In the years since social media has come to dominate the internet, a multitude of real estate agents have begun harnessing platforms like Facebook to find new clients and close more deals. But a new report suggests that in fact agents might be better off focusing their online marketing efforts on email.

The report also comes amid an ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which is crippling the economy and largely eliminating the kinds of in-person interactions that dominate real estate — meaning agents may be turning more and more to online marketing in the coming weeks.

The report was produced by real estate marketing firm ActivePipe. It argues that email “remains the highest [return on investment] digital marketing channel, returning $42 for every $1 spent.”

A chart comparing ROI for email, pay-per-click and social media marketing. Credit: ActivePipe

The report also breaks down the pros and cons of different marketing channels. Social media, for example, can be an effective way to “communicate en masse and stay top of-mind for people who are in real estate mode.” But there are also challenges.

“Developing a strong social media strategy requires a significant time investment,” the report states. “It offers diminishing returns for those without a defined strategy or valuable content to share. Social media metrics focus mainly on engagement, making it difficult to truly measure ROI.”

The benefits to pay-per-click marketing, on the other hand, include that it “quickly gets your name out there,” while the drawbacks include its cost.

Finally, email marketing takes time, but “allows you to get your message in the inbox of people who have already decided that they want to hear from you.”

“Every email interaction is trackable, and this information gives agents clarity on where to focus their time,” the report adds. “With the information gathered, email systems can classify your prospects into more targeted audience segments.”

The report also advises agents who want a better return on their marketing investment to “consider extracting value from the leads that they already have — nurturing them into deals.”

“By mastering lead nurturing, agents can amplify the value of any future lead capture activities as they will convert the new leads more efficiently once in their database,” the report adds.

The report is based on insights from ActivePipe’s own internal data, client interviews, statistics from sources such as Google and Salesforce, as well as external analysis by market research firm Forrester.

Mike Feller

ActivePipe, which has offices in Austin, Texas, and Australia, offers analytics, marketing and email automation services for real estate agents. Mike Feller, the company’s chief revenue officer, told Inman that while he may be biased based on his companies work, he does think email is an effective way to “bring in a bunch of different types of content.”

Feller also said that right now, with the coronavirus outbreak still ongoing, agents especially need to be authentic and humane with their marketing.

“I think it’s really important to lead with empathy,” he said, “being human and genuine and authentic.”

Update: This post was updated after publication with additional information on the report’s methodology. 

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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