Getting Personal with your Emails
We have an abundance of data at our fingertips, but we don't always make the most of the opportunity it provides and one of the best ways is through email personalisation.
The concept of personalisation is nothing new to high street estate agents. Consider how you engage with prospects who walk through the door. You welcome them warmly and offer them assistance. Once they let you know the nature of their enquiry, you retain this information for the future, allowing you to provide them with a more personalised service from that point onwards.
When you meet them again, you might greet them by name or ask them about their family they mentioned on their first visit. You're demonstrating an interest in the prospect and showing that you both value and remember them.
The same principal applies with your email marketing. You couldn't possibly send individual emails to all your prospects each time you communicate but if you send a blanket email to thousands it really shows. The trick is to add personalisation to that email, to make it appear to be directed specifically at that one individual and to meet their own individual needs.
Personalisation is one of the things that really take advantage of how the human thought process works. People like to feel like the attention is on them and that the time has been taken to address something to them in particular.
Why not test it? Create two emails, one with personalisation and one without. Split your database at random and see which email gives you the highest click through rate. Research shows that by adding personalisation you can double the engagement with your emails.
When it comes to personalising your email marketing, you don't have to struggle. There are relatively simple, yet sophisticated, ways to use personalisation in your emails that go beyond just using a name.
Essentially you can use any piece of data you have stored on your prospects to personalise your emails, from their name, to the kinds of properties they are looking for, properties they have already viewed or how and when they signed up with you.
You can either add this personalisation directly into your email copy, display different content to different recipients or use this data to select only the recipients who you think will engage with the content to send the email to.
Ask the Right Questions
A straightforward, effective way to segment your audience for personalisation is to simply ask the right questions. Asking prospects their reasons for visiting your website, registering their interest, or subscribing to your email can be remarkably easy, but invaluable. It can give you insightful data that can lead to your business sending more precision-targeted emails.
When creating a sign up form for you website, think about what information you want to gain on your prospects and tailor the questions accordingly. But remember to keep it brief. Too many questions and the prospect is likely to give up before completing the form.
And, while you may want to collect every piece of data available on your prospect to personalise their experience, it's important to only ask for information that is relevant. Date of birth is a great piece of information to have on your prospects, for example, but you need to be able to demonstrate a good reason for requiring it to ask for this information.
When to use that information
You may want to personalise your emails directly with some of the information you have gained, such as their name, the location in which they are searching or previous properties they have viewed. But you may want to personalise your emails with other information more subtly.
For example, if you know the gender of your prospect you may want to tailor the design or wording of the email to make it resonate more closely. If you've spotted different buying patterns of key deciding factors by gender then reflect this in the content of the email.
Similarly, if you know your prospect is interested in gardening or the outdoors, you can personalise your emails and focus on the exterior and garden views of your properties. If you know they have been viewing a particular kind of property, offer up similar alternatives in your next email.
The trick is to find a balance between showing you know and value your prospect and their individual needs, and appearing as if you are scrutinising their every move.
Build Client Profiles or Personas
Segmenting your prospects works as an effective way to nurture your leads and it can also be taken even further using client profiles or personas. Client personas are built by using a multitude of data. Instead of asking a single question, you can group prospects together using a mix of attributes and actions they take.
A useful client persona is akin to a comprehensive how-to guide on reaching your ideal prospects. It gives you a structured look at their goals in the property market, the features and content that matters most to them and the messaging that will help them find you in the first place.
Client personas aren't that difficult to create when you ask the right questions to the right people and there are free tools available online to help you. HubSpot have created an interview guide together with a free template for creating buyer personas which you can download by clicking HERE.
Make Use of Location and Time
It's no secret that certain times of day prove to be better than others when it comes to sending emails. Your prospects might love getting an email at 8am, or they might respond better to getting one at 5pm. Either way, make sure you have A/B tested this and found the optimum time to send your emails. There's no hard and fast rule on send times and the only way to find what works for your audience is to test.
However, it's likely that not all your prospects are in one location or respond to emails at the same time. They may be all around the world, scattered across different time zones, and possibly receiving your emails at non-optimal times. Trying to co-ordinate your send times to meet all of your audience's needs can be a mammoth task but there are tools out there to help you. Silverpop's Send Time Optimisation feature, for example, calculates when to send a recipient an email based on their previous behaviour.
Use Demographic Data to Personalise
What do your prospects and subscribers do for work? How old are they? What does their job title tell you about their role in the decision making process when it comes to buying, selling or renting property? All of this is useful to consider when planning your email campaign.
Focusing on demographic information for example, you could:
- Promote local events
- Reference regional preference
- Localise your emails with pertinent offers
- Use local geography to direct your content
Set Up Automated Behavioural Trigger Emails
Behaviour-triggered emails are real-time reactions to how your prospects view your estate agency. For example, when Facebook emails you because you haven't logged in for 5 days; that's a behaviour-triggered email. They work extremely well because they target prospects with the right information at the right time.
According to marketing experts HubSpot, trigger emails have a 152% higher open rates compared with traditional emails.
Trigger emails, although personal, are easily automated and can be sent to customers for multiple actions: up-selling and cross-selling, welcome, re-engagement, and the list goes on. Also, there are several specialist tools out there for sending great trigger emails like Intercom.io and SparkPage.
Personalise your Estate Agency
Personalisation doesn't have to be limited to using your prospects' data. You also can personalise your brand. Personalisation can soften the edges of big business and add a level of human connection between you and your audience.
An example of this at work is from HubSpot who ran several tests in an effort to make their emails more personal and increase customer engagement. They tested sending two emails. One was from the company, HubSpot. The other was more personal from someone on the marketing team.
The results proved to be interesting. The click-through rate for the email from the company was 0.73%. But, when the email was from someone on HubSpot's marketing team, the click-through rate jumped to 0.96% and generated 292 more clicks. The email sent by a real person proved more likely to be clicked. This also showed customers' positive reactions to a more personal business.
HubSpot's tests in personalising their emails worked well, but you can go even further to make your business more informal and personal. Test aspects such as a conversational tone, pronouns like "we" and "I", and generally making your emails seem like they are from an actual human. It's been proven that prospects respond to it.
Match Personalised Emails and Landing Pages
Although personalising your emails is a valuable step toward targeting your customer more effectively, there is more that your estate agency can do. You can pair personalised emails and landing pages to push your success rate further.
Not only should your email and landing page have a consistent look and messaging, they both should have the same personalised call to action for the viewer. This will lead to the prospect having a consistent experience and make them more likely to convert on your landing page.
Get Started with Personalisation
Personalisation works to get prospects engaged with your estate agency and can enhance your email marketing strategies considerably. It's also an attainable marketing strategy for your business. Focus on what data you have or could collect on your prospects and see how it can be used.
Once you have designed your strategy for personalising your emails and begin to roll out the email campaigns, you'll notice a significant lift in your engagement levels with existing prospects and ultimately, higher conversion rates.