The Real Estate Agent’s Ultimate Guide to Drip Email Campaigns
If you’re here, you already know email marketing is one of the most effective ways to turn real estate prospects into customers. We’ll cover what an email drip campaign is, and how to properly configure one for your business.
In fact, email is so much a part of life that most of us use it nearly six hours per day.
But the reason email is popular is the same reason it’s challenging. Today’s consumers are bombarded with information and have learned to become extremely discerning about where they spend their attention.
If you want to win with email, you’ve got to cut through noise.
Your prospects crave information that solves their problems — content that helps them reach a specific goal. And in real estate, that goal is to make one of the biggest, most important purchases of their life.
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to create an email nurture campaign that will help transform passive prospects into loyal clients.
Table of contents
- What Is a Drip Email Campaign?
- 10 Quick Content Ideas for Your Real Estate Drip Campaign
- How to Send Better Realtor Drip Campaigns
- 5 First-Email Templates to Get Your Drip Campaign Started
- How to Create a Real Estate Drip Campaign in 5 Simple Steps
What Is a Drip Email Campaign?
A drip email campaign is a series of automated emails designed to warm up newsletter subscribers, leads and prospects by providing them with valuable information over time.
For real estate agents and teams, the goal with drip email campaigns is to steadily and consistently help the potential buyer or seller make the right decisions in their real estate journey through a series of automated emails that are typically designed to inform (not sell).
But it’s important to note that when it comes to your nurture and drip emails, automated ≠ generic.
Remember to take your time and always offer something of value in each and every email. In a sea of agents who ghost on their leads, your prospects will remember you as the one who kept showing up.
Tristan Ahumada of Lab Coat Agents designed an automated drip campaign specially for the unique circumstances and consumer preferences caused by the pandemic. It involves multiple communication channels — not just email! — and has drips spread out over 20 days so the consumer doesn’t feel bombarded at the beginning stages of looking for a home.
10 Quick Content Ideas for Your Real Estate Drip Campaign
The best drip campaigns are designed with the customer journey in mind and are often triggered by events, such as a lead coming in from Zillow, a home search, or another specific action taken on your website.
But it’s also worth noting that drip campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with past or non-responsive leads.
Before setting up a drip email campaign, you’ll want to think about where the lead came from, and what they’re looking for, so you can tailor your content accordingly. If you’re just getting started with nurture campaigns, go ahead and sort your list by buyer, seller and past clients/non-responsive leads.
Here’s a quick list of relevant drip campaign content ideas based on each type of lead.
- Relevant real estate listings in their area.
- Housing market updates in the area they’re interested in (e.g., housing prices, mortgage rates, property sales, etc).
- Community sphere emails, including personal thoughts from past clients who moved to the area or a rundown of events like local festivals, restaurant openings and food fairs.
- Resource lists such as a list of your favorite homebuyer resources, a tips roundup on what to look out for when buying a new home, or even a full ebook for first-time homebuyers.
- Real estate comps, plus other key stats on homes sold recently in the area. Be sure to include highlights about your own recent deals, like the percentage above asking price you secured for a client.
- A blog digest featuring your recent posts to show potential sellers that you’re an authority in your field. Be sure to include topics on home selling tips, market changes, etc.
- Case studies and testimonials from happy former clients to make it easy for prospects to see themselves in your clients’ shoes.
- Home seller resources, such as a list of top tips to entice potential buyers, or simple hacks like how to present the house on open days.
Past Clients & Non-responsive Leads
- Blog posts about the market and any relevant updates about your business.
- Homeowner resources such as home maintenance tips, how to save water, keep energy costs low, backyard maintenance, interior design advice, etc.
This email campaign from Sarasota, FL agent Matt Leich is a great example of using genuinely useful content to build a connection with potential homeowners in your area.
By compiling this data for his audience and layering in his expertise as a local market specialist, Matt packs his emails with a ton of value. And by adding a simple table of contents, he also makes it easy for readers to quickly zoom in on all the latest info from the areas they’re interested in.
But the way Matt leverages his drip content doesn’t stop there.
Matt also delivers his market updates in video form, which gives viewers a chance to preview the content. He can then build their interest and encourage them to download the full PDF while also signing up for ongoing updates from him.
In Follow Up Boss, you can easily use the tracking Pixel to tailor your email content to your client’s actual intent and website activity.
How to Send Better Realtor Drip Campaigns
Given the growing amount of time we all spend in our inboxes, your prospects can probably recognize stale drip content in a blink. If you’ve tried and “failed” at email marketing, or if you’ve recently seen a dip in your open or click-through rates, don’t worry.
These simple rules will help you instantly step up your game.
Get to Know Your Prospects First
Position your earliest points of content around getting to know your prospect. Then, every time you get a reply, consider triggering a new or more targeted drip campaign based on the information you get from that engagement.
For example you could trigger your drip when:
- A new subscriber opts into your listings updates or email newsletter
- After an event (e.g., open house or webinar)
- On a certain day (e.g., 1 year anniversary of sign up)
You can create drip campaigns for all sorts of content and a variety of different triggers in Follow Up Boss.
Show Up Consistently (Not Constantly)
When you first start a drip campaign, you might be wondering how often you should be sending emails. And the truth is, it depends on what type of campaign you’re running.
Here’s a quick example of two different types of drips with two very different cadences:
- Listings updates for buyers – Even for buyer leads with a longer timeline, you’ll likely want to send these emails out on a monthly or even weekly basis (especially when the market is hot).
- Market updates for sellers – For these drip emails, you may only want to schedule one drip each quarter.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least monthly contact — it’s enough to help you stay top of mind without overwhelming your recipients. But you may be able to increase frequency by providing more valuable content.
Keep Your Emails Short
Imagine you have just 15 seconds of your recipient’s undivided attention. This is not the time to ramble on about your resume. Instead try asking a leading question like, “Hey Jill, is your house still on the market?”
You can even try something slightly edgy like, “Do you really not want me as your Realtor? What did I do? Reply and let me know.”
Here are a couple quick tips to help keep your emails brief:
- Come up with your compelling question. Dig deep!
- Try to condense some of your emails to 10 words or less.
Use an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
Subject lines have one job, and one job only: Get your prospect to open.
There is a multitude of research and resources on the art and science of subject lines, but you don’t need a PhD in subject line poetry to get those killer open rates. Focus on these fundamentals and you’ll have no problem catching your reader’s eye.
Pique the reader’s curiosity
Draw your reader in by promising something interesting, valuable or entertaining. And make sure you ALWAYS deliver on that promise. (Bait and switch emails are the fastest way to lose subscribers — plus, they’re bad karma. 😉)
Here’s a quick example:
Learn the NUMBER ONE mistake first-time Phoenix homebuyers make
The NUMBER ONE mistake first-time homebuyers make is a low down payment
The first subject line gets the reader ready to read and absorb the info you’re sending, versus the second email which gives it all away. With the second subject line, you’re essentially cheating the reader of all the good stuff in the body of your email, like how much of a down payment they should have, how to find the best mortgage rates and of course, how you can help them get the most out of this incredibly important purchase.
Mix up subject line lengths
The average subject line length is 35 to 45 characters. And in order to really stand out, you want to hit subject lines that are noticeably longer or shorter than what’s already in your prospect’s inbox.
Try alternating between short and long subject lines to see which ones get the highest number of opens. So taking the previous subject line to example, you could test:
Learn the NUMBER ONE mistake first-time Phoenix homebuyers make
The #1 mistake first-time homebuyers make
Keep it informal
The subject lines with the highest open rates are usually those that are written informally, as if they were coming from a friend. Think about it, which email would you rather open?
The Best Way to Increase the Value of Your Home
Here’s how to get top dollar for your home
The second one just feels better, right? Think about how the subject line would look if you were sending the email to a friend and write it as close to that as possible.
Make Your Emails Deliverable (and Memorable)
If your drips aren’t getting opened, go through the list of people you want to put on an extended drip and pick 100 names to send a personal email to. Then, break it down to a few names per day or week to casually check in with.
You can contact these folks about pretty much anything, for example a comment that traces back to your original conversation, a quick check-in to see how their move went, or a friendly note reminiscing about the excellent lunch you had when you last met.
No matter your content or approach, you can also help increase your opens by including the following elements in each email:
- Credible From Line – Use a name (most likely your own) that signals trust. Most spam comes from businesses, brand names or awkward, untrustworthy sources. Keep your ‘From’ line simple and direct to avoid spam filters. For example, ‘Joe Smith’ if you’re already pretty well-known in your market, or ‘Joe Smith at Legacy Real Estate’ if your recipients won’t immediately recognize your name.
- Irresistible Subject Line – The subject line is the #1 factor as to whether or not your emails will actually get read — and you don’t have to copy what your competitors are doing. Just keep it friendly, conversational and intriguing.
- Interesting Angle – Tell your prospects something they didn’t know before. You’ll be surprised how things that seem obvious to you, could be seen as valuable “inside info” for your prospects.
- Tangible Benefits – Make sure your emails offer value to your prospects and past clients. Whether it’s offering them resources or how-tos, your reader should walk away with something new.
- Mobile Ready – 54% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so it’s imperative that your emails are mobile-friendly. Most email marketing platforms allow you to test your email on mobile so you can make sure it looks good and is easy to read.
- Compelling Call to Action (CTA) – Your readers want you to tell them what to do next, even if that’s just reply with a question, register for an open house, or look out for your next email.
The best time to connect with a prospect is within the first 5 min. of them engaging with you. Once you schedule your drip campaign, the Follow Up Boss Pixel provides detailed information to help you engage your hottest leads at the just the right moment.
5 First-Email Templates to Get Your Drip Campaign Started
Your first email to your prospect is the golden opportunity to get the info you need to deliver an awesomely relevant drip campaign.
Here are a few email templates, organized by lead source, to get you started.
Template 1: Home Search Website Registrations
People who find you via your home search website are usually way earlier in the buying cycle than someone who requests information on a specific property through a portal like Zillow or Realtor.com.
For these leads, the purpose of the first email is to gently warm them up by asking simple questions about what they’re looking for.
Subject: Nice to e-meet you
Glad you found me!
Can you tell me a little more about what you’re looking for? When are you planning to purchase your new home?
Setting up email templates is a breeze inside Follow Up Boss. You can also use the BombBomb integration to warm up incoming leads with a personal video!
Template 2: Portal Leads
Prospects coming in from listing sites like Zillow and Realtor.com are great because they give you a deeper look into what your prospects want. Search details like type of property, price range, neighborhood, etc. can be a huge help in sending personalized emails that prompt an immediate response.
Subject: Let’s connect
Thanks for the inquiry! I’m free now. When’s a good time to chat?
And here’s a bonus email to use if you can’t catch them on the phone.
Subject: Sorry I missed you
Sorry I missed you yesterday!
Did you still want to see the home at 555 Main Dr.? (The ensuite bathroom is even better in real life!)
I just had an appt open up for tomorrow afternoon if you’re free.
With Follow Up Boss, you’re not restricted to emails. You can also use text to mix-and-match text, phone and email all within the same Action Plan!
Template 3: Home Valuation Request
The surest way to get seller leads to unsubscribe from your drip campaign is to send them irrelevant buyer content like listings. Luckily, most CRMs make it a breeze to segment out the sellers. And if you’re struggling to come up with seller-focused info for your drip emails, try adding a little extra value in the P.S. line.
Subject: How much is your home worth?
Are you still interested in knowing how much your home is worth?
I think you’ll be surprised by what I uncovered in my market analysis. Want to grab a coffee and walk through it?
How’s Tuesday afternoon?
P.S. Getting homes sold above asking price is kinda my superpower. Wanna see how I do it? Grab my free guide on How to Get Max ROI out of Your Houston Home.
Template 4: Content Opt-In
If you’re running a blog, opt-in or any other content marketing, chances are you’ve got some stellar email opportunities hidden in plain sight. Take a close look at your published content and make sure you’re asking for your prospect’s email address wherever you can (as long as it feels natural, not forced). Then create a drip sequence (or Action Plan in Follow Up Boss) relevant to that specific prospect.
Subject: Good call.
Thanks for downloading my First Time Homebuyer’s Guide!
Most new buyers rush into a purchase and end up overpaying. But not you.
Can you tell me a little more about what you’re looking for? When are you planning to purchase your new home?
Template 5: Paid Ad
Don’t throw out your Facebook ad budget just yet. Your existing marketing channels are the other key areas where you can easily optimize lead ROI through a little friendly email segmentation. As usual, the key is to make it relevant. For example, if you’re running a retargeting ad for your network of relocation clients and someone opts-in to your landing page offer, this quick email can be a great way to take the convo to the next level.
Subject: Relocating is tough
Thanks for downloading my Ultimate NYC Relocation Guide!
I’m here to take the headache out moving to the Big Apple.
Can you tell me a little more about what you’re looking for? When are you planning to make the big move?
How to Create a Real Estate Drip Campaign in 5 Simple Steps
As with most things in this business, consistency is crucial to a winning drip email campaign. You need to show your prospects that rain or shine, you’ll be there in their inbox, bringing them the info they need to get the most out of their real estate experience.
And in order to stay consistent, you need a simple system for setting up and automating your drip campaign.
Every CRM has a host of features to help you rock your drip email campaign. In Follow Up Boss, we use simple, proactive Action Plans to help you automate long-term email sequences — without ever losing track of a single lead.
Here’s how we do it.
Step 1: From your Follow Up Boss dashboard go to Admin, then Lead Flow.
Step 2: Assign a lead source to an agent or team.
(Got a group of agents you want to assign them to? Follow Up Boss automatically and evenly distributes leads via Round Robin, or on a first-to-claim basis so that the first available agent on your team can jump in straight away!)
Step 3: Trigger an Action Plan (our awesomely practical term for ‘drip email campaign’ that can be customized any way you want) and set your leads up on an automatic follow up sequence, depending on where they came from.
For example, if you’re sourcing portal leads from Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc., the Action Plan will trigger an instant text. (Btw, this text alone is going to get you a 50-70% response rate on ALL your portal leads! 🙌
On the off chance they don’t reply to your autotext, Follow Up Boss will send them an automated drip campaign on the agent’s behalf.
If a lead replies to any of those emails or text messages, Follow Up Boss will automatically pause the remaining emails in the sequence so that you don’t end up sending one of those awkward, obviously automated messages.
Agents no longer have to worry about updating the system every time a lead engages, even if they get a reply when they’re out in the field.
Step 4: Create an awesomely relevant automated follow up sequence for website leads using the Buyer New Lead Website Registration Action Plan inside Follow Up Boss.
Your website will send your welcome email with the login info, etc. As soon as a new lead hits your website, Follow Up Boss takes care of all the initial warming up, including your welcome and ‘thanks for inquiring!’ emails. You can rest easy knowing that all your website leads will be greeted with a warm welcome and followed up with regularly until they’re ready to make the next move.
Of course, you can always customize any part of this Action Plan, but we recommend giving the built-in Buyer New Lead Website Registration Action Plan a shot. It’s been tested with a ton of our clients in many different markets — and it works.
You can repeat this step to easily create an Action Plan for any segment of your list, including Seller Leads, FSBOs, Expireds, etc.
Step 5: Make sure you always get the right lead to the right agent with Advanced Lead Flow Settings.
Click on Advanced Settings and use tags to distribute leads by zip code, town name or price point to send the highest value inquiries to your most experienced agents.
You can also build a rule to encompass all of these advanced settings. For example, you might want all leads that come in from zip code 90210 looking for homes over $2 million to go to a particular agent and the rest of the leads to be distributed to different agents.
Make your drip emails worth reading
Last, but definitely not least, there are a million ways to engage your leads through a standout drip email campaign — but be careful not to fall into the trap of relying on your drip sequence to seal the deal.
No matter how many shiny new automation tools hit the market, real estate is and always will be a client-focused business. Today’s top-producing agents and teams are the ones who invest in long-term relationships and use automation to expand and enhance the level of personal attention they deliver.
And we’re here to make it easy. Follow Up Boss lets you track email opens, clicks and replies — and gives you total access to our high-converting drip campaign library (a.k.a. Action Plan library 😉) — all with one focused, easy-to-use system. Check it out for free today.
This article was previously featured on the Follow Up Boss Blog