What is the number one mistake every successful online marketer says they made? Not starting an email list right away. Why? It’s because email marketing is a powerful tool in converting leads to clients. No other tool allows you to connect more personally to hundreds of people at the same time. Not even social media.
Email marketing allows you to connect with your subscribers on a deeper level. It is your chance to show them who you really are and why they should work with you. It is your opportunity to get to know your prospects better and stay in touch with your past clients.
Unfortunately most real estate agents don’t take advantage of the power of an email list. I know agents struggle with what to write in the emails or when to send them. I understand the pain because I go through that myself. But by not having an email list you are missing out on a huge opportunity to convert prospects into clients. You are missing out on an opportunity to take care of your past clients after the sale.
I know email marketing is daunting because you don’t want to annoy people. But if you are ready to make that leap you must have a plan. Part of that plan is knowing what not to do with your email marketing.
1. Not Asking
The absolute worst thing you can do when creating your email list is to add people to it without asking their permission. Not only is it a big no-no it is also against the law. I see agents add past clients or prospects to their list without asking their permission. Agents assume because they have worked together the person will want to be on their list.
This isn’t the case. A few years ago I had a client add every email address he had received since 1997 to his email list. I advised him not to do this because only a handful of the email addresses were permission based. He ignored my advice and he got banned by his email marketing service provider and his domain host. It was ugly.
People are protective of their emails. You can’t assume that you can send them emails without permission. It is better to ask them if they want to be on your list. If you add them without asking you run the risk of annoying them and that’s not worth it. Plus if they like you they won’t say no! So ask them and keep your list clean.
2. Scraping Emails
The second worst thing you can do when creating your email list is to scrape emails. Scraping emails is the process of finding email addresses and adding them to your email list without their permission. An example of this is going to a person’s website, grabbing their email and adding it to your list. Or going to social media profiles and grabbing emails from there.
When you do that you are making a very bad assumption that these random people will want to hear from you. This is the worst kind of spam. You are invading someone’s private inbox without asking them if they want your emails. I feel that this is a huge violation of trust. You will make people angry by doing this and they will mark your email as spam. After that happens you will have a hard time getting into anyone’s inbox. Your domain will be marked as spam by all the major email service providers and they will blacklist you.
3. Bad Templates
I tell my clients the less is more approach is better when it comes to email marketing templates. If you choose a good service provider there will be hundreds of templates you can choose from. I suggest you choose a template that is simple with not a lot of flash.
Too often I see agents send dated email marketing templates that are hard on the eyes. I see lots of bright colors, broken frames and cheesy graphics. By sending those kinds of emails you are telling people that those images represent you and your brand. Is that really how you want to look to your clients, prospects and colleagues?
If you don’t have a good template send a simple text based email. You don’t have to have a lot of flashy graphics when you have a good message. After all the content is what is most important.
4. Bad Content
Now that we’ve broached the subject of content let’s talk about what kind of content is bad for email marketing.
- Market Stats
- Just Listed/Just Sold
- Open House Announcements
- Price Reductions
I will preach this until I change every agents’ mind across the world. No one cares about the above information in our current times. This type of marketing went out with the postcard marketing of the 1990’s. People today, especially after the housing crisis, do not trust real estate agents. When you send them information like this you are making your marketing about you and not about the consumer. This doesn’t help build back the trust that was lost. Make your emails about the consumer and give them information they want to know. That is how you will earn their trust.
5. No Autoresponder
An autoresponder is a series of emails that you send to people who sign up for your email list. These people sign up for your email list based on an opt-in offer on your website. Getting people to sign up for your email list is only the beginning of your relationship with your lead.
A typical agent will get a new email lead, email them right away and ask them for business. This is the biggest mistake you can make when working with email leads! You will scare them off and any future emails will immediately get deleted.
If you put a lot of work into your landing page and opt-in offer you must have a solid follow-up campaign. An email autoresponder series accomplishes this goal. When someone signs up for your email list send them a series of emails, about 7-10 total, every few days. Drip a ton of valuable content on them about the real estate market in their area. Give them inside tips of things they should know about real estate. Work to really educate them and then ask for the sale. This is how you convert email leads into new clients.
6. Using the BCC Field
When email marketing first arrived on the scene people would create an email contact list in Outlook or similar program. Then when sending an email people would include this entire list in the BCC field on the message.
If you are still doing this please stop! The internet service providers flagged these kind of emails as spam 10+ years ago. That means if you are bcc’ing your list your emails are going straight into the junk mail folder. They aren’t even delivered into people’s’ inboxes.
If you want to send the same email message to many people sign up for an email service provider like AWeber or MailChimp. Sending emails through a trusted provider will make you look better and raise your professionalism too.
7. Random Schedule
Like any other marketing strategy you must have a plan when it comes to email marketing. If you send out emails once and awhile you will never gain any traction or reap the rewards of email marketing.
You can’t send out an email once a year or once a quarter and expect to get business from it. Like any other marketing you can’t be inconsistent with your email marketing. If you are your emails will get lost in the hundreds of emails that people receive every day.
When adding email marketing to your marketing strategy build out a campaign like you would do for a direct mail piece. Schedule out dates for your emails to go out and create a plan for content. By planning ahead you can also include useful seasonal information too. Creating a strategy for your emails will help you to stay consistent. The consistency will increase your lead conversions!
8. Overkill on the Hard Sell
The final mistake that I see agents making when it comes to email marketing is going in for the hard sell right away. No one likes to be sold to when they are only inquiring about a product or a service. When someone joins your email list that is all they are doing. They are gathering information. If your first email to them is to club them over the head with a sales pitch about your services you will lose them. In fact you will lose them right after you deliver your sales pitch. Take your time and get to know the prospect on your email list just like you would do in person. Remember there is a real person at the other end of that email address.
Email marketing is an amazing lead conversion tool when done right. All too often agents get caught up in getting the sale or providing what they think is useful content. Instead you should take the time to plan our your email marketing strategy so you are converting people on your email list into clients. The sure-fire way to do this is to be consistent with your emails and think about who you are emailing. Provide them the content they want and you will convert more leads into real clients.
Do you have an email marketing strategy? What has been your experience in the past with email marketing? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below!