If you’ve been practicing real estate for any length of time, you’ve encountered postcard marketing in some form or fashion.
Real estate agents use postcard marketing (also known as direct mail marketing) for a number of reasons. Among other things, postcards are cost-effective, versatile and targeted.
But the purpose of this article is not to tell you why you should use postcards to market your services. The purpose of this article is to address the “how” of postcard marketing.
To be exact, this article will show you how to use postcards to outperform the competition and increase your ROI. Now that I’ve made a huge promise to you, let me deliver the goods:
Step 1 — Identify Your Audience
When creating your postcard message, start by identifying your audience. This is a critical step because the rest of the process depends on it. To identify your core audience, you simply have to ask yourself a series of questions.
Here’s an example of how your Q&A might go:
1. What area do I want to represent? Happy Town, Vermont.
2. Am I focusing on buyers or sellers? Buyers.
3. Any particular type of buyer? First-time buyers.
4. Where might I find them? Apartments. Perhaps living with relatives in the area.
5. What’s important to them? Learning about the home-buying process.
6. What else is important to them? Finding an agent they’re comfortable with.
Step 2 — Create Your Audience Statement
When your list is complete, you should be able to combine the answers into a paragraph. This paragraph is your audience statement, and it will help you set your postcard marketing objectives (Step 3).
Here’s what the audience statement might look like from the example above:
“I want to reach people looking to buy their first home in Happy Town, Vermont. Being first-time buyers, they probably live in nearby apartments or with relatives (so I should send my postcards to homes and apartments in my farm area). These people will want to learn about the home-buying process in order to feel more comfortable with it.”
You’re probably starting to see the value of an audience statement. In fact, you might even have ideas popping up on how to connect with such an audience. And that leads us to our next step…
Step 3 — Determine Your Objective
Now that you know your audience, you can set the objective for your postcard marketing campaign. Ask yourself, “What do I want to happen as a result of sending my postcards?”
Here’s the key to this step. Don’t ask your postcards to do more than they’re capable of doing. For example, don’t use postcards to try and convince recipients that you offer superior service. That’s a common mistake, and it’s too much to ask of an 8″x5″ piece of card stock.
“Superior service” cannot be conveyed through a postcard. It can only be conveyed through a working relationship.
So let’s scale back the objective until we find something that (A) gives the postcard a more realistic task, (B) follows a more natural sales progression, and (C) capitalizes on known consumer behavior.
Let’s use our postcards to generate a response from recipients.
Now that’s something a postcard can handle — especially if you create a compelling message with a strong offer. And since we know from statistics that most consumers end up choosing the first real estate agent they contact, we’re capitalizing on known consumer behavior.
Following our first-time buyers example, maybe we will promote a free home-buying seminar to generate interest and response. After all, anyone can benefit from a home-buying seminar — but especially those who’ve never bought a house before.
Step 4 — Conduct Your Mailing
This step will vary depending on your audience and your objective. But you’ve done the most important parts already. You’ve determined your audience. You’ve identified what it is you want your audience to do. And you even have some ideas on how to motivate them in that direction.
Continuing our first-time buyers example, this step might involve sending a postcard that promotes a free home-buying seminar.
Step 5 — Evaluate Your Response Rates
Make sure you have some way to track the responses you get back from each mailing. This will allow you to compare one postcard message to another to see which one performs better.
In the first-time buyer example, this could be as simple as tracking the number of RSVPs, or asking people in the seminar how they heard about it. Record the number of people who attend the seminar as a direct result of the postcard, and you’ve measured your response rate.
Armed with this information, you can experiment with other versions of the postcard to see which one performs or “pulls” the best.
There you have it — a structured and logical approach to postcard marketing. Identify your audience. Create your audience statement. Determine your objective. Conduct your mailing. Evaluate the response. Five easy steps!
And here’s a step that will follow automatically — succeed.
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