In our 20+ years in real estate marketing we often come across real estate agents who claim that marketing doesn’t work for them. Often it is not just particular kind of marketing, such as real estate newsletters or postcards – usually they will come of with a blanket statement such as “None of the usual marketing techniques work for my market niche.” Though it can be true for some luxury real estate in 10 million+ price range which requires a whole new approach to marketing, the statement that “real estate postcards don’t work for me” can’t be true because of the nature of farming postcards. It can only be true if you don’t use them right. Marketing postcards work fine for millions of small business owners, professionals, and real estate agents. If you realized that they don’t work for you, stop and analyze what are you doing wrong.
Marketing may not bring results you are hoping for because of many reasons. To summarize all kinds of objections and pitfalls on the way, the main categories will be “not now”, “no money”, “no trust”. When on a first glance all these obstacles have nothing to do with you, an agent, as they reflect the circumstances of your potential clients. Though if you look closer, you’ll see that they are under your control.
If you are sending your postcards to people who just purchased a new home or dealt with foreclosure, your rate of response will be low and you’ll probably hear “not now” if you contact these clients directly.
So, why are you targeting the segments of population that have no need in your services? Be careful when you are choosing an area to mail to: analyze how often people move, don’t target areas that are too new, or retirement communities were people plan to stay for the rest of their lives. If you mail to a regular neighborhood with an average turn around time, you’ll probably hear a lot of “not now” too, but it will be “not now … yet” if you listen closely. Your task will be to educate, form and strengthen trust, explain and stay in touch, provide service such as special offers from local lawn moving and pest control companies, so you can turn that “not now” into “probably, in 3 months” and then “now we are ready.” Be patient and persistent and you will see results.
Many agents mail postcards once into an area and when they don’t see immediate results, say, “Real estate farming postcard marketing doesn’t work.” In reality, YOUR postcard marketing didn’t work because you gave up instead of repeating your mailing many times on a regular basis. It is a proven truth in marketing that targeted repeated mailings are the cost-effective way to create big results. If you do regular mailings of your real estate postcards every 30 days you will increase your business dramatically through gaining listings in that area and referrals through new and past clients. We’ve seen agents turning their business around completely by just sending JUST LISTED and JUST SOLD postcards in the area every month. You’ll most likely start seeing results in 3-4 months. More business you get, more money you’ll be able to invest in your marketing which will bring even more results. It doesn’t take a CPA certification to see that with volume pricing for real estate farming postcards it makes sense to print 2,000-3,000 postcards for repeated mailings instead of 10 orders of 200-300.
You’ve probably heard an objection “we can’t afford to move” from your clients when in reality they can’t afford to stay. It is your job to analyze their particular situation and come up with solutions. The best real estate agents are educators at heart and very patient ones. If you concentrate all your marketing efforts on pushy sales tactics and boasting your achievements, you’ll see less results than an agent who puts his clients needs first and it is reflected in his/her marketing. Try to be a problem solver rather than a bragger, and you will slowly earns your clients’ trust. Volunteer in your community and advertise community events through your postcards. Offer free maintenance tips and staging consultations. Print coupons for local coffee shop instead of promoting your latest sales award. Show your clients that a small increase in interest rates may price them out of the market for good if they don’t act now. Basically, “show them the money” when they don’t even know where to look and be their best advocate.
One of the other common causes that your marketing with real estate postcards doesn’t work is that you loose your clients’ trust when you don’t communicate clearly. While a guide to creating postcard advertising that works is a whole new topic in itself, we should mention that it all starts with a clear message. You only have a fraction of a second to grasp and keep your prospect’s attention. If your farming postcard is cluttered with multiple competing messages, images and information, you will most likely loose them without delivering your main idea or offer. Examine your postcard closely. Ideally, there should be only one clear message that should occupy 20% of the space and be short and bold. Anything that slows down your reader, clutters the postcard with unnecessary details should be taken out. You are better providing these details on your website through the QR code printed on the postcard – it will serve dual purpose of keeping your message clear and bringing additional traffic to your website.
Buyer’s remorse or seller’s cold feet is more than buzz-word – it is a reality that you, as a real estate agent, have to deal with on day-to-day basis. People are afraid of loosing (money or family home that holds so many memories of happy days) and that feeling may be stronger then desire to buy a new home that will benefit them in the years to come. You’ve been in their shoes too, even when it involves a much lesser purchase than real estate. Your job is to understand and help them overcome their fears by clearly communicating the process and all its pitfalls without sugar-coating the truth. Trust is strengthened when you help them avoid and solve the problems, not mask them and pretend that they don’t exist. You can’t build trust out of thin air.
Your postcard marketing should be those drops of earned trust that fill the ocean over the years, with one good advice and deed after another. Your community involvement and volunteer work, help when its needed, and desire to answer questions are the building blocks of trust that make you “their friend in real estate” over the years. You can’t achieve that with just 1-2 mailings in the neighborhood, but only with significant presence in the farm over a long period of time. So the agents that try to persuade you that “postcard marketing doesn’t work” during the break near the company’s cooler or coffee maker, haven’t tried it long enough.
They gave up too soon.