Uncovering the Myths of Using Direct Mail for Real Estate Marketing

As a realtor, you probably already have your mind set on whether or not direct mail can be effective to get buyers and get listings. There are many varying opinions out there. If you choose to listen to someone else’s preferences, simply make sure you have all of the facts. Most likely, you’ve heard or overheard an experienced realtor state, “I never do direct mail. It doesn’t work.” Unfortunately, blanket statements like that spread around a realty office like wildfire. Pretty soon, a junior realtor who has never done any type of marketing is telling others, “I’m not going to do direct mail. I know it doesn’t work.”

If someone approaches you with such a determined opinion, you’ll learn where they are really coming from by asking them a few of follow up questions.
How often have you tried direct mail?
What exactly is your approach when using direct mail?
How much time and effort have you invested in optimizing your direct mail strategy?
At that point, you’ll probably get a “deer in the headlights” look. Why? Because most of these direct mail haters have simply tried it once, used a template approach or copied someone else’s and spent no time researching, thinking about and executing a strategy that works.
Yes, direct mail can fall flat in real estate marketing… IF you do it the same way most real estate agents approach it. But when you go beyond the myths and learn how to do it right, direct mail can be one of your most effective real estate tools.

Here are the common direct mail myths followed by the facts.

DIRECT MAIL MYTH 1: People hate junk mail. They sort their mail in seconds over a trashcan.

DIRECT MAIL TRUTH 1: People hate junk mail… that does not interest them. Just as people hate commercials that don’t interest them. If your prospect has zero interest in buying a house or selling her home, your postcard or letter will quickly find the bottom of the trash.However, if she and her husband have been talking about listing their home since the weather turned nice, your letter is welcomed, opened and most likely read. Those interested in buying or selling real estate may hate other junk mail… but they’ll appreciate yours.

DIRECT MAIL MYTH 2: Saturate your community; Mail to everyone!

DIRECT MAIL TRUTH 2: Some realtors believe it’s a numbers game. In order to get the listings and buyers, your postcard and letter needs to be in most every mailbox. That’s precisely what not to do because even with larger numbers, your response will be lower.

Direct mail offers one of the greatest advantages in marketing — customization and personalization! If you want to target families with a household income of over $80,000 and have been living in their home for over 5 years, you can do that. With direct mail, you can narrow down so tightly on the very prospects that are most likely to work with you.

DIRECT MAIL MYTH 3: Creativity is key. Only 4 color and professionally design direct mail gets noticed, opened and read.

DIRECT MAIL TRUTH 3: Although design and creativity may get your prospects to take a second look, it will never make them pick up the phone and call you.

So what will? Giving them something of value… preferably for free. Sure, you want to send out a few postcards and have prospects call you the next day and ask you to list their $300,000 home. It can happen, but most likely, they need another step.

Rather, you promise them a free Comparative Market Analysis, which is a $200 value. Or share with them how much their home is worth. Or give them a list of properties that just came on the market. Values like these give them incentive to email or call you. By giving them a free home value or CMA, it opens the door to a listing appointment or more.

Today, when everyone gets hundreds of emails each week, direct mail still offers a viable option that can be customized, personalized, testable and trackable. It should never be the only marketing tool you utilize to promote your real estate services, but it should certainly be a part of it.