In a previous post we spoke about the continued viability of postcards as a real estate marketing tool. Despite their analog feel in this high-tech world, they are still extremely effective for getting the attention of target audiences – as much as 51% of recipients are likely to read a postcard according to the Direct Marketing Association.Direct mail of any kind can be expensive. Postcards are no exception. Unlike email marketing campaigns, postcards require the help of a professional graphic artist, printing and of course postage. The latter can add up quickly at about $340 for every 1000 pieces sent. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a bad cost per lead for what could be several dozen inquiries. Remember, the secret to any marketing effort is frequency. Chances are you're going to likely want to do reqular drops of your postcard to ensure that your message is out there and you’re creating a continual flow of inbound inquiries. So, in order to use postcards effectively, it's important to have plan.
Having a plan for your real estate postcard marketing campaign will accomplish several things. Most importantly, however, it will define what you want to achieve over what time period and where you want to market your services. These are critical things to know because they will shape how you address each of the other tactics that go into your campaign.
Start with great design
There's a long standing debate over form versus function in direct mail. The idea that a great design can't co-exist with a great message is shortsighted. By giving adequate consideration to both, you can develop a piece that grabs a reader's attention, is easily scannable and does what you intended the piece to do. The key is to go back and review what you wanted to accomplish with this postcard. If it's to highlight the class A amenities of a newly remodeled building, then heavy-up the graphics and keep words to a minimum. Alternatively, you may want to have more copy points if you're trying to detail the particulars of a new investment opportunity.
Target your market carefully
For ages, direct marketers have lived by the 40/40/20 rule. That is, 40% of the success of your campaign comes down to your mailing list, another 40% relies on your offer, and then 20% relies on every other factor, which would include design and copy. This article offers up six points as to why data is more important than even design. Having a clean mailing list isn't the same as targeting, however. Targeting is where you really make that list work effectively against what you're trying to achieve. Targeting identifies the prospects in your list that would most likely be interested in whatever it is you’re marketing. Now instead of sending postcards to a thousand recipients, you're only sending to five hundred. The savings you've derived will help with your frequency equation, keeping your message out there longer.
Build consistency through flighting
Flighting is the process in which you stage your postcards, so they are sent out in a coordinated, staggered manner. Sometimes businesses think that by flooding the market all at once, they'll create a surge of inbound leads. A better and more measurable way of launching a postcard campaign is to flight the mailing over a period of time. Drop a few then review. This will provide opportunity to really understand your inbound traffic, ensure follow-up and also make minor adjustments as needed along the way.
Track, track, track
Tracking performance of your campaign is essential, so make sure you have a well defined process in place up-front to handle that. This can be as simple as having your phone attendants ask how the caller heard of the offering and then noting which postcard it came from. Alternatively, separate email addresses or phone numbers can be used to track the performance of a specific real estate postcard. Regardless of how you do it, just do it and make sure that the intelligence you gather finds its way back into your customer contact management system.