Email marketing is still an important element of any type of business.
And by now, you might have heard of email marketing providers such as MailChimp that can handle automated email series and more for you.
Besides MailChimp, there are many more email marketing providers you can choose from, but now you may wonder if MailChimp is any good for real estate in the first place.
As a whole, MailChimp is good for real estate because it integrates with the majority of the well-known real estate CRMs on the market, and can extend their often limited email marketing functionality.
However, you might not want to use it when you are just starting out.
If you would like to know how I arrived at this conclusion, then please keep reading.
I cover in today’s article what MailChimp is, the reason for choosing a separate email marketing provider for real estate such as MailChimp, its features, and its pricing.
What is MailChimp?
MailChimp is a web-based email marketing software specially tailored to small businesses.
It was founded in 2001, and has its headquarters in Atlanta with additional offices in Brooklyn, Vancouver, and Oakland.
Since its founding years, it has grown from a simple email marketing software to a now fully-fletched all-in-one marketing platform.
The main idea since the start was to give small businesses a chance to compete against larger companies that had access to the larger and expensive email marketing solutions.
During that time (the early 2000s), they really filled a gap with that.
Why Choosing a Separate Email Marketing Provider for Real Estate in the First Place
You may have asked yourself the question “is MailChimp good for real estate” because you don’t know yet if you want to use an all-in-one real estate marketing suite that usually includes a CRM with email marketing functionality or if you want to assemble the different software pieces for your realtor business yourself.
The pros of assembling the different “software pieces” yourself for your real estate marketing needs are the following:
- Less dependency on just one platform
- Potential cost savings
- More flexibility in terms of adapting to market changes or changing your real estate marketing strategy
The cons of this approach also need to be mentioned:
- A higher time investment in finding the right tools to assemble
- Often more technical knowledge is necessary
- A higher time investment when it comes to carrying out marketing campaigns
Now, in terms of specifically using a separate email marketing software, a general rule of thumb you could use is the following:
If you are just starting out and don’t have many clients yet, you actually don’t need an email marketing software or even a whole CRM real estate marketing suite yet.
Because first, you will be on a shoestring budget, and second (even more important), the time investment to learn the software might be higher than using just your email program (e.g. Gmail) and a free CRM (Google Excel, or Podio).
Later, once you have a larger number of prospects, potential clients and/or past clients, it might be worthwhile to go for an email marketing software or an all-in-one real estate marketing suite.
But let’s say you are at this point and for whichever reason, you want to go with an email marketing provider such as MailChimp.
For this, we will take a closer look at the features MailChimp has to offer in the next section.
MailChimp’s features can be grouped into audience management, creative tools, marketing automation, and insights and analytics.
1) Audience Management
The features available in the audience management group consist of:
- Sign-up forms
- Audience dashboard
The sign-up forms feature helps you to create built-in signup and pop-up forms that can be connected to different marketing CRMs.
While MailChimp itself offers for some CRMs a native integration option, I wanted to check which of the CRMs more tailored to real estate offer a MailChimp integration.
I think this would be an important criterion to answer the question of this article, that is if MailChimp is good for real estate.
So, I headed over to the article I’ve already written about real estate CRMs, and checked one by one in terms of a possible connection and integration with MailChimp.
From these CRMs, I identified the following that can integrate MailChimp:
- Zoho CRM (native MailChimp integration)
- Wise Agent (native MailChimp integration)
- amoCRM (native MailChimp integration)
- CompanyHub (integration possible with Zapier)
- RealOffice 360 (native MailChimp integration)
- Realty Back Office (native MailChimp integration)
- HubSpot CRM (native MailChimp integration)
- Podio (native MailChimp integration)
- Zillow Premier Agent CRM (integration possible via Zapier)
- Freshsales (native MailChimp integration)
- AgileCRM (integration possible with Zapier)
- Contactually (integration possible with Zapier)
- Real Geeks (integration possible with Zapier)
- Top Producer (integration possible with Zapier)
- FollowUp Boss (native MailChimp integration)
- IXACT Contact (integration possible via Zapier)
- Close (native MailChimp integration)
- Nutshell (native MailChimp integration)
- Apptivo (integration possible via Piesync)
- Less Annoying CRM (native MailChimp integration)
- Lion Desk (integration possible via Zapier)
- Insightly (native MailChimp integration)
- Capsule CRM (native MailChimp integration)
- Pipedrive (native MailChimp integration)
From the 28 CRMs I discussed in the above-mentioned article of mine, 24 (roughly 86%) can be integrated with MailChimp either natively or via Zapier or another API integration bridge tool.
Being able to integrate MailChimp in that many CRMs tailored to the real estate industry is a good sign, and makes this email marketing provider generally a good fit for real estate professionals.
However, you may want to keep in mind that some of the mentioned CRMs already have their own email marketing feature, albeit sometimes with limitations.
These limitations are often related to advanced email marketing automation logic, where MailChimp can be a good add-on to fill this gap.
For basic email marketing, it can be a bit redundant to additionally integrate MailChimp with a CRM platform that offers the same email marketing functionality.
When it comes to the pop-up forms you can determine where and when they “pop-up”.
Another option is to add a MailChimp form to the sidebar, footer, or any other place on your real estate website.
These forms are also easily shareable across different marketing channels, and are also mobile friendly.
MailChimp’s audience dashboard features clickable sections that allow you to launch campaigns based on the data it provides you.
The data you gather here allows you to detect certain patterns in your audience (e.g. trends) and then segment this audience.
So, the audience dashboard is directly interwoven with the segmentation feature.
For example, if you send a mix of new property listings to your audience and you find out that a majority clicked on properties in the price range between 250k and 350k, you could create a new segment and then send only property listings in this price range to this new segment in the future.
Further features based on the data you can analyze:
- The origin of new contacts
- Tagging contacts and sending messages based on these tags
- Segments based on the way people interact with your emails
- Messages based on your contact’s age and gender
There are several other features that are rather tailored to e-commerce.
These features allow you to get a customer lifetime value calculated based on the purchases made, or likely purchases in the future.
You can then segment them accordingly.
2) Creative Tools
The features available in the creative tools consist of:
- The creative assistant
- Dynamic content
- Product recommendations
All three features are powered by artificial intelligence when it comes to designing your emails.
For example, you can import and store brand assets and then use these assets to create different designs.
So, the emails you create will be aligned with the look and feel of your brand.
3) Marketing Automation
Especially when it comes to advanced marketing automation, some CRM tools I discussed in my article here may have only some limited possibilities. That’s where an additional email marketing tool such as MailChimp can help.
The marketing automation features consist mainly of the following:
- Customer journeys
- Send time optimization
- Transactional email (tailored to e-commerce, less relevant for real estate)
The customer journey feature to create an automated email marketing sequence I like quite a lot.
Because it also aligns with the way you may want to approach your overall real estate content marketing strategy (as discussed in this article of mine).
You can create your own automated email series based on the typical customer journey you are aware of. But there are also pre-made automated email series you can use.
One of the typical automated email series could be when a potential client subscribes to your newsletter and gets a welcome series of emails with particular content.
Let’s say a potential client opted in to your lead magnet such as a free home evaluation.
The first email could be the thank you email and then the home evaluation delivered to them.
You could then configure the automation in such a way that the potential client gets another email 3 days later with some further helpful content (see my article about different real estate content ideas and the customer journey here).
The way you design this automated series depends all on where the client opted in, so you know at which point of the customer journey she or he is.
The send-time optimization feature is based on data science and helps you to determine when your potential clients in your email list are most likely to engage. It then sends the relevant emails at that time.
The transactional email feature is actually rather irrelevant for real estate (unless you manage to sell properties directly on your website) as it’s tailored to e-commerce businesses and sends email updates related to purchases or account activity.
4) Insights & Analytics
The insights and analytics features consist of smart recommendations, A/B testing, reports, surveys, and the content optimizer.
When it comes to “smart recommendations”, MailChimp uses 2 billion data points.
In the e-commerce context, you can have the system automatically generate content blocks of, for example, best-selling or personalized products.
Part of “smart recommendations” are also dynamic content and a subject line helper.
The A/B testing feature helps you test different versions of the same email. You can focus these tests on specific elements, such as subject lines, send times, from names, and email content.
The reports feature is available for desktop and mobile and enables you to analyze the performance of your email campaigns.
You can learn who interacted with your emails, who clicked, who downloaded, and more.
Additionally, you can see with the help of a “click map” what was clicked most of the time.
The performance data you get here you can compare with the industry standards so you know if you under- or over-perform.
I might have put it in another category but in the same insights and analytics features, you also find the survey feature.
You can use it to send questions to a particular email subscriber segment and draw your conclusions or develop your next marketing strategy for your next campaign.
For example, you could make a survey and ask a certain segment of your subscribers if they preferred to visit furnished or unfurnished houses.
Once you know the answer, you could create a new segment and then only propose furnished or unfurnished houses.
You can also use the same survey feature to collect new email addresses on your website.
Finally, the last feature of insights & analytics is the content optimizer.
Based on the campaign analysis MailChimp does for you, you will get suggestions on how you can improve future emails.
It does that by comparing the email campaigns you run with email best practices.
What usually is suggested are improvements in imagery, layout, and the email copy.
MailChimp divides its pricing plan into three different categories: Marketing Platform, Website & E-Commerce, and Transactional Email.
For MailChimp as a marketing platform the plan starts from free, then $9.99, $14.99, and then $299 per month.
For websites and e-commerce, the pricing plans start also from free, $10, and $29 per month for the Plus plan.
The real estate irrelevant transactional email plan is on a per-use basis.
I used MailChimp in the past when the free plans didn’t have the limitations they have today, which means that you will only get a tiny little taste of MailChimp should you choose a free plan.
As a general rule of thumb also for other email marketing providers: the more subscribers you have and emails you need to send per month, the higher the price you pay for the respective plan will be.
If you are starting out as a realtor, you will likely not need MailChimp or any other email marketing provider.
Once you realize that manually following up with prospects, potential clients, and past clients becomes too time-consuming, you might change to MailChimp or any other email marketing provider, or even a CRM with integrated email marketing functionality.
Before you switch to such a CRM (usually costlier), you might also try the combination of the free CRM called Podio and integrate MailChimp with it.
Podio has a MailChimp extension that you can use for this.
Additionally, you might want to add MailChimp to the existing real estate marketing suite you use, should it have a limited email marketing functionality.
Finally, the fact that MailChimp integrates with most of the real estate CRMs I know of makes it good for real estate.