E-mail Campaigns Offer Marketing Option

eCampaignPro makes it easy to build and track your marketing efforts.

August 1, 2003

With millions of consumers signing up for the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry to stop unwanted phone calls from telemarketers, any real estate professional who has relied on cold calling to drum up new prospects may be considering e-mail the next-best tool in their marketing efforts.

Promoting real estate services via e-mail is certainly cost effective: you can send as many messages as you want without incurring additional fees from your Internet service provider. And, it’s relatively simple: you can compose and send messages to all your contacts with ease from within your e-mail applications. However, creating an effective message, and tracking responses to know what is and isn’t working for you in these online promotions, can prove challenging and time consuming.

A number of companies offer templates that allow you to export your information, graphics, and photos into professionally designed e-mail promotions. For example, the Template Zone has a series of e-mail templates for promoting real estate services by e-mail. E-mail marketing features are built into the latest contact management solutions and productivity suites like Top Producer.

However, a new start-up service from XL Technologies adds another dimension to e-mail marketing by incorporating tracking capabilities within the content of your marketing messages. Its Web-based eCampaignPro for Real Estateoffers a selection of templates for standard promotions like newsletters, brochures, and flyers touting new listings or open houses. The service recently rolled out after two years of development and testing.

Embedded in each message created with eCampaignPro can be links and tracking features which reveal if these e-mail messages are actually opened and read, how often, and whether recipients responded to the content by visiting your Web site. The solution also captures the customers’ contact information.

For a set-up fee of $25 and a $25 monthly usage fee, subscribers can use the service to compose and transmit up to 2,500 e-mail messages each month. Robinson says the solution is compatible with most contact management programs, allowing subscribers to upload their contact records for use in these mass electronic mailings. Users log in to the company’s password protected Web site and choose from a selection of templates to build their message, or you can create the same message on several different templates. Once designs are finalized, users can define the recipients by certain criteria, such as zip code or geographic region.

“The system gives them the ability to experiment with different versions of the same campaign to see which draws the most response,” says Bill Robinson, director of sales and marketing for eCampaignPro. “Our software generates the code which captures e-mail addresses so subscribers know which promotion or version of a campaign people respond to.”

Embedded links in the message can invite recipients to enter contact information if they wish to discuss real estate services. As part of the eCampaignPro services, this lead information can be automatically relayed to your cell phone as a text message as soon as it is entered by an e-mail recipient. to the subscriber’s cell phones as a text message.

Another link gives recipients the option to unsubscribe, so you will not contact them through e-mail again. That can be an especially important feature for real estate professionals sensitive to consumer complaints about spam— unwanted assaults on their e-mail in-box—being as intrusive as calls from telemarketers.

In fact, Robinson admits one of the biggest challenges for any e-mail marketing campaign, including those generated through eCampaignPro, is the evolving attitude toward unsolicited e-mail. “To me, at least, its not spam unless you can’t unsubscribe so that there’s no way to , and there’s nothing you can do to stop receiving unwanted messages,” he says.

Nevertheless, consumer complaints about unsolicited e-mail will continue to climb, even as e-mail use is sure to increase. Whether or not e-mail is a tool you should include in your marketing efforts is a decision that should be carefully weighed, as it has as much potential to create ill will as win new clients.

That said, the cost, ease of use, and ability to track the results make eCampaignPro an option you might want to investigate if you’re eager to gauge the effectiveness of an e-mail campaign for promoting your real estate services.

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