A must-read

I received an email a few weeks back that I could tell was auto-generated from a popular home search app on behalf of the agent who appeared inside the message.

If ever there were a case to be made against auto-generating email marketing in real estate, this was it.

Here’s what it said, verbatim:


Sales fell in the 94602 zip code market to 19 homes sold over the…


Oct 13 – Sales fell in the 94602 zip code market to 19 homes sold over the last 30 days. It’s also under an emerging downward trend in the number of contracts closing, with this week’s number falling to six. Prices are falling in the 94602 zip code, and this period the median price of all … Read more »

First of all, what? The beginning of this email – the most important part – is not entirely comprehensible. If I didn’t know any better, I’d come away thinking, Whatever’s happening in my local housing market does not sound good.

What am I supposed to take away here?

As a homeowner, it doesn’t really matter to me how many homes have sold in my ZIP code over the last 30 days or how that relates to the number of homes sold during the same period a year ago.

I honestly do not care.

For me, it’s more about value. What are sellers getting? How long does it take to sell? What are homes like mine listing and then selling for? More superficially, what do these homes look like inside?

Is my neighborhood still a desirable place to live?

This is what the content of this email gets all wrong: It’s attempting to serve a need I don’t have.

I don’t have stock in my 401(k) tied to the pace of home sales in my neighborhood. But I do have a vested interest in understanding the value of my real estate asset, as well as the relative desirability of where I live in the eyes of buyers. See the difference?

Like a loaded gun in shaky hands, automated drip content in real estate can sometimes impose danger on the owner of the hands.

What the consumer needs from the broker and agent is straightforward, reliable information presented in a context that holds value for them.

They need to be made comfortable.

They need clarity.

This email did nothing to show that.

Something else

The point here isn’t to take down the agent using this app’s content marketing – or to pick on the app itself. I absolutely believe in the power of automated marketing tools. It’s the content in this example that needs more thinking.

I want to offer something else.

Consider this:

Expertise, people, experience – these are the greatest assets in the sales and brokerage business. If real estate is local, why let people in another state send content to your database? Instead, master control over it. Your vendor shouldn’t be writing your headlines, subject lines or email copy.

I know that’s hard. Not everyone can write or should write – in which case, hire a creative team or copywriter. If you have a marketing department, they should be able to drive this. Good content is a cornerstone of digital marketing. This is worth it.

Have your writer read the data and talk with you (or your agents if you’re a broker) about market sentiment. Then have them put to words a little context for the report or numbers you’re using in your email marketing.

Tell your recipients one true thing about their market, their community or its residents that ties back to your unique value.

One last point

I get somewhere around 325 emails a day, sorted into various folders and inboxes. I open one of them consistently: NextDraft.

NextDraft is a simple round-up of the day’s news and current events. Dave Pell gives a sentence or two of context in front of a dozen or so news items and gives them clever headlines.

There’s something about his voice that I’ve come to trust over the years. He offers something I don’t get anywhere else.

If you’re going to bother sending email, it’s worth figuring out how to reach that sort of status with your recipients.

Become a must-read.