What to Know About Email Marketing for Realtors

Melanie Balke
November 21, 2023

Did you know that — in 2022 alone — 51% of Americans find their real estate agent online? (And this isn’t some magical number I pulled from my behind. This comes from the National Realtors Association’s 2022 report!) Moreover, 86% of Americans bought their homes through real estate agents or brokers. That means — of the 5 million home sales in 2022 — 4.3 million homes were sold by real estate agents. And of those 4.3 million sales, 3,698,000 sales came from online discovery.

That’s a lot of potential buyers, but we all know how complex digital marketing is. There are dozens of social media sites, countless apps, and even more online forums you could use to promote your real estate business. Of these marketing channels, precisely zero are centralized. Thus, your masterful Reddit campaign may receive critical acclaim, but it won’t help you attract buyers from Facebook. Similarly, the activity on your Facebook page isn’t a direct reflection of your LinkedIn audience.

Summarily, you have dozens of past clients vying for your attention. And you have even more potential clients on your hook. It’s a lot to manage, but there’s a simple, elegant solution.

You’ve probably guessed what it is by looking at the title of the website, but I’ll say it anyhow!

I’m talking about email marketing for realtors, one of the most profitable ways to promote your real estate business!

Why Real Estate Email Marketing Works

A busy highway over a cityscape. “The Perks: Why You Need Email Marketing.”

I’ll start with the bottom line.

Email marketing is wildly profitable. It works for realtors, retailers, and travel agents. It’s an all-in-one package with a built-in audience.

More importantly, it’s more effective than social media marketing. Take another look at those statistics from the National Realtors Association. You’ll notice an interesting note near the bottom. Nearly a third (31%) of realtors in 2022 had disappointing returns from social media efforts. 20% of agents received a paltry 1–5% return on each social media post, and only 11% earned 6–10% of their business from social media platforms.

But what about the specifics? What does email marketing do better than competing marketing channels?

Digital Marketing for Real Estate Has Grown

One of the first perks of a successful email marketing strategy is its potential return.

The pandemic led to a massive shift in marketing norms, and clients now prefer digital marketing. In 2020, real estate businesses showered 3D tour companies with $23.75 billion in investments. Funds have also been pumped into video production and photography tools (e.g., digital guided tours, drones, and mapping technology).

Another driving factor behind this change comes from sellers.

Society is more digital than ever. People spend hours online, and that data is yours to behold. Users scatter their information like breadcrumbs, and it would be foolish to ignore them. In other words, email marketing is one of the most precise ways to cultivate and maintain interest from your target audience.

Control Your Audience With Targeted Email Campaigns

Much of its power comes from the unprecedented access afforded by email marketing. Inboxes are inherently personal. Moreover, each subscriber is bound to a wealth of digital data. Essentially, email addresses are personal connections.

The depth of your customization varies by email marketing platform, but even the most basic options offer real estate professionals plenty of power. You can easily target potential clients by their desired location, budget, and must-have traits.

And you can go even deeper! Advanced automated email sequences can form the basis for pseudo-conversational marketing, promoting additional trust and respect between your clients and your business. A skilled email marketing professional can program intuitive sequences to answer common questions from prospective clients, mimicking the capabilities of a 24/7 support agent!

Gather Feedback and Testimonials

That targeting can also be used to tap into your pool of existing customers.

I’ll use the humble post-purchase email campaign as an example.

Real estate agents can’t afford to disengage! Every client is a potential informant. Your satisfied buyers are your most passionate ambassadors. Utilize that power to its full potential by crafting targeted email campaigns just for them.

One of the most profitable ways to reap the benefits of high-quality buyer leads is to ask for feedback and testimonials. This information becomes the foundation for your user-generated content, which can be featured across new listings and future newsletters.

Nurture Your Buyer Leads

However, you can’t stick to the same old circle of acquaintances. Successful real estate agents grow their audience and nurture every lead. Again, email marketing for realtors perfectly fills this niche.

On the surface, email marketing provides a low-cost alternative to perpetual SEO and paid advertising. Once established, a website becomes its own source of leads. Your organic website traffic turns to potential clients, and new subscribers become engaged audience members.

If I were to break the process into a simple funnel, it would look like this:

  1. Discovery: A potential client discovers your website. This may happen organically, or it may come from paid search listings.
  2. Interest: That initial website traffic becomes an interested visitor. This is when you hope the prospective buyer signs up for your emails!
  3. Engagement: The subscriber receives your real estate marketing emails. These campaigns increase your brand’s trustworthiness while promoting a sense of community and belonging.
  4. Profit: Over time, that constant contact blossoms into a customer relationship. When the time is right, your long-time subscriber comes to you to start the home-buying process!

Is this an effective marketing strategy?

I’ll leave that for you to decide, but I’ll say this: 86% of American homeowners will happily recommend their real estate agent. Will you be part of the majority, or will your real estate business crumble under its own weight?

What You Need to Succeed in Email Marketing

A brick house. “What It Takes: How to Start Your Email Marketing.”

Of course, it’s not easy to craft consistently successful email marketing campaigns! You need expertise and insight, both of which require time to develop. Even the best platform requires human intervention, and lackluster email marketing can sink a business.

While you need many skills and tools to create truly remarkable email marketing, they all fit neatly into 4 categories:

  • Audience research
  • Content
  • Goals
  • A reliable email marketing platform

Understanding Your Audience as a Real Estate Agent

While the best real estate agents are naturally charismatic, few have the tactical savvy to pinpoint their ideal audience. Moreover, few (if any) can intuitively define proper audience segments. That’s not even mentioning the ever-shifting nature of real estate sales!

Summarily, you need to understand who your email marketing efforts are going to before you can craft an effective email marketing strategy.

Would you sell a house to a middle-aged single woman the same way you’d pitch it to a married couple? What about a large family with multiple children? And how would you market the property to a bachelor in his mid-20s? All these potential buyers have unique needs, and your real estate email campaigns must appeal to the right audience.

And don’t forget to incorporate mobile compatibility into your real estate marketing strategy!

Make Your Content Better Than Your Competition’s

And what goes into those emails?

I’m not going to dig into the nitty-gritty details of copywriting and design. Instead, I want to highlight the strategic side of real estate email marketing.

Most real estate agents will find their marketing falling into one of three categories:

  • Drip campaigns keep the audience engaged.
  • Funnel marketing promotes growth and urges buyers further down the sales funnel.
  • Transactional campaigns are sent after a purchase.

Your email marketing software cannot decide how your content should look. It can’t write your content for you. You must craft your emails to match your audience. And that means you need…

Concrete Goals to Drive Your Business Growth

Yes, you need goals.

Again, this can be broken into a few overarching categories:

  • Entertaining email campaigns promote positive customer relationships, but they don’t often drive direct sales.
  • Informative campaigns provide buyers with trustworthy information. These may lead to profitable conversions.
  • Relational campaigns promote a positive customer relationship. While these rarely have a monetary return, they often earn plenty of engagement and user-generated content.

The Right Email Marketing Software

Finally, you need the right tools.

There are many factors to consider as you seek out your ideal email marketing platform, and I don’t have enough time to cover them in this blog post. Fortunately, I’ve discussed the topic in other blog posts! While my top pick will almost always be Klaviyo, there are many other platforms to choose from.

The choice is yours. However, you’ll want something powerful enough to make your emails stand out from the competition. Other real estate agents are joining the email marketing wave; you can’t afford to use an outdated, lackluster service.

In the most general sense, you want to limit your search to email marketing platforms with these 4 capabilities:

  • Automation: Automated email marketing optimizes your efforts and trims away excessive spending. Look for email marketing software with robust automation capabilities to get the most out of your investment.
  • Customization: On the client-facing side, you want gorgeous email campaigns. However, you also want the ability to fully control your personal view. Seek out platforms with full dashboard customization to dominate your local market.
  • Integrations: Find email marketing software that works with your existing infrastructure. Platforms like Klaviyo and MailChimp offer many easy-to-use integrations that optimize your marketing efforts. You can even find ways to incorporate your established direct mailing campaigns into your modern email marketing experience.
  • Segmentation: Real estate agents use segmentation to narrow their audience down to the ideal candidates. Your most useful segments will likely be demographics and location.

What Real Estate Agents Are Doing Now (Or: 3 Examples to Inspire You)

A one-story brick house in Richmond, Virginia, photographed in 1953. Overlaid text reads, “Examples: Ideas to Inspire Your Emails.”

With all of that in mind, you probably have a new question.

What does real estate email marketing look like?

Wonder no more! I’ve rounded up some amazing examples for your enjoyment. These campaigns come from far and wide, but they all share the same critical trait: success. So, keep scrolling to see how you can maximize your profits by joining the modern wave of realtor email marketing.

1. The Essential Welcome Email

Los Angeles. “Example #1: How to Inform Your Audience.”

I’ll start with the first email your subscribers see. Your welcome email is everyone’s first impression of your real estate agency. It’s the groundwork for new leads and the key to new clients. This is your chance to show your contact list that they trusted the right person; you can’t slack on this! Otherwise, subscribers will feel as if they wasted the time they spent to give you their coveted contact details.

It’s only reasonable that Zillow, the massive real estate industry giant that it is, has mastered this fine art. They’ve stayed up to date on current trends and know how to best court those new clients.

So, what can we learn from this welcome email?

Courting Clients With Informative Content

A Zillow email. The header image is a log cabin home. The blue CTA reads, “Get the guide.”

One of the first things you’ll notice about this email campaign is its inherent value. You’re shown a gorgeous home with an eye-catching blurb: “Our Buyers Guide is your one-stop resource for home-buying tips and information.” Following this is a bold call-to-action link with clear intent and purpose.

It’s everything you want in a welcome email: clarity, purpose, and value.

Obviously, the value is the promise of insider information on the real estate market. As an industry behemoth, Zillow knows what’s up; it has its thumb on the pulse of the real estate industry. To think otherwise would be foolish! However, this email pushes the point further by using a lead magnet to entice additional customer engagement.

Corner Your Audience

“Helpful tools to start your journey.” Below are four ideas to help first-time homebuyers.

The email goes on to list multiple ways to amplify your search efforts. More importantly, it utilizes cross-channel advertising by plugging the Zillow blog. In doing so, Zillow earns more website visitors and amplifies its click-through rate. Each link is a landing page, and of those landing pages are new leads.

Notably, we also see the perks of targeted email marketing campaigns.

This email is obviously meant for first-time homebuyers. It wouldn’t perform well among previous clients, and it certainly won’t help real estate investors. But it doesn’t have to do so! This is a highly focused campaign that’s just for newcomers, and it fully acknowledges that fact.

2. Mastering the Visuals

A city skyline. “Example #2: Design to Impress.”

But it’s not enough to know your audience. You have to earn those click-through rates.

Fortunately, Sellprop has this gorgeous email newsletter to show us how it’s done! Like the other examples in this blog post, Sellprop’s email is little more than one of many email templates. It’s a glitter-coated fill-in-the-blank, but it works so well!

The Visual Hierarchy

An email from Sellprop with relevant content offerings.

What do you notice first?

I’ll answer for all of us: It’s that heart-pounding header, “Only 8 days left till the auction.”

“Eight days!?” a reader might think. “I must register for this auction!”

This is exactly what these real estate agents want, and they achieved the desired goal by mastering a little trick known as the visual hierarchy. It sounds fancy, but the concept is simple. People naturally skim content. With few exceptions, we all read left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Thus, the visual hierarchy takes advantage of this rule by placing the most interesting information at the top.

As with the Zillow example, Sellprop also emphasizes its brand. The email bears its iconic slab font and golden livery. Moreover, as we’ll see in a moment, it uses the same template as its other email campaigns.

The Importance of Images

“Latest properties.” Houses are showcased in two rows of three homes each.

Good photography is the gold standard of modern real estate marketing. You can’t showcase a home without an eye for detail. Fortunately, this email places those gorgeous listing photos front and center. These, too, are call-to-action links. They’re digital invitations to a remote at-a-glance open house, and they’re perfectly arranged across the viewer’s page.

Hook Them Immediately

The end of the Sellprop email. A photo of elegant town homes features overlaid text, “Want to see more properties?”

Finally, readers get a tantalizing offer. “Want to see more properties?” asks Sellprop.

“Yes!” readers are (hopefully) thinking as they click that gorgeous CTA.

This is how you master real estate marketing. And I don’t have much more to say than that!

3. The Follow-Up Email

Waves on a river. “Example #3: The Follow-Up Email.”

And what happens after a client buys that property?

Now, you need to send a follow-up email. In the old days, you’d sit down and pen these letters yourself. They would need postage and an appropriate mailing address. Now, email automation has taken most of the work out of your hands! The modern magic of email templates has made it easier than ever to deliver high click-through rates on follow-up emails without spending hours on their composition.

Need an example? Look no further than Willow Real Estate’s delightfully eye-catching email campaigns!

How Email Beats Out Other Marketing Channels

The email from Willow. “388 Richmond Road Monthly Owners Report — May 2022.”

This is the full power of tailored email marketing.

You’ve hosted the open house and sealed the deal. Now, you need to keep that contact engaged. This email catches your attention with its gorgeous imagery and reels you in with its informative content. You don’t need to send this recipient any more property listings; they’ve already bought something. Pivot! Don’t dig yourself into a hole.

Instead, incorporate emails into your real estate marketing. Bring the power of ultimate personalization to your content and make the most of your hard-won contact details.

Stick the Landing

The ending of the Willow email. “Have questions? Book a time.”

And don’t forget the ending!

Make the most of your email automation.

Find pros to help you master your content and regain your time. At The Email Marketers, you’ll find a team of dedicated professionals ready to amplify your impact on today’s competitive real estate market. My team and I understand what it takes to please email service providers and your audience, and we can’t wait to take your success to the next level.

Give us a call and schedule a free strategy session to see how we can change your business!