This post by Joe Manausa was originally published on ActiveRain. Joe is a real estate agent with Century 21 Manausa and Associates in Tallahassee, Florida. You can sign up for his Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter here.
Several years ago, I decided to start publishing a newsletter with the intent of providing the type of real estate information that above all else would help buyers and sellers strengthen their positions in negotiations.
Over the years, we have seen our subscriptions grow to nearly 5,000 people, and the numbers are climbing steadily. In fact, more than half of the subscribers are professionals in real estate-related industries from around the U.S., and I often get questions about how the Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter is made.
Making a newsletter for real estate consumers
There are many boilerplate newsletters that agents can buy to send to their clients. They are mostly filled with “verbal vomit,” and they have nearly zero value to people looking to buy a home or sell a home. I wanted something different.
Apparently, I am not the only one.
Recently, a real estate agent (from another market area) asked me the following question:
Joe, I’m interested in learning how you put together your online newsletter. Is it a compilation of some of your most viewed posts? What software/app/plug-in do you use to put the newsletter together?”
This is the type of question that I was asking others in 2007, hoping to find a “good” product to buy and send. Unfortunately, everything I found was just well-dressed spam. They were loaded with cheesecake recipes and boring articles with titles like “The 217 things all sellers must know …,” the sort of stuff designed to “generate leads” from the masses. That was just not for me.
I decided to start using my market analysis that I was conducting each day for the real estate agents and customers of my company, and publish the content. At first, I was publishing a daily blog, and most of the articles were written with a focus on the needs of homebuyers and/or home sellers.
But as time grew, I knew I needed something a little more in-depth, so I created the Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter. It is emailed on the third Monday of every month, with a one-page supplement (The Weekly Special) on all the other Mondays.
The tools I use
I use only three tools to create and deliver the Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter. I use Microsoft Excel to organize my data, Microsoft Publisher to organize it as a newsletter, and AWeber to manage a double-opt-in mailing list and distribute the newsletter.
Microsoft Excel — What a robust program. I simply set up spreadsheets full of real estate market data, and then use the simple charting features of Excel to produce the hundreds of different charts and graphs that are featured each week in our newsletters. I can’t think of a more valuable tool for somebody wanting to extract and present information about a local real estate market.
Microsoft Publisher — Another great tool from Microsoft, Publisher is used to create the newsletter format so that all I have to do is type and publish.
AWeber — I felt it critical to make sure that I was never perceived as a “spammer.” In order to receive the Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter, people must sign up (like in the form above), and then they must confirm that they have signed up when they receive an email. This “double” confirmation ensures that the newsletter is sent only to people who want it, and every mailing includes a link that allows them to unsubscribe — they can remove themselves from the list any time they like.