Brokers today can advertise on Facebook, on Google, on Zillow, and a host of other sites. There are services focused on mobile advertising and artificial intelligence assistants that spontaneously reach out to potential clients.

But according to realtor.com chief marketing officer Nate Johnson, the best digital marketing tool might be one of the oldest and least flashy: email.

Johnson said at Inman Connect New York 2019 conference on Tuesday morning that email has a number of advantages over ostensibly “hotter” marketing platforms.

“It allows you to really control when you’re delivering a message, what you’re delivering,” Johnson argued. “It’s highly personal, highly relevant.”

Johnson, obviously, is no marketing neophyte. He explained that he and his team are “always testing, we’re always trying new things.”

They have experimented with marketing on Instagram, Reddit, and a plethora of other well-known websites. He even worked on an ad campaign with actress Elizabeth Banks.

But even with all of that experience, Johnson sees email as a key tool.

“It’s an incredibly personal experience,” he reiterated. “Why not use the marketing channel that’s going to be most applicable? Invest in it. It’s a really powerful channel.”

Johnson went on to say that there are of course benefits to other types of marketing.

He pointed out that Facebook, for example, has billions of users and gives marketers a unique level of granular control over how they target their audience.

But before sinking dollars into that kind of advertising, Johnson offered some simple advice: “Really be cautious.”

“You have to go in eyes wide open,” he explained. “It is definitely a place where you have to figure out where your brand and where your product is going to exist.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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