What role does email marketing play in your larger real estate marketing plan? What does your email nurture path look like? How effective is your email messaging and design?
If you’re unsure of the answer to some of these questions, you could be missing out on one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies available today. Although other digital tactics like search ads and SEO tend to get more of a spotlight, email is still one of the most effective ways to nurture leads without overspending.
There are a lot of advantages email marketing has over other areas of digital real estate marketing. For example, it excels as a retargeting strategy, keeping your property top-of-mind at various stages of a prospect’s housing search or reminding a current resident of all the reasons to renew. It’s also easy to track performance, with open, click-through, bounce, and unsubscribe rates all easily visible in any major email client. Plus, it reaches your audience whenever and wherever they are, with most people checking emails multiple times every single day.
If you’re looking for general email marketing tips, try starting with our post on Email Marketing for Apartments: Best Practices That Actually Earn Leases. That post will get you started with some of the core principles and tactics behind successful email marketing. If you’ve read that article and you’re ready for more email marketing ideas related to nurture paths, online reputation, improved analytics tracking, time-saving tactics, and more, then keep reading. These are the tips for you.
Set Up a VIP List or Waiting List
Setting up a VIP List for a new development that hasn’t begun leasing or a waitlist for your fully leased-up property is a great way to get more leads into your leasing funnel and get a headstart on leasing down the road. After all, email marketing is only as strong as your list of email addresses; you can’t make the most of this strategy if you have no one to send marketing emails to.
For VIP Lists, be sure to add a sign-up form to the landing page for you community and entice sign-ups by giving VIPs the chance to be the first to hear about development updates, availability, and special offers.
To implement a waitlist, consider adding a sign-up form on the floor plans page with messaging that directs users who are looking for currently unavailable floor plans to sign up for the waitlist to be notified when this floor plan is available. That way, once this floor plan has availability you can send their notification email and start them on a lead nurture campaign that includes info about special rates and other community perks to keep your community top of mind.
Define Your Email Nurture Path(s)
Speaking of nurture paths, do you already have an automated nurture path set up in your email client of choice? If not, you’re likely missing out on the full potential of email marketing. Even with a great CRM platform, it’s easy to lose track of all the individual touchpoints that add up to effective email marketing campaigns when you haven’t automated the process.
Creating an automated Customer Journey is possible in most leading email clients, including MailChimp and they’ll save you a lot of time and headache in the long run. Customer Journeys (what we’re calling Nurture Paths) help you create a customized series of emails depending on the behavior of your audience. For example, you can automatically send a welcome email with some basic information when a contact is added to your email list. Then, depending on whether they open that email, you can send different follow-up emails with targeted messaging to try to engage them further. Or, if they clicked a particular link within the email, you can set up an automated email to send them more information related to the link they clicked on. This way, you tailor your marketing messaging in accordance with each user’s individual priorities and needs.
One way to further specialize your customer journey (AKA nurture path) is to create tags for different types of leads coming in. For example, student housing communities might have tags for parents vs. students and senior apartments might have tags for seniors vs. their children while multifamily communities might create tags for resident referrals vs. leads generated by paid marketing strategies. That way, the only manual step you have to do is tagging each new contact that comes in wherever possible. Tags like these help you target your email content based on different segments of your audience and what is most important and relevant to them.
Send Timely Emails About Special Rates
When you implement a special, you want to make sure everyone knows about it. After all, a special rate can easily be the deciding factor in a prospect’s housing decision. Make your specials work harder by sharing them with your leads as soon as they are implemented.
Improve Your Online Reputation By Earning More Reviews
Prospects aren’t the only ones you should be marketing to. Email marketing can also be used to turn current residents into brand advocates. For example, a friendly email asking current residents to leave a review can help improve your online reputation and entice more future residents.
To increase the likelihood of positive reviews, consider the timing of this email. A good time to send review request emails might be after a maintenance request has been completed in a timely manner or after a successful resident event. You can also send tour follow-up emails after a prospect has taken a tour in order to thank them for coming, remind them of any specials, provide an application link, and prompt them to leave a review about their tour experience.
Get Better Insights By Using UTM Codes
UTM codes are added to the end of a URL so that Google Analytics can identify the source of a click more easily. Incorporating them in your emails can help you get more digital marketing insights to understand how your audience thinks and behaves. For example, with a UTM code in place, you can explore the user journey on your site when someone arrives after clicking an email. How many pages (and which ones) do they view after clicking in an email? Do they take certain actions when clicking through from one email more than another? What email content corresponds with more conversion actions? Implementing UTM codes in your email links can help you gain powerful insights like these.
Save Time With Ready-To-Send Email Templates
Designing an email that impresses prospects and stands out from the sea of other emails in their inbox isn’t easy. After all, the message is only part of the puzzle and a poorly designed email could even backfire by making you seem amateurish. But great design takes time and graphic design isn’t a skill most property managers have in their back pocket.
That’s there email templates can come in handy. Whether you create a template internally, buy one for cheap from a site like Threshify, or work directly with a real estate marketing agency to create ready-to-send email templates customized for your brand, using a template can save hours of time, saving you money and headache in the long run. Consider creating templates for everything from tour confirmations to rent reminders to maintenance request confirmations to review requests to rent renewal notifications. Remember, marketing shouldn’t stop after a resident moves in. Emails are a great way to improve resident experiences and earn more renewals, referrals, and positive reviews.
At Threshold, we regularly create ready-to-send email templates customized for seasonal events, leasing milestones like tours, move-ins, and lease renewal reminders, or ad hoc templates requested by clients. In fact, our templates are typically animated in order to increase email engagement and really wow prospects and residents alike. Ask your real estate marketing partner if they can create email templates like these for your community or reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about Threshold’s email marketing services.