This is the second part of a two-part series on how to be smart with your email marketing. In my role as an email marketing manager, I follow 10 key principles that I’ve learned from mentors, through research and, yes, by trial and error.
Commandments one through five included tips for choosing a good email service provider, targeting your content and maximizing click-throughs. Here are Commandments six through 10.
6. Thou shalt reward thine audience.
Recipients will recognize constant giveaways for what they are: desperate pleas for attention. But occasional gimmes can build loyalty and goodwill, especially when the prizes are targeted and meaningful. Do something real estate-related that engages your audience, such as a local history-themed quiz or “name the neighborhood” photo contest where the winner receives a gift card to a local establishment.
7. Thou shalt not over-treat.
It’s called “drip marketing” for a reason: you’re not supposed to flood people with messages. Every audience is different, but your ideal frequency will likely fall between once a week and once a month. If you see your open rates start to drop or your opt-outs start to rise, it’s time to pull back. Be strategic in your use of automated email blasts — make sure they have a definite purpose and make sense for where your recipients are in their relationship cycle with you. Recipients should feel appreciated, not stalked.
8. Thou shalt offer opt-out.
Anti-spam laws require that every marketing email include a clear and easy opt-out method. You must fulfill any opt-out requests within 10 business days. A good email service provider (ESP) will offer a reliable, automated opt-out option. If you don’t have an automated option, you might want to designate a particular email account to receive opt-out requests, then schedule a weekly time to review it and respond.
9. Thou shalt examine thine analytics.
At minimum, your ESP should provide analytics within the email program. These should include delivery, bounce, open, click-through and opt-out rates. The best ESPs also include integration with Google Analytics, so you can see how your marketing emails impact traffic to your website. Analytics reports should be easy to read, with clear metrics and visual aids.
It’s vital to review these reports regularly so you can assess the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Check the analytics after every blast, look at trends over time and measure your performance against industry benchmarks. According to MailChimp, real estate emails average a 22 percent open rate, 2.24 percent click-through rate and 0.8 percent bounce rate.
10. Thou shalt use what thou hast learned.
Analytics are meaningless if you don’t do something with the information. If you’re outpacing industry benchmarks, good for you. Keep refining your technique to get even better. If you’re lagging behind in any area, do some research or experimenting. Try some of the tips I’ve offered here, check your ESP’s blog for advice, or read articles from authoritative sources such as Placester, Katie Lance and Inman. Then put some of the ideas to the test — but just one experiment at a time, so you can tell what’s making the difference.
Email marketing is an essential tool for growing your real estate business. Do it right, and you’ll reap big benefits. Take what you’ve learned here, and go forth and market.
To read commandments one through five click here.
Kathryn Royster is Marketing Communications Coordinator for HouseLens, the nation’s largest provider of video marketing solutions for the real estate industry. She has also served as a contributor to Livability.com, Business Climate and numerous community and economic development magazines nationwide. Kathryn’s person real estate passion is old houses: living in them, renovating them, and advocating for their preservation.