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The Dos and Dont’s of Direct Mail Marketing for Real Estate Agents

January 15, 2018

The Do's and Dont's of Real Estate Farming

The new year is upon us, and for many real estate agents, that means one thing… farming season! Whether you’re a new agent or have been in the business for a while, the strategy of targeting specific neighborhoods and geographic areas to gain new clients is a tried and true method.

While many of the tactics have evolved, the core of real estate farming remains true to the concept’s namesake: plant a few seeds, nurture them, and watch them grow over time. Neighborhood farming isn’t about a quick turnaround and instant results. It’s a long-term, relationship-building marketing strategy that requires patience and persistence. But with the right techniques, farming has the ability to bring in loads of new leads, and it remains an indispensable, highly profitable tool in your agent toolbox.

We’ve written a lot about farming in the past, so we’re not going to go into the details of solidifying your real estate brand before getting started or choosing your farming area. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking about your neighborhood strategy for this year and the factors that can make or break your farming campaign.

1. DON’T assume that farming should only be done at the beginning of the year.

January is a great time to farm a neighborhood, since the holidays have wound down and people are making their plans for the new year. But it’s a strategy that has to be continued year-round to have impact. Consumers need more touchpoints than ever to build enough brand recognition to take an action. Reach out to people at intervals throughout the year, remaining consistent with your branding, and it’s likely that over time they’ll recall your name when they or someone they know has decided to buy or sell their home.

2. DON’T discount postcards and tangible pieces as a part of your farming strategy.

Years ago, postcards, flyers, magnets and brochures were the go-to when it came to marketing yourself in a neighborhood. With the introduction of digital marketing, those strategies have been disrupted by social media, websites, and email newsletters. All good things, but mailing postcards and other direct mail pieces, combined with introducing yourself to the neighborhood door-to-door, is still the most personal and most memorable way to build positive relationships with potential clients.

Digital marketing has its place and works well in combination with offline tactics as a consistent reminder of your services, but direct mail has better brand recall. One study by TrueImpact, a Canadian neuromarketing firm, found that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process compared to digital media, and that when asked to name a brand, consumers had a 70% higher recall for direct mail than a digital advertisement.

3. DO integrate traditional farming methods with digital marketing.

Direct mail may have higher overall brand recall, but the value of integrating traditional strategies like mailing postcards with digital marketing in a farming campaign cannot be overstated. Social media allows clients and potential clients to keep up with you whenever they want, and a website is the best hub for interested leads to learn more. Never distribute a direct mail piece without your website URL included! On the site, you should have an easy option for interested clients to sign up for a newsletter and follow you on social channels.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn are a given, but sites like Nextdoor are a wonderful way to farm specific neighborhoods throughout the year. The free social network is private and grants membership based on where you live, so it’s a great way to own your own neighborhood and be seen as the go-to expert next door. For this strategy, it’s important to position yourself as simply a member of your community. This is about long-term relationship building, not sales!

Since farming is a year-round effort, consistent communications that incorporates both postcards and digital marketing is necessary. Tools like AutoMail Plus easily incorporate online marketing with mailing postcards by giving each recipient a code to view an online market report specific to their neighborhood. When someone views the page, shares it with others or fills out a contact form, you’ll instantly receive an email letting you know that you have a new lead.

4. DO give your leads a clear place to go for more information.

Whether you send potential clients to your website or a lead generation platform like AutoMail Plus, a clear call to action should always be present when mailing postcards. Without it, your leads won’t know where to go if they want more information or want to contact you. It could be something as simple as “Learn More” with a link to your website or a call to “Check Out Listings in Your Neighborhood” with your Facebook handle included. Giveaways and contests are also a great way to encourage action and build a quick list of contacts.

5. DON’T stress about doing everything yourself.

Farming reaps heaps of rewards, but it can be a time-consuming process. For mailing postcards alone, you have to acquire a mailing list or build your own, design the cards, and figure out a method for addressing and sending them out to your target neighborhood. And that’s not even taking into account ensuring that direct mail is integrated with online marketing! Automation can make the process much more streamlined, saving you valuable time that you can use to build relationships in-person and through other channels.

With QuantumDigital’sAutoMail, you can:

  • Schedule a year's worth of postcard mailings to either a specific farming area or your own mailing list
  • Get warm and hot leads straight to your inbox
  • Track leads online
  • Enjoy full color printing and postage at a low price per card
  • Target your ideal prospects using advanced listing options

If you’re interested in simplifying your farming strategy, optimizing it to reach prospects at multiple touchpoints, and building lasting relationships with neighborhood leads, create an account with QuantumDigital today to get started.