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Direct Mail: Alive And Kicking

March 21 2012

Direct Mail11Last week, Forbes Magazine published  an article about Direct Mail and how it is still Alive and Kicking. I found it interesting and thought I would give you some high points, not only on why I feel the article is important, but specifically how it is important and how it applies to those in the Real Estate Industry.

In the land of digital, let’s not forget the physical
While many Realtors and Marketers look at direct mail, the way that people look at the stone age ,  it is important NOT to get caught up in that hype.  Sure, it is always nice to think of the “latest and greatest” as the way to go with your marketing efforts, but don’t forget: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. When considering your options when marketing your Real Estate Practice, use the method of “in conjunction with”, rather than “in place of”.

So if you believe in my position of “in conjunction with”, is there hard proof to back this up? In fact their is.  In his article, contributor Steve Olenski made some very strong points, specifically related to a survey conducted by Millward BrownMillward Brown, a leading global research agency, that are worth considering:

 

1) Physical Media (a.k.a. Direct Mail), Leaves A Deeper Footprint In The Brain
While electronic mail, and social media is attractive, due to it’s price point (translation: Often Free), physical media, such as direct mail is something that consumers can touch and feel. This has been found to resonate more with consumers and touch more emotions than that of the digital variety.

What does this mean for your Real Estate Practice? If you have a message to get out to your geographic farms and/or your past clients and sphere of influence farms, and you want to be certain that it gets absorbed by the greatest number of people possible, you should adopt a strategy of deploying both electronic and physical.

2) “Yeah, but you’re just talking about “old people”, right?
I admit, that it might be a logical conclusion to jump to. After all, the younger range of the spectrum is almost completely online, right? Not exactly. Millward Brown’s survey found that direct mail surprisingly transcends the age demographic.  In fact, younger consumers (defined as the 18 year old to 34 year old demographic) reported that they prefer to learn about marketing offers via postal mail, rather than online sources.

If you take this finding, and then combine it with the well known statistic from the National Association of REALTORS® that states that most interested home buyers start their search on the internet, this gets a bit confusing.  I propose though that this is not confusing, and that it makes perfect sense.  Here’s why:

-Home buyers can utilize the anonymity of the internet to get started with the home search process. They can get a feel for the marketplace, and landscape, at their own speed, on their own time, without being bothered by any outside factors (e.g. follow up phone calls from REALTORS® that want to work with them).

-But, once a home buyer (or seller) is ready to dip their toe in the pond, and get the buying process under way, the REALTORS® that have sent them regular mailings are going to beat out any online search for Realtors in the area.

After all, Real Estate is a social business. You work with clients you have a personal connection with. If your target group spends more time retaining physical media and prefers to review offers via physical mail, your regularly sent postcards are going to have a profound impact on them. They will feel a connection with you, and therefore contact you to discuss the possibility of doing business together.

Sounds Interesting. What else do I need to know?
The article goes on to discuss a couple things you may want to review. Such as how the post office is difficult to work with (if you are a REALTOR®, by definition, you are busy, and you really should NEVER attempt to do your own direct mail), and it also talks about how ROI on physical media, such as direct mail, is higher than social media.  The two biggest points though I wanted to drive home, are the two biggest misconceptions about Direct Mail that we have seen in the fifteen years we have been doing marketing programs for Realtors.marketing programs for Realtors.

To view the original article, visit the Leading Agent blogLeading Agent blog.