Are you E-mail marketing in style?

Traditional mail vs. e-mail campaigns
In the spirit of always thinking of ways to assist our stylish Realtor and Loan Officer customers, particularly in fostering their long-term business relationships with their clients, I frequently make suggestions, tips and write comments to our entire customer and client base via e-mail marketing campaigns. It never ceases to amaze me at all the great stuff, tools and suggestions here at RCG and out in the blogosphere. While browsing some of my favorite blogs, I ran across an e-mail marketing post at The Future of Real Estate Marketing.

While many agents can use generic e-mail group lists in their Outlook or Thunderbird programs to do the job, there are some great resources that really (in the voice of Chef Emeril Lagasse) kick it up at notch!

May I introduce Emma

One of the very best at e-mail marketing is at MyEmma. I came across Emma about a year ago when they were still very new. It has one of the best e-mail campaign editing tools and allows you to upload pictures in a snap. The UI is simple and very easy to navigate. One of the great features is the ability to track your responses to e-mail campaigns in a meaningful way. I know when someone opens the e-mail, at the precise time and whether or not they clicked on related links. There is also a way to allow customers to opt out if they choose or forward the e-mail to a friend–something that always results in the referrer receiving a nice gift card for a cup of coffee.


Emma’s support is first rate and the responses to you are always helpful and humorous! When Emma announces new tools, improvements or “APB’s,” they always seem to have at least one reference to us customers as “stylish people.” I never knew I was stylish until I started hanging out with Emma. If you have a tough day at work and want to lift your spirit, just browse their site bio’s and company history. If you are like me, you LOL!

With traditional mailings, you can’t track success. If you have not added e-mail campaign marketing to your complete marketing program, perhaps now is the time.

Brokers and Agents – a perplexing business model

For those who aren’t agents let me explain how many of the larger brokerages (eg., in this area – Windermere, John L. Scott, Coldwell Banker Bain, etc) operate. As an agent you are an independent sub-contractor usually paying a monthly desk fee to associate with a particular company, plus variations of splitting your commissions with the broker. For that you get office space, administrative support, access to training etc.

What you do NOT get is client leads from the company. (except for Relo clients if you last long enough). For that you do your own marketing and/or sink to using the sourcing companies like house values, home gain and others of those ilk whose business model Ardell summed up so well long ago.

So here’s the part that I just don’t get. As an agent, there is no way I can come up with the marketing dollars to compete against House Values online. But my brokerage (Coldwell Banker Bain) spends millions in advertising, development of their website and overall branding. Yet for all of that they have no pro-active lead capture system or method of distributing leads to field agents. Certainly any of the larger brokers could compete better for the internet business and yet they don’t. Plus, if there are agents willing to pay for lead sources why not capture that revenue back into their own company.

It seems to me that the logical thing to do would be develop a virtual brokerage office.

  • Create a staff of salaried agents for an inside sales team
  • Implement a product like LivePerson to monitor web traffice and engage potentinal clients online
  • Capture those leads and turn them to field agents in the local office for a percentage of the commission (you have to pay for that inside sales team somehow)
  • Quit making your agents rely on 3rd parties for additional lead source generation

I’m going to propose this idea to my company but thought I’d run this by everyone for some feedback.