How to run effective email marketing campaigns?

Email marketing can be such an effective marketing medium, but all to often customers emails end up as SPAM. So what do you need to do to make sure you next email is one of the effective ones, and not one of those marked as SPAM! Below we have a few simple but essential tips on how to make your next email campaign a success.

First of all lets talk about SPAM. There are some pretty scary statistics about the level of SPAM email in the world today. In fact in a report published in mid 2008 by one of the world’s largest anti-spam firms (Sophos) they reported that only 1 in 28 emails are legitimate (the rest are Spam). Given the rate at which email and spam is increasing, we can assume it is even worse by now. Interestingly the worst two countries for spam origination were the US and Russia. Australia, New Zealand and all GCC countries were not in the top ten.

So what are the steps to ensuring your next campaign is not marked as SPAM.

Rule 1. Ensure you email to a targeted list of recipients only.

There are two ways your email can be marked as SPAM. The first occurs automatically. Ant-spam software scans your email and if it thinks it is SPAM, it will either delete it completely or at least mark it as SPAM. The second is that someones receives your email and then reports you and your email to an ISP or Anti-Spam firm, which can also result in not only the single email campaign, but also all email from you domain name being marked as SPAM.

So the first rule is only send your bulk emails to people who have requested it. If you send bulk emails to unsolicited lists, you email will be marked as SPAM and you may even get Blacklisted (all email from your domain name will be marked as SPAM automatically). 

Rule 2. Personalise your email.

If you reach the recipients Inbox, the next key is to ensure that they read it. The best way to do this is to personalise the content of the email. Now you may immediately think that this means addressing the email to them personally. Yes this is valuable, but the single most important thing is to ensure that the content they receive is relevant to them. A personalised email promoting a new car will not be relevant nor appreciated by someone who contact you enquiring about property for sale.

In terms of property, this means sending relevant property content. If someone has enquired on 2 bedroom apartments for investment, don’t send them luxury waterfront villa’s. No matter how you address the email, this is bad for business. It won’t get you enquiries, but it will get you unsubscribes.

Emailing non-relevant content and offers to your database can be one of the fastest ways to kill your valuable database.

We recommend recording prospects buyer matching criteria and sending only relevant information to each prospect. Our two CRM products, foxEnterprise and foxAdvantage, can do both with ease so this shouldn’t be too hard to implement.

Rule 3. Always use a relevant but still catchy Subject Line.

In my view this can be the hardest rule to follow. As we all know, we scan our email often quickly, scanning the subject line and making a decision then and there as to whether to read or delete. That split second is often the determining factor in a successful campaign or otherwise.

The hard part is making your Subject Line cut through all of the other emails your recipients get, but not going over the top so that your email gets marked or is viewed as SPAM.

Here is a small sample of words you should NOT use in your subject line:

  • Free
  • Discount
  • Opportunity
  • Click here
  • Call Now
  • Amazing
  • Make Money
  • Eliminate Debt
  • Winning
  • Credit
  • Loans
  • Order Now
  • Special Offer
  • Cash Offer
  • Going fast
  • etc

Pretty much any derivatives of the above are going to also be highly dubious. Also don’t add in explanation marks, question marks and any punctuation, as this will also affect your SPAM rating.

So what is a good subject line?

As with the email itself, it needs to be relevant. So ideally your subject line will immediately identify to the recipient why your email is relevant to them, and hence why they should open it.

So in the example above where we have a prospect wanting a 2 bedroom apartment for investment. The ideal subject line may be: – New 2 bed apartment ideal for investors.

This hits all of the hot points the prospect needs, namely ‘new’ (something they have not seen and also creates the opportunity to get in first), ‘2 bed apartment’ (the right product – so they are not wasting time looking at non-relevant properties) and ‘investment’ (once again relevant product).

So if your prospect got this email, and providing the email itself was sent to a targeted and relevant list, I would think that you would get a high % of opens (the emails are read).

This is an easy example but unfortunately writing subject lines is pretty hard work. So the best idea if you have time to to run trial campaigns. Come up with 2 or 3 different subject lines and use them to different sample groups and measure their effectiveness. There is no metric better than the number of email responses or phone calls that you get from each one to tel you what is working and what isn’t.

Rule 4. Update your CRM software religiously.

Once your mailing lists are out of date, then your emails will start loosing relevancy and their effectiveness will drop rapidly. If you are serious about email marketing you need to ensure your house in always in order – which in this case means your CRM is always up to date.

World’s Largest Real Estate Agency Ditches TV for Online!

Century 21’s CEO, Tom Kunz, announced in an online video interview (Watch the Video – link below) that in 2009 they have decided to pull their advertising budget from TV to focus more on Online marketing.

As Tom Kunz explains they have found that their Return on Investment was much better from their Online endeavours rather than TV or any other traditional media.

In 2008, Century 21 spent only 10% of their massive advertising budget online. However, recent research and testing has shown that their online expenditure was far more productive and efficient than the TV advertising.

We have seen quite a few Independent Agents embracing the internet very actively, however, this is probably the first time that a major Agency has taken any serious steps in this direction, publicly.

With Millions of Dollars being re-routed from the traditional advertising media to Online – it will be interesting times ahead.

What are your Online Strategies and how do you intend to implement them?

Online Real Estate Searches on the rise!

 

Based on a research we did on Google (see image below) the online activity by prospective buyers and sellers during the Christmas – New Year period went up – significantly.

 

 

 web_search_reagents2

 

Whilst most agents were busy with their time away with friends, family and loved ones, the prospective client (buyer / seller) was busy doing their own research on what properties to buy (and from whom) or which agent to use to list their properties with, etc..

 

The scary thing is – majority of these decisions were just being made from your websites and not from talking with you or looking at the fancy brochures or actual shop fronts.

 

Those Agents who have an online shop front that is professional, provides valuable information, easy search functionality, etc (see some great examples of professional websites) would have had a significant upper hand as compared to those who have less than acceptable websites.

 

With around 87% of Australian home buyers/sellers now using the Internet as part of their research process (Nielsen Australian Property Report 2008), isn’t it time that you invested a little more energy into your online marketing machine?

 

Shift in focus from transcation sales to outbound sales

It is tough out their!

With the state of the real estate markets around the world, I don’t think there is any single marketplace that is not experiencing reduced enquiry rates and as a consequence, sales rates. Which ever way we look at it, this is effecting property businesses underlying profitability.

I was recently discussing this with one of our clients, and put forward a suggestion that I want to share with you today. That suggestion is to change the culture of your organisation from sales transacting to outbound sales.

So what does this mean?

Sales transacting is is culture of effectively waiting for the prospect to make the purchase. Your sales team is entirely reactive. They wait for a prospect to enquire, and often wait for them to purchase, and then effectively take on a role of facilitating the transaction. This sales transacting role can also be described as  ‘order taking’. This culture is really born out of bull markets. When times are good, and a new prospect is around every corner, your sales team really only needs to focus on sales transacting to make target, and a very acceptable living.  However this is a very poor sales culture, if we can call it sales at all. At best it can be described as a sales administration role, at worst simply an administration role full stop.

So what is an outbound sales culture? That is where your sales people are proactively chasing prospects. They are hunting for business, rather than order processing.

It goes without saying that is a slowing (slow!) market, you need your sales people busy. They need to be proactive and to be chasing every opportunity and can not be waiting for the next purchaser to walk in.

How do you create this type of culture?

Here are just a few ideas:

– break the mold. You really need to confront your sales team and get them to understand that things are different. The market has moved, and they need to move with it or they will be pushed out of the property industry. You need to make clear to them that the ‘new’ corporate culture of your organisation is about ‘outbound sales orientation’.

– give them the tools.

– systemise, systemise and systemise. When your business is effectively processing deals, you don’t tend to need to many systems. You can afford to operate inefficiently simply because they are good times and plenty of profit to go round. However in tougher times you need your business running like a well drilled team and it is systems that will achieve this. If you don’t have paper based systems – put them in. Better still though get effective software to manage, control and report on the key aspects of your business so you are operating as efficiently as possible.

There is never a better time to drive real change in your business then when times are tough. Everyone, from your board through to your sales people are all concerned about revenue and profitability, so now is the perfect time to effect that change in your business.