Email Marketing for Real Estate: How One Message Can Grow Your Business

The cycle of marketing never stops turning. What was once tried and true becomes hackneyed and cliche. We observe this in fashion, music and art – and in today’s real estate email marketing, as will be our focus today.

Millions of email marketers have now been taught the same tactics: optimized subject lines, strong calls to action, captivating images, and so on. The result is that even the least hardened email recipient understands they’re being sold to. We do this as professional marketers, even though we understand that no one likes to feel like a target.

Your audience is a lot smarter than you (1)

Clothing stores and various merchants overcome the sense of inbox attack by giving their recipients exclusive access to discounts on their products and chances to access items that aren’t open to the general non-email-registered public.


The problem is that most professional salespeople can’t do that — especially real estate agents and brokers.  They have to find a different way to create value in their email marketing.

So let’s examine some strategies for sending email that can achieve this goal.

In real estate, it’s common practice to send the following types of messages:

  • Monthly newsletter
  • Listing updates
  • Holiday greetings

These messages are intended for those who are ready to buy or sell a home at the time that they receive it, and nearly every IDX or brokerage-provided platform makes it easy for agents to send these types of information.  The downside is that people’s inboxes are full of these messages, and it’s even harder to differentiate yourself in the inbox.


At Happy Grasshopper, we’ve pioneered a fourth type of messaging: the conversational keep-in-touch message.

The Approach

Step into the consumer’s shoes.  When you get a sales call, from the moment you hear the person on the other end of the line, how many milliseconds does it take to begin to tune them out and find a way to say, “No thank you.  I’m not interested”?

But when a friend calls…you can’t wait to hear what they have to say.

While you might not be best friends with all of your contacts, email is soft-touch, making it easier to present something like a friend would.  It’s not intrusive, and it allows the recipients to have control over the conversation — they have the space to decide when and how they want to respond.  People like having control.

As you think of messages to send to your peoplebase, look around for what people are really enjoying and sharing.  At Happy Grasshopper, we’ll scan our Facebook pages for shared posts that catch our eye, whether they be hilarious, inspiring, or especially helpful.  If you see your friends sharing something, it’s a good indication that people are interested in reading it — and it’s a topic of conversation that identifies you as a friend, not a salesperson.

Notice the information we’ve gathered from our system .  It shows the correlation of email open rates with subject matter.

Open Rates Based on Subject Lines from the Happy Grasshopper System


Are you surprised to see that the highest open rates and lowest unsubscribe rates come when you never mention real estate?  This is because most of your audience is only interested in market updates and real estate tips when they’re in the midst of a transaction.  If that’s all you send them over a long period of time, they will quickly learn to ignore you in the inbox.

Instead, send something interesting to your peoplebase and delight them — a message that inspires, humors, or pulls at the heartstrings of the recipient provides enough value for them to find enjoyment and look forward to your next email…and the one after that.  The open rates above aren’t from a one-time blast…that’s over 30% of the contacts reading messages that are sent every 3 weeks.

Sending material that has value to the recipient makes you a “fan-favorite” in the inbox.

Why It Works

As speaker and author, Bob Burg, has said, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” 

Soft-touch emails lead to conversation.  Over time, these conversations strengthen your relationships with each contact and delights them with interesting content.  You become someone they really do have a personal connection with and like.

Most importantly, by showing that you care enough about them to keep in touch and provide value without trying to sell something, you build the trust that is so essential to the real estate profession.  You show that you care about them as people, not simply as sales targets.

Yes, We Have Evidence

This is what our current clients have to say about the system.  You’ll see that Katie Maxwell said,

“I can’t think of another system I would rather recommend to my agents. Within about 60 days of my office starting to use Happy Grasshopper we had $3 million in pending sales … One of my agents had lost these people completely. Then they received one of her Happy Grasshopper emails. They thought it was hilarious. They called her and within a week they flew her out to Mexico to sign the listing agreement.”

Conversation starters carry quite the umph.

Getting Started

Ready to test the keep-in-touch tactic for your email marketing?  We’ve provided specific resources for you here to get started with your own messaging — including information on the best send schedules, where to find content, and how to start the conversation.


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