There are two main types of marketing that business utilize: direct response marketing and brand recognition marketing. Depending on the industry that a business is in, the type of marketing that a business utilizes will vary.
Coca-Cola, for instance, is unlikely to run ads to get you to go to a website and purchase a can of Coke. Instead, they run marketing campaigns pretty much everywhere that they’ll get eyes onto their ads so that when you are at the store and you see Coke products you’re more likely to purchase since you have recognition of that product.
Certain industries do very little brand recognition marketing and instead are focused on direct response. These are industries that are more niche focused or don’t anticipate that they’ll have the capacity to build a brand. They’re targeting people in diverse geographic markets but they have a clear action they want you to complete such as making an immediate purchase.
Real Estate Agents Need Brand Recognition and Response
As a real estate agent, it’s important that you’re building your brand while also encouraging potential clients to contact you when they’re ready to buy or sell a home. Because, as a real estate agent, you’re targeted geographically, you have an opportunity to build a brand without spending millions of dollars.
You also can target the same people you’ve built your brand with via direct response campaigns in an effort to get them to take some sort of action. For real estate buyers, it’s normally to sign up on your website or contact you to see homes. For real estate sellers, it’s to contact you to find out how much their home could sell for.
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Why Digital Marketing has so many Benefits for Real Estate Agents
Digital marketing is a very broad term but includes your website, paid search engine clicks, search engine optimization, Facebook posts, paid Facebook ads, Instagram posts, paid Instagram ads (also ran through the Facebook ad manager), email campaigns, display campaigns, other social media tools, and tons of others.
Search engine marketing is mainly about the direct response. Someone is looking for homes for sale, they come to your website, you get them to take an action: sign up, fill out a form, call you, etc.
Social media campaigns build brand while they can also be used to try to get the user to take an action such as signing up for your website. Same thing with display and other social media.
One of the benefits of social media to real estate agents early in their career is that it allows real estate agents to have a solid starting point without breaking the budget. REALTORS early in their career have more time than they do money. Because of this, it makes sense to utilize a tool that allows you to trade your time for impressions.
Posting to Facebook doesn’t cost anything and if done repeatedly can both lead to brand recognition as well as a direct response for someone to call you to find out what their home is worth or call you when they’re ready to look for homes.
The ability to build your brand with social media is incredibly invaluable and you certainly need to be careful about how you build your brand and what your brand stands for.
What should your Real Estate Brand Represent?
For most real estate agents, the most important thing your brand will represent is professionalism. There may be a few outliers that really have a focus on some very niche buyers/sellers that disagree, but this is probably less than 1%.
Professionalism used to mean suits and ties, formal writing, and fancy cars. While I would still argue that you don’t want to be a complete slob, you should write professionally, and you should have a clean car when interacting with clients or prospective clients (everyone), it’s important these days to differentiate yourself from the herd by showing that you are a real business; you are not a part-time agent that is just looking for where their next check comes from.
Even if you have other income streams, people are okay with that if you can still show that you operate like a business, not like a person. Just like you probably don’t want to utilize an attorney or a CPA that is part-time from their basement, most would-be real estate buyers and sellers don’t want to utilize a real estate agent that only does it part-time when they think they can capture a quick check.
Why are Real Estate Postcards so popular with REALTORs?
When used correctly, real estate postcards capture everything that’s discussed above:
- Build brand
- Ask for a direct response / immediate action
- Show professionalism
Certain real estate postcards also do something that adds tremendous value. Can you guess what types of real estate postcards these are?
Proof of production postcards!
These include postcards for just listed homes and real estate-focused just sold postcards as well as coming soon, open house postcards, and postcards once the listing goes under contract.
These not only get your logo and face in front of people, show that you’re a professional, and ask the recipient to take an action, but they also show that other people are using you. This is called social proof. This is the reason that just listed/just sold posts are so important on social media as well.
Like we discussed, as a real estate agent you’re competing with tons of other people; if you can stand out from the herd you WILL get the business.
One interesting thing that we’ve seen with our real estate group is when agents join, it isn’t the leads that we provide that turn into immediate business for them but rather it’s their own sphere. The same sphere they weren’t previously getting business from.
What the heck changed?
It’s normally pretty simple: our marketing manager helps them get set up with our Facebook post templates so that they look polished and professional and we mail out some postcards for them. All of a sudden that agent that was “someone’s friend with a real estate license” becomes a professional real estate agent in the eyes of their friends and family.
Can Postcards Really make that much of a Difference?
Let’s look back at our accountant example.
Let’s say that you have a cousin that’s an accountant that doesn’t have an office outside of her home.
Now let’s say that you have another cousin that works out of a fancy office with a staff and charges similar.
You’re likely to go with the one with the fancy office as you have a perception that they’re “more legitimate” even though Cousin 1 may be a much better accountant.
But what if you had been receiving postcards and letters from Cousin 1 every month without fail for the last 3 years about accounting topics?
That would most certainly turn the tables!
Now Cousin 1 is the real expert and Cousin 2 is just part of some big company; she probably doesn’t even really know what she’s talking about.
Just because Cousin 1 works from home doesn’t mean that she couldn’t have built a brand also. That would certainly tip the scales if there was a recognizable name from all of the mailings you’d received.
How do Postcards still work for Real Estate Agents if anyone can do it?
The answer to that is fairly simple: most simply can’t emotionally do it. So many people get into real estate to “get rich quick” that they can’t bring themselves to simply implementing the tried-and-true strategies like real estate postcard marketing. They need something that’s a silver bullet, that’s going to work right away and make them super rich.
Most real estate agents, even when they do add postcards into their strategy, they focus on sending as many postcards as they can afford immediately hoping to get a quick win instead of listening to the experts about consistency.
Consistency is above all the most important part of any real estate mailing campaign. You need to consistently mail to your sphere, and you need to consistently mail your farm. The formula consistency is simple, every month at a minimum.
I can assure you that direct mail companies don’t tell you to spend your money evenly over time vs. all upfront because they want to steal money from you. Rather, direct mail companies know what works and want you to be successful in your mailings so that you continue to mail over time. That’s what makes everyone the most money.
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I Want to Be Successful with Postcards, how do I do it?
The simplest thing is to make sure to mail monthly at a minimum and don’t expect huge returns from a single mailing. This is about building a solid foundation for which you can expect massive returns in the future, but it’s not about trying to mail as many postcards as possible to get a quick listing and a quick check.
The next thing is to keep most of your postcards as relevant to real estate as possible. Utilize the following as often as possible:
- Coming soon postcards
- Just listed postcards
- Just sold postcards
- Under contract postcards
- Open house postcards
- Market update postcards
- Automated seller valuation postcards
In addition, it’s helpful to sprinkle in some higher impact pieces such as real estate brochures. These are more expensive to mail but they make a big splash.
Again, just don’t spend your mailing budget on any one thing. Direct mail real estate campaigns are all about consistency.
With that being said, keep the look and feel consistent. Don’t try to push out new witty designs all of the time. Setup a template for your proof of production postcards campaigns (coming soon, just listed, just sold, under contract, open house) and stick with it. Same thing for your market update campaigns.
Holiday postcards and other cards can be fun to send and work great for your sphere. For your farm you want primarily very real estate specific mailings though.
Always make sure to have a very clear call to action, most frequently this is for someone to request a free home valuation.
When should I use Postcards vs. other Marketing Options?
Postcards should be used for your sphere of influence and for your farm. When it comes to farming, you want to farm for listings, not for buyers. Obtaining buyers is best done by utilizing a lead generating website such as those provided by BoomTown and RealGeeks. These types of websites are incredibly powerful when utilized in parallel with search engine marketing and Facebook ads.
The leads you obtain through search engine marketing are generally of a much high quality than those through Facebook ads. That doesn’t mean not to run the Facebook ads though; think of the Facebook ads as more of a brand building activity and the search engine marketing as direct response.
Make sure to utilize retargeting when it comes to Facebook. This is where you show ads to people on Facebook that have recently visited your website or interacted with your Facebook page.
Market Yourself as a Real Estate Agent with Direct Mail Postcards
There are several ways to market yourself as a real estate agent, and when it comes to listings, real estate marketing postcards are extremely effective. If you haven’t done so yet, check out all of our awesome postcard templates by signing up for an account today!