Email Strategy and Using Email to Stay Relevant During the Holidays – Homefiniti and Beyond Recap

With one week to go until the Holiday shopping season officially commences, we thought it prudent to cover email strategy and how home builders can stay relevant at this time of year. Clearly we weren’t the only ones with email on the brain because as I was prepping The ONeil Edit, I came across three articles about email strategy.
  1. Optimizing Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns
  2. Getting the Most Out of Email This Holiday Season
  3. How Email Publishers are Thriving and Adapting Amid the Pandemic

While those are not focused specifically on home builders, there are some solid nuggets of info to take from them. Overall for builders, it’s important to know your audience, define your goals, have clear CTA’s and understand the timing of it all.

Between internal lists that your sales people help to cultivate and external lists where you define your buyer persona, emails can be delivered with personalized content to drive the results you’re looking for. Expect to see different open and click rates depending on your audience. Internal lists tend to drive higher open rates while external lists drive higher click rates. 

External blasts where you pinpoint your audience via geography and other details are a great top of funnel marketing directive. You can use HTML and deliver polished messages with beautiful photography and strong calls to action. The goal with these is usually to get people to visit your website, nothing more. By doing so, they’ll enter into your retargeting pool and hopefully deliver themselves to your internal email list at some point. The provider we use sends to a minimum of 50,000 people and guarantees a 2% click through rate which means at least 1,000 people will visit your site. This is the magic number needed to create a retargeting audience through google.

For internal emails, the more information you have about each member of your list, the better. This will help you segment your audience to ensure highly relevant information is delivered in your campaigns. Personalization in emails is important and it’s more than HI {First Name}. Delivering content that matters to the audience is also part of the personalization process. A first time home buyer, probably isn’t interested in hearing about your million dollar homes. And your million dollar home buyer probably doesn’t want to hear about homes starting from the $150’s.

In addition to getting as many details on your list members as possible, it’s also important to scrub your list once or twice a year. This means sending a mass email asking people if they want to stay on your list or be removed. This sounds scary but it will ultimately improve the results you get from your email campaigns and in our experience usually only results in aa 5-10% unsubscribe rate, sometimes it goes up to 20% but at the end of the day, those list members weren’t interested in your product and could have ultimately had a negative impact on your email deliverability.

Once you have your lists established what types of emails should you be sending and how often should you contact them? There are several strategies you should employ with your internal lists. The first is text based emails that your sales people send to prospective buyers. These can be automated and sent in bulk, but they should contain no images. These are highly effective at engaging buyers and generating responses.

In terms of automating emails, a mix of text and image based emails is suggested. They can drip out over time and can be set up so that certain emails are triggered by various actions. These automated emails can come from your CRM, through an email platform like Sharpspring or Mailchimp, or even through our web platform, Homefiniti

Other options for email content include announcements about grand openings and other events, pricing updates, news, blog content and requests to join VIP lists to name a few. Each of these should have a strong call to action that makes clear what you want the reader to do. These emails can all be sent fairly regularly but we suggest not emailing someone from your list more than 2-4 times a month.

I mentioned above the idea that someone who got an external email could eventually join your internal list, but there are other ways to grow that list as well. The first and most obvious, is having your sales people encourage their prospects to join via links in their email signatures and printed forms in your offices and model homes. However, it’s equally important to provide opportunities throughout your site (though these days pop-ups are not the preferred method because google doesn’t like them). Make sure you provide an opt out checkbox on your forms. Additionally you can run campaigns on both Google and Facebook that are geared specifically towards getting people to join lists.

As for staying relevant this holiday season, we think now is a great time to use some evergreen blog content and share helpful information with your prospects. Move away from the hard core sales emails – unless you actually have a not to be missed sales event happening, and spend time helping your prospects learn about the home buying process or other helpful tips. 

Email is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal and should be treated as such. From reaching those at the top of the funnel through external efforts to cultivating those at the bottom of the funnel through internal efforts, fine tuning your email strategy pays dividends. It’s always helpful to keep your lists clean and up to date as well as constantly honing your buyer persona to define your external audiences. 

Molly White

Molly White

I am a passionate early adopter. At ONeil Interactive I help clients put their best technological foot forward while generating high quality leads with digital campaigns that consistently beat industry averages.