Tools of the Trade: How to Pick the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Real Estate Company

8/2/2019

Heat Level: Medium: These tips require some experience.

Bottom Line: Your email marketing strategy is only as strong as the platform you’re using, so it’s important to pick the right one to fit your needs.

Do This: If you’re considering using email marketing (or are unhappy with your current setup) try out Mailchimp and few other platforms to see which works best for your needs.

yellow email envelop in front of laptop computerDeliverability, easy of use, and subscriber limits are the biggest considerations for email platforms. Obviously, we’re big believers in email marketing. From our weekly newsletters (if you don’t get them already, you should sign up here!) to sending out important updates to our clients and more, we rely on email marketing to support our business. And we’re not alone! Email remains an essential part of most businesses’ marketing and outreach strategy. Whether you only use it for simple monthly newsletters or more complicated lead-generation workflows, email marketing can be a powerful asset.

Of course, running any kind of email strategy means you need to have an email marketing platform. And with dozens to choose from, how do you decide which one is right for your business?

Our Go-To: MailChimp

We’ll just come right out and say it: we love Mailchimp. And no, they didn’t pay us to say that. These days, Mailchimp is one of the top names in the game. With options for all different size businesses and all different needs, they make running your email marketing pretty easy.

Pros

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons to go with Mailchimp. They’ve been in the email game for a long time and have tons of tools and resources to make the platform inviting and useful for all levels of marketing and technical savvy.

  • The Forever Free Plan: as the name suggests, their free plan isn’t a limited trial that you’ll need to then commit to in order to keep going. The forever free plan allows you to add up to 2,000 contacts and send up to 10,000 emails per month. The free plan comes with a ton of other features, including:

    • Access to Mailchimp’s basic templates
    • The ability to tag and segment your list
    • Basic reporting to track your campaigns and other efforts on the platform
    • Landing pages and basic email automation campaigns
    • Subscriber forms which can be added to your website
    • Integration with hundreds of apps (including many CRM platforms)
  • High recognition and deliverability: this is a big one. If you’re sending emails, you want to make sure that your list actually receives them! Mailchimp is a leader in the email marketing space, so their deliverability is extremely high. You also have the option to connect your own domain through your Mailchimp account to further boost your deliverability.

  • User-friendly: Mailchimp can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be. While they do offer a lot of more technical features, their core platform is very user-friendly and easy to learn.

  • Lots of resources: Mailchimp’s help docs, guides, and blog are all great resources to help you when you’re getting started and if you’re branching out to use other services they offer. 

Cons

Of course, there are always drawbacks to any technology. Here are a few of the limitations/issues we’ve noticed with Mailchimp:

  • Audience and Sending Limits: yes, Mailchimp’s free plan is great...but only if you have a small list. If you’ve got more than 2,000 contacts or need to send more than 10,000 emails in a month you’re going to have to pay. The free plan also doesn’t include useful features like:

    • A/B testing
    • The ability to deliver emails based on the contact’s time zone
    • Batch delivery or send time optimization to improve your delivery
    • Automated workflows involving more than one event
    • Support via email or chat after initial 30-day period
  • Usability Quirks: because there are a lot of different ways you can use Mailchimp’s platform, finding certain settings and options can be a bit of a maze, particularly if it’s a setting that is at the account level vs. the audience level. The good news is that a lot of the settings work well enough for the average user automatically. The bad news is that the more you get familiar with the platform and want to test/change certain settings, you’ll need to do a lot of searching (this is where their help resources come in handy).

  • Other Email Marketing Platforms

    Even though we love Mailchimp for our needs, there are a lot of other email marketing platforms out there for you to consider if you’re not sure. We’ve worked with several others for our various clients, including:

    • Constant Contact 

      • They offer a free 60-day trial but there is no long-term free option
    • SendGrid

      • They offer a free plan as well as various paid options
      • We found this one to be less intuitive and user-friendly
    • Zoho Campaigns

      • They offer a similar free plan to Mailchimp and various paid options
      • Good option if you’re already using Zoho products like their CRM
      • In our experience, we had a lot of deliverability issues with Zoho Campaigns. For this reason, we left Zoho Campaigns and fell in love with Mailchimp instead

You can check out a full list of email marketing platforms and reviews for each of them here if you want to learn more. If you already use a CRM, you’ll want to confirm that whatever platform you chose can integrate with your existing setup. Some CRMs also have their own email marketing platforms (that’s actually what Zoho Campaigns is) but you’ll want to investigate the cost of adding these services and what is included/not included. And since most platforms at minimum offer a free trial period, you can test multiple services before committing to anything long-term.

Bottom Line

Email marketing is a powerful way to grow your brand and connect with your clients and target audience. But your email marketing is only as strong as the platform you’re using. Trying out different options is the best way to ensure you end up with the right platform for your business. But if you want our (somewhat biased) opinion, Mailchimp would be an ideal starting point.

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Jess Clair self-portrait on Mount Washington
Jess Clair is the Marketing and Sales Project Manager at Joyce, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.
Working with ListingManager allows Jess to explore an alternate reality where she could one day own a house instead of renting. When she’s not focused on her daily to-do lists, Jess enjoys HBO binges, gourmet lattes, and playing with her dog.

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