot of good points here John.   Not only are we getting a ton of emails but the telephone is off the hook with people wanting to get me to the top of google!!  lol.  Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Nov 23, 2014 07:16 AM #32
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Oh my - the emails that really get to me?  The ones where they want me to let them develop my web page but the email is so full of grammatical and spelling errors that I wouldn't let them anywhere near my website.  

Nov 23, 2014 08:07 PM #33
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi John -- do you want to increase your chances of being found on Google?   That's how the letter or the phone call typically begins....if it's via phone, I ask how they found me....hmm --- a search on Google....

Nov 23, 2014 11:20 PM #34
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

John, I have found very little that comes of value through email, unless it comes from someone with whom I am familiar.

Nov 24, 2014 04:06 AM #35
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

John Meussner - this shows a half-hearted efforts to market to someone, without knowing who you are! I am sure you must be getting calls that your website is not prominent - not on Google page #1 (but they found your website, nonetheless!)

Nov 24, 2014 02:49 PM #36
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Dear Realtor isn't good; nor is it good if they start with Dear Claude R Labbe.

In each case, that's often the end of my attention span.

Nov 26, 2014 01:19 PM #37
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

John got to love it my Delete button is so worn out for all the same reasons you listed in your post...Anyway the real reason I stopped in was not to get you to Google page one...but to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving:))), Endre

Nov 26, 2014 03:12 PM #38
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John Meussner

#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852
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