Best Practices for Writing Marketing Emails

Robert Dodd | 6/26/2017 3:10:00 PM

The Art of the Email Flyer

Not surprisingly there are best practices that increase your odds of success, both in terms of getting your email through to the intended recipient as well as getting that person to read your email.

In this section, we’ll go over the most common mistakes made in writing copy, the best way to write everything from the subject line to the body of the email, and explain that:

  • The subject line is more important than you thought
    • Mistakes to avoid
    • Items to include and not include
  • You should choose your words carefully in the body of the email
    • Personalize where possible
    • Include a call to action
    • Include all important details

Words really do matter!

The way you write your email can impact if your email is effectively delivered and whether or not it is read once it does arrive.

Statistically, the subject line is the most important line in the whole email. The subject line of your email should tell the recipient what’s in your email, not try to sell your email.

So, what are the most common mistakes made when writing the subject line?

  • Too! Much! Punctuation! Avoid exclamation points, dollar signs, percent signs, questions marks, slashes, dashes, commas.
  • Ever see an email with LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS in the subject line?

It feels like the sender is screaming at you. And what’s worse, you get the feeling they’re not being completely honest about whatever it is they’re yelling!

  • Misleading information. If it’s not true, don’t say it. It’s against the law. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 specifically prohibits misleading information in the subject line.
  • A subject line that’s too long greatly decreases the odds that the recipient will even take the time to read it because, after all, who is going to spend that much time reading a subject line in an email from a person they may not even know? That was a mouthful. Surely there was a more succinct way to say that.
  • You should try and limit your subject line to 50 characters or less. More than that and it may get truncated upon delivery.
  • Spam Trigger words should be avoided
  • In the real estate world, there are certain words that are technological and psychological spam triggers. Even if your email gets through the filter (the technology part), the person who gets it is likely just going to delete it (the psychological part).

These words include: Sale, Free, Money, Income, Mortgage, Opportunity, and the newest one… Pre-Foreclosure.

  • There’s a more complete list of spam trigger words in the appendix of this document.
  • Just to be clear, you generally need more than one of these words to trigger a spam filter. Filters use a point system to add up all “offenses” (it’s actually a fairly complex algorithm). If they pass a certain level, the email won’t make it through. You need to be conscious of this so you know what to avoid.

Here’s the best way to write a subject line for a real estate marketing email:

  • A friendly, short sentence explaining why they may be interested in the listing.
  • Include information about a high split rate, or some unique or desired feature of the house.
  • Remember, you don’t have to say everything in the subject line.
  • Include your company name. It helps.
  • If you don’t put your company name in the subject line, then make certain it is in the “from” or “display” field.

Here’s a great example of how NOT to write a subject line:

FOR SALE – only $249,000, Free Upgrades!!!! (See figure 3)

(Figure 3 - In this example, we’ve got too many capital letters, a dash, the word “free,” and too much punctuation)

Here’s how it should have been written:

Price reduced on colonial full of upgrades (See figure 4)


(Figure 4 – This subject line is grammatically correct and written without hyperbole)

That’s it. Studies show that hype in a subject line greatly decreases the open rate. So, tempting as it may be, you should avoid it.

The Body of the Email
Some of the same rules that apply to the subject line apply to the body of the email.
Excessive punctuation, words in all CAPS and of course, spam trigger words are things to avoid. All of those things trigger spam filters and, if the email does get through, will likely just annoy the reader. Those tactics don’t work.
So what does work? What are some tried and true methods of writing real estate marketing emails that are effective?

  • Personalize it. If you’re using eCampaignPro™, use the function that will insert the recipient’s name into the email. If you’re using another service, find out if they offer that option.
  • Think about what action you want the recipients to take once they get your email:
  • Do you want them to call you?
  • Email you?
  • Forward the note along to any interested third-party?

Whatever your call to action, let them know! Don’t assume they know what to do next and make sure you give them all the information they need to actually do it (for example, include your phone number if you want them to call you or allow them to email you directly from your flyer).

  • Finally – and this may sound like a no brainer - but make sure you include all pertinent details regarding the listing. And that includes the price.

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