It’s that time of year when small businesses traditionally perform the Q4 look back and look ahead. When compiling next year’s business plan, marketing will no doubt loom large.
Even if the oft-predicted recession doesn’t hit, if this last year wasn’t as profitable as you’d hoped, it’s time to get back to the tried-and-true and (yes, it sounds self-serving), direct mail deserves a spot in your marketing budget.
Why direct mail?
According to the latest CMO survey (a company that collects the opinions of top marketers), only 16.3 percent of marketers “are confident in their ability to justify social media investment.”
If professional marketers – folks who do marketing for a living – aren’t able to justify spending their clients’ money on social media, why are you?
Don’t listen to the hype.
Direct mail’s response rate, according to the DMA Response Rate Report, stands at 9 percent to warm leads and 5 percent to cold.
Email’s response rate? 1 percent to both. Online display ads are even worse, at 0.30 percent.
There are a bunch of reasons for direct mail’s effectiveness and you can learn more here.
How much of my real estate business budget should I allocate to marketing?
The annual business plan is a vital component of all businesses, most especially small ones. One of the most important aspects of yearly planning is to get clear on your revenue goals and objectives for the year and how you intend on meeting them.
This is where marketing and a marketing budget come into play. It’s the section of the business plan that many agents, especially new ones, find the most challenging.
Determine first how you’ll be marketing your real estate business next year. The most common marketing methods among agents include:
- Direct mail
As you can imagine, the costs for each type of marketing can range from the minimal to the budget-busting.
So, figure out your budget first and then choose your marketing methods. By the way, businesses spend, on average, 9.8 percent of revenue on marketing, according to the aforementioned CMO survey.
We see you wincing. But consider this: according to NAR, the budget item that agents spend the most money on every year is on their automobiles.
Cars aren’t exactly lead-generating machines, yet there you have it.
So, determine a percentage that you can feel comfortable with and commit to spending that solely on marketing.
3 tips to get the most bang for your direct mail buck
1. The List
For any marketing campaign to be successful you must know your audience. This is even more critical when you’re on a tight budget. Now is not the time to attempt to be all things to all people.
The easiest way to whittle down the audience is by figuring out if you want buyers or sellers. Make a choice.
This not only ensures that what you mail is relevant to the recipient, but helps you choose a farming area (subdivision vs apartment building, for instance).
Be very picky who you mail to. Throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks is a sure way to burn through your budget with nothing to show for the time and money spent.
2. The mail piece
After taking into account how many mail pieces your budget will allow you to send, it’s time to determine an economic format. Postcards are most likely your best bet. They’re inexpensive to print and to mail.
If your budget is super squeaky, consider foregoing postage costs and delivering door hangers. The advantages to using door hangers include that they stand out more (unlike mailed pieces which typically arrive in a stack of other mail) and because you’ll save on postage your list can be larger.
Disadvantages include the labor intensiveness of having to visit each home on your list. Also, door hangers aren’t quite as effective when used in neighborhoods where folks routinely enter their homes through the garage.
3. Offer something
Come up with a compelling offer and feature that on your direct mail piece. A free evaluation of home value is one idea or consider offering free staging to anyone who lists with you, an informative E-book with a snazzy title, or a free pre-listing home inspection.
The idea is to move recipients to act or, at the very least, hang on to your postcard until they’re ready to act.
Now (when your budget is tight) isn’t the time to take chances with marketing your real estate biz.
Jumping on time-consuming and costly social media bandwagons that don’t deliver your target audience or wasting money on email that won’t be opened, let alone read, can wait.
Send at least 100 Free Home Market Analysis postcards from the Free Offer Series to an area where you want more listings.
You might also like:
Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!
PLUS: When you have time…here are Free killer tools to help your success this year!
1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook
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3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan
The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here
4. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan
Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan. – Click Here
Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here