If you send prospecting letters...

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

If you send prospecting letters…

Do you use postal mail or email?

This week a real estate agent who had purchased some of my real estate prospecting letters called to askquestion marks whether she should send them by postal mail or email.

I told her that I hadn’t heard from any agents who had done a split test on that, so I couldn’t give her any statistics.

However, I did have some thoughts on it.

If the list is cold, then postal mail is the way to go. If you get a list of email addresses and just begin mailing to them, you can be labeled a spammer and get into a world of hurt. Plus, instead of making a good impression, you’re apt to be making a poor one.

However, if you choose to put a capture box on your website and invite visitors to opt in, then email is obviously less expensive. You can also email to anyone who has given you permission in any other way.

I also told her that I thought it was a good idea to mix it up. Some people will be more responsive to email and others will be more likely to read their postal mail. Some will read a letter over a post card and some will do the opposite.

If you prospect, what do you do?

Have you done any split tests to see which is more effective? If so, what were the results?

I’d love to pass this knowledge on to my customers, so – please share!

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Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sally K. & David L. Hanson I think both is a good thing, as it gets you in front of people with different reading preferences.

Carol Williams That's my thought, too.

Nov 12, 2018 11:48 AM #6
Ambassador
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Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I don't even open those solictation letters. I will come closer to glancing an unsolicited email though.

Nov 14, 2018 05:05 PM #7
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debbie Reynolds For me it depends upon the mood I'm in - and whether the return address / from line is a topic that interests me. I get a LOT of stuff that makes me wonder how in the heck I got on their list. Plumbing tools, drip irrigation for farms, weight loss? (I need to gain, not lose.)

Nov 14, 2018 06:21 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,426,397
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I would try both.

I have had people keep letters I sent in the US Mail and then call me a long time later. But I suspect most people just throw out mail they receive if it looks like "junk" mail. Email is certainly easier/faster to do . 

I've never done a test though of the effectiveness of both methods.

Nov 17, 2018 03:16 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,198,024
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Marte Cliff - I mix it up, I send postcards and I have two separate email contact lists I use from prior visits to my website. 

Nov 17, 2018 06:18 AM #10
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kat Palmiotti Some people do keep letters, especially if they think they might want the information in the future. I got a call several years after I let my license go. A man had found my letter in his Father's papers and wanted to know if I could help sell his river lot.

 

Nov 17, 2018 07:20 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® Two lists - or more - is a good idea. Buyers, sellers, and then those divided further into niches. Software makes it easy to do.

Nov 17, 2018 07:22 AM #12
Rainmaker
3,794,468
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Marte Cliff,

I say do both..sometimes I get responses from the emails other times it is from the mail....mix it up in my mind is the way to go!

Nov 17, 2018 01:51 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR - simply because different people have different preferences. And... sometimes the same people have different preferences at different times.

Nov 17, 2018 01:56 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,542,866
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Marte, I only email those who I've had some sort of contact with already. Postal mail would be my first choice, but I'd love to hear your findings when you hear back from others.

Nov 18, 2018 07:20 AM #15
Ambassador
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I have used both but for different groups and purposes, so I can't say I have a good test. I would think it would vary quite a bit depending on the actual audience, and perhaps what you are sending. I like to do more postal mail with my sphere, but again it varies by topic.

Jeff

Nov 18, 2018 10:03 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Mike Cooper - It looks to me like most agree with me that it's a good idea to mix things up a bit.

Jeff Dowler, CRS - That makes sense to me too. Knowing your audience gives you a big advantage.

Nov 18, 2018 11:37 AM #17
Rainmaker
164,374
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hi Marte, I collected the names and email addresses of luxury builders in the top metro areas nationwide about 2 years ago.  There were about 900.  I put together a nice email showing photos, relating experience, specifying services, offering a special offer, etc.    I had a ZERO response except for two or three builders here in Orlando.  I sent out a second blitz to just the local market here.  Again only one or two responses.  I just sent a marketing brochure in the mail 7 days ago.  Nothing yet.  I am going to take my own advice and go to local sites under construction and try to meet the builders in person.  I will let you know how that goes.

Nov 18, 2018 12:09 PM #18
Rainer
282,121
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Multivariate marketing is better with analytics to A/B test. Some suspects will surprise you by opting out after many months of opening your email. What I do, is send them a personal letter or email asking them if it was a mistake and to apologize while asking what caused them to unsubscribe. Learning every day about consumers for the past 20 years is challenging.

Nov 21, 2018 07:03 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John Henry - the direct marketing people who track such things say there's only a chance of less than 1% response on a first mailing to a cold list. If you want response, 5 "touches" is the minimum and by 12 touches you should get the maximum response that you're going to get. So don't give up - just keep reaching out to the same people over and over again.

 

 

Nov 21, 2018 04:18 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Ron Aguilar - but still... learning every day is a darned good idea! I think writing to the unsubscribes is a good idea.

Nov 21, 2018 04:19 PM #21
Rainer
441,080
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Marte, For us it is First Class USPS or nothing.  I would never email a potential client unless I had had contact with them previously and they had given me their email.

Of course, it requires a constant update of addresses in my database - usually done thru county records.

Nov 21, 2018 08:26 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John Dotson If you have a capture form on your website, the email address may be all you have - and by opting in they have given you permission. I agree that I would never buy an email list and mail without permission.

Nov 21, 2018 10:05 PM #31
Ambassador
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I do both - I send out a monthly email newsletter but, only to my sphere/past clients/current clients - nothing spammy at all. I do get emails back (typically from the same people), thanking me, checking in with me or saying that one of the articles hit home with them that month. 

For Thanksgiving, instead of sending out cards, I sent out a letter from the heart. I actually had a call on Wednesday from one of the letters I sent, asking me if I could meet today to discuss selling their home. I did and while I was there, she talked to me about the letter she had received on Tuesday, which is what prompted the call to meet and list their home. I've already recieved at least a dozen texts or calls about that letter this month. I have some great stories about those letters.

I think many agents think that their clients don't want to know them at all but, the personal touch really does make a difference in my market.

Hope you have a great weekend, Marte! 

Nov 23, 2018 11:05 PM #32
Rainmaker
1,529,905
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree with you Debe Maxwell, CRS. I think people do want to know who you are when you're not at work.

I always encourage agents to add a little bit of personal information to their bios so that people reading it can find some small connection to them. Maybe it's a past job, where they went to college, where they grew up, their hobbies or volunteer activities, or the fact that they love cats, dogs, or horses.

Back when I was a broker I wrote a monthly newsletter. Sometimes we were late getting it written, printed, addressed, and in the mail - and I'd get phone calls asking why it hadn't arrived yet.

When I come across one of those old copies I cringe a bit at how amateurish they looked - just black and white print on legal size paper - but people read them.

One thing I did that was a bit different - I left a small space for a personal note on each one. It might be something as simple as "Catching any fish?" or "How's that new puppy?"  but it made them know that we thought of them as more than a name on a list.

Nov 24, 2018 10:09 AM #33
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