A few weeks ago, I woke up to the following notification in my email inbox: “Critical policy changes from Gmail and Microsoft will take effect on June 30, 2016. Your account will be affected. Please take immediate action to ensure that emails can continue to be delivered through your app.”

  • Gmail's policies have changed, which will likely impact your business.
  • Most agents are guilty of making at least one of five major mistakes with their email marketing.
  • You can significantly improve your open rates and engagement with catchy subject lines, engaging content and attention to detail.

A few weeks ago, I woke up to the following notification in my email inboxCritical policy changes from Gmail and Microsoft will take effect on June 30, 2016. Your account will be affected. Please take immediate action to ensure that emails can continue to be delivered through your app.

It was a stern warning that big name providers such as Gmail, Outlook and MSN would no longer allow me to use third-party applications to send emails to my prospects and clients.

And this brand new change also severely impacts all real estate professionals as well, because it marks the difference between reaching a person’s inbox versus the proverbial spam filters.

However, this is only the tip of the iceberg because there are various other factors that decipher whether your messages will be opened and read by your intended audience.

Over the years, I have consistently witnessed agents and brokers making the same costly mistakes, and it has cost many thousands of dollars in lost commissions.

The good news is that most of these things are easily avoidable and simple to implement. The key is remembering to follow these guidelines consistently every time you press send for the best results.

5 proven strategies for getting higher open rates and better engagement with your email marketing

1. Deliver messages from your brokerage email or custom domain

As mentioned above, I still see hundreds of real estate agents and professionals using Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or similar email addresses to send messages from their email marketing systems or CRMs.

Even though this was never a best practice, it’s something that has become a bad industry habit over time.

What I recommend instead is that you either send messages directly from your brokerage address or set up a custom domain through a service such as GoDaddy — and create a custom email address linked to your domain.

2. Make your ‘from’ name your full name

This is a small hinge that swings a colossal door. Many agents still only use only their first name or company name when sending emails.

As a result, many of their messages come across as spam or impersonal to the reader. Instead, use both your first and last name, and if you desire, include your company name as well.

An example of this would be as follows: Jeff Logue from Client Alchemist or Jeff Logue (Client Alchemist).

3. Always test your messages before sending them out

Testing messages is something that requires a little extra work upfront, but it can pay off huge dividends on the backend.

Before you submit your message, send a few emails to various test accounts. For example, you can easily set up a free address with Gmail or Yahoo, and most people will also have an address tied to their local internet provider.

Make sure that your messages are reaching the inbox (and for Gmail, be sure you’re not being delegated to the “promotions” tab).

4. Use short and engaging email subject lines

Mastering subject lines is something that requires some testing and creativity, but over time you will discover what generates the highest response from your audience.

For example, I have found that sending a message that asks a specific question or creates an open loop that the body of the email answers will generate the greatest response.

Some examples of this may include:

  • Did you get this?
  • Can you help me out?
  • “Million Dollar Listing”
  • FYI (fill in the blank)

Also, don’t forget about your second email subject line as well.

Did you ever notice that when using Gmail, you can read the first sentence from the body of the message?

Therefore, be sure that your opening sentence ties in directly with your subject line and gives a person a good reason to want to open your email.

5. Keep your email body text conversational along with a clear call to action

OK, so now that you have sold a person on opening your email, your next step is to get them to engage with your content.

The biggest mistakes I see are when agents try to fill a message with too much information or go for the generic newsletter look.

Instead, talk to your prospects naturally just like you would with a good friend. Ask a specific question or have one call to action that gets a person to take the next step.

Whether that’s to view a property online, sign-up for a free offer, make a phone call or check out your latest blog post, the point remains the same.

Use the body of your email to get your reader to take the next logical step.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other strategies you can follow to generate better results with your email marketing.

However, as you start to put these five key tips into action, you’ll discover that a higher percentage of your prospects will read and engage with your messages, and you’ll be much more likely to convert more of your leads into future clients.

Jeff Logue is the co-founder of Client Alchemist. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Email Jeff Logue.

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