Home builder email marketing

Web Leads Gone Cold? How to Warm Them Back Up.

You’ve collected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of web leads. But you haven’t sent them an email in awhile. Your list of warm leads is growing colder by the day, and the money that you spent to get those leads is quickly going down the tubes. Fortunately, we have a simple 7-step action plan to jump start your email marketing and warm those leads back up… fast.

According to a recent report, email was listed as the second most effective marketing channel (after SEO) in terms of return-on-investment by marketers. Of the 1,300 marketing professionals polled, 66% considered email to be a good or excellent return on investment (compared to just 41% for social media).

So it makes sense that consistent email communication to new (and not so new) web leads is an important part of maintaining a healthy sales funnel.

Here’s how to jump start your own email marketing.

What Are My Goals?

A successful email marketing campaign will increase in-person appointments and sales. The longer you commit to a consistent email schedule, the more web leads will convert to appointments and sales. To start, think about specific goals you’d like to achieve in the next 90 days.

Here are some examples:

  • Convert 10% of current email list to in-person appointment
  • Sell xx homes per week directly from email list
  • Increase in-person appointments by 15%
  • Convert 25% of new web leads to appointment within 30 days
  • Sell all 10 move-in ready homes to buyers in current database

If you’re just starting (or jump starting) your email marketing program it’s best to keep these goals simple. Target no more than 2 or 3 goals to begin with. This will make it easier to track success.

How Often Will I Send?

The key to successful email marketing is consistency. We recommend a schedule of every two weeks. When you create a schedule remember to include internal deadlines such as copy due, approvals due, and design review. Communicate this clearly to your in-house team and outsourced marketing partners.

What Will I Write About?

Next, create a content calendar. If you want to fast track your email marketing, think of recent content that you can repurpose and send out by email. This may include:

Your copy should be concise, provide value to potential home buyers, and be consistent with your business goals. Don’t over think it. Spending too much time deciding whether your model home should be described as “spacious” or “open” is not useful. Be efficient and encourage other team members to do the same.

How Will I Measure It?

Be clear about the next action that you want buyers to take once they open your email. The goal of email marketing is to convert leads in your database into in-person appointments. If you send an email that simply says, “Come to our Sales Center and tour our model home,” then you lose the opportunity to measure if your email is effective. This is also true if your email has a general call-to-action such as, “Visit our website for more information.”

Home builder email marketing

Create a measurable engagement path from that leads from web lead to in-person appointment. Create a landing page that buyers can go to directly to request a model home tour or appointment.

Who is My Team?

There are four key steps of a basic email campaign: editorial, design, distribution, and measurement. The responsibilities involved in each step include:

Editorial: Includes creating a content calendar, brainstorming topic ideas that are consistent with business goals, writing compelling subject headers, developing calls-to-action, copywriting, copyediting, and approvals.

Design: The designer creates a visual that is appropriate for the message and also tests user experience across desktops, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.

Distribution: This includes scheduling, spam testing, list management, and coordinating final approvals.

Measurement: This is the person that measures success indicators such as open rates and click through rates. This person also measures follow through and reports the success rate of new appointments and sales from email marketing.

Assess your current team. What skills do you have in-house, and which skills do you need to outsource? How much time does your current team have to commit to email marketing? Is writing, designing, and delivering email campaigns the best use of their time? Trusting your email marketing to an outsourced team can free your employees up to focus on higher value activities including customer service, prospect follow up, escrow management, touring prospects through model homes, and viewing available homesites.

What Tools Do I Need?

There are several low cost options available for email service providers. Again, don’t over think this. Each one has similar costs and features. We like MailChimp and we have also used Campaign Monitor, but you will get the same results from any ESP you choose. Your content, frequency, and design will be more important than your provider.

Here are a few options:

Review the options and decide which one is right for you. There is no wrong answer.

How Soon Should I Start?

It’s easy to spend weeks or months knowing that you should start an email campaign without ever taking action. Before you finish reading this set a deadline to send your first email out within two weeks. Plan to send an email every two weeks thereafter. Mark it on your calendar and communicate it to your in-house team and outsourced marketing partners.

Soon your list of cold web leads will be hot prospects that turn into happy homeowners.

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Need help with your email marketing? We’ve been delivering emails campaigns for home builders since 2008. Find out more about our email marketing services.


Dawn Sadler

Dawn Sadler is the Founder and CEO of Builder Target. She is also a speaker, author, and content strategist.

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