Sooner or later, you may stumble across email marketing, helping to convert seller or buyer leads into customers and potential transactions and reducing your cost of sales.
You may have already read or heard that it is an essential tool in the toolkit of different marketing strategies and tactics, and actually, there is almost no real estate funnel that doesn’t use it in some shape or form.
But then you may wonder whether it actually works for real estate in the first place.
The short answer is that it can work, provided you get several success factors right, two of them being segmenting your email list and being aware of your lists’ need awareness.
Hence, you get the messaging market fit right with the most suitable sales copy.
But there are many more factors you need to consider, which I will cover in today’s article.
So, please, keep reading.
What Is Email Marketing (for Real Estate) and How Can It Reduce Your Cost per Sale?
When I first heard about email marketing, I thought it would be a lead-generation strategy that uses email addresses to generate leads.
Of course, at that time, I didn’t know yet that you needed contact information in the first place to send an email.
So, to think that it’s a lead generation strategy is wrong.
You may instead want to consider it as a digital marketing strategy to follow up (my article) and nurture leads you have already generated by other means.
Actually, the term “email marketing” is a bit misleading.
Strictly speaking, I would instead call it “email sales” because it is one of the elements of a sales funnel where you use many more elements of copywriting (selling in words) to persuade a prospect to make some sort of transaction with you.
Ideally, you don’t run email marketing campaigns manually from your Gmail account but use different software for that.
In this article, I already covered the different software providers there are. They can help you individualize and automate many aspects of email marketing.
The sales cycle in real estate is much longer than in other industries or for other less complex and less expensive products.
Therefore, email marketing is particularly important to reduce costs per sale, increase your return on ad spend, and keep prospects engaged and your brand and what you have to offer in their minds.
It is almost always essential to a real estate sales funnel (my article).
But how does email marketing reduce the cost per sale?
It’s actually easy to explain. Let’s say you have a real estate website and want to generate seller leads.
Now, there are several scenarios of how you can go about that.
In the first scenario, you may have a contact form where potential sellers can contact you.
With something like a lead magnet, you may have a higher conversion rate, but still, some prospects may contact you despite the fact.
So, they contact you, and since you likely had costs involved in driving traffic to your website (producing articles, paying Google Ads, etc.), you can calculate what you paid per generated lead. This lead may have cost you $30.
With your monthly budget, you may generate 15 leads that way.
But after they contact you, and you send your first reply and maybe also call them, only one of them makes an appointment with you and signs a listing contract.
So you paid (15x$30) $450 per sale (the sale being the signature of a listing contract).
Now, let’s look at a better scenario.
This time, you are still not using a lead magnet that may have generated more leads for the same monthly marketing budget, but you are still generating the same 15 leads as above.
But instead of just making the first contact, you have an automated email marketing or nurturing campaign that sends these new leads helpful information tailored to their needs.
Now you may still get only one signature in the same month, but thanks to the nurturing email marketing campaign, you get two more appointments from the same 15 generated leads.
In that case, you paid a lot less for one “sale” (contract signature), which is $150 ($450 divided by 3 signed contacts).
You may now see how a good email marketing campaign in real estate can significantly increase your return on investment or, for a better word, return on ad spend.
In the next section, I will cover the factors that increase your chances of real estate email marketing success.
6 Essential Factors Making an Email Marketing Campaign Work for Real Estate
To determine whether email marketing works for real estate, let’s see if we can quantify the word “working” a bit more – in other words, what accomplished goal in email marketing would count as “it works.”
This goal should be setting appointments with seller, or buyer leads you generated through various lead generation methods.
Now, we need to answer the question: what moves sellers or buyer leads to say “yes” to an appointment with you through your email marketing campaigns?
And here are the six direct factors:
1) The segmentation of your email list at least into buyers and sellers:
So you can better tailor your email sales copy (your messaging) to a specific segment. (I know buyers can be sellers and vice versa, but at a particular moment in time, they tend to be more of the one than the other).
2) Message market fit or the quality of your email sales copy (e.g., sending helpful first-time home buyer information to a list predominantly of sellers… not good).
This also ties into segmenting your email list from the previous point and the type of leads you generate (read my article about that here).
3) Your email sequence: If you only send hard sells (e.g., just listed 123 Mainstreet, etc.), you may start to annoy the prospects you have in your list.
There must be a balance of helpful content, soft-sell emails, and hard-sells.
4) The sales copy of your subject lines: As you will later see in the statistics, a great subject line has a tremendous effect on the open rates and, thus, on the click rates.
5) Regular split testing to steadily improve the key performance indicators in 6)
6) The tracking of key performance indicators will reflect the impact of factors 1) to 4), such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates. In this context, you may also want to read my article on key marketing performance indicators here.
Some indirect technical factors will influence how easily you can make an email marketing campaign for real estate work.
They are mostly related to the software you will use and are essential criteria for selecting a suitable software provider, as already analyzed in this article.
They are the following:
- The automation capacity (e.g., autoresponder functionality, automated list segmentation based on behavior triggers, and RSS feeds).
- Responsive/mobile-friendly email designs
- Performance analytics to be able to track key performance indicators mentioned above
- A/B or split testing capabilities
- A user-friendly email editor (e.g., drag-and-drop builder)
- A user-friendly campaign builder
- Webinar tools or webinar compatibility
- A sound opt-in and opt-out process (e.g., the option to use a double opt-in email validation)
- Contact management and segmentation options
- Personalization capacity
- Hygiene processes by the provider to ensure deliverability (e.g., whitelisting, threat-free, etc.)
- Security of user data
- The option to scale up and send emails to more subscribers. You don’t want to be forced to change providers once you hit a subscriber limit.
- Social media capacity
- Access for a developer (application programming interface) for HTML emails
- Third-party integration abilities (e.g., to connect it with your customer relationship management software)
- Personalization capacities
- Lead scoring or tagging (e.g., you can segment contacts and leads further)
What to Deduct from Email Marketing Performance Statistics for Success Factors
Let’s now look at different email marketing performance statistics.
Many already confirm most of the six direct factors to make an email marketing campaign for real estate work.
But they also go beyond that, as you will soon see. After that, we can deduce and make a final conclusion on what you need to do so that it will work for your real estate business.
Above I mentioned deliverability as one of the technical factors, which is an issue because 16% of emails never reach the inbox (source).
That email marketing generally can work proves that 47% of marketers say email marketing is the most effective marketing channel.
This is followed by 39% for social media, 33% for SEO, and 33% for content marketing (source).
Remember when I discussed the importance of email list segmentation?
You can achieve a 760% increase in revenue when you use segmentation in your campaigns, according to the marketers of this source, and a 50% higher CTR (source).
Additionally, segmentation, personalization, and triggered emails are rated as the top three email marketing tactics (source).
And you can get a competitive edge if you do those mentioned above since only 4% of marketers use highly-personalized targeting.
Only 13% segment their audiences, and only 31% do basic segmentation.
More than half (53%) do no segmentation at all (source). So you can safely assume that real estate pros do even less of that.
Another factor that increases CTR by 96% is when you include a video in your initial email (source).
Only using the word “video” has already a beneficial effect on open rates (they increase by 19%), CTR (they increase by 65%), and unsubscribe rates (they reduce by 26%) (source).
Are you thinking of sending emails during the weekend because you may assume your prospects are more likely to be at home and have enough time for that? Don’t.
Especially during weekends, you get the worst open and click-through rates (source).
This means you are left with sending them during the week, but when?
According to this source, you may want to send them at 11 am and 12 pm to get the highest CTR.
Can we break this down even more for specific days? You bet.
So, you don’t want to send them on any day of the week at 11 am and 12 pm, but preferably on Tuesdays and Thursdays (source).
Remember the indirect technical factors from above?
The one I mentioned was mobile-friendly emails. So since 46% of all email opens come from mobile (source), this is also something you want to consider.
If your primary target group of real estate prospects is Millennials, in the case of first-time home buyers, you should include GIFs, emojis, and stickers in the emails.
But do this sparingly with baby boomers representing more sellers than buyers.
Only 37% of people over 65 like seeing that (source).
However, you can generally increase the email open rate by 56% when you include an emoji in the subject line (source).
That email marketing isn’t dead confirms that 72% of customers prefer email as the main communication channel (source), and they influence the purchase decision of 59% of the respondents mentioned in this source (source).
Can we now conclude that email marketing works for real estate?
From the above, you may have already guessed that the answer is not generic since many factors are involved.
If we consider “working” in terms of generating appointments with potential sellers or buyers, email marketing can work for real estate, provided you get several of the following things right…
- Segment your email list and send personalized emails and automatically triggered emails.
- Be aware of your lists’ need awareness, so you get the messaging market fit right with the most suitable sales copy.
- Design an email sequence that balances hard, soft, and emails without a sales message.
- Have an enticing subject line with a good sales copy (read my article on real estate sales copy here), ideally combining it with an emoji to increase the open rate
- Track key performance indicators such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, unsubscribe rates and bounce rates.
- Continuously run split tests to improve key performance indicators.
- Include a video in your initial email for higher CTRs.
- Consider including video more often since using the word “video” already benefits open rates.
- Send your emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am and 12 pm during the week for better open rates.
- Use mobile-friendly emails.
- For millennials, include more GIFs, emojis, and stickers in the email body, but not so much for boomers.
If you do all that, you increase your chances drastically of making email marketing work for real estate.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.
Author & Founder