Let’s cut right to it—does direct mail marketing work for real estate agents and brokers? The simple answer is Yes- Direct mail marketing remains an effective way to reach customers and up your ROI.

Lead source

When you create your prospect list you will need to be as targeted as possible. For example, in the past you might have been sending mailers to all of the names in particular zip codes or area, but aren’t getting the results you want. So instead you might find that targeting only the individuals that meet a certain criteria may generate better response, and actually be more cost-effective. Keep in mind that this is typically a more expensive list per name, but if you are getting the results you need then it can be well worth it in the end.

You might be thinking direct mail volumes have been decreasing 1.9% year-over-year since 2005 why should I use direct mailers for my business? Well direct mail marketing campaigns have actually continued to see success. The ability to profile customers on more than just their zip code has contributed to this success. With the use of lead generation sites you are now able to track consumers through “behavior marketing”  where you can get a list that is targeted by the actions consumers have taken online.

Content and personalization

In addition to obtaining great lists and information, direct mail marketing has seen continued success due to the better and more personalized content it can give. Through direct mail marketing you are able to focus your message to the potential needs of your prospects. You can do things like highlight any problems that you can solve for your potential clients.  Direct mailers will do a better job of grabbing potential client’s attention and prompting them to call you.

Unfortunately the specific stats on which type of direct mail marketing pieces work best for real estate do not exist yet, we know the following:

  • Direct mail marketing out performs digital marketing response rates by more than 700%
  • The average ROI for direct mail is 15-17%
  • 67% of US adults feel that direct mail is more personal than email
  • Oversized envelopes have better response rate that regular-sized mail

Direct mail options:

There are three main options for direct mail marketing in real estate:

  • Hand written letter: This might sound very old school, but the “handwritten” letter can actually be a powerful direct mail marketing tool. Mailing houses can print your letter using a font that looks hand-written.  Or you can test a small number of letters that you personally write yourself.
  • Postcard: So these are actually the most cost-effective direct mail marketing pieces. Not only are these cheaper to print, but you’ll also save on mailing house costs There is no need for folding and/or envelope inserting, and lower postage costs.  And like any direct mail format you choose to use, the more postcards you order, the lower the per-piece price.
  • Typed or designed letter: Keep in mind that these can be a little pricier than a postcard due to the costs of folding and envelope stuffing. If you decide to do a letter and envelope format, then look into having the print/mail company do the folding, stuffing, and postal prep for you.

Track it and follow up

When generating your direct mail marketing, you should also invest in a way to track ROI and new leads to follow up. An easy way to track is with a dedicated URL or landing page that is specific to each mailer. This will allow you to track visits to the page through Google Analytics, and you can have a contact (or “lead”) capture form on the page to gather visitor contact information. Most email marketing platforms, such as Constant Contact, Cactus Mail, and MailChimp) offer forms that can be placed on a landing page and will automatically add the person’s email address to your email database.

You can also track with a PURL, or personalized URL using the recipient’s name, to track exactly who visits your landing page.

Other tracking options include a specific phone number or an email address that are then manually counted and tracked each time contact is made by a direct mail recipient. There are outsourced call center services you can hire to manage and track incoming calls for you as well.

Partner up

The details of direct mail can be confusing and time consuming. Direct mail marketing companies can create custom lists with criteria that best match your listing’s ideal buyer type, set up schedules for your mailings, write  and design your direct mailer, print everything needed, handle postal processing for you (to allow you to get the lowest postage rates)  handle folding and envelope inserting if needed, and deliver your mailers to the USPS.

Like all marketing, use direct mail as part of a cohesive strategy

While direct mail does work, it works best when used in conjunction with a cohesive marketing plan and strategy, and on a multi-touch basis. It can take two or three direct mail marketing pieces before a client will engage. The direct mail marketing you use should fit seamlessly with the rest of your marketing brand and messaging—it should all have the same look, feel, and voice.

If you’d like to find out even more about how effective “direct mail” is for your real estate business, or if you have any additional questions about topics like graphic design or targeted mailing that you’d like to go over in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.