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Real Estate Drip Campaigns: 10 Tips for Success

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Real Estate Drip Campaigns: 10 Tips for Success

Data shows that email marketing campaigns generate the highest ROI across all industries. And it makes sense: people spend more than 6.5 hours in their inboxes a day. 

Email marketing campaigns are the perfect place for Realtors to invest considerable time, money and energy. By automating drip campaigns, agents can nurture leads and convert sales without even lifting a finger.

What is a Real Estate Drip Campaign?

A real estate drip campaign is a communication strategy that sends out a number of emails to qualified leads over a set period. Drip campaigns are often pre-written, automated email templates that streamline an agent’s follow-up strategies and provide relevant content to each type of lead.

With the help of a comprehensive CRM, real estate agents can utilize Action Plans to engage leads and clients systematically. Action Plans are campaigns that have some manual touchpoints like phone calls or direct mail pieces, or have fully automated texts and emails, or utilize a combination of the two. This ensures consistent follow-up and efficient lead management and improves conversion rates.

Data shows email drip campaigns have an 80% higher open rate than one-off emails. And they are three times more likely to inspire users to click through. 

It also shows that small businesses that utilize drip campaigns generate 80% more sales at a third of the cost, and that within the real estate industry specifically, the email bounce rate is less than 1%.

That’s some seriously effective digital marketing.

How Long Should a Real Estate Drip Campaign Last?

After initial contact with new leads, an agent’s chances of converting them to a new client diminish with every minute, hour, and day that passes. During this vulnerable time, you want to communicate with regular touchpoints and clear calls to action, i.e., the action you want the lead to take after having read your email.

A typical real estate drip campaign lasts eight to sixteen weeks. From your very first email, make sure to communicate expectations. Let the home buyer or seller know how often you’ll send them emails. The most commonly-used time frames are once or twice weekly or every two weeks.

Agents should plan to send more frequent and personalized emails as they establish the relationship, nurture the lead, and kick off the buying or selling process. If a lead doesn’t convert within two weeks, slow your communication and give them some breathing room. Turn to other, hotter leads and trust the process with the ones that are not.

As you funnel leads through your drip marketing campaign, continuously assess their engagement and responsiveness to determine if adjustments to the campaign length are necessary. Some leads will come in burning hot and ready to transact. They might only need follow-up emails post-closing. Others might need a year or two to understand the market and find their perfect home.

Treat email marketing campaigns as living organisms that need consistent monitoring and fine-tuning. Use these ten tips to ensure success as you build your communication strategies and grow your real estate business.

10 Tips for Your Real Estate Drip Campaign

1. Define Your Goals and Target Audience

The first step is to define your goals and name your target audience. You’ll want to break the overarching goal of closing deals into smaller, more manageable objectives with action steps for each stage. To start, think through the lifecycle of homebuyers and sellers and plan drip campaigns around critical steps in the process.

Buyer Lifecycle:

  • Search Listings
  • Connect with an Agent
  • Attend Open Houses & Showings
  • Find a Viable Option
  • Secure Financing
  • Make an Offer
  • Obtain a Home Inspection
  • Close the Deal

Seller Lifecycle:

  • Understand the Costs of Selling
  • Hire a Listing Agent
  • Prepare the Home to Sell
  • Complete Pre-Listing Marketing Tasks
  • Fill Out Selling Disclosures
  • Show Home to Prospective Buyers
  • Review & Accept an Offer
  • Start the Closing Process
  • Close the Sale

By looking at each stage of the lifecycle, you can see how and when to provide helpful content and appropriate CTAs to your clients. When nurturing seller leads, for example, utilize an email sequence that advises them on the state of the market and what to expect with current home prices. Or, when showing buyer leads active listings, send an automated email that provides them tips for what to look for when attending an open house.

Once you’ve defined the specific goal for your drip campaign, identify your leads by their demographics, behaviors, preferences, and price ranges. This could include first-time homebuyers, luxury property investors or downsizing retirees. Consider creating buyer personas to understand your target audience better and tailor your campaign content accordingly.

2. Choose the Right CRM with Automated Email Marketing

One of the best features of drip campaigns is that you can automate them. To do so well, look for customer relationship management (CRM) software that provides you with the features needed to run successful campaigns. A robust CRM like Sierra Interactive should be able to:

  • Capture Leads from all lead sources—contact information and data gathered from your real estate website, advertisements, lead providers and lists should all seamlessly filter into your CRM.
  • Automate lead follow-up—This ensures your leads are nurtured without you even having to worry about it.
  • Track ROI—Your CRM should be able to provide data on where each lead came from, the length of time it took for them to convert, and how much they brought to your business. That way, you can invest your time and money into the most valuable marketing tools.
  • Fully Integrated Automations – Not only should your emails be automated, but with the right CRM, you can automate text messages, phone calls (power dialing) and voicemail drops. Layer in even more points of contact with an automated dialer.
  • Finely-Tuned Tags – You want to be able to segment your leads into many different buckets and to quickly pull data on any segment at any time. The ability to tag different leads and splice them every which way gives you much more insight into who your audience is and how to engage them.

3. Segment Your Email List

This is Marketing 101: Don’t talk to everyone at once. Break your contacts into groups and address their specific pain points, interests and needs. You want to match the content of your emails with the receiver’s intent.

Sample segments:

  • Buyers
  • Sellers
  • Active clients
  • Past clients
  • Neighborhood/zip code
  • First-time homebuyers
  • Price range
  • Type of home: condo/apartment/single-family/land
  • Age range
  • Interests
  • Preference of communication: SMS/email/phone call

4. Create a Welcome Email Series

Creating a welcome email series significantly increases your chances of converting a lead. You can automate the series so that certain behaviors trigger the sequence. Let’s say a lead convertson your PPC ad or a new buyer lead browses listings on your website. Both new leads would automatically be added to your welcome email series.

Your welcome email campaigns should be concise, warm and professional, and your subject lines should relate to the content within. Here are some things to consider including:

  • Set expectations: Let your real estate leads know how often to expect an email from you. “Over the next few weeks, I’ll send you weekly updates on {active property listings, current real estate trends, and home maintenance tips}.” This helps prevent your emails from feeling like spam.  
  • Include a downloadable PDF: Prove right away that your emails will provide value. Offer leads a free PDF of hidden gems in their neighborhood or city, tips for first-time homebuyers or your latest market report.
  • Send a survey: Ask recipients to complete a quick survey to ensure your emails meet their needs and answer their questions. Survey questions should gather information on the leads’ price range, desired neighborhoods, the type of property they’re looking for, and whether or not they are first-time homebuyers.
  • Offer promotional services: Promotional services and fun freebies will draw many people in. Offer a free 30-day service to those who fill out your survey, a fun free goodie, or an e-magazine with home décor tips.
  • Include only one Call to Action (CTA): You don’t want to overload your leads with action steps in your welcome campaign. Instead, emphasize and show that you are a valuable and trusted resource in the real estate industry. Only include one CTA in each email. Be thoughtful about how you phrase it and where you place it—err on the side of value-add to build relationships and garner trust.

5. Develop a Drip Campaign for Property Listings

You can also automate drip campaigns that will send buyer leads property listings. This is an easy way to inform buyers of what is currently available and keep yourself top of mind.

Similarly, you can send automated custom market reports to your seller leads. This positions you as up-to-date and relevant and adds value to sellers looking to understand the market.

6. Set Up a Referral Drip Campaign

Consider your welcome, property listing and referral drip campaigns as the beginning, middle and end of your email marketing strategy. Of course, you’ll pepper in other email campaigns throughout the lifecycle of your clients, but these three should be pillars in your overall campaign.

Once you’ve closed a deal, drop those clients into your referral drip campaign. You don’t have to ask for referrals outright in every email. You simply want to stay on their minds, so they think of you when recommending agents to friends and family.

Some ways to do this:

  • Send a thank you and congratulatory email
  • Send semi-regular emails that inspire home maintenance and care
  • Send annual happy birthday and happy home anniversary emails
  • Send semi-regular market updates, especially during the high seasons when you know people are looking to buy and sell

7. Use Triggered Email Automation for Lead Nurturing

A holistic CRM will allow you to set automations, or triggers, based on lead behavior and demographic data. For example, you could set up a trigger so that when a lead clicks on your property listing, they will be enrolled in a drip campaign that automatically sends them emails of other property listings in their price range and zip code. As another example, let’s say a retiree fills out your contact information sheet. By tagging her demographic, she could automatically be enrolled in your campaign targeted toward empty-nesters downsizing or showcasing luxurious homes in beautiful travel destinations.

Utilizing behavior and demographic triggers will save you precious time and allow you to reach countless more leads with highly relevant and timely content.

8. Optimize Your Email Content

Keep in mind, too, that people will be viewing your emails on different devices, from desktops to laptops to cell phones. Ensure the design—font size, image size, and colors—is optimized for all platforms. 

If your images are too large, it will take too long for them to load, and you will lose the interest of your readers. If your font is too tiny or light-colored, it will be hard to read on a phone. Send beta emails to ensure your email campaign templates work well on various devices.

9. Schedule Your Emails for Maximum Impact

Experiment with the timing and frequency of your emails. Remember you want to set the expectation of how often clients will hear from you and then deliver on that promise. But as you monitor your open rates and click-through rates, you may notice that several leads are unsubscribing. Scale back on frequency to see if that helps keep reader loyalty. You want to walk the line of providing regular communication without being spammy.

On the flip side, if you notice leads are clicking through your links regularly and spending time on your website, consider increasing the number of emails they receive—they are clearly interested in your content.

10. Track Your Results and Adjust Your Strategy

On average, the real estate industry sees open rates of 21.7%, click-through rates of 3.6%, and unsubscribe rates of 0.2%. Don’t worry if your email stats are not there yet.  Use these metrics as benchmarks to assess how your campaigns are faring.

Marketing data shows that emails sent on weekdays are more successful than those sent on weekends. Monday has the highest open rate (22.0%), and Tuesday has the highest click-through (2.4%). 

Test different frequencies, days of the week and times of the day to see which ones tend to do better. But don’t get too hung up on it—the goal is consistent communication, not perfectly-timed emails.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to real estate drip campaigns. But the data proves that they are an incredibly effective and worthwhile investment. Contact Sierra Interactive to learn how our real estate CRM can automate your drip campaigns and nurture your leads.


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