Chances are you’ve already heard that “email is dead” from some marketing expert. Even as other online communication channels, like Live Chat, becomes increasingly popular, email remains one of the top ways to communicate with home buyers.
Email is a simple and effective way to communicate with buyers. It gives you a direct way of providing the relevant, valuable information they need to achieve their goal of buying a new home. Email marketing is a valuable tool in a home builder’s digital marketing strategy. Here’s the essential guide to getting started with email marketing.
Why email marketing works for home builders
Before we discuss the ins and outs of creating a successful email marketing strategy, let’s talk about why email is a vital part of a home builder’s marketing. We hit on it earlier but email allows you to provide tailored content based on where buyers are in the buying process. This allows builders to nurture a lead through the sales funnel and eventually into their new home.
One of the most powerful benefits of email marketing is that you own the channel. Unlike social media, you’re not subject to a third-party’s rules on when, where, and how you reach out to subscribers. Nor do you have to worry about losing access to these subscribers if a third-party platform disappears or they throttle your organic reach (we’re looking at you, Facebook).
Developing an email marketing strategy
Blindly sending out emails without a plan is ineffective and damages your credibility with buyers. Taking the time to develop a strategic plan to guide the design, content, and measurement of your campaigns.
Identify your audience: a one-size approach does not work for email marketing. It’s important to create tailored information based on your audience’s needs. Most builder audiences consist of several groups including prospective buyers, realtors, and current homeowners.
Establish your goals: Define what your goals will be for measuring performance. Research industry averages for email stats like open and click rates and use them as starting benchmarks for your goals.
Choose an email campaign type: There are a lot of possibilities about the kinds of emails to send. Will you be sending a weekly newsletter or just sending community promotional announcements? Will you be sharing highlights from specific blog posts? Decide what’s best for your audience.
Set a schedule: Decide how often you plan on sending an email to your mailing list, whether its weekly, monthly or somewhere in between. Whatever schedule you choose, make sure to stay consistent.
Measure the results: Measuring the results of each email campaign is an important step in maintaining your email strategy. Looking at the results will allow you to make adjustments to the timing of email launches, the design and messaging,
Building your email list
The goal of a home builder’s website is converting visitors into leads, which will ultimately form your email marketing list. It’s important to make sure your website is designed to convert visitors by having opt-in forms on each page and clear calls-to-action to encourage sign-ups. Smart builders will also use their social media platforms to gather additional sign-ups.
Segment your email list
One size does not fit all when it comes to emails. Each home buyer who joins your mailing list will be in a different stage of their buyer’s journey. Proper list segmentation allows you to create and provide relevant emails to your audience. There are several ways builders can segment their email lists. Some popular ones included a community of interest, purchase intent, buyer type (i.e. first-time homebuyer or active adult), and realtors, to name just a few.
Design optimized emails
The next step is to design your emails. Here are the main elements of a successful email campaign:
A strong subject line: use strong action words that encourage people to open your email. Your subject line should give readers a preview of what to expect in your message. Be careful of the words you use in your subject lines as well. Stay away from spammy words like “free” or clickbaity titles.
Use images AND text: a lot of builders are guilty of this but don’t send image-only emails! Images are not downloaded by default on many devices so if you send an image-based email, your message will not be seen. Instead, have live text that will convey your message even if the images are not seen.
A clear call to action: make sure you tell your audience what step you want them to take next, whether its to schedule a tour, visit a community, or see a specific home.
Optimized for mobile: just like your website, your emails should be mobile-friendly. More people use their mobile phones to check their email so it’s important to make sure your email can be easily read on these smaller devices. This is easily done by creating responsively designed emails so they appear just as good on smaller phones as it does on a laptop.
Maintain a clean list
Keep your mailing list fresh by routinely checking in on your subscribers. Over time your email lists may go stale. Sometimes people change email accounts, are no longer interested in receiving information from you, or haven’t bothered to unsubscribe for your list. You want to make sure the people on your lists are engaged.
Go through your email list and remove any bounced email addresses. Then, segment out any inactive contacts (those who haven’t opened or clicked on an email in the past six months or more) and send a final re-engagement campaign asking if they want to keep receiving emails from you. Keep those who respond and remove anyone who doesn’t.
Another option is to occasionally send an email asking if they would like to update their information and preferences.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful and effective digital marketing tools. Since home buyers do most of their home search online, creating compelling email campaigns that navigate them through their home buying journey will set you apart from the competition. If you need help developing a successful email marketing campaign, give us a call.