As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, November 2008.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, each dollar spent on e-mail marketing in 2008 is projected to have a return on investment (ROI) of $45.65.
One reason for e-mail marketing's high ROI is its low cost. Mailing postcards to a list of 1,000 prospects costs about $300 each time. Sending an e-mail newsletter to the same list often costs $30 a month for as many as six issues, depending on your fulfillment provider.
One of the keys to maximizing your e-mail marketing ROI is to send e-newletters and to ensure they are opened. Here are seven tips for increasing your e-newsletter open rates:
1. Get permission. People will more likely open e-mail newsletters they are expecting and ignore ones they aren't. Therefore, ask for permission before sending your e-newsletter.
This starts with your first list of subscribers. Ask everyone who contacts your office if they would like to receive information from you via e-mail. Ask every Internet lead and every client. Ask every networking contact who is in a similar business (e.g., real estate agents, certified public accountants, financial advisers, etc.). Ask everyone who attends any workshop you host.
The keys to getting people to say yes are to make them a great offer and to assure them that you respect their privacy. A great offer may be a special report with information that is otherwise difficult for consumers to find, such as "7 Sources for Downpayment Assistance."
2. Send something immediately. Provide your e-newsletter subscribers valuable, pertinent information as soon as they sign up. If you are going to send a special report, for instance, consider splitting it up into seven auto-responder e-mails. The first will go out the minute a new subscriber signs up, and the remaining ones would be sent each day over the next week. These constant reminders will increase the chances of them opening your first issue.
3. Send something at least once a month. Have you ever received an e-mail and wondered, "Who is this person?"
You can expect the same response from your subscribers if you don't communicate with them. At a minimum, send your e-newsletter once a month. This way, your subscribers will hear from you often enough that they do not forget you -- but you aren't becoming a nuisance by sending too many newsletters.
4. Connect with your audience. Your e-newsletter is not about you -- it's about your subscribers, their interests, their questions and their problems. Make sure your content meets your target market's needs and reinforces your position as their trusted mortgage adviser.
If your primary market is first-time homebuyers, for example, you may focus on content that has to do with preparing for homeownership and demystifying the process.
5. Encourage forwarding. By encouraging your readers to share your e-newsletter with their friends, you will increase your readership and subscribers.
In the introductory paragraph, ask readers to share the e-mail. Be specific in your request, using verbiage such as, "Please share this e-mail with anyone you know who is considering buying their first home." It's much more effective than just "Please share this e-mail."
6. Include teasers. Mention the topic you'll cover in your next issue. This can build anticipation.
7. Make your subject line sizzle. Your subject line is one of the most-important parts of your e-newsletter -- it's the first thing your subscribers see. Don't waste that valuable real estate with a generic subject line such as "California Mortgage Newsletter." Rather, make sure it motivates your subscribers to open your e-mail.
Avoid misleading subject lines that have no connection to your e-newsletter's content, however. Misleading subject lines are a surefire way to violate trust and annoy your prospects.
In a tight market, e-mail marketing may be one of the most-valuable tools in your marketing arsenal. If you follow these tips to increase your readership, your e-mail marketing campaign can lead to exclusive leads and more closings.
JC Kadii provides e-mail newsletter design, mortgage e-mail marketing services and e-mail marketing training through MortgageEzines.com, for which she is customer-liaison manager. For a complimentary copy of the report "How to Build a High Quality Subscriber List," visit MortgageEzines.com. Reach Kadii at email@example.com or (770) 469-7385.