Plan E

We had a plan.

That plan is over.

It’s time to move on from that plan, from that world.

This is reality now. In truth, times were always uncertain. Nothing was ever guaranteed. We can now proceed accordingly, free to reconsider things both big and small.


I love email. I’ve mentioned this before. I religiously read about a handful or so of people’s emails that come to me each week. (Ramit Sethi is a can’t miss right now. Yes, he’s selling courses. But he’s dispensing some valuable financial insights these days that are making me rethink a lot.)

I am one of thousands on these peoples’ lists. And I often feel like these writers are talking directly to me. Because they’re good at writing emails.

Unfortunately, email in real estate is a channel used by many to simply deliver listings, solds, canned newsletters, or “how to” content borrowed from a marketing platform. Sometimes these things work really well, and there’s nothing wrong with them.

But I also see a missed opportunity — one that feels so right for the times we’re in. Good email is a conversation, and we humans are craving that a lot lately. It can convey stories that show people how much you know without explicitly telling them. It can be genuine, serious, fun.

Email is ownable.

No matter what happens to Facebook, your lead provider, your marketing automation system, your website — if you’re doing it right, you own your email list. 

Are you taking the time to do email well? Chances are you have a blue ocean to play in in terms of adding value and standing out. 

More Dave please

Now, that said, writing good emails doesn’t come easy for everyone, or anyone really. I’ve been writing professionally for over 20 years and it’s still not easy for me. But it’s a worthy marketing activity that has multiple payoffs, like:

  • If you’re open to receiving replies, you’ll get to know your prospects and clients more. (We get a lot of replies to our emails and reply to them.)
  • The people on your list will inevitably get to know you, too — and not only think of you when they have real estate questions or are thinking of moving, but also when someone in their inner circle mentions it’s time to buy or sell.
  • You’ll have a focal point for your ideas, and a platform that challenges you to develop them thoughtfully — things like observations, interesting people you want to share with others, and new places that inspire you.
  • Your emails are content you can reuse on your blog and social channels.

Here’s the thing, though:

Good email comes from a person, not a company. (A guy named Dave, for example.) I mention this because I know many of our readers work at real estate tech companies and aren’t solo practitioners. If that is you, I have one request:

Give us more “Dave,” and less “customercare” And I mean more than his name. Give us his voice, his point of view, his quirky stories about his food allergies. 

We can connect with Dave. He’s like us in many ways. Let him out to play, please.

A stellar example

I want to invite you to check out Jim Duncan’s Monthly Note. If you don’t know Jim, well you should. He’s a great guy and a real estate broker in Central Virginia with Nest Realty (a great company).

Every month, Jim writes a letter to his list where he shares stories and tidbits that have to do with real estate and life in the Charlottesville area. It is fantastic. Please be inspired by it, but do not copy it. Your email container and contents have to come from you, and not be borrowed too heavily from someone else. That’s the whole point.

Plan E

So, back to that plan you had…

I’m willing to bet that plan involved spinning a lot of marketing plates in the air at once — because that’s what marketing has become. An endless list of bases to cover. A squirrely game of whack-a-mole. The blogs, Facebook, Instagram, video, podcasts, local advertising, TikTok, sky writing.

Is any of that working? Is it at least satisfying?

If you’re looking for the next thing. Or wondering how to market in “uncertain” times, I say roll it back a few decades and reinvent how you think about email.

Keep sending your automated listings emails if they’re working. Keep sending saved search emails. All of that. If it works, keep it. 

But layer on a thoughtfully written email where you can express your ideas and flex your expertise. It’s unexpected. It’s interesting. It’s something that has to come from only your brain, which means it’s by nature unique to you.

And just so it sounds trendy and new, let’s call it Plan E. 

Because it’s all different now anyway.