OutboundEngine Review and Pricing
OutboundEngine is an email marketing company for real estate professionals. They write and send 2x monthly email newsletters to your contact database and social media followers. It is mostly a “set-it-and-forget-it” marketing service to stay top-of-mind with your database. Emails sent out include call-to-actions to landing pages and profile pages in order to capture leads!
OutboundEngine was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Austin, TX. They bought and own ReadyChat, the live chat website app. OutboundEngine was acquired by Elm Street Technology in 2021.
Welcome to your one-stop shop for OutboundEngine reviews!
It’s not their main business service, but they have a neat review aggregator that collects your reviews from numerous outlets in a single place. It’s not robust enough to replace your other review software, but if you don’t have or want to pay for review software, it’s a decent substitute.
They also include lead magnets for you to share. Every quarter they offer a $500 Amazon gift card sweepstakes for people to enter. You can share the sweepstakes on social media to induce folks to sign up. They pay for the $500 Amazon gift card. The sweepstakes is a way to get some leads, and also ask folks signing up “if they know anyone who might be buying or selling”.
Unfortunately, the sweepstakes is only available to the “Value” plan subscribers and the Review Engine only available to Premium subscribers.
OutboundEngine is always trying to do more than just email marketing. They recently added more mobile app tools and marketing features.
They also get into your social media marketing as well. Specifically, they will post to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles for you.
The includes not only the 2x articles a month that they’ve written for you, but they will also curate content and share articles from other sites as well, making sure your social media presence always looks active and alive.
As part of their service, they will do business citations for you. This is actually a pretty neat service that isn’t directly related to email marketing.
Business citations are getting your name, address, and phone number consistent throughout business directories like Yelp, Yellowpages, Superpages, Google, Mapquest, and more. Having a consistent “NAP” (name, address, and phone) is an important signal on Google that helps you rank in the local map pack – very important for local Realtors!
It’s a small thing that most agents probably don’t appreciate. They use Yext to do citations.
Outsourced content will never be as good or authentic as emails and content you create personally.
OutboundEngine recognizes this and tries to rectify it.
The created three main categories of content you use depending on your specialty: general real estate, “city living”, and “luxury”. That way, you aren’t sending condo articles to rural America.
They also have four add-on niches that you can select to better tailor the content: first-time homebuyer, luxury, vacation, and investment articles.
Lastly, you can also create and add your own content to be published through their channel in addition to what they create for you. But if you are writing your own content anyway, then that sort of defeats the reasons you would be interested in OutboundEngine to begin with.
While I appreciate the effort, it’s simply not going to generate high engagement. At least, nowhere near what you would creating and curating hyperlocal content relevant to your own market and neighborhoods.
- $199/mo for up to 500 contacts
- $299/mo for up to 2000 contacts
- $449/mo for up to $10,000 contacts
- 12-month contract
OutboundEngine’s marketing services manage your email for you. They can work about spam laws, deliverability, and campaign building.
The articles are hosted, however, on their own mini-sites that they create for you.
You can redirect the links within those articles to your own site easily, but the content is not ultimately on your site. If you are expecting it will produce evergreen, SEO-friendly content that will rank on Google, you’re crazy.
That may be okay as ranking on Google has very little to do with email marketing. But if your website is important to you, you might be better off with a service that creates the content for your website.
OutboundEngine bought ReadyChat, which they naturally incorporate into these websites. ReadyChat automatically engages anyone who is chatting with a remote VA who then tries to set the appointment. It’s a neat feature, though the website isn’t set up to have all the bells and whistles of a traditional real estate website. I’m not sure how often you could expect it to convert into leads. It seems like OutboundEngine is almost putting together the tools to launch a future website/marketing platform for agents.
Top-of-Mind awareness is a difficult acquisition method to fix an ROI to for real estate marketers.
How many calls have you gotten from someone selling or buying a home saying “Yes, I’m reaching out because you’ve been sending me emails for forever and I therefore happen to remember you instead of forgetting you like I have most Realtors”?
Probably not many. Attributing business to “top of mind awareness” is very difficult.
As such, common negative reviews talk about how “they never got a lead from OutboundEngine”. But realistically they probably couldn’t tell whether the lead came from OutboundEngine or not.
Marketing is all about getting in front of the consumer in multiple ways in multiple places. People who buy ads on billboards do so not because they think people are going to pull over on Interstate-35 and call their number, but simply to brand themselves and keep them in customers’ minds. That’s how you should view OutboundEngine.
OutboundEngine has three tiers depending on how many contacts you have. “Essential” is p to 500 contacts is $199/mo. “Value” is 2000 contacts and is $299/mo, and “Premium” is 10,000 contacts and $449/mo.
Renting instead of Owning Content
- You want to keep up a consistent email and Facebook presence, but neither is a core component of your business
Difficult to Calculate ROI
- You are a blogger, content marketer, website guru who needs your email marketing to synergize with your website for SEO (consider MailChimp)
- You already do a lot of blogging and social media yourself and just want an easy to use email marketing component (consider Tidings)
- You want your email done for you but taken up a notch with content more custom to your business, market, brand, and voice (consider Happy Grasshopper)