real estate email marketing

Ever since I started blogging about real estate marketing, I’ve gotten into the habit of obsessively studying all property billboards, emails, and online ads that come my way.

So while the normal reaction to a real estate ad is a yawn – when I spot one, I get all chatty and excited about pressing issues such as the abuse of the word ‘luxury’ in property descriptions.

Now, the one thing I feel most strongly about, is how tragically often real estate companies commit an obvious sin in their real estate email marketing campaigns.

Wondering what I’m talking about? Take a look at some of the property mails that have recently landed in my inbox :-

real estate email marketing 1

real estate email marketing

real estate email marketing

Q : What’s the one word that your mind screams as you scroll along these?


These emails have the S-word written all over them in big, bold and capital letters. They’re talking like ads – old-school, shot-in-the-dark, unsolicited ads that no one likes.  They’re being impersonal in a very personal space (your inbox), and that’s their biggest mistake.

Imagine a sales person belting out ‘HURRY! GRAB OUR PROPERTY AT 20% OFF! ONLY 2 UNITS LEFT!’ the moment you open the door for him. I’m pretty sure you’ll bang the door shut the next moment!

This is exactly how you’re making your prospect feel when you land up in their inbox and scream ‘buy from me’ right away.

Instead, you can make your emails a lot more welcome and a lot less likely to die unopened in Spam, by personalizing them.

So if you’re planning to send an email like this :- real estate email marketing

You can greatly improve it by personalizing it, like this:-

real estate email marketing

Here’s why the second email works better :-

import export business  It greets the prospect by name

import export business  It speaks to the prospect in first-person (that is, uses ‘I’ instead of ‘we’)

import export business  It uses words like ‘handpicked’ to sound like a 1-on-1 conversation instead of an announcement.

import export business  It is customized to be relevant to the prospect (by showcasing property listings in the prospect’s preferred location within the city).

import export business  It goes an extra mile to help the prospect (by suggesting property listings in areas close to the prospect’s preferred location)

import export business  It asks the prospect to reach out to the sender of the email for more assistance, instead of giving a faceless call-center number.

A good salesperson is warm, friendly and helps prospects solve their problems using his product. A bad salesperson, on the other hand, delivers memorized lines about his product’s benefits at every opportunity.

Your email is nothing but an online salesperson – so make sure it’s a good one :-)

A large IT services company had invited me for a consulting session a few weeks ago.

We just cannot generate enough business, they complained. No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to move the needle. We even hired 20 more marketing executives – but it makes no difference!

I giggled and asked them to tell me more about their current marketing activities.

We do social media marketing. We do SEO, and we’ve built a large website with over 400 pages at the recommendation of our SEO specialist. We send mailers to our prospects.

Sure, but how many inbound marketing specialists do you have?

We have 3 content writers. They create content for our corporate blog and for LinkedIn Pulse.

That’s exactly what the problem is: this is not inbound marketing!

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is about taking a consultative, problem-solving approach with your prospects. It is not about hiring content writers and getting them to write blog posts.

Most companies that I’ve worked with, face the same set of problems. They boast about their services on their websites and blogs. Rarely do they speak about the customer’s problems. For example, a typical IT Services website is cluttered with the different IT services they offer – iOS development, Titanium development, PhoneGap development, Martian development! But that’s not what it is. Rather, it’s about solving your customer’s problems.

How are businesses using inbound marketing?

Instead of providing value to users, companies use their online presence for self-promotion. Because they neglect the concept of buyer’s journey.

Most companies strive to look the best they can to prospects that have already reached the ‘Decision’ stage in the Buyer’s journey and are actively searching for products.

But when you let a person move up the strenuous buyer’s journey all by himself, and reach out to him only at the Decision stage, you are just one of the many options available to him! No previous rapport has been built.

As a result, you lose out on a huge chunk of prospects that you could have won if you had addressed the prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey, say in the ‘Awareness Stage’ itself.

How should it be used instead?

Companies should target prospects in the awareness stage.

Prospects in the awareness stage are largely ignorant and face a problem, that should be solved ideally by you.

This is where savvy companies win the game. They do not wait for prospects to come, knock on their website, and submit a form to try your product. They talk about customer problems and how they can solve them, instead of simply focusing on their own services. In fact, they avoid talking about their offerings until the prospect has developed confidence in their brand through high-value content.

Take a look at these sales emails:-

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing

Clearly, the second option would work better! This is because:-

  • It addresses a specific person in a specific company
  • It is personal and friendly
  • I demonstrate that I’ve done my homework about the specifics of their solution
  • It pitches only one thing that the prospect can consider us for.
  • I provide tangible proof that I am the guy for that work (the Ebook attached)

How can you make the most of inbound marketing?

Firstly, abandon the ‘grocery store’ mindset. Do not list a basket of services that you offer. Instead, explain the problems that you solve.

Secondly, do not think ‘markets’ or ‘industries’ – think customer personas. Stop looking like a company. Be as personal as you can. Do not address him when he’s already facing a problem, and the ground is burning under his feet. Address him in peaceful times, so that he recalls you in peaceful ones.

Thirdly, invest in design. Keep looking for designers until you find the best ones, and pay them as much as you can. Good design projects credibility to your prospects.

Finally, get sales and marketing to work together. The customer persona is where both teams meet. You can hire the best writers in the world and achieve nothing if they aren’t aware of the ground realities of the buyers and their problems. This is the kind of first-hand input only Sales teams can provide. So, make sure your sales and marketing teams sit together every once in a while and review the processes.

Have any more questions? Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Everything you need to know about mobile app marketing was discussed in the last webinar. Akhil Chandra, founder and CEO of Studio Mosaic, a mobile app studio, talked about the essentials of app marketing, right from pre-launch to post-launch activities, followed by app store optimization and app promotion. Those of you looking for insights on app marketing, this webinar would really help you get started. In case you missed it,

View the webinar recording

And here are some of the questions that followed:

Question 1

How to reach tier 3 audience, considering, people hardly have access to the internet or other media?

App Marketing

You need to first check if that market is really for you and if you are creating an app that will reach out to Tier 3 and Tier 4 audiences. If the answer is yes, then for you the challenge is very different.

  • In the case of Tier 1 and Tier 2, you are getting an already engaged user who is well adept at using phone devices and online methods, and you just have to compete with the mindsets.
  • But in the case of Tier 3 and Tier 4, it is also a question of getting them to make that leap in the technology hierarchy and start using apps or social media in the first place. So that would have a different challenge in itself and you’d have to use some kind of offline marketing methods to be able to reach out to them and explain the benefits of using that app. Moreover, your online app store marketing techniques will have limitations as it will not be able to reach out to Tier 3 ad Tier 4 level of demographics.

Question 2

How does one generate revenues from an average established app?

Before I answer that, I’d like to elaborate on the type of app we are talking about.

App Marketing

Category I:

In some cases, the app is only a distribution mechanism. A lot of bricks and mortar companies, which are now making apps for themselves, fall into this category. So for example, in an education learning company, the business app would help in reaching out to people and sharing those online lessons. So here, it would entirely depend on the quality of the content they are giving. It could largely be based on subscription or on membership fee.

Category II:

There is a second category of apps, where the app itself is the business. For example, WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter. A lot of photo/ video apps fall into this category as well. Here, your revenue would emanate from the app itself. Now here, the options are a few, it could either be a paid app or you could have a freemium model.

In the case of a freemium model, essentially the app is free but you can unlock certain functionalities by paying – so it involves an in-app purchase. Freemium means that it’s a free app but if you have the option of unlocking more features by paying.

Category III:

The third category of apps comprises the subscription model. News app and music apps normally use the subscription method.

So revenue options would differ for apps, depending on the industry and category.

Sponsorship of apps is gaining popularity these days. For example, a big brand could be looking to sponsor an app by doing some kind of surrogate advertising. This involves the brand paying the app and money not being charged to consumers; like in the case of Runkeeper, which is a popular fitness app, sponsored by Nike.

These are some of the ways you can generate revenues from. Also, try advertising. Integrate the ad network and earn from advertising.

Question 3

Doesn’t Google Tag Manager work on apps?

Google Tag Manager does work on apps, but there’s a question of specialty. Google, essentially is known for the web. They also have a mobile tracking tool that tells you the mobile analytics. But Flurry and Localytics go one step further. There you can get all the same things that Google does.

Also, Google is more tuned to Android apps and they are fairly limiting to iOS apps. They like to promote their own products in every which way. Since Flurry and Localytics are third-party tools, you will not find any variation in the two platforms (Android and iOS).

Question 4

How can we measure the bounce rate of an app?

Bounce rate is a term which is commonly used for websites. In the case of apps, if would be the page from where you are exiting or shutting the app. Again, you can use tools like Flurry and Localytics to measure this. You can see where the people are leaving from and shutting the app.

[Certain marketing tools like LeadSquared will also give you these details (like which pages did they visit, how long they spent) for your mobile app, like in the case of Byju’s Classes.]

App Marketing

Question 5

In the webinar, you talked about reaching out to Apple while promoting or featuring the app after the release. What about Android?

Essentially, the concept would remain the same. Apple is more receptive to receiving such requests. Android also has apps for editors and there are certain things that they look at, in terms of compatibility. For example, if the app is device compatible.

They are also really big on you using other Google products. For instance, if you have an app using a Google Plus or Gmail login, that increases your chance of getting featured. So Google Plus might not be that popular but if you have that integrated within the app and if you are getting plus ones, then that’s a big thumbs-up. Your graphics again should be good. Those are some of the things Google would look at.

You can also connect with them directly. The team for India app store sits out of Gurgaon. You’ll find them on LinkedIn. Once you connect with them, share the link for your play store app, a media kit, icons, screenshots and possibly, the video. Send these details and highlight the functionalities.

Question 6

What’s a good app retention rate, specifically for finance and education apps?

App Marketing

This vastly differs depending on the category of the app. The retention rate should also be seen from the context of where the users are coming from. If they are generic users, then you can expect a higher retention rate but if you are getting a lot of paid downloads (incentive users – where you are giving an incentive for users to download the app), then you should expect a lower retention rate.

If for example, it’s a game, then even 10% is fantastic. If it’s a messaging app, then 40% is considered to be great. It varies somewhere between 10-40% depending on the category. On an average I would say, anything in the range from 25-35% would be good. Anything below 10% would be bad.

Typically, in a finance app, I would say something around 20% would be good. But if it’s like a bill receipt manager app where the engagement rates are higher, then even 25% or 35% can be expected. In your case, 30%-35% would be fantastic. Getting anything over 40 is extremely difficult. Most would hover around the 15-30% mark.

Online education app would be slightly on the lower side. Byju’s is among those which are doing well. 20% for an online education app would be good.

Question 7

What exactly are the parameters to measure the app success?

App success can be broadly measured in 2 ways – active users and total downloads. These are the two most important metrics that determine the success of the app. And evidently both should be high. Then there are other parameters that can be addressed which have a direct/indirect impact on the above two parameters, such as app store rank, retention rate, uninstallation rate, app store conversion rate, session views, session length, etc.

Visit our blog for more webinar recordings and marketing blog posts.

People often imagine once they get themselves a great marketing automation software, it will work like a genie : churning out viral campaigns on command, and bringing home those big fat leads in thousands!

This, however, is far from the truth.

The truth is that any software will work for you, only as much as you work for it. 

To help you put this nugget of wisdom to good use, here are 7 actionable marketing automation tips to get the most out of your software :

1) Experiment different channels

marketing automation tips 1 : use all lead capture channels

A marketing automation platform can help you automate nearly every channel of lead capture. For example, LeadSquared offers lead capture through websites, blogs, ads, phone calls, inbound emails as well as events and walk-ins.

Within the first few weeks of getting your software, give all of the available lead generation mechanisms a try.

Here’s the rationale behind this :

  • It’s going to be tough to set-up new channels that you’re not using currently. But kick off the inertia and do just that. Experimentation is the name of the game here, and the results may be a pleasant surprise for you! For instance, the Deltin Group  added live chat as a key channel of lead capture after noticing that it worked smoothly with LeadSquared.
  • You might also feel there is zero incentive for re-trying a channel you’ve given up on in the past. However, you need to remember that done right, automating can vastly improve the traction you get from any lead source, and hence it may just work for you now.
  • It is correct that you do not need to be spending on 10 lead generation channels, when 3 of them are getting you your best leads in generous numbers. But unless you try out all the available options, you’d never know which ones click.  Once you do have results from all the channels to compare, you can make an informed decision about which ones to prune out and which ones to retain in your lead generation strategy.

2) Engage with active and inactive leads

marketing automation tips 2- engage with inactive leads

Don’t let the sleeping leads lie!

There’s no point in having a growing database if you’re only going to engage with the tip of the iceberg.

All marketers create elaborate conversion paths for the actively engaging leads. In fact, many also create follow-up paths for the recently disengaged leads (eg. if an active lead stops responding to your email campaigns for 2 weeks, you send them something of higher value, such as an e-book or a free consultation offer).

However, they tend to forget about the inactive leads; the ones that stopped responding to your campaigns, say, 2 years ago. But unless a lead takes a definitive negative action (such as unsubscribing from your emails), it’ll do you good to not give up on it. This is because if they expressed interest in your product once, there is always a chance they might turn into buyers one day.

For instance, here at LeadSquared, we do biweekly marketing webinars, and a lot of attendees are in the early, ‘learning’ stage of their career right now. However, we continue to nurture them with specific, high-quality content because they will likely be decision-makers one day and that day, it would benefit us immensely to have top-of-the-mind recall with them.

Therefore, create conversion paths not only for your active or recently disengaged leads, but also for the inactive ones. This doesn’t just involve sending them generic promotional emails – those will certainly not incite action out of a lead that stopped responding to your campaigns years back! Instead, use your marketing automation software to the fullest by creating specific, incremental and personalized follow-ups for such leads.

3) Nurture leads with relevant and targeted content

marketing automation tips 3 - hypertarget nurturing campaigns

Nobody likes being spammed with information that doesn’t fit their exact use case.  And with good marketing automation software in your hands, a problem of this kind should never arise!

All you’d need to do is identify the kinds of buyers you have, and segment your lists accordingly. This will help you make your nurturing campaigns as specific and relevant as possible. You can also take targeting to the next level by asking your segmented leads about the kind of content they’d be interested in receiving. 

Here are a few examples of hyper-targeted nurturing across sectors :

1. If you run a travel agency, you can send customized offers to different kinds of travelers -students, young couples, families, etc. Additionally, you can make your lead’s experience richer by asking them to indicate the kind of deals they’d like to receive. For instance, if someone signs up for a couple’s package for Goa, you could ask them if they’d be interested in receiving honeymoon deals, or weekend getaway deals, or longer trip deals, and send them customized offers accordingly.

Amp up your online presence! Get our in-depth travel marketing guide, here.

2. If you’re marketing an education institute (say a B-school), you can create specific nurturing campaigns for students, working professionals, and parents. Then, you can create another layer of targeting for each of them. For instance, when a college student signs up to receive more information on a course, you can ask them about their stream, and send hyper-targeted content accordingly (for example, ‘Here’s how an Arts student like you became a consultant at Deloitte’).

Learn from the pros! Check out the best education websites of 2015, here.

3. If you are a real estate developer, you can create separate nurturing campaigns for people in different locations in the city. You can make your campaigns even more relevant by further targeting young couples, small families and joint families separately. For example, emails on the best ‘wine & dine hotspots in Kormangala’ can be sent to young couples looking for houses in that area.

4) Humanize your campaign copy

marketing automation tips 4 - humanize campaign copy

It’s a cliché, but one that is so poorly executed in general that it deserves all the mentions it gets!

Today, marketers are smart enough to not write mass emails addressing their leads as ‘Dear Prospect’. On the other hand, people are smart enough to understand that even if they’re addressed by their name in a promotional email, it’s probably been sent to hundreds like them using a software.

Does this mean that personalization is useless, or that if it is important, you need to actually sit and write one-on-one emails?

Good news: no, not at all!

The idea is not to dupe prospects into believing an email has been sent only to them and no one else.

The idea is to  make them feel that there’s a person behind this software sending them emails, and that person is warm, friendly and genuinely interested in providing them high-value content.

That’s exactly the purpose good copy can accomplish for you.

Strong, conversational, captivating copy that stands out amidst the din and speaks to your target reader in his/her ‘lingo’, can do wonders in making your prospects feel connected to you.

Consider this example from Dropbox, which is pure genius when it comes to email marketing :-

marketing automation tips

Here’s another example of great email by (a To-do list app), as shared by viral marketing expert Aashish Chopra :

marketing automation tips

Takeaway: speak to your prospects as a friend, and not as a salesperson.

Marketing automation can help you get the practical parts of your personalization right. It can help you send out very specific, relevant information to each of your users and address them by name. However, to make them sit up, care for the information and respond positively to it, you’ll need to complement your software with genuinely personal copy.

5) Customize templates

marketing automation tips 5 - customize templates

Most marketing automation software come loaded with Landing Page and Email templates. From the experiences with our clients, we’ve noticed that people tend to stick to using the same template for one kind of offer.

This defeats the purpose of having access to a library of templates and a neat tool to tweak them further.

Nobody will know your business’ exact requirements as well as you do, so don’t rely entirely on preloaded templates.

Experiment with various templates and design your own, before you zero down on the ones that work.

Apart from the design, also experiment with the soft elements of your landing page/email: images, CTA, copy, placement, overall flow, etc.

Learn the 1 secret behind every high-converting landing page!

6) Clean your database regularly

marketing automation tips 6 - clean database regularly

Database cleaning is critical because many metrics that your system reports will take into account redundant leads as well, giving you a distorted picture.

For instance, LeadSquared calculates a figure called ‘Engagement Index’, which reflects the overall engagement of the leads in the system.

marketing automation tips - lead engagement

This is used as a metric to judge when the nurturing efforts should be scaled up. Including leads that are absolutely inactive lowers this figure unnecessarily, thereby creating the false impression that current nurturing activities are not enough.

Therefore, it’s vital to remove leads :

  1. That have unsubscribed from your campaigns, or
  2. That have emphatically refused interest in your product
  3. That continue to be disengaged even after you’ve run targeted nurturing campaigns for them.

For example, if you’re a property developer in Bangalore, and you have around 2000 leads that haven’t responded to your campaigns in 2 years. Now, you can run an autoresponder campaign for such leads, sending out one email per week for 3 weeks, and making sure they’re building up in terms of value:

Week 1 : Sudhir, it’s been long! Let’s break the ice :)

[In this email, re-introduce yourself to your prospect. Remind them of their previous interest in your property. Tell them that you regularly create content about real estate, home maintenance, their location, etc. Ask them if there’s any specific topic they’d like to see a blog post, webinar or video on].

Week 2 : Gearing up for a lazy weekend? Here’s a light read to go with it!

[Include a free e-book, on a light, engaging topic, such as quick and do-it-yourself tips to improve your house décor, or interesting things to do over the weekend in Bangalore.]

Week 3 : Sudhir, found the right home yet? Got you a little gift to help out!

[Include a discount coupon on select properties in their area in this email.]

Week 4 : Can I trouble you for a small favour?

[Send this email if there have been opens but no clicks on any of your previous emails. Tell them you’re trying to make sure your content reaches only the right people and doesn’t spam anyone. Ask them if they’re no longer looking for a house, or would like to stop receiving your content for any other reason. You can embed a poll-type question here, with options, so that it becomes quicker for them to answer.]

Based on such a last-try campaign, you can clean your database/email lists. Remember, all leads in your database should represent either current or future opportunity. If they do not, there’s no point having them in your system.

7) Define lead scoring rules

marketing automation tips 7 - define scoring rules carefully

Most marketing automation systems help you prioritize your leads by scoring them. For example, LeadSquared calculates a quality score (a static measure to judge how well a lead matches your ideal customer persona), an engagement score (a dynamic measure that shows how responsive your lead has been towards your marketing campaigns in the last 30 days), etc.

Define the lead scoring rules (eg. for engagement score : +10 if the lead signs up for a free trial, +5 if they sign up for a webinar, -5 if they unsubscribe from emails, etc.) carefully, instead of just going by the default values in the system.

You should also keep updating the rules based on your learnings. For example, if you notice that people who unsubscribed from your Property News emails still purchased from you later, you can change the negative score for an unsubscribe from -5 to -2.

The same logic applies to all the reports and analytics that you use. Customize them according to the metrics that are important for you, instead of going by the default ones.

Got more tips to add to the list? Keep them coming in the comments below :-)