Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Real Estate Postcard Marketing - 3 Fundamental Flaws to Avoid

In my experience with real estate postcard marketing, and in dealing with agents who use real estate postcards, I would put most postcard problems under the following three categories:

1. Over-reliance on technology

2. Over-reliance on weak offers

3. Over-reliance on vendors

Some agents experience one of these postcard marketing flaws, while other are afflicted by all three at once. To avoid these flaws altogether -- and to create the kind of real estate postcards that generate a strong response -- we have to examine each flaw in turn:

Postcard Marketing Flaw #1- Over-Reliance on Technology

You first need to realize that technology alone won't lead you to real estate postcard marketing success. If it were that easy, most agents would enjoy record-breaking responses from their postcard mailings. Obviously that's not the case.

Believe it or not, technology is the most straightforward part of the real estate postcard equation. A postcard marketing service can handle all of the technology for you. But there's the rub. Technology can help you deliver a powerful message, but it cannot create that message in the first place. That's your job. Your real estate postcard message, and everything that brings it to life, must begin with you.

Here's a prediction for you. I predict your prospective customers will never use the following phrase: "Well, the message is a little unclear ... and I'm confused about what exactly I'm supposed to do ... and come to think of it, there's no mention of what's in it for me. But this postcard sure is unique, so let me pick up the phone and call right away!"

Postcard Marketing Flaw #2 - Over-Reliance on Weak Offers

Does this line sound familiar? "Call today for a free consultation." Or how about the wordier version: "Call today for a no-obligation consultation."

I'm betting it does sound familiar. Because while working in the postcard marketing industry, I saw those words on more real estate postcards than I could count. That's the first thing wrong with the free consultation -- it's overused, and it has been for years.

Here's what else is wrong with it. Your prospects expect a free consultation, and they know they're going to get one ... if not from you, then from some other agent.

There's one final problem with the free consultation. Much of the information you'll share during the consultation can be found on the Internet, if you know where to look. And believe me, your prospects know where to look!

Here's the bottom line. A real estate postcard cannot rely on the "no-obligation consultation" as its primary offer or incentive. It will not spur anyone to act.

You Must Be Different to Be Better

Many agents use the same formula when creating their real estate postcards. I call it "mediocrity in three parts." The first part is the agent's photo, the second part is the carbon-copy message, and the third part is the "call today for a no-obligation consultation."

If your real estate postcards follows this pattern, then your postcards match what 85% of your competitors are doing. What, then, sets you apart from the rest? How have you differentiated your services from those of your competitors? Why should your prospects choose you?

Or to state it differently...

Commonality + Overexposure = Invisibility

Your real estate postcards must set you apart from the masses and position you above them. That's the only way to climb the pyramid of postcard marketing success.

Postcard Marketing Flaw #3 - Over-Reliance on Vendors

Postcard marketing vendors can certainly make your life easier. I know, because I've worked for a couple of them. But you shouldn't let a vendor run your postcard marketing program completely. Such vendors are expert at handling the logistics of printing and mailing. But it's unlikely they are real estate marketing experts as well. Trust postcard companies with the logistics -- develop the strategy yourself.

Also keep in mind that postcard marketing is like any other industry in that you'll find a wide variety of vendors. Some of them will truly care about your success. Others just want you to mail a lot of postcards and spend a lot of money, regardless of your success.

I read a lot of postcard marketing articles written by postcard companies, and many of them seem to be saying the same thing:

"Send lots and lots of postcards, and don't question the fact that people aren't responding. Just keep doing it."

These vendors will get you all pumped up with the notion of persistence. They'll have you thinking, "Well, that last mailing didn't produce anything. But they're the experts, and they say I should keep repeating the process."

Translation: "Keep spending money with us, regardless of the fact that you're not generating anything in return. Keep mailing those real estate postcards. Be patient. Don't ask questions. Just keep mailing ... and spending."

In postcard marketing, repetition does help. But it's not a magic cure. The key is to repeat the mailings that work, not just the mailings in general. A failure repeated many times rarely becomes a success.

Focus on building a response-generating postcard before you do anything else. When a postcard generates leads, it can then be repeated (and improved upon). But don't repeat a real estate postcard strategy that fails just because a vendor tells you to. They stand to gain in such scenarios -- you do not.

No postcard marketing company will care about your success as much as you care about it. Seek their advice, sure, but always remember that they make money from the number of postcards printed and mailed, not the number of responses you get.

Good luck with your real estate marketing.

* Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett. You may republish this article online if you retain the author's byline and the active hyperlinks below.