Real Estate Postcards & the Website Mailing Circle

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18 Jul 2017

Farming real estate areas to generate listings is as old as real estate sales.  For all of that time, direct mail of real estate postcards has been a very effective strategy for listing lead generation.  Are you struggling with marketing budget decisions, especially when you’ve been transitioning to online marketing?  What works best for the money invested?  How do I get more out of my real estate postcards marketing?

One thing we’ve learned is that measuring results in the online world is easier, especially when using analytics, site visitor tracking, lead generation forms and calls-to-action.  When it comes to that postcard, you don’t even know if it got read or hits the trash can right away.  While you can survey your listing prospects and ask if they have been receiving your real estate postcards, it’s far from a reliable measurement practice.  Should you keep spending the same on real estate postcards or shift some of that budget to PPC or other online marketing?  Here is a six-step process to complete a direct mail-email lead generation circle.

Step #1: Create a Theme or Topic for the Mailing

We’re not talking about a “check out my new listing” postcard.  Do those if you want, but this is all about a mailing created with a specific topic to generate listing leads.  For our example, let’s say that you want to do a mailing with a title like “What is the RIGHT Price to List Your Home for Sale?”  You’re going to be working them through how it is determined and why it is critical to get it right, not too high and not too low.

Step #2: You Need a Unique Landing Page

What do we mean by “unique?”  Don’t use another page on your website, even if it fits the information requirements for your campaign.  You can’t track results specific to your real estate postcard mailing unless you have a special landing page just for this circle.  This isn’t about SEO, as your main concern now is to see if your real estate postcard mailing is getting click-through traffic.

Create a landing page that talks about the CMA, Comparative Market Analysis, process, how you research, choose comps and come to a listing price.  Talk about how pricing too high will reduce buyer traffic, especially if the price crosses a major break.  We mean listing at $229,000 when your CMA indicates the listing price should be $209,000.

With online listing searches the norm now, people searching with a top price of $220,000 will not even see the home in results.  Talk about DOM, Days On Market and how too high of a listing price can stretch them out and result in lower first offers.

Step #3: Have a Strong Call to Action

You have the page that’s making the case for a careful and detailed CMA, so now create a call to action that will leverage the page content, create a desire to learn more and get their contact information.

For this page, the offer of a free no-obligation detailed CMA for their home could be just the thing for a lead.  However, you may want to make it a double offer.  They can have you out to do the proper detailed CMA, or they can give you some information about their home and location and you’ll do a preliminary CMA.  It won’t be totally accurate until you see their home, but some will prefer this to a sit-down meeting.  Create the form and place it above the fold on the landing page.

Step #4: Create a Postcard that Grabs Their Interest

Your real estate postcard is going to headline with the title asking the question about the right price for their home.  It should quickly get to the main points that show why it’s important to get it right, and how it can hurt their home sale effort or final price if done wrong.  Then make the offer to learn more and get a CMA to see what their home is worth in the current market.

Send them to the landing page, and make sure it has a short and easy to type URL.  This could be something like http://yoursite.com/CMA.

Step #5: Study Your Analytics for the Landing Page

Sure, if they give you a phone number and/or an email address and fill out the form, you know you got the lead from the real estate postcard.  Congratulations, but you also want to know how many responses you’re getting to the postcard as shown by the traffic to your landing page.

Watch the statistics for the page, as the number of unique visitors will tell you how well you did in the call to action in the postcard.  Getting them to the site in reasonable numbers will tell you that your postcard is doing the job.  Poor click-through to the site could mean there just isn’t much listing interest right now, but it can also mean that you didn’t do a good enough job in creating an attention-getting postcard.

If you’re getting people to the site but only a small percentage submit the form, take a look at how you can improve your landing page content and call to action.  It may help with this mailing, but definitely you’ll want to do better if you try this in another neighborhood.

Step #6: Follow Up Form Leads with Drip Email

If they submit the form, you’ll either be going to the home or doing an estimate CMA from the information they give you.  If the estimate CMA is what you’re doing, you’ll want to follow up with two or three emails to keep their interest and try to get that listing appointment.

Email #1: Was the Estimated CMA Price a Surprise?

Good or bad, it’s just an estimate, so they could be surprised at your CMA result.  You want to quickly, within a day or so, send out this email to address any negative reaction or to capitalize on a positive one.  This email should tell them that you are working with only the information they gave you.  You need to see their home, get some more info, do more research into comparable sold homes and do another one to get to the real RIGHT price.

Email #2: Sold Properties are Past History-Markets Change Quickly

Again, just a few days after the first email, you want to send another one, and this one can help to do one of two things:

  1. Give them hope if your estimate was lower than they thought.
  2. Develop urgency if they liked your estimate.

Either way, get to them and explain that you also want to do another CMA of currently listed properties to see if the market has moved since those sold home closing dates.

Email #3: Were You Just Testing the Water?

This email can say that you appreciate their response to your CMA offer.  You don’t want to leave them hanging if they still have questions or think the price may not be what they think it should be.  Explain again why it can’t be fully accurate until you see the home.  Then tell them it’s OK if they were just testing the water.  You’ll be putting them into a special group of people who get monthly (or quarterly) market reports from you with recent sold home prices.  This way they can watch the market along with you and call you when they’re ready.

There you have it, the real estate postcard & website mailing circle!  It will work for you, and you’ll know that your postcards are worth the effort and cost.