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Property Managers: How To Write A Newsletter That Will Be Read?
Written by Isabelle Leclaire on August 9th 2018
Why This Article?
This article is part of “Business Essentials For Property Managers” series which intent is to help property management businesses grow by building tools to acquire clients and improve customer service. 

Customer service is like top fuel to a car. Put top fuel in your car and get where you want efficiently. Provided you drive well and safe. Deliver great customer service and your business will grow predictably. Provided you build systems to translate existing clients’ goodwill into new business. Think of strategies to upsell services regularly and get clients referrals on demand.

The moral of the story is that if you focus on mastering customer service, you will succeed in growing your business. Now, the reverse is not true. You might be successful with your property management business without delighting your clients. The big difference between these two scenarios is profit and sustainability. 

You will make a bigger profit by investing in your existing assets, instead of chasing new leads. When you adjust your service to delight your customers, you benefit from compounding effects that you can’t generate when you focus outside to get new business. Another article is on the way to highlight what these compounding effects are about.

What Is The Aim Of This Article?
This article aims at reintroducing a well-known but overlooked marketing tool to nurture client relationships and get leads. The newsletter. Every property management business that wants to grow should consider having one. At least quarterly.

In the following paragraphs, you will find a canvas to build a property management newsletter from scratch. You will hopefully find it simple and thorough enough to take action, build yours and talk about your business success with it.
What Is In This Article?
This article discusses the following points:
  • 3 reasons why you should have your newsletter
  •  9 possible reasons why you don’t have a newsletter yet
  •  9 things to reflect on before building your newsletter
  •  How to implement your newsletter in 10 steps
  •  3 types of resources to build your newsletter
  •  Key usages of your newsletter
  •  Key benefits of making your own newsletter
Let’s get on with why you should have your newsletter.
Why You Should Have Your Newsletter
There are three obvious reasons why your business should have its newsletter:
  • Stay on top of mind of your existing clients
  •  Get new leads
  •  Promote community lifestyle
There is a less obvious reason why your business should have its newsletter.

You might have a blog, manage a Facebook business page, post article on LinkedIn or tweet. People have to get on these platforms to read what is going on. Your newsletter is delivered in their email box. The type of content discussed on these platform doesn’t carry the same weight your newsletter carries. It’s not meant to engage in the same way.

Your newsletter is an open door to your business ecosystem and to your way of delivering value to clients. So you should have your newsletter because your business brings value and you the more you communicate on it the more engaging you become.
9 Possible Reasons Why You Don’t Have A Newsletter Yet
  • It’s nice to have one but it’s not critical for property management marketing
  •  Who is interested to hear about property troubleshooting? 
  •  Clients have no time to read newsletters from their property management agent
  •  We manage properties, we have other things to do than writing newsletter
  •  Preparing a newsletter is a time sucker
  •  A monthly or quarterly newsletter requires consistency, we can’t commit
  •  We don’t know how to prepare a newsletter efficiently
  •  Even if we send one, we don’t have a way to get results out of it
9 Things To Reflect On Before Building Your Newsletter
  • Define for who you write
  •  Position yourself as an expert
  •  Educate your clients on their rights and duties
  •  Explain your services and why you are different
  •  Give a soul to your business
  •  Share about the communities you are involved in
  •  Case studies: discuss clients’ experiences with your business
  •  Client testimonials: let clients speak out about you
  •  Other services of interest: give your business partner a voice
Your newsletter is interesting when:
  •  It shares stories of people your business impacts. Your clients, your team members, your business partners, the communities or neighbourhood your clients live in. Even yourself, as the CEO of the company. 
  •  It deals with problems some of these people face and provide best practices, insights that can be used by all to the benefit of all
So many things can go unexpected in property management. There is a lot to share and learn from the problem solving skills developed in this industry.
1. Define for who you write
Are you writing for property owners, property occupiers or both? Are you writing for your ideal clients, the one you love working with, or for all your clients in portfolio including those you wish you could get rid of?
2. Position yourself as an expert
What are you excellent in or particularly interested in doing and you wish you had more to do in this specific area? Here is a non exhaustive list to make you think:
  • an ability to always keep maintenance costs within budget
  •  a knack or robust process for selecting tenants
  •  foresight concerning new rules and regulations coming up  
  •  technical skills concerning specific property types
  •  deep knowledge around sustainable housing or key energy questions
  •  a network of preferred contractors you built over time
  •  a pool of refurbishing consultants that have done wonder for several of your clients
3. Educate your clients on their rights and duties
Select one important topic part of the right and duties of a property owner / occupier and discuss why it’s there, the risks of not being compliant, the benefits of being compliant. You may want to promote positive behaviours of some of your exemplary clients and how it created a win/win situation (ex: flexibility of the property owner on a specific maintenance request, commitment of the occupier on paying on time). You may use the seasons to communicate on best safety and housekeeping practices.
4. Explain your services and why you are different
List down what you do in a simple way: what do you include in your property management fees, what do you exclude, what complementary services do you provide, and what services you can source externally for the convenience of your clients and because of your deep business network with solicitors, lenders, insurers, accountants, refurbishment companies, real estate agents, property developers… 

Also talk about why you are in property management, and what key skills you are developing as you deepen your expertise in this field. This will bring clarity on your distinguishing way of doing business. It will remind your existing clients why they appreciate your services. It will attract new leads that appreciate your approach. 

In addition to your unique selling proposition, you might want to communicate on your guarantee. Whether you choose speed of delivery, transparency, securing yield or quality of your insights on value maximization, languages... whatever you know you can deliver and you know your clients are particularly sensitive to.
5. Communicate about your team and how you do what you do
Here you want to give your business a soul not just a name: who is the team, whom to call for what, how many clients have you been dealing with since inception, who are your clients, what’s great about them, how do you delight them, list down the type of properties you serve best, or maybe the location where you have market dominance, and what you know about its surrounding, the neighbourhood, its history, and your business history.

A very interesting initiative is to manage communities through Facebook groups where you invite your clients to join. It can be one big community for property owners and location based communities for property occupiers. You can animate these communities to pass on your message, exactly as you do with the newsletter. 

More importantly, you can stay tuned to what’s going on with them and ask them to feed you with information, that you can then consolidate in your newsletter. This may appear as additional work to what you currently do. But it should actually be a way to reduce your current work, especially troubleshooting. 

Here you can anticipate difficult situations by asking questions to your community, and provide information to keep your community informed. You can also include contests to make it fun and offer a prize drawing regularly or coupons to benefit from local businesses services, movie or play tickets.
6. Share about the communities your clients live in
This space is the voice of the community you directly or indirectly impact. This community is alive and you want to talk about what it has to offer to your clients or how they can contribute. Eventually you want to facilitate your new clients integration, especially those who are brain new to the location. 
7. Case studies: discuss clients’ experiences with your business
This space is your voice. You want to illustrate how you achieve customer delight. You want to present it in a story form, easy to digest and illustrating your methodology, expertise, business values. 
8. Clients testimonials
This space is meant to be the voice of your clients. You might want to help them shape up their feedback when they don’t know how to articulate it by providing a simple story template establishing context, client need or problem, and the client experience of your services to resolve the problem and feel delighted thereafter.
9. Voice of your business partners
This space is meant to be the voice of your partners to your community of clients. They may have something interesting for them, a service that can solve a specific problem, or an educational event.
How To Implement Your Newsletter In 10 Steps
Here is a detailed list of ten steps you cover while preparing your newsletter. There are few steps that are or imply strategic thinking for your business. You need to cover them once to make your first newsletter (eg: categorizing your clients) and keep on fine tuning it over as you go on publishing your future newsletters.
1. Distinguish several types of content
  • Fresh news (ex: industry news, your business news, regulatory news…)
  •  Property management rules of the game
  •  Promoting events
  •  Describing your clients’ main interests, profiles treats, positive feedbacks
  •  Information about property portfolio type
  •  Knowledge about your industry property management 
  •  Information about your business
  •  Information about communities
  •  Information about your business partners
2. Use different intents to make content vibrant
  • Educational: quizz form
  •  Informational: facts and figures
  •  Engaging: call to action
  •  Influential*: communicating around positive behaviors
  •  Cultural: about communities and location history
*You can classify the behavior types exhibited by your clients and describe your ideal client behavior and your perfectly suited services for that type of behavior. This is an interesting way to suggest entice good behaviors within your newly joined clients for example.
3. Build customer intelligence
Ideally you would like to structure and manage your customer information. This will allow you to build customer intelligence and produce actionable insight you can use in your newsletter and in your business in general. Have a look at this article to know more about customer intelligence: "What Is Customer Intelligence?"
Your customer information perimeter will include but not be limited to:
  • Clients profile (property owners and occupiers) per category* 
  •  Clients property portfolio (per property type or any segment that is relevant)
  •  Management contract and other services used
  •  Payment patterns
  •  Portfolio value maximisation initiatives (strictly collecting rent or getting more sophisticated)
  •  Common questions and feedbacks
* You want to categorise your clients. You could use an A to D grade category which often stands for Awesome, Basically sound, Could do better and Don’t want to deal with. 
4. Structure your content to deliver messages with impact
Organise your content in sections listed hereunder and presented in this article about newsletters in real estate: "10 Great Email Newsletter Content Ideas"
  • Properties
  •  Community and neighbourhood news
  •  Expert advice
  •  Industry market news
  •  How improvement
  •  Client testimonials
  •  Success stories
  •  Promotions
  •  Behind the scenes (about your business)
  •  Message from the CEO/Principal
You can organise this content in sections (see “Main elements that compose a newsletter”). For some sections you will define what points you want to communicate on by listing them down in advance maybe for the four newsletters to come. For some other sections, you will share fresh information as it arise or as you find relevant to stay tune to your market.

Each time you and your team prepare the content for your newsletter, you should get in a specific mindset. The mindset of someone who is attending a friendly event with your clients. Just imagine everyone is relaxed and enjoys the moment. Involuntarily, you collect a number of feedbacks from your clients, and have the opportunity to pass some messages to them. Your newsletter is a way to do the same. Your newsletter enables you to have an honest conversation with your readers as explained in this brilliant article about: "How To Create A Brilliant Newsletter People Want To Read"
5. Mind your tone
Mind the tone your using in your newsletter. You want to be clear on which tone you use to communicate amongst conversational, casual and formal. And as suggested by the following article, you want to mix two tones: "Your Tone Of Voice In An Email Newsletter"
6. Involve your team
When you are clear on the sections and the points you want to include, you can allocate the preparation of each section to yourself and your team members. Then, you can plan the production of your newsletter, living room for fresh news to come in. You can create an editorial calendar specifically for your Newsletter and accessible by your team on Google Calendar. You just need a Google account.
7. Give your newsletter a name
This is a branding tip. Each time your newsletter will reach your clients’ email box, they will know your business is sending quality content that they can make good use of. It’s also easy for them to create a rule to directly store these emails that carry your newsletter name in one place and keep them safe. The same applies if they receive it through print. 
8. Decide size and frequency
The size and frequency of your newsletter will depend upon how much value you want to bring to your audience and prospects. 

A minimum of two pages on quarterly basis could be a good start. When you are more familiar with the exercise and have developed a knack for capturing valuable information while running your business, you can consider switching to monthly publication. This, provided your audience is reading and you are seeing results from the initiative.

By results we mean clients feedbacks, showing your newsletter creates engagement and helps you stay tuned with your clients’ reality. We also include lead inquiries.
9. Make Time To Edit
Editing will be an important stage in the process of preparing your newsletter. You don’t want to underestimate it. Ruthlessly getting read of what is not essential in your content, from text, to picture, to format. Anything to get to a simple and easy to read newsletter. There are several readability tests for your text or website. Here is one of them: readability formulas.
10. Choose how to publish it
Are you sure of the distribution platform for your newsletter? You have choices. It can be an email newsletter in which case you can track how many people opened it and see exactly what they clicked. Another important point is that email newsletter are designed for all devices on which users can read: desktop, tablet, and smartphone. You can use a very well known marketing automation platform such as: mailchimp.
You could also prepare a newsletter in pdf and send it via email. You lose the benefits of tracking your reach, but many of your clients might prefer this format. Finally you might want to send your newsletter via mail. Ultimately you may do both email newsletter and print format keeping in mind that the first is cheap and easy to send while the latter requires an investment but apparently delivers a higher response rate as per the following article on the subject: "Email vs. Print: what's the best newsletter?"
There are precautions to take to be compliant with GDPR. You want to have the permission of each of your clients for sending this newsletter out. Actually it’s an opportunity for you to communicate about your newsletter launch, and eventually asking your clients to let you know which specific information they would like to be discussed in it. Not that you would wait for them to answer this question to publish your newsletter. Rather that you would improve the newsletter content over time taking their needs and wants into consideration.

You definitely want to publish your newsletter on your website, and communicate about it on your Facebook business page, Twitter page, or on your LinkedIn business page. You may extract one or two key messages that are interesting to highlight and sufficient to make an attractive posts on each of these platform.
3 Types Of Resources To Build Your Newsletter
Simple powerful tools to use (for FREE)
  • Canva to design your newsletter 
  • Lucidpress (free Real Estate email newsletter templates)
  • MailChimp to build your newsletter (use “Tell a story” template) and track it
  • Google calendar to build your editorial calendar and share it with your team
  •  Placester: List of 40 free stock of photos for Real Estate
Articles worth reading to dig 
Example of newsletter
Key Usages Of Your Newsletter
Have in mind that your newsletter will help your business operate better by making few messages extremely clear to your audience:
  • Rules of the game: what they can count on you for, what they can’t possibly expect you do for them
  •  Business expertise: amongst all the services you provide, you might have one specific service where you excel, or maybe your excellence lies in your ability to be manage a diversified portfolio and to have built a network of business partners around you that help you provide a complete offering from any type of intervention on the properties you manage
  •  Business identity: What you stand for, your values in business, and the behaviors your exhibit in direct connection with these values
  •  Ideal clients: The type of clients you are most likely to delight, in fact the type of clients you only want to deal with, and the type of clients you are not interested in entertaining
  •  Feedbacks: engage your readers and ask them what they most found interesting in your newsletter, as a mean to understand them better, and build your services around it. Learn to defuse bad feedbacks by turning it into a positive one (see next section)
Key Benefits Of Having Your Own Newsletter
When you and your team owns the process and its results, your business is delivering a great service to its clients and to itself. Let see why.
  • Your best marketing tool
Your newsletter is a tool that helps you engage. 

You select information from your business, you qualify it, define your intent in sharing it, create a composition of lively and meaningful content bits, create interaction by including call to action, and smartly publish it at your clients’ “door step”. That’s an achievement. You then go on to get feedbacks, which helps you build the next newsletter. That’s another achievement. 

These activities form a process which is more of a virtuous feedback loop than a straight line from A to B. At the heart of this feedback loop: your audience. Each time you run a loop you come closer to your audience, you become better at engaging it.

You could really be surprised by the experience.
  • Not so good at chasing? Be great at engaging
To grow you need need systems in place to acquire clients. What’s challenging for you? Building a pipe of leads or converting leads into clients? If both these activities are challenging, have interesting conversations with your existing clients instead. Use your newsletter to that end. 
  • Thrive on feedbacks, especially negative one
True, you will expose yourself to negative feedback. If you want to grow your business, you will quickly realise negative feedback is an opportunity. A client is asking you to improve on something. How do you choose to respond?

If you can respond positively, your client will be heard, nothing like this to cement a relationship. If you can’t respond positively now, you still have the option to work on it and come back to your client with a deadline. This keeps you and your team focussed on your priorities. If you can’t and never will, maybe your client request is unreasonable. Did you do a good job at educating him on the rules of the game? You think you did. Ok. Were you mindful of your ideal client profile when you signed this client up?
  • Your personal gains in preparing, publishing and following your newsletter
How quick can you get at deciphering what to talk about in your newsletter when you want to have conversations with your clients? Talking about engaging clients, how engaging can this exercise of building your newsletter be for your team? With that much thinking around your existing clients, guess what is going to happen to the quality of your interactions with them? 

Own the process of communicating with your clients through your newsletter. You will grow faster.

Isabelle Leclaire

Isabelle helps property management businesses grow by delivering better customer service and manufacturing client referrals. She is a business growth specialist who believes customer service is great leverage for predictable growth in people-intensive industries. If you're stuck with inefficient systems and disengaged clients, reach out and book a free strategy session today.
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