How to Drive Tremendous Website Traffic with Email Marketing
“For us, the most important result of email marketing is getting people to our website,” says marketing technology manager for Robert Paul Properties, Autumn Boles. “We want to get people to our website, deliver a quality experience, and ultimately convert them to clients that buy or sell a house with us. We know a significant percentage of our website traffic comes from our emails.”
Since starting their real estate firm in 2009, Robert Kinlin and Paul Grover knew email marketing would play an important role in growing their business.That’s when they first brought on Autumn Boles to manage their email communications. Seven years later — with ten offices spread throughout Boston, Cambridge, Cape Cod and coastal Massachusetts — Robert Paul Properties continues to drive website traffic with email marketing, and convert prospects into happy homebuyers. Let’s take a look at Autumn’s strategy:
1. Grow an engaged email listSuccessful email marketing starts with quality contacts. Autumn practices permission-based email marketing, meaning she never adds a contact to an email list unless they’ve opted-in to receive her communications. “Our emails are totally subscription-based,” Autumn says. “People will sign up for our Just Listed and Open House emails, so we know our list only includes people that are interested in what we’re selling. Then we have to include content that people care enough about to click-through and read.” With this approach, email marketing not only drives website traffic — it increases repeat visits from quality leads.
Tip: Need help growing your email list? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Growing a Massive Email List.
2. Organize contacts based on interestTo share content people want to read, Robert Paul Properties pays close attention to their audience’s interests. Their website sign-up form allows subscribers to check off the listing areas they are interested in, so they only receive relevant information. “Our subscribers tell us the area they are interested in seeing new listings for,” says Autumn. “For the open houses, we also have six different areas so we know people will enjoy getting those emails.” Based on their location preference, Autumn organizes contacts into separate email lists. Each week, when she sends a Just Listed or Open House email, she includes only those who have expressed interest in that specific area. For example, the email below was sent to the people looking for information on properties on the Upper Cape.
3. Optimize your experience for mobile readersRelevant content is only useful if it’s in a format that your readers can easily consume. Autumn uses a responsive email template, which is designed to adapt to whatever size screen they’re viewed on. “We like that we can start tracking within Constant Contact how many people are opening on phones versus desktop,” says Autumn. “And we’re thrilled that Constant Contact has the responsive emails because more and more people are reading on mobile. “ In the recent email below, 56 percent of subscribers opened on a mobile device, compared to the 44 percent that opened on a desktop. Robert Paul Properties also recently updated the company website to deliver a better experience to their mobile visitors. “I think one of the most important changes we’ve made is moving to a mobile responsive website. It’s incredibly important that they see things in a nice format, from our email straight through to the website.”
4. Be concise with your contentA recent study from Constant Contact showed that emails with about 20 lines of text and three images or less get the highest engagement. Additionally, Autumn has noticed an additional benefit of shorter emails — her audience is more likely to click-through to her website to view additional details. “I think, in the beginning, we used to include too much information in an email,” she says. “Sometimes less is more. The people who are really interested will click-through and then you know who those people are.” By tweaking her technique slightly, Autumn has boosted her click-through rate by over 7 percent in the last three months. While the industry standard for real estate click-through rates hovers around 7.2 percent, Robert Paul Properties soared to over 23 percent in the past three months. “We recently started including the name of the town, a picture, and a short description of each property — but not the actual address,” Autumn explains. “We’re hoping they’ll click-through to find out where exactly it’s located. We’re always trying to do more things to make it an active experience and give them a reason to visit the site.”
5. Track your email and website analyticsStrong open and click rates are good indications that your emails are being well received. You should also look for opportunities to go a step further and think about how your emails are affecting your business goals. When it comes to website traffic, Google Analytics is one of the best tools available for a more in-depth look at your visitor interests and behavior. “We use Google Analytics to see how much traffic is coming through to our site when we send the emails out,” Autumn says. “Then we look at how much time they’re spending on the site, and how many pages they’re visiting.”
Tip: New to website analytics? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics.
6. Extend the reach of your emails on social mediaLook for ways to use social media to increase the reach of your emails. In addition to sharing resources for home buying and selling, Robert Paul Properties uses their social media channels as avenues to promote their latest emails. With Constant Contact’s Social Share feature, you can easily schedule social posts for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right from your account. Additionally, our tool for Facebook Advertising can help you get your email in front of a whole new audience.
7. Focus on consistencyOnce you have the basics down, the most important thing you can do is be reliable for your audience. Autumn sends out her Just Listed email every Tuesday afternoon around the same time each week. This encourages subscribers to look forward to her emails whenever she hits send. “My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you’re consistent,” she says. “Occasional emails will never work as well as consistency over time.”
Tip: Stick to a regular email marketing schedule by creating an email marketing plan for your business. We have tools to help you do it, 15 minutes at a time.