Real Estate Agents Get More Listings with Direct Mail.
When you want to succeed in real estate, there may be no better way to grab the attention of prospects than direct mail. Amidst countless digital tools, real estate agents are turning to direct mail now more than any time in the last five years. They do it because it works: a poll conducted by Yes Lifestyle Marketing found that a huge percentage of people make choices based on direct mail.
While almost 3 in 5 baby boomers said that they are influenced by direct mail, nearly half of generation Xers reported that direct mail influences their decisions regarding what to buy and who to purchase from. Direct mail is indeed traditional, yet it remains the most effective channel out there, especially for real estate agents.
Online marketing is no longer a new or novel idea for real estate agents.
Homeowners are inundated with non-stop digital messages from every major agent (and many smaller agents) in town. This helps us to understand why direct mail works better than ever in our modern, digital age:
- Physicality translates to engagement – Real estate agents get engagement out of their marketing the moment their prospects leaf through the mail and see, touch, and (hopefully) open it. Even if it goes in the recycle bin unopened, prospects are forced to pick it up and deal with it, which is much more than most digital tool can offer. What’s more, having engaging, local content on the front can improve direct mail “open rates” exponentially.
- No e-tools preventing access – Unlike with email marketing or social media, with direct mail real estate agents don’t need to deal with any electronic hurdles. If your direct mail is in the mailbox, it’s going to get touched. With digital marketing, a large percentage of the people on your list won’t see your marketing at all due to spam filters or ad blockers, or because of how many “views” your social media post will produce.
- Repetition isn’t futile – While it is easy for someone to simply unsubscribe from repeat emails or “un-like” a Facebook page, direct mail repetition actually works. Through repeat touch-points that can’t be ignored, real estate agents can cement real brand awareness with consistent direct mail marketing.
The role of powerful content
As you farm for listings using direct mail, the use of strategically crafted content is critical to helping you succeed with direct mail. You want to talk about issues that are important to the homeowner right now. Using content can increase your:
- Engagement – This strategy takes you a strong step away from simply coming across as salesy and pointing out why you or your broker are better than the competition. If the seller feels they are learning something as they read what you have to say, they will become more open to hearing what you have to offer. It builds rapport. While few people would pass along a standard marketing flyer, they might very well give content about home selling or the local market trends to someone who is currently looking to sell.
- Thought leadership – As a potential seller reads your article or publication, they become increasingly attuned to your expertise. Thought leadership is a powerful buzz word, and it bears some scrutiny.
- Brand awareness – In real estate, the use of content improves brand awareness astronomically. It’s tough to get metrics on direct mail engagement (because it isn’t digital), but we can look at online conversion rates with or without content to get an idea of its power. According to data compiled by content marketing firm Brafton, real estate agents who market with content yield 200% more traffic and 142% more form-fills online (Brafton 2019).
The stronger content of direct mail has led to its improved results, according to CRES Insurance. Local direct mail publications that targets and solves your prospective sellers’ problems leads to more leads and more listings out of your farm.
Response to direct mail is on the rise
You may think that direct mail is on its way out. That is far from the case – in fact, its effectiveness has been improving over time.
Customer response rate to direct mail improved 43% during 2016, per The Data & Marketing Association (DMA). Prospect response rate skyrocketed that same year, rising 190% year-over-year. According to the most recent DMA study on direct marketing effectiveness, direct mail enjoys about 5 times better response rates than email, display ads, paid search, and social media marketing combined. Take a look at these stats:
- Direct mail: 5.3%
- Online display ad: 0.9%
- Email: 0.6%
- Social media: 0.6%
- Paid search: 0.5%.
But what about direct mail marketing for real estate agents?
It took some digging, but those stats do exist. CRES Insurance conducted a study on direct mail effectiveness for real estate agents specifically (showing an even greater response-rate gap):
- 2 out of 3 US adults (67%) say that they generally consider direct mail to be more personal than email.
- Real estate agents report a 15-17% ROI (meaning 115-117% of the cost of the mail is earned in revenue directly off of the mailing).
- In the real estate business, response rates outdo all forms of online marketing by greater than 700%.
- The response rate for oversized pieces is stronger than it is for standard mail.
Real estate agents who farm with a large, 12-page custom publication report even higher ROI, because the content gets more engagement and build more trust in the agent’s brand. According to a 2017 study, agents who mailed a custom publication at least 6 times per year reported 200-400% ROI after the second full year of mailing. Consistency pays off!
As people are becoming more numb to what they see online, they are becoming progressively more open to what they see in their mailbox. Plus, the use of content to better engage with prospects is increasing how it is perceived.
Consider targeting, timing, and integrity
It is crucial to understand who you are trying to target and when you are reaching out to them. Keep in mind that knowing these elements will help you craft the perfect message. Honesty is also the best policy.
To properly farm for listings with direct mail, consider the following:
• Whether you want to increase brand awareness or generate leads;
• Which neighborhoods you want to target; and
• The market turnover in each neighborhood.
Targeting higher turnover areas will yield better results than lower turnover, but that’s a moot point if you want to build a brand in a very specific community. Know where your ideal sellers are located, and given a choice, focus on the areas with the most activity.
In real estate, you will see more sales starting in March. They will continue to rise through June. After that, you will see a gradual decline until the slow season, November through mid-February.
During the winter, build your awareness with holiday messaging and similar “lighter” material. When mid-February arrives, get into sales mode with your target, sending them content more directly related to selling their home.
Finally, avoid sending direct mail that is pushy or overly salesy. Build credibility by showing rather than telling. A real estate agent who shows recent market statistics will appear to be more of a leader than an agent who only publishes information about themselves.
An integrated approach is key
Direct mail should not be used in a vacuum, but as part of a larger plan. Incorporate it within a marketing system that also includes email, social media, SEO, and prospecting efforts. Although digital channels are less effective than direct mail, you can amplify their power when you use them all together. As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Multichannel marketing is key to getting the results you need. After all, multichannel customers generally spend three to four times as much as single-channel customers do. Clearly this approach is effective. Read our e-book on how to build a multi-channel marketing machine for your real estate business.
Direct mail success
Amplify your brand and generate more leads and listings with a good, content-driven direct mail plan. Contact us at Discover Publications to get started.