As a real estate agent, one of the most powerful lead generation tools you can use is email marketing.
I hear agents every day who are looking for more effective ways to stay in touch with their contact database so that they remain top-of-mind. Email marketing enables you to do just that – stay in touch by providing relevant information that delivers value to your database of homeowners.
According to Search Engine Watch.com, email converts at a 349% higher rate than social media. That’s plenty of incentive for real estate agents to incorporate email marketing into their lead generation plan.
If you don’t have a large list of homeowners to market to, don’t fret. There are lots of ways you can encourage homeowners to share their email address with you. I would encourage you not to buy an email list or to add contacts without their permission. While that may help you to build a large list, it may also result in a less engaged audience and numerous complaints. That’s not the direction we want to take.
Instead, use the following suggestions to build your list organically and nurture those contacts until they are ready to sell.
How to grow your email marketing list
1) Create a new lead generation offer
The range of offers you can use to grow your email database is limited only by your imagination. Some of the offers I have used successfully in the past include a monthly market report, an e-book or “how-to” guide, checklists, videos and more.
2) Open houses
Many agents report that they have a difficult time getting visitors to open houses to share their personal contact information. Here’s the key; you need to offer something of value to those visitors that can only be obtained by sharing their email address. As in the example above, it may be an e-book on “The 10 Things Home Buyers Must Know to Get The Best Deal On Their Next Home”. You can design a cover for the e-book and have it printed onto foam core for display. Be sure to add a testimonial or two to the layout stating the value of the report or guide. When visitors inquire about it, let them know you will be glad to email them a copy.
3) Add an email opt-in form to every page of your web site
Every page of your real estate website has the potential for lead generation. If you offer a report, an e-book, how-to guide or personal assessment of the homeowners home, create an ad for those items or services and put it on your web pages. Make sure the offer is relevant to the page; for example, on your sellers’ page you might want to offer a guide to outperforming the market when selling. Conversely, on your buyers’ page, you would want to offer something that appeals to the unique needs of a buyer.
4) Encourage your current email subscribers to share your emails with their friends.
It’s human nature to want to share great finds or resources with our friends. We dine at a fabulous new restaurant and we want to let our friends know. If you’re providing great content in your email communications with your subscribers, make it easy for them to share your emails with their own friends. This can be as simple as adding a “share with a friend” button. Email marketing tools such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber and others offer this capability.
5) Promote your lead generation offers on Twitter
If you have a Twitter Ad Partner account and a Twitter Ads account, you can take full advantage of promoting your posts to tailored audiences. Here’s a great article from Social Media Examiner explaining exactly how to do it
6) Promote offers on Facebook
Just like Twitter, Facebook enables you to target not only your own fans but any Facebook user by demographic profile, interests, location and more. You can even target the fans of your competitors!
But be forewarned. Facebook is moving every day to more of a pay-to-play platform. And to reach your desired audience you need to understand how to run a successful ad campaign. Here’s a list of 30 Resources for Facebook Advertising to help you get started.
7) Insert email capture forms on videos
The use of video is growing like wildfire. If you are using video in your advertising, consider setting up an account with Wistia. Wistia is a powerful video hosting application that provides lots of great tools for marketers, such as the ability to insert an email gate anywhere in your video. The way it works is that you might start your video with a really intriguing statement that gets the viewers attention and leaves them wanting more. Then, a box appears on the screen instructing the viewer to enter their email to continue watching the video.
8) Offer a webinar
Hosting a webinar is a fantastic was to build a large email list. If you specialize in a particular niche market such as first-time homebuyers or investors, you could easily create a webinar offering useful content. Invite guests who are specialists in an aligned field to provide added value. One of the most popular webinar hosting services is GoToMeeting.com. Other ideas include webinars on challenging high property tax assessments, how to prepare for a successful sale, how to choose a homebuilder to build a custom home and much more.
Once you have scheduled your webinar, you’ll want to record it. Services such as Evergreen Business Systems enable you to run pre-recorded automated webinars any time in the future.
9) Pair text messaging with a mobile website and an email form
Whether you are using mobile-responsive landing pages from providers such as Leadpages or Unbounce, or you have a responsive web site, you can use text tools such as Mozeo , to drive traffic to those pages and capture visitors email addresses. Instead of printed flyers, I used the signage in front of the listing to direct potential buyers to text a code, such as “GL3” to a particular number to access the responsive web site where they could see photos, video, descriptions and more. The call-to-action was to enter their email to be sent a downloadable property brochure.
10) Promote offers on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is to the professional world what Facebook is to the social world. Just as you do with Facebook, LinkedIn enables you to promote ads to target members based on profession, location and more.
11) Use pop-up windows on your web site.
Yes, some people think pop-up’s are annoying. Yes, they work. And they often work very well. Pop-ups can be timed to appear after the visitor has been on a particular page for a certain amount of time or can be programmed to appear if the users mouse is moved towards the “back” button or any other navigation tools. Leadpages offers a WordPress-compatible pop-up form as does Thrive Leads, a WordPress plug-in with lots of options. They are simple to set up – and effective to use.
12) Collect email addresses at networking events
Perhaps the most low-tech option mentioned in this article, simply ask the person you meet for their business card and be sure to ask if they would mind if you stayed in touch with them via email. After you have followed up, ask if they would like to subscribe to your newsletter, monthly market report, etc.
13) Use traditional advertising techniques such as direct mail to make offers that require providing an email address.
I used this approach successfully for years and you can do the same. Simply create an offer, such as a monthly market report, and direct the homeowner to a landing page where they can sign up. Easy peasy.
14) Run a promotion with a business partner or allied business.
If you have a specialized niche, such as first-time homebuyers or investors, you could consider doing a joint promotion whereby your contact shares their email lists with you to make a particular offer. This works best when the person sharing their list with you benefits from any potential transactions that may arise as a result of the promotion.
15) Create an offer that can be promoted through Pinterest
Use an attention-grabbing image and then briefly explain what your offer is about. Insert a link to your landing page or web site where the Pinterest member can go to take advantage of your offer.
16) Offer a personalized consultation.
Whether you promote this offer through direct mail, social media or on your own web site, require interested homeowners to sign up to schedule an in-person consultation. The consultation could be anything from an estimate of their home’s value to what steps are necessary to get their home ready to sell.
17) Create useful email content.
Research shows that you will lose approximately 25% of your subscribers each year. Either they change email addresses, or worse, they opt-out of your emails because they don’t see enough value. By providing content that keeps your readers engaged, you are less likely to lose them over time.
18) Promote offers and email sign-ups on your Google+ page
If you have a Google+ page, present your offers to your contacts. Simply provide a link to a landing page or web site where they can go to take advantage of the offer.
19) Re-engage lost email subscribers
If you see subscribers that haven’t opened one of your email letters in a long time, consider reaching out to them in person or by phone to rekindle the relationship. Find out what’s new in their life and then tailor your email communications to provide value given their situation. For example, if they are a young couple and have had children recently, send them emails about child-proofing their home.
20) Promote an online contest or giveaway
You can do this with a local restaurant or service provider. Simply contact the business owner and see if they would be willing to make a special offer that you could promote. Then, create an ad that you could run on Facebook. You could target your current business page fans as well as homeowners who live in your area. Direct those people who are interested to a landing page where they sign up for the offer. Leadpages offers the ability to have your offer emailed automatically once the person has opted-in for your offer. The email that is sent could simply be a .pdf file of a certificate that the homeowner would present to the business to receive the discount.
21) Create a neighborhood newsletter.
If your neighborhood or niche market doesn’t have a well-written newsletter, this could be a great opportunity for you. MailChimp offers several email newsletter templates that make it easy to look like a pro! Focus on area activities, school information, youth sports leagues, household tips, etc. Limit the amount of real estate related content to about one article out of every fifteen. You can always use the newsletter to make offers to those homeowners who may be more interested in real estate information.
There are plenty more ways you can collect email addresses and build an audience of people who want to hear from you. The point is to just get started. Use an email marketing tool, whether it’s built in to your CRM or it’s a service such as MailChimp, you can use email to stay in touch with your contacts, building your credibility and establishing your expertise until they are ready to work with you.