'Tis the season to make your (email) list, and check it twice!
As the end of the year approaches, do you find yourself wishing Santa could bring you more customers? Unless you have a direct line to the North Pole and some serious clout, you’ll have to grow your customer base yourself, and your email list is a good place to start.
To really build your business, email marketing should be a prominent part of your strategy. In fact, one study shows that:
Email is uniquely suited to real estate marketing because buying or selling a home is not an impulsive decision. Both financially and emotionally, buying or selling a home is a huge undertaking, and you need to position yourself as a trusted advisor in this transaction. With their conversational tone, emails are an ideal channel for building relationships over time, allowing you to educate your clients and earn their trust as they move through their homebuying journey.
According to the CAN-SPAM Act, all commercial emails must comply with specific requirements, including, but not limited to:
• An unsubscribe link in every email so recipients can easily opt out of your mailing list.
• A valid physical address for your business.
Read more about CAN-SPAM Act requirements and how to comply.
Whether you’re starting a mailing list from scratch or just want to overhaul what you have, these steps will put you on the path to building a robust and diverse base of email subscribers.
Start with a System.
If you don’t already have an email marketing software or a CRM, you’ll need to invest in one. Check with colleagues to get recommendations or review industry blogs to see how different services compare. There are numerous options available, so you should be able to find something well suited to your needs.
Make Your Sign-up Stand Out.
If your website is the front door to your business, then think of your email signup form as the welcome mat. Feature it prominently and make sure readers are pointed to it. To draw people in, follow these tips:
Use a compelling headline and clear, specific wording so customers understand the benefits of subscribing to your email list.
Direct the reader to an opt-in form linked to your CRM or email marketing software.
Keep It Simple.
The easier it is for customers to sign up for your email list, the more likely they are to do it! Include links to your subscription form across your digital footprint, including:
At the end of all website content
On all your social media pages
In your email signature block
In subscription pop-ups (if you’re using them)
Today’s customers expect something in return for signing up for an email list, like a free tool or e-book. These are called lead magnets, and they’re a powerful tool to convert website visitors into subscribers. Lead magnets must be industry-related, relevant, and value-added for customers. Within the real estate space, there are plenty of topics for you to compile into an e-book, PDF worksheet, or video, including:
A guidebook for getting your credit in shape before applying for a mortgage.
Checklists for home searches and moving.
A how-to guide on starting an out-of-town home search.
A personalized snapshot of the current housing market with your insight and tips.
A video explaining the homebuying process and explaining steps like appraisals, inspections, escrow, and other topics a new buyer might not understand.
Promote your lead magnets on social media and prompt readers to subscribe to get the full product. Take advantage of the speed of social media by tying your pitches to holidays, current events, pop culture moments, and other contexts that make your content seem particularly timely and relevant.
Define Your Audience.
One size does not fit all when it comes to content. Segment your audience into specific categories so you can target them with content that’s tailored to their needs. While this takes more effort, it pays dividends when individuals in your market segments bring in new subscribers. Below are some examples of audience segments you could use:
Pay to Play.
While you have many free ways to grow your list, it doesn’t hurt to budget for some advertising on sites like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others. Start small and track your ROI to determine whether ads are bringing in quality leads. Also analyze whether a channel is bringing in a customer pool you can nurture in a specific way. (For example, Instagram may bring in millennials preparing to buy their first house, while Facebook may draw in older clients looking to upgrade to a larger or more expensive home.)
What about Buying Email Lists?
This sounds like a great shortcut, but problems include:
Outdated or invalid addresses that are worthless.
Regulatory violations because customers haven’t explicitly consented to receiving your content.
Risk of being consistently flagged as a spammer — again, because of consent violations.
Bottom line: Purchased email lists leave you vulnerable to a multitude of legal issues and damage to your reputation. Don’t take the risk.
There is no “set it and forget it” when it comes to marketing! Once you’ve set up multiple channels for building your email list, you’ll need to analyze metrics to see if your approach is working.
Look at stats like:
Based on these metrics, you can adjust your strategy as needed. Marketing is as much an art as it is a science, and finding the right balance of content for your business may take some trial and error. The most important thing? Don’t give up!