5 Essentials for an Effective Email Newsletter Strategy
In your multipronged marketing approach, there is one powerful tool that helps you establish local expertise and consistent brand recognition (in a noninvasive way), while maintaining a personalized feel with your database: the email newsletter.
The benefits continue – email newsletters sustain your relationships and nudge your sphere to execute on calls to action, all while giving you the ability to reach inboxes across the world with the push of a button. To explore more of what they have to offer and help you elevate your own business through email, Outfront sat down with South Carolina-based KW agent Andrew Morrison, and KWRI’s own email marketing whiz, Jasmine Huffine. Here, they share their most helpful tips.
Andrew Morrison, Keller Williams Palmetto Realtor
Since joining Columbia, South Carolina real estate team The Key Group in June as a lead buyer’s agent, Morrison has dug into the team’s email marketing strategy, making over their email newsletter process with the help of Command Email and working toward the ultimate goal of increasing lead generation through Command. Since making the switch, Morrison has already gotten 13 deals under contract. Here is how the Realtor targets his 450-person individual database and 2K-plus team database.
First Things First: Clean Your Database
For Morrison, a successful strategy starts with the foundation of the newsletter: the database itself. To make sure he is using his database to its full potential, Morrison employs an eight-category tagging system through Contacts that he credits KW Florida-based tech trainer Donnie Brookman with. Not all of them are relevant to his email marketing efforts, but a majority help inform newsletter sends.
Systemize Success With Tags
For each contact, Morrison asks himself the following and then assigns relevant tags:
- Who are they? (options include: buyer, seller, agent, investor, SOI, referral partner, etc.)
- How do I know them? (options include: Facebook lead, open house, neighbor, lender referral, etc.)
- Where are they? (options include: his home state of Kentucky, current market, etc.)
- Partner level (is this someone who has bought with him once and will probably not do it again, or has he gotten multiple referrals from them?)
- An ‘action’ category (very valuable for email marketing efforts, it indicates who will receive stand-alone emails like holiday and veteran ones)
These tags ensure that Morrison is sharing the most relevant content to the most relevant audience. “So, if they are a buyer and I have an open house coming up, everyone who is tagged as a buyer in Columbia will be targeted for that open house event. In addition, anyone who bought a home two or more years ago will also be targeted in the same email,” he explains.
Of Utmost Importance: Time and Value
“I don’t want our email to become the next email to get deleted because agents get it every day of the week,” Morrison says. “I want to provide value and for people to read it.” With that in mind, he has gotten into a cadence of monthly emails where his sphere can expect valuable information on market statistics, and local business or activity highlights.
He also asks his sphere for referrals with casual language such as: “If you know anybody looking to buy or sell, let me know.” “I’m constantly reminding people that this is what I do,” he says. “I want to provide value to you, but also make sure that I am the number one person that has your mindshare for real estate.”
Monthly, Morrison creates one master email outline, then tweaks the content slightly to account for differences between buyer/seller and local/not local audiences. Ultimately, he creates three to four versions of each newsletter.
Tips from Jasmine Huffine, Content Writer, KWRI
As the KWRI marketing team’s superstar content writer, Huffine handles many of the company’s copy needs – but a large portion of her day-to-day involves email newsletters that touch various members of a database 166K professionals strong. Huffine manages the company’s two weekly sends, The Lead (geared toward specific leadership positions), and KW Now (a combination of agents, leaders, support staff, and KWRI associates). In addition, she manages monthly newsletters for new KW agents, and daily sends during events like Family Reunion and Mega Camp.
“The goal is to entertain our audience while providing concisely written information,” she shares. “It’s a challenge, but I thrive in that kind of environment so I look forward to writing our emails every week.” Here is how she ensures that KWRI communication stays informative and entertaining.
Keep a Consistent Tone
KWRI’s newsletter offerings span a wide variety of topics, making it important to keep the overall voice as consistent as possible. With this in mind, Huffine likes to keep things warm, light, and at times downright quippy, yet maintaining a to-the-point approach. “I like to think of our email voice as the spirited sibling of the KW brand family – it likes to do its own thing, but its defining characteristics reveal how closely it’s related to our core brand pillars,” she shares. “Most importantly, every word that goes into our emails is inspired by the energy and strength our agents embody.”
Eyes on the KPIs
As you start crafting your strategy, think about what constitutes a successful email. “I like to measure success by collective engagement and also what I learn about our audience’s needs,” Huffine says. By keeping a close eye on key analytics, she is able to spot any trends or outliers – such as an open rate that is at or above her goal number. “This not only tells me that the subject line struck a chord with our audience, but reveals that we as a marketing team need to create more content around that particular subject matter. We also learn from the flip side of that,” she says. Huffine also keeps a close eye on the click-through rate (CTR), which measures how many people clicked through the content in relation to how many emails were delivered. This gives her insights into whether the content being provided to the audience is capturing their attention.
Optimize Your Send
To ensure you’ve optimized your email newsletter for the highest possible open rate, Huffine offers the following tried and tested checklist:
- Spend time on your subject line. Look at the content of your email in relation to what content has performed well in the past or which subject lines have performed well. Formulate your subject line to match what your metrics tell you.
- Don’t bury the lead. Make sure your subject line hovers around 50 characters or less and leaves your audience guessing. For example, “The listing you’ve been waiting for.” This encourages your audience to click through to find the gold at the end of the rainbow.
- Make it personal. If you have the option to add a personalized element to the subject line, like their first name or city of residence, it will grab their attention.
- Be strategic with your timing. When you send the email is almost as important as what’s inside the email. If you have past email performance at your disposal, look at what days and times produced the most successful open rates. If you don’t have enough information, typically early morning or midday should work. That said, don’t be afraid to experiment with send times or to schedule your email to send by time zone. Reveal what works for your particular audience. Your goal should be to meet your audience where (and when) they are.
- Create audience segments. Not every person in your database should receive every email you send, so think strategically. If you have a group of leads that you know are interested in a particular neighborhood, send them information that pertains to that area. While some email messages are meant to be sent to your whole list, many are better off serving a more tailored audience.
As you start planning your own long-term email newsletter strategy, become comfortable with a mindset of consistency: in your brand, your tone of voice, and your cadence. “One email isn’t going to win,” Morrison says. “It takes multiple emails and multiple touches on a consistent level in order to gain traction and gain that mindshare over time.”
KW Agents – A New Tool For You, Command Email
Command Email is now available for you to send emails directly from your account. As a user, you can send 5,000 emails per month at no charge with two avenues for delivery.