In this age of media overload, it’s more important than ever to create meaningful marketing pieces that are able to cut through the clutter, particularly with email marketing. The average corporate user sends and receives 112 emails a day, and in the real estate industry, roughly 80 percent of emails are never opened. Of those opened, about 35 percent are not even read. The challenges are apparent; the goal is to create email that gets opened AND read. Along with appealing design and thoughtful content, personalization is a great way to encourage prospects to engage with your email content.
Here are 10 ways home builders can personalize communication to prospective buyers.
1. Segment Your Lists – By segmenting your database, you are able to send groups of people information that is most relevant to them. Studies have shown that marketers who segment their lists experience higher open rates. For example: Prospects with pets would be interested in features of the nearby dog park.
2. Create Buyer Personas – By creating 2-3 personas of members of your target audience, you are able to craft marketing messages that are specifically in line with their interests. For example, information for an investor may be presented in a different way than information for a couple seeking to downsize.
3. Ask the Right Questions on Your Web Forms – And in your sales presentations. Make sure the answers are populating to your CRM system and use that information to match email content to the prospect.
4. Use Merge Fields – This may be the simplest way to personalize a marketing email. Start off your emails with “Dear Allison” rather than no salutation at all.
5. Send from a Person, Not a Company – Pay careful attention to which name is in the “From” field. Consumers are more likely to open an email from someone they recognize – like a sales agent or manager they’ve worked with.
6. Include Personal Information – Use the fields provided in your CRM system to segment lists by last visit date, then begin a follow-up email with, “Thanks for visiting the sales center last week.” The same applies for event attendees: “Thanks for attending our grand opening last week!” This is a memory trigger for the prospect and gets him or her thinking about your community.
7. Communicate between Departments – Be sure your marketing team communicates to the sales team all marketing pieces that are going out. If a prospect calls a sales agent and references a recent email, the sales agent should not be caught off guard! (With email marketing, simply add the sales team to your list.)
8. Resend Email – Closely monitor the open rates through your CRM system and resend an email to those who did not open it. Perhaps change the subject to give the email a different tone.
9. Don’t Forget to Write – Nothing screams “personal” like a hand-written note that someone has taken the time to write, stamp and mail. It may be “old school” but people really do appreciate it.
10. Engage and Interact – This one applies to social media. Don’t be afraid to interact! If someone posts a comment on your community’s Facebook page, engage with them, even if it’s as simple as a “Like.” Show that human beings are behind your social media efforts and you’re not just posting statuses because marketing experts say you should. This is your opportunity to foster a sense of community, albeit online.
Take a moment and think about the types of emails and marketing pieces you respond best to. It’s usually something that strikes a cord with you, or connects with your interests. It seems genuine and true. That is the goal when creating your own marketing content. Personalization may take a bit more time, but it pays off (literally!) in the long run.