What is the Best Way to Experience Success Using a Direct Mail Postcard Campaign?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

What is the Best Way to Experience Success Using a Direct Mail Postcard Campaign?

Direct MailI am in the process of implementing a direct mail postcard campaign to expired listings. I have read every single post Barbara Todaro has written on her success using direct mail postcards. However, I wanted to know what types of success or failure others are having using direct mail postcards.

First, I'd like to share a story of a fellow agent who used direct mail postcards. For the purpose of this post, let's call this agent Jane.

Jane had been in the real estate business for two years. She was single and real estate was her sole support. Jane wasn't much for cold-calling expired listings or FSBOs. She wanted something that didn't require her calling people she didn't know. Jane lived in a neighborhood that attracted first-time home buyers and had a high turnover rate. She decided to implement a direct mail postcard campaign.

Jane didn't want to have to create the mailings. Instead, she chose a 4x6 recipe card program that would go out every month. Jane didn't even have to pick the recipe. She picked the series and they were mailed religiously every month to 500 homes in her neighborhood.

After 12 months and $4,000, Jane still had not received any business from her mailings. She seriously considered discontinuing but decided to give it another 6 months.

After 18 months and 9,000 mailed postcards, Jane got her first call to list a home in her neighborhood. The commission on that first listing wasn't even enough to cover the cost of the postcards after her broker took his share. But a week later, she got another call to list. By the end of that year, Jane had listed and sold 20 homes in her neighborhood.

Jane continues to mail postcards to this neighborhood, even though, she no longer lives there. During the economic downturn, the listings she received from these mailings were enough to sustain her. Last year, 65 percent of her business came from listings in this neighborhood.

I don't think Jane's success rate is typical. Most agents tell me their success rate with mailings is about 1 percent.

I am seeking advice from my fellow ActiveRain friends. Here are my questions:

  1. Have you had success using a direct mail postcard campaign? If so, what is your return on investment?
  2. Do you create your mailings or use a program like Jane's? If so, which program do you use?
  3. Do you market to a specific neighborhood, niche or price point?
  4. Share your best direct mail story.

I believe that the entire membership can benefit from this information. I'm sure we all want to know what is the best way to experience success using a direct mail postcard campaign?

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

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Christina Sanchez Hood
Palo Alto, CA
#SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living

Tammie, I am in your shoes right now, so I don't have an answer, only questions similar to yours.  I have bookmarked your post and look forward to coming back to read the updates.  Thanks for posing the question.

Jan 25, 2013 01:52 PM #1
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great q's, Tammie.  I suggested so that more people can provide input.

Personally, for my market, direct mail is not efficient.  But, if you are going to do/try direct mail, I think there are a a few keys.   First, repetition and time are key...most people are not ready to sell NOW...but many will be ready over a longer period of time.  Second, targeting is key - who is the target, who does it go to and what is the targeted message.

Jan 25, 2013 07:05 PM #2
Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

I have never been a fan of the recipe card. Our area is too sophisticated for them. What I hear you saying is it wasnt so much the card but the fact that Jane stayed with them and did not give up. The consistantly of her name on a card and then the sale signs going up is what brought her success. Her direct mail campaign and Barbara's are different than what you are planning which is expired's. With that said you may want to rethink the how of targeting expired's.


Jan 25, 2013 11:44 PM #3
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Christina - Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we're going to get much response here.

Debbie - Thanks. I agree that consistency is the key.

Martha - I didn't like the recipe card idea either. That isn't what I would do. Maybe that's why it took so long for Jane to get her first listing.

Jan 26, 2013 12:41 PM #4
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Tammie, nice story. Barbara Todaro seems to be an expert on this. You'll just  have to be persistent and target the right audience and everything will follow. Wishing you all the best. Stay the best Franklin TN short sale agent.

Jan 28, 2013 05:04 AM #5
Erika Rogers
Red Rock Real Estate ~ Southern Utah's Largest Independent Brokerage - Saint George, UT
St George Utah Real Estate & Relocation Specialist

Great post Tammie. Consistency is really the key to success in all kinds of business out there. Hope you find the right groove for you. Continue being the number one Franklin TN short sale agent of choice.

Jan 28, 2013 06:57 AM #6
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

Hi Tammie, I may not be much of an help for your questions but I hope everythings turns out fine with your plans. Wishing you all the best. Stay being the finest Franklin TN short sale agent.

Jan 28, 2013 07:04 AM #7
Bas Panch
SCV Home Buyer - Valencia, CA

Very interesting post Tammie. Being a top notch Franklin TN short sale agent, you'll always find success at the end of the day. Best of luck!

Jan 28, 2013 07:09 AM #8
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Tammie, today must be a Tammie Day.

I have success with my Direct marketing campaign. Much to Barbara's persistance.

Calling you.

Jan 29, 2013 12:02 AM #9
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Katerina - Thanks.

Erika - I agree consistency is the key.

Petra - I was hoping to get a better response so we could all learn from it.

Loreena - I would welcome your input.

Jan 29, 2013 12:33 AM #10
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