With our email inboxes being bombarded daily with hundreds of incoming messages, it’s easy for information to get lost. For many real estate firms, direct-mail marketing is making a comeback in a big way, especially when it comes to sending out monthly newsletters.
Newsletters are one of the most effective marketing tools available. Instead of merely telling a prospective client you’re available, you’re positioning yourself as a market expert by providing information, tips and current market trends while creating conversations that will keep you top-of-mind with past and future clients. By sharing useful, timely information, you’re displaying professionalism and success that are reflective of your stability in the marketplace.
“As a REALTOR®, you have to distinguish yourself,” says Nelson Zide. A REALTOR® and senior vice president of ERA Key Realty Services, Zide has been distinguishing himself by sending out newsletters, both through direct-mail and email, through The Personal Marketing Company since 1986.
The Personal Marketing Company (TPMC), founded in 1978, focuses on offering superior marketing to allow industry professionals to heighten branding, expand reach, stay in touch with clients, and position themselves as experts in their field. In addition to print and enewsletters, TPMC also offers business cards, postcards and client follow-up. Newsletters are designed to be used as a subscription, so that agents can set up their list, place their order and move on to other tasks, knowing that their message and brand will continue to reach their prospects and clients on a consistent basis.
So, why is it important for real estate professionals to utilize a direct-mail marketing program?
Zide references a 2013 NAR statistic* stating that while 84 percent of people claim they’re happy with their REALTOR®, only 25 percent end up using the same REALTOR® down the road when they’re ready to buy or sell again. Clearly, it’s not the quality of service that’s the issue, but rather, the agent’s inability to remain front and center. “As an agent, you need to make sure people know you’re still around. That’s the lifeblood of your business,” says Zide.
For Zide, sending out a direct-mail newsletter is the best way to do this.
“Clients see my smiling face every month and that is critical for branding,” says Zide, who notes that his photo and contact information take up nearly one-third of the front page. In addition to personal branding, TPMC newsletters provide clients with a variety of information, and most importantly, it’s not all real estate-focused. Why would you want to send out a real estate newsletter that’s not real estate-specific? To keep the interest of former clients who may not be ready to buy or sell, but with whom you want to maintain a positive relationship. While they may not be interested in updates on the housing market, their interest may be piqued by tips on gardening, redecorating or home maintenance.
“You’d be surprised how many people call me based on things they read in the newsletter,” says Zide.
Judy Cerra, a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Preferred Properties, has been using TPMC for the past five years, putting buyers and sellers she has worked with on her mailing list as soon as she has closed a transaction. This helps keep her name front and center, and, she notes, makes it more likely for her former clients to recommend her to their family and friends.
If you choose to send out both a print and e-newsletter, you can be sure to hit all of your target audiences. Zide sends out two newsletters a month, alternating every two weeks between his direct-mail and email contact lists.
“I find snail mail to be more colorful,” says Zide. “Everyone likes it, even millennials.” Cerra, too, prefers the direct-mail option, which stands out from the sea of promotional materials that land in consumers’ inboxes daily.
“My clients tell me they look forward to my newsletter every month and reference back to the ideas it provides,” comments Cerra.
TPMC’s newsletters can be ordered monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly to support different marketing strategies. While Zide and Cerra choose to send their newsletter out monthly, Magda Morales of ERA Pro Realty sends out her newsletter only four times a year. Like Zide and Cerra, Morales prefers the direct-mail option over the e-newsletter.
“Although we live in a digital age and people are accustomed to receiving electronic communications and follow-up, there’s much to be says for receiving an ‘old fashioned’ physical newsletter,” says Morales, who has been sending out The Personal Marketing Company’s newsletters since 2000. “The articles are timely, niftily relevant and brief. Folks have a tendency to hang on to them. Unlike a physical newsletter, an e-newsletter cannot remain on the coffee table to pique a visitor’s interest.”
Marketing yourself is an extremely time-consuming task, one that requires consistency and diligence. For Morales, sending out a newsletter is a no-brainer. “We have enough on our plates as independent contractors dealing with the public on a day-to-day basis. Not to mention the paperwork our business generates that we—despite all our good intentions—cannot hope to keep up, keep track of and follow-up with even our best customers and clients who invariably provide referrals, and are therefore the basis of our business.”
Zide and Morales both note the family spirit at The Personal Marketing Company, where the employees go above and beyond to make a personal connection.
“We may live in an electronic, digital world, but human beings still appreciate the human connection and that’s what The Personal Marketing Company is all about,” says Morales.
“The Personal Marketing Company’s whole thought process centers around ‘how can I expand your business so you can do more business with me?’ They feel like a small family business because they’re available to talk when I need them,” concludes Zide. “They’re my marketing partners, and I love it.”
For more information, please visit www.tpmco.com.
*2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, NAR