Real Estate Marketing: Newsletters That Actually Get Read
Real estate newsletters, whether in print or electronic format, can be an effective marketing tool for keeping your name top of mind with your past and current clients, your sphere of influence and your prospects. They reinforce your brand, deliver your message, and demonstrate your expertise — all things that a successful marketer does regularly.
Here are some tips for creating and delivering real estate marketing newsletters that actually get read.
Consistency is key
If you mail one newsletter and think the phone will start ringing off the hook, you need to adjust your expectations. The key to success with real estate marketing newsletters is consistency — in design, messaging and frequency of publication.
Make sure the design of your newsletter, from the layout to the images to the colors and fonts, is consistent with your other branded materials. You want people to easily connect your newsletter to your website to your flyers to your signage. That’s how branding works. You build awareness and recognition of who you are, what you do and how you do it through repeated exposure to consistent messaging. You can create the newsletter yourself using a free template (which you can find online), or you can hire a professional.
For your newsletters to be effective, frequency of publication is key. Delivering your newsletter at regular intervals over time builds readership and engagement. Imagine a newspaper or magazine that you received whenever the publisher got around to delivering the next issue. Would you subscribe to a magazine with no set delivery date? Not many people would.
How often should you publish a real estate marketing newsletter? Probably no more frequently than monthly. Quarterly might be a better option. Most real estate newsletters contain market updates, and the market rarely changes fast enough to warrant an update more often than monthly. A quarterly schedule gives you more time to create the newsletter content and is frequent enough to establish a regular readership.
Direct mail vs. electronic delivery
Should you mail your newsletters or use some form of electronic delivery? It’s a question with no right or wrong answer. Electronic publishing (email, posting to a website, etc.) has certain advantages over postal mail — primarily cost. Direct mail incurs costs for both printing and postage, which can get expensive if you have a large client list. On the other hand, a physical, tangible thing that people can hold in their hands will often get more attention than just another email that fills up inboxes.
Electronic production and delivery allows for customization that is prohibitively expensive to do with printed newsletters. With a mail merge program, you can personalize electronic newsletters by adding recipients names and addresses, and neighborhood-specific content. All of which helps increase retention and engagement. You can also create a library of past newsletters for your website.
Types of content to include
The content of your real estate newsletter is the biggest factor of its success. While a well-branded design is important, it’s what’s inside your newsletter that matters most. Consider including the following types of content:
- Current market statistics. Number of homes listed for sale, average/median listing and sale price, and average days on the market. Remember, don’t just present the data, interpret the data. Explain what it means. Show how it’s trending over time.
- Recently sold properties. Buyer and sellers alike enjoy seeing what has recently sold. Be sure to follow your broker’s and your local and state rules and regulations on what and how to display recent sales.
- Upcoming activities. Since most real estate newsletters are targeted for a specific geo-location, including a list or calendar of upcoming activities and events in the area is useful. It helps keep your newsletter “sticky,” giving people a reason to keep your newsletter and refer back to it.
- A call to action (CTA). While getting your name and message out is important, a newsletter should also include a CTA to encourage engagement. Offer a free home valuation (CMA). Include a link to a webpage created specifically for that particular newsletter where the recipient can go to download additional information. Try a CTA that lets people know you can set them up for automatic listing updates.
- Seasonal tips. Is it tax time? Include a short article and links to articles on tax related issues. Make it real estate specific and include information about the mortgage deduction. Do not offer tax advice. School about to start? Include back-to-school tips or where to find school supplies. Is summer about to kick off? Include a list of things to do with kids.
What shouldn’t you include in your real estate newsletter? Avoid discussions of politics, religion and sensitive current events. While an occasional recipe is OK to include, don’t be the newsletter that’s more about cooking than it is about real estate. Think like a potential home buyer, seller or owner. What would they would find useful in a real estate newsletter? Focus on including content that the reader can’t get elsewhere.
The most important factor in creating and delivering effective real estate newsletters is commitment. Many people have great intentions, but fail to execute. Perhaps they create one or two newsletters, then skip a month. Then they skip another month. The next thing you know, you haven’t delivered a newsletter in the last six months. Guess what happens then? People forget why they’re even getting your newsletter, so they ignore it. Or unsubscribe. Then you have to rebuild your subscriber base and start all over.
You don’t need a glossy, multipage newsletter that rivals The New York Times. Keep it simple and you’re far more likely to keep doing the work required to deliver a newsletter consistently. Trust me, it’s a great feeling when you get an email from a unknown contact that says, “Can you please add me to your newsletter mailing list?” It can happen to you too if you apply these tips!