For many of you, postcards are an absolute marketing tool in your arsenal of weapons. In fact, in the last few years, we are seeing a tremendous surge in conversion rates with postcard delivery. The trick is knowing how to market with postcards effectively. there is a wrong way and a right way.
First The Wrong Way
Never ever do random Just Listed, or Just Sold cards. Many agents make this huge mistake. They close on a home, get a few dollars from escrow and immediately want to send out a couple hundred postcards telling the neighbors you just sold this home. Or, you just got a new listing and you want everyone in the neighborhood to know. You think maybe by sending out these cards one of the neighbors will call and ask me to sell theirs.” Well, it doesn’t work that way. At least most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, everyone gets lucky sometimes…
First, you need to understand how consumer view mail. Think about how you go through your mail. Do you really look at every piece and open each letter and read every postcard. NO! In fact, most of us hardly pay attention to our mail at all. We have been trained to scan mail and look for only those pieces of mail we see as important. You can always tell a soliciting piece of mail, right? Even the creative Brian Buffini mentors who try and hand write everything on the envelope have little success in actually getting their mail noticed and or opened. Simply put we just don’t care. Most bills are online and very little comes in the mail anymore. Think about what you do recognize in your mail. The Costco, Target, or neighborhood advertising rag that comes each month. They always look the same. You recognize the Costco catalog in an instant. Why is this? Because it looks exactly the same each time you get it and you have seen it a hundred times. Familiarity is the most important factor when it comes to postcard success.
The Right Way
So how do we do postcards right. First, we start with a target neighborhood. design a card and send it to our target consumer over and over again and again. Let me give you a big hint EDDM from the United States Postal Service if the single best way to approach postcard mailings. EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail. Us agents who have been around for a while, remember the old days of sitting on the couch sorting postcards by their labels and their code while enjoying our favorite Sinefiled episode. I often got the kids involved, one puts the sticker on, the other sorts the piles. Once we had everything all sorted out we then had to sneak in the back room of the post office and wait for the attendant to inspect everything and clear our delivery. All this to save about a quarter of the cost.
Nowadays the process of sending postcards through the mail for about half the cost is super easy. And you don’t have to go sneaking around the back side of the post office to drop them off. EDDM is the simplest and easiest way to get your postcards delivered. Before I outline the steps in creating an EDDM account and getting your cards ready for delivery let me share a few tips on what to do. The first thing to do is get a really strong postcard design with a strong call to action. I love using “Free Home Values” and tying the card to a website. Another really great card that gets a lot of conversions is the discount commission card. (Yes, believe it or not, the biggest call to action you can use on a postcard in real estate is “List your home for Free” or “List your home for 1/2 percent” or something crazy. The thing to note is the card is only going to open the door and get an invite. At the listing presentation, you then upsell your value and why taking the listing at a higher commission rate is the best thing for the sellers.) Once you have a good strong card designed go ahead and print 10,000 of them. yes, 10,000 of the same card. (Don’t worry we are going to be mailing all 10,000 at once).
We are going to, however, mail all 10,000 of these to a neighborhood of about 500 homeowners. If you do the math that’s 20 weeks worth of postcard mailings. 20 weeks is the magic number. Once you’ve followed the instructions below and created your EDDM account and are ready to mail you will be mailing out 500 cards a week every other week for 40 weeks. This method allows the homeowner to see your card, the same card over and over again and with this strategy, you will make an impact and get way more attention. By the time the homeowner sees your card 7, 8 or even 9 times they start to ask themselves “what is this card I keep getting” and the magic starts to happen. They head to their computer and start acting on your call to action.
You have your cards designed and ready to print. you’ll want to follow the instruction below. Following the instructions, I have included the numbers and why this system works so well. If you do this, let me know as I always like to hear success stories.
EDDM with the USPS Instructions
1). Go online to www.usps.com
2). Click on Business
3). Click Every Door Direct Mail
4). Enter the zip code of the neighborhood you are targeting
5). Now select the area you want to market specifically to. Try to find one close to 500
6). You will need to register on USPS and sign up. There is no cost to sign up.
7). Pick the delivery date. Make sure you pick a couple weeks out to allow for your cards to create and delivered to you.
8). The follow the check out process. You can pay at the post office or in advance online.
9). Once you have checked out and have planned your first mailer you’ll want to save this info for the next time. Remember you are going to do this 20 times over the next 40 weeks.
10). You need to print out the sorting pages. Your stack of postcards has to be divided into stacks of 50 or 100 your choice and then wrapped with a sorting sheet. These sheets are provided to you and you just have to print them. I usually do stacks of 100 which makes it super easy.
11). Make sure you printed out the facing sheet which is the cover sheet to will need to give to the postmaster when at the post office.
12). Once this is all complete you simply have to drive to the post office nearest you and drop these off. You pay at the counter.
Cost Break Down
To mail each card the USPS will charge you $.17 a card. Less than half first class. $85.00 each mailing (85 x 20 equals $1,700)
The print the postcards I would use www.overnighprints.com. They have great prices (About $350 for 10,000 printed) Shipping and Handling will be about $100 to $200 depending on how soon you need them.
For about $2,100 you have a 40-week campaign sending postcards to 500 homeowners.
In The Numbers
500 homes with an average of 5% turnover (5% will sell each year)
25 Potential Sales
If you can convert 15%
4 New listings (Average listing $350,000 x4 equals income of $42,000 for an initial investment of $2,100)
If you would like to see the visual of this presentation I used at a recent MEC just click the picture below to download the Powerpoint presentation. You will either need to have Powerpoint on your computer or download the viewer here to see it. As always, please feel free to leave me a comment below and of course share your success.