Although real estate professionals are constantly presented with advice on how to effectively use the internet, social media, blogging, digital technology and other high-tech means of reaching potential business and turning it into sales, there’s an old tool that has not lost its effectiveness nor its importance: print marketing.
You might have the best web site, thousands of Facebook friends and the best smart phone with the most up-to-date software there is.
But, if you don’t have the solid backing of good brochures, flyers, direct mail pieces, promotional give-away products or print advertising, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
The most successful real estate agents in the country use a combined multi-channel approach that includes print marketing.
The reality is that not everyone is tech savvy and many people still want to hold something in their hands before they believe it’s really a deal.
Research shows that people remember what they see and touch much more than what they are told.
The Advertising Specialty Institute, for example, reports that 84 percent of Americans retain a company’s name when they receive a promotional item with the company’s logo, and that customers keep promotional products for almost six months on average.
But print pieces also have the potential for a superior rate of return over many of the online channels.
The Direct Mail Association reported in 2015 that direct mail achieves about a 3.7 percent response rate with a house list and a 1 percent response rate with a prospect list. All digital channels combined achieved less than 1 percent.
Print may be even more important today because there is so much noise online.
Online privacy company Abine says the average person received about 105 unwanted emails every day in 2013.
J. Walker Smith of Yankelovich said consumers in 1970 were exposed to about 500 marketing messages a day. Today, that number has climbed to about 5,000.
It's often that we have to wonder if our online messages are ever received. With a flyer or a postcard, we can almost guarantee at least one highly targeted impression.
With so much coming at people visually through the web, having a piece to hold and read when it is wanted or a calendar to hang holds its own value.
Print pieces go beyond an immediate marketing pitch to establish a relationship between the consumer and a brand. They are more permanent and lasting than a quick posting on social media.
As with all marketing channels, there are effective ways to use real estate print marketing.
Direct mail is one of the oldest forms of marketing because it works. It’s got stiff competition in the mailbox though.
Look for creative ways to capture attention. Can you offer knowledge about the best places to eat, give readers a list of places to enjoy nature?
Polish Your Message
If you’re sending out a direct mail piece, spend a few extra dollars on the words you use. That's your hook. Hire a professional copywriter if you can, because your piece is less likely to end up in the trash.
You also need to make sure your photography is top-notch. Postcards, brochures or periodic market reports create an impression that lasts a long time for recipients.
Go with a professional photographer. Avoid stock photos, people can see them coming a mile away.
If you are printing flyers, make sure your design is top notch. No one wants to get 20 of the same old flyers. Use this an opportunity to brand yourself and provide your value.
Include your logo, your contact information on every printed marketing piece for the properties that you show. As these pieces stay in the homes of your clients, you gain greater exposure to your brand when your client shows their new home to their friends and family.
Integrate Print Marketing With Other Channels
In this age of multimedia messaging, it’s important to weave everything you do into the tapestry of your marketing efforts. The same is true of print marketing pieces.
If you’re launching a mail campaign for homes in a particular area or running a print ad in a local newspaper, you should be supporting what you’re doing with what you say on social, your blog and website.
You must include your website, phone number and email address on every piece of print marketing. By drawing people back to the online world, you add potential clients to your sales funnel and begin using real estate email marketing to convert them into new buyers and sellers.
Use The Tools Available
The United States Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service is ideal for real estate professionals, because it allows agents on a tight budget to focus on a particular area.
There also are tools to use within direct mail pieces, printed brochures or property listings and print advertising that help you integrate your efforts.
Consider how you want your customer to contact you and be sure that you include any and all relevant contact information on your print pieces.
You can also improve your rate of return by finding creative ways to track response rates such as a special phone number on print ads or an alternate URL specific to a particular landing pages and track the traffic to that particular landing page through services like Google Analytics.
Print Marketing Isn't Dead
Because there’s a specific charge for a flyer, a direct mail piece or an ad as opposed to electronic channels, such as social media, people tend to feel they might be able to cut expenses by not using print.
People still want to hold that glossy postcard in their hands and take their time as they decide whether to act.