These are the steps you need to get a Florida real estate license:
- Complete a 63-hour course approved by the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC)
- Submit an application and electronic fingerprints (for a background check)
- Pass the Florida Real Estate Law Exam
- Activate your license
- Complete a 45-hour post-licensing course
Those are the requirements to become a real estate sales associate (not a full broker). A broker can own a real estate firm and hire agents to work for them; sales associates work for a broker.
Becoming a real estate broker in Florida requires:
- 2 years of real estate experience as an associate
- A 72-hour pre-licensing course for brokers
Plus, you have to complete 14 hours of continuing education every 2 years to renew your license.
Thankfully, there’s help: Tampa School of Real Estate (TSRE) is the highest rated real estate licensing school in Florida. Founded in 2007, the TSRE’s mission is to “provide you with the finest quality real estate education, online or in the classroom.”
“Ultimately, we sell people an entirely different lifestyle,” explains Jon Carissimo, Director at the Tampa School of Real Estate. “Most of the time, people come from another background. The process to get a license can be a little scary to them. There’s so much information.”
This is how the Tampa School of Real Estate:
- Integrated their CRM with email automation to increase monthly sales by 5x
- Tracks (and tags) contact engagement to learn which leads to follow up with
- Uses lead magnets to increase sales (and give prospective customers the personalized information they want)
- Uses conditional content in their automated welcome email series to address purchasing objections
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If you can’t integrate your business systems, you can’t make the most of your data
“Mailchimp doesn’t base their experience around the single user. We wanted something based around the user, and how they use the system.”
In 2014, the Tampa School of Real Estate started to use Mailchimp because “it was free.” They were able to do more email marketing – but Mailchimp’s emails were basic and the platform couldn’t segment contacts effectively.
“One of the things I couldn’t stand about Mailchimp was that we had to pay for every single contact,” Jon says. “If one contact was on ten lists, it was like you had ten contacts, and you were charged over and over.”
TSRE also struggled with their CRM, Capsule. They had a lot of data about their contacts, but had to juggle their systems to use any of it. Zapier could connect Capsule with Mailchimp, but it didn’t work very well.
The sales team had thousands of interested leads in their CRM, each of which could potentially spend hundreds to get their license – and a lot of that money got left on the table.
Tampa School of Real Estate needed 2 things:
- Email marketing automation
- An integrated small business CRM
They found what they needed in ActiveCampaign. The difference is notable:
- With Mailchimp: In September 2015, 150 people signed up for classes
- With ActiveCampaign: In September 2019, over 700 people signed up for classes
What changed? How does the Tampa School of Real Estate use ActiveCampaign to sell nearly 5 times more courses in a month than they used to (and boast 50% year-over-year sales growth)?
The 4 emails (and 2 automations) that show you which leads to follow up with
If you visit TSRE’s website and want more information on a course:
- You fill out one of several lead magnet opt-in forms
- You enter an automation that emails useful real estate information you’ve indicated you want (and that include “register” or “request more info” CTAs)
- If your email interactions indicate continued interest, you enter another email automation that asks to schedule a conversation
- A member of the sales team contacts you
As Jon says, “It looks like an email that was sent from a person. It doesn’t look like a newsletter that people see non-stop from people trying to get business from them”
In the ActiveCampaign pipeline screen, you can easily click through Deals and call interested prospects immediately. Jon says they currently have 4 people on their sales team making calls, but “we have a long list of leads, and we don’t want them calling the wrong people.”
With so many potential leads, how does the sales team know which leads are the most qualified?
Pipelines contain stages. If a pipeline is your sales process, stages are the steps that deals take to complete that process (for example, to complete a sale).
Tampa School of Real Estate uses engagement tagging to see which contacts are the most engaged. The sales team can pull up any lead and see:
- If a contact has opened (and interacted with) an email
- What pages a contact has visited on the TSRE website
The engagement automation looks at activity within the last 30 days, and tags contacts as:
Tracking contact engagement with your emails gives you insight into:
- How effective your email marketing strategy is
- How healthy your list(s) are
- Helps maintain good email deliverability
- Which contacts are not engaged, so you can reach out to them through other methods
You can easily add engagement tagging with 2 free, pre-built ActiveCampaign recipe which you can find here.
If a customer doesn’t take any actions within 30 days they get a disengaged tag. Tampa School of Real Estate then enters them into a new automation: a win-back email campaign.
“Tags are how we find people who are the most engaged, who are most likely to pick up the phone when we call them,” explains Jon. “We have people say ‘I originally thought about this three years ago and I’m finally doing it.’ The key point is that we know to stay in touch because we track their email engagement.”
“We’re trending up about 50% year-over-year in the business that we’re doing, and ActiveCampaign is a huge part of that.”
“If you want to be successful in real estate, it’s not just getting a real estate license – that will just get you a seat at the table.”
When someone visits Tampa School of Real Estate’s website, the end-goal is to get them to purchase a course. But people are rarely ready to make purchase decisions right away. That’s where lead magnets come in.
What is a lead magnet? A lead magnet is anything offered for free in exchange for the recipient’s email address. The Tampa School of Real Estate uses lead magnets to address the common concerns their customers care about.
“Maybe they have $300 to spend, but that isn’t their main concern,” Jon says. “They need to know what to expect.”
TSRE’s website has multiple lead magnets that address specific pain points, like:
- Business plan calculators. A Formstack calculator breaks down how many appointments, commissions, and hours worked that prospective agents need each week
- Guides. Step-by-step guides explain how to get a real estate license
- Surveys. Surveys let TSRE know where contacts are in the licensing process
- Class schedules. With 8 locations and online courses, TSRE makes it easy to fit courses into a student’s schedule
The best lead magnets give visitors to your website or landing page content they value: In this case, a step-by-step guide.
TSRE’s lead magnets follow best practices: They send one email that gives interested contacts the one specific thing they want.
You get this step-by-step guide after you give TSRE your email. A video in an email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rate (source: Forrester).
How does the Tampa School of Real Estate use the data they’ve collected from lead magnets in ActiveCampaign?
“We have 40-50% email open rates. That’s way above the industry standard. It’s because we’re delivering a personalized experience.”
After someone opts-in through a lead magnet, they get added to a sales pre-licensing automation. The automation first performs a status check to see if the person is a current student. Contacts then enter into an automated drip campaign, which start with 2 emails.
An hour after opt-in, a “Best of Our Success Center” email is sent to non-current students. The email addresses 4 objections to purchasing:
- Is Tampa a healthy housing market? Learn why Tampa is #1 healthiest housing market in the US.
- Will I be able to make an income? TSRE shares 6-figure case studies
- Will I be able to pass the exams? A “pass first try” strategy addresses this concern.
- Will it take me a long time to be successful in real estate? A video guide shows how to close a deal in the first 90 days.
If you have shown an interest in a real estate career, you want to better understand the benefits before you take action.
24 hours later, a targeted follow-up email is sent to leads. TSRE uses multiple conditions to send contacts a different automated set of targeted emails, personalized with content they want now (and not what they’ve already been sent). How does the real estate school set these conditions?
- New leads. If a contact has taken actions that tags them as interested in a real estate career, they get an email that explains the benefits of a real estate career
- Returning customers. It’s important that contacts don’t get the same email multiple times. That could happen if:
- A lead has previously requested content from another lead magnet
- A lead is a returning customer looking to renew a license or continue coursework
Depending on where contacts opt in or what pages they visit on the website, they get tagged based on their interests (for example, if they visit pages for online vs classroom courses). TSRE uses conditional content to show people information about the specific type of course that interests them.
If subscribers express interest in a classroom course, why would you send them an email about online course options? Send personalized content that people indicate they care about.
The Tampa School of Real Estate likes to say that “Your success in the real estate industry is our greatest reward.” They start people on the road to success by giving them the personalized information they need to set strong foundations for their new career.
ActiveCampaign gives TSRE the tools they need to achieve that — and they are now able to help more people start a successful real estate career than they ever have before.