Cold. Warm. Dormant. Hot. Whatever state your 2023 leads are in, rest assured that sending them relevant, segmented email should be on the top of your resolution list come January 1.

New markets require new approaches and tactics. Experts and industry leaders take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here.

As we move into 2023, it’s time to reflect on deals of days past.

Looking back to go forward is a time-honored business practice, and something of a habit for good real estate agents. It’s time to review your deals, check-in on clients and get broker feedback on what went well and what you’d prefer to not have happen again.

Reflection on 2022’s business performance won’t help at all if what you learn from it doesn’t make its way into your plans for 2023. Maybe your online advertising wasn’t as effective as you hoped. Maybe that lead service you paid for sent you unqualified garbage, and you’re not sure where to turn for new business in the new year.

You’re very likely not the only agent looking for answers to your marketing 2023 questions. After all, it’s going to be an odd 12 months of real estate, especially if you don’t lean into email marketing.

“Often, a lot the opportunities are in an existing database,” said Malte Kramer, founder and CEO of website development and marketing software company Luxury Presence, in a phone call with Inman. “It makes sense that email marketing will be focused on by agents, it’s one of the best channels to surface those opportunities.”

Relevancy has to be key when it comes to send, according to Kramer. The technology industry is bearing down on public data availability, meaning marketers need to be deliberate in their outreach to ensure automated spam monitoring bots don’t decide to derail your campaign. Device privacy is a trend Kramer envisions growing, and becoming a concern for agents.

“Apple is leading the way, and it has implications for marketers as it relates to sending pixels in email to track things like open rates,” Kramer said. “The amount of data that agents are going to collect will be less nuanced than it has been in the past.”

This translates to messages that need deliver as concise and valuable a sales appeal as possible. It also means you’ll need to combine efforts, Kramer recommends social and SEO (search engine optimization), to complete new customer profiles.

“There’s a shift toward content as the foundation for marketing across all channels,” Kramer said. “It can be written or video, but it’s really hard to run effective marketing campaigns without great, valuable content.”

In short, make sure your email campaigns have a uniform foundation of content backing them, such as a fully formed web presence, a healthy, relevant blog and consistent social media stream.

Gmass is a company that makes mass emailing tools for Google’s Gmail. Its founder, Ajay Goel, recently published a report on email trends for the coming year, one of which is that agents shouldn’t take too much pride in sending messages to big lists.

“The rule of thumb is no longer that ‘bigger is better’ with email lists,” Goel stated in his trends report. “There’s a huge importance in having an engaged list. After all, it’s hard to gauge whether a marketing email is effective if more than half your list would never buy from you (or even open the message) regardless of what you’re offering. Expect to see more pruning of lists as marketers try to speak to the best possible audience.”

And even though email marketing company Happy Grasshopper is currently nurturing 37 million contacts within its ecosystem, its CEO, Dan Stewart also believes the best marketers think small.

In a phone call with Inman, Stewart said that despite the rise of powerful, in-message dynamic content, email should always feel one-to-one.

“The number one thing that influences open rate is the relevancy of the relationship between sender and recipient,” Stewart told Inman. “The moment HTML is used, our brains tell us that it’s marketing, it’s safe to ignore, but if it’s a few sentences, that appears as if one human being wrote it to another human being, that’s what our brains tell us to pay attention to in our inbox.”

Stewart believes that the current market, and what lies ahead in 2023, will give a number of established agents a good chance to maintain relationships and unearth new ones. A lot of agents are going to leave the industry, he said, leaving more consumers open to conversations with agents.

“We’re advising our customers to lean into this market condition, extend their leadership into the void,” he said, which he interprets as trying to identify with your contacts’ anxiety about the market.

“Imagine that buyer who made 60,000 offers two years ago, finally gets a house under contract and they feel like its 100 grand over what they should have paid; that’s an ideal person to reach out to right now,” Stewart said.

Stewart said qualified agents should be prepared to have these conversations, and, it gives them the chance to position themselves above the recently licensed, who haven’t been through a downturn.

Follow Up Boss is one of the industry’s most used customer relationship management tools, and its Head of Community and Industry Relations, Stacey Soleil, wants agents to avoid using the word “you,” in the coming year and instead adopt a “we” mindset.

“This is particularly helpful if done with tact when communicating with a frustrated customer or buyer,” she said in an email to Inman. “Align yourself with them and highlight common goals. Include a call-to-action (CTA) in every email and use your reporting stats to determine which CTAs perform best.”

As it relates to ensuring messages get delivered and when they do, heard, Soleil recommends agents chill out on the effusive email signatures, especially those that have logos, headshots and other visuals.

“Too many images and/or links can cause your emails to go to spam or even fail sending completely,” she said.

Echoing Stewart, Soleil said that agents need to relate to their email recipients for their outreach to create the most value. “Utilize important details from your conversations in your emails when reconnecting or following up.”

Overall, personalization is the prevailing trend for digital marketing going forward.

Like Goel, Kramer said that when it comes to email marketing, list segmenting is crucial.

“Marketing has come a long way from sending one newsletter to your entire database,” Kramer said. “You now have different versions, that, based past on behaviors, actions taken on a website, or previous links they’ve clicked, can really deliver more relevant messages. Personalization is a big opportunity.”

However, despite the importance of having an established relationship, Goel often helps clients master the cold email, and predicts it’ll grow.

“Cold email is growing in popularity — because it actually works,” he said. “Expect to see even more salespeople and other industries recognizing the potential of cold email and jumping in on it. This can be especially true in tougher economic conditions it looks like we’ll see in 2023, as those times require more work and more outreach to get customers and clients.”

Cold. Warm. Dormant. Hot. Whatever state your 2023 leads are in, rest assured that sending them relevant, segmented email should be at the top of your resolution list.

Email Craig Rowe

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