Let's play The Newlywed Game

My inbox is crowded. I’m sure you feel my pain.

Every app I’ve ever downloaded. Every online retailer I’ve ever purchased from. Groups, newsletters, social notifications, my kid’s school, political and charity organizations. They’re all there.

Gmail has relegated a lot of my messages to separate tabs, tucked where they can go ignored for days. Sometimes, if I totally unplug – a real vacation, severed completely from the bright tiny screen – I just claim bankruptcy in at least two of these tabs. Move to trash. Nothing to see here.

The inbox can be a real time suck. Yet, once I find value from a sender, I’ll wade through the cesspool to find what’s new. These are emails I open, read and keep.

Some of my favorites: Brain Pickings, OK Dork, and NextDraft.

With 67% of marketers saying that email still gives them the best ROI, the inbox remains an essential channel. But it deserves care that many in real estate aren’t giving it.

It’s your chance to talk to me, your customer, one-on-one. How well you know me will determine a lot here. Pay attention, though, as this could easily go down like an episode of The Newlywed Game.


After Bob Eubanks greets and introduces the couples, it’s very possible that you could:

  • Start speaking to me in a language that’s totally foreign, leaving me flustered and confused. Who are you?
  • Use an awkward tone that makes everyone uncomfortable and makes me want to file for annulment and forget this ever happened.
  • Come off as arrogant and rude because you’re all me, me, me. Buy, buy, buy. I’m the awesomest. Call me?
  • Make me giddy with happiness. We’re so in sync. You really get me.

Obviously, we all want the last outcome.

For real estate companies, the most frequent form of email has long been the listing alert. You and I commence a relationship on your website. I tell you my preferences and you send me updates. Standard stuff.

But that’s exactly the point. This has become so standard that it’s more a basic and necessary extension of your website than you and I building a relationship.

It’s expected and, frankly, nothing special.

If real estate is a relationship business, what else could you be doing with my inbox to build and nurture this relationship?

Getting to know me

If you have my email address, you have some basic info about me at this point. You know I’m into looking at homes in a specific neighborhood or handful of neighborhoods. You may even surmise what I can afford and how big or small my family is.

Here are some more thoughts on how to get closer:

Try reaching out just to see if I want to tell you more in order to get more value from what you offer.

Ask me if this is my first time.

Ask me if I have questions about borrowing money, gathering a down payment or paying for closing costs. Ask me if I have fears about this stuff, too.

Tell me what’s going on in the micro-markets I’m looking in. Give me numbers, but don’t throw them at me like I’m a data scientist. Tell me what to expect with multiple offers. Give me scenarios that others in my shoes are going through as well.

Even if I’m not a quick conversion – few in real estate are – I’ll need you some day. All of this romancing will make it easy to think of you and get in touch.

How relationships work 

This is not an easy task. It’s beyond a drip-and-forget campaign or a bottle of wine. It’s why products like Doorsteps and HomeZada exist – to try to help manage the long-term nature of real estate relationships. You can’t just stamp “lead” on my forehead, send me down that assembly line and expect me to love you for it.

That’s not how relationships work.

You’re going to have to take some time to learn a bit about me and tailor some valuable content. Sure, you can group me in with others where it makes sense. This is email marketing after all. But make it one part science (chemistry), two parts listening and communicating.

Kind of like relationships.