By: This is a guest post from Mark Swindell – Senior Account Manager XpressDocs
So you’ve decided that direct mail should be a part of your real-estate marketing campaign, but is a simple postcard design really the best use of your marketing dollars? The answer is a resounding YES. First, consider the process by which direct mail enters your prospects’ homes:
- The U.S. Postal Service reports that in 2015, households received an average of 12 advertising pieces each week — less than half the number they received in 2008. That means less competition for your readers’ attention as they sort the mail.
- According to the USPS® 2016 Mail Moment Survey, most consumers bring in and sort the mail at their first opportunity — usually on the same day they receive it.
- Now, here’s the magic moment. Your postcard has only a few seconds when it will be looked at — just long enough for your readers to determine what it is and whether they’re interested in it. As of this moment, the communications medium of the postcard has done its job, and now its success is determined by the content on that card.
Consider the structure applied to your content simply by the physical size of the card. While you can plan for different sizes of cards, there is still a finite amount of content that can be easily seen and comprehended in that first few seconds. Your content should include:
- Clean, easily recognizable photos: A recent National Association of Realtors study found that 87 percent of all buyers found photos of properties very useful. Further, it’s an accepted conclusion from usability studies that readers’ eyes are drawn first to visual elements like photos. Let the front of your card be dominated by one photo, have one or two on the back in support of your text, and consider adding your headshot to your closing to add a personal, relationship-building touch.
- A clear, attention-grabbing headline: People have many conflicting demands on their attention, so if your headline doesn’t engage them, you’ve reduced the chances that they’ll notice the rest of your message.
- Your explanatory text: Use the limited space available to tell your readers how you can help them solve a problem, but be succinct; your goal is five sentences or less.
- Your call to action: What do you want them to do? Visit your website? Call for more information? Like your company page on Facebook? You’ve told them you want to help them; now tell them how they can help you help them.
- Your contact information: To the traditional list, don’t forget to add your website and all your social media links.
Now that you’ve seen why simple is better, should you still plan to introduce some complexity into your direct mail campaign? Again, the answer is yes — just not on the postcard itself. The details that make or break a campaign come into play around your mailing lists and the frequency of your mailings.
One old tenet of effective communications is “audience first.” Know who you’re communicating with, and everything else flows from there. The subgroups of your audience may include previous clients, referrals, residents of neighborhoods or school districts you specialize in, professional contacts and more. You may have a different goal for each subgroup, so you may need different messages using different visual elements. Are you trying to get referrals? Highlight current listings or sales? Build your own mailing list? Get to know all the parts of your audience well, and don’t be afraid to personalize your message to each subgroup.
Because of the fleeting nature of most postcards and the time it takes to develop a relationship in your prospects’ minds, you can’t assume that sending one postcard is going to achieve all your goals. The National Association of Realtors finds effective postcard frequency to be nine to 12 times annually to your highest-priority market, and four to 12 times annually to other markets. While you want to be consistent in your branding across the campaign, the benefit of the postcard is that you are most successful when you tell a series of stories over time. That’s what helps build familiarity and trust with your prospects.
Keep It Simple!
If you’re concerned about achieving the right mix of simplicity and complexity in your direct mail campaign, look into hiring a professional like Xpressdocs. They’ll help you promote an upcoming event or product, send a seasonal greeting, or boost your overall direct marketing strategy to the next level with a personalized postcard. You can use one of their templates or upload your own design, and you can order as few as 25 pieces. Further, Xpressdocs has received the Mail Solutions Award from the United States Postal Service, so you’re working with experts who understand the ins and outs of direct mail marketing.