Common Challenges When Using Real Estate Farming Postcards
Welcome to the Real Estate Postcard Book blog. I am in the process of turning my direct mail e-book into a website, one blog post at a time. Here is today's entry.
In a previous post, I introduced the Pyramid of Postcard Success. The concept behind the pyramid is simple. The majority of real estate agents are using ineffective farming postcards. They are at the base of the pyramid. That’s why the base is so much wider than the apex, where the top performers reside. So the goal is to climb toward the apex, and you would do this by improving the response rate of your real estate farming postcards.
Before you can fix something, you have to know how it’s broken. So in this post, I’d like to talk about three of the most common problems agents have with their real estate farming postcards. Again, this is not conjecture or speculation. This is based on what I’ve seen working in the direct mail industry over the years.
Here are three things the “base” agents usually have in common:
- Over-reliance on technology
- Over-reliance on weak offers
- Over-reliance on vendors
If you can correct (or avoid) these three problems, you’ll enjoy greater success with your real estate farming postcards. So let’s talk about each one in particular.
Problem #1 — Over-Reliance on Technology
Technology alone will not generate any leads for you. Nor will it produce a greater response to your farming postcards. It’s a tool, and nothing more. A postcard company may brag about the cutting-edge technology it uses to print and mail your postcards. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into a more successful postcard.
In order to generate a good response, a real estate postcard needs to convey value to the reader. Normally, this value comes from your ability to sell a person’s house quickly, or to help a buyer find a house with minimal hassle. After all, these are the primary benefits real estate agents provide to their clients.
Technology can help you deliver this message. But it can’t create the message for you. The same goes for other types of technologies, such as those used to create websites. If you rely too heavily on technology, to the point of neglecting your message, your marketing campaign will suffer. As I continue converting the Real Estate Postcard Book into a blog, I’ll offer a wealth of strategies for improving your direct mail message.
Problem #2 — Over-Reliance on Weak Offers
Are you using the “no-obligation consultation” as the primary offer on your farming postcards? If so, you’ll have a hard time generating a good response. In fact, you will probably spend more money on postcard mailings than you’ll earn through eventual commissions. Why? Because the consultation is not a strong offer. It’s a relic of the pre-Internet marketing era, when people had to rely on real estate agents for market information. Those days are gone.
Today, people have a wealth of information at their fingertips. As a result, their expectations have changed. Your prospects expect a free consultation, and they know they’re going to get one … if not from you, then from some other agent.
What you have to remember is that you’re not the only agent sending real estate farming postcards in your area. Most homeowners and home buyers have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of these direct mail pieces over the years. And most of these postcards follow the exact same formula. They have a certain sameness that makes them all blend together. There’s a picture of the agent. There’s an empty statement about superior customer service. And then there’s the “offer” of a no-obligation consultation.
To follow this formula is sheer folly. You have no chance of breaking out from the masses if you are the masses. If you want to generate a better-than-average response rate for your real estate farming postcard, you must create a stronger and more unique offer. You must be better than average, in every aspect of your marketing campaigns.
We will discuss this at length as the book continues to unfold onto the website.
Problem #3 — Over-Reliance on Vendors
Postcard printing companies can simplify your marketing program. I know this firsthand, because I’ve worked for two of them. You can outsource nearly every aspect of your postcard farming campaign to these companies. But you shouldn’t outsource the message, the idea, or the strategy behind your marketing program. These companies specialize in printing and mailing postcards to a list that you provide. That’s what they’re good at. But they don’t specialize in real estate marketing. Not in my experience, anyway.
This is why I also discourage you from using postcard templates with “plug-and-go” messaging. By their very nature, templates are built around the concept of sameness. If you use them, your farming postcards will look like most others. How do you get your message to stand out if it looks just like all the others? The most successful real estate postcards are those that strive for uniqueness. For one thing, they are built around a strong offer that is specific to the recipients. Secondly, they are written and designed in a way that makes them stand out from all the rest. You can’t achieve this level of success by using templates.
There’s another aspect of postcard printing companies you should know about. It has to do with the frequency of your mailings. These companies often preach the virtues of repetition. Keep sending those farming postcards, they say, and you’ll eventually start seeing positive results.
But this is a half-truth. If you keep sending an effective postcard, it will eventually start producing leads for you. But a bad mailer is a bad mailer, no matter how many times you send it out. Repetition won’t change that. These companies want you to believe that repetition can make up for a weak message. After all, it’s in their financial interest to have you believe this.
The bottom line is this: You should only repeat the postcard mailings that are working for you. If you send 1,000 real estate farming postcards but don’t get a single response, there is something wrong with the campaign. Sending another campaign would be a waste of money. You need to try another strategy, or get help from a professional marketing consultant.
Questions About Real Estate Farming Postcards?
Do you have questions about using real estate farming postcards as part of a broader marketing campaign? Feel free to send me your questions by email. If your question hasn’t been previously answered on the blog, I’ll answer it in the form of a blog post. You can also leave a comment about this particular article by using the box provided below.