4 ways to harness the selling power of direct mail

by James McClister


In an age where we can order groceries through Amazon and watch Wolf Blitzer via hologram, it seems a little old hat for real estate agents to include direct mail in their marketing campaigns. But it’s not.

While the idea of paper ads may feel outdated, the reality is that direct mail is still very effective. In fact, it remains a favored method for many agents.

According to the CMO Council, a peer network of chief marketing officers, nearly 80 percent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45 percent who act on email. The Direct Marketing Association reported that more than half of consumers consider print marketing the most trustworthy. And in a direct rebut to the “it’s too old fashioned” argument, AlphaGraphics claimed that 92 percent of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions.

For agents the question then becomes: how do I use direct mail effectively? Here are four ground rules:

1. Use it to reinforce your brand – One of the primary benefits of direct mail is that it provides potential clients with something tangible. It’s the perfect opportunity to literally put your brand directly into their hands.

2. Create urgency with calls to action – Direct mail isn’t interactive like online ads, so it needs a visible call to action that gives the recipient an easy next step to take. A QR code is one option for taking that step from page to screen – but that is a bit outdated. More effective would be a phone number, email or a short, easy-to-remember URL the recipient can refer to when he or she is ready to start the buying or selling process.

3. Define and speak to your target audience – When composing a direct mailing list, carefully consider who you are sending to and what message you want to convey. Direct mail allows you to hyper-target your message. If you’re speaking to Millennials, the message could address entry-level homes or common financing questions. If you’re targeting older homeowners, perhaps the angle is the resale process or downsizing.

4. Integrate direct mail with other channels – A benefit of digital advertising is that it’s easy to manage campaigns across multiple platforms and mediums. The same approach should be taken with direct mail. Agents can fold their direct mail messages into other marketing campaigns and materials (like brochures and e-blasts) to maximize its effectiveness, or cast a wider net by sending multiple mailers delivering separate but related messages to different audiences.

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