Property Management & Me

Ep14: Email marketing wins — with Richie Pitt and Sinead Clarke

January 31, 2024 PropertyMe Season 1 Episode 14
Property Management & Me
Ep14: Email marketing wins — with Richie Pitt and Sinead Clarke
Show Notes Transcript

Dive into episode 14 for an enlightening discussion on mastering email marketing in 2024, featuring insights from PropertyMe's Sinead Clarke and Richie Pitt. Learn essential strategies to enhance engagement and navigate Google's latest spam updates, ensuring your email campaigns thrive.

Kate: Hi and welcome to Property Management & Me, our first episode for 2024. We're kicking off with email marketing wins and we have two guests from the PropertyMe team joining us today. I'm sure you've heard a lot about the Google updates. So we are here to cover everything you need to know about email marketing.

We've got Richie Pitt, our IT Administrator, who's going to be going through the Google spam updates. They take effect from February. So you need to get started now. And first up, we've got Sinead Clarke. She's our Communications Manager and looks after our monthly insider that so many listeners love and subscribe to.

So Sinead's going to start us off by sharing some tips on getting started with email marketing. Welcome Sinead. Thanks for joining us. 

Sinead: Thank you. I'm so happy to be here. 

Kate: I think it's really important to mention before we get started with anything is any sort of email marketing is going to be better than none. So if you're already doing it, great work. Here's some tips to help refine what you're doing and get some better results. If you haven't started yet, here's your encouragement to do so. You can start small, start consistent. And just once you get the ball rolling, you've then got some data to look at and some things to start improving from there. 

Sinead: Yep, definitely.

Kate: But looking at how we run our monthly insider newsletter here from PropertyMe, which we'll be referencing back to a lot through the episode, are there any sort of tools or metrics that you use specifically to help improve the success of the Insider newsletter? 

Sinead: I think before even starting your EDM, looking at how you're going to measure how it performs is really important.

For us, we look at the open rate and then also the click-through rate, because I feel like they're the two main variables. The open rate looks at, simply put, how many people are opening Your EDM and MailChimp says to kind of stick between 20 to 30 percent for an open rate. I think that's quite good and quite high.

So if you're achieving that great job, anything kind of above 15 percent is pretty good.  For the click-through rate, it's a little bit harder to measure because for example, if you have a link to a giveaway, people are more inclined to click that than they are a link to a blog. So it depends on what content you're putting in the EDM, but I think it's good just to consider what's getting the most clicks in your EDM, so that you can put more of that sort of content. 

Kate: And just to clarify, EDM, what does that stand for for anyone who's sort of wondering what we're talking about? 

Sinead: It basically stands for any email that you would send out from your business. I think in this context, we're mainly looking at newsletters.

That's kind of the main form of sending out emails. But it can be anything that's a communication from your business. 

Kate: From the newsletter that we send, so our Property Mate Insider, have you found that the order of where we place things affects the click-through rates? So, like the first article might get more click-through, versus ones down towards the end. 

Sinead: I think, definitely, for us, I know we have a question at the start of our EDM that people could click through, and it kind of acts a bit like a quiz. And I feel like that gets the most traction purely because it is so engaging, you see the question and you want to know the answer. But also, it tends to be the blogs that are more analytical kind of perform not as well because people want those short, sharp articles.

So I find just structuring it in a way where you can just think about it like the content that you would personally want to see, putting that at the top and then the content that's maybe a little bit more boring or a little bit longer you can put down the bottom just because people will with a short attention span they will tend to just click the top three and then kind of go from there. 

Kate: So most important, most engaging content right at the top makes a lot of sense. Looking at the click-through rate I just think that's such a great measurement to know what content performs well. I look at a lot of the performance of our content. Almost daily I'm reviewing it and then restructuring the next content that goes out.

It sounds super tech-focused, click-through rates and things like that, but it's basically people are most interested in this. 

Are there any other technical aspects that are really important to be covering? 

Sinead: Most people think that when they're creating their newsletter, they need to make it look the most aesthetic and they need to put the most information in there possible.

And while I think that's definitely beneficial, looking at the date and time that you send the EDM is super important and it's a pretty easy way to increase how well the EDM performs or the newsletter performs. So for us, we tend to send on a Thursday just because MailChimp suggests that that's the best day to send a newsletter out. 

And then it's often debated what time of day you should send, but I find for us 3pm and 10am work best. So we typically will send all of our emails, particularly our newsletter out around those times. Just to make sure we're getting the most amount of people possible. 

A super easy way to increase people opening your EDM is to make that subject line really engaging.

I like to include an emoji at the start. 

Kate: We love emojis. 

Sinead: We do love emojis. I feel like just having that colour, when you look at your emails, everything's just text, right? All of the subject lines. So to have an emoji there that's colourful, engaging, people are more inclined to click. I think also creating a sense of urgency around your subject line.

So for example, you don't want to miss out on dot, dot, dot, or you must see dot, dot, dot, because then people are like, Oh wow, like I really need to open this and see what's inside. Just thinking about also, for example, if your newsletter was about starting the new year, making sure that you say that in the subject line, not being super aloof, being really direct with what the message in the email is, so that people who want to see that will click through.

Kate: I'd imagine that sort of engaging best practice would carry on through the email. Is there anything around What content you should be putting in there, should it be big headings? Should it be lots of blog articles? Should it be, you know, just a quick call to action? How should the email essentially look and feel? 

Sinead: Yeah, through my research, most of the main providers like MailChimp, HubSpot, all of those sorts of places, they say to include questions, surveys, anything that's really interactive, quizzes, things like that, that your audience is going to want to click on because it just gamifies the experience of reading the newsletter a bit more.

We have a survey, a poll, a question, we've just recently created a quiz, so putting all of that in there I think is a great way to improve your click-through rate and to keep people's retention high. I also find that sprinkling those quizzes and those surveys and whatnot in between the blogs or the messaging that you're putting in your email helps to keep people scrolling through.

So I would say just keeping your content super interactive, using photos as links, those sorts of things that visually are appealing to people. 

Kate: I love quizzes. They're such a fun way to break up the day and we have a really great one in our next insider. So make sure that you subscribe now, so you get that one out at the start of February.

We do have to cover the dreaded word unsubscribe. Is there anything you can do to avoid these? 

Sinead: There's no way to really avoid it because people are going to unsubscribe no matter what. I think the obvious approach is the best approach trying to make your emails as engaging as possible. Try not to spam people heaps. So we stick to like a monthly newsletter. That way you're getting that repertoire of having people coming back and checking in, but it's not every single day. Because people tend to get annoyed and want to unsubscribe. Just thinking about those things in sort of a lens of having a bit of common sense is great.

So a two-pronged approach, making sure that your content is engaging. So people don't want to unsubscribe and then also just making sure that when they do want to, you are taking them off the list so that they're not getting frustrated.

Kate: When I'm looking at comms, I think the way that I try and approach it is essentially a pick your battles type of thing.

There is a limited amount of space that your customers have to give you and attention span that they have to give you. So really being very, very selective in what messages you're sending out and how frequently you are sending them is super important. You don't need to send everything by email. We can utilize a multi-channel approach.

So we can put different posts on social media. We can put something in an email. We can send something out by direct mail, maybe give them a call to follow up. Essentially resending the same message over and over again in the same way in email, probably not a great way to keep your unsubscribes healthy.

Sinead: Definitely. I would tend to agree with that. And I think even if you are trying to hit the same message in your emails. Making sure that the way in which you're displaying it is different is really crucial because they're still getting the same message, your audience, but it's framed a bit differently.

So you might use an image or a link to a video on one and then have that as text in another email, just diversifying the way that you're sending out that message prevents people from thinking that it is spam. So I would agree. 

Kate: And varying the way that that message gets across, another way to test how your content performs, maybe doing different variations of the same messages to different groups of customers.

Sinead: We use MailChimp and A/B variable testing is super important. It's a little bit nerdy and it feels a little bit like I'm back in school doing a science experiment, but it's really fun. Basically what it is, is you can change up the time that you send your email, so you can split your audience into two or three groups and send them the email at different times of the day, different days of the week, you can change the subject line and you can even change the content within the email just to see what performs best for your business.

So for us, we'd like to split our group into two and send half of them, the Monthly Insider at 2:45 and another half at quarter past three, just to see within that half an hour difference, which one performs best.  Which is quite interesting because what you think is going to perform best doesn't always.

So I think that that's a great way to test what your audience likes because you can look at all of the research and all the tips online, but at the end of the day, the audience that you have is quite unique so some of their trends are going to be quite unique to not only your industry, but your business.

Kate: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us, Sinead. We're going to throw over now to Richie Pitt, as mentioned earlier. He's our IT Administrator here at PropertyMe. So he looks after everything tech-related that isn't our product. So what is happening in the world of Google? 

Richie: Basically, Google has announced a war on spam, I guess is probably the easiest way to describe it.

We all know how much spam email we get, we all know how annoying spam email is, and basically what Google has announced, is that from February, they're going to announce guidelines that they're going to enforce. Not to get too technical, and we'll keep it nice and light. So there's basically a set of email security standards that have been around for a little while that the big providers like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, we're all kind of part of developing and implementing.

They haven't been enforced kind of to date, and that's what Google's changing. So what these basically do is prove that you are the owner of the domain you're sending from. So, for example, the first one proves that you own that domain. 

The second standard proves that you're authorized to send mail on behalf of that domain. So you're an owner of that domain and you're allowed to send email. And the other one is kind of a set of instructions to the receiver of that mail what to do if the email is recognized as not being from you or not being from someone you say who can send that email, if that makes sense.

Kate: It's a little bit technical for me, but I'm following. Essentially, it's just logic that you need to set up in the back end of your email, and then that will be communicated to the email receiver that it's secure. And it's coming from you. 

Richie: Basically, at a high level, saying that I own the domain I'm sending from.

So I own and I'm sending from a service that I own,  and I'm sending it to customers that I know want to receive my mail, at a high level. 

Kate: Okay, so if that's what we need to be actioning, how do we go about setting any of that up? Are there steps to make sure that it's implemented? 

Richie: So by default, these standards are not actually on. It requires action from you to do. The standards we're talking about, just to give them a name, there's SPF, which has a list of the services that you own, for example, MailChimp. There's one called DKIM, which proves that you sent the email. And then there's one called DMARC, that's as technical as we'll get, I promise, which tells the receiving email server what to do if the first two prove that you didn't send the email.

The first two of those SPF and DMARC, they're set by your domain register. So again, not to get too technical, but the domain register is where you bought your domain name from. So if you own, you would have bought that domain name from a company like GoDaddy or Google Domains or one of those.

Usually when you buy that domain, you get an account portal to log into. That's how you would set those up. The other one, DKIM, that's set with your email provider. Google has an option to set that. In that, if you have Yahoo or Microsoft, they have an option to set that as well. 

Kate: Okay, so if you were part of, say, a franchised group that has thousands of agents across Australia using, that would predominantly be managed by your head office. If you're independent though, or you've registered your own name, so, that will affect you and you need to be actioning these changes so that your emails are received.  

Are there any guidelines online that Google have provided on how to do this?

Richie: There's a whole bunch of help articles, knowledge articles, guidelines, kind of how-to's on the web, especially from Google, considering Google's the main kind of pusher of this change. And as you've heard, it can be quite technical. It's not as overwhelming as it seems. And Google does provide some quite clear guidelines on what to do, we can provide links to that. 

Kate: We'll definitely be getting a blog up today with the links to what needs to be done. So you can jump on the website, and have a look at all of the resources there. Putting the technical aside for a moment, is there anything else changing with the spam upgrades? Are they cracking down on what you're sending or anything else we need to be aware of? 

Richie: The whole reason Google's doing this is to basically, in a nutshell, improve your email reputation. Google determines for each domain, so or, so for each domain, Google internally keeps a percentage score of your email reputation. 

What this means is, if your domain is sending more emails that are marked as spam than, say, others, your reputation goes down. If you're sending emails that aren't marked as spam as often as anyone else, then your email reputation goes up. If your reputation is quite low and your spam rate is quite high, your email is more likely to be sent to the spam folder or not be delivered at all.

It's about ensuring that the emails you receive in your inbox are emails you want to receive. The less that your emails are marked as spam, the better, is basically the premise. 

Kate: And this applies from whichever platform you're sending it from, so whether you're sending rent increase letters from PropertyMe or newsletters, whether you're sending from Gmail, from Outlook, MailChimp, any of those sorts of things.

Richie: Yes. It's any email from any service, from any email address to a Gmail account.  

Kate: Okay. So in a nutshell, it's going to affect everyone. We're going to have landlords and tenants that are at, but we've got some resources on the blog at that you can jump on, check those settings, make sure you're doing everything right and try and keep those spam and those unsubscribes really low like we chatted about with Sinead just to make sure that your emails are being delivered to your inbox and you're getting your messages out there to your customers.

Thanks for tuning in to Property Management & Me.