How can you craft an effective print marketing strategy in today’s highly connected world?
With a motley mix of attention spans, and a diverse demographic, how do you make your real estate business stand out?
What do we mean by “effective” print marketing?
First, let’s qualify “effective” as it relates to your real estate print marketing strategy:
- It costs less than it delivers, in the literal sense, so you get a good return on investment (ROI).
- It’s simple to implement, so it doesn’t “cost” you a lot of time.
- It’s easy to measure, so you know how many leads it has generated without guessing.
- It has a call to action so that it can convert leads to business.
In short, “effective” print marketing successfully produces the desired results. It translates to a low-cost, high-return, easy-to-measure method of generating leads.
Is print marketing still relevant and does it work? Has print media lost its relevance?
Yes, it’s still relevant, and it does work, and no, it certainly has not lost its relevance. However, for an effective print strategy, you do have to pick your winners, so the pertinent question is, what are the winners?
Print Marketing Media Winners
The most common print advertising takes place through newspapers and magazine advertisements, brochures, postcards, direct mail, EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail, introduced by the USPS a few years ago), flyers, newsletters, and customizable print media… And don’t forget the good old 3.5”X2” business card!
This table gives you an idea of some of the print media options available and qualifies these options.
Let’s break this down a little bit more and give you some hard facts.
The devil is in the details. You must look at each method in its entirety, and then determine which type of print marketing suits you best. What works for Jim may not work for Ann, and what might seem to be a poor ROI to Jane might be good for John.
Print Marketing Builds Your Brand
Advertising is all about building a visible brand, and print media helps give your name that much needed visibility. However, brand building takes time and sheer persistence. Real estate sales are all about the opportunity and the need of a potential customer to buy or sell.
About 6% of the existing homes are sold in the US each year and an average town in the United States ultimately “turns over” and sells out in about 12-15 years. This statistic is not completely comprehensive, but it provides a good guideline for averages. Thus for a real estate agent, there is tremendous opportunity to create a brand in an ever-evolving demographic.
Additionally, the typical buying or selling cycle in real estate lasts anywhere from a few months to upwards of a year, so a well thought-out print marketing plan needs to focus on localized and sustained personalized campaigns that keep you front-of-mind for prospects over time.
As tempting as it can be to turn to social media and digital advertising, print marketing is more personalized and localized because – unlike digital marketing – it puts the power of placement in your hands, rather than relying on algorithms or prospect “opt-in” or engagement behaviors. As such, when you choose your print marketing winners, you build your brand for the long haul.
Print Marketing Winners Up Close
Let’s take a closer look at the print marketing methods that we’ve listed in the chart above. We’ll focus only on those that have a reasonable cost structure, reasonable return on investment, and are viable options for small to medium real estate franchises.
Believe it or not, for a small business, one of the most efficient and low-cost ways to get your name out there is still the traditional business card.
Let’s look at the business card from the perspective of Joe the Locksmith:
Every time Joe visits a customer, he walks down the street and slips a business card under every neighbor’s door. Joe used to be an engineer, a darned qualified guy, who lost his engineering job during the recession of 2008. Locksmiths were flourishing during the downturn, so Joe decided to put his engineering skills to good use by becoming a locksmith himself.
Between 2009 and 2016, Joe found that on a good day he would visit up to 5-6 customers. Using his “every neighbor” method, he distributed about 100 business cards on any given day. On the back of every business card Joe Wrote, “Was at your neighbors and they loved my work!”
Using business card marketing, Joe generated 7-10 leads per month and over 100 leads per year. He managed to convert about half of these leads into clients.
Did Joe’s cards turn to leads all by themselves? No, they brought him the leads. Joe then used his great sense of humor, and superior selling skills to win over those leads.
Do you have a winning personality, and excellent sales skills too? If so, walk or drive around your area distributing your business cards.
Don’t expect immediate results, and keep in mind that simple marketing methods do create brand visibility at low cost. Brand visibility, in turn, builds brand credibility, which improves the viability of your overall marketing strategy.
Postcards for the Real Estate Agents on a Small Budget
Another low-cost print marketing method is postcard marketing. This method works well if you have the time and inclination to do the following consistently:
- Organize your list of recipients. If you do not have a list, then focus on one or more carrier routes that are close to your residence.
- Develop powerful messages.
- Send about 50 to 100 postcards every week, based on your budget and area of influence. Postcard marketing is an efficient and powerful tool, but you just must know how to use it.
SureFactor.com provides a sophisticated postcard marketing program as part of its “Partner for Success” program. You select one of our quick cards™ templates and customize it. We print and ship to you. A campaign of 50 postcards a week (about 1 hour of effort to print labels, stamp and deliver to the post office), costs about $37.50 a week, mailing included. That’s give or take about $1500 a year. The cost per postcard sent substantially decreases as their number increases.
In other words, for optimal results, think big, start small and be consistent.
Sending postcards regularly to people you know or have dealt with keeps you in front of them. It’s a low-cost method, and with the right message and right timing you’re bound to generate leads and create visibility.
Several websites use templates for real estate agents to make postcard design and ordering easy and affordable. Surefactor.com is one of those websites you should try if you haven’t already.
Sending direct mail is a science more than an art, and it’s not suitable for everyone. The cost is higher than sending out a few postcards, but you can get your name out to a more targeted audience. You can customize a targeted demographic based on income level, dwelling type, locale (down to street level) and about 50 more options. Several companies will sell you curated and accurate lists based on the demographic you select. Some of these are Melissa data, USA Data, Experian, and Equifax. The best option for you, however, is to go with SureFactor.com’s direct mail program. We offer you substantial benefits and extremely affordable list costs. We pass on significant cost savings to you based on the volume discounts we get when working with large list providers.
For best results, direct marketing should be as precise as possible, targeting your ideal prospect, and then persistently focusing your message, call to action, and timing. Opportunity triggers are pivotal to getting results through this method.
It takes time to develop the science behind direct marketing results, but real estate and small businesses willing to invest intelligently in this marketing process often get excellent results.
EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail)
Introduced a few years ago, EDDM allows you to send postcards of three different sizes (6.5”X9”, 8.5”X11”, 4.25”X14”) to your customers.
EDDM is a fantastic option for saturation mailing or mailing to specific carrier routes within a given geography. The postcard sizes are much larger when compared to the standard and letter size postcards, and you get more bang for the buck compared to direct mail.
However, there are limitations as well. Fewer companies offer templates for EDDM, and the choices for targeting customers are limited compared to direct mail.
If you’re sending to a highly stylized demographic based on certain rules or based on certain triggers, EDDM may not work for you. That said, EDDM does work for most real estate businesses who are trying to develop their brand locally.
SureFactor provides you with the best EDDM program geared towards real estate agents. Choose from a powerful template library of over 200 colorful templates designed with real estate marketing in mind.
Our templates cover prospecting, sellers, buyers, renters, marketing, just listed, sold, and brand building.
We also offer an elaborate message library of hundreds of messages which are compelling and thought provoking. Coupled with the right call to action, proper branding, messaging, and a regular mail out, you’ll be surprised by how this program can help you succeed in developing your brand and generating leads.
Personalized Letters / Newsletters
Personalized letters or newsletters are a compelling and effective way to get attention.
If you’re planning to mail a letter, make sure it has the right message and clearly differentiates your value proposition from the rest of the pack. Create your two-minute elevator pitch by stepping into the shoes of your potential customers. Tell them why you should be their Realtor® of choice.
What is it that differentiates you from the several other real estate agents touting the same services?
Letters and newsletters are very personal. Unlike postcards, direct mail or EDDM, letters are sent in an envelope, so you need to make the package look engaging and important because you’ll need a lot more people to open the envelope and read through your content to get a return on your investment.
Print Marketing Works
In summary, there are no shortcuts here. Print marketing is all about opportunity marketing; numbers, timing, and follow through.
The best way to succeed in real estate is to make sure your messages are compelling, that you know your audience, your market, and its demographics, and that you know how to convert leads with clear calls to action.
Understand your budget and other limitations too, and always pick the print marketing “winners” that suit your individual business. Then, be persistent and consistent, create a plan to measure your success, and you too can create an “effective” print marketing strategy!