Direct mail needs to be sent to the right audience at the right time and with the right message. Here’s how to get your message into the hands of your intended audience (rather than the trash) for the most impact.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

Direct mail can be an effective, but unfortunately hard-to-perfect approach to marketing. Much of the time, your efforts will automatically end up in the recipients’ trash.

There are many reasons your recipients will dismiss your mailings as unworthy of their attention, but there is one main factor that stands above the rest: They know you’re attempting to sell them something.

This simple fact means that if your mail doesn’t cut to the chase right away, the people you’ve sent it to will lose interest almost immediately. It’s for this reason that short-and-sweet messages tends to capture and keep the attention of your intended audience more often.

But it takes more than brevity to get your message across. Direct mail needs to be sent to the right audience at the right time and with the right message.

But how can this be done? By following these 10 tips, you can keep your real estate marketing materials out of the garbage and in the hands of your intended audience.

1. Find and target the right audience

If you don’t have a clear picture of the people you’re trying to reach, then you don’t send a message. Period. And without a message, you can say goodbye to having a direct mail campaign.

So how does one determine their audience? There are a few questions you must ask yourself to understand who your ideal recipient should be:

  • Is your message meant for homebuyers or sellers?
  • Is your message more closely related to high- or low-income properties?
  • What is your ultimate goal: getting leads, building brand awareness or something else?

Answering these questions will help you narrow down the audience your message will most strongly resonate with.

2. Perfect your timing

Even the best messages will go ignored if not sent at the right time. Real estate is an industry dominated by the seasons, after all. Therefore, seasonal trends should remain at the top of your mind as you schedule your mailing.

More people tend to buy and sell homes during the period between spring and fall than in the winter, for example, so timing your messages accordingly is key.

If your messages are being sent around a holiday, for example, avoid sales-pitch-style language, and instead, opt for well wishes. Remind your audience that you’re thinking of them first, and then remind them you’re here to help if they happen to be thinking of buying or selling.

3. Don’t send mail too often or too rarely

Sending too much mail will annoy your audience, but sending too little will push you out of their mind.

A good rule of thumb is to send direct mail out once a month. This way, you’re neither avoiding nor annoying your audience.

With that said, though, don’t be afraid to experiment with sending a higher frequency of messages during more active times of year.

4. Make your messages eye-catching, but not spammy

If you attempt to make your messages appeal to everyone, they won’t appeal to anyone. Instead of trying to make your messages as “loud” as possible, simply focus on catching the eye of your intended audience.

Grab their attention by cutting straight to the point. If you’re an expert at selling houses, then lead with that.

Photo credit: PostcardMania/Alex Uktamov

5. Only include relevant information

Overcrowding your mailings with unnecessary graphics can distract from your core message. Your postcards should simply explain who you are, what you do and how you can help the person who’s reading it.

6. Think about using a digest instead of a postcard

Most people spend a few minutes every other day looking through their mail, and it’s no secret that this time isn’t spent entirely reviewing postcards from real estate professionals.

People spend the majority of this half hour looking at bills, magazines and catalogs. Postcards are great, but sending out a digest that includes local happenings as well as information about you and your business could be just what you need to grab your audience’s attention.

By sending out information that is genuinely interesting and helpful, you can establish yourself as a local resource for far more than just real estate.

7. Be honest

Dishonest or deceptive marketing techniques, like adding “Re:” or “Fwd:” to the subject line of your email marketing message, might occasionally be effective, but they will ultimately damage your business in the long run.

The goal is to make your audience trust you, so while sensationalist trickery might work for a time, it’s far better to let the true value of your service shine through instead.

Photo credit: PostcardMania/Alex Uktamov

8. Be consistent

Every marketing technique, whether sending emails, posting blogs, or, yes, sending direct mail, requires consistency.

The goal of staying in touch with your audience is to remind them that you and your business are out there and ready to help. Eventually, your recipients are going to need your help, so it’s important that they don’t forget about you in the meantime.

9. Follow up

A successful direct mail campaign should prompt your audience to get in touch when they need you, and that means that you need to be prepared for this to happen.

There’s nothing more discouraging than reaching out to someone for help, only for your request to go ignored for days (or weeks) on end, so never leave your leads hanging.

If you take too long to get back to them, they might lose interest or opt to work with someone else. Always respond promptly to emails and phone calls.

10. Focus on your long-term success

Marketing is not a short-term game. Your direct mail campaigns won’t lead to instant success, so don’t expect them to. Anything worth doing takes time, and this is absolutely the case when it comes to lead generation and boosting brand awareness.

As the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

By following these 10 tips for a successful direct mail campaign, you can be sure that your marketing efforts will see better results than ever before. If you never stop trying, you’ll never stop improving.

How do you stay ahead in a changing market? Inman Connect Las Vegas — Featuring 250+ experts from across the industry sharing insight and tactics to navigate threat and seize opportunity in tomorrow’s real estate. Join over 4,000 top producers, brokers and industry leaders to network and discover what’s next, July 23-26 at the Aria Resort. Hurry! Tickets are going fast, register today!

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.



Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription