St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


Newsletters - Getting agent attention...

I've had several people request that I blog on this for more information.  I've offered this advice to many who have asked the questions, "How do I get business?", "How do I get agents to understand what I'm offering?", and "How do I get testimonials?"  My answer for all of these is the same.... EMAIL Monthly Newsletters. (If you want to see copies of my newsletters, go to and visit News, Articles & Links or click the photo below)


Constant Contact is my primary email newsletter source.  I'll first explain why I use them and then I'll explain how to write a really good newsletter - one that AGENTS will read!  Constant Contact generates a database after your newsletter has been sent that tells you WHO has OPENED the newsletter and WHO has CLICKED THROUGH. It gives you their email addresses, when they opened it and what pages they looked at.  To me this is really valuable information.  I can track what is actually interesting to them.  I know who to later target additional marketing through, etc.  After my first newsletter I send (snailmail) a handwritten thank you card with my business card to every single agent who clicked through (around 500).  - I've discussed handwritten cards in another blog. 

Ok, now you know who to use to help you - how do you write one?  I have a simple formula that works.  In the opening section I advise something seasonal or local - this month is was spring is here, azaleas are blooming, etc and reminded them that it was time to plant seeds, to assess their gardens (business) - what's working what isn't.  Hey, have you thought about STAGING?  They are always basically the same questions, phrased around what is timely....

Next paragraph - You want business?  You want testimonials?  Let other agents do this for you.  When I do a good job on a home (which should be everytime, right?) I ask for the quote and mention my newsletter - they may or may not receive and/or open it.  I advise that I'm always looking for quotes from agents who are happy with my work.  When I use their quote I add photos and the MLS information so the other 1300 agents on my list can take a look at the property.  What agent would NOT give you a quote then?  Didn't you just tell them you were going to advertise their property FOR FREE? I have no issues getting testimonials.  They are lining up to be the quote of the month.  Boy can you get some fabulous quotes then!  I always add links to before and afters in this section.  (I use Kodak Gallery )  This is the highest click through area of your newsletters.  AGENTS WANT TO SEE THE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS!

The next two sections are interchangable but they should always include the following:  How staging is an excellent marketing tool & What's new in the industry (yours or RE in general) - this month I featured Active Rain. These are both about making THEIR businesses better.  Yours will be better if you can make theirs better.  Be careful on the self gratification on your newsletters - as with any marketing you do.  I always make it a point to remember that I am not desperate for business (which I'm not - that helps) and that karma is always a good thing - in the end it will take care of you. 

The very last section is the closing.  I always thank everyone for their support and advise that I'm looking forward to talking to more agents & clients.  Short & Sweet.... we're done. 

Now you want to know what the results are, right?  In my first month of newsletter writing (I had what I call snow blindness on my datebook - all the pages were covered in white) I had 10 appts within 20 minutes of the first newsletter being sent.  YES, you read that correctly!  Now, after 8 months of mailing them I still receive an average of 3-5 jobs off of each one.  Other stagers in my area write newsletters too.  I don't hear good things about them.  I usually get copies from the agents - "hey look what your 'competition' is doing - no compitition for you at all" 

Why are mine more successful?  I would of course like to think it's me... but I'm sure it's not.  Here's what I belive it truely is.  My newsletters are consitent.  I send them out on the Tuesday or Wednesday of roughly the 15th of every month.  NEVER on Mondays - agents are too busy catching up to deal with your silly newsletter. NEVER on Fridays, They have checked out of the office and are working on the upcoming weekend.  Thursday might work, but in all honesty I find that statistically speaking my numbers are best on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

I also add points of interest - visually appealing photographs - slideshows - links they want to click on.  I keep my newsletter clean.  I don't use bold, italics or underlining excessively.  Honestly I'm probably over the top in this blog, but I'm trying to link and I don't have a beautiful format to use to create boundries and focal points.  I also make the newsletter about them, not me... of couse I'm plugging my business, but I"m showing them how I can make them better, not how they can make me better. 

Ok, so there is one more question, right?  Where do I get the 1300 email addresses?  Well, I'll be completely honest here.  I am a licensed RE agent (I only use my license for MLS & lock box keys).  This makes my job really easy.  Why aren't you a RE agent?  It only costs about $300 in most areas and you are given the keys to the kindgom so to speak.  It's the kiss of death to list homes or actively work at RE and be a full time professional stager, but why don't you work on your true knowledge of the industry?  Consider it continuing education.  Besides, the lockbox card is worth it's weight in gold.  I never have to have anyone let me into a vacant home.  I come and go as I please.  I don't go pick up keys, etc. 

Ok, now that that rant is over - you can take forever gleaning the information off of the internet.  You can take all of the business cards you've gathered from realtor presentations, open houses, etc and create a database for them, etc.  If you aren't super busy with work, then you should be doing these things anyway.  When you get super busy you won't have time anymore. 

If you are interested in getting a $30 credit with Constant Contact, send me an email and I will refer you.  When you sign up you will receive a free trial and $30 credit!

I hope I addressed everyone's questions... If you have more, you know where to find me..... I am going to take this moment and insert a shameless plug for my business since one of the services I offer is a monthly newsletter..... If you don't want to read my shameless plug - please just ignore it, don't send nasty grams, I'm warning you about the shameless plug in advance.

Melissa Marro, First Impressions Home Staging & Interior ReDesign,

Shameless plug inserted here:  In the coming weeks, First Impressions ( ) will be adding a new membership level to our website allowing stagers and redesigners not certified under the FI banner to be represented on the website.  Members will be added to the "Find a design specialist" page with links to their website, contact info etc.  They will also be eligible to use our newly designed message boards to interact with those in the industry.  Monthly newsletter designed specifically to help enhance and expand business and industry education will be provided to all members who are interested.  This is designed for those (clients/agents) looking for stagers and redesigners in their parts of the country.  New members will be given logo to use for marketing and link back to FI.  Cost of membership is $175/yr.  If interested, please contact Melissa Marro @




 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 53 commentsMelissa Marro • March 19 2007 08:48AM


Thanks for the help, Melissa. Great information on this marketing tool. Nice results too!

I will start on my newsletter now!


Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) about 12 years ago

Insert standing ovation here! I stumbled across Constant Contact back in December and signed-up for the free trial offer. Yet, for some reason I struggled with what I should say and how to use it effectively. I am extremely, self-conscious about "if you don't do it right the first time, then don't bother".

Your ideas have ignited my inspiration and gotten my ideas flowing...thanks for so willingly sharing your marketing ideas.

Posted by Lucie Quigley (HOLT modern Home Staging) about 12 years ago

Leslie & Lucie,

You are most welcome.... I think this falls into the agent education factor.  The more we can do to educate the better we will all be in the longrun....


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 12 years ago

We've been using Constant Contact for almost 2 years now.  We just started having problems with major servers blocking anything associated with CC or that has the words CC in the email (in other words, we have a signup link in our sig line and our regular, person to person email is being blocked). About 1/2 of the emails don't get through with CC, which is very frustrating.  Even when people double opt in, it's still being blocked, one such server is (among others).

Posted by Christina Ethridge (The North Idaho Dream Team powered by SKE Realty Group) about 12 years ago
I find that regardless of what program you use there can be difficulties.  In our local area, the largest real estate company, Prudential Carolina, has a spam filter.  Any emails that are to multiple recipients go into this filter.  Agents are sent a report of what is in the filter, but most delete without reading what's in there.  I know this because I used to be one of their office managers.  It takes time to get around these things, good agents will check them.  My first email was to all of the 5800 RE agents it the area.  About 1000 of those actually opened the initial email.  They became my baseline for the remaining newsletters.  Now I add an office or two every month.  My opens go up every month as do my click throughs.  I think it is something you have to work on every month to improve.  I just feel it's worth it.
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 12 years ago
Great newsletter.  I just started mine:-)
Posted by Home Staging about 12 years ago

This is a terrific program!  I have been looking into using this for a couple of months now.  Thanks for the inspiration Melissa to follow through.


Posted by Kimberly Uksik, Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On. (Independent) about 12 years ago

I also started using Constant Contact for my monthly newsletter to homeowners and realtors.  It's affordable and fairly easy to use even for those of us who aren't especially gifted in the technical sense.  It is a great way to track your marketing efforts too.  I would highly recommend it.

P.S.  Great newsletter, Melissa.


Sandi Gerrard

Posted by Sandi Gerrard, It's all about colour about 12 years ago
Wow Meillisa - Thank you so much!  What a great detailed blog.  You certainly addressed all of my questions and concerns.  I think I'm going to go sign up now!
Posted by Alyse Bromberg (Dressed for Success) about 12 years ago
I've thought about doing this but just never seemed to sit down and get it done... now I'm inspired to rethink it!  You've done a great job... thanks for sharing all your knowledge and experience!
Posted by Judy Heinrich (Judy Heinrich Home Staging) about 12 years ago
This is a great post, Melissa.  Thank you so much for sharing your newsletter expertise with us.  I'm really inspired now to get started on mine.
Posted by Penny Province, Province Staged Properties (Province Staged Properties) about 12 years ago
Melissa, this is so weird!  I just spent the afternoon creating my first newsletter on Constant Contact. I've had an account for months, but I kept putting it off.  I was going to make it a quarterly newsletter, but you've just inspired me to do this monthly.  The hardest part is setting up your template.  Once that is done, it should be smooth sailing!  Thanks for the great post!
Posted by Angel Walker (Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners) about 12 years ago

Melissa, I am completely taken with this idea and am going to start putting together my newsletter now!.  How much time do you spend preparing/researching the articles each month and updating your mailing list? 

Thanks again for the tip :)

Posted by Linda Bettencourt (FLIP Home Staging) almost 12 years ago


I spend about 2-3 hrs preparing and working on/imputting my newsletter.  I probably spend another 30-45 minutes updating & adding email addresses, etc every month.  This is my single most profitable piece of marketing.  As a matter of fact 90% of my marketing efforts are my newsletter & handwritten notes to agents & clients.

I have forwarded an invitation to Constant Contact.  If you follow it and sign up, you will receive a $30 credit in your account.  You also will receive a free trial version.  If anyone else reading this wants one, send me your email info and I'll forward one to you as well.     

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 12 years ago

Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your ideas and forwarding the information for Constant Contact.  I have not been utilizing e-mail marketing (why I don't know!) and will really enjoy putting this together.  Once in a while you happen across an "aha!" idea and your suggestions have my wheels turning...


Posted by Linda Bettencourt (FLIP Home Staging) almost 12 years ago

Melissa, Thanks again. I have sent my April Newsletter and watching my numbers. So far 21% open, 1 bounce ,no click thrus.   

Plus  NO "take me off of your list". So that is good.

They will get another newsletter in May. Thanks, Leslie

Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) almost 12 years ago
Love CC, I too have been using it for a little over two years. I am not real jazzed about the new format though! I am part of a newsletter co-op, infamously known as "The Purple Pen." It has been an awsome adventure, and there I have some very close friends. 
Posted by Julianna Hind, REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Julianna,  I'm not jazzed about the new format either.  You can continue using the older one though.  Whew!  I'm sure the new one is easy, but I've been using the other one so long it is so simple to me.  I don't have time to learn something new right now... lol!
Posted by Melissa Marro almost 12 years ago

Melissa: I am always amazed at the quality of your blogs & how prolific you are (and generous with your time and knowledge). Thank you for another wonderful, informative and useful topic.

Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design, Pasadena, CA

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 12 years ago

Michelle - Thank you for the kind words.  I am a true believer that what you give out you will receive back .... I know that there has been information given on Active Rain that I would not have otherwise had without someone elses generosity.  If we all share what we have then we will all have more.  Those who are stingy for fear of the idea being 'stolen' is not confident with their own abilities & place in the universe.  Besides this is ....

Stage it forward!

Melissa Marro, - become a member of First Impressions today!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 12 years ago


Thanks for all the great sharing, I'm been sending out  info thru my regular email, but have no idea of stats.

What does this provider cost per month & is that a set charge  for a certain # of newsletters?

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) almost 12 years ago

Kathleen  - I send to about 1300 agents and my cost is $55/mo.  I do not have a limit to the number of newsletters I can send.  I have on various occassions sent newsletters to stagers then clients, then agents.... none of the newsletters were the same and it didn't cost me any more money.  The cost goes by how many addresses you have on file.

Let me know if you would like me to send you a free trial version.  If you like it and decide to continue with it, you will then get a $30 credit (so will I!).....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 12 years ago

Hi Melissa, thanks for the input.  I have a newsletter ready to go but I can't use Constant Contact because I tediously gleaned all my email addresses from real estate magazines, the newspaper, and the internet.  They will only let you use email addresses which you have the recipients permission to use.  So I'll have to eat the cost of snail mail.  Doesn't make any sense to me though, if their  business is provide  people with a way to market.

Terry Haugen - STAGE it RIGHT!

Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) almost 12 years ago

Thank you so much for an informative quote. I have long believed in an e-mail newsletter, and had heard about Constant Comment. Your success story is an inspiration.


Posted by Janet Guilbault, San Francisco Bay Area Direct Mortgage Lender ( Guild Mortgage) almost 12 years ago

Hi Melissa,

I just wanted to let you know that I just referenced this post again and bookmarked it. It is such a great source for creating a good newsletter and I am happy to say it inspired me. I sent out my first one last week and it was received with many clicks... 

Posted by Lisa Robbins (Au Courant Home; City Living Baby) over 11 years ago

Lisa - nice to see you've been reading through my blog as I've commented a bunch to you tonight!  Congrats on the newsletter!  Don't forget that you MUST do it EVERY SINGLE MONTH to keep it successful.  If you need help with topics or articles, of course I provide that with the First Impressions Membership (shameless plug).....


Ok, now this graphic is ridiculous.... grumixameira ... what the????

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 11 years ago

Thanks Melissa.  I just finished a newsletter today, however, I plan to make some changes now.


Posted by Stacy Cavanaugh (Stage and Sell by Stacy, LLC) over 11 years ago


thanks for your "kick-butt" (what is the politically correct term for this??) post.

You are a mentor and inspiration in the field of staging...I really enjoy reading your posts---they are informational and motivational!


Posted by Julia Fedak (Royal LePage State Realty) over 11 years ago

Melissa, I am always a bit shy about asking for testimonials, yet, by offering to "feature" someone in my newsletter, I got the most charming set of comments, and the realtor was delighted to be asked.  Delighted.  "All I have to do is say something nice about you?"  Well, i-i-i-ideally, if you feel you can....

Thank you for this post.  It was just what I needed to get my business to look more sophisticated, somehow.


Posted by Juliet Johnson, Jacksonville Photography & Digital Marketing (Vizzitopia) over 11 years ago

Stacy - Good luck on the response to your newly renovated newsletter!  I'm glad I could help!

Julia - That's me.... the kick-butt girl.... lol... notice the red hair, I like to kick a little butt when needed!  Oh, and I'm really not good with politically correct too incredibly often, so call it like it is with me!

Juliet - Offering to feature them in the newsletter makes it easy doesn't it?  I know, they usually jump right to it.  In over a year of newsletters I've never had a problem getting a quote!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 11 years ago

Once Again,   Excellent advice and encouragement.    Thank you,  thank you!!


Posted by Connie King over 11 years ago
I just sent out my first newsletter on Tuesday and it was partly due to this post!
Posted by Sandra Hughes, Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia (Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia) over 11 years ago

Hi Melissa,

Great advice and I have also bookmark this, you really are a great inspiration on Stagers new to AR and Look forward to more of your posts.

Best wishes, Brian Bloom

Posted by Brian Bloom, All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert ( 1-630-292-2710) over 11 years ago


Great post!!!  Constant Contact is awesome, and so simple to use, it's plug and play.   It's good to read your creative marketing ideas, and to hear that your business in SC is booming.  My husband's brother, 1st cousin, best friend and business associate all just got transfered there in the past year - They must be putting something in the water...

Posted by Julea Joseph, Julea Joseph House Stager - Reinventing Space (Reinventing Space) over 11 years ago

Hey Melissa,

I missed this post!  I just found out about Constant Contact the other day, trying to find out about inexpensive newsletters!  Loved it!  Juliette linked your post to hers, which is how I found out about your blog.  Yes, CC is great.  Will track the progress.



Posted by Abby Roselli, Staten Island Home Stager (ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC) over 11 years ago
Too bad the ratings are gone, but you got an imaginary 5.  thank you for sharing all that valuable info - I bookmarked so can reference back again.
Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 11 years ago
I bookmarked this  and will be startiing to formulate my ideas on a newsletter soon!  I may e-mail you for that refferal - help you get $30 off too!  Thanks for sharing such great insight!
Posted by Lea-Ann Virnig, Home Beautiful: San Antonionulls Premier , Home Staging Company (Lea-Ann's Home Beautiful Staging and Design LLC) over 11 years ago


Thanks for the information and sharing the value of newsletters.  Certainly another way to get ones name in front of real estate agents regarding our industry.  Now I have an incentive to check into Constant Contact.

Heather Klein - Emmy & Me Interiors


Posted by Heather Klein, Emmy & Me Interiors (Emmy & Me Interiors) over 11 years ago

I've been using CC for about 3 mo. now and really like it.  I feel the most valuable feature is the reports that provide the statistics regarding % of opened, forwarded, etc.  And... the fact that you can actually see who opened your email!  I love your idea of highlighting AR and will add that to my November newsletter.

Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Sherman ~ Interior Aura

Posted by Lisa Sherman, Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon (Interior Aura) over 11 years ago
bumped for Natascha......
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago
Thank you! :)  I will get working on it pronto!!!
Posted by Natascha de la Court-Wolter about 11 years ago

Would you please email the constant contact info if that $30 rebate still applies??

 I actually thought about getting a RE license....I think I will do it now just for the ease of staging....


Posted by Natascha de la Court-Wolter about 11 years ago
Natascha - You are welcome!  I sent you the referral.  Good luck!
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Hi Melissa,

I was researching newsletters and came across this post from exactly a year ago - as always fabulous information and so generously shared. A question I have relates to Terry's comment above about having the recipient's permission to send them the newsletter - can you explain what might constitute 'permission'? I am a member of the local Real Estate Association - does that constitute having other member's permission? I also have a million (or so it seems) business cards from agent's open houses or from giving talks at their offices etc - by giving me their card did they give me permission to e-mail them a newsletter? Thanks for the help - I am eager to start a newsletter but not sure who to send it to:)


Posted by Stephanie Heron, Weeber - Dressing Rooms (Dressing Rooms LLC) about 11 years ago
Stephanie - If an agent has provided me with their email address through a business card or email I add them to CC.  It has been my experience that many agents are excited to receive the newsletter as long as it is about them.... If the newsletter is just to grow your business you may have more spam reports.  If it is to grow theirs you won't.  Give them information they can use and you will have virtually no spam reports and a great following!
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Always find your newletters enlightening.  Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!


Homes Staged by Lil

Staging Homes with BUYERS in mind!



Posted by Lillianne Dunstall (Homes Staged by Lil) about 11 years ago
Lil - Thank you!  This was an old article, but still applies.  We still use the same format and still receive incredible responses from it. 
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago
Great post.  I am going to check out your website.  Do you offer products geared toward realtors (from mortgage professionals?)
Posted by -- Casey Brischle, Spokane Home Loan Mortgage Professional (Columbia Bank) almost 11 years ago

Casey - my newsletters are geared from stagers to agents....  The same premises would apply, however.  I just don't write articles in that area of RE.

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY!!!  Thank you Melissa for sharing the info and thanks everyone else for their comments and feedback. I have wanted to do something like this for awhile now but never seem to have the time to research options. Thank you for giving me a road map to follow!!!!
Posted by Tori Lynn Wallitsch (Prudential Ambassador / Ross Designs, LLC) almost 11 years ago


 I wanted to say thank you for the inspiration!  My first newsletter is ready to roll!  I am excited because I don't have the time to stop inton REA offices and I feel that this is a way for them to not forget about us and show them how we can help their businesses.  It was easier to put together then I thought, so thank you again.

Posted by Michele Kurelich, Raleigh Home Staging and Design (Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions) almost 11 years ago


Thank you for the information.  I have had a newsletter in the past, but only quarterly instead of weekly, with results like you mentioned obviously I need to get in gear and improve my contacts.  I will make it a point to get one out next week~on a Tuesday or Wednesday for optimum readibility!

Posted by Judith Lowe, Twiqued homes are unique! (Twiques: The Art of Home Comfort) over 10 years ago


I just stumbled upon this post. I too believe that "what goes around, comes around" and I also believe that everything happens for a reason, so it was fortuitous that I found this post now. I recently moved my business from MD to NY, in the "Hamptons" and I am  researching ways to get my name out there (thousands of Realtors!) and your post came to my attention.

I would appreciate if you sent me the referral for the free trial and the $30 credit if that is still valid. I have some concerns about the spam filters and the "permission" clause, if you could elaborate on that, that would be wonderful. Unfortunately, they don't use MLS in this area so I have to go to each RE office site and copy and paste every address individually! I keep telling reminding myself good things don't always come easy and you get back what you put into it! You have obviously put a tremendous amount of effort into your marketing (hand written notes!) Wow!

Thank you for such a great post. Beautifully writen and very generous!

Allegra Dioguardi

Posted by Allegra Dioguardi, Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island (Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training) over 10 years ago

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