Everything that’s wrong with your email marketing and how to fix it

Nurturing real estate leads is essential to helping clients in their journey to buying or selling a home. From listing announcements to market trends and homeowner tips, email marketing is a foundation of successful brands that customers remember, return to, and recommend to their friends and family.

To put things into perspective, email generates an average of $42 for every $1 spent; or, $4,200 for every $100. This makes email one of the most cost-effective digital marketing options available for agents and business owners.

Let’s look at a few email stats from 2021:

  • 8 of 10 people open and read welcome emails
  • Half of people say they want to receive emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis
  • Segmented campaigns can increase revenue as much as a 760%
  • 75% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to communicate with brands

So, why do most business owners feel like pulling their hair out when it comes to email? With low open and click rates, and no identifiable ROI, it can feel like your message is going unheard, getting nowhere, wasting valuable time and resources.

That’s because email marketing, when done without strategy… is a total waste of resources. The good news is that there are some simple, proven methods that can change your email game, and keep you from running in place.

Agents who use a strong email marketing strategy can save money, time and grow their businesses without adding more work to their already busy schedules.

The cost of email marketing without a strategy

53% of brands say it takes weeks for them to produce just one email.

If you spend 20 hours per month creating just two emails, at $15/hour, you are spending $3,600 a year in time alone, not including the cost of mail and automation software. If that doesn’t equate to $151,200 in commissions, then you are probably doing something wrong.

The top 5% of successful real estate agents use email marketing, and more than half of agents say they want to improve their email campaigns and customer relationship management.

Five Ways Email Marketing Goes Wrong

Most people think that they need to switch software or write better or send more often. But the key to email marketing success is in both the quality of your strategy, as well as the quantity of your leads. And at the end of the day, you have to remember that you are building a relationship with the email recipient.

1. Your emails are going to stale inboxes

There’s nothing wrong with warming up an available or even outdated email list, but the truth is that if you aren’t building fresh, new subscribers consistently, then your open rate is only going to decline.

Here are a few things that can happen to your emails:

  • They bounce back because they are old and invalid
  • They get archived or deleted
  • They are flagged as SPAM or are unsubscribed to
  • They cause banner blindness and never get seen

The reality is that over time, a percentage of your subscribers are going to get stale and will never convert into a client. That’s why in order to create and maintain a healthy, living email list, you have to work on methods to continuously build your list, nurture your subscribers regularly, and make sure you are keeping your outdated or unengaged subscribe list clean.

Your email list is never too small to start

Your email list is important, even if it’s only made up of friends and family.

Many digital marketers rely on a test group of 1-2K people. In SEO, you can’t start A/B testing until you have 2-3K website visitors per month. With that said, this may be some of the best advice you can get when it comes to strategy:

“Consistency is the only way to create results. Focus on the process and the actions, disconnect from the results.” – Taylor Welsch, Traffic and Funnels

As your continue to be consistent and build your email list, the results will come. But that doesn’t mean that you should have a goal of at least 1,000 email addresses.

2. Your content isn’t meaningful

Remember what we said earlier? Baby boomers think email is the most personal way you can communicate with them. And even if your market isn’t just baby boomers, half of everyone else wants to see promotional emails from you in their inboxes. Here’s the catch: don’t give them junk.

Even if your email gets opened, it still may end up in the SPAM or TRASH folder, or simply left to sit there forever in “inbox purgatory”. This could be for a number of reasons but usually, it is because your content isn’t offering your subscriber any real value.

Simply put, they don’t care enough to make time to read or take action. This could be because…

  • Your headlines, sub-headlines or copy sucks
  • You aren’t writing about things they actually care about
  • You aren’t relating to their problems
  • You are writing generic emails that go to everone
  • Your emails are all about you
  • You dont have a content strategy

You will know if your subscribers like your content

There are several levels of email engagement that can be measured. The most obvious ones are open and click-through rates. Of course, most of us already know that the new Apple iOS 15 update is affecting how we track open rates and A/B testing, but still, there are a few other measurements that are important to identify how engaged our subscribers are:

Here’s are the metrics you should be paying attention to:

  1. Top clicked links
  2. Time spent viewing email (read, skimmed, glanced)
  3. Engagement over time
  4. Order revenue
  5. Reply rate

If you are sending valuable content that relates to your subscribers and is engaging and interesting, your engagement rate will be well over the national averages.

What are the average open and click rates?

  • Average open rate for a promotional email: 20%
  • Average open rate for a welcome email: 80%
  • Average click rate: 2%
  • Average emails read, not skimmed: 61%

You can aim for an open rate of 20-40% with a healthy list and meaningful content, and you can tell because your emails are being read not skimmed.

3. Your emails are all “handcrafted”

Remember that it takes an average of 10 hours to create one email from scratch. We all love Etsy, but when it comes to creating and maintaining an email campaign, this is not a great use of time.

Luckily, this is an easy fix with automation, email templates, and last but not least… a great content strategy.

Your email marketing has to be cost-effective as well as meaningful to hit the mark.

Here are some quick tips on how to automate DIY email marketing:

  • Use a powerful email system like Hubspot or Mailchimp, and spend the time needed to learn the system in the beginning
  • Create automation sequences for welcome emails and nurture series’ and then revisit these only once a quarter
  • Pre-plan and if possible, pre-write your content
  • Send emails on a regular schedule, and dont skip

A great content strategy looks and feels handcrafted, but is actually just really well planned and executed.

4. You haven’t tied your emails to goals

Do you leave your commission checks to chance, or do you measure your ROI? If you aren’t purposeful about your marketing activities, then your business will be left to chance.

Every activity that you do, including sending a marketing email, should be part of a larger goal. But how do you set goals for your emails beyond open and click rates?

Start at the end and go backward

If you know your end goal is “get a signed contract from a buyer” for example, then you can decide what kind of emails you need to send, what kind of engagement rates you need, and how large your list needs to get.

Or, if your goal is to “Get repeat listings from existing clients”, then you will need a separate campaign segmented to the people who have already sold or bought a house with you.

Make them measurable

Measurable goals are the ones with timelines and numbers attached. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t begin to meet your numbers right away, but remember – activities not tied to measurable goals are left to chance.

Your #1 goal is always the same: building relationships

This brings us to our last, but most important way that email marketing can go wrong:

5. Your aren’t building relationships

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important decisions that many families face, and choosing a trustworthy agent is step #1. Don’t settle for canned email messages that have no personal touch.

Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates. So, make sure you are grabbing people’s names when they subscribe.

Say “thank you” when someone new gets on your list. Be real, make people laugh, and encourage conversations.

Email Marketing Recap (+ 1 Bonus tip!)

Here’s a quick summary of all the things you may be doing wrong with your email marketing, how to fix them, and what to do next:

  1. Start with whatever email addresses you have, and warm them up
  2. Continue to grow your email list(s)
  3. Write content your subscribers care about
  4. Measure and track your engagement rates
  5. Automate your emails as much as possible, while keeping it personal
  6. Pre-plan and pre-write your content if you can
  7. Create measurable goals that tie into your ROI
  8. Encourage relationships and conversations

Bonus tip #6: You’re still requiring a double opt-in

The facts are in, and single opt-in programs get an 80% higher return than double opt-in. Don’t ask your subscribers to opt-in twice, they probably won’t do it.

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