Many people seem to be under the impression that direct mail is becoming obsolete due to the convenience of online communication such as email. However, direct mail advertising campaigns are still very much necessary, especially in the real estate industry.
The problem is, many real estate companies don’t quite know whether they should stick with their tried-and-true direct mail marketing techniques or use the impending digital revolution to overhaul their advertising strategies and work from the ground up. Consumers say that only 31% of the direct mail they receive includes personalized content that they find useful, and considering that they’re being exposed to an average of 3,000 ads and promotional messages every day, these ads need to be effective, regardless of their medium.
“Nurturing relationships and positioning yourself as the expert in the field of local real estate is critical when it comes to developing the top-of-mind awareness needed to keep your listing pipeline full,” wrote Paige Tepping on RISmedia.com. “With various farming techniques to choose from, real estate professionals are often overwhelmed when determining which strategy will bring them the most success.”
Romy Edge, a real estate associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Ontario, California, uses her personalized mailed newsletter as a way to connect with potential clients.
“For me, it’s more important to be able to contact potential clients through a newsletter or postcard than going door-to-door,” she said. “With so many individuals working outside the home today, you’ll be missing a lot of people if you decide to do a door-knocking campaign in a specific farming area during the middle of the day.”
Clearly, direct mail still works for plenty of advertisers. However, there are some dissenting opinions. Anna Johansson, Contributor for The Huffington Post, argues that the cost of printing often outweighs the return on investment. Printing and copying costs are typically the third-largest office expense behind rent and payroll, and smaller companies may not have the advertising budgets to consistently design and carry out successful direct mail campaigns.
“First, you need to consider the cost of printing, which is oftentimes the largest piece of the direct mail budget. It can cost anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per piece, which means your ROI will depend heavily on what you put into the strategy, compared to what you can get out of it…Since your ROI will be somewhat thin already, direct mail is usually only justified if you can support long run printing, with thousands to tens of thousands of pieces.”
Ultimately, direct mail isn’t being phased out anytime soon. The most important aspect with any advertising campaign is to carefully analyze a variety of factors (advertising budgets, target demographics, printing costs, and overall goals) before putting it into action, and that’s true whether it’s online or offline.