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Real Estate Professional

Making the Most of E-mail Farming

E-mail farming not only allows you to deliver a message easily and affordably, it allows you to infiltrate target markets with specific information that positions you as the local expert.

E-mail. The upside has always been its ability to deliver information to a vast number of people (or a specific group, if desired) quickly and inexpensively. But when you get right down to it, it sure is boring, isn’t it? Row after row of gray text on a white background ‚Äî how are you supposed to impress prospective clients with that?
Quite simply, you’re not.

A Whole New E-World
That’s why good e-mail farming doesn’t use e-mail as you know it. Today’s most effective e-mail farming includes stimulating photos and graphics, vibrant colors and interactive features. It can convey the same image as your traditional marketing materials at a fraction of the price. And it knows no boundaries except that of your e-mail address book.

And the real beauty of what today’s top agents are doing is that while elevating the quality to a whole new level, the speed, price and reliability of e-mail remains unchanged.

Perception is Reality
In advertising, perception is everything. If you are trying to attract new clients via bland, ordinary e-mail, you are telling the recipient that you, too, are bland and ordinary. You’re also sending what amounts to the Internet equivalent of junk mail, or spamming in Internet jargon.

However, sending high-quality, full-color photo-enhanced e-mail creates a perception of professionalism, success and cutting-edge technology, and due to the quality, no one considers your e-mail as spam. Rather, they perceive the message as valuable information and consider themselves an important part of your business.

Imagine the impact personal marketing could have on your career if you could send hundreds or even thousands of personal messages with no printing or postage costs. This is the core of today’s Internet-based marketing, and because of its low cost and ease of use, it has the potential to eventually overtake direct mail as the preferred delivery method for nearly all marketing materials. Right now, it’s the perfect complement to a direct mail campaign.

Getting Started
So how do you create high-quality, attention-grabbing e-mail? One way is to have a personal Web site with MegaAgent, the online software application that comes with every Hobbs/Herder Web site. MegaAgent allows users — without any knowledge of HTML — to make alterations to their Web sites, promote listings online and create dynamic, full-color e-mail PowerKards.

Included with MegaAgent are five e-mail farming templates (e-mail PowerKards) designed to match the look and theme of your existing marketing materials. They consist of a Just Listed Kard, Just Sold, an Open House announcement, a blank, versatile version for personal notes, and finally, several fun, multimedia holiday messages you can send to your database.

You simply transfer all the information from your database, and MegaAgent does the rest. You can then send these messages en masse to your farm or simply use your blank e-mail PowerKard to write personalized notes to clients.

Jill Brasga, an agent from Temecula, Ca., has abandoned her ordinary black & white e-mail for the dynamic, full-color alternative, and the results have definitely made an impact on her farm.

That’s how I e-mail anyone for anything that I do, she says. It’s got such a great appearance. It’s such a difference between opening an ordinary e-mail and this. People rave about it. It really sets me apart. It makes them feel like I have a clue about what I’m doing.

The ease and flexibility makes it simple to send high-quality, powerful messages in just a matter of minutes and with no hassle. I wish I had learned it earlier, agent Steven Hall of Kansas City, Missouri, says. It was a breeze to learn thanks [to the staff at Hobbs/Herder].

Imagine the Possibilities
Imagine every home you sell, every listing you get, every note you send, being e-mailed directly to your database packaged consistent with your image and the graphics from your ads and personal marketing materials. It tells the consumer that you are serious about what you do and always on the cutting edge of marketing innovations.

With his Hobbs/Herder Web site, Craig Akers of Phoenix, Arizona uses MegaAgent not only for e-mail farming, but to supplement his listing presentations. Before a listing appointment, he goes to the property and takes several photos with his digital camera. He then prepares a Web site listing for the home and uses it in his presentation.

During the listing presentation, I’ll ask if we can go online and we’ll go jump on the Web and take a look, Craig says. He then shows them the online listing he’s created for their property, and the response has been extremely positive.

It’s really a powerful marketing tool that doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to produce, and it puts you head and shoulders above the competition, he says. Many other agents have Web sites, but it’s not just about having a Web site anymore. It’s more than that. It’s how are they using those tools to market property.

After taking the listing, Craig’s e-mail farming goes into high gear. He sends a Just Listed e-mail PowerKard to his entire database, which, in addition to getting the word out regarding the listed property, also adds value to his service and justifying the seller’s decision to list with him.

Making Your Web Site a Local Resource
One of the most powerful things you can do with e-mail farming is to demonstrate your local expertise and target specific segments of your farm. One way to go about this is by consistently providing people with meaningful, valuable information specific to their geographic or demographics. The subject matter of that information is limited only to your imagination, however.

Now, most of you are probably thinking of real estate or market-oriented information, and that’s fine. But there are many more categories of information that break your farm down into smaller, specific segments, allowing you to create strong relationships based on common ground. These include school functions, church functions, youth sports functions and much, much more. Ultimately, any social or civic group you’re involved in can become your ally in creating a powerful e-mail farming campaign. Keep reading to see how it works.

Making the Commitment
For the sake of example, let’s say your daughter is a member of a local soccer team. At the beginning of the season, she brings home a calendar full of practice dates, game dates, playoff dates, the year-end banquet and other special events throughout the season. These are things no parent can forget, making this valuable information to the fellow parents on your daughter’s team.

Do you think the other parents would appreciate a reminder whenever a practice or game is approaching? Do you think the coach would enjoy not having to remember to remind the kids to remind their parents when and where the next game is? Do you think it would reflect positively on you to provide this information?

The answer to all three questions is yes, of course! At the beginning of the season, simply approach the coach and propose that you provide this service. You can do the same thing with church calendars, community events, election days, homework assignments from your child’s class, PTA meetings, school lunch menus and more. It’s really open to anything that’s available to you and important to your farm.

This is the Future. Get In Now!

So what are you waiting for? You don’t have enough e-mail addresses? Okay, then start here: Click here to read our Seven Tips to Building Your e-mail Database.

And if you’ve already built a substantial e-mail database, don’t delay. You’ve got a leg up on the competition and you can make your presence felt now, before e-mail farming becomes the norm. Don’t miss out on the advantage you hold. Because today’s e-mail farming is exciting, it’s effective, and it can help take your business to the next level.