As consumers, we love choices. The opportunity to pick between options is somehow gratifying to us. Sociologists have referred to this desire to pick that “just-right” choice as the Goldilocks syndrome and it applies to our decision making on everything from shopping for jeans, contemplating our next auto lease or selecting a seat at the movie theatre. While choice is generally a good thing, it does complicate our decision in selecting a platform for conducting real estate email marketing.
As we discussed in our last blog article on this topic, there are lots of options to choose from for real estate email marketing systems. More streamline programs include iContact or Constant Contact whereas complex enterprise class approaches are available from Hubspot and Pardot. Regardless of the system you chose though, it’s important to pick a system that’s going to work with your organization’s workflow, style and budget.
Criteria for picking an email marketing system
Email marketing should complement the other marketing activities that you’ve got going on like your website, branding and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. It should also integrate with your customer relationship management efforts. So, if you’re using Salesforce, look for a solution that’s going to “play nicely” with those platforms. Ideally, you’ll want to export lists from those systems to your email marketing platform and be able to tag your real estate clients and prospects with the results of your email marketing campaigns. Speaking of results, you’ll also want a system that can provide you with a reasonably robust set of key metrics (open rates, click-through rates) to see which campaigns are performing the best.
It’s hard to believe but according to Litmus ”State of Email” (March 2017), more email is read on mobile devices than on desktop email clients. Stats say that now, as much as 54% of email is now opened on a mobile device. Your email marketing platform needs to have the flexibility to deliver email to the platform where people are going to read. So, while your email may look great in layout on your computer screen, readership is going to be quickly disinterested if it looks shabby on their phone or tablet. Make sure your platform is able to create and send email that adjusts intuitively to the device it is being received on.
Real estate email marketing needs to be a two-way street. That means, when you send out an email, you need to be prepared for a response or to understand and react to the follow-on actions of the recipient. This is called email response handling or workflows. Depending on the size and demands of your business, you’ll need more or less sophistication in the handling of those responses in order to ensure that you’re being attentive to your target audience. If you're delivering large quantities of emails, you’ll want a platform that will allow you to send automated responses or aggregate customer responses and behaviors for future follow-up.
So what are your real estate email marketing choices?
In general, email marketing platforms are divided into two sizes, general access that will accommodate most businesses and enterprise level for more sophisticated applications.
For small to medium-sized business managing weekly or monthly newsletters, alongside regular campaigns, including some social media focus, will find tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or iContact may be just the thing for your real estate business. Each of these will have a fairly robust feature set and include analytics and respondent tracking to varying degrees. Where you may miss out with these systems is the ability to integrate with enterprise level CRM platforms like SAP, Oracle and Netsuite or in their ability to handle complex testing scenarios.
On the enterprise side, players like Marketo and Hubspot are complete marketing automation and real estate lead generation management systems that can set up, deploy, and handle online marketing campaigns that can boost your company’s revenue. Platforms like these will include everything you need to manage all parts of the sales and marketing funnels. Working with a real estate marketing company skilled in the use of these tools will ensure that they deliver the biggest return for your investment and that you are extracting all of their functionality.