Is your email marketing dying? Here’s how to revive it in 5 steps

I find it interesting how we, as an industry, utilize email. Mostly what I find interesting is how we are failing miserably at using such a powerful tool. The real estate industry, as a whole, sucks at leveraging email.

  • We use free personal email addresses and expect people to take us seriously.
  • We email randomly, infrequently, and can’t figure out why it’s not working to convert people.
  • We send out canned crap and wonder why nobody actually reads what we are sending them.

We are afraid of being a nuisance, and rightly so! What we are emailing, how we are emailing, why we are emailing, when we are emailing, and who we are emailing are all out of whack. We don’t know what we are doing and we refuse to take the time to learn how to use email.

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We have got to turn our thought process upside down. We need to change our mindset. We need to look outside of the real estate industry and watch the businesses that are using email. Businesses that are having phenomenal success while others, like the real estate industry, languish.

One of the key pieces when it comes to leveraging email is that you have to realize that you aren’t “email marketing.” This isn’t about sending out your real estate newsletter, or sending an email every three weeks in hopes of staying “top-of-mind.”

This is about a relationship and relationships grow when we have conversations. With real people. You’ve got to stop throwing emails at your list and start having conversations with the people on your list.

Here are 5 things you can change in your email marketing that will immediately double your results.

First – Stop thinking about your email list as a global whole.

Stop thinking (and acting) as though they are just subscribers. As if they are headless, faceless leads. Start thinking about them as your community, as your tribe. As people who want, and need, your help in their journey.

This means you need to be writing your emails as if you are emailing to one single person. Your emails need to be personal. Your emails need to be an actual conversation. And no, I’m not talking about making sure their name is in the email. While this is good, it’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about one-on-one and building know, like, and trust relationships with a single person. You need to be writing your emails as if you were standing in front of someone and having a conversation with them. A conversation, not a lecture.

Second – Stop touching and start connecting.

An image I keep seeing in my mind about how the real estate industry uses email marketing is this: A person is standing out in the middle of nothing. Suddenly you come up and start throwing paper at them. On that paper is the canned crap you buy from whatever vendor you are getting canned email crap from.

Then, another real estate agent comes up and starts doing the same thing to the same person with the same canned crap. And then another agent comes up, does the same thing, with the same canned crap. And another and another and another.

In other words, we are just throwing crap at people. We aren’t making a connection. Would you do that in-person, in real life? Then why do we think it’s ok to do that virtually?

I believe it’s because we are disconnected from the idea that “virtual” is real. We erect this amazing wall of stone between what we do with people while we are face-to-face with them and can’t seem to figure out how to do the exact same thing, virtually.

I also believe it’s because we are so pushed to “systematize” and “assembly line” our business that we forget how to create and build relationships. We think of email as just another assembly line tool when in fact, it’s a relationship building tool. A tool that allows us to build one-to-many relationships. A tool that allows us to leverage our time. A tool that enhances our ability to connect with as many people as possible. But we draw a blank on how to effectively use email as a tool.

Third – Be a real person!

Yes, I know you are real person, but we don’t come across that way when we are sending email to our list. We come across as a robotic commercial when we send out emails in a fancy template newsletter format.

Let’s be real here, do you send one-on-one emails in an image heavy newsletter format? Really? Why? Because it’s got the logo and colors of your brand?

Knock it off. You don’t send an email to your friend that includes all of your branding so stop trying to focus on branding and start focusing on being a real person. Real people send text only emails. Real people send single thought, single topic emails. Real people don’t try to stuff an email full of every conceivable thought they want to share. Real people aren’t focused on the closing table. Real people go through a journey.

Real people are real, with themselves and each other. They reveal themselves to others. People relate to people, not businesses. Reveal your own struggles, your own journey, whether that is directly related to buying or selling a house or not. Relate pieces of your life. Become real to the people on your list.

Fourth – Be useful.

You don’t want to email only when you need something, like a closing in the next month. You need to be helpful and generous all the time.

It’s painfully obvious when real estate agents need more listings or buyers… they send out an email that is usually some fancy looking email with lots of images and tons of canned crap or promotion of their listings.

Guys, this isn’t useful. This is obvious. There is no value in it and your email community simply isn’t interested, which is why you aren’t able to leverage your email list into a forceful piece of lead conversion in your business.

When you are focused on being useful, you aren’t trying to be all things to all people. Remember above when I said to think of the people on your list as an individual you are face-to-face with? Well, do you try to fix all of their problems every conceivable way or do you help them with one thing at a time?

Don’t try to push your agenda onto your email community. Instead, figure out what they are struggling with and help them, a little at a time, in each email.

Fifth – Be strategic.

Why are you sending an email? What are your expectations?

Listen, the first goal is not to get a “come sell my house” phone call, although this will happen when you do email marketing right. Your goal is to move people along their journey, their journey with you.

That means you’ve got to be strategic. You’ve got to understand that each email you send is a piece of your relationship with them, it’s not the end game. You want to create and build a relationship with them and that only happens with consistency in connecting with them. Notice I said connecting, not touching? Yeah, check out step two above.

Strategy focuses on the long-term outcome, not the short term. To strategically use email in your real estate business, you’ve got to be focused on the long-term outcome.

Again, why are you sending an email? Are your expectations absurd or are they long-term focused? Email marketing is amazing for creating and building relationships, powerful and loyal relationships. But without a long-term strategy, you’ll just be throwing canned crap, randomly, at your list and you’ll accomplish exactly nothing.

When you know who you are emailing, when you intimately understand your avatar, it changes everything.

These 5 things I just talked about become easy. Almost ridiculously easy. That’s why I created an Avatar Creator Template just for you. Click here and I’ll give it to you, free.

What should real estate agents be posting on their Facebook business page?

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One of the most asked questions I get from real estate agents is “what should I be posting on my Facebook business page.”

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Featured Download: The Facebook Page Setup Checklist. The step-by-step guide you need to get your Facebook page up and running and bringing in real estate leads. (Download Now)

As an agent, I know you are hoping for a quick answer, an easy answer.

I know that you are holding out hope that I’m going to say “just go hire a vendor to pump out stuff on your page.”

But… it’s a little more complex than just outsourcing content.

You see, it all starts with understanding why you even have a Facebook business page in the first place… and you can’t just jump to the “I want more closings” conclusion. You’ve got to work out the process… you’ve got to understand how your business page plays into that process.

When you know the why behind your page, you can discover the who… who is your page for, the what… what should you be posting, the how… how should you be utilizing your page, and the when… timing is important.

In a nutshell, your Facebook business page is for your customer.

I know, I know… you’re saying “duh” Christina! But here’s the reality… we say we know that our business page is for our customer and yet… we don’t try to figure out what our customer needs or wants.

What does your customer need? This is the question you need to start with.

Think about their journey… their homeownership journey. From the moment they begin thinking about owning a home to the last moment they own a home. That journey spans a lifetime. From 1st-time homebuyer to move-up buyer/seller to downsize buyer/seller to assisted living seller.

Make sense? In other words, there are decades of time in your customer’s journey… not just the 5-6 months or so of the buy/sell process.

What you share on your Facebook business page needs to be what your customer needs.

It needs to be relevant to their lifestyle.

It needs to solve their problems.

It needs to be focused on walking them through their journey, from buying a home, to living in the community, to selling their home, etc.

And remember, the “cycle” of their journey is about 10-12 years long (that is the average length of time people own their homes) so you need to go on that journey with them through the content you create and the content you share.

Yes, you’ll need to create content, but we’ll get to that portion in another article.

Today I’m just going to focus on the content you share. Curated content.

What you don’t want to do is focus on random “calendar of events” type posts because, you aren’t their activities director. Make it about their lifestyle, in context to their journey they go through with their home.

When they start thinking about moving, what are their needs? What are their problems? What about before they start thinking about moving?

As they move through life, have they gotten married? Adopted? Given birth? Brought another generation into their home? Get divorced? Experience a death? Change jobs?

What are their needs, contextually, when they go through all of these things in their life?

Being contextual is important, very important.

What do I mean by contextually? I mean, help them solve their “living” problems through these lenses.

When they get married, what is perceived as the next step? When a family member dies, how do they handle the real estate in the estate? When they bring in an aging parent, what do they usually need in terms of their home lifestyle?

Each one of these experiences will happen in the lives of your customers. What do these experiences mean for their lifestyle, their living situation, their home? THAT is what you want to share on your business page.

Always remember, your customer is not you.

They don’t know the same things as you.

They aren’t in the industry and don’t understand the relevancy of most statistics… so here’s a clue, run away from national statistics. They are boring to them. They’ll scroll past. Why? Because national statistics are meaningless to them. Most real estate agents don’t understand how national statistics drill down and relate to their own individual home, let alone a customer who is outside of the real estate industry.

And quite frankly, we are all overrun with information. We are overwhelmed. We experience frustration. We experience stress. We end up at a standstill because there is simply too much information out there. You need to be their guide. They want a guide. They need a guide. They want to know, like, and trust someone to help them through this entire journey.

So be focused on being their guide.

Be focused on helping them decipher the noise.

Don’t just throw more noise (information) at them.

Be very careful with local statistics. If all you are doing is pushing out stats and saying “now’s the time to buy” that is not helping your customer. Not one iota. It’s pushing your agenda, which is to have more closings. Don’t kid yourself that it’s for your customer.

It’s also not helping you. You are actively pushing people away instead of attracting them. Remember, your goal is to create, and build, know, like, and trust relationships, not turn people off.

Flip your thinking. The goal is to help create focus and clarity in their lives, not to confuse them more.

I think that the major reason real estate agents don’t know how to lead generate and convert all that well is because they are confused and thus they end up projecting that confusion out to the world, to their customer.

They’re confused about how they can help people before the contract and yet still get a contract from the help.

It’s a journey, a journey to create and build, know, like, and trust relationships and when you understand that journey and successfully execute and implement that journey into your business, your business is affected dramatically… it grows quickly and scales beyond your imagination.

Here’s a tip when it comes to sharing local statistics… share a single statistic and drill it down to exactly how that statistic affects them or their home, personally. If you can’t explain it to a 10 year old so they understand it, you don’t understand it yourself and neither will your customer.

So what should you be sharing on your Facebook business page?

Like I said above, you need to be sharing resources and information that will help your customer on their journey… you want to share valuable information, relevant information, correct information. Remember, what you share is a reflection of you, so your reputation is on the line here too.

And, when you share, don’t put so much content into each status update that it just flies right on by in their news feed. You want to keep it insanely simple. Share one thought. Ask one question. Share one aspect. That’s it. It’s much simpler than most people think.

What do your customers love?

Most people enjoy home tours. Most people enjoy remodels. Your customers also need to know insider secrets. They need to be educated. They want to be educated.

However, they do not want to be sold to. Stay away from anything and everything that talks about why they need a REALTOR. Don’t share any checklists or articles that tell them that in order to succeed at buying or selling their home, they need to use a REALTOR. Why? Because they don’t know, like, or trust you yet and don’t believe you. In fact, it closes them off to listening to anything else they have to say.

And let’s be realistic… they don’t need a REALTOR (or real estate agent). Many people successfully sell their homes themselves, so stop preaching that they’ll fail if they don’t use you.

What do you do instead? You teach them. You educate them. Educate them without a blatant agenda. Educate them about the successes and failures, about what affects their home and what doesn’t, about new tips, tricks, and tactics they can try to get a higher price, etc. You let them discover that you are authentic. That you are an expert. That they need your guidance. They must discover this for themselves. The discovery is the journey.

Here are some specific things you can share on your Facebook business page that appeals to most real estate leads out there…

Home Tips: Give short & succinct, but valuable tips about their home… from a maintenance tip to a showing tip to a home hunt tip to a curb appeal tip… give them tips. Short. Succinct. One tip per update focus.

Home Tours: People love home tours. LOVE them. And, it doesn’t matter where in the world the home is, they love looking at them. So, you need to share them! From all over the world. All different kinds of tours. From tiny apartments to sprawling estates. Why do you think people go to open houses and go on home tours? They like seeing the possibilities.

Remodels: Next to home tours, this is probably just as popular. People like seeing what others have done. They like ideas. Think of the popularity of Pinterest… they love seeing the before and after so show them lots of remodels!

Quotes/Memes: This one, no matter how much Facebook changes their algorithm, is always popular. People love quotes. They love inspiration. They love beautiful and funny pictures. So share quotes… share memes. Give them a smile on their face.

But… I say all of this with a huge caveat.

…if your Facebook business page isn’t setup to generate leads, it won’t matter what you put on it, because your efforts will be all for naught.

If you think of your Facebook business page as a place for them to explore, rather than a conduit between Facebook and your database, you’ll forever be battling to generate leads.

Your Facebook business page must be setup as a lead generating conduit, a funnel, and that’s why I’m giving you access to my Facebook Page Setup Checklist… it’s free and it’s yours, just click here.

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