If you are not already taking advantage of a relatively new service (first implemented in the spring of 2011) offered by USPS, you are missing the wagon. But it is never too late! In case you are farming a certain geographical area, you can’t beat the price of USPS EDDM – for 16 cents a piece, your large real estate farming postcards are delivered to every mailbox on the postal carrier route.
What is EDDM and how can it be used for real estate farming? EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) is USPS door to door direct mail delivery that enables you extend your customer reach via saturation mail without the need for mailing lists, permits and fees and expenses associated with them. It is direct mail marketing that doesn’t require you to apply individual names and addresses on each mail piece. By using an online tool, you pick an area of delivery by ZIP code, city, or targeted area around your JUST LISTED house. After identifying a number of active households, the tool will estimate your postage, allowing you to extend or minimize the area to meet your budget (you have to use or drop the whole route though), and prepare and print all necessary documentation to take your mailing to the post office.
Most real estate agents will choose EDDM retail for their door to door direct mail. First step would be to register using Business Customer Gateway to access the online tool. The process is quick and easy and you will have instant access to step 2 allowing you to select delivery route in addition to approximating mailing costs. Online tool displays the number of residential and business households in selected routes (you can select business and residential or residential only) and approximate cost of mailing. By checking and unchecking certain routes you can reach your targeted budget. Sometimes, even if you choose neighboring routes, it may require you to drop off your mail in different locations, as these routes will be serviced by different USPS branches. It that case, you’ll get an alert message that your selected area requires multiple drop off locations. It is possible to continue with your order or remove that route from your selection.
Remember, that as with any direct mail advertising, consistency is the key to success. You are better off mailing once a month for six consecutive months to the same area than targeting six-times bigger geographical area only once with your EDDM postcards and expecting results. But real estate gurus will tell you that if you pick an area with great turnover rates (using MLS) and then target it for at least six months with clear message, your brand and a call to action you are guaranteed a listing windfall for your efforts.
There are a few restrictions for EDDM real estate farming postcards:
• They must qualify as USPS flats
• Each mail piece must be at least .007” thick (approx. 3 sheets of copy paper)
• They cannot exceed 3.3 oz. in weight
Many of real estate postcard printing companies that specialize in EDDM postcards offer a variety of every door direct mail templates to choose from. Most popular sizes are: 5”x11”; 6.5”x9”; and 6”x11”. Some of the EDDM services will even provide bundling and paperwork preparation for you. All you have to do is to take your box to the Post Office and pay the postage fees. If it is out of state printing house, they can’t do it for you as it has to be dropped off at the local USPS branch.
Before using USPS online tool to pick your routes, you may find beneficial to register for free and use www.melissadata.com for your first research state. After you register for your free account, you’ll be able to pull carrier routes by ZIP code and in addition to data that USPS provides, see also the average household income and estimated property values, which will give you greater insight into picking the right area for your real estate farming.
Another advantage of USPS door to door direct mail is its timing.
Let’s say you just took the listing in the neighborhood and it is imperative that you announce it to your farm as soon as possible. If you print a regular size postcard and mail it using Bulk Mail, it may take up to 2 weeks (10 business days according to USPS estimations) for it to reach your prospective clients. In today’s fast-paced market, in 2 weeks the listing may be pending sale and clients calling you on it will be very disappointed. With EDDM, after you drop off your real estate farming postcards, they are ready to be delivered next day and it usually takes 2 days for them to be placed in the hands of your prospects. The meaning of “JUST listed” will not be lost in the mail.
Another advantage of sending oversized EDDM real estate farming postcards is obvious when you look at them in comparison with other mail pieces – it is size that matters. There is no sliding scale for mailing qualified every door direct mail postcards – no matter what size you pick it is a fixed rate of 16 cents. So, why not pick the biggest size? Printing may not cost you much more and you have enough space to deliver your message clearly and with a bang.
It is almost like sticking a small billboard in the mail – it overpowers all the competition. EDDM is also the only type of mail which allows UV coating on both sides which makes your card even more attractive. As there are no addresses or mailing labels to imprint on the pieces (they all have the same label “LOCAL POSTAL CUSTOMER”) both sides can be glossy and the whole mail piece will win in the eyes of your clients.
Use your advertising real estate space wisely! Both sides of the postcard (minus small area for label and EDDM indicia) allow plenty of space for your message, “JUST LISTED” or “JUST SOLD” ads and possibly even space to team up with some local restaurants or businesses to split up the costs. While picking up partners in advertising, choose businesses that your average family will most likely use on a regular basis: pizzeria, family style Italian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, dry cleaning, coffee shop, pet grooming, pet sitting, etc. Clients getting your card with a valuable coupon on the back will most likely put on their fridge to use later vs tossing it in the recycling bin if it only contains the message how good you are in selling homes and how many awards you got last year. You can also team up with businesses in the related fields such as roofing companies, window replacement services, cleaning and landscaping services.
Keep in mind that your goal is to retain your existing clients and find new ones and the best way of doing it is to provide something valuable in exchange for looking at your advertisement. Delivering valuable coupons from local businesses that everyone can use, does just that. When time comes to sell their home or answer a real estate related question, your card with phone number and unused coupon will be within your clients reach instead of your competition utilizing advertising space just for boasting their achievements and sales awards.
Your real estate postcards ideas should not be limited to only Just Listed or Just Sold postcards!
Become an expert in your neighborhood! Your real estate prospecting postcards must have QR code and links to the pages of your website with information on affordable and reliable local babysitters, handy men, dog sitters or anything else that would be of interest to that particular community. Many of top realtors use similar creative real estate farming postcards ideas, plus, some of them even developed cartoon characters for their newsletters and farming postcards.
Remember, Real Estate Marketing Postcards do NOT have to be Boring!
*Don’t forget other ways to use EDDM mailers for collecting emails addresses for you email marketing and generating traffic to your website. Read more about postcard marketing, real estate farming and combining online and offline marketing methods.