Great Real Estate Newsletters: 10 Essential Building Blocks
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
If you create real estate email newsletters that are effective — meaning those that educate, entertain, and enchant your audience — you’ll be well on your way to marketing success. To help you master the elements of an effective real estate newsletter, we’ve provided a guide for you. This beginner’s blueprint lays out each crucial component, including:
- The type of real estate newsletter content that captivates readers.
- Subject line protocol to ensure recipients open your email.
- Design tips to make your real estate newsletters look and function great on all devices.
- Widgets and add-ons that’ll improve your email newsletter’s shareability.
Read on to learn what it takes to create a compelling newsletter that will get members of your email list consistently coming back to your real estate website.
1) Responsive Design
First and foremost, ensure your real estate email newsletters are readable and look appealing on smartphones and tablets. Half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, meaning it’s important to make yours completely legible and aesthetically appealing, regardless of screen size. What do you have to do to achieve eye-catching, easy-to-read real estate newsletters? Use responsive design.
In short, responsive design makes websites, email, and other content look as attractive on smartphones and tablets as they look on desktop computer screens. Take a look at this promotional email from Hootsuite, a social media monitoring and scheduling service, as seen on both a desktop (pictured on the left) and mobile device (on the right). Notice how the two maintain the same visual design but have slight alterations in their layout to account for the screens on which they’re displayed:
The key to getting responsive design for your real estate newsletters and other email types? Use an email marketing automation service like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor, which — you guessed it — automatically make your email mobile-friendly (just one of the benefits marketing automation offers).
2) Captivating Subject Line
Next up is your real estate newsletter content. To start, develop a subject line that both accurately details exactly what your recipients will find in your email and piques their interest. Common traits of great email subject lines include:
- Steering clear of negative language and tone: This should be easy to accomplish, but be sure to maintain a positive voice in yours. If the real estate newsletter theme is housing market updates, for example, tease the most positive information from the data you found (e.g. “Home Values Rise 10% Locally: What It Means for Sellers”).
- Being as timely and relevant as possible: Remember that newsletters are intended for your real estate leads to consume, so keep them and their interests solely in mind when crafting your subject lines. For instance, if you create newsletters that relay the latest mortgage regulatory updates, use a subject line that evokes a sense of urgency, like “How the Latest Update on Mortgages Affects Buyers Like You.”
- Including local content? Make your subject line local: A common newsletter type is one that discusses pertinent news in an agent’s market. This could simply be updates on local elections, new retail stores opening, or a list of upcoming events. Whatever the theme, clearly communicate what recipients will find in the email in the subject line.
Including each recipient’s name at the top of each email you send them goes a long way in building relationships and earning trust. Experian data shows personalized email receives 29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates than email that isn’t personalized. Having said that, you need to be careful to avoid looking spammy in the eyes of your audience when implementing personalization. When you automate this personalization, make sure everything comes across naturally.
For qualified leads in your customer relationship management (CRM) database, personalize your real estate newsletters even further. Create distinct copy that takes into account their buying or selling interests. For instance, if you follow a lead on social media and notice a positive life event (wedding, graduation, promotion, etc.) happened to them recently, say congrats.
4) Featured and Supporting Content
For your real estate newsletter content, consider exactly what your audience wants to know. Your blog content is an obvious but nonetheless great choice for your newsletter’s focus. Another viable option, though, is your own listings: Write brief yet evocative descriptions about your homes for sale, including what amenities exist nearby that would interest prospective buyers.
Here’s an excellent real estate email newsletter from Moshe Elmekias Real Estate Group in Boston that shows off a few of its top listings in great detail, a short list of local events, and a blog post that educates the firm’s audience. The promotional angle is certainly evident, but the newsletter aims to inform as well:
Many real estate agents include more than just their own content in their newsletters. For instance, curate mini-summaries of content from other sites that have relevant information for your leads and link back to them. This is a great way to show your audience you want to provide them with content to feed their interests. Another option is to highlight news reports and updates that local buyers and sellers would want to know about, like changes to local property taxes.
After compiling a range of real estate newsletter articles to include, decide which is worthy of being the featured content — in other words, which one or two pieces of content you ought to highlight as the main focus and purpose of your newsletter.
For example, if the point of your newsletter is to drive traffic back to your real estate website, then featuring your own blog posts or other content at the top of the email is ideal. If you want to promote an interesting property in your market — either your own listing or just a notable/newsworthy residence — make that the focal point. You can also go without any of your own content in a newsletter. Simply identify the content you think would go over best with your recipients (e.g. a home buying guide you found online, mortgage rate news.
5) Appealing Images and/or Video
As evidenced by the example above, adding images, photos, and other graphical elements or multimedia to your real estate newsletter content only enhances it. Would you click on a listing that only included a three-sentence description and had no photo? Probably not. So add in one or more images for each listing you include in your newsletters. For featured blog posts, add in whatever featured image you used on your real estate website or choose stock photos that give readers a good sense of what the articles are about.
Video is another real estate newsletter content choice. For instance, if you created attractive real estate listing videos, share them in your newsletters along with links to the listing pages on your site and the brief copy detailing the properties’ information.
6) Attractive, Clean Design
You wouldn’t toss a hundred widgets, buttons, and boxes on your real estate website, right? So, don’t overstuff your email newsletters with excess design elements either. Offer your recipients an easy-to-read layout that features a moderate amount of copy, graphics, videos, and add-ons (like social sharing buttons, which we’ll get to shortly). This is arguably a subjective element of your real estate newsletters, but it’s an essential one to get right. An overly busy-looking newsletter will make your audience immediately close out of the message.
Look at the way Google designed this newsletter promoting Glass. A simple but evocative image up top with a headline and just enough text to explain the accompanying images of the product’s features and a story of consumers using it:
7) Business Info and Branding
Another crucial ingredient to make your real estate newsletter a success is including your branding in the right spots: at the very top and very bottom of your email. Your business name in a signature font and style, or a logo, shows you care about how your company is perceived. Include your firm’s name next to your contact info at the start of your email and in the footer — ideally next to your contact information (phone number, office address, social media links, and any other medium your audience can use to contact you) — to make it easy for your recipients to identify it.
9) Social Sharing Buttons
Speaking of social media, adding in sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and every other major social channel is a must. Email with social sharing buttons earns a click-through rate (CTR) of 6.2 percent, while those without social buttons get only a CTR of 2.4 percent. That percentage difference could mean the world when it comes to moving leads through the sales funnel and getting them to inquire about your representation. The social sharing capabilities for your real estate newsletter depend on what service you use, but most email marketing platforms have features that allow you to add in social sharing buttons with ease.
10) Call to Action
Developing a top-tier real estate marketing newsletter means informing your recipients, but don’t forget to promote yourself as well. Just remember that subtlety is best: Few people respond to excessively sales-y messages (in other words, avoid ALL CAPS PROMOTIONAL MESSAGES and ones with lots of exclamation points!!!!). Instead, be understated when marketing your business or specific listings.
For instance, if you want to draw attention to your blog posts, create a display image that can act as a CTA in your real estate newsletter. Write copy that succinctly explains to recipients what they’ll find by clicking the link attached to the image. Think phrases like “Find more great blog content here” or “Click here to read more local market blog posts.”
Check out our Academy post 42 Engaging Real Estate Newsletter Ideas to get more inspiration for your newsletters.
Do you send out a consistent newsletter? Share what real estate newsletter content works best for your email marketing.
Published on November 12, 2014
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.