Thrive Not Survive Podcast Episode #38: Email Marketing Best Practices
Intro: Welcome to the Thrive Not Survive Podcast. This is a show we put together to help you, the real estate agent, put actionable strategies into practice to help you grow and take your real estate business to new heights. I am your host, Kelley Skar.
Email Marketing is what we are talking today. In fact I am going to open up what I have been doing the last couple of months to tweak and improve what we were doing in 2017.
This is something that is vastly overlooked in 2018 as we have been hearing for some time now that email marketing is dead. So if that’s the case tell me how we are generating open rates almost 3 times the average according to numbers from MailChimp. Typically the real estate industry can muster about 15-18% open rates and we are very close to 3X that number.
People are still opening emails, they haven’t gone totally towards Facebook and Instagram messenger just yet, although, I seem to be chatting more and more with people over those mediums. Through Facebook we have the ability to send mass emails, but here’s the kicker, only to those people that we have engaged with, THROUGH messenger. You can’t go on a freakin ‘friending’ spree and then start spamming the shit out of people. Facebook is smarter than that. They are forcing you to be social on their platform and want you to be social through messenger as well.
This is kind of the same thing as going to a conference (which I am headed to later tonight in Toronto, that’s what episode #37 was all about) grabbing up a bunch of business cards and then adding those agents to your shitty templated lame content kind of email that no agent wants to get. Think of Facebook as that big ass conference and friending people is like getting business cards. Facebook won’t allow you to send them a shitty templated email with crappy content until you actually have a chat with them on their platform. At that point, they are hoping you will get to know that person and you won’t WANT to spam the hell out of them.
Now think of that in the context of building out your database. You are going to networking events. You are getting business cards. And then you are doing what some guru told you to do and you adding those people to your database and your shitty templated email with crappy content. How long do you think it will take for them to unsubscribe? About 5 seconds?
If you are going to network and gather up business cards, be like you would on Facebook but only in real life, and call that person up and go for a coffee with them. Get to know them before you put them on some list and even then, I would probably ask them first. You know why? Because they are going to be happy to stay in contact with you. You should also be doing the same with them, if they have a list and send emails on the regular, ask if you can be on their list. This can only be a good thing!
Before I get into the best practices, I am going to share something real quick.
I run the email marketing for all of our agents here at Redline Calgary so I am constantly tweaking and working with timing and templates and content. One piece of content that hasn’t changed in over a year is our send out that we do on behalf of the agent to their sphere of influence. It is the same templated email that I put together over a year ago and I haven’t changed it. In fact, I send it over to our agents and allow them to make changes, what I get back from them is hardly any change at all. Maybe adding a sentence or changing a word, but that’s it.
Why am I sharing this? Because this email consistently gets results, just yesterday I did a send, scheduled it for 1:30 and at 1:42pm I got a Slack message from that agent thanking me because that email just generated 3 Market Evaluation Appointments and 3 appointments with other agents to talk about opportunities in the market she works in. So….still want to tell me that email marketing is dead?
Get rid of the shitty templated emails with the crappy content like when to set your clocks ahead and your ‘favorite’ pumpkin pie recipe. One thing you need to realize is that nobody reads that shit. Like, Ever. So stop it.
As a Realtor, you are also a marketer, so start thinking like one. Email should be a big part of your strategy as a whole. It isn’t just about running Facebook ads and generating new leads. How about your strategy is keeping in regular contact with your past clients where you have an opportunity to display value and generate repeat and referral business from them
Get yourself an email platform that is user friendly. I started out with MailChimp and I know lots of people that still use MC. We use Infusionsoft, for a couple of different reasons but I love the tracking functionality.
Track & Measure. Start up a spreadsheet and track all of your emails that you send. These are the headers you should have: Date, Topic, Headline, Time Sent, Open Rate, Click Through Rate. Do this over a month and you should start to see the forming of a trend.
WRITE ALL OF YOUR OWN CONTENT. Yes, you heard that right. You have to start doing this yourself and not outsourcing it. Get personal. Get passionate. Connect on a deeper level. One of my best emails with the best response rate was an email where I talked about my health journey and what happened to me a year ago. I liked up two articles that I had written on Medium and I got a lot of awesome positive feedback with a 44% open rate.
Test your timing. Don’t always send at 8am. Try sending at 1:30 or at 6:00pm as well. Try different days, don’t always do a Friday send, try a Wednesday or even a Saturday.
Go plain text. Get away from the emails with your branding all over them. You know what? Gmail makes you click a hyperlink to ‘Display Images’, more than half the time the person opening the email isn’t going to click on that so your branding doesn’t matter. It’s the content that matters, remember that.
Always, Always, Always reply back. You have taken the time to write the email and if someone responds back, respect their time in that they responded to something that you wrote. You have to honor that.
Put together a content calendar and test your cadence. If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. Come up with ideas prior to and then tweak as the day comes to write that piece of content. Also, test out the amount of emails you are going to send. Try starting at 2 times per month and work your way to once a week or every 10 days. Your rates are not going to drop as long as you are hitting two things, Relevant and compelling content and providing value.
That’s it. My top 9 best practices to email marketing. This may not be for everybody, but let me put it to you this way, if you are not selling 4-7 houses a month, you really do have some time to do some of this stuff.
To learn how to do some of this stuff. You should be constantly looking to improve what you do. Take this podcast for example...for the first time in my life, I am looking to take an improv class. Why? Because I know that it will help me improve the quality of this podcast, it will help me listen better and it will help me structure and guide conversations better.
Email, in my opinion, should be one of your pillars and if you aren’t putting time and effort into your email, you are going to hurt the brand that you’ve worked so hard to build.