Drip Email Marketing for Real Estate Agents: How It Works (and Helps)
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
No more are the days of manually sending every email and having to painstakingly track and segment communication with various leads. Now, you can create real estate email marketing campaigns (newsletters, digests, and promotional emails) and schedule them for automated release.
A common need among agents is determining who should receive what type of email and at what stage of the sales funnel they should receive that message. Thanks to drip marketing for real estate, it’s easier than ever for agents to automate their email campaigns and get the right message to the right person at the right time. Let’s explore the ins and outs of drip campaigns so you can implement one ASAP (and save tons of time with your real estate email marketing efforts).
Drip Email Marketing Defined
In a nutshell, drip marketing is an automated process of sending emails to specific members and segments of your email marketing lists based on certain actions they take. For instance, those who visit your site and fill out a form could begin to receive a string of drip emails that slowly but surely nurtures them through your inbound sales funnel: The first email could welcome them to your newsletter, while the second and third could provide an overview of your social media profiles and what you offer on your website.
This is just one of seemingly innumerable drip campaigns you can establish for your email lists. You’ll need to set up drip workflows — the sequenced structure in which emails are sent — based on:
- Where leads become leads (through your site, an advertisement, a listing portal, etc.)
- Their activities related to your website (like downloading guides or reports, favoriting a listing, etc.).
Here’s what part of a detailed email workflow could look like:
Of course, this is a basic drip campaign (really a small portion/abridged version of an ideal one) you can create, as most require a longer nurturing process. Having said that, this example showcases the general philosophy and reasoning behind setting up this type of email marketing: Sending relevant, timely, personalized communications and content to consumers whose needs you’re able to meet is one of the strongest real estate lead generation tactics.
Consider this: A visitor continually comes back to your site and favorites a bunch of listings, making them a hot lead. It’s vital to take advantage of their clear interest in your services and/or listings with drip messaging that indicates you’re there to help them. Cold leads, like those who favorited a listing or two months ago but stopped visiting your site and consuming your content, can be part of a separate drip campaign — one that asks them if they’re still searching for homes and offering them a sampling of the latest listings in your market.
Best Practices for Drip Marketing
Getting a top-tier email marketing software program to help you conduct your drip campaigns is a must, but without knowing how you want to structure your drip workflows, what you hope to achieve with your email efforts, and how to analyze and understand your drip metrics, great software won’t make a big impact. Follow these best practices from start to finish with your drip real estate email marketing.
Know your goals: What do you want your email drip campaign to accomplish?
It’s easy to say “I want to improve my website” and be done with your goal-setting, but your drip campaign outlook should be far more detailed than that. Think about all of the actions you want to measure and metrics you want to improve upon with your real estate marketing. Then, decide how you can format your email marketing to realize your goals.
For instance, if you want more traffic to a landing page with specific neighborhood information, set up an intricate workflow for your lead lists who have shown a keen interest in buying in those neighborhoods (e.g. those who have clicked on or favorited listings in those neighborhoods) and provide these prospects with links to pages on your site devoted to each neighborhood in your market. Then, regularly analyze the open and click-through rates of those emails to sift out the cold leads from the hot leads you can continue to pursue and adjust your drip accordingly.
It’s only through this thoroughness that you’ll see results with your drip email plans.
Hone your messaging: What do you want to say during each drip workflow stage?
Developing the actual emails associated with each level of your drip email marketing workflow can be a time-consuming stage of your planning — that is, unless you use pre-made templates that do most of the work for you.
With your time dedicated to home showings, client meetings, and lead pitches, agents may not have time to design many components of their real estate marketing. Thankfully, there are plenty of ready-made templates you can plug into your campaigns and modify with ease to meet your aesthetic preferences and content needs.
Once you pick out one or more templates to use (try to find a single one you can brand and adjust accordingly to fit each email type), focus on what message you need to get across with each email. For drips that pertain to driving real estate leads to your buyer and seller resources page on your website, for example, the emails you’ll likely need should have different angles of promotion. For instance, the order for emails to send your list for this focus could be:
- 1) Alert your lead list to the fact you offer numerous home buyer and seller resources that can help their search for the right home.
- 2) For those who download one or more of these resources, send an email relaying pertinent housing data for your local market.
- 3) A few days later, share blog posts that give specific buying and selling tips to continue to nurture and educate these leads.
Within the span of days, you can send a segment of your leads a string of emails that can inform their decision-making. You’re not bombarding them with one random email after another, hoping that the messaging fits. Rather, you’re tailoring your messaging solely to those who show they’re getting closer and closer to making a buying or selling decision — and eventually looking for someone to aid them on their journey. Even those leads that take months to nurture and get to the finish line still represent qualified prospects who are worth spending your time pursuing with your marketing.
Determine your timing: How often do you need to get messages into your lists’ inboxes?
You’ll find an endless stream of email marketing data online that details the best frequency with which to send emails to your lists. At the end of the day, though, this frequency will differ for just about everyone in every industry — even among real estate agents.
Common sense indicates it’s best never to overload your lists’ inboxes, which may cause them to opt out of receiving your messages and never want to hear from you again. Thus, a slow-and-steady approach to begin your drip email campaigns is ideal. When you get to certain stages of your messaging, however, it can be in your best interest to ramp up emails. For instance, real estate leads who have clicked through to multiple pages on your site that clearly show they’re on the cusp of putting their homes on the market (e.g. specific listings, blog posts on how to get the most for your home for sale): This isn’t the time to send one email every two weeks. You’ll need to be a bit more aggressive with your communications, and setting up your drip workflow to get in touch with them a couple times every week for a month or so could prove to be the promotional push needed to gain their attention and get them to call you.
Reevaluate your lists: How should you adjust who receives which drip campaign?
Your email marketing data can show you who’s opening, reading, and clicking through your email messages, but if you don’t actually check in with leads during your drip campaigns and reexamine if those leads are included on the right drips, you won’t nurture them effectively.
With just about every customer relationship management (CRM) software for real estate, agents are able to score their leads. These grades should never be set in stone, as leads’ priorities and qualifications often change over time (sometimes even frequently). This means some of your leads you assign to receive specific drip messaging may not find those emails applicable after a certain period of time.
For example, a prospect who initially showed they were close to buying a home by checking out numerous listings on your site over a few-week span, and then stopped checking your content altogether for the past several months, is likely not a hot lead anymore and, in turn, shouldn’t receive multiple messages each week (or month, possibly). Instead, this list member should be moved to a different drip that simply sends emails like local market roundups.
Adjust your communications: What changes do you need to make to better your campaigns?
Just like you need to consistently check your Google Analytics metrics for your real estate agent website and other marketing channels, it’s imperative you analyze what has and hasn’t worked in your drip campaigns. For instance, if your data shows one specific email isn’t helping move any leads whatsoever through the funnel, or recipients are complaining about getting emails too often, it’s time to adjust your messaging schedule and perhaps even eliminate one or more emails altogether.
Don’t look at ineffective emails as failures, though, as the mere information that no one clicked through — or even opened or read — a particular email message means you can turn your attention to other subject matters to integrate in your campaigns. Testing is a part of marketing, and over time, if you test enough, you’ll find the magic email mix for your campaigns.
Are you planning to start a drip email campaign soon? What else do you want to know about drip real estate email marketing? Share your questions with us below!
Published on April 29, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.