Social media can be a soul-crushing experience for a real estate agent. On Facebook, your posts get seen by a whopping four people. Or on Twitter, you find out that a past client just bought a house with another agent. Over on Pinterest, you are getting zero interaction on any of your boards. The whole world of social media can be frustrating, but you feel like you must do it to stay current and in front of your clients.
If this sounds familiar, I dare you to do something different — something that has worked for years, even in the face of social media’s popularity. I challenge you to put social media on the back burner and focus only on email marketing. Stop posting, tweeting and pinning. Put all your energy into email marketing and building your email list.
Social media is the popular platform of the day, but email is where business is taking place. Email is where leads are converted to clients and deals are happening.
Here are 10 reasons why email trumps social media:
1. More people use email.
Facebook has surpassed 1.3 billion users, and Twitter has 284 million active users. But did you know there are three times as many email users as both Facebook and Twitter combined? Combined! This proves that even though social media is the hot commodity, people are still engaging with their email inboxes. To be successful in real estate marketing, you have to go where the people are — and in this case, people are in their email. Consistently show up there with a powerful message, and you are sure to get leads from email marketing campaigns.
2. Email is more personal than social media.
Email marketing allows you the opportunity to send more personal messages to your database. When a custom message gets posted on social media, there is a risk of it not applying to some of your followers. Email campaigns give you the ability to create separate groups. You can then send targeted messages only to those groups, which is more powerful than sending out a general message to the public … and more effective, too.
3. Email doesn’t play tricks.
Every social media site has a different formula to decide what posts appear on personal news feeds. Sometimes it feels like we have to cheat the system to get our posts shown at all. The great thing about email marketing is that there are no formulas, no tricks! As long as your email is spam-free, it will hit your clients’ email inboxes every single time. Doesn’t that sound incredible after fighting to be seen on Facebook and Twitter?!
4. Email is yours.
If you depend only on social media for generating business, then you are building your business on someone else’s platform. To me, that is just scary. Social media sites change the rules all the time, and the changes can have a dramatic effect on your business.
With email marketing, you own your email list. You can email your clients and be in control of building your business. The only rules you have to follow are in the CAN-SPAM Act. No one can take your list away from you, and no one can change the rules.
5. You can track email easily.
Most social media sites offer analytic reports that show you how many people have seen your posts. Email marketing takes this even further. You can split-test your subject line and see which subject line gets opened most. You can see the names of the people who open your emails and what links they click on in your message. You can see who shares your email on social media and who forwards it to friends. You can dig into who is engaging with your emails and the messages that are working. This can help you craft even better emails going forward!
6. Email offers targeted marketing.
Like creating personalized email groups, you can also do more targeted marketing with email. Let’s say you want to target short-sale listings. First, create a short-sale landing page on your website. Then put together an offer, like a free guide to short sales in exchange for an email address. Next, create an autoresponder series that sends emails about short sales to the prospect. An autoresponder is a series of emails with the goal of engaging your audience. It is also an opportunity to showcase your knowledge about a topic. This is highly targeted marketing and can produce quality leads when done right!
7. Email doesn’t have limits.
On Twitter, you get a maximum of 140 characters for your tweet including any images. This can feel limiting. In email marketing, you can include as many characters and images as you would like in your message. I am not suggesting that you write a 2,000-word email, but I am saying that email is less confining when it comes to the type of message you can send. You can add more than one message, more than one image and customize it as much as you like. You own your message and can do anything you like to get your point across.
8. Email can’t be ignored.
Raise your hand if you have more than 50 unread messages in your email inbox? Yes, me too. Every time I see that unread number in my inbox I know that I must do something with the emails. They can’t just sit there unread. I either have to open them or delete them. Those are the only two options.
This is another bonus for email marketing. Your clients will have to do something with your message, too; they can’t ignore it. On social media, it is easy to scroll past messages, especially the marketing ones, and ignore them. Isn’t this even truer when we are reading posts or tweets on our tablets or phones? Email is an actionable item. You have to do something with it to clear it from the unread items in your email inbox. Your clients will have to take action when it comes to your email message. This means your message will get seen, not ignored.
9. Email is more intimate.
Social media is like going to one big party. Your close friends, college buddies, family members and business associates from around the country are all there. I would venture to guess that you have your “party face” on when you are on social media. You keep your posts light, sometimes funny and sometimes serious. Or you don’t post much at all because you are shy at parties.
Email marketing is more like meeting an old friend for coffee. You talk; they listen. They ask you a question; you give them a reply back. It’s more personal and more intimate. This is helpful when it comes to building relationships. You can let your hair down and be you a little more with email marketing. You don’t have to be so formal or put on a show, which can sometimes happen on social media.
10. There’s less competition in the inbox.
Your email message is more likely to get seen by your client than a post or tweet. On social media, people are bombarded with hundreds of messages every day. Social media users aren’t just looking at their news feeds, either. On Facebook, people join groups, play games and engage in private messaging. On all the social media sites, there are ads, stories and videos that drive them away from your message. There is more competition on social media, which makes it difficult to get your message heard.
With email marketing, you have a captive audience. You are competing only against other emails in their inbox. Create a fantastic message with a great headline and you will increase the chance that your email gets opened. I would rather compete with the noise in the email inbox than with the noise on social media.
Email is still the most powerful tool when it comes to marketing yourself online. It paves the way for a personal and direct connection from you to your client that social media can’t match. If you are sick and tired of what social media is not doing for your business, then stop. Instead, invest in email campaigns and take back control of your online marketing!
Jennifer Snyder is a real estate marketing consultant, speaker and blogger at Marketing Ideas for Agents. She researches marketing ideas, tools and resources that will make real estate agents’ lives easier and help them grow their businesses.