What are the reasons that some commercial real estate email marketing campaigns succeed while others fail?

Although it may appear that email marketing is a gamble, there is a guaranteed method to make it work for you. You need to regularly update your campaigns and make sure your messages come across as human and relatable. By doing this, you will see the best results possible.

As technology advances in the commercial real estate industry, so too must email campaigns be adapted and innovated to meet the moment.

By utilizing the intelligence gathered, email campaigns can be created with thoughtful and strategic subject lines, send times, and specially designed real estate templates.

Being a successful broker or agent requires maintaining and growing your client base. You have to make a name for yourself at social events like viewings, dinner parties, or meet-ups.

What are some ways that you can nurture relationships with people you meet?

Email marketing can be very beneficial for the real estate industry. It can be seen as your personal assistant, helping you with tasks and providing information.

This tool allows you to save, sort, and segment your contacts, giving you full control over your list and the message you want to get across. Automated email marketing campaigns deliver the right message to the right person while you focus on finding new homeowners for your properties.

When you use real estate email marketing correctly, you can reach more people and close more deals.

This email marketing guide provides instructions on how to capture leads, establish long-lasting relationships, close deals, and stay in touch with new homeowners and satisfied sellers.

Real estate is about developing relationships, even after the final transaction has been made (40% of buyers find an agent through referrals from past clients, after all)! Email marketing allows you to nurture your client base so that they come back to you for their next purchase, and/or refer their network to you as well.

Since the global pandemic, virtual interactions have become more important than ever. People are now more open to a virtual shopping experience, so realtors who use email to promote updates, videos and blogs will note a marked increase in engagement. In fact, our 2021 industry benchmark report found that since 2018, real estate email open rates have increased by 32%, and click-through rates by 54%!

Although a majority of real estate agents do not feel confident in their online marketing skills, there are many easy email marketing tips that can help expand your reach and start more discussions.

An email marketing software will provide you with the tools and resources you need to successfully operate your real estate business.

The major perks of using an email tool include:

  • Collecting new leads and clients with ease
  • Building long-lasting relationships within your community
  • Establishing your own brand and reputation
  • Growing your sales with well-timed emails
  • Saving time and manual work with email automations
  • Encouraging referrals after a deal has been closed

A larger client base will lead to a more successful business, and a good way to ensure this is to have a healthy, engaged email list.

Picking the best email tool for you

Working as a real estate agent or broker requires maintaining good relationships with your network. Since you can only meet with so many people in person each day, a lot of communication will happen online. Email marketing makes this easy.

With so many contacts, different properties and demanding clients to handle simultaneously, your email tool should offer:

  1. Lead capture forms that you can customize to fit your brand and business goals will help you collect and organize new leads, segment them into groups, and give them a more personalized experience.
  2. This is where you would group your subscribers based on something like geographical location. Doing this kind of segmentation will help you build trust with your customers since you can send emails that perfectly fit their situation.
  3. Email groups can be updated manually, and you can create groups for things like sellers versus buyers, property locations or features, budget, renting versus buying, and family size. Targeted emails increase your sales and boost your credibility by offering people email content that is actually valuable to them.
  4. You can set up automatic email responses for many of your commonly used emails, such as welcome emails, follow-up messages, or check-in emails for satisfied customers. Once you have them set up, they will do all the work for you! You just need to check in occasionally to see how people are responding and if they need any additional information or help.
  5. An email builder lets you design newsletters that reflect your personal brand and easily connect with new leads. By adding your branding to your emails, you create a more personal connection with subscribers and help convince them that you’re the broker that will make their real estate dreams come true.

This extensive guide provides all the information you need to create a successful commercial real estate email marketing campaign from start to finish.

1. Define Your Audience

Email can help you reconnect with people who you’ve lost touch with, forge relationships with new potential customers, and close deals that are almost finished. However, all of these benefits rely on you understanding who you’re sending emails to.

You can’t just send out a generic message to a bunch of different people and expect it to work. You need to take the time to understand who you’re talking to and what they need.

How do you define your audience? Here are some questions you should be able to answer:

  • The Demographics – Step one is the basics. What kind of job titles, seniority, age, and general characteristics do your target prospects share? Nothing is universal but try to get a snapshot of what the group looks like.
  • What Are Their Problems? – What issues, concerns, or questions do these individuals share? Are they focused on location? Price? Condition? Are there other factors that come up frequently in sales conversations? Know these questions and your emails will better reflect your business to the target audience.
  • Where Do They Get Answers? – Where do these people go online to get answers to those questions and solutions to those problems? Get a sense of the commercial real estate websites they use, social media platforms they are members of, and blogs they read.

If you want your emails to be more effective, take the time to learn more about your ideal prospects. Knowing their specific needs and desires will help you to create messages that are more tailored to them.

2. Segment Your Contacts

It is no longer effective to send out broad messages to many different people. It is important to take the time to understand who you are trying to reach and what their interests are.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to segment your contact list.

Unfortunately, segmenting your contact list can be difficult and time consuming. However, if you segment your list correctly, you can identify key targets within segments of your list and send messages that resonate with them.

Your email list is too large to send updates about specific properties to every person on it. You will have more success if you segment the list and send targeted messages.

To segment your list effectively, break it up by specific categories including:

  • Location
  • Organization Type
  • Job Function
  • Interest Level
  • Target Property

A list of good potential customers for a retail business in Boston might look like “Retail Buyers – Warm Prospects – Boston.”

Depending on the organization of your system, the naming conventions for files can vary. The key to making things easily searchable and very specific is to break them up into smaller pieces.

List segmentation is the process of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on shared characteristics. By segmenting your list, you can send more targeted and relevant messages to each group, which should result in higher engagement and response rates.

3. Manage Your List

A good email list is not necessarily large – it consists of people who are interested in what you have to say and who you can easily contact.

It’s better to have a list of 500 contacts who are engaged with your content and actively sought out your expertise than a list of 5,000 contacts who haven’t heard of you or who haven’t opened an email in more than a year.

To maximize return on your emails, keep your delivery rates high, and ensure you know exactly what to expect when you reach out to your list, list management is vital. Here’s what it entails:

  • Clean Your Lists Regularly – When an email address changes, your messages will bounce. Those emails often remain in the database for months or even years past the point at which they can be reached. Remove them when you spot a bounce.
  • Purge Unsubscribes – If someone unsubscribes, remove them from your email list. As spam and privacy laws tighten, it’s more important than ever to clear these people out and not attempt to contact them.
  • Remove Inactive Contacts– No contact is ever truly gone, but there are certain thresholds you can watch. If someone hasn’t opened an email or engaged with your content in more than 12 months, consider removing them, or setting up a cold-nurture campaign to attempt reengagement one last time before deletion.

4. Elements of a Great Email

An effective commercial real estate email template should contain the most important elements that help create impact and drive your prospective tenants or investors to take action. The template should be quick to digest so that your recipients can understand your message quickly and make a decision.

Subject Line

The title of your email is the first thing potential customers see, and it should be attention grabbing and persuasive to encourage them to open it.

Strong Images

The visuals in your content are important to driving engagement with your readers. A strong lead image at the top of your newsletter will capture attention and drive readership down the screen.


The headline of your email should give the reader a clear idea of what the email is about. For example, if the email contains a list of recent property listings, the headline should say something like “Recent Property Listings” or “New Properties on the Market.” If the email contains tips about the local market, the headline should say something like “Local Market Tips” or “Insider Information on the Local Market.” And if the email contains general information about a building or a specific location, the headline should say something like “Building Information” or “Details on Location XYZ.”


If you include a lot of content in your email, it is a good idea to break it up into smaller sections using sub-headers. This makes the email easier to read, especially on a mobile device where the reader will have to scroll down to see all the content.

Enticing Content

Your copy needs to focus on specific benefits that the property has to offer, rather than simply summarizing the property.

Write copy for your property listings that will make people want to click through to them. Keep the copy short and to the point, with a clear purpose, and you will get more people engaging with your listings.

Call to Action

Add a call to action button or link to your email to direct potential tenants and investors to your property website. factors like size, design, and color can all attract more attention and get the click throughs you’re looking for.

Contact Information

Make sure to include your name, title, phone number, and email so that your contacts can easily get in touch with you.

Include a headshot with your communication whenever possible to provide a personal touch.

5. The Perfect Subject Line

Your email needs enticing commercial real estate subject lines that stand out in crowded inboxes, pique interest, encourage the recipient to open, and prime them to take the desired action.

You can learn which subject line approaches work best for different segments of your audience and different types of CRE emails by reviewing the open and click rates of your recent campaigns. However, there are also several other best practices that can boost the odds of your emails being seen and opened.

Be Specific, Relevant, and Detailed

While brevity is recommended, particularly for mobile-optimized campaigns, it is also important to include concrete, specific details that will communicate exactly why your CRE email is of interest or benefit to the reader:

  • Size – When sending property-specific emails, including the square footage in the subject line can immediately appeal to recipients looking for spaces around that size. Pair this approach with a targeted list to enhance its effectiveness. One caveat: Don’t lead with the numbers as this dry intro might turn readers off.
  • Location/Area – If the property is in a particularly hot area or one that doesn’t often have spaces available, including that in the subject line can convey the sense of an unmissable opportunity.
  • Interest/Competition – By indicating scarcity (e.g. “X spaces left”) or high levels of interest (e.g. “X leases signed just today”), you can create a feeling of urgency to drive engagement.
  • Progress/Updates – Mentioning exciting new renderings, before and after shots, or visual progress updates can be highly engaging and build anticipation. This is particularly useful if you have a targeted list of prospects who have shown interest in a property undergoing renovations or a new property being built from the ground up.

Shorten Your Subject Line

A rule of thumb in the email marketing world is that your email subject should be no more than 10 words. Another common factor that impacts open rates is subject length. A rule of thumb for email subjects is to keep them 10 words or less.

Subject lines that are 1-3 words long perform better than those that are shorter and more concise.

Why? There are a couple of reasons.

First, shorter is normally more personal. For example, when was the last time you wrote a 7-word subject line in capital case to your mother? You would probably write something like “checking in” or “pictures of kids”. This is how people communicate and it’s the type of emails people respond to.

6. When to Send Your Emails

There’s some “common knowledge” about the best times to send emails if you want the recipient to open it. If you can time your email to when they’re not busy, they’re more likely to see it.

However, it can be difficult to determine when the best time is to do something when there is a lot of contradicting information available.

Here are two things to consider when evaluating the send time for your email:

New research says different. The new research says that the best time to send business emails is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 11 am and 4 pm. This is when most people are checking their email and there is less volume.

The study found that the best time for sending emails was between 4 am and 6 am, based on the open and click-through rate.

You should always keep in mind what you want your recipients to do once they open your email. If you want them to take a specific action like contacting you by phone or email, it’s best to send emails during normal business hours (8am to 5pm).

A study suggests there is no significant difference globally between open and click-through rates on weekdays, but these rates are lower during the weekends.

Fridays have the best open rate for audiences in the US and Canada, while Thursday and Tuesday have the most clicks.

7. Improve Deliverability

There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the effort of creating an email tailored to your audience, only to find out that a lot of them never got the message.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your emails go to the right place, including some easy steps you can take now to reduce the chances they will be considered spam and increase the number that end up in the right inboxes.

Check your Sender Score

ISPs can track and view every email you send to help ensure that you are not a high spam threat. Although this may seem bad, it is actually a good thing because it allows us to see the data.

Sender Score offers a tool that will share with you your performance when sending emails and then provide a score from 1 to 100. Some of the stuff they use to calculate this score includes:

  • Blacklists
  • Recent complaints
  • Infrastructure (how your emails are sent)
  • Message filtering levels
  • Sender rejection notices
  • Spam traps
  • Unknown users

Some of the things that can lower your Sender Score can be fixed by yourself, but others may require help from outside sources. Checking your Sender Score can make you aware of any issues so that you can take steps to fix them.

Improving Your Deliverability Rates with Smart Send Strategies

There are several things you can do to improve sender ratings and deliverability based on when you send emails, who you send them to, and how those emails are validated. Some of the simple things you can do right now to address these issues include:

  • Sending Consistently – When emails go out in erratic spikes, you might see higher rates of rejection and a lower overall sender score. Sending consistently over time is an important way to avoid this.
  • Use the Same Sender – Make sure to keep the sender name consistent for your email. If your sender name switches all the time, you will increase the possibility of getting flagged by spam filters and make it less likely that your emails will be delivered.
  • Ensure Your Contacts Are Opted In – The last thing you want is for someone to flag your email as spam. If someone isn’t sure why they’re getting an email from you, that’s a bad sign as it can quickly lead to high spam rates and eventual blacklisting. Only send to people who have requested information from you, and use a double opt-in and email confirmation process to avoid this issue.
  • Clean Your List Regularly – On a regular basis, remove bounced emails, unsubscribes, and other non-deliverables from your list. When you send to these and they bounce back, it can trigger a block or filters on your emails to all addresses. Use an email validation service that will check for inactive accounts as well as duplicates, old domains, records that have requested no messages, honeypots designed to catch spam bots, and other issues that could hurt future deliverability rates.

Email is one of the most effective tools you can use for marketing commercial real estate. But if you’re not careful, you could end up on a blacklist that will hurt your deliverability. So be mindful of your email list and send smartly to avoid any problems.

8. Develop a Follow Up Strategy

So, if you’re serious about driving conversions with your email marketing, make sure your teams are following up on leads. Even the best email marketing campaigns can be ruined by a lack of follow up, so make sure your team is always following up on any leads.

Ninety-one percent of emails are opened within a day of being sent, which means that only nine percent of emails are opened after a full day has passed. Most of these emails are never seen again because they get buried in unmanaged inboxes.

The average business user receives between 100-150 emails per day, so it’s easy to assume that some get lost in the shuffle.

If something is not considered important during a busy time, it will be forgotten quickly. Therefore, it is essential to have a good follow-up strategy when communicating with prospects via email.

According to a recent study by Yesware, more than half of first replies only came after the 3rd email was sent, and more than 30% weren’t seen until the 7th email or more.

Even though it might take a while to hear back from someone, don’t give up. Keep trying and eventually you will get a response.

Some other things you should do to improve your follow up game include:

When you contact potential customers or people you haven’t talked to in a while, automation can help you stay in touch with them over the long term by scheduling sequences that can be updated based on engagement. Sequences that escalate prospects who open or click an email are even better than those that don’t.

Don’t just stick to normal business hours or weekdays when you’re reaching out to people. Try different times, like weekends, late nights, or off hours, to see if you can get a better response.

If someone doesn’t open your email, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested. They could be out of the office, didn’t see the email, or were too busy to read or reply when it was sent. Most people don’t empty their inboxes, so once it’s missed, it’s unlikely to be seen again. Send the email again a week later with a new subject line.