Electronic mail is now so commonplace that most of us take it for granted. The website Statista calculates that 281 billion emails were sent each day in 2018, and it predicts that 347 billion will be sent daily by 2022. This breaks down to about 202 emails received every day by the average business person.
Text, data, files and statistics are sent via email, offering a fast and effective way to communicate and conduct business. But how effective is this method of transferring information, and how can we use it to its full potential in real estate?
Email branding using email templates
Your email represents your brand. It will influence how you’re perceived. The corporate culture of your firm or brand should be evident in your email and style of communication.
Email templates allow a business to standardize how information is sent. A template, as the name implies, formats information, allowing the sender to efficiently insert information by filling in the blanks. It ensures that your emails have a standardized, consistent look. The company letterhead or logo, date and other pertinent information can appear, and the sender can customize other features.
Great examples of online email templates are sites such as Templafy, Moosend and Designhill, all of which offer customizable ways to communicate. Email blasts — currently so commonplace — are being replaced by email campaigns, which are more specifically targeted to the recipient.
A more sophisticated use of email templates at a corporate marketing level involves an organic use of information about the customer base that’s receiving the emails. Marketing experts caution us to be sensitive to “STP” — segmentation, targeting and positioning — when sending mass emails.
Segmentation, as the term implies, is the opposite of one-size-fits-all marketing. Similar to targeting, segmentation adapts emails according to the recipient’s demographics: age, gender, prior interest, purchases, the amount spent and activity in the market. This information can be obtained by email surveys or quiz results.
Targeting picks a particular segment of your audience from the segmentation phase (ideally, the ones deemed to be your best customers or the ones most positioned to be profitable to your real estate business).
Email targeting uses customized data to give each email a “personal touch,” addressing a particular customer. Integrating your e-commerce platform and customer relationship management (CRM) can substantially broaden multichannel marketing.
Finally, positioning is broader, encompassing a concise statement about your brand — how you define your product and the value you deliver.
Positioning involves economic, advertising and strategy decisions to define your business goals. Again, while effective, these techniques are far more sophisticated than the tools at the disposal of the typical real estate agent.
How to use email effectively
Common sense will offer some guidelines, the first of which is simply — do not overuse email. Brief, clear and effective compositions rendered in an appropriate tone is email used at its best.
The email subject line is the first opportunity to communicate effectively. Setting the tone for the topic or purpose of the email, the subject line offers the recipient an idea of what’s to follow.
Consider using email to convey one topic or subject at a time, or if a variety of ideas must be sent in the same email, separate them by paragraph. Better yet, enumerate each separately.
Organizing your email
Typically, an important topic, particularly if it’s a request, comes last. To make sure you receive a response, add “urgent” or “response requested” after you state the subject line. Remember that the email you send becomes a searchable virtual paper trail. With the push of a button, your email can be sent to anyone with an email address.
Proofreading your email prior to hitting “send,” no matter how frantic or pressed for time you may be, will prevent time spent in retracting, clarifying or apologizing for mistakes.
Moreover, the confidentiality of any electronic transmission is important, so password-protected emails, Dropbox and other storage online can be utilized to transmit classified or sensitive material. In real estate transactions, offers, bids and negotiations may all take place by email.
Emails as paper trail
It’s wise to remember that emails provide a clear record of the transaction. They’re visible to all and can be very useful for critical updates and strategizing. There’s no guarantee that the recipient will adhere to the request “do not forward this email,” so choose your message and your words with care.
Email is a particularly valuable means of communication in real estate, where spreading information about listings and price updates, as well as dealing efficiently with buyers and sellers are key to conducting business.
As with any written communication, well-organized thoughts presented clearly in a professional style will be effective. With appropriate thought and use, emails will serve you well.