By Craig Proctor
RISMEDIA, April 23, 2008–If you’re running effective direct response advertising in your local paper, it’s quite easy and cost productive to convert the best of these ads into postcards which you will have delivered to targeted areas in your marketplace. Now notice that I said effective “direct response” advertising – in other words, advertising that you can track and test to achieve measurable results.
Fancy, image-style advertising won’t work in the newspaper let alone other media. What I’m talking about is marketing that offers tangible and meaningful benefits that will cause motivated buyers and sellers to raise their hands. When you have some ads that work week in and week out in the newspaper, it makes sense for you to roll them out to a medium like postcards to extend their reach and allow you to target specific areas. When you follow these criteria, postcards can be a very cost efficient manner of generating quality leads, and you should be sending out 40,000-50,000 postcards per month.
Extensive testing on the best offers and formats shows that the following configuration should predictably generate dozens of qualified leads for you every single time you send them out.
Have the postcards printed on 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ heavy card stock (i.e. you can get two out of one regular letter-sized sheet of paper.) I and other agents have tried both regular bond paper, and different sizes (i.e. a full 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet, and a third page size of roughly 5-1/2″ x 3-3/4″) which haven’t worked as well. I suspect the card stock (i.e. heavier paper) works best because it “falls out” of the paper or the mail, and is more likely to get stuck on the fridge for later use. Bond paper may get tossed in the garbage.
In my market, I can have these postcards distributed with the regular mail, or in the newspaper as an insert, without any address label or envelope which makes them very cost efficient for me (about 6.4 cents each.) You should investigate various methods of distribution in your own marketplace.
The messages that do best are ones that hit universal and accessible hot buttons for buyer and sellers. Offering buyers a list of the “10 Best Buys,” or an up-to-date list of “Distress Sales,” grabs their attention as this information will be something all buyers covet. Why? Because everyone loves a deal. Whether you’re buying laundry detergent, a vacation, a car or a home, every buyer wants to feel that they’ve shopped well and struck a good deal. Terms like “Distress Sale” say “deal.” Most buyers perceive that if they were able to purchase a property under these conditions, chances are high that they would save money. But remember, the only reason to run an ad is to get prospects to call you. The fact is that 99% of the prospects who call you on an ad like this will go on to purchase a property which is NOT a distress sale, and usually not even one of your listings. The great thing about the Distress Sale campaign, though, is that its appeal is far more universal and broad than any specific house ad’s appeal could ever be.
If buyers want a great deal, sellers want the most money they can when they sell, so postcards that offer them information to help them in that regard will do well (e.g. the offer of an “Online Home Evaluation” or “Tips to Sell for More Money”).
While for legal reasons you will likely have to state somewhere on the postcard that it comes from you, don’t fall into the trap of feeling that you have to splash your photo and name all over it. Remember, prospects don’t want to be “sold.” It’s important to make the offer of this great information as non-threatening and easily accessible as possible (by driving response to a hotline or website rather than to you personally.)
“I learned from Craig that one of the most successful lead generation campaigns he runs is his direct mail postcard campaign,” said Andrew Krenzer and agent in Bloomington, MN. “I implemented the same postcard campaign that he uses and my business went up exponentially. I obtained these postcards very inexpensively from a company called BXL (www.BXLprinters.com).”
He continued: “I have achieved an outstanding 370% net return with these postcards, and the secret is this: leverage. Let me give you an actual example of how one lead turned into multiple transactions. I had a seller lead from my postcard from which I secured a listing commission and his buy side commission. Using the referral system I learned from Craig, I was able to obtain a referral listing. That seller also bought a home. Using the follow up system, I was able to convert three sign calls from those listings to closed buy side transactions. That’s seven transactions from a single postcard. We are able to routinely convert sign calls and sellers to buyers from the leads generated from postcards. When you have quality leads and the best conversion system, you get multiple opportunities to sell houses. That’s the key to a high return.
“I never send out postcards without doing research on an area. I will research to find the highest turnover zip codes with steady appreciation that have sellers likely to buy. Once I determine these locations, we will send unbranded postcards every 2-4 weeks to the same addresses.”
Krenzer concluded: “If you need “now” business, I would recommend the unbranded online home evaluation on one side with a VIP Buyer offer (such as “10 Best Buys” or “Distress Sales”) on the other side.”
To find out more about how to use postcards in your business, you can visit http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a15a080423/ where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on highly cost efficient lead generation tools such as direct response postcards.
Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years and is the only real estate trainer who actually does what he teaches. Craig consistently sells over 500 homes per year to earn almost $4 million in commission. Over 25,000 agents nationwide use Craig’s system to make more money in less time. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a15b080423/. This Free Training includes free weekly teleconference training calls with Craig and some of his most successful agents where they discuss the cutting edge strategies they’re using right now, in this market, and explain how they work. You’ll also receive a free weekly email newsletter that reveals the tested and proven marketing strategies that continue to make Craig one of North America’s top agents. By taking advantage of this free training, you’ll also get advanced notice of Craig’s free half day seminars that will provide you with the tools you’ll need to start implementing these ideas immediately. These seminars are held year round in cities across the country. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a15b08423
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