MODULE 6: EMAILS
Email is a fantastic way of staying top of mind without being intrusive. Staying in contact regularly will provide your database with easy access to your contact information so they can easily refer.
You will want to stay in contact often enough your information is always handy but not so often they get annoyed with the frequency at which you email. How often is that?
How Often to Email
Everyone is different with varied preferences on the way in which they use their email.
For some email is very private and used exclusively for family, friends and important transactions (like a home purchase). These people generally do not subscribe to offers where they have to provide their email address and “opt-in”.
Others see their email the same way as their physical mailbox. A place to receive information that they will review and determine what they want to read and what they want to throw away. People who treat their email like this are generally open to receiving emails on a variety of subjects fairly frequently.
The challenge with email is appealing to both of these types of people and everyone in between. Emailing enough you are staying in front of them without annoying them with so many emails they unsubscribe.
So how often? No less than every 3 weeks and no more than every week. You decide.
Whatever you decide, stay consistent! Consistency is key to building trust. It would be better to email every 2 months than to email every week for 3 weeks and then not again for 2 months. Only commit to what you can do consistently, even if it is not as often as every 3 weeks.
When to Email
On to the highly-contested topic of when to email.
To answer this question we should look at the data from the mega-players in the world of email marketing. Rather than basing our decision on 100 to 1000 people email lists let’s look at those that have millions…
According to MailChimp weekdays are better than weekends for sending business related emails with no particular weekday significantly outperforming the others. Although Thursday did have the highest open rates.
MailChimp also determined that 10:00 AM is the time of day where open rates peak...but it is a mere 7% of people that check email at that time. This basically means that there is no perfect time to send emails either.
Experian completed an email marketing study and found Saturday to have the highest open rate and Sunday had the highest click rate. But, they also showed that Saturday and Sunday also had the lowest volume of emails which basically shows that overall less emails are being opened and clicked on the weekends even though there is a higher open and click rate.
Experian had similar results when it comes to the time of day that works best for email showing that the lowest volume times resulted in the highest open and click rates. The highest open and click rates occurred between 8:00 and 11:59 PM.
GetResponse published an Email Marketing Benchmark Report that showed similar results to MailChimp and Experian when it comes to the day of the week that's best - it doesn't really seem to matter much but weekdays outperform weekends.
GetResponse's report showed two spikes in open rates occurring at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Here's what's interesting about the 2:00 PM time spot however - it had the lowest click rate. Considering both open and click rates, 6:00 PM seems to be the ideal time for email.
Based on all the studies Tuesday or Thursday at 6:00 PM seems to be the ideal day and time to send email. Although it always depends and people will open and read email whenever it is convenient for them – which is always a moving target.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t worry about it too much but if you need a day and time to send your emails go with Tuesday at 6:00 PM.
The primary purpose of sending the email is about branding and providing them with your contact info in case they need anything or have a referral.
What you send is not all that important other than it needs to be something they enjoy receiving enough to stay subscribed to your email list…
Unless you want them to take action.
What do you want people to do when they get your emails?
- Think of you and smile?
- Read your email and get some value?
- Click on a link?
The response you want will help you determine what you send to them.
If you are just getting started with your email marketing, focus on just keeping people subscribed and reminding them of you. Over time you might want to encourage clicks, replies or some other action but that might be a bit overwhelming as you get the rest of your Customer Loyalty Program up and going.
Think of You and Smile
If your primary goal is for your email list to think of you and smile when they get your emails consider these email ideas:
- Send emails with funny subject lines (add an emoji to the subject)
- Send a joke (real estate related, maybe?)
- Send a funny picture (you, your family, a meme, etc.)
- Send a link to a funny video
Read It & Receive Value
This strategy requires a bit more thought and work…or money.
You could write emails similar to magazine articles or blog posts. Pick a topic, share a story and make a point. If you have done blogging in the past or have experience in writing this might be a perfect strategy for you to use your strengths to provide value to your database via email. As far as length goes stick with between 400 and 800 words.
Don’t have the time, don’t have the desire, or would rather just outsource it, no problem! Here are a few email marketing vendors that can send valuable information to your database consistently:
Engage with Email
If you want to engage your client database via email with a request for them to take action whether it is a reply, a click or some other action then you will need to look at what you send a bit differently…
Open your email…
Did you open up your email inbox? If not, go open it!
Now scroll through your emails. What do you notice?
- WHO is sending you emails?
- WHAT emails make you want to open them?
- HOW do they grab your attention?
- WHEN you open an email WHAT makes you want to keep reading?
Nothing can replace your own experience so don’t skip the previous step.
Once you’ve done your homework then review the items below to see if they match up to what you found about the critical elements of an engaging email:
When you reviewed your inbox what was the first thing you noticed? It was probably the person who sent it or the subject line, right?
You can, and should, modify your name within your email. This is your first opportunity to stand out, grab attention and maybe even make them smile.
Do you have a nickname (or can you make one up)? Use it, like…John “The Negotiator” Doe or Sandy “Sweet Pea” Smith.
Add your phone number to make it easy for people to call you. John Doe XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Don’t use your name but instead use a phrase you want people to think of you as. Your Favorite Realtor or The Best Real Estate Agent Around.
If the subject line was not the first thing you looked at as you reviewed emails in your inbox it was almost certainly the second thing you noticed, after the person it was from.
Just like the day and time of when to send emails, subject lines have been heavily researched to optimize open rates. Here is what you need in a subject line that grabs attention:
- Urgency: Now, Today, Limited Time
- Curiosity: What if…, I bet you didn’t know…
- Offer: Free resource, Downloadable guide
- Personalized: John – …, Don’t miss this Sally!
- Stories: I want to share this with you, I can’t believe this happened
- Questions: What do homeowners want?
- Special: Just for you!
- Emojis: 🔥👍❤️😊
- Keep it Short: Less than 50 characters
Some email programs allow you to set Preview Text which is the short excerpt that appears in your email inbox prior to opening the email. If you have the ability to modify it, you should. And if you don’t then consider the first 1-2 sentences in your email as that will end up as the preview text.
Use the Preview Text as an opportunity to grab their attention as an extension of the subject line. Elaborate enough to expand on the subject but not so much that they don’t need to open the email.
People like mystery. People like to figure things out. People like to feel smart. People like being appreciated.
Keep that in mind as you start your emails. How can you set the stage for something to be revealed later. Or share a joke or riddle…but not the punch line or answer until later in the email. Maybe a pun or play on words that lets the recipient of the email feel like they figured something out. Possibly just something that shows them you care.
There is a reason that life lessons, traditions, and urban myths are shared in stories. It is because they are interesting, easily remembered and then repeated and shared.
When you write your emails consider sharing the information you want to share in the form of a story with characters, settings, plot, conflict, and resolution.
The whole point of all the other elements of writing an engaging email lead to this…your call to action. What do you want them to do?
If you got their attention, they opened your email, read the information and got to this point you now have the opportunity to get what you want.
But the call to action needs to be beneficial to them. Don’t tell them what YOU want…tell them what THEY get.
Running a social media contest to get exposure for your Facebook page? Say something like, I want to give YOU a free iPad! To qualify for my drawing…
Don't Get Fancy
Unless you are using a third-party vendor to send out the emails for you, don’t try to get fancy with lots of images, colors, or formatting.
Here’s why. There is a science to email deliverability. All of that stuff reduces the likelihood that your email will actually get delivered, not go to junk or be filtered out of view from your client. In addition, think about emails you get from friends or family. Do they have all of that stuff. Probably not! And those simple emails, get attention because of their simplicity.
Some of the most effective emails are plain text emails that are short, sweet and to the point (less than 3 sentences).
Here is an example email that produced some pretty darn amazing results:
Hi, we are offering a free refinance analysis to our past customers right now due to the recent drop in interest rates.
Are you interested? No cost, no obligation, just info for you to decide if a refi is right for you.
Let us know.
Scott & Marla Wynn
The Wynn Team at Citywide Home Loans
That’s it! Short and sweet, right? How long would an email like this take to write? 5 minutes…max!
And here are the results we got:
Total Recipients: 221 | Opened: 90 (42.06%) | 9 Leads | 2 Closings
Not too shabby!
People will unsubscribe from your emails.
They will. There is no way around that. Some people just don’t want to clutter their inbox. Some people just don’t want info on real estate. Some may not want to hear from you again. And that’s ok.
When they do you have a few options:
- Move on, do nothing
- Call them and make sure they actually wanted to unsubscribe (and find out why)
- Remove them from other marketing materials (not suggested unless you don’t want to work with them again)
Depending on how they unsubscribe may influence what you do. For example, if they simply click your unsubscribe link then move on, do nothing and keep sending them stuff in other ways. If they reply with a nasty message, you might call to make sure they know who you are and then depending on their response you keep them on your physical mail list or remove them from everything. The best part about your database is that it’s yours! You get to decide who’s in it!
Sometimes an unsubscribe is just an indication they don’t belong in your top 20%. Now you can focus your attention on the people that want to hear from you, like you, and are the most likely to refer.
- If you already have a third party email service provider, you may be inspired to make changes based on what you read.
- Database Gold Pro version delivers two emails each month on your behalf that follow the above criteria.
- If you are a Database Gold Essentials customer you have access to two new email templates each month, in addition to all the archived email templates. Simply copy and paste two templates into your email delivery program, schedule them to be delivered two weeks or 15 days apart and create a reminder to log into Database Gold 30 days from now to repeat the process.
- If you are going to develop the content to deliver emails to your customers create at least two emails and get them scheduled to go out (somewhere between 1-3 weeks apart). Set a reminder in your calendar or CRM to create and schedule the next two emails. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to get them created and scheduled. We suggest at least a one week lead time. You may need more.
- If you do not want to develop your own content and do not currently have an email service provider, commit to putting a service in place before moving onto Module 7.