Once upon a time, a real estate agent discovered a coconut at his door. “What a pleasant surprise,” thought the agent. “The next time I have a crippling hangover, maybe this will help.”

But when the agent cracked the coconut open after a night of merrymaking, he felt wronged: There was no coconut water inside.

This post explores a marketing tactic tweeted by the winner of Inman News’ latest #madREskillz contest. Tweet an innovative marketing tactic on Tuesday and tag it with #madREskillz for a chance to become our next winner. 

Once upon a time, a real estate agent discovered a coconut at his door. “What a pleasant surprise,” thought the agent. “The next time I have a crippling hangover, maybe this will help.”

But when the agent cracked the coconut open after a night of merrymaking, he felt wronged: There was no coconut water inside.

 

The coconut was the centerpiece of a marketing campaign by a Del Mar, California-based real estate marketing firm, Lyra : Sold.

Lyra designs “lifestyle-property” films, websites and social advertising campaigns for top producing real estate agents. It tries to win the business of agents by sending them coconuts — a tactic that the company says some agents could also use to attract buyers and sellers.

But when mailing coconuts (who knew you could just drop a coconut in the mail without any packaging?) you might want to consider whether the coconuts are fresh, said Tom Kelly, managing partner of Lyra.

“He thought it was a cruel tease being that he was holding onto it to break open after a long night of drinking,” Kelly said of the ill-fated recipient of Lyra’s coconut mailer. “So now we’re testing out the ROI on sending fresh coconuts to the more party-friendly agents out there.”

Though the strategy might work for Lyra, winner of Inman News’ latest #madREskillz contest, the marketing firm hasn’t advised any of its clients — real estate agents — to mail coconuts to potential buyers or sellers.

Lyra : Sold displays carved coconut shells in its office to 'keep the fun around.

Lyra : Sold displays carved coconut shells in its office to ‘keep the fun around.”

 

Not yet anyway. Kelly said Lyra may recommend the tactic to a client in the future if it seems to match the agent’s “brand image.”

“The main goal behind sending coconuts is to get the attention of the more difficult-to-reach potential clients,” Kelly said. “It allows us to showcase our uniqueness and strike up a conversation in the process.”

The company always encourages its clients to “to do something that’s unique to them” in order to set themselves apart from the competition, and reaching prospects through coconuts could be just the ticket, according to Ryan Sawchuck, a co-founder of Lyra.

“Too often in sales, people can scare off potential clients with too much information upfront,” Sawchuck said. “At the end of the day, if a message on a coconut gets a conversation started, then it’s done its job.”

Should an agent decide to adopt the strategy, Kelly recommends that she add a corny message to the coconut like “Find Your Piece of Paradise with [X]”.

“They could send them out to seal the deal with clients they’re close to landing,” he said.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to designing and distributing coconut mailers:

  • Order coconuts from an online retailer, such as florida-coconuts.com.
  • Use paint and a sharpie to add your logo, website and phone number, along with a “terrible pun” like: “We’re going nuts to get to know you!” or “We wanted to get our coconuts in the door! (“We don’t include any additional marketing material with the coconut since it’s shipped without any packaging,” Kelly said. “So we let the coconut speak for itself and follow up with all leads if for some crazy reason they didn’t reach out to us.”)
  • Make sure the coconut has enough postage for its weight and then mail it through the U.S. Postal Service, just like any other package. (The post office considers a coconut to be a self-contained unit, acceptable for mailing without packaging.) “We do them in batches since it can be pretty time consuming to do,” Kelly said.
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