Direct Mail Automation
“It surprised me to learn I can be more targeted in my direct mail for real estate marketing than I could be with digital!”
Tim O’Hare – Real Living McLemore & Co., Realtors
Real Living McLemore & Co., REALTORS is a fast-growing residential real estate brokerage in Tennessee. The firm has more than doubled in size since opening its doors less than a year ago. Automated direct mail for real estate has played a big role in that growth.
One of the firm’s top agents, Tim O’Hare, came to the company with a digital marketing and design background besides his skills as an independent real estate agent. As he began building his client base at McLemore, O’Hare naturally favored the marketing channels most familiar to him from his digital marketing experience, but found they didn’t do the whole job. Facebook’s policy changes, for instance, have made it nearly impossible to target residential real estate prospects effectively.
The backbone of O’Hare’s marketing strategy is HubSpot, which introduced him to Postalytics as a new way to leverage the power of direct mail.
In O’Hare’s view, the way most people in the real estate business use direct mail isn’t very effective. He points to the practice of sending “Just Sold Near You” postcards to neighbors of homes that recently sold. The postcards are expensive because of the low volume, and a single touch isn’t enough to foster brand recognition.
For a start-up business that begins with a small mailing list, the traditional approach to direct mail is impractical. Design and production take a long time, the cost per mailpiece is very high, and marketers find it difficult to locate a print/mail service provider willing to take on small volume jobs.
Mr. O’Hare had a fresh idea in mind. He proposed McLemore and Co. take a new direct mail approach.
Achieving brand recognition requires a consistent effort. McLemore’s prospects were already hearing from their agents every month, but this needed to be accomplished economically and with ease. A difficult or time-consuming process often leads to failure.
For the company, the new system needed to work with the agent’s existing database files like Excel spreadsheets, bill them independently, and enable each agent to take advantage of the agency level pricing. The process would involve the agent managing their list and a company admin taking care of the rest.
For O’Hare’s lead nurturing, he turned to the power of triggered drip campaigns, a technique he used in his digital marketing career. The direct mail solution had to integrate with HubSpot, which would trigger the mailings at pre-determined intervals. He really needed a full triggered direct mail marketing tool that takes advantage of the power of HubSpot’s automated workflows.
Tim O’Hare had tried traditional real estate direct mail postcards in the past, but the lack of tracking frustrated him. He was used to the analytics he could get from digital campaigns. Why couldn’t mail do the same?
O’Hare had also adopted triggered marketing campaigns using HubSpot Workflows. He needed a direct mail solution that triggered highly personalized mailers that wasn’t bound by the high volume, batch workflow requirements that traditional direct mail providers insist upon.
McLemore sends two kinds of direct mail monthly. Touching the customers multiple times is a key part of their automated programs. The brand awareness campaign allows the real estate agents to establish a regular, expected touch point with prospective clients every month.
Using the large size (6’ x 9”) postcard, this mailpiece is co-branded and features discount coupons from local restaurants or other businesses. McLemore charges the merchants nothing for these ads. Because of the jumbo size (6” x 9”) and the valuable coupons, these monthly branded postcards get noticed by the recipients—they serve their purpose.
As for Tim’s lead nurturing system, once he contacts a prospective client, he enrolls leads in the appropriate postcard multi-touch drip program via HubSpot. These communications tell a story about the services O’Hare provides in a manner consistent with the brokerage’s brand identity. O’Hare focuses on the lifestyles of home buyers and sellers and messages in that theme are included in the sequence of mailings.
The cards urge prospects to visit a landing page to download his presentation packet. Tim’s 6” x 11” postcards feature QR codes and personal URLs to facilitate activity tracking.
The agents at McLemore have embraced the easy and effective Postalytics way of doing direct mail. A program that started by supporting a single agent is now assisting over twenty real estate sales professionals stay in touch with their current and future clients.
Using the triggered campaign feature of Postalytics, O’Hare has designed and launched multiple lead nurturing campaigns to address topics of interest to the for sale by owner (FSBO) marketplace, expired listings and farming to homes that are most likely to list in the next 12 months.
O’Hare’s direct mail for real estate plan for the coming year is all laid out while McLemore expects to continue adding agents, tracking the results, and making adjustments when necessary. The digital fatigue experienced by many consumers makes direct mail an attractive alternative.
A lot of people like me who grew up in a digital world don’t take direct mail seriously, but it works. You don’t have to bid on keywords or anything. Just send it.”Tim O’Hare
Real Living McLemore & Co., Realtors
Postalytics made it possible for Tim O’Hare to design and execute a full featured direct mail for real estate program at an affordable price, while also sharing the features with his brokerage.
Residential real estate is driven by physical location, making it a perfect fit for communicating by mail. Digital elements are still valuable pieces of any marketing campaign, and trackable direct mail is a natural bridge between the physical and digital worlds. Tim has made an investment in direct mail as a way to develop relationships with his clients and Postalytics helps him execute his strategy.