If you are writing a weekly or monthly real estate newsletter because your competition has one, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Newsletters should support your overall marketing campaign. If you don’t have a clear strategy, you’re wasting money and effort by creating newsletters.
According to Dustin Russell, Manager of Acquisition Marketing at Market Leader, “Newsletters vary by industry, but for real estate professionals, they need to focus their newsletter on the consumer. Many real estate professionals make the mistake of talking about themselves too much, ‘I just sold this house’ or ‘Why I’m the number one agent in x city.’ It’s important for agents to gear their newsletters toward the consumer.”
What Market Should Your Newsletter Target?
Before you come up with a strategy, think about your target market. Who are you trying to stay in contact with? Who are you trying to sell homes to? Are they retirees, first-time homebuyers or people purchasing property as an investment? Don’t believe that you are trying to sell homes to everyone. If you build a strategy for “everyone,” you won’t be able to focus your marketing campaigns.
Budgeting for Your Newsletter
Look at your budget for a newsletter. First, figure out if you want a print or e-mail newsletter. Print newsletters are expensive, and it’s hard to determine if anyone has read one unless they contact you. But they also have a physical presence that wins them respect from the reader (if they are well-designed and written). Likewise, print newsletters have staying power (think about how many you collect in a month). They can be easily passed on, left in waiting rooms or given out.
E-mail newsletters are popular because they are less expensive, but they are also less formal. People respond less favorably and distrust e-mail newsletters that look like spam or appear to be poorly designed. According to Robert L. Weiner Consulting, only 11 percent of people actually read e-mail newsletters and 57 percent skim their newsletters.
Only 11 percent of people actually read e-mail newsletters, and 57 percent skim them.
To decide, take a look at your budget and think about your target market. If your target market consists of retirees and you can afford to print, think about going with a printed newsletter – it will have better chances getting into the hands of your target market. For those who are marketing to first-time homebuyers and are on a small budget, consider choosing e-mail newsletters. People in the first-time homebuyer category are generally accustomed to getting their information online or through their e-mail.
Crafting Your Newsletter Content
Your number one newsletter content priority is to write copy that engages its reader. If you are creating an e-mail newsletter, also spend some time coming up with engaging subject lines. A generic subject line like “Alice Ross’ Weekly Newsletter” will not incentive people to read your e-mail.
To come up with a good subject line, wait to write one until after you’ve written the newsletter. Come up with a 40- to 50-character subject lines that explain the content in the newsletter and captures the readers attention. You can get some good ideas for subject lines from your own inbox. There’s also nothing stopping you from trying multiple email subject lines, and using the most effective one for future mailings!
Number one newsletter priority: fill it with engaging content!
So what should you write in the newsletter? Write about topics that are interesting to you or that your target market will find informative. You are trying to connect with your target market, and there is nothing that will lose that connection faster than a boring newsletter.
Looking for some ideas on what to put in your newsletter? Watch this video to learn about four simple yet effective email templates that will engage potential clients.
Russell gives some pertinent tips about creating a content toolbox to use for your newsletter:
- “Customize the newsletter for each prospect. If you know where the prospect is searching, talk about interesting things happening in that area – new shopping centers opening up, schools that performed highly on state exams, local bars and restaurants with great reviews, etc. If you have too many prospects to manage something like this, focus on your top five for customized content.
- Update prospects with trends in interest rates, home values, and neighborhood stats.
- Position yourself as the local expert. Write a blog with your expert opinion on a trending topic in real estate and link to it in your newsletter.
- Most consumers will be interested in listings. Take a few listings that are extremely interesting (customized to the prospect) and post them on your newsletter with a link back to your website. This keeps them engaged with you and off of other websites where they’ll run into more agents vying for their attention.
- Add something fun. Express your personality, but in a professional manner – funny cartoons, games, puzzles and articles may be just the thing you need to connect with a new lead.”
Personalizing your newsletter will make it stand out from the crowd regardless of whether it is printed or e-mailed. A clear strategy for your newsletter raises your chances of making and maintaining important contacts.