In today's highly competitive property market, estate agents are having to market themselves more intelligently than ever. Although offline marketing channels are still vitally important - think of sign and high street retail premises combined with print advertising as two obvious channels - estate agents must also master digital marketing.
After all, your audience is very likely to be online and if they are actively searching for a new property, they will be highly receptive to relevant listings that you are marketing for your clients. The key to success lies in being organised, systematic and compliant in your email marketing and helping your efforts with the right technologies.
Know your audience
Your audience is likely to comprise of people who are simply interested in seeing what is out there on the property market and those who are actively seeking to buy or rent (and possibly to sell their own property in the process.) Within this buyer's market, there will be sub-categories of buyer, such as residential, commercial, buy to let and even auction buyers.
There will also be a category for land sales if you offer these as part of your agency. Understand your audience and what they want so that you can tailor your email marketing efforts carefully to meet their needs.
Sell a vision
Most buyers will be looking for a home, so invest in great photography that really shows off the property to its best advantage. Use copywriters who can describe the scope and atmosphere of a property, as well as its potential. Sell the dream without resorting to tired old industry cliches and jargon. The more compelling you can make your presentation of the properties that you are marketing for your clients, the more conversions you are likely to have from your email marketing - in this case, enquiries to view.
Manage your data list
Key to this is getting permission to contact a prospect or customer before you email them. Make sure you are familiar with the requirements of GDPR and obtain customer consent for email communications. Keep your data lists up to date and use an automated system that will automatically process unsubscribe requests so that you don't fall foul of the rules.
A good martech system will have the provisions of these regulations factored into its contacts management processes so that you will be automatically compliant and delivering best practice.
Pick your platform
There are a huge number and variety of email marketing platforms. Some are integrated with website design and hosting services. Others are standalone. Most are available via cloud licenses as an off-the-shelf package, but some will be bespoke to the customer. If you work with a digital agency to outsource some or all of your digital marketing, the agency may white label a standard product and customise it to your needs.
Do your research into the right platform for your business, remembering that you really do tend to get what you pay for. Compliant data management, the ability to design on-brand custom templates and the facility to see analytics on the success of your email campaigns are three vitally important features of any service that you choose.
Create a series of branded templates
Use a professional graphic designer to create branded templates for each type of email that you are likely to send. For example, these could be a weekly summary of available properties tailored to each customer interest. They could be the detailed results of a customer search and an enquiry to receive more information via email.
They could be one-off pieces of news relating to topics that potential house-hunters could be interested in, such as thought leadership on the state of the housing market or advice on mortgages. Make sure that you also add links to your social media feed and website to integrate your digital assets.
Curate your content within a plan
A plan of regular communications, segmented by target audience is important so that you remain relevant and present in the minds of your customers without overwhelming them with excessive emails and risking an unsubscribe. Always ask what your customer wants and seek to provide it. Aim to provide genuine value in every email that you send and use them as an opportunity to package together messages and deals into a single email for your reader.
For example, you might offer a segment of potential home sellers a free valuation, whilst reminding them how the process of selling a home works and showcasing some interesting properties for a next-step move. The power of data management is the pivoting factor here, as the more you can use your martech platform to tailor communications to your end-reader, the better the results will be.
Think about your feedback mechanisms
Ask your readers to submit their thoughts and feedback about the emails that they receive in order to evolve what you do. Also, think about how your emails will feed back into your digital assets. For example, when you provide a link to clickthrough within the email, make sure it goes to the relevant page. This may be the enquiry page or the detailed property listing page with a clear route for onward enquiry. For most estate agents, getting that enquiry for a follow-up will be the desired outcome.
Always use the analytics available in your martech system to evaluate how your campaigns are going. Look for click-throughs and open rates and drill down to see which content items really hit the mark - or didn't - with your target audience. This will allow you to continuously improve what you do.
By taking this planned approach to estate agent email marketing, you can start to see a real return in your digital marketing efforts. The more you can professionalise your email marketing, the better the results are likely to be and the more enquiries you will have for your sales team to respond to and convert.
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