Email marketing is often the cornerstone of a small business owner’s online marketing plan. Among the many reasons is the ability to know and track how many people have opened your email, where and how.
If you’re using email to market to past clients and current prospects, congratulations! It may be time consuming, but it’s worthwhile. It really is the best channel we have to reach everybody we know.
What if I told you you could get even more out of your email marketing in with three easy steps?
You may be asking, why do I need to do that? I did the work of creating and sending the email, isn’t that enough?
Here’s the reality: although the email is going out to everybody in your database, the average open rate for a real estate marketing email is 22%. If you’re getting better results than that, fantastic. If your open rate is lower than that, let’s talk.
So how do you reach more people, get more clicks, start more conversations?
Here are the three easy steps I mentioned to help you extend your reach and maximize the impact of your email marketing.
Step 1: Reach more of your existing contacts
No matter how amazing your email is, there are going to be people who don’t open it the first time around. Re-sending the email to people who didn’t open it with a different subject line or at a different time results in more people reading your email. In Constant Contact, this can be set to go a second time to the “unopens” automatically when you schedule the email. In MailChimp, it has to be done manually, but it’s only a couple of steps.
Step 2: Get social
Post your email on your social media. Audiences are really segmented now. Even if you’re getting a 50% open rate for your email, there may be people on your list who are connected to you on LinkedIn and that’s where they’re spending their time online. Software like MailChimp and Constant Contact will automate this for you – just link your accounts. (I told you these steps were easy!)
Step 3: Post your email newsletter on your website!
If you’re with one of the companies that offers templated websites for realtors, they’ll have a blog page you can access and post your email (some of them will do it for you!) The software you’re using should provide a link that you can use. The benefit is that not only will you reach people who are visiting your site, you can direct potential subscribers to this page so they have a preview of the interesting emails you’re sending, which should motivate them to sign up!
If you’re already sending out an email and want help with some of these steps, please get in touch. If you’re not yet marketing with email, get in touch and together we’ll figure out how to get past the hurdles and help you grow your business!
I’m often asked by business owners if they should be on Facebook or Instagram or both and the answer is a solid “it depends”.
Although Instagram is just six years younger than Facebook, it seems to be the platform more people are talking about than Facebook. but that doesn’t mean Facebook is disappearing. There are still good reasons to use it.
In terms of demographics, there’s more overlap than there used to be, but there are still more people over 45 using Facebook than Instagram. (source: Statista)
A little information about Facebook users:
- 25 million Canadians have Facebook accounts (Statista)
- 2/3 of Canadian Facebook users check the site daily (Facebook)
- 86% of internet users with $100k+ income use Facebook (Sproutsocial)
In terms of usability, you can post anything you like on Facebook. Links, listings, videos, photos, polls, anything you can view online, you can post on Facebook. (Except for a PDF). While you should be sharing some original content, you can also share third party content (from reliable sources, depending on your industry) so you don’t have to be creating all your own material.
A little information about Instagram users:
- 13.2M users in Canada (Statista)
- 41% of Instagram users in Canada are over 35 (Statista)
- 81% of people use Instagram to help research products and services (Hootsuite)
You’re limited to posting photos and short videos on Instagram, but there are more places to post: feed, stories, IGTV and reels, their answer to TikTok.
It’s easier to generate a following and get engagement (or at least likes) on your posts on Instagram. The analytics are really easy to see on each post. The challenge is that if you want to gain traction on Instagram, it’s more hands on. You’ll have to be wiling to spend time looking people up to follow them, understanding how hashtags work and figuring out a plan to create your own content, though it’s fairly straight-forward.
The benefit to using both platforms is that you’ll be reaching more people, but the catch is that you should ideally be posting different content on each channel, although there can be some overlap.
A note to realtors about how advertising has changed: Facebook pulled the rug out from realtors in December. Previously, you could target an ad to different postal codes, you could narrow down by age, you could advertise to people living in a radius around a certain address or location and you could exclude people, so you weren’t advertising to fellow realtors.
That’s changed. You now have to self-identify your ad as housing (if you don’t, the Facebook bots are going to catch you and reject your ad). You have to advertise to people aged 18 to 65+ and you have to advertise to the entire city plus a 15 mile radius. You can still advertise to people who like your page and their friends, and you can narrow it down by interest. If you’re comfortable using the Facebook Ad Manager rather than the boost button, you may find better results that way and you can advertise on both Facebook and Instagram that way.
The decision about whether to use Facebook or Instagram or both comes down to both demographics and time. If your clients skew a little younger (under 45) and you have the time or interest to be creating content, you’ll see better results on Instagram. If you’re dealing with clients who are mostly 35 and up, they’re going to be found on Facebook.
With only a few weeks left until the end of year, business owners are starting to look ahead to 2021 to get our marketing plans in place.
While open houses and door knocking may make a comeback later in 2021, the movement to doing things digitally is not going to change. So, you need to decide which online activities are going to bring you clients next year?
Having positive reviews from happy clients is great, but in order to collect them, you need to have channels set up and a plan to ask for testimonials.
Your Facebook page is a great start, but make sure you’re set up on Google Business before 2021. Having an active profile here means that when people look you up on Google, they quickly have access to your website, contact information and reviews.
In order to leave a review, somebody must be signed into a Google account, so Google knows they are real. Get into the habit of asking for a review after each transaction – you can create set up an email template that goes out after every transaction with a link to your Google business page. It’s free!
Having an email marketing plan in place will help you do two things:
Stay in touch with your past clients. A good monthly email will get people opening your email, keeping you top of mind when a friend or someone in their network talks about moving.
Nurture relationships with people who find you online. Prospects are going to find you online. If you’re asking them to register through your website or via a Facebook lead ad, you need to have a plan to engage them right away, whether they’re potential buyers or sellers. Even if it’s as simple as a welcome email and then a second email asking them to connect with you on social media, it sets the tone and lets them know what to expect when you move them to your newsletter list.
Action Steps You Can Take Now
- Get your contact list together. Pull the email addresses from wherever they currently are
- Make sure you have first names so you can personalize your email
- Enter in the home purchase anniversary date
- Enter in their birthday if you can find it (many of your clients will have their birthdays on Facebook!)
Since the pandemic started, we’ve been spending a lot more time on social media. Now is a great time to do a bit of an audit (link to my REM DIY article). What social media channels are you currently using? Are you getting any results? One thing to consider for the next year is focussing on one social media site, learning how it works best and generating some engagement before moving on to something else.
Tip: Check out your competition. See what they’re posting that’s generating comments and shares but also see what isn’t working for them. It can help inspire your own efforts.
If you’re not yet using video in your marketing, make 2021 the year to you do it! Short of being in person, nothing conveys your personality, your charm and your charisma (and I know you’ve got them) like video. Click here for a past article on some how to’s . Whether it’s a market update, a profile of a local shop or restaurant or a walk-through of your latest listing, video is content that keeps on giving. you can put your video in an email, on a YouTube channel, on your website and on your social media. All you need to get started are a newish phone, a ring light with a tripod and a teleprompter app.
Now is a good time to figure out where you want to focus your marketing efforts in 2021, but don’t neglect to take some time off. If you don’t start the year a little refreshed, you’ll burn out!
Lead generation is increasingly challenging right now and building on those relationships even more so. It’s hard to get to know someone when you can’t actually meet in person; a video call only gets you so far.
The most valuable thing you can do for your business is to nurture the relationships you already have, and you can start with the people you’re connected to on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram by inviting them to sign up for your email list.
The average post on Facebook reaches about 2% of the people who like your page. The average email you send will land in almost 100% of people’s inboxes. They won’t all read it, but they’ll see your name and that’s a close second because we know the value of repetition.
Nobody wants to receive more email, so you need to use more engaging language than ‘Sign up for my newsletter’. Let people know what they’ll receive, whether it’s early access to new listings, exclusive content or expert advice on the market.
If you have an active presence on social media, it’s not hard to ask people to give up their email address. There are a number of ways you can do this, if you are using email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Add the app: you’ll see a Join My List tab on your home page or to make it more visible, customize the call to action button under your banner photo. You can point someone towards making a call, visiting your website or signing up for your mailing list.
You can also do regular asks when you post your monthly email on Facebook. Let people know you send out a great monthly email and post the link, inviting them to sign up. Take it a step further and boost the newsletter, choosing the ‘People Who Like Your Page’ audience.
On your profile, you have the opportunity to include three links. I suggest including your main business website, your Facebook page and the link to allow people to sign up for your newsletter! It will show up when people look for your contact information and you never know when somebody is going to look you up. Give them an easy way to stay in touch with you. As with Facebook, you can share your email on LinkedIn and ask people to click the link if they want to receive this in their inbox.
Make sure you have an automatic welcome email set up. It should have the same design as your newsletter so they recognize you when you land in their inbox.
Any email marketing software you’re using should be giving you these options . The value of setting this up is that it works in the background for you, so every time somebody visit you on your social media sites whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn or even Instagram, they can click a link and give you their contact information and you can further build your relationship through your email marketing. If you have any questions about how to set this up or best practices, please get in touch.
The end of summer is the perfect time to plan ahead for your fall marketing. If your marketing machine is working at capacity, that’s great!
However, most of us (even marketers!) can benefit from taking a step back once in a while to see what’s new and figure out what’s missing from the mix.
Marketing yourself or your business online is critical. It’s the first place people to go learn more about you. Make sure you’re easy to find and that your information is up-to-date.
Here are three strategies to consider when you do your review:
Register for a Google My Business page
When people search for your name or your business, your listing appears at the time of a search on a phone and on the right-hand side of the page on a computer, containing photos you’ve uploaded, your hours, contact information and reviews. Register here. You’ll need a Google account for this but once you’re verified (they’ll mail you a postcard to make sure you’re real) you’ll be able to collect reviews from your happy clients. This is an easy way to build credibility and keep your information up to date.
Email really is the best channel we have to reach everyone we know. It’s a great tool for nurturing relationships with existing clients to help generate repeat business and referrals.
Your plan should include software: If you’re serious about email marketing, you can’t use a personal email program. Constant Contact and MailChimp are both viable options. Your CRM may offer email marketing, but it’s not my first choice because they don’t usually have the functionality of software that’s designed for email marketing nor do they look as good.
If you’re already sending email marketing (great!) it’s worth revisiting your contact list to make sure it’s complete. Make sure your recent clients are there!
If you’re just getting started, get your contact list together. You can start with people you already know such as friends, family and office colleagues if you like. Anybody you’ve done business with in the past two years can be added to a list, although it’s best practice to ask them if you can add them. (Pro tip – don’t just ask if you can add them to your email list, tell them you send out a great monthly newsletter with local information and ask if they would like to receive it!).
You also need a plan to collect email addresses moving forward. Right now, it’s all going to be virtual so make sure your website has a popup, you’ve included a link in your email signature and it’s one of the links on your LinkedIn.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn offer a lot of value, but only if you’re going to be posting good content consistently. Before people pick up the phone, they’re going to check you out online. The most robust your presence is, the more credible you will seem.
At the very least, update your profile on LinkedIn. When people Google your name, it’s one of the first things that comes up and it’s your way of controlling the conversation.
The two best things you can do to ensure social media success are to understand what success looks like – and to have a plan.
Social media should help you boost awareness and start conversations. Two key indicators of success are that the number of followers you have are increasing and that people are engaging (liking, commenting or sharing).
When: Your plan should include a calendar to help you know when you’re going to post
What: Spend some time online to figure out which sites are posting content that you think your audience is interested in
Where: Different social channels attract different people. Figure out where your potential clients are likely to be
How: Consider using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite and a news aggregator like Feedly to help you save time.
This is a broad overview to provide you with some things to consider as you kickstart your online marketing for the fall of 2020.
To take a deeper dive into any of these topics, please get in touch. I also offer free webinars on email marketing and social media. If you would like to know more, let’s talk!