Mail Privacy Protection, do you know what this means? It used to be that when a person signed a contract or handed over their contact information, it was done so with a pen on paper and then stored in an office in a trunk or file cabinet somewhere. Yikes! Those were the days and scary to even think about now. However, over time information has become far more valuable and therefore, information is far more susceptible to theft and fraudulent activity. A big part of your job as a real estate agent is to make sure that the information you obtain is as carefully protected as any other valuable commodity. The privacy of your clients’ personal information and their online safety should be a priority during every step of the sale or purchase process, and beyond.
These tips allow you to provide the highest quality of Mail Privacy Protection that are fully in line with your ethical obligations as a trustworthy real estate agent.
1. Email should not be used for the disclosure of personal information or sensitive documents. Best practice is to utilize a secure document upload or transaction management platform.
2. Do not keep personal information longer than is necessary or leave sensitive information lying around. Limit the use of hard copies and dispose of them properly.
3. Work with service providers who take security seriously. Potential professional partners should be screened to find out how they keep clients safe.
4. Don’t post photos and personal information about your clients on social media or online platforms. Waivers should be obtained for client photos and any marketing materials.
Security instills trust
Your customers want to know their personal data is safe. They definitely want to make sure their info is protected from prying eyes, whether it’s from hackers, identity thieves, or even other real estate agents who might sell their info to marketers for marketing campaigns. Your customers are rightly concerned about their identity being stolen and having their personal data misused. As a working real estate agent I see first hand the harm that identity theft can do to a family’s ability to buy or rent a home. The real estate agent’s code of ethics and standards explicitly recognize the real estate agent’s obligation to protect the confidentiality of personal information provided by clients in the course of any agency or non-agency relationship—both during and after the termination of these business relationships.
In the digital age, trust is at the core of everything. In the real estate business, trust has new dimensions that impact how real estate professionals collect, share, and most importantly, protect the information they use in their businesses. Disposal of the data is also an important part of a comprehensive data security plan.
How to start protecting your well earned prospects
If you need help and are not sure where to start, the NAR (National Association of Realtors® ) has developed a toolkit which provides information about current state laws and federal regulations pertaining to data security and privacy, as well as various checklists to help you tailor a security program specific to your needs. There is no one-size-ﬁts-all approach to security and compliance. Developing an effective security and compliance program for your real estate business is a matter of tailoring the requirements to your business. National Association of Realtors® Safety and Security Program offers a variety of compliant and cost-effective products and services for your convenience.
A thoughtful CRM will already have data and security in mind when producing landing pages with CTA’s and email/text templates. In your CRM, you should review the practices for the real estate sales drip campaigns and understand the rules and regulations for a contact to subscribe or unsubscribe to your email or newsletter lists.
The Apple iOS 15 Update and Email Marketing
An important thing to know is as recently as late 2021, Apple rolled out yet another update, iOS 15. This update does and will affect email open rate reporting, which stinks for anyone relying on open rates to give them an idea of how well their email marketing campaign are performing. This release makes it harder for real estate agents and marketers to measure the success of their email campaigns. After an Apple user downloads the new update, they see this prompt:
With the release of this update, Apple made some changes to how mobile devices handle emails. The goal was to make users’ phones faster and more responsive. One of the side effects of this change is that it makes it more difficult for email messages to be marked as read/unread. This causes a delay in the process of counting how many people open and read your email messages. It also affects the way iOS 9 handles the process of deleting emails.
Previously, if you deleted an email on your phone, the message would remain on your device until you either emptied the trash or manually deleted it. With iOS 15, the email will now remain on the device until the device is rebooted. This causes problems for marketers who use open-reporting tools like email open-tracking software. Because of these changes, agents are finding it harder to get an accurate reading of how well their email campaigns are doing. The result is lower stats on open rates.
Apparently, Apple did not make these changes to hamper us agents, but they did it because they felt that the changes would improve the user experience on their devices. However, this has caused problems for real estate agents who want to measure the success of their email campaigns.
Check out the numbers of Apple Users vs. Android Users below per Statistica. These stats would indicate that a little more than half of the population (your clients) are Apple users. In June, stats here show it favoring Apple 53.66%.
And there is more bad news! The Click-to-open rate is the percentage of people who clicked a link within an email after opening it. Historically, it’s been a great metric to track how engaging your email content is. Apple’s update makes it inaccurate for Apple Mail users.
With all this said, the sometimes inaccurate open and click rates are going to be even harder to determine. No matter what, however, your goal is to write better subject lines and much more responsive calls to action so you can get your consumers to actually open and respond with an email and/or phone call. Since you can’t really rely on those opens and clicks as you once could, the importance of content remains the best thing to focus upon. And, most importantly as a real estate agent… PICK UP THE PHONE WHEN YOU GET A LEAD!!! Call them, they may REALLY want to hear from you and get your help!!!