Most real estate marketing campaigns still have significant offline components. From printing listings in newspapers and sending direct mail to posting signs outside properties for sale, the commercial real estate industry has been analog for decades. Until recently, most firms making any significant digital marketing efforts have been ahead of their peers.
As Millennials grow into the industry and Baby Boomers age out of it, however, commercial real estate marketing is digitizing fast.
Today, the majority of commercial real estate firms gather leads’ email addresses and communicate with those leads digitally. To make your marketing program stand out, your firm needs more than an email newsletter. You need to target your leads based on what they need, so they know how you can help them as they buy or sell commercial real estate properties.
Email segmentation, put simply, is the division of your email list into categories of customers based on their needs. For real estate agents, that might mean separate lists for buyers and sellers. To dive deeper and drive more results, commercial real estate marketing teams can subdivide “buyers” based on where they are in the buying process — interested, actively looking for one property, or building an investment portfolio, for example. According to HubSpot, segmented emails generate 58% of all email marketing revenue.
Let WindWater help you develop a real estate marketing strategy that gives your leads all the information they need to move forward — and none of the information they don’t need.
The Importance of Email Segmentation in Commercial Real Estate Marketing
All of us are on email lists that feel irrelevant to us. Whether it’s a daily newsletter we only open once a month or twice-weekly sales from retailers we ordered from once, it’s easy to start sending all of it to spam. And once we develop the habit of ignoring emails from a given sender, we’re unlikely to change course.
The last thing any marketer wants is to feel like or be treated like spam. The best way to avoid the delete or unsubscribe button is to send emails that feel relevant. And sending relevant emails starts with finding out what your customers want to know.
Not all prospective buyers or sellers of commercial property are the same. Commercial real estate brokers, even those with fairly narrow specialties, work with a wide variety of customers who have a wide variety of needs. Skilled marketers in the real estate industry cater to those differences rather than trying to send one-size-fits-all emails — if they tried to market all-purpose emails, they would lose their audience quickly.
For example, consider commercial real estate agents representing prospective buyers. Some are shopping for office space. Others want retail. Others are investors open to all kinds of opportunities, including multifamily residential real estate. Emails about office space are not relevant to your retail buyers and vice versa. Emails about the commercial real estate industry might be relevant to referral partners and other agents, but not particularly interesting to buyers.
This agent’s commercial property buyers are unlikely to open emails that aren’t relevant to them, and even less likely to click through to a property website or take any kind of action. The more irrelevant communication they receive, the less likely they’ll be to open future emails. And an inactive email list can be detrimental to a marketing strategy.
There are still plenty of ways to reach an audience en masse and introduce your brand to entirely new customers. Social media is a great channel for this. On Twitter, LinkedIn, and other mass platforms, you can broadcast your services to the entire social landscape. And when new customers arrive on your email lists via social media — whether through lead magnets, newsletter sign-ups, or otherwise — you can segment them accordingly.
How to Start Segmenting Your Emails
To adopt email segmentation as part of your real estate marketing strategy, begin by dividing your customers into categories. For real estate agents, try starting with “buyers,” “sellers,” and “referral partners,” or develop categories more applicable to your business. Then create email lists for each of those categories.
Next, use forms and content marketing to develop detailed sub-categories. Many marketers create “lead magnets,” typically short e-books or PDFs, which interested parties can only receive after entering their email addresses. If your marketing team creates a document about “how to start shopping for your first commercial property,” you could add each customer who downloads that document to a list of “first-time buyers.” Those customers will receive emails designed for first-time buyers until you can move them further down the sales funnel.
When you use content such as lead magnets to create your email lists, you’re not just making assumptions about which buyers should fall into which sub-category. Buyers show you what they want to know with their clicks. A segmented email list helps you give them what they want — and it helps them develop a habit of opening your commercial real estate marketing.
Segmented Emails can Lead to Better Customer Relationships
Think of email segmentation as the first step toward automating your commercial real estate marketing. Once a buyer or seller has been added to a narrowly segmented list, you can send them a series of emails that are directly relevant to their needs but that you have already written. These follow-up emails can help you learn even more about your customers, such as how far along they are in their property search. You can then use that information to target them even more narrowly, down to personalized emails from commercial real estate professionals suited to their needs.
This kind of automation requires thoughtful content creation up front, but in the long run, it can save significant amounts of time and money. It builds positive brand awareness and gets customers information they can use.
Most importantly, email segmentation helps your company develop the right leads. Once you know what your customers need, your team can walk them through the buying or selling process. And once they have one good experience, they’ll likely work with your firm again and again — and maybe even refer their peers.
Email segmentation helps commercial real estate brokers, agents and marketers establish focused relationships with clients right away.