This post continues our series on online tools that make buyer’s agents lives easier and help to minimise time spent managing their business.
I am constantly surprised by the poor quality of email communications that I receive from buyer’s agents (and real estate agents too). Unsatisfying newsletters are typically sent by sole traders or boutique agencies who do not have either time or skills to develop a professional newsletter. People in this situation often believe that email marketing tools are out of their price range.
Today I will focus on my preferred tool, MailChimp, and discuss why agents should take the time to implement a professional email marketing campaign.
Why have a newsletter?
No buyer’s agent worth his or her salt needs to be reminded of the importance of client engagement, however it can from time to time fall by the wayside. There is no understating the benefit of reminding clients of your services. In short, there is revenue to be found in your client database.
I find MailChimp to be best of breed in terms of email marketing tools. Let’s run through some key points as to why a buyer’s agent should use it to prepare, send and track client newsletters.
MailChimp offers two buying options: pay as you go or monthly billing. However, if you have fewer than 2,000 clients on your newsletter mailing list, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free.
Should your mailing needs exceed this, their pricing schemes are quite affordable and the product should more than meet the needs of any boutique agency.
I personally rate this as the most important benefit of using MailChimp. Utilising a third-party service to deliver emails has been proven to improve your deliverability rate. MailChimp does this in two ways. First, it reduces the chance that your newsletter will be filtered to the SPAM box rather than being delivered to your clients’ Inbox. It also prevents your email from being blocked by third party ISPs. My personal experience when emptying my SPAM box shows that this is one of the biggest challenges faced by smaller agencies and the larger end of town alike.
It comes down to whether you want to be investing significant effort on marketing emails if they do not stand much chance of arriving at their destination.
Note: if one person marks your newsletter as spam, your messages may then be classified as spam for other recipients. MailChimp notices such an action and automatically removes the person from your mailing list, thereby containing the damage.
Everyone likes to think that they are a designer at heart. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of us are not and I have seen some horrendous examples of newsletters gone wrong from agents. Stick to where your talents lie and choose from free or commercial templates, which will be a cut above your current efforts.
This is where MailChimp truly comes into its own. The more unwanted material you send your clients the more disenfranchised they will become. MailChimp provides you with the ability to segment your client database and market accordingly.
From basic personalisation such as including the client’s name, to testing which subject line, templates or property locations/types/price points are viewed more. MailChimp not only provides this functionality but also an advanced suite of reports to highlight key outcomes. These include the number of people who opened your newsletter compared to prior newsletters (as well as industry comparatives) to the number of clicks on links inside the newsletter.
Let me give you an hypothetical. I am planning a conference specifically targeted at local buyer’s agents in Brisbane and Perth. These are the steps I would follow:
Step 2 Create a template and generic content blocks
Step 3 Create unique content blocks for Brisbane and Perth e.g. dates and conference location
Step 4 Send two campaigns with the only difference being the email list as well as the location-specific content blocks
Step 5 Track and measure whether buyer’s agents in Perth or Brisbane displayed more interest in attending the event.
If you know a client is only interested in local opportunities why show them interstate investments?
MailChimp doesn’t stop with the features mentioned above. It has a plethora of additional useful functions such as autoresponders, customisation and event or survey management.
For a free tool, it is extremely hard to pass by, particularly considering the benefits it can bring to your agency.
For more resources on using MailChimp visit: http://mailchimp.com/resources/