Email is synonymous with communication these days. In the few short years that we’ve had access to this tool, it’s become our favorite method of keeping in touch.

But what if you’re a veteran Realtor who built the bulk of your database in the era before Internet-dominated communications?

I often hear from real estate agents who have databases, complete with accurate addresses, ZIP codes and phone numbers. But these same agents lack the email addresses that they need to begin effective email marketing campaigns.

And even if you have been in the habit of collecting email addresses for real estate prospects, how many of them are still active? With people changing jobs and email providers, it’s common to have a handful of inactive addresses in your list.

Let’s explore some of the most successful ways to build and update your real estate email list. Then you’ll be in a better position to market with e-newsletters and automated email campaigns.

1. Promise value.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy receiving emails that offer you value. When you ask for a prospect’s email address, let them know what kind of messages they can expect from you. Assure them that you’ll send relevant market information and homeownership tips. People will be more open to sharing their email address if they know they’ll receive valuable information in return.

2. Offer incentive.

Some real estate prospects and past clients might be reluctant to pass out their email address for fear of being overwhelmed by spam. In addition to reassuring them, try offering an incentive to those who provide you with an email address. A drawing is an ideal way to catch a client’s eye. Let them know that you’ll be drawing for a gift card or a consultation with an interior decorator, and the winner will be notified by email. Everyone loves a chance to win.

3. Use social media.

Your prospects and past clients are likely using social media as a means to keep in touch with friends and stay in the loop with current events. Connecting with them on Facebook or following them on Twitter is an easy way to bridge the digital gap. Once they’re included in your network, share some posts about your upcoming drawing or simply ask your Facebook friends if they’re interested in receiving home-related communications by email.

4. Open up open houses.

Open houses are a powerful place to build relationships and capture email addresses. Have visitors sign a guestbook or use your iPad to easily record email addresses. A friendly approach and simple request can result in a long list of contacts, so don’t be shy. Most of us are used to being asked for an email address in most of the stores where we shop regularly, so the question won’t surprise your visitors.

5. Include a form on your website.

Capturing contact information from your website is one of the easiest methods of building your database. Simply include a form on your site asking visitors to share their email address. If you’re using an excellent real estate CRM, the information can be automatically integrated into your customer relationship manager. This automated process makes email capture a breeze.

6. Send direct mail.

Sending direct mail to gain email addresses might sound counterproductive, but, in fact, it results in great success. Send direct mail pieces to the mailing addresses you have, and include your email address with your contact information. Mention on the postcard or flier that if the recipient would like to receive email communications in the future, they can send you a message.

7. Make it a regular part of the conversation.

There are certain phrases that we work into every conversation, like “How are you?” “nice to meet you” and “take care.” What if you simply started asking for email addresses in the conversations you have each day?

Ask if you can confirm an email address and enter it directly into your smartphone or on a pad of paper. Ask, and you’ll receive. Eventually, confirming email addresses will be second nature and can help you weed out some inactive addresses in your database.

Read more: 7 ways to successfully collect email addresses


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