Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Six Powerful Reasons Direct Mail Should Be Part of Your Spring & Summer Marketing Plan

By Julie Escobar

One thing for sure is that our world has become more connected than ever because of ever-evolving technology, and that’s terrific.  We do live in a digital world certainly, but we also live in a world where people still appreciate personal touches, tangible visibility and human interaction. Done right, direct mail helps connect you to the customers and future customers in your market in much different way (and without any spam filters to fret about!)

In fact, according to a study done by the Direct Marketing Association,  56% of consumers think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels. And here’s a stat that surprised me in the age of smartphones:  56% of consumers think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels.

In an article put out by Sappi Fine Papers, “Print has more emotional pull for consumers than digital, according to scientists. A neuroscience study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and conducted by Millward Brown discovered that paper-based marketing—i.e., direct mail—leaves a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain than digital—and that difference can even be pinpointed on functional MRI brain scans. The physical act of handling tangible material feels more “real” to the brain, the study claims. It produces brain responses that trigger emotional reactions, which get internalized in your memory. In other words, the printed piece itself becomes part of the subliminal messaging.”

Here are six reasons direct mail is both relevant AND results-producing!

  1. It’s targeted.  Advertising is one means of reaching out to consumers in your market, but it’s expensive Do it Yourself Real Estate postcardsand casts a wide, but not specific net. With direct mail you can match your marketing pieces specifically to your market or niche dramatically increasing your response rates. You can even now find the mailing lists for those you most want to market to by taking advantage of the specialty data selects from our friends over at Nielsen or look for our Lifestyle Interest data like the one suggested in this week’s Master Marketing Schedule for Do-It-Yourself fans. Head over to our Mailing List page to learn more about all the affordable list options available to you.
  2. It’s personal.  Direct mail is your canvas.  You can address your customer by name, share specific offers, communicate information that’s specific to your area, and begin to create a top-of-mind awareness and trust. All of our marketing tools are editable, from postcards, to newsletters, to SaveDownPayment_thumb (1)brochures — and you can be as creative as you like.  Offer fair trade offers such as Free Reports, lists of homes, a CMA and more – and lend your personality and voice to each piece.  Note:  review your edits carefully for spelling errors before moving to the next option!
  3. It’s flexible.  From postcards to flyers to letters to brochures, your direct mail options are extensive.  Add direct response offers and timely information and you again increase your response rates.  Some agents wisely choose a campaign with similar branding to send month after month or quarter after quarter that helps consumers develop a recognition of their brand more easily.  Others mix and match their marketing messages – preferring to keep consumers alert and eager to see “what they’ll send next!”
  4. It’s tangible. The truth is, as human beings we’re tactile people. Engaging different senses is just smart business.   If I get a message from a professional I touch via email for example, it registers in the moment – but not necessarily long term.  If I get a message that’s directed to me and offers something of importance to me and my family and I can feel it, touch it, put it on the refrigerator or tack it to my bulletin board, etc. – then that message has a much longer shelf life-right?  And a better chance of getting a response – not just once but again and again. 
  5. It’s measurable.  Direct mail is one of the few media channels that give you the ability to track your success.  Use a unique URL or make a specific offer on a direct response piece and keep tabs on how many people click or call on that offer.  Adjust future mailings based on that response rate.  I always recommend making a direct response offer on every piece of direct mail as opposed to just a generic, ‘here I am’ type mailing.  Give people valuable reasons to reach out to you and they will!
  6. It’s easy and cost-effective.  Direct mail doesn’t have to mean big bucks.   Now with Every Door Direct Mail costs are low and market saturation is high.  One of the things our customers appreciate most about our services in fact is that we do have the ability to provide short-run orders at extremely affordable rates unlike big mail houses which require you to order thousands at a time.  Not sure what pieces will work best with your budget?  Give us a call-our team is terrific about helping agents match their marketing to their market as well as their budgets!

Hope that gives you some insights into why direct mail is on so many agents to-do list this season! If you need help finding the right pieces for you at the right prices-we’ve got you covered.  Call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com to learn how we can get your production hopping this next quarter in a very budget friendly way! 

Row of residential houses in suburban neighborhood

Insights From ReboGateway

By Julie Escobar

We just had an amazing and informative webinar with our friend Brian Fox from Benutech and ReboGatewaybest carrier routes that got a lot of agents buzzing about using a BETTER way to leverage EDDM.

For those of you who are new to the concept, EDDM is a system provided by USPS that allows you to literally get in EVERY door in a carrier route for a low postage cost of 18.3 cents per piece – and you have the ability to send out marketing pieces of all sizes, which is big plus when you choose a BIG size!

What we’ve found is that one of the toughest challenges is deciding where to start.  Almost daily we are asked by customers, “What’s the best way to pick a carrier route?” Fortunately, our friends over at Benutech figured that part out for us!

In this webinar you’ll learn how they can help you pinpoint not only which carrier routes have the highest NeighborhoodSpecialist_11x8.5_FullBleed_Workingturnover rate, but also those with the highest dollar homes, and largest percentage of homeowner to deliverables. That’s huge for agents, because up to now, most agents have chosen carrier routes more based on location to their office, or the neighborhood they live in, or just randomly – without really knowing which would have a higher probability of yielding the best results.  Now, they can be much more strategic in their approach to carrier routes.neighborhood update series

The great thing about EDDM is that you don’t need a list – it literally gets in every door.  However, the savvy agent knows that marketing should be layered. So they can also pull the list from their ReboGateway system to add additional marketing touches such as Just Listed postcards, Just Sold postcards, Open House cards and more.

To learn what our customers top picks for Every Door Direct Mail, we asked our Director of Business property showcaseDevelopment Ramona Williams who works with our customers every day.  She shared, “I’d say, by far, the most popular piece hands-down is the Panoramic Postcard featuring a new listing.  It’s sleek, beautiful, markets the new listing and is a great way to showcase the agent’s results as well.  Secondly, we’re seeing a lot of agents who are using a little bigger piece to spotlight multiple listings on one mailer.  It might be for a series of open houses or just to showcase that the agent is the turn-to person to call for listings in an area.  And third, we’re seeing agents use panoramic postcards featuring direct response offers such as a Free CMA, List of Homes, Consultation, etc.”

Some links to get you started:

Use promo code EDDM10 to save 10% on your www.prospectsplus.com EDDM order! 

To save on ReboGateway use promo code PROSTUA (make sure it’s all capitalized).

This promo code will provide ReboGateway annual for $399.95 with the Tract Utility (turnover tool) provided for FREE (saving $120) via the Promo Code.

If you are thinking of using this powerful tool, consider choosing just one or two routes to start.  With the average carrier route running anywhere from 300-500 homes, it just seems like a manageable area for most agents to not only connect with – but have the ability to follow up on.

And follow up is important, as is consistency.  If budget is an issue, then you may wish to choose a smaller route and be consistent in sending to that route often. One-shot mailings – even ones that saturate a market area are not normally very effective.  The agents that are seeing the best results from this system are sending every one to two months for at least six months.

Watch the video:

If you’re interested in learning more about the tracking data from Benutech and ReboGateway, call them today at 866-887-0206 for a free demonstration of the data that is available in YOUR area.

If you are a real estate pro and you’d like to learn more about what EDDM tools we can help you with, give us a call at 1.866.405.3638 today.   

Real Estate Agent Success

Insights from the Front Line with Ramona Williams

By Julie Escobar

When it comes to knowing EXACTLY what real estate professionals, and specifically our ProspectsPLUS!
customers want and need to grow their businesses in today’s market, I knew that there was one person who would be perfect to interview. My closest friend and always one of the smartest people in the room, our Director of Business Development, Ramona Williams.  With both an MBA and more thirty years of experience working with real estate agents and brokers, she’s the go-to resource for insights and ideas.

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  You are on the phones with customers every day, where do you think agents are needing the most help in terms of marketing their businesses and their listings?

A:  Consistency – hands down. That’s honestly where most agent’s marketing breaks down.  One and done listing inventory snapshotmarketing doesn’t work, never has and never will.  Secondly, what hurts agents is having no strategy at all.  That’s not a new problem of course. That’s historically where agents fail to grow their businesses, and why so many don’t make it.  Unfortunately, the majority of agents try lots of little things, including whatever the “shiny new idea” is in the office at the moment and never commit to anything consistently.  The result is they end up all over the place in terms of the message they are sending out into their market, and they’ll actually spend considerably more money trying every new thing that comes along than they would if they just put a solid, strategic plan of tested direct marketing that works in place and stuck to it.  Consistently sending branded, direct response marketing every 21-45 days to a sphere and farm is still the best means of driving results in our industry.

Q:  We’re seeing a huge rise in agents using EDDM® as a means to strategically market for less – what is your take on that and what advice do you have for others eager to do the same?

A:  I think Every Door Direct Mail® is a terrific way for agents to cover a large geographic area because of the Dominator April 16lower postage costs.  It makes it really affordable for agents to get back to those basics like working a geographic farm.  What I really like about seeing agents return to geo-farming is that it helps them focus their marketing efforts. For a long while we saw agents just chasing the next deal. They’d follow internet leads wherever they took them – sometimes driving hours to take a listing.  EDDM helps them to find a geographic market area that makes sense for them and literally get in every door. When used consistently, it creates a much more predictive business and income model than constantly chasing new business.  Here’s what else I can tell you – the great agents get that. They know that it’s not only OK to be in control of their marketing and business, it’s a must if you want to create a consistently growing business with commissions and referrals you can count on.  I think so much of the time you see agents who look at the business of real estate as risky to start with or unpredictable because it’s commission based.  So their mindset is that their business is supposed to be all over the place, or unpredictable as well.  Savvy agents know that real estate is a business and can be a very lucrative one if they treat is like it is and work a plan.

Q:  What product do you see the most demand for in today’s market?

A:  I’d say in most areas of the country inventory is still historically low, so agents are looking for any vehicle that can help them get listings.  So we’re seeing a lot of EDDM, Just Listed postcards and Just Sold postcardsjl js cards (which are great for pulling double duty – marketing the listing and the agent), our Market Dominator, Listing Inventory cards, FSBO and Expired tools, and our Neighborhood Update/Free Offer cards. The last take a little more work to input the listing data, but it’s what consumers want to see, and they make direct response offers, so they work.  Again, it’s getting back to taking control of your marketing.

We are also seeing an uptick in agents struggling with pricing listings correctly and that’s where your eBook 21 Ways to Get Your Listing Priced Right the First Time (Despite the Seller’s Objections) is a terrific tool that’s really affordable and filled with the kind of objection handlers agents need today.

Q:  You and I go way back in this business – we won’t say how far!  How do you think the market has changed and what do you think agents can do to best get in front of those changes and be competitive?

A:  You know, surprisingly, it really hasn’t changed all that much.  Our business is and always be cyclical.  What is different, of course, are the amount of technology options agents have and how many different organizations are selling to them.  Many of which are amazing and game-changing solutions for agents, no doubt. It does, however, make it really easy for agents to take their eye off the ball and look for that “magic pill” that will skyrocket them to success.  While that’s understandably tempting, the keys to being the top in your field is the stay focused, build inventory, price listing right, have a strategic plan, and find areas you really enjoy working and stay the course.

Q:  Excellent advice! You work with top producers and high volume teams quite a bit as our Director of Business Development.  What are some factors from a marketing perspective do you think they deploy that allow them to continuously rise to the top?

A:  Much like we just talked about, top teams and top agents don’t roll the dice with their results. They build their businesses exponentially by putting systems in place so things don’t fall through the cracks and understand and implement the power of consistent marketing.  In other words, they don’t wait and they don’t shy away from marketing at high levels.  They prioritize immediate lead generation, but they also have systems that allow them to build their brand and their businesses long term.  They are also typically service-minded professionals.  They take excellent care of their customer base, and communicate effectively and often with their sphere and farm.  That’s smart business.

Q:  Awesome. Any last words of wisdom for the readers?

A:  Well I guess I would say that this is truly a great industry where people can make an excellent, lucrative living that is relatively affordable to get into with a strong return on investment.  I would tell them to be strategic, consistent and be mindful of who you model yourself after.  You and I have both seen, countless times, agents who have been in this business 3, 4, 5 – even 10 years or more in this industry and have never put a sphere of influence database together.  While some may do all right at that, it makes you really wonder where COULD their business be if they had put that basic but so important piece in place? That’s a lot of missed opportunity and money left on the table.  I’d challenge agents to not do the same.  Get back to the basics.  Have a plan. Use strategic, consistent marketing (both in terms of timing and branding) to build your inventory, price them right, follow up, and take care of your book of business and your farm.

As always, you’re a tremendous source of advice for today’s professionals. What’s great for our customers to know is that you’ve done such an amazing job of both training and managing our support and marketing teams that they have incredible skills and insights as well and are wonderfully adept at helping agents and brokers figure out the best plans for them, and helping them strategically implement those plans every day.  Kudos to you for that!  Thanks for sharing!

If you’d like to connect with a member of Ramona’s team, you can call them at 866-405-3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com.  They are eager to help make your job – and your life a whole lot easier!

Getting the Inside Scoop to See If EDDM is Right for YOU and Your Business

By Julie Escobar

Wow.  We’ve had a lot of calls recently about this powerful (and affordable) service now provided by the U.S. Postal Service.  It allows you to literally get in EVERY DOOR in a geographic area for as low as 18.3 cents in postage per piece.  But there are a LOT of questions out there – and a lot of folks unsure about which way to go in terms of getting their message in the right hands to help brand themselves in a market.  So I put on my fact-finding hat so that I could give you guys the inside skinny on some things you need to know about this service to determine if it is really right for you.

Fact #1:  According to direct marketing statistics, businesses which get the majority of their clients from within a 3 mile radius of their office are:  REALTORS®, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, dentists, chiropractors…(the list goes on – but did you catch that first one?) Love that!

Fact #2:   This is the most cost-effective means to deliver your message to an ENTIRE market area.  As a SATURATION mailing tool – you can literally send up to 5,000 pieces each day (to be delivered to EVERY SINGLE mailbox on your chosen carrier route) still pay no more than 18.3 cents in postage per piece.

Fact #3:  There is no postage permit necessary – only the required indicia which is fairly small needs to be placed on your mailing piece.  (We’ve got that for you- no worries!)

Fact #4 – You don’t need a mailing list.  This is a biggie!  One of the toughest components that agents find in building their book of business is developing their LIST.  While it IS one of the best practices you can ever do to build long-term referrals and keep your customers and clients calling YOU back for the duration of your career – it is a stumbling block for many.  So while you’re waiting to get your list together (go ahead and hire a broke college kid to start data entry today – they need the money and you need a database!) – the EDDM™ system is the perfect way to start branding yourself and discover NEW PROSPECTS to put into your sphere!

Fact #5:  You can send standard mail flats, irregular parcels, periodicals, and bound printed flats.  But – your
Dominator April 16mailing piece cannot be more than 15′ long, 12′ high and .75′ thick.

Fact #6:  The common mailing pieces for EDDM™ used by REALTORS® are newsletters, open house postcards, just listed postcards, just sold postcards, introduction/neighborhood specialist announcements or workshop invitations (first time home buying seminars, short sale seminars, workshops for seniors, renters. buy workshops, etc.)

Fact #7:  You can select whether or not you want your mailing delivered to P.O. Boxes and Farm mail routes!

Fact #8:  Your mailing will saturate every consumer within your carrier route AND  it can also include delivery to businesses.  However – you CANNOT just send to businesses.

Fact #9:  When choosing your carrier routes – remember to choose WISELY.  With this system – you must mail to EVERY home on the carrier route.  So it’s important to look at the market you want to saturate and budget accordingly.  If your route has 1,000 homes in it – then you’ll need to provide mailings for every home.  The average carrier route has about 250-500 homes in it.  When using the carrier route selection tool from USPS – we always recommend ‘de-selecting all’ first – when you get to that screen so it doesn’t pull up every route in your zip code (that can be a little intimidating!)  Then, based on YOUR budget, you can choose the carrier routes in your market with the number of homes you can comfortably afford to send to repeatedly.

Fact #10:  To piggyback on #9, while this is a much more affordable mailing option for most agents, contentremember this is still direct marketing.  So if you can only afford to (or care to) send a mailing ONCE to an area – then it will more than likely not glean you the results you are looking for.  Keep that 3-7-27 rule in mind.  It takes 3 impressions for someone to recognize your name, 7 impressions to put your name with your business and 27 to become a ‘top of mind’ brand name in someone’s head.  So better to mail to 300 people ten times for example than to send one mailing of 3,000 if you want to build that awareness and trust.

Fact #11:  You’ll need to include a form (PS Form 3587) with your mailing that identifies the carrier routes, number of homes in the route, etc.  It’s a government form so – while it’s a little mind-boggling – it’s not too bad!  (And with our service we’ll even fill it out for you so no worries!)

Fact #12:  Your mailers have to be bundled and banded in groups of 100 and include a “facing slip” on each bundle.  So that’s not a lot of fun – but again – we do that for you if you like.  Besides – you’ve got to think about those delivery folks!  Can you image if you gave them one giant stack?  Yikes!

Fact #13:  If your best target market is actually in other cities or states, you can use Priority Mail® to ship your Every Door Direct Mail mailings to the Post Office in that area.  How cool is that?  This is especially helpful if you are working with vacation properties or investors.

Fact #14:  You have OPTIONS.  Whether you’re an all-hands-on-deck kind of person and want to do everything yourself or whether you just want to choose your mailing piece, pick your routes and have the rest all done for you – we’ve got a solution that works for you, your market and your budget.  Learn more about how Every Door Direct Mail – just click here!

Fact #15:  You don’t have to do it BY YOURSELF.  The truth is, this is an exciting and affordable opportunity to saturate a market with your message but there are variables, budgets and geographic areas to consider.  Sometimes (all right – most of the time) it’s good to have another person to help walk you through the process.  Our EDDM specialists have the experience and knowledge to do just that – just give them a call at 866.405.3638.  They’re happy to help. 

Hope that helps!  Happy marketing!

How to Add Ten Extra Transactions Per Year

By Todd Robertson

We know that for a lot of agents, prospecting is PAINFUL.  It’s also the one factor that will keep so many from succeeding.  Why?  They fear it rather than embracing that prospecting is just part of the process.  Every “no” brings you that much closer to a yes.  Every conversation brings you that much more involved in building a relationship with the people in your sphere and farm.

That brings us to the point of today’s article.  Hunting and farming.  There are really three ways you can drive business in real estate:

  1. Wait for it. How many agents do you know who are waiting for the phone to ring? Someone to walk through the door? Or a call from a sign or ad?  Certainly the least pro-active means of getting business and one that will never take you far in this business.
  2. Buy it. Some agents choose to buy the business, using internet leads, ads, and billboards – then Dominator-FRONT-LargeWAITING for them to generate interest.
  3. Put a system in place and actively prospecting. In a competitive market such as we have now, this is the only sure way to generate consistent results and income.

The best agents in the world want to get to the point where they do three things extraordinarily well and delegate most of the rest to others. Those two things are prospecting, going on appointments or presenting, and closing.  They also know to get to the top in their markets and stay there they have to be BOTH hunter and farmer.

Hunters aggressively, consistently seek new business and generate leads. They know how many contacts they have to make each and every day to hit the numbers that will take them closer to their goal. For some it might be five live connects with people per day. For others the number may be closer to ten or twenty.  That’s actively reaching out to people such as:

  • FSBOs
  • Expireds
  • Sphere of Influence
  • Business network

Farmers, by contrast, let a system do the work and consistently “touch” the folks in their geographic farm, asDominator-BACK-Large (1) well as their sphere with timely, direct response marketing tools every 21-45 days.  When that happens month after month after month, you create the kind of top-of-mind awareness that keeps your name at the forefront with people so that when someone IS ready to buy or sell or knows someone who is, it’s YOUR name they know to call.

What happens when you put a campaign in place, a system in place and never waiver from it, you create opportunities for additional business. You also have a better life, because you know you’ll have business and referrals coming in.

I know agents who are strictly hunters. They are always chasing new business and have never taken the time to cultivate a farm area. I can tell you for a fact that they lead more stressful lives.  They have no idea where the next deal is coming from, or when the next closing will be.  That’s a hard way to go and a tough way to earn a living.  Farmers can count on business coming in. And top agents? They know that their marketing engine, coupled with their hunting skills will generate the number of transactions they need to hit their goals.

The truth is less than 5% of agents own a 20% market share in their areas.  LESS than 5%! What that should mean to you is that there is a lot of opportunity in some geographic areas, or neighborhoods in your market that you should absolutely systematically reach out to starting now if you want to be the agent in your area to defy that statistic.

They key is to have a consistent system in place. That’s why agents love the Market Dominator system.  They don’t have to think about it, worry about it, or do anything. It’s all done for them.  They know every month a 12×15 marketing piece is sent out using Every Door Direct Mail, so that it literally gets in every single door in the geographic area they want to saturate and earn that 20% market share.  Knowing that their marketing is working on their behalf, generating that top of mind awareness, branding them in the market place, and creating opportunities for new business takes the stress off of them.  They put that piece of their business equation in our capable hands so they can then focus on doing those three things we talked about earlier – prospecting, presenting, and closing.

I’ll give you an example.  I got a call last week from a young lady who called and said, “Todd, I get it, I get it!”  I wasn’t sure what she was talking about until she explained that three months ago she got a Market Dominator in the mail and said she thought at the time – WOW, this agent is stepping up the game.  She didn’t think much of it though she shared, because most agents are “one and done” marketers.  Then she got another one. Then this month she got a third. She said, “That’s it – where do I sign up? This guy is taking my market share!”

The thing is that the Market Dominator is exclusive to the agent based on carrier routes.  So that agent will continue to take market share as long as they stay in the system.  She of course, chose another route and is on her way now to dominate a geo farm of her own.  We had another agent call as well who was farming an area, then stopped.  Another agent swept in, claimed that same farm area and started a consistent campaign and started, of course, generating the listings in that area.  The agent that quit was upset to lose ground, but realized that if he had stayed with it – those listings would have been his.  The truth is that results don’t usually ever come from the first “touch”. They happen when you consistently stay in the game, and usually well after the 5th, 6th, or even 10th contact. That’s why it’s important to have a campaign and system that you can count on to not lose momentum.  Left to our own devices sometimes, we get busy right?  We shift our focus. And the ball gets dropped.  Market Dominator customers don’t have to worry about that.  We do the heavy lifting. They focus on prospecting, presenting and closing.

If you’re ready to have a better life – I challenge you to be BOTH hunter and farmer.  As a hunter, make those weekly phone calls, reaching out to the folks in your market that can help you generate quick leads and listing opportunities.

As a farmer, I encourage you to put a system in place like the Market Dominator so that you are cultivating a geographic farm that will, in time, allow you to own a 20% or more market share that will indeed be worth five, ten, or more additional transactions to you per year.

If you want to learn more, give me a call at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.