I moved in to a brand new town and county about four years ago. One of the first things I did was to start a direct mail marketing campaign to several nearby streets (over 100 homes). My goal was to let people know who I was, what I did for a living, and let them know I was available to assist with any type of real estate questions or concerns. They didn't need to be buying or selling in order to utilize my services. So my first few mailings were introductory and informational in nature. Then I started sending market trends and events guides on a regular basis, as well as other informational items. I've asked for email addresses as a way for them to obtain more current information, and I've offered free market analysis. Here's how this has worked for me:
Number of phone contacts from these mailings over the last four years: One. This one person did not want to use me for any real estate services but wanted me to advertise in his paper.
Number of people requesting free CMAs: Zero. No one ever took me up on my offers for "how much is your home worth" expertise.
Number of email addresses provided and/or number of emails sent to me: Zero. I have never received an email or email address from any of the homes on this local distribution list.
Name/face recognition as a result of ongoing mailings: Now, this to me was the most interesting. I always include my business card with the mailing (and/or put the same information on a letter or post card). Yesterday I attended a wonderful party thrown by neighbors of mine. At the party, I met a lovely couple who live on a road that I send materials to, so I asked them which house they lived in. They told me, and I said, "Oh, I'm a real estate agent and I send materials to your home - have you received them?" So here's the interesting part. At first, they didn't remember at all. So they saw my face, heard my name, and could not remember whether they ever received information. This is after they have received probably somewhere between 20-30 mailings from me which included my photo and name. To me this is most telling - if after 30 mailings, they don't remember my name and what I do, then when they needed real estate services, they wouldn't know to call me. We joked around a bit about my mailings, and then after talking more about the market, and neighbors who sold recently, and then talking about the fact that I was new in the area four years ago, that's when it kicked in. They remembered the first letter I sent. "That one we read!" They admitted to getting my information and glancing at it, and then dumping it.
This is all leading to my decision about the direct mail marketing I am using right now. This particular type of marketing is not working for me in this area. I send the same type of information to expired listings as part of a multi-prong expired approach and those materials DO result in calls and emails. But just sending to my neighborhood doesn't seem to be worth the money and effort. After this much time, there should have been a greater response and awareness rate.
Therefore, I am canceling the direct mail marketing to these particular homes. I will continue to market to expired listings, and to those homes in the neighborhood that seem to be preparing for sale (holding garage sales, doing a lot of unusual renovations/maintenance, etc). Those mailings turn into results; unfortunately, the wider mailings are simply not worth continuing.
And that's how direct mail marketing has been working for me!