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Did you know that increasing the open rate of your email broadcasts by just a few percentage points has the potential to win you a heap of extra business?

Anything north of a 20% email open rate is considered good. If you have a 1000 contacts and you can nudge that up to 25%, you’ve just connected with 50 more potential clients.

We now have amazing software programs that let you customise your message with the recipient’s first name, include images within the email body, include specific links for the call-to-action and, perhaps most importantly, tell you which recipients actually opened your message.

In fact, the more you customise and personalize your message, the greater chance your email will be opened. If your recipient suspects a generic ‘blast’ or is not engaged by your subject line, they’ll trash it before even getting to your content.

So why go to the time and trouble of creating an awesome message if it’s only going to be opened by a few potential buyers or sellers on your list?

Done correctly, email is the most powerful and affordable direct response marketing there is. In the last 10 years I’ve sent millions of emails and I’m always checking and testing to make sure my open rate stays nice and high.

Here’s a few tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way to help you take your email open rate through the roof:

1. Who is your message from?

Sending emails from an address like info@ or sales@ will guarantee you a poor open rate. Your recipient can tell when the message is part of a bulk send. It’s too impersonal and you’ve just missed a great opportunity to give them the VIP treatment. Effective email that cuts through the white noise to connect with your target is also about effective brand building. I’m not talking about the colors of your logo, I’m talking about you. You’re email is a great opportunity to speak one-on-one with a valuable contact and build your brand with engaging copy and an interesting message. Promote yourself, not some faceless admin email.

2. Engage with your subject line?

When President Obama used email as a central marketing method for his second term campaign in 2012, the subject line with the highest open rate simply said “Hey.” When it came to fundraising, his digital marketing team tested dozens of variations each time before email blasting the tens of millions of subscribers on their list. Some of the subject lines they used were: “Some scary numbers” “Do this for Michelle” and “I would love to meet you.” Interestingly, the single email that raised the most money (almost 2.7 million dollars) had the subject line; “I will be outspent.”

Using your contact’s first name in the subject line will also boost your open rate because you’ve just personalised the message.

If you want to slaughter your open rate, use ‘March Newsletter’ in your subject line. Nobody has time to read stuff anymore. We are all time poor and battle the clock on an hourly basis in the never-ending fight to boost personal productivity. The word ‘Newsletter’ has ‘hard work’ written all over it and will quickly be dismissed. You’re better to find something within your news and create an interesting angle around it. Get creative, have fun and watch what happens.

I believe the ‘from’ name and email subject are the two main reasons why email is or isn’t opened.

3. Reach out with interesting news.
If you receive an email from someone you know, chances are you’re going to open it because you believe it contains news a friend thinks is important to you. It’s worth spending the time to come up with an interesting angle for your subject line. Mystery or intrigue in a question works well (“She said what?”) as does numbering your message in points like the way I’ve presenting this artcile. I’ve learned odd numbers work well and will increase readership (“7 ways to guarantee a higher sale price” or “5 things you must do before going on the market”). 10 never works for some reason.

Increasingly, video is a compelling way to connect with your market. It lets you communicate your passion, authority and expertise. I love what luxury seaside agent Christian Bartley at Bellarine property (Vic) is doing with video. He promotes his brand beautifully in a fun and innovative way while showcasing some awesome listings. His passion and authority shines through.

4. Avoid these!
Avoid CAPS. Sending a message with a word or words in caps is the grammatical equivalent of screaming at your recipient. And nobody wants to be screamed at. If you need to emphasise something, bold or italicize. Also, avoid using the words free, help, percent, off and reminder in your subject line as tests show these words will have a negative effect on open rates and also wake the fire-breathing spam filter monster.

5. Get to the point.
Waffle kills. Trust me! If you’ve seen my Direct Mail Power program, you’ll understand the formula used to arouse interest and curiosity with your offer to generate a response. The important thing is to get to the point with your email. Write like you speak. There’s no need to be formal. You’re looking to become a trusted friend and build a relationship here, not serve a subpoena.

People feel they need to supersize their lists with lots of words but long copy is a brutally painful chore few people will tackle unless it’s a story they can’t put down. The mission is to connect and engage. You want your reader to leave thinking they’ve got value and investing time to read your message gave them something.

6. Give to get.
Some of the most productive real estate prospecting emails cut through by offering something of relevant value. Remember to use the word complimentary instead of free or a phrase like “On the house.” Your offer may be a report offering recent sales in your area or advice for buyers and sellers packaged in a report, book or ebook.

7. Use events and deadlines
“We just want to share the love” could be a good Valentines Day email or “Cheap money” would talk about an interest rate cut. Event emails work because you are leveraging your message by using the power of a well-known day or event. When it comes to deadline marketing, one of the best emails I have ever used employed the subject line “Do you want to be sold by Christmas (first name)?”

8. Use email as just one part of your target marketing.

Most agents rely solely on email and ignore the other awesome contact methods. At Bestagents, some of our best prospecting campaigns use a combination of email, SMS and phone. Don’t forget, your contact is being bombed with a zillion messages every day. When you increase the ways you reach out, you increase your chances of connecting on a much higher level. Most agents just use email because it’s cheap and easy. Getting on the phone and following up is harder and more time consuming, but that’s where the gold is folks.

9. Does your email software give you stats?
It’s impossible to test the effectiveness of your message if your email strategy consists of copying and pasting a bunch of email addresses into the Bcc field of an email. Let me give you the heads up: If you’re not using the very best real estate marketing software, you’re competitor probably is and impressing the heck out of a potential seller that’s probably on your list as well. Top agents are top prospectors and top prospectors set themselves up with the very best tools and systems to harvest contacts and nurture them with enhanced client care and communication.

Your real estate CRM is your future business pipeline. If you don’t have one, can I suggest you get one? If you have one but every time you use it you feel like throwing something, get rid of it and find something you love to use. Seriously… life is too short!