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So your inbox is full? How to send the right kind of e-mail

By Brian Wildermuth

RISMEDIA, Feb. 12, 2008-When discussing the power of e-mail marketing as a supplement to traditional direct mail marketing, I hear a common excuse as to why agents aren’t taking advantage of this powerful technological opportunity in their own marketing: “I get so many e-mails on a day-to-day basis, and I can’t stand it. Why would I do the same thing to my clients?”

Basically, the logic is, if I don’t like it, my clients won’t like it. My guess is that you don’t like it, because the people filling your inbox haven’t gained your permission to send you what they are sending. Before you close the door on e-mail marketing, I would ask you to consider taking a closer look at how your clients might prefer to receive your communications.

According to a recent study on e-mail marketing conducted by, consumers increasingly value permission based e-mail marketing messages and prefer them to other types of traditional marketing:

54% said they would like e-mail to replace telemarketing.
45% said they would like e-mail to replace in-person sales calls.
40% said they would like e-mail to replace direct mail.

Combine this with the increasing number of consumers going to the Internet to research their potential home purchase or sale prior to contacting an agent, and ask yourself — can you afford not to add e-mail to your marketing toolbox?

The key ingredient to successful permission based e-mail marketing is to gain the permission of your clients in advance of adding them to your e-mail database. I have seen some agents approach e-mail marketing in the same way they tackle direct mail – run out, buy a list of addresses from their title company, and start spamming. Others want to send out a mass mailer asking their clients, friends, and family for their e-mail addresses and are done with it. Like many of us, they expect instant gratification. However, building a strong opt-in e-mail database takes time and commitment.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Send out a letter to your clients, friends, family, neighbors, and other sphere contacts explaining your new ability to communicate via e-mail as an alternative to the mailings you have been sending. Ask them to contact you if they would like to receive your communications via e-mail.
2. Follow up the letter with a personal visit or phone call. Although the purpose is to grow your permission-based e-mail list, the residual effect could be a referral or lead, if you remember to ask.
3. Add an opt-in e-newsletter to your personal website. This allows visitors to your site to join your database on their own.
4. Add a Communication Preference Form to your paperwork process when working with a buyer or seller that asks the client to indicate with how they prefer to be communicated during and after the sale.
5. When meeting new contacts and exchanging cards or contact information, remember to ask them how they prefer to receive communications.

Permission-based e-mail marketing keeps your name top-of-mind with your prospects and customers. It helps build loyalty and repeat business, and is one of the quickest, most direct methods of communication.

©2008 SharperAgent

Brian Wildermuth is the co-founder and president of SharperAgent, and a national speaker in the field of real estate marketing.

For more information, visit