26 February 2018/ For CRE Professionals

How to improve your email marketing performance - For commercial property agents

Email marketing is one of the most effective channels for promoting commercial properties. Used to drive interest and generate enquiries, a good email campaign can help you improve deal velocity. Deliverability of your email campaigns is key to their success. There are a few factors to consider to ensure your email is opened and read by as many subscribers on your list as possible. We’ve outlined seven main factors below. Plus, section 8 includes a glossary of key email marketing terms.

1. Subject line matters

When choosing a subject line for your email campaign, think about what would appeal to your audience. What would make them open the email? If you’re sending a campaign to other agents, you’ll have a good idea what they are interested in.

If you’re targeting CFOs in a medium size organisation, you might expect the price will play a role in shortlisting properties for a new office. When writing a subject line for an audience that consists of CFOs, you would include some indication of the price or size of the office.

There are various tools you can use to help you generate clever subject lines for your eshots. Some of them include:

A/B test

With current technology, it’s easy and cheap to test variants of an email campaign. You could test subject lines or the body copy to see what your target audience has a better response to.

How to run a test:

  • Choose one element you want to test (subject line, body copy, image)
  • Select a list of contacts and split it 50/50
  • Allow a few day before you analyse the results
  • Take learnings from the results

2. Segments

When selecting a target list for a campaign promoting a specific disposal, you need to narrow down your targeting to the contacts that will find your message relevant and of interest. The target list should not include all contacts on your database.

Segmenting your database will also allow you to determine which group of your customers is most likely to convert. It’s easier to analyse results from a segment of 200-500 contacts rather than 10,000 contacts. The follow-up with the most engaged contacts is also much easier to execute if the number of them is manageable.

3. Use an opt-out/suppression list.

Most email marketing software will offer opt-out features as a default. Make it as easy as possible for subscribers to opt out. People who don’t want to hear from you are unlikely to buy from you so it makes sense to remove their contact details. Some software won’t allow you to send out a campaign without an opt-out link included. Once a contact has opted out from your communications, they’re automatically added to a suppression list to prevent sending any further communications to this contact.


4. Periodically remove unengaged contacts.

Your database might include a lot of contacts that do not engage with your comms. You might want to start with deciding when a contact is deemed unengaged. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to set the cut off date as 12 months. However, you can set your own rule as different businesses have different characteristics. What’s important is to set a rule and stick to it.

For instance, you can establish that an unengaged contact is someone who hasn’t opened your emails in the last 12 months. Then, send an email to people who have neither opened nor clicked in the last year asking them to confirm they still want the email. You are less likely to be reported as spam, and this is a potential way to remove emails in spam traps.

5. List hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene of your list is important. Removing contacts that repeatedly bounced back is crucial and can help you improve your spam score. You can also add soft bounced contacts to a suppression list for a few weeks and then resend a previously undelivered email. If they bounce back again, you might want to consider removing them completely.

6. Stick to a consistent send schedule

For example, if you tend to send your emails twice a week, and then you start sending your email campaigns randomly, this can affect your deliverability. Once you settle on a frequency, stick with it. Erratic sending patterns are considered a marker of spam.

7. Study your metrics.

It seems like an obvious step, but it’s often overlooked or forgotten about. Metrics can tell you what works and what doesn’t work. For instance, if email campaigns sent in the morning have significantly higher open rates to those sent in the afternoon, you should try to schedule all your campaigns in the morning. The same logic applies to any other factors that might impact deliverability, like personalised subject lines or the length of the copy.

8. Glossary of email marketing terms

Below you’ll find a few terms you might come across when reporting results of your email campaigns.

Soft vs hard bounce

Soft bounce - A soft bounce means that the email address was valid and the email message reached the recipient’s mail server. However, it bounced back because:

  • The mailbox was full (the user is over their quota)
  • The server was down
  • The message was too large for the recipient’s inbox

Hard bounce - A hard bounce occurs when the message has been permanently rejected either because:

  • The email address is invalid
  • The email addresses doesn’t exist

Hard bounced addresses are usually added automatically to a suppression list by your software provider.

Unique vs Total open and click-through rates

Unique opens - it is defined as the number of the distinct recipients that have opened your campaign.

Total opens - it’s the number of times your email was opened by recipients; a person could open your email more than once.

Unique clicks - it represents how many times your links were clicked on. If a person clicked on your links more than once, the unique clicks indicator would count that action as one instead of two.

Total clicks - it’s the total number of times links within an email were clicked on.