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Is Direct Mail an Effective Marketing Strategy in Real Estate?

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A pile of mail delivered to a property. Is real estate direct mail still effective for realtors and property investors nowadays?  

Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Direct Mail 

Before the internet, direct mail was the No. 1 marketing technique for real estate professionals. However, new technologies like email and social media soon replaced real estate mailers as the preferred method for generating leads and increasing awareness. Research from 2019 reveals that while direct mail had an average response rate of 4.4 percent (compared to 0.12 percent for email), it only generated an investment return of $7 (compared to $28.50 for email). Because of this, many realtors and investors have shunned mailers for real estate to focus on digital marketing strategies.

While direct mail pieces have declined in popularity, these marketing materials can still prove valuable for professionals in specific instances. Of course, having access to the right data can make your outreach efforts more successful. Read more about the pros and cons of real estate mailers below. 

The Cons of Real Estate Mailers 

Realtors and investors might be reluctant to invest in direct mail for the following reasons.

Direct Mailers Cost More Money Than Digital Technologies

One of the reasons direct mail might generate a lower investment return than digital technologies is the cost of printing real estate mailers. A direct mail piece can cost a realtor or investor anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, depending on its design and material. Then there’s the cost of labor to deliver mailers for real estate to homes in a specific area. 

Digital technologies like email don’t have printing or delivery costs, making them a more cost-effective solution for professionals. You will need to factor the cost of direct mail into your marketing budget and decide whether it’s a good option for your business. 

Consumers Are Wary of Direct Mail

Unfortunately, direct mail has garnered a bad reputation over recent years, with many consumers perceiving it as “junk mail.” Research shows that 70 percent of people hate the unsolicited mail that winds up in their mailbox—although 27 percent say it doesn’t bother them!—even though this mail supports local businesses and lowers postage rates. 

The average household receives 20-40 pounds of unsolicited mail every year, and much of it ends up in the trash. Some professionals, however, still generate good response rates from direct mailers by creating pieces with eye-catching designs that stand out from other mail pieces. Direct mailers in oversized envelopes have an average response rate of 5 percent. 

Direct Mail Isn’t as Instantaneous as Other Marketing Methods

Say, as a realtor, you want to advertise an upcoming open house. You create direct mailers for every home in that neighborhood with the date and time of the event. By the time USPS delivers your mail pieces, the open house might have already happened, resulting in wasted time and printing costs.

Direct mail isn’t as instantaneous as digital marketing methods like email and social media. However, many realtors solve this problem by using real estate direct mail to convince homeowners to contact them for a valuation or raise awareness about their business rather than promote time-sensitive events. 

The Benefits of Real Estate Mailers 

Despite these drawbacks, real estate direct mail pieces can still prove incredibly valuable for professionals. 

Consumers are Likely to Read/Scan Direct Mail 

Research shows that over 42 percent of consumers read or scan direct mail. (Only 23 percent of consumers say they don’t read direct mail.) This encouraging statistic suggests that businesses like yours can still make an impact with direct mail pieces. At the very least, nearly half of all recipients will look at your mail rather than ignore it. 

After grabbing consumers’ attention with a direct mail piece, you can increase response rates by sending follow-up mailers for real estate and keeping your business in the minds of potential customers.  

Target Older Consumers

Consumers over 65 are more likely to want to receive direct mail than any other age group. This demographic is more comfortable receiving items in the mail as they remember when direct mailers were popular. Older consumers are also less likely to respond to email and other digital marketing methods, making direct mail an effective way to target these customers. 

Tip: You should use direct mail to target specific audiences like older consumers and digital marketing methods to reach out to other demographics. This omnichannel marketing approach can help you increase awareness about your services and grow your business. 

Stand Out From Your Competition

Fewer businesses use direct mail to target consumers nowadays. The United States Postal Office received 66.2 billion direct mail pieces in 2021—down from 103.5 billion in 2007. With fewer direct mail pieces in circulation, you can stand out from the competition by investing in this marketing method. Your real estate direct mail piece might be the only one a consumer receives in a significant time period, making your marketing campaign extremely effective. 

Final Word

Using mailers for real estate has pros and cons. This marketing method isn’t as instantaneous as digital technologies, can incur expensive printing and mailing costs, and consumers don’t always want to receive unsolicited communications. However, real estate direct mail can still make an impact, target older homebuyers, and help you stand out from the competition. Deciding whether to incorporate direct mail into business depends on your budget, target audience, and overall marketing strategy. 

Use a tool like ProspectNow to source the information required for your real estate direct mail campaigns! You can find properties expected to sell in the next 12-18 months and target owners with direct marketing messages about your real estate business. 

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