There are two variables you need to look at when it comes to building your email list:
Acquisition and Retention.
It's not just about adding a whole lot of people, it's about keeping them on your list once you've got them.
First up, Acquisition:
- You need to add everyone you come into contact with through your real estate activities. Every builder, valuer, gardener, painter you meet should be on there. If there is any chance they might be able to refer business to you (or vice-versa), then they should be on your email list. It's a great way to stay 'top of mind' with people you don't see regularly.
- Add all past clients. Don't be shy. Keep in touch.
- Add every appraisal client. You will be surprised how many salespeople don't do this.
- Add every buyer you are working with.
- Add all your friends and family. This step is often overlooked but is so important. If you send emails to your friends, you are giving them an easy way to recommend you to others - it could be a prompt to forward your newsletter to that friend they know that might be thinking of selling.
- Add a signup form to your email signature. It's easy to set this up with a service like Mailchimp. You don't even need a website.
- Set a goal. How many emails do you want to add each week? Start with an achievable number like 5 and increase it if you find that too easy.
Should you add all open home visitors?
This is a personal decision, but in my experience, it certainly helps you grow your list quickly. The key to doing this well is to build trust first. Start by sending them an email saying 'thank you' for visiting your open home. Follow up after the property has sold and let them know what it sold for. Check in with them to see how their search is going and if you can help further.
After that, if they receive an email from you with useful content (see below) they are unlikely to mind.
If, on the other hand, they pop into your open home for 30 seconds, don't hear from you for 3 months and then get a random email in their inbox from you, chances are they will be upset and rightly so. They probably don't even remember who you are.
What about community groups?
Please don't email large groups of people who don't know you, without permission. It's a bad idea. In real estate, your reputation is everything.
If you come into possession of a large email list (eg. all parents from a local school) it can be tempting to contact them all and offer your services. But if these people haven't personally dealt with you in a real estate environment, they are likely to be very upset if they get a salesy email from you without warning.
Let's talk Retention.
The key to keeping people on your list is to send them useful content. If your email adds value to their lives, then they are less likely to unsubscribe.
Sending your company's latest listings out once a week with no other content is simply not going to cut it. Most of the people on your database are probably not looking for a home right now, so you need to add more info to make sure there is something for everyone:
- Start with Agent Monday articles. Mix them up too. Don't always target sellers. You will notice our articles change focus each week between buyers, sellers, investors and homeowners. This is to make sure that we cover all members of your audience every few weeks. Sticking with this approach will reduce unsubscribes over the long term.
If you want to add even more value, include:
- Local recent sales info. Simply state the street name, features (3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom) and a sale price. If you are nervous about giving out prices, use a sale price range instead. Eg. 'sold in the mid $700's'. Buyers love this as it helps them understand the market. It also adds value because you are providing them with information they can't find anywhere else (yet).
- Local community info. Talk about your favourite cafe one week, your favourite local plumber the next. You don't need to write much, one or two sentences are fine. Consider it a 'shout-out' to people in your area who you enjoy working with or chatting to.
- Quote of the week / a recipe or other useful online links. You can't go wrong with helpful content that is likely to be of use to your audience.
You don't need to do everything on the list above. Simply sending an Agent Monday article out regularly is a perfectly adequate solution.
People are far more likely to unsubscribe from senders they don't recognise. If you only email your database every 2 or 3 months, there is a good chance they won't even recognise your name when your email comes in. You need to be consistently emailing your database every 1 to 2 weeks to gain maximum benefit.