Postcard templates are easy to use. Select a template, plug in your
personal information, and maybe a photo, and you're good to go. But
wait a second -
all isn't as good as it seems. Read more below...
What Real Estate Postcard Companies Won't Tell You (But Should)
By Brandon Cornett
After working for two postcard printing companies (and dealing with many more), I've learned quite a bit about the challenges real estate marketers face when using direct mail postcards. I've also learned the best practices of real estate postcard marketing, the kinds of techniques that can increase your response rates.
The problem is, many of these challenges and best practices do not get communicated to the individual real estate agent using the postcards. It's not that the postcard marketing companies are being deceitful. It's just not in their best interest to share certain facts of postcard marketing with their real estate customers.
So I would like to fill that educational void. I'm sharing this information to give you a realistic picture of real estate postcard marketing today, and also so you'll know how to get the best possible return on your postcard investment.
Here are three things real estate postcard companies won't tell you (but probably should):
1. Postcard Marketing is Hard
You may be under the impression that marketing with real estate postcards is easy. After all, you just fill in the postcard template with your information, have the postcard company print them and blanket the area with your message, and then sit back to watch the leads roll in? Right? Wrong. If it were that easy, every agent who ever used real estate marketing postcards would be a success story. But clearly that's not the case.
Real estate postcard marketing is not a simple, one-size-fits-all approach. It's a numbers game, a game of attrition. The more mistakes you make along the way, the lower your end numbers (responses) will be. If you don't optimize every aspect of your real estate postcard campaign -- from the initial idea to the final offer -- you will probably be disappointed with the results. The problem is, most real estate postcard companies cannot offer their customers the individual attention needed to maximize their results. After all, they have logistical limitations. With a dozen or so staff and thousands of customers, how could they offer such individual attention?
So, you'll have to educate yourself about the many aspects of real estate postcard marketing. You can arm yourself with this knowledge before you even approach a postcard printing company. That way, you can bring the marketing strategy, and let the postcard printer do what their best at (printing and mailing your postcards).
2. Bad Mailings Do Not Get Better With Time
"Be patient and persistent. Success will come after a few mailings." If I had a dollar for every time I witnessed a postcard company use this line, I could pay off my mortgage. Well, almost. Some postcard companies will tell you that a failed postcard mailing (one that produces zero responses) will get better with time and repetition. They'll convince you that you're staying "top of mind" with your audience, and that eventually these people will wake up to your message and contact you.
Sorry, but that's not likely.
It is extremely rare that a weak postcard mailing gets better simply by repeating it. Repetition is not a cure for a bad postcard campaign. Usually, it will remain a failure, no matter how many times you repeat it. But here's the good news. If you start off with the best practices of postcard marketing, and adapt them for real estate purposes, you will enjoy good response rates from the beginning.
A postcard mailing that produces zero results should never be repeated. If you repeat such a mailing, you are wasting time and money. Such a mailing should be modified until it does produce results. Then it can be repeated (and tested, adjusted, optimized, tested again, and so on).
3. Templates are Usually Less Effective Than Original Postcards
Sure, real estate postcard templates are easy to use. You just select a template, plug in your name and photo, and you're off to the races. Right? But here's the problem with postcard templates (and you'll realize the logic of this after I explain it). When you use a real estate postcard template, you are making your postcard look like every other real estate postcard. That's exactly what templates are -- a stock layout used by many people.
Now ask yourself this: "If my postcards look like those of other real estate agents, what happens to my ability to stand out?" You already know the answer. It kills your ability to stand out!
In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, marketing expert Seth Godin uses the analogy of brown cows. Brown cows are certainly not unique. They are everywhere. And as a result of their common appearance, people hardly notice brown cows. But what if you passed a purple cow standing in a field? You'd notice that cow, wouldn't you? That's because a purple cow is remarkable. It stands out and generates buzz.
Real estate postcard templates will not get you a purple cow. They produce brown cows, the kind of thing that's common to the point of being invisible.
* You may republish this article online (unaltered), if you retain the author's byline and the active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.
About the Author
In his book on real estate marketing postcards, author Brandon Cornett shows you how to transform your real estate postcards from "brown cow" commonality to "purple cow" uniqueness. If you'd like to learn the best practices of postcard marketing mentioned in this article, download your copy of the e-book at http://www.realestatepostcardbook.com
"Postcard Templates can make designing your own fun."