If you are a REALTOR focused on residential sales who distributes a monthly email newsletter, ask yourself: "Is my distribution list growing?" And more importantly, "Is my newsletter accomplishing what I wish it to?"
You already recognize that an email newsletter is an effective marketing tool to help to increase sales. Regular communication with clients and prospects is essential to increase your revenues over time. But if the results are not living up to your expectations, step back and ask yourself, "How can I improve my newsletter to increase its readership and drive more sales?" Perhaps you need to make your content more compelling or to use your newsletter in a more engineered fashion.
The marketing goals for your newsletter should be: 1) to consistently present yourself as a knowledgeable expert to whom readers can trust their real estate matters, and 2) to bring prospective clients to your Website where they can view your listings, be reminded of your realty's programs for buyers and sellers, and to see your latest promotional offers.
To retain and expand readership, your newsletters must present information of value to its intended audience. It must provide specific data beneficial to homeowners in the geographical area in which your marketing efforts are concentrated.
Some newsletters provide general "home fix-it" information, national statistical data or news on community events as their main content. There is a place for that, but this should be used sparingly. You are more likely to create a growing client base if your newsletter talks to a homeowner's wallet. Some suggestions to help make your real estate newsletter a "must read" item are:
1. Highlight a section on home values in the local area. People always want to know how their main asset (i.e., their home) is faring. Create this from MLS data sorted by zip code, then drill down to find recent sales and listings within your farming area. Show average time on market for the latter. Ideally, present this data in a graphical summary (which is easy to do using Microsoft Excel), but require the reader to branch to your website for the detailed information.
2. Using the above information, offer a tool on your Website to quickly provide a "ballpark" estimate of market value based on the latest average dollars per square foot for sales in the targeted area. Be sure to include disclaimers (e.g., "This is a rough estimate only. Actual value will vary based on location, lot size, amenities and upgrades. Contact us for a FREE competitive market analysis").
3. Identify new developments and local trends that are expected to impact future home values.
4. If you work for a full-service realty, include financial information and services, emphasizing homeowner benefits.
Your newsletter should be a vehicle for driving prospects to your Website where pertinent offerings are presented. The best way to do this is to provide compelling article lead-ins or summaries that direct your readers ("Click here for complete article") to your Website for the rest of the story. Make sure that once the article on the destination Webpage has been consumed, other enticing choices (e.g., "See Featured Listing" or "Sign up to win a FREE digital camera") are available to encourage readers to explore the Website.
In short, think through the entire process, from your newsletter to the ultimate path you wish the reader to follow on your Website. If you approach it in this manner, viewing your newsletter as but one component of a marketing machine, then over time you will be rewarded with expanded sales.
Al Kernek is a real estate broker and author of "Creating E-Mail Newsletters ? A Practical Guide for the Real Estate Community." To learn more about increasing real estate sales using low-cost Internet marketing techniques, visit Real Estate Internet Marketing