Despite all the cool new virtual and digital avenues available for communicating with prospective homeowners and buyers, going old school with direct marketing remains a powerfully effective tool for Real Estate Agents.
In fact, the Compu-Mail reported that the 2017 direct mail response rate was a record high of 5.1%, citing the Direct Mail Association (DMA) statistics. This is compared to 0.6% email, 0.6% paid search, 0.2% online display, and .4% social media). This is the highest response rate the DMA has ever reported, since coming out with the Response Rate Report in 2003. The reason behind this success rate may have much to do with the way direct mail interacts with the senses, in particular, touch.
With 2,000 sensory receptors, just in our fingertips, holding a piece of paper can create a highly personal interaction. The more pleasing that sense – through texture or specialty coatings, even scented ink – the more likely it is to trigger the endowment effect. This is a behavioral reaction that leads to assigning a higher value to things that are ours and making them more meaningful.
In this case, the effect takes the form of a higher response rate. In fact, despite spending most of their lives online, surveys find that even millennials are rather touched by those who take the time to write to them.
Direct Mail Best Practices for Real Estate Agents
In addition to working the senses, here are some other best practices Real Estate Agents should consider when developing a direct mail campaign.
Make it personal. From using the homeowner’s (or prospective buyer’s) name to tailoring the offer to their needs, make it relevant, as if it’s from a friend who has their best interests at heart.
Be brief. Short attention spans are becoming universal. Keep messages focused and to the point. This is especially relevant when reaching out to millennial prospects.
Be grammatically correct. Have what you write proofread. There are many affordable online editing services that can help ensure the accuracy and clarity of what you are trying to say. There are just as many prospects who will notice and judge you if you don’t.
Tell them what to do next. The “call to action” is a key part of any message you send. Be specific about what you want your audience to do after they read what you’ve sent. Your message should be so clear that within five seconds they know whether they should call you, visit your website, or drop by your open house next weekend.
Solve a problem. Write from your target audience’s point of view, not your own. Rather than tell them what you do, explain what is in it for them. For instance, it’s not that your office offers staging services, the point is you help sellers stage for their homes to appeal to buyers.
Test yourself. Don’t assume you know exactly what will work. Send out variations of your message and let your response rate tell you what resonates. The more you test, the better you can zero in on the headlines and words that are most meaningful to your prospects.
Not a matter of one and done. Follow up your first mailing with others. Regular contact creates familiarity. Even if a prospect doesn’t call you immediately, you can establish a foundation so that when they are ready to buy or to sell, your name is the one that pops into their minds.
Coordinate with your website. If you want to drive prospects to your website, design consistency helps them know they are in the right place once they’ve clicked through.
Take advantage of Informed Delivery. The United States Postal Service now offers a free service called Informed Delivery, which scans and send hard copy mail via email. Any customer can opt in and be notified about the mail arriving each day. This give your mail piece two different opportunities to make an impression and converts a direct mail piece into email piece as well. You can also advertise through Informed Delivery.
Track your results. It’s important to know what’s working and what’s not so make sure to document the inquiries you get and track by address to know how your direct mail is performing.
More Interactive Than Pixels
Digital communication is still important. Email is cheap and can be easily tracked and should still be part of your marketing efforts. However, the effectiveness of tangible mail shouldn’t be underestimated. Recognizing this fact can help make your real estate marketing efforts that much more successful.