Let’s say that you are using a downloadable or email real estate newsletter program that provides you with all the content you could ever need. It provides you will interesting articles, facts, clip art, photos, etc. Should you spend time customizing it? How much customization should you do? These questions are up to you to answer. Experts agree that an effective newsletter speaks to the needs of its audience. So you should first identify what your target reader wants.
One of the main advantages of customizing newsletters is that you have full control of content. You can customize your real estate newsletter content as much as you want or as little. So how can you make your real estate farming newsletters more effective? Below is a summary of proven techniques to help you choose the right amount and type customization to maximize the return on your marketing efforts.
Customizing articles in your marketing newsletter
Let’s say, you just came across some interesting information that you want to share with your clients. For example, a new law or regulation has just passed and would significantly influence their lives or investments or there is a new program for first-time home buyers. Share it! Put in on the front page with a personal note from you, highlighting the most important parts of it.
Explain the benefits or significant features in your own clear and concise words so your clients are not lost in the professional jargon and legalese. Make it interesting, relevant and short. At the end of your article, add a sentence that you are available to them to answer any questions or provide further information. By doing this in your marketing newsletter you will establish yourself as an approachable real estate expert and your future clients will look forward to your service!
When you are in charge of your content, you can decide what will be most beneficial for your readers. You can make last-minute changes before your newsletter goes to print if you have to. The goal is to provide readers with valuable information that they will be looking forward to receiving. You will not be saturating them with solicitations that will be ineffectual and eventually irritating. It is always a good idea to ask for feedback and suggestions on possible topics. Anything that promotes a conversation with your clients is a positive thing.
As we all know, every market is unique. What is true on a national and county level may not be the case anymore in your local market. That’s why an extra benefit of a downloadable newsletter is that every article, even the standard ones in the newsletter, can be tweaked to fit a certain market or reflect local conditions.
You can agree with the whole subject but a sentence or two would need to be rewritten or personalized and you can easily do that. Or you can delete the whole paragraph that doesn’t apply and replace it with a local Market Trends graph to illustrate your point. You benefit from using existing content (that saves you time on preparing your real estate newsletter) while having an opportunity to add a personal touch—the best of both worlds. It makes every marketing newsletter unique to a specific niche and oriented to the needs of your clients. They will appreciate it and value your expertise!
Adding listings to your real estate newsletter
Interesting articles and fun facts in your newsletter is a start but you should consider adding featured homes as well. Time and time again, we see through our clients’ that this simple change makes a huge difference in the overall growth of their business. With downloadable or email newsletter you can advertise featured home on any page – just delete existing content and add your listing. If you decide to devote a whole page to your featured home, use the best shots to emphasize the most attractive and unique characteristics of the home.
It is nice to provide some information, but don’t get carried away writing an essay – list bedrooms and bathrooms, the most interesting features of the home, and price. Make your clients call you by omitting the address. Sometimes homes sell before you are able to advertise them in your real estate newsletter – take advantage of that and put big SOLD across the picture. Prospective clients like to see what is selling and for how much in their neighborhood, even if they are not ready to put their home on the market yet.
If you are just getting started in the business and don’t have your own listings to advertise, ask your broker for permission to feature company listings or cooperate with a listing agent offering free publicity to his/her unique listing in your newsletter. It makes your publication relevant to your target community and provides something that everyone will be interested in.
Nice photo, big caption JUST LISTED or JUST SOLD, your contact information, in case anyone is interested in seeing it, will bring you more business if used consistently, than lengthy Comparative Market Analysis that will put regular readers to sleep. Think of traditional Just Sold real estate farming postcards – they still are one of the most effective marketing materials and they do bring results!
Some top producers have been using these real estate newsletter ideas successfully for years – always having 2-3 listings on the back page of the newsletter that clients will see first when they check their mail. Even if your readers don’t open your marketing newsletter, the picture with caption will be worth a 1,000 words. And definitely, every marketing dollar that you spend on it.
Take High Quality and Professional Photographs of your Listings! Every expert agrees that this makes a HUGE difference. Use only high-resolution images in your newsletters. Digital photography is widely available and there is no excuse for using low-resolution, out of focus, small (optimized for web) or crooked photos with MLS logos when you can spend just a few minutes for a high-quality shot. If you don’t have the time or the necessary skills, hire a professional to take photos of your new listing Do it after the property is properly staged. A few hundred dollars will be well spent and pay off with a quick sale, happy clients, and a few referrals down the road.
Advertising local businesses and restaurants in your real estate newsletter
Another great way to get your clients involved is to offer free advertising to your neighborhood professionals and small businesses. Everybody is looking for more business and free advertising, so offer your clients free classified ads in your real estate newsletter and you will quickly gain some supporters on the other side of the fence.
Babysitters, pet-sitters, dog-walkers, tax-preparers, daycare providers – all of them will thank you for giving them space to advertise and will be your advocates in the community. By doing this, you also provide a service to your neighborhood. People are often looking for local businesses for their daily needs. Call or email them for updates or advertised specials before printing ads in your monthly newsletter and ask for referrals of other advertisers in your community.
You may also approach:
- local restaurants,
- coffee shops,
- hair salons,
- spa services
and offer to print their coupons in your real estate newsletter.
You will not only extend your professional network and gain a few referrals in the process, but also make your marketing newsletter a valuable piece of paper worth saving and carrying around for a weekend outing or a morning coffee. You can help a new business get noticed and gain popularity in the neighborhood. Your service will not be easily forgotten.
Team up with other professionals
We have seen several successful tandems over the years when real estate and mortgage professionals team up to create a newsletter. It also works well when real estate agents dedicate a certain portion of the newsletter to mortgage ads or interest rates updates from fellow loan officers. You can share the expense while providing clients with additional services.
Other professionals worth approaching are insurance agents, tax advisers, financial planners, and local handymen. It also makes your real estate newsletter more versatile and professional by providing valuable expert opinions on related topics and keeps clients informed about special promotions and programs. It would be wise to consult with advertising professionals regarding any additional disclaimers you would need to print in your newsletter.
Print neighborhood updates, garage sales’ announcements, neighborhood watch notices
Organize a community garage sale at least once a year and print announcements in your newsletter as to when, where and how neighbors can participate. It takes several months to prepare for it properly and a fair amount of time on your part but can potentially become a significant boost to your business. Start with announcing the garage sale 2-3 month prior to the set sate so people can plan ahead and start organizing their stuff.
Advertise it again 1 month before it happens and provide a form for sellers to register for it so you can direct signs to their yard and put up balloons and other festive atmospherics. By doing so, you’ll get to personally know more people in your target neighborhood. Don’t forget to send a reminder 1 week before the garage sale! It can be a small postcard or flyer. Putting an ad in a local community paper will also help make the event a success.
On the day of the event, put out signs and balloons early in the morning and drive around to greet people, offer coffee and fresh pastries. A nice touch would be to rent an ice cream truck for the kids later in the day and local charity pick up service to gather unsold items for donation the day after the garage sale. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and put a nice article about this event in your next newsletter. Those who didn’t participate may consider it for next year if you properly highlight the fun and benefits of garage sale you’ve just sponsored.
Never refuse an opportunity to advertise a block-wide BBQ, 4th of July celebration or print special neighborhood announcements in your newsletter. Pitch in on any efforts to find lost dogs and cats. People should think of you first when they need to put up an announcement.
Creating opportunities to meet people and collaborate on something of value in your target community will pay off in the long run. Not to mention you might have fun while you are doing it. Bringing people together in real ways will benefit everyone involved. When you meet people, don’t immediately try to tell them about your newsletter.
It won’t hurt to have a few copies with you at all times to give away but you should always be listening first. Ask how can you help the community you are serving and if you have some helpful information, don’t hesitate to share it. This method builds a solid network of supporters that will bring you more business and community recognition over many years This is your main goal when preparing and distributing your real estate newsletter.