Email marketing has been around for a few decades. Even so, it’s still one of the most central elements of digital marketing. In fact, it would be difficult to ignore a tactic that brings in an average ROI of $36 for every dollar you spend. Homebuilder email marketing is a particularly important tactic. Given the long sales cycle of the industry, you’ll need to stay in touch with your audience for months and potentially years.
While personal contact and tactics like chatbots certainly play a role in that effort, emails can become the backbone of that ongoing relationship.
But of course, and as with any digital marketing tactic, simply sending some messages won’t guarantee customer engagement or long-term success. That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to strategic homebuilder email marketing.
The Basics of Homebuilder Email Marketing
Let’s start the guide with a simple definition of what we mean by email marketing. As mentioned above, it’s not just about individual messages or even a string of messages. Instead, to succeed, it needs to include a few core components:
- An overarching strategy with clearly defined goals and intended outcomes
- Well-designed individual emails designed to get and keep your audience’s attention
- Intentional campaigns that align with the homebuyer’s lifecycle
- An analytics approach to track email success and improve your efforts
- A strategic effort to build your email marketing list and increase your audience over time
Your strategy will be similar to any other marketing effort. You’ll need SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, one goal of your homebuilder email marketing campaign might be to increase the number of leads clicking on your email to take a virtual tour by 20% over the next six months.
The other components of successful email marketing deserve further discussion. We’ll examine this in detail in the sections below.
The Anatomy of a Perfect Homebuilder Email
We’ll start on a granular level, with an understanding of how to build your individual email messages. Every marketing email you send should follow these six best practices on content, layout, and setup:
A singular purpose
Because it’s so easy for emails to get lost in the noise of hundreds of other messages, keeping a specific focus is essential. Before you create any email, think about the most important goal that the email should accomplish, then build everything in the email (from content to the call to action button) according to that goal.
A relevant sender
Research shows that audiences respond much more favorably to emails sent from people compared to brands. In other words, if the sender that appears in your recipients’ inboxes is your sales manager or even the owner of the business, your chances of getting attention increase dramatically.
An engaging subject line
Your subject line should be short, to the point, and actionable. Just as importantly, it needs to highlight the exact reason why your audience should read the message, ideally directly connected to your goal for the email. Keep it to 50 characters or less to avoid getting cut off on some email clients.
Short and succinct content
Even when they open the email, chances are your audience will only be willing to pay attention for a few seconds. You have those few seconds to convince them to take your desired action. That’s why most studies suggest keeping your email to 125 words or less.
Yes, consumers respond favorably to visuals. But that only matters if the visuals actually add to the message. A stock photo of happy homeowners probably won’t do much to get your message across, but a blueprint of the home build they’re considering just might.
A trackable call to action
As we’ll discuss in more detail below, you need to track your email’s success according to the goal you’ve set. That means making your call to action clear to your audience, most commonly in the form of a clearly visible button that recipients can click to take your desired action.
If every email you send includes these components and best practices, your chances of getting your audience’s attention and converting that attention into relevant action increase dramatically. But of course, your emails still need to exist in the broader context of a comprehensive email marketing campaign.
From Individual Email to Broader Email Marketing Campaigns
With individual email best practices in place, it’s time to start talking about a broader context. Most likely, email marketing campaigns come in the form of a sequence of multiple messages that naturally build on each other. As a result, you’re ‘nurturing’ your homebuilding leads to become homebuyers.
Messaging Based on the Customer Journey
For example, you might have a set of five emails set up that trigger when a new lead enters your database. They noted on your website that they want to learn more information about your homes. The first will be relatively basic, introducing your business and advantages. From there, messages can get more specific, including elements like the above-mentioned blueprints, tips for potential home buyers to follow, and more.
Email campaigns will also change depending on the various stages of the customer journey your recipients may find themselves in.
Tailor Your Message
New leads who just want to learn more about the homebuilding process, in general, will require very different information than those in later stages, who likely require specific information about their build. The more you can tailor your campaigns to these unique and distinct leads, the more likely your email marketing campaign will be to succeed.
Of course, you might also want to take advantage of a more static, date-based calendar of potential emails. Especially if you operate in a market where homebuilding is relatively seasonal. With new builds frequently beginning in spring, a greater volume of messages may need to be targeted around specific dates.
Most advanced homebuilders will have a mix of both of these types of email campaigns. The key, then, is understanding exactly how your larger email send ecosystem will operate, ensuring that your emails arrive in your audience’s inbox at a regular cadence to remain top of mind without getting intrusive.
6 Email Marketing Metrics All Homebuilders Should Track
Knowing whether your email marketing will succeed requires an in-depth understanding of the most common metrics in email marketing. An understanding of these metrics can also help you build more specific goals for both individual messages and overarching email campaigns:
- Open Rate, or how many recipients open your emails. The average open rate for real estate emails is 41%, while the average construction open rate is 33%.
- Click Rate, or how many recipients click on your emails. A click rate of 3% or higher tends to be at or above the industry average for successful email marketing.
- Conversion Rate, or how many recipients take the action you want them to after the click. That might be downloading content on your website, taking a virtual tour, or another desired action.
- Unsubscribe Rate, or how many recipients no longer want to receive emails from you. Higher unsubscribes indicate that your emails are not as relevant as they could be, but can also improve your list health over time.
- Delivery Rate, or how many of your emails actually land in the recipient’s inbox. A high delivery rate (above 95%) is an indicator of good list health, while a low rate could lead to some email clients becoming more likely to mark your messages as spam.
- Bounce Rate, or how many of your emails cannot be delivered. It’s the combination of soft bounces (the recipient’s email server is temporarily unavailable) and hard bounces (the email address doesn’t exist).
Each of these metrics can provide valuable insights into the success of your homebuilder email marketing campaign. Track them over time, and you can make tangible improvements to both individual messages and larger campaigns to help reach your goals.
How To Build Your Homebuilder Email Marketing List
Of course, even the best messages and larger campaigns matter little if no one receives them. That’s why building your email list has to be an intentional part of your broader email marketing strategy.
You can grow your email list in a few ways:
- Create lead magnets, like comprehensive homebuying guides or a full set of blueprints. Lead magnets are free to your audience but hidden behind a sign-up form that requires them to provide their email address.
- Build a homebuilder newsletter, which promises to keep potential homebuyers informed about new listings, industry trends, and more. To sign up, of course, your prospects need to provide their email address.
- Promise incentives via email, like an early release of new listings or new available home models. By signing up, your audience can expect to become part of an exclusive group of people who get this information early.
Of course, there are other ways to grow your email list as well. For example, your chatbot may include the requirement or option to provide an email address for potential in-depth follow-ups to the conversation. Generally speaking, the easiest way to build your email list is to promise an incentive delivered via email that makes your audience want to give you their email.
Get Started With Homebuilder Email Marketing Today
Email marketing continues to be a significant digital marketing component, especially in the homebuilding industry. Done right, the ability to provide a constant stream of relevant content on a ubiquitous channel is an undeniable advantage.
Of course, your email marketing still has to exist within the broader marketing environment. We’ve already mentioned some pieces of that integration above, such as connecting it with your chatbot or your larger content marketing efforts.
But once you’ve made that connection, and once you implement the best practices mentioned throughout this guide, you’re well on your way to standing out among potential homeowners who are deciding between you and other builders as the right choice for their new home.