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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2008

Open, Sesame

Seven tips can help ensure people will open your mortgage e-newsletters

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 a mortgage e-mail newsletter to the same list often costs $30 a month for as many as six issues, depending on your fulfillment provider.

The high ROI makes mortgage e-mail marketing a great choice for mortgage professionals who are looking to lower their marketing costs in a tight market.

One of the keys to maximizing your mortgage 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 are more likely to open e-mail newsletters they are expecting and to ignore ones they aren't. Therefore, it can be wise to 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 engage your subscribers and 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 consistently. At a minimum, send your e-newsletter once a month. A twice-a-month publishing schedule is ideal. 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 comprises first-time homebuyers, for example, you may focus on content that has to do with preparing for homeownership, protecting credit, downpayment assistance, savings strategies 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."

Also, include a "forward to a friend" link. This gives your subscribers two reminders.

Don’t forget to include a subscribe link in your e-mail, too, so that your subscribers' friends can subscribe.

6. Include teasers. Mention the topic you'll cover in the next issue of your e-newsletter. This can build anticipation and get your subscribers looking forward to your next issue.

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. People do business with people they know, like and trust. 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.


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