Direct mail marketing is a marketing tactic used in real estate to engage past, current or potential clients through a physical piece of mail. This is often in the form of a postcard or letter but can be a flyer, a small gift or a pamphlet.
With a large shift to online and digital marketing, agents and brokers have often dropped their print marketing campaigns. But it can still be worthwhile to still utilize real estate flyers and postcards in your marketing efforts.
In this comprehensive guide, we outline everything related to direct mail marketing for commercial real estate professionals, including how to create your own strategy using property intelligence from a platform like Reonomy.
Direct Mail’s Major Comeback
Over the years, email marketing has been the real estate industry’s go-to source due to its ease of use, cost efficiencies, and ability to have variable messaging in an inexpensive format. But the fact is, it doesn’t convert the way other channels do—especially direct mail.
Now, print marketing is making a comeback. Considering the amount of email, digital and social advertisements people connect with on a daily basis, many real estate professionals are using real estate mailers to cut through the noise and promote their services.
Why Direct Mail Matters:
Why should you consider implementing real estate mailers into your marketing strategy? Below are a few benefits to consider direct mail marketing…
Compared to other marketing tactics, direct mail marketing is an affordable option. The DMA (Data & Marketing Association) reports that the cost-per-lead of direct mail is about the same as print and pay-per-click.
Not to mention, the return-on-investment is immense; For every $167 spent on direct mail in the US, marketers sell $2095 in goods (a 1,255% return).
The emergence of technology and direct mail platforms have made direct mail marketing easier than ever. And it’s scalable, so as your business grows and your needs expand, you can easily transform your direct mail marketing efforts to grow with you.
It Helps You Stand Out:
Simply put, real estate mailers help you cut directly through the noise and ensure your target audience connects with your brand. Rather than getting lost amongst the slew of other digital ads and brand emails, direct mailers are delivered straight to your lead.
Plus, once the audience opens a piece of direct mail, studies show they are far more likely to take the time to look over the offer than they would in comparison with email marketing.
Optimizing Your Direct Mail Marketing Strategy:
To optimize your mailing campaign for success, it’s important to be clear on what you are exactly trying to achieve. Are you looking for leads for your next deal? Inquiries about a particular building? Sales? Past client engagement? Are you targeting clients who would be interested in a specific building, or broadly interested in working with you? What kind of business are you looking for?
If you are thinking of starting a direct mail campaign, you likely already have these goals in mind. It’s important each campaign has end goals in place to help determine how to best execute that strategy and connect with the right segment.
How Property Intelligence Helps
Once you’ve determined your end goals, you need to build a list of contacts you want to engage with their corresponding mailing addresses. Using a property intelligence platform like Reonomy can help set the foundation for your direct mail marketing strategy.
Reonomy provides actionable insights on almost every commercial property in the United States, including detailed and accurate contact information that otherwise could take hours of effort to find. From sourcing leads to building lists for outreach, Reonomy streamlines your direct mail marketing strategy tenfold, replacing the hours spent searching for mailing addresses with a few quick clicks of a button.
Finding Leads with Reonomy
Reonomy makes it easy to find viable leads of any kind with the click of a button. Using hundreds of filters, including geographic, physical and ownership filters, you can narrow your search to pinpoint the exact leads you want.
Let’s run through a few examples…
If you are a sales broker, finding prospects looking to sell is an ongoing battle.
With Reonomy, however, there are several prospecting searches to find motivated sellers quickly. These filters should be applied in combination with the property type and geographic searches as described above.
One of those is searching for properties that have not sold in the last ten years. The reason? The average holding period of a commercial property is ten years and if a property hasn’t sold in this period, then it is more likely to sell than one that has. Ten years is just one range—you may feel that this period should be longer or shorter and can change accordingly.
On the other hand, if you have a range of properties that you are looking to find buyers for, you will run slightly different searches.
There are several ways that this can be achieved in the Reonomy platform. The first of these is to search for recent sellers. The idea here is that recent sellers have cash on hand and the potential to invest their cash elsewhere.
Another way to find buyer leads is to search for recent buyers. Here, Reonomy users are looking at investors making purchases with the potential to make further acquisitions. For example, if you are targeting a potential client for a particular building you have for sale, you can use Reonomy to find comps of similar buildings.
You can also upload a list of contacts to Reonomy, run a search, and export a new list with more details on their ownership portfolio or contact information.
Without Reonomy, you can utilize a list vendor with simple geographic pulls or target slightly more utilizing demographics that will match your customer base.
To customize this, you may consider asking someone to build a prospecting model which will allow you to focus a bit more on prospects with a higher probability of interest. Based on these variables, lists can cost around $1.00/name. It depends on the level of detail involved in the selection but can end up taking more money and time than it is worth.
Finding Contact Information with Reonomy
The real treasure Reonomy offers is access to ownership contact information for specific properties, as this information is what enables you to send mailers off to decision makers.
To find ownership information in the Reonomy platform, you can uncover mailing addresses, as well as phone numbers, email addresses and portfolio information.
To find ownership information, visit the Ownership tab on any individual property page. When you click into the Ownership tab you’ll see the reported owner of the property.
From there, you can click on the button labeled “Get Contact Information” which will pull up associated phone numbers, email addresses, and most importantly, mailing addresses.
Building Lead Lists with Reonomy
The last step in your prospecting process before sending out your real estate mailers is to build a leads list. With the intelligence you mine, it’s easy to take the prospects you sourced earlier and export a mailing list with their respective contact information.
Once you’ve found the property owners you want to target, you can either export a list of all your search results or only the select ones you’ve labeled. Labeling features let you save certain properties to include in your report.
To label a property, click the link that reads “Add Label +”. This will allow you to create a custom label. You can also label multiple properties at one time by selecting the “More” drop-down choice in your list of results, then choosing “Label”.
From here, you can quickly export this list of leads by choosing the My Properties tab in the Reonomy platform, then selecting the properties you want to export into a CSV file. This list will be the foundation of your mailer strategy and guide you through sending out your print collateral.
Overall, Reonomy property intelligence serves as the backbone of your direct mail marketing strategy. Using the platform to find properties, research opportunities and uncover accurate owner contact information, you have everything you need to send mailers and start winning new business.
Creating Your Direct Mail Collateral
Now that you have your list of leads to send real estate mailers to, it’s time to actually create your mailer. Some questions to ask: if you have a specific set of clients to target, do you reach out directly and aggressively, spending your budget on those, or do you decide to diversify and spend less money per person to target a larger base of people? Also, how do you decide what kind of collateral to send, and where can you make these?
Read on to learn how you can properly allocate how much your direct mail marketing efforts will cost, what mailers to make, and where to make them.
In determining budget, consider how much a direct mail or print campaign costs and how much you are willing to spend to engage with potential clients. Cost of a campaign is not always straightforward. It depends on the choice of printed material, printing costs, and the postage.
Postage can be the largest expense in a direct mail campaign. By keeping postage regulations and specifications in mind while you are designing and planning your direct mail parcel, you can likely save a considerable amount of money in postage fees.
Consider the speed of your mailing. If you allow ample time for mailing your campaign, you can use bulk-rate (also called standard class) postage, which is cheaper but slower to arrive to your recipients. Standard class is another way to save money on postage if your mailing is not time sensitive since the range in delivery time can be extreme.
What package and size of the package you choose will most likely be determined by your overall budget.
Postage can be less expensive for a postcard, where full letter packages cost more. Postage costs can start as low as .28/piece and run up to over $1.00-2.00. At the end of the day, it’s not the cost of the mailing but the return or ROI you may get.
Type of Print Campaign
The type of mail piece you select should fit your offer, but more importantly, engage your target audience. Real estate mailers can be extremely directed – and by using basic consistent messaging or design, you can easily adapt to different client segments and deals.
Here are a few types of mailers to consider:
- Dimensional Mail / Package
Type of print campaigns can also impact your open and response rates. Research from Hubspot shows oversized envelopes have the highest response rate (5%), followed by postcards (4.25%), dimensional mail, or anything more than 0.75 inches thick (4%) and catalogs (3.9%). Keep these numbers in mind to ensure engagement.
Try to figure out what type of design would appeal to the people you’re targeting. Keep a consistent brand identity, but design to the standard of the potential client. Will you design it or use a template, or will you hire someone else to design?
With the endless amount of templates and graphics available online, almost anyone can create an effective flyer for their real estate business, regardless of their design experience. And there are plenty of design platforms and tools to choose from – it depends on what works best for you and your goals price, time and skill wise.
Design Tools to Consider:
If you’re looking for a design site that’s free (for the most part) and simple to use, then Canva is a great resource for you. Canva leverages drag-and-drop features combined with pre-designed templates to enable simpler design. Users can choose from a free account, or unlock premium design graphic, templates and fonts with affordable subscription plans. Then, users can download their designs to print at home or at a printer.
If you’re looking for something even simpler, consider creating your flyer through FlyerCo, a website that’s dedicated to real estate marketing via flyers. This site has simple design templates that get right to the point and charges a small monthly fee.
MailJoy’s mission is “bringing delightfully simple direct mail to the world.” This site actually doubles as a design tool and a postage tool, and easily lets users create, ship and track their direct mail marketing efforts.
While they offer a subscription model, MailJoy also offers pay-as-you-go pricing based on mailer size. These prices still include design tools, templates, shipping costs and tracking features.
While best known for their business cards, Vistaprint offers an expansive variety of flyers, brochure, postcards, letters and other mailers that you can design and ship to your door. Not only do they offer paper products, Vistaprint offers a selection of promotion items to brand as well, ranging from magnets to mousepads.
Like Canva, Easil is another DIY design tool that leverages drag-and-drop tools to create marketing mailers. From brochures to letterhead, Easil has thousands of professional designed templates to choose from when designing your direct mail marketing piece. Easil also offers three plans: Basic, which is free, Plus for $7.50/month, or Edge for $59/month.
If designing yourself without a platform, don’t forget to leave room for the address label, and check with your mail house to see what size labels they use to leave space open in your design. If you would rather have a more advanced or personalized design, it might make sense to hire someone (marketer or virtual assistant) to create for you.
Just as an eye-catching design is important to the success of a print campaign, it is important that the messaging you use motivates action in potential clients, and inspire them to engage with the material.
The type of mailer you use will say a lot about what kind of message you are trying to send. If you are targeting a high-profile client for an expensive deal – perhaps a mailer isn’t the way to go, and it would benefit you much more if you made direct contact. In real estate, it is important to create personal connections.
Personalization is one of the most powerful tools in direct-mail marketing and can elevate your strategy significantly. Don’t believe us? Here are a few stats on the power of personalization in direct mail marketing…
- Adding a person’s name and other personalized database information (along with using full color) can increase the response rate of direct mail by up to 500%.
- Using personalized direct mail as part of a wider digital strategy can increase response rates over 20%.
- Targeting customers on a 1:1 level increases response rates up to 50% or more.
Great use of personalization is a letter that includes the recipient’s first name in the greeting. Personalization can be in the form of text and even images. The variety of personalization depends upon the amount of relevant data you have. The more data you have on your recipient’s preferences, the more you can customize each direct mail piece and connect on a more emotional level.
Call to Action
A call to action, or CTA, is a line of text that prompts your reader to take an action. It’s crucial to include a call to action in your direct mail piece to guide your readers to the next part of your sales process.
Make your call to action short, easy to understand and one of the most prominent pieces of text on your direct mail piece. There should also be a level of urgency to respond. Deadlines, limited time, limited quantities or gifts help facilitate response – like visit your website or order a guide or access a relevant white paper on real estate trends in your area.
Sending Direct Mail
Once you’ve created your real estate mailers, it’s time to send them. Using the leads list and contact information you sourced earlier, you can mail them out to your recipients and take the next step in your direct mail marketing strategy.
Traditional Delivery Tools
Standard postage options are a good place to start. USPS, UPS and FedEx all offer competitive, but affordable rates to sending out your direct mailers.
The United States Postal Service, or USPS, offers affordable options for direct mail marketing. The USPS uses a tactic called Every Door Direct Mail to send out mail options and actually map out your recipients by demographics, like age, location and income. They also come with two options- one is DIY and lets you ship mailers you’ve already created, and another comes with online printing and design help. Visit their website to learn more.
UPS also leverages the EDDM strategies offered through USPS. Learn more here.
Similarly, FedEx also has direct mail marketing services that enable you to meet ship mailers to your list of leads. They also offer design services you can leverage to help plan, print and assemble your campaign before delivery. Learn more here.
Digital Delivery Tools:
While these traditional options offer a strong baseline, the advent of new technology has also digitized the delivery of real estate mailers. There’s a variety of applications on the market dedicated solely to streamlining the direct mail delivery process and easily allow you to track your results and make enhancements.
Additionally, it is important to target people through multiple channels. Even if you plan on sending your flyer via mail, it wouldn’t hurt to share it through your social media as well. People on your direct mail list might be primed to consider your company, but it’s unlikely just one initiative will create customer response. Consider using multiple initiatives and channels to target potential customers or clients. Different consumers respond to different channels and it’s always better to communicate your message and promotion through as many channels as possible.
Below are a few options to consider in your multi-channel delivery method…
Postalytics is a leading direct mail automation tool that streamlines the delivery process.
After you’ve created your mailer, you can integrate mailing lists with your platform for easy delivery. Then, Postalytics delivers results in modern dashboards and metrics, so you can see exactly where your mailers are, if they’ve been delivered or if they’ve been re-routed.
Postalytics also combines other marketing efforts, like marketing automation and email marketing, so you can double-down on your promotional strategy and send emails in conjunction with your mailers.
Like Postlytics, Inkit is a dedicated direct mail automation platform. Rather than stressing about fulfillment, users can build mailers directly in the application, integrate a leads list and ship anywhere around the world. Inkit also offers A/B split testing tools, so if you’re unsure on how your audiences will react to messaging, you can strategically test it beforehand. Visit their website to learn more about their robust platform tools.
Finally, Boinget is an integrated direct mail and digital marketing tool that harnesses the power of innovation and automation for better results. From a single list of leads, users can drive multi-channel marketing campaigns across email, mobile and direct mail.
Users can add personalized URLs to their mailers that generate customized landing pages once recipients put it in their web browser. Then, users can follow up via email marketing campaigns to ensure they engage.
Of one thing’s for certain, it’s that your direct mail marketing have the potential to be extremely successful and drive new business. With the help of property intelligence, design tools and different delivery methods, consider adding direct mail to your marketing strategy.