Real Estate Marketing: Do You Use Direct Mail?

by Barrett Niehus

Direct mail can be a powerful tool for real estate or small business lead generation. Learn the fundamentals of using direct marketing to recruit prospects or close deals.

Prospecting for leads is by far the most difficult part of being a Realtor or small business professional. In fact, lead development is by far the most expensive and time consuming aspect of your job. However, your level of success in lead development will determine if you succeed or fail as a real estate agent or small business professional.

So how do you develop leads? Well top selling professionals realize that they need to touch as many people as possible without spending a fortune or taking up a lot of their time. They also realize that they must make some form of contact with a prospect as many as eight times before that contact will even consider doing business with the professional. Many of these professionals use direct mail to recruit prospects, and direct mail tools to close their deals.

The fundamentals of direct mail are very simple. At its most basic level you are sending out a message with an invitation for a prospect to contact you. The key is targeting your specific audience, and making your message stand out against all of the other junk mail that your prospects receive. In addition, you must expose your prospects to the message enough times to make them consider taking action.

The first step in creating a direct mail program is to determine where you are going to focus your message. What type of client are you specifically looking for? How old are they, what are their interests, fears, income levels, etc.? With this type of very specific demographic information you can customize your message to invoke them to call you.



Next, determine how many people you are going to send your message to and what geography you are going to focus on. Keep in mind that a direct mail piece with more than a 1% response rate is considered exceptional, and that statistically, post cards get more attention than envelopes in people's mail boxes. Essentially this means that if you mail 500 pieces and you get five phone calls, you are doing exceptionally well. After you know what your customer looks like and the area in which they live, create your marketing message. It should invoke emotion and request a response. The most effective messages offer something for free such as a free home report, assessment, or giveaway such as a software program or product. Other useful messages show what has just been listed and invite prospects to "cash in" on their rising home values.

Now that you have your message designed, contact a local or internet based direct mailing list seller and rent a list of prospects' addresses. You will be mailing to this list more than once so make sure you get repeat mailing discounts. All of these list brokers have test addresses in the lists they sell to make sure you only mail the agreed number of times. Many of these list sellers will offer mailing services as well, and some will even provide design and printing services. Companies such as PurePostcards.com and MailersClub.com are excellent resources to get both mailing lists and design services. Use the design services as needed and remember that statistically, an enclosed letter with blue ink and a first class stamp will get the best response. Letters and postcards follow with lower responses. Regardless of the type of mail that you are sending, it is important to realize that you are hoping for at least a 1% response to your campaign.

Mail your message to the list and see what happens. Plan on mailing at least two more times to get your desired response, but feel free to modify the message and the medium. It is just important to provide your target customer with repetition so that they become used to your message and will consider doing business with you. It is through repetition and a message that stands out that you will get your client’s attention and earn a response to your marketing.

Direct marketing is a very effective tool for realtors to grow their businesses. It can create a significant number of leads and a significant addition to your cash flow. However, direct mail must be done with proper planning and the right expectations for response. Never has a single one-time direct mailing been successful. Alternatively, real estate professionals who practice repetition in their direct mail and their marketing grow wealthy while they leave their competition behind.


Barrett Niehus is a principal for IP Ware Real Estate Investment Software http://www.realtysoftware.org and a technical marketing specialist for Compound Solutions in Escondido, California.

 
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