A growing number of commercial real estate professionals are adopting best-in-class real estate farming techniques to grow their business. The term “real estate farming” is relatively new, but the concept is as old as time. Real estate farming is the process of “farming” a specific geographic area to generate commercial real estate leads. Lead generation is the basis of all agent’s success.
One way to successfully “farm” an area is by creating commercial real estate postcards. In this article, we look at real estate postcards in more detail – what they are, who uses them, and the types of information to include for postcards to generate the greatest return on your investment.
Real Estate Marketing Postcards
Commercial real estate marketing has evolved dramatically in recent years. Back in the day, posting a sign on a building was all you really needed to lease or sell a commercial property. Today, CRE marketing is much more sophisticated and relies more heavily on omni-channel marketing.
Within the realm of omni-channel marketing, commercial real estate postcards are among the top forms of direct marketing that delivers.
Real estate postcards are a great way to let qualified prospects know about commercial properties of interest. Data and demographic information are more readily available than ever, making it easier than ever to be strategic with these mailers. Whether you’re buying, selling, looking to lease, or simply looking to advertise your business, you can use postcards to farm your market based on the recipient’s geography, income, age or buying history.
Let’s look at the different types of postcards and what should be included to make sure you generate high value real estate leads for you and/or your company.
Real Estate Agent Postcards
Real estate agents use postcards for a number of strategic marketing efforts. Some use real estate postcards to introduce themselves to the market. For instance, a company might send out a commercial real estate postcard in which they’re welcoming three newly-hired agents to the marketplace.
One effective way to create an introductory postcard is by scheduling an open house at your company’s office or a neighborhood bar or restaurant. Use postcards to advertise a cocktail hour where prospective clients, buyers or investors can come meet the newest agents on your team.
Real estate agents can also use postcards for other, more specific reasons. Examples include:
- Properties for sale: CRE professionals often use postcards to advertise specific properties for sale. For instance, if you have a 10-unit apartment building that’s new to market, you might use real estate postcards to strategically advertise the property to generate new real estate leads. For this strategy to be successful, you’ll want to narrowly target your audience. The average person isn’t in the market for a multifamily investment property. Instead, use data to identify others who have invested in similar properties in your target market in order to generate the most qualified leads.
- Free property valuations: CRE agents can use real estate postcards to drum up new business by offering free property valuations. Many investors have owned their properties for some time, and often don’t realize what their property is worth. Start to cultivate a relationship with these prospects by offering a free property valuation. It’s a no-obligation offer that may nudge someone into selling, and if they do, you’ll be top of mind for listing the property.
- Market information: Real estate brokers and agents can also use postcards to showcase their local market knowledge. For instance, you could create a postcard that shows average rental rates or sales, current interest rates, cap rates and so forth. This not only positions you at the top of your field, but as the expert in the market you’re looking to farm for new real estate leads.
For agents or brokers interested in using real estate postcards, you’ll want to be sure to include some very basic information. At a minimum, the postcard should include your name, company, and contact information. We recommend including a picture of yourself and your company logo, as well.
If you’re introducing yourself to the market, you’ll want to note how long you’ve been in the industry and your specific market focus (e.g., multifamily sales, commercial leasing, retail brokerage, hotel sales, etc.). If you’re laser focused on a specific submarket, be sure to note that, as well.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of using high-quality images to capture the prospect’s attention. If your postcard highlights properties for sale or recently sold, be sure to include stunning, high-resolution images of those properties. If you’re trying to advertise your local market knowledge, consider hiring a designer to create a compelling infographic to showcase the information in an easy to digest manner.
Real Estate Investor Postcards
Some people wrongly assume that real estate postcards are only used by brokers looking to generate new leads. Real estate investors can also be successful with postcard marketing.
These postcards generally tend to be blunt. They include headlines like “We Want to Buy Your House!” Or “Cold Hard Cash!”
Sometimes this strategy works. More often than not, it doesn’t – at least not in today’s market climate. We’re at a point in the real estate market cycle where sellers have the upper hand. Most don’t need to close quickly, and if they do, there are usually plenty of eager buyers out there. The blunt, “buy for cash” strategy is usually more effective when targeting distressed properties or during a market downturn.
Nowadays, real estate investors may want to consider a softer approach with their postcards. For instance, you may want to pitch partnering on a commercial real estate deal. Suggest investing in the property through a joint venture. Offer equity in a deal. Offer to help redevelop the property for a fee. Show your creativity to gain a foothold in the market and generate new leads.
Alternatively, you can use real estate postcards to try and identify other real estate investors to buy into YOUR deals. For instance, you can use a postcard to highlight a new opportunity and solicit investors to place equity or debt in the deal.
Real estate investor postcards are less image-reliant than other postcard types. Instead, focus on your value proposition and include information about the types of deals you’re interested in.
Real Estate Postcards for Sellers
Investors can also use real estate postcards to sell property. This is an alternative to hiring a broker, who would oversee marketing on your behalf. But if you’re a licensed broker and want to sell your own property, or if you want to avoid using a broker altogether, real estate postcards are a great way to drum up some interest.
A successful sales postcard will use strictly property-related language. Your prospects won’t necessarily care about who you are as a seller – they want to know the details of the property. Include the following:
- Property address
- Listing price
- Current rents and vacancy rates
- Cap rates
- Cash-on-cash return
- Value-add opportunities
- Any special financing opportunities
This information should be complemented by tasteful, high-quality images that highlight the property’s best features.
“Just Sold” Real Estate Postcards
One way CRE brokers and agents generate new leads is by advertising their success in a specific market. They often blast the market with postcards showing four or five properties they’ve listed and sold.
These postcards should also be narrowly focused on the properties just sold, and should include:
- Images of the property
- How many days the property was on market before selling
- List price vs. sales price
Now, you’ll want these stats to work in your favor. If a property sat on the market for months before selling, you may not want to include this information in your real estate postcard. Similarly, if the property had multiple price drops before selling, you might only want to feature the final sales price—just defer information about the original list price. This isn’t deceptive; it’s simply stating the final sales price, which also matters to prospects.
All of this is useful for investors who may be on the fence about selling. These postcards are a nod to the broker’s expertise and ability to close the deal.
But no “Just Sold” real estate postcard would be complete without including some sort of call to action. Be sure to make a final pitch to your audience about what else could be sold – i.e., “I just sold these properties, and I could do the same for you!”
Real Estate Marketing Postcard Templates
If designing a real estate postcard seems daunting, have no fear! A number of companies have cropped up over the years that make it easier than ever to create beautiful, engaging real estate postcards.
Several companies even provide intuitive templates to help you with the design process.
- Postcards.com offers postcards of all kinds, including commercial real estate postcards. The company has three simple real estate postcards to choose from. Each template is simple and uncluttered, and offers a great starting point for those designing their first real estate postcard.
- My Creative Shop offers some of the sleekest postcard templates we’ve seen. These postcards are a bit more expensive, depending on the final design you choose, but as with all things in life – you get what you pay for! There are dozens of design options, and each template can be customized to include images of the property you’re looking to buy, sell or lease. These postcards also come in different sizes. Instead of a standard-sized postcard, you can create custom-sized postcards that will stand out in a stack of mail.
- Post Card Mania also offers dozens of real estate postcard templates. These designs tend to focus on the residential real estate market, but they do have a handful of commercial templates as well. Otherwise, the templates can be used for inspiration or customized for commercial real estate professionals.
- Open Letter Marketing specializes in commercial real estate postcards, with templates starting at just $0.365 per postcard. We find these templates to be useful for text-heavy postcards, which may be most beneficial for investors and sellers using postcards.
Informing Your Real Estate Postcards
While the size and your design are crucial, your real estate postcard marketing efforts will only be as useful as the data used to inform them. Leveraging granular, accurate data is a great way to position yourself as a market expert.
Reonomy’s robust database includes the in-depth property, people, and company data necessary to make incredibly targeted, yet impressive marketing postcard messages.
From building-level data, to sales and debt history, to ownership information and on, Reonomy’s web platform can be used to search hyper-specific locations and build in-depth property owner lead lists.
In your lead list, you can access property owner contact information, including mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. To do so, simply enter a property profile page, visit the ownership tab, and click “Get Contact Information.”
From there, you’ll be able to take the information you’ve compiled on a market and send your commercial real estate postcards directly to property owners.
Standing Out In a Crowded Field
The commercial real estate industry is a crowded field. In order to consistently stand out, it’s important to drive all of your marketing efforts with in-depth data on your target market.
Real estate postcards are perhaps the best place to quickly showcase your knowledge and expertise of commercial real estate, which will ultimately help you rise above your competitors, while driving a heavy inflow of valuable real estate leads.