Treat your list like you're engaging with an individual human

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.

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. 

 Written by Christina Ethridge - the founder of Leads and Leverage, helping overwhelmed business owners eliminate the marketing chaos and get more customers. Simplify your marketing & bring in more sales. 
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