September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
This article was last updated September 8, 2022.
Listings are sitting longer than they were months ago, and sellers can’t be quite as aggressive as they want to be.
It’s a tough timing for market stabilization, but thanks to the lingering effects of the pandemic era, we can say “peace out” to accurately predicting what the market will do, anyway.
It looks like we need to get back to doing what we used to do to sell homes and find buyers, like staging, in-person tours and (gasp!) direct mail. That’s right, time to dust off your mail lists and hope your graphic designer didn’t take their Photoshop skills on the road to become a #vanlife influencer.
Want to get that postcard game back up to snuff? Here are some tools and tips you’ll need to do it.
Start with who you know
When it comes to direct mail, your list is everything. It doesn’t have to be big, it only has to be targeted.
Filter your database according to contacts that are recent leads (buyer or seller), static leads, or those who have kind of gone quiet, and everyone you worked with in the last year.
We’re not looking yet at older clients because the odds are very good they’ve refinanced in the last two years or so, and the uncertain seller market has spooked them, anyway. The idea is to get referral power from the recent closings because you’re top-of-mind, and to reactivate those who are kind of lingering about.
Save that search and use your CRM’s address output function. If it doesn’t have one, email support and ask them to do it for you. A lot of CRM tools have built-in print services, so you may not have to even leave your system to get your campaign into the back of mail trucks.
Messaging and creative
Assuming you work with both sellers and buyers, focus on your brand instead of a hard sales pitch. You want to remind people who you are, that you’re active in the market and always ready to help.
Being briefly educational is key. Don’t preach, and avoid sharing market information that Zillow e-mail subscriptions, social media algorithms and competitive agents already tell them. Be different.
Share something unique about the benefits of ownership or some sort of cool community information or maybe even some cool local events you’ll be attending. Remember, marketing isn’t sales, it’s relationship building.
And please, hire creative professionals. If your brokerage employs a marketing staff, use them. Many CRMs provide direct mail templates and creative teams, too.
Lastly, ensure the postcard has a clear way for you to measure its success, knowing that direct mail is something that rewards over time. Use a landing page link, a specific phone number or a QR code that links to downloadable content of some kind.
The real estate industry is full of terrific, technology-forward direct mail service providers, which is partly why so many CRMs have integrated printing services over the past few years. They know they need to compete.
Enthusem (get it? “Enthuse them?”) leverages on-time prospect data to roll out campaigns quickly and deliver super relevant messaging with sophisticated tracking tools.
The company received a 4-star rating in an Inman review for its clever integration with multiple popular CRMs, which stated that “Enthusem can churn out a 25-card campaign directed at a single street where an agent recently sold a listing. Each card would be an image of the recipient’s home with the agent’s For Sale sign planted in front of it.”
And that’s only one way to leverage this modern, growing postcard partner.
ProspectsPlus has long been an innovator in direct mail. From its three-click ordering process to its recent integration of easy mail list creation, there’s no campaign they can’t create and manage for you.
I highlighted a couple of features in a 2020 update on ProspectsPlus, but what I like best is the company’s ability to iron out every little hurdle that used to burden direct mail marketing, from graphic design hang-ups to address verification. They have you covered.
Like Enthusem, MailMatic entered real estate laterally after working with a number of other industries to perfect direct mail outreach.
This company focuses, smartly, on the long game, helping agents devise and execute 12-month campaigns with contemporary marketing concepts and hands-on oversight. It too, earned a 4-star rating for its clever approach to making mail work for real estate agents.
There’s little downside to a well-orchestrated direct mail campaign, especially when integrated with what’s considered common today, like TikTok, dynamic ads and Google MyBusiness profiles.
If you don’t have access to the above resources — or maybe you only recently earned your license and need to kickstart your branding — there’s a good chance your broker knows where to start. This is why they’re your broker.
Ask around the office. You’d be hard-pressed to find a top producer who didn’t at one-time rely on mailing printed materials.
What have you got to lose, other than more business?