The elements of a successful real estate direct mail campaign

    The direct mail revival is well underway and if you’re toying with the idea of participating, remember the old “40/40/20 Rule”

    • 40% of a successful campaign depends on the quality of the mailing list
    • 40% depends on what you offer
    • 20% depends on the quality of the message and the actual piece you mail out.

    Read on to learn how to start a real estate direct mail campaign in 5 easy steps. 

    1. Use the right mailing list

    Reaching the right people at the right time is key to the success of any type of marketing, including direct mail. Choosing the people who populate your mailing list is your first job.

    To decide who goes on the list, determine your purpose with each direct mail campaign. Are you trying to build brand awareness in a farm area? Generate leads? Buyer or seller leads?

    It’s critical to determine your “why” before doing anything else. “Why am I conducting a direct mail campaign? Who do I want to reach?”

    Then, laser focus your list to that audience using our targeted mailing list search tools.

    The Ready to Own postcard is available in the Postcard Section under the First-Time-Buyer Series

    Suppose you want buyer leads from a particular subdivision. Sure, homeowners may be thinking of moving, but it’s more likely that those currently renting are the best prospects. You’ll need to find the homes in the subdivision owned by absentee owners, but target the tenants living in them.

    2. Determine what you want them to do

    You may think this is as easy as “Well, duh, I want them to buy or sell real estate.”

    But it’s not that simple.

    The second “40” in the 40/40/20 Rule refers to your offer, the second most important aspect of a successful direct mail campaign.

    Retailers have an easier time with this one. Offering 20 percent off a product, free shipping or buy-one, get-one-free are all popular.

    What about real estate agents? What can you offer that might compel a recipient of their postcards to act?

    • Free e-book on buying or selling a home
    • A list of down payment assistance options (national, statewide and regional)
    • Free reports, such as “How to Buy a Home with a Low Credit Score,” “From Tenant to Homeowner” or “Buy a Home with No Money Down” (all about the VA and USDA loans).
    • Free list of homes for sale under a certain dollar amount.

      The Free List of Homes postcard is available in the Postcard Section under the Free Offer Series.

    If you offer enticing seller services, such as free home staging or a free pre-sale home inspection, by all means, play that up as your offer.

    If you don’t offer free services, consider choosing one to use as your offer just for the direct mail campaign.

    Keep in mind, however, that the number of hoops you force them to jump through to take advantage of the offer impacts the response rate, according to Bob McCarthy at

    The more they have to do, the lower the response rate.

    3. Direct mail piece design

    “One strategy we use to get our highest response rates is to make the offer the centerpiece of the mail package, McCarthy claims.

    Whether you choose to include an actual photograph of the Ebook or special report (or whatever it is on offer) or use text to describe it, mention it boldly and repeatedly.

    Your message (its length and graphic requirements) will determine the medium. Keeping it plain and simple? A standard-sized postcard may do the trick.

    If it’s graphics-heavy and you’ll include substantial copy, consider using one of the larger postcard sizes (view them here).

    Choose a font that’s easy to scan as folks sift through their mail. Many direct mail experts recommend using a sans serif font, such as Arial, rather than Times New Roman or another serif font.

    Consider varying the font size throughout the text, with more important items highlighted with a larger version of the chosen font.

    Additional design tips to keep in mind include:

    • Ensure your headline is bold and compelling yet short and specific.
    • Use lots of white space to make the piece appear to be easily digestible.
    • Sub-headings help guide the reader through the text.
    • Use a high-resolution photograph.
    • Avoid placing text over photos.
    • Ensure that your offer stands out and that your contact information is easy to find.
    4. Send it out . . . and keep sending

    Naturally, you’ll want to use ProspectsPLUS! for your direct mail campaign piece printing and mailing. With next-day printing and mailing, you can’t go wrong.

    Then, there’s the follow-up – you know, that place where the “fortune” is.

    While there’s no rule as to how often to mail to your list, consistency is key, whether you choose to run your campaign monthly or quarterly.

    Market conditions may prompt a change in frequency as well. New listings and just sold-homes in the area and other real estate news deserves a “touch” of everyone in your farm area.

    5. Track your results

    Tracking your results is vital to your direct mail campaign. One of the most popular methods used by agents is the creation of a dedicated landing page on their websites. The URL should be unique to the campaign so that you’ll be able to learn your exact response rate (number of responses divided by the total number of pieces sent).

    The response rate you can expect depends on how well you’ve carried out the aforementioned objectives. Marketing experts are all over the map when quoting an “average response rate, from 0.5 percent to 5 percent.

    With the holidays coming up, now is the perfect time to plan an execute a 2020 real estate direct mail campaign.

    We’re here to help.

    Download the Chop Your Mortgage Free Report and add it as an offer to all of your marketing (email, direct mail, website).
    Keep this report on hand for open houses and for your listing presentions folder.

    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 

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here


    2. “Get More Listings” Free Online Webinar

    “Get MORE Listings & Begin to Dominate Your Market!” Free online webinar. Learn the 3-7-27 strategy for explosive growth, why 95% of agents have less than 20% market share, and how to become the agent everyone competes against. – Click Here


    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


    5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

    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





    Lisa Gray
    Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.