Email marketing is part art, part science. I acquired my education on email marketing throughout my career as a commercial real estate broker. By following the “Golden Rules” below, I’ve been able to increase my email response rate from less than 1% to an average of almost 20%. At the bottom of this post, I provide an example of a good prospecting email (ie, high response rate, leading to new meetings and new clients).
Golden Rule #1: Have Lots of Accurate Emails Addresses for Decision Makers
The first step to sending an effective prospecting email is to have the correct email address of the correct decision maker. Your message cannot persuade unless it reaches the right person. Your email marketing system will yield better results as you put more decision maker emails into your database. For more information, please read my articles Robust & Accurate Data are Essential for Effective Marketing and Handy Tricks for Finding Contact Information.
Golden Rule #2: Personalize Your Emails
In addition to tracking the names and email addresses of decision makers at each account, you should track other information that’s relevant to your industry and the prospect. As a commercial real estate broker, I track the location of each tenant’s office and when their lease expires. When you send a prospecting email, you should customize the email with any of the information that you track. Doing so will dramatically increase the response rate.
I strongly recommend using the “mail merge” tool to personalize your emails. The mail merge tool allows you to send blast emails to many contacts at a time while inserting customized data fields from your database into the email text. If you don’t know how to do a mail merge, just google search ‘mail merge’ or contact me and I’ll walk you through the process (you may contact me at 630.805.2463 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Golden Rule #3: Don’t Send an Email that Looks Like SPAM
We usually recognize a marketing email right away, and dismiss it just as quickly. It’s standard practice to use HTML, bullet points, pictures, and fancy language in a marketing email. People think that prospects will be impressed with how much we spent on a programmer to write HTML, or that pretty pictures will improve our ‘brand’. In reality, as soon as anyone sees an email that smells like an advertisement, they ignore it. If you want someone to respond to your email blast, you have to disguise the fact that it’s an email blast. Don’t use HTML, use a mail merge to personalize each email, and write a casual but important note from a real person expecting a response.
Golden Rule #4: Write for a Reason
Each email blast should be personalized to the target and written in such a way that the target believes that you were specifically writing to them for a specific reason. Too often, an email prospecting blast will be sent to everyone in a database on a ‘news update’ for the market place. This type of message may remind people that you exist, but it won’t yield new clients or generate a response. Instead, you should create a plausible reason for writing, ideally one that will generate new clients. After a recent deal, I wrote to every prospect located close to the transaction to alert them that I had recently helped a nearby tenant and to ask if the prospect wanted to discuss their local market.
Golden Rule #5: Keep it Short and Simple
This rule is really a corollary of Golden Rule #3. Most ‘real’ emails are only 3-5 sentences, so you marketing email should be that length too. By keeping the message short, you also increase the chances that your target will read the email and respond. Limit your message to a single theme and focus on it in as few words as possible. Don’t change your writing style because you are marketing – readers can smell marketing lingo and they stay away from it.
Golden Rule Example –Response Rate of Approximately 20%
Hello [Merge First Name],
As you may recall, I am a commercial real estate broker – I specialize in office properties in the Western suburbs. I’ve been involved in several recent transactions close to [Merge Prospect’s Address], and I am happy to share my thoughts on the market. I am also happy to provide you with the names and contact information of my clients, for your reference.
When would be a good time for a call or a visit?
If you have additional questions about marketing strategy or commercial real estate, please contact me at email@example.com or (630) 805-2463.