This blog first appeared on Inman. See the original post here.
Email is synonymous with communication these days. In the few short years that we’ve had access to this tool it’s become our favorite method of keeping in touch. But what if you’re a veteran Agent who built the bulk of your database before the Internet dominated communications?
I often hear from real estate agents who have databases complete with accurate addresses, zip codes, and phone numbers. But these same agents are lacking the email addresses that they need to begin effective email marketing campaigns.
And even if you have been in the habit of collecting email addresses for real estate prospects, how many of them are still active? With people changing jobs and email providers, it’s common to have a handful of inactive addresses in your list.
Some real estate prospects and past clients may be reluctant to pass out their email address for fear of being overwhelmed by spam. In addition to reassuring them, try offering an incentive to those who provide you with an email address. A draw is an ideal way to catch client’s eye. Let them know that you’ll be drawing for a gift card or consultation with an interior decorator and the winner will be notified by email. Everyone loves a chance to win!
Use social media.
Your prospects and past clients are likely using social media as a means to keep in touch with friends and stay in the loop with current events. Connecting with them on Facebook or following them on Twitter is an easy way to bridge the digital gap. Once they’re included in your network, share some posts about your upcoming draw or simply ask your Facebook friends if they’re interested in receiving home-related communications by email.
Open up open houses.
Open houses are a powerful place to build relationships and capture email addresses! Have visitors sign a guest book, or use your iPad to easily record email addresses. A friendly approach and simple request can result in a long list of contacts, so don’t be shy. Most of us are used to being asked for an email address in most of the stores where we shop regularly, so the question won’t surprise your visitors.
Include a form on your website.
Capturing contact information from your website is one of the easiest methods of building your database. Simply include a form on your site asking for visitors to share their email address. If you’re using a good real estate CRM, the information can be automatically integrated into your customer relationship manager. This automated process makes email capture a breeze!
Send direct mail.
Sending direct mail to gain email addresses might sound counterproductive, but in fact it results in great success. Send direct mail pieces to those who you have mailing addresses for and include your own email address with your contact information. Mention on the post card or flyer that if the recipient would like to receive email communications in the future, they can send you a message.
Make it a regular part of conversation.
There are certain phrases that we work into every conversation, like “how are you?”, “nice to meet you”, and “take care.” What if you simply started asking for email addresses in the conversations you have each day? Ask if you can confirm an email address and enter it directly into your smartphone or on a pad of paper. Ask and you’ll receive! Eventually, confirming email addresses will be second nature and can help you weed out some inactive addresses in your database.
Real estate lead generation through email has proven to be the most powerful, cost-effective and pervasive marketing tools available to real estate agents. So the time to start building your real estate email list is now. It can be as easy as asking your past client or prospect to share their email address with you. Before you know it, the list of contacts looking forward to hearing from you will grow.