Matthew Collis recently wrote an interesting article on E-Newsletters on AG Beat and some best practices to consider when putting together the “perfect” e-newsletter, to market yourself or your business. The article is very informative, and reinforces many of the “building blocks” we teach our clients, when helping them plan and deploy successful marketing campaigns.
E-Newsletters and email marketing in general are not as “sexy” as they used to be, but we feel they are something that has been overlooked recently, mainly given the rise of social media. When one though considers the amount of “noise” in the social media universe, and how many people’s messages can be overlooked, or completely missed, e-newsletters offer Real Estate agents a way to engage with their clients and prospects in a direct, one on one interaction that is much less likely to be missed or ignored.
Here are Matthew’s three best practice tips when building an e-newsletter, and our opinions as to how these are important to you as a Realtor®, and should directly influence your Real Estate Marketing Plans, when crafting this portion of your multi-channel marketing approach:
1) HELPFUL INFORMATION
If I had a dollar for every time we explain this tip to Real Estate agents, I’d be retired, living on an island somewhere by this point.
FACT: Nobody cares if you are the Top 1%, in the Presidents Circle, Diamond society, or anything else.
People don’t need an endless sales pitch. By nature, humans are all somewhat selfish. You need to give them the answer to “What’s in it for me?”. Telling them that you are the best does not give them that answer. What does give them that answer is giving them information that is pertinent to them, right now, in their life situation.
The most popular thing we suggest Realtors use is LOCAL (translation: Not national) sales statistics and area information. Don’t just paste a stats chart in your e-newsletter. Translate it for them. Tell them how those numbers may affect them. Give your input as to whether or not you believe what the analysts are saying. In other words, show them you are a true professional that has a deep knowledge of the local real estate market.
2) BE INTERESTING
What is the most dangerous part about our suggestion of using sales data in your e-newsletters? Simply put, statistics are not always interesting. As humans, if we don’t understand we “tune out” and/or simply move on to something else. You have to find a way to make something “technical” and “inside”, understandable to the masses.
Matthew’s suggestion of using interesting imagery is a great way to grab them and get them to engage. When you have them though, you need to keep them. In our statistical example, one way to do this would be to take what is confusing and translate it into “every man” terms. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but with a little practice you can do it.
If you can’t figure out the right balance, don’t feel bad. Many of our clients have a tough time taking complex market conditions and trying to state them in layman terms. One way we have found to combat that is by using outside services, such as Altos Research. They have very simple to understand, compelling statistical breakdowns for every major marketplace in the United States. A subscription to their services might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
For the parts of your newsletters that aren’t statistically heavy, your main objective still should always be to find what is interesting to YOUR client base. I hate to break it to you, but the perfect Apple Pie recipe is probably not it. Get local. Do some digging and give them content that pertains to them (i.e. follow tip #1).
3) SHOW PERSONALITY
This perhaps may be the only place where we have a differing opinion on crafting an e-newsletter. It is not our belief that there are “one size fits all” newsletters for agents, where all they have to do is slap on an introduction and they are off and running.
At least 4 times a month, when meeting with prospective clients, we examine their current marketing efforts and find they are using a “canned” newsletter (both print and electronic) as a marketing piece. DO NOT DO THIS.
Newsletters used in this fashion are the laziest form of marketing possible. If a prospect, or even worse a client happens to get the same newsletter from another agent, this will put you in a horrible light. You will not only be looked at as lazy, but also lose your credibility as a knowledgeable agent that specifically has first hand, valuable information about your specific marketplace.
Obviously “some” content from outside sources, such as news services is helpful, but NEVER lean on 100% of that content. Craft your content to reinforce your brand position, showing your unique personality, your value proposition and your differentiating factors in YOUR marketplace, compared to your competitors.
Any time you have to customize something, it takes time. Perhaps time you feel you do not have. I cannot though stress enough the fact that this time and effort will pay off tenfold.
Do you want to find some more great tips from Matthew? You can do so on his AG Beat Blog.
Are you curious about other best practices for an e-Newsletter, or any other channel in your marketing campaign? Is your current marketing strategy not getting the “pop” you want and you don’t know why? Have you been considering starting or refining a marketing campaign, but don’t know where to start? If so, contact me anytime and I would be more than happy to chat with you and help you in any way I can.