9 Steps to Produce an Engaging Newsletter

Hook readers with short, personalized content that highlights who you are.
concept illustration - building a newsletter

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Melanie Everett, broker-owner of Melanie Everett & Co. in Chicago, crafts her monthly e-newsletter with a personal flair. She includes a roundup of products and services she loves, titled “Things You Should ... Eat, Read, Shop,” and features past clients, highlighting their completed renovations.

“I write everything myself,” Everett says. “It takes time, it’s worth it. I make my content as original as possible and try to provide value.”

Getting personal with your content is a great approach, says Tonya Eberhart, founder of BrandFace and author of BrandFace for Real Estate Professionals. “If you do it right, you’ll build familiarity so that when your customers do need a real estate professional, you are the one they think of.”

Consider these nine steps for crafting an effective, eye-catching newsletter.

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use newsletter templates available through your customer relationship management program or other sources.
  2. Choose a vendor. There are a lot of advantages to setting up your email marketing through your CRM or an email marketing service, including the ability to automate, personalize, and track the performance of your emails. It’ll also make it easier to follow federal CAN-SPAM laws, which require that you offer a way to opt out and that you honor opt-outs promptly.
  3. Choose a frequency. Decide whether you’re going to send emails weekly or monthly and stick to your schedule.
  4. Show your face. A professional headshot should be part of your template. “Facial recall is very important to recognition,” Eberhart says.
  5. Use the 90/10 rule for content. Keep content short and focused: 90% should be useful information and stories while 10% should be promotional content, says Danielle Cotter, co-founder of Tundra Digital Marketing in Minneapolis. Sharing what you enjoy makes you familiar and approachable, Eberhart adds. Beth Brockette, CRS, GRI, associate broker with Ruhl&Ruhl, REALTORS®, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shares favorite seasonal or holiday recipes. And there’s nothing wrong with supplementing your own storytelling with content from trusted third-party sources (see “Where to Find Great, Free Content” below).
  6. Entice readers with conversational subject lines. Engaging subject lines often either tease a benefit for readers or propose a solution to a problem, such as: “Feel more confident doing your own painting with 3 easy steps.” Numbers stand out visually, Cotter says.
  7. Feature your community. Give your readers the inside scoop on life in your town. For example, offer useful info on leaf disposal in a suburban neighborhood or guest parking in an urban area. You also can feature other businesses and services in the area. “If you have clients who are buying a house and moving to the community, they want to know what amenities are in the area,” Cotter says.
  8. Drive ideas with research. Brockette researches lesser-known but important awareness campaigns for homeowners, such as Fire Safety Week in October, and provides relevant tips. It’s a way for her to develop themes for her newsletters and enhance the information she’s providing.
  9. Test each newsletter. Proofread your work, and do a quality control check to see how the newsletter will look to readers on their mobile device or computer, Eberhart says. Make sure the text is legible. For the best photo resolution, use images at least 600 pixels wide.

Where to Find Great, Free Content

You may not have the time to produce all the content for your newsletters. Try supplementing by pointing your readers to high-quality content at trusted sources. Here are some great options:

REALTOR® Content Resource: RCR, from NAR’s consumer-facing website HouseLogic.com, has how-to articles on all aspects of homeownership, from the buying and selling process to design and maintenance. Visit members.houselogic.com.

REALTOR® Magazine: The magazine publishes a wide range of business content, some of which is designed to be shared with customers. (To reprint entire articles, find reprint guidelines here.)

Photofy: This app enables you to download social media assets from NAR’s That’s Who We R campaign and share messages with clients reinforcing the unique value of a REALTOR®. Visit photofy.com/nar.

Realtor.com®: The real estate portal, operated by Move.com, has a “News & Insights” section with consumer-facing content. Visit realtor.com/news.