Reasons for low response rates

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

You probably know there are many reasons for low response rates, both from your website and from your mailings. Many of them can be overcome.

Reasons for low response rates include:

  • Poor writing / bad grammar: If your web pages or letters seem garbled or confusing, people won’t read, let alone respond.
  • Making your marketing all about you, rather than about your potential clients.
  • Lack of interesting content on your website.
  • Forgetting to add your location to your website.
  • Sending just one prospecting letter. (To see why more are necessary, click here.)
  • Mailing to the wrong list.

Examples of reasons for low response rates found in my in-box recently. your readers won't be impressed by this

The first line of the first example contains an error I see fairly often, and it’s one to studiously avoid.

“As a leading homebuilder, I’d like to ask how you’re dealing with soaring inflation, supply shortages and rising capital costs. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d also like to briefly show you what a lot of your peers (and competitors) are doing.”

“We’re XXXXXXXXXXXX. Small and mid-size homebuilders throughout North America not only use our financial solutions today, they’re reporting profitability increases as high as 30 percent.”

Then the email goes on to promote software for construction record-keeping.

Did you catch the errors?

The first sentence tells me that a leading home builder is writing to me. After all, he says “As a leading homebuilder, I’m…”

But that’s not what he meant. The writer is assuming that I am a leading home builder. You don’t find out until the second paragraph that the writer is not a home builder. Then the second sentence leaves you wondering where he’s going with this. Maybe he’s going to explain how to help your clients save money when building a new home?

Since he meant me, he should have said “Because you are a leading home builder, I…”

The second paragraph does reveal that they are not home builders when it says “homebuilders” are using their financial solutions. It becomes a bit garbled when the writer switches from “(they) use” to “they’re reporting.” The two ends of the sentence simply don’t match. It should either say “they’re using” and “they’re reporting” or “(they) use” and “they report.”

Good proofreading by someone with writing skills might have solved the grammar errors, but it still wouldn’t matter. The bottom line is that they sent the letter to a writer, not a home builder, so it was a waste of energy.

And there’s the next reason for low response rates.

Writing to the wrong people will get you exactly nowhere. I’m a real estate copywriter, not a home builder. If the writer is purchasing lists, he’s being cheated. If he’s compiling his own lists, then he’s not paying attention.

I do get a good deal of mail that should be going to real estate agents, brokers, etc. Perhaps this is because I’m on Active Rain, so they just assume that I must be an agent.

And speaking of writing to the wrong people…

This example is really “out there.” Here’s the first paragraph:

“I see that you use a scheduling tool to book time with clients, which is great failedconsidering the importance of that first call in realty. Reaching out about XXX which we built for realtors and brokers to stand out and make the best first impressions with beautiful, personalized booking pages.”

I don’t use and have never used a scheduling tool. I have never even done research that would have put me on a list of prospective users. I would view a scheduling tool as just one more thing I needed to check daily and keep up with. No thanks!

I’m also not sure of her logic here. Scheduling is not the same as returning a call promptly. But – maybe it makes sense to someone. And maybe, since copywriting is supposed to be conversational, it doesn’t matter that the rambling second sentence has no subject.

And now, a confession and a warning…

 A few days ago an agent wrote to ask if I had letters for a specific purpose. Then she mentioned that the “Contact me” buttons on my website were not working.

My email address is in other places on the website, and she took the time to find it. But not everyone would bother.

Apparently, when I created that button, I made a typo when adding my email address, and I didn’t catch it. Then I used “cut and paste” to put the same button on several pages.

I have no idea whether my error caused low response rates to my website, but at the very least, it was embarrassing.

The warning: check your links any time you make changes to your website!

I had checked all the text links, but forgot to check those buttons. So don’t make my mistake. Checking every link on every web page is boring as all get out, but it really is necessary if you want to retain your credibility.

And, even if you haven’t made changes, do check your outside links from time to time. Sometimes the people you’ve linked to make changes or remove articles, leaving you with a wrong or broken link. It does help to install a broken link checker on your WordPress sites. It won’t help you on news sites that replace articles, but will help if an article is removed.

One last thing… read your “about” pages at least once a year.

When I updated mine recently, I realized that it was sadly outdated. It stated that I had more than 40 different prospecting letter sets. I don’t know my current count, but I do know that it is now over 60. I had also added service offerings since it was last updated.

You may have gained new certifications, won awards, added a niche, or even changed brokerages since you posted your agent bio/profile. If so, it needs to be updated!

A trick to save you time in updating:

Instead of saying that you’ve been an agent for X years, say you’ve been an agent since whatever year you started. That will give you one less thing to change – and one less thing to get sadly outdated if you forget.

This article first appeared at:
Failed stamp Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Comments (7)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marte- I miss your posts that help to keep all of us on our toes!!! Sometimes I think that writing to the wrong people turns more people off than other "oops" moments. 

Aug 12, 2022 06:29 PM
Marte Cliff

Kathy - it certainly makes us quick to hit the delete button!

Aug 14, 2022 11:39 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Marte... I regularly check my links... not just on my website, but also on anything I publish in social media and here in the Rain. Personally, I despise those scheduling tools... when someone sends me one of those it's an immediate delete for me.

Aug 13, 2022 04:48 AM
Marte Cliff

Nina - I view tools like that as just one more thing to clutter up the day. I do make lists - on paper.

Aug 14, 2022 11:40 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Good tips, especially about checking our links.

When I first read the first sentence of "As a leading homebuilder, I'd like to ask how you're dealing with soaring inflation, supply shortages and rising capital costs" I thought you were going to say, never use "I" - instead it should say, "As a leading home builder, how are you dealing with...." But even that would have been wrong!


Aug 13, 2022 04:53 AM
Marte Cliff

Yes Kat - the whole thing was just wrong.

Aug 14, 2022 11:41 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:


Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as a friend. I would love the follow back. Thanks Bill

Aug 13, 2022 05:52 AM
Marte Cliff

Sure thing Bill. Glad to do so.

Aug 14, 2022 11:41 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Aug 13, 2022 06:48 PM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Kathy. That's always an honor.

Aug 14, 2022 11:42 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Marte. Guilty as charged when active. Review and update should be regularly and timely done. Thanks for the reminder about which we constantly forget! Enjoy your day.

Aug 14, 2022 05:32 AM
Marte Cliff

Wayne - there's always one more task we really need to get done.

Aug 14, 2022 11:42 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Clear and concise is always so much better than a bunch of garble, Marte. Nicely written and easily understood! I do need to update my pages as well, they are static for the most part.

Aug 15, 2022 03:27 PM
Marte Cliff

Thanks Wanda. Yes, even those static pages sometimes need an update.

Aug 19, 2022 01:09 PM