Internet Leads vs Direct Mail Leads: Which is the Winner?

Time For a Head-to-Head Comparison

When it comes to marketing for leads, diversifying across more than one advertising medium is never a bad idea. One form of marketing piggybacks on another creating a more powerful impact on your target audience.

However, with a limited budget, understanding which form of lead generation will provide you the best bang for your buck is just smart business sense.

With the continued growth of online lead generation companies, a new and seemingly endless supply of leads are now being made available for the busy agent.

However, agent reviews tell a different story. Many complain of bogus leads and feeling scammed, yet other agents sing their praises.

With good marketing dollars at stake, what’s an agent to believe? Time to take a deeper look at online lead generation versus the long-standing favorite direct mail lead generation. Let’s see if we can figure this out. 

Online Lead Generation

Online lead sites typically generate leads by using various forms of digital marketing to drive traffic to landing pages and websites. When new leads funnel in they’re pushed out to the paying agents.

The average monthly cost for these services starts at around $500. Now let’s look at what you are getting for this investment.

The upside: You’re putting your marketing dollars and more importantly your “time investment” in another’s hands. It is now their job to try and target the right audience, develop ads, launch campaigns and maintain them. You have just saved yourself a significant amount of time and effort (hurray!).

The downside: You are also effectively putting your “marketing message” in the hands of a third party. And hoping “their” message represents you in the right way to your potential audience. You’ve saved time, but you have also lost control over how your audience is marketed and what their user experience is like.

In addition, if a lead they furnish you has a bad experience with them, this bad experience is now attached to you as well (yikes!). Their reputation becomes your reputation through association.

Furthermore, you have no idea what journey your “lead” has been on up until the point they were handed to you. Which may be why many agent reviews about online leads convey such a degree of frustration and disappointment. When they actually reach out to the lead, they’re often confused about why they are calling or angry to receive a call from another agent.

Now let’s take the same $500 per month investment and spend it on a targeted direct mail campaign. 

Direct Mail Lead Generation

Let’s say your goal is to generate more listing inventory. So you select a specific, target market that you want to pursue – we’ll call it your “dream audience”. Now you create a targeted mailing list. This list includes a certain neighborhood zip code, specific home values, and maybe even years of ownership or possibly just renters.

Upside: For 100 targeted homes, your “dream audience” mailing list will be an investment of approximately $8.00, at 8 cents per record (yippy!).

Furthermore, you actually know where your lead came from (no 3rd party mystery). And you know that the people who “really want and need your help” are more likely to exist within this targeted group.

Now you choose a postcard to send your “dream audience” from a series that have been proven effective for “generating listing inventory” (designed by an advertising team with years of experience in real estate marketing). The investment to send 100 of these postcards to your “dream” mailing list is $95.00 (double yippy!).

Continued upside: For a total investment of $103 you put yourself in front of 100 of your potential “dream” clients. And you’ve given them powerful, compelling information about you that they can hold in their hand, put up on their refrigerator, or save for future reference. Hey, and guess what? You still have $397 dollars of your $500 monthly budget leftover.

Now that is powerful marketing!

But what about some facts?

Direct mail marketing sure sounds good based on the above analysis. However, as my mother used to say, “The proof is in the pudding” (meaning the proof is in the actual results).

Here are some statistics from the professionals who make a living out of scientifically studying marketing, the DMA (data and Marketing Association), InfoTrends, and International Communications Research.

  • Direct mail marketing outperforms digital marketing response rates by more than 700%.
  • The average ROI for direct mail is 15 -17%.
  • 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase.
  • 59% of U.S. respondents agreed with the following statement, “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”
  • 73% of consumers actually prefer snail mail over other advertising methods.
  • 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail.
  • People read postcards in greater numbers with a 3.9% year-over-year increase per a USPS Household Diary Study.


By actively controlling your marketing dollars and knowing the history of the potential client “lead” that you have paid hard-earned money to generate, you are comfortably situated in the driver’s seat.

Which, based on the above evidence, appears to be the right place for the best outcome. Outsourcing various tasks that are a part of your business so you have time to focus on what’s important is smart business.

However, there is nothing more important than making the right first impression with the right targeted audience.

And there is no one who can do that better than – YOU!

The time to get in the driver’s seat and take control of your marketing starts now.
Send the More Buyers Than Listings postcard from the Listing Inventory Series to 100 prospects in an area where you want more listings.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of sellers or buyers? 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 3 free ways we can help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 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

2. 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

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, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here  – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 🙂

Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

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.