Dear Ginny WTH,
I’m thinking about signing up with one of those services that provides me with monthly marketing materials to send out to my past client homeowners. For $89 per month I get copy that I can place in a letter and a companion professionally printed glossy slick to include with the letter. What do you think about programs like these?
-Wondering in Wisconsin
I am not a big fan of canned fodder. I know when it appears to you it looks good because it’s automated and all you have to do is basically hit send, but let’s consider all sides.
Direct mail can be very effective. It depends on the content, media and delivery method.
As a homeowner, right now in this market, do I really care about ways to make my landscaping better or would I rather know what the dynamics of the market, i.e. listed, sold and pending homes in my neighborhood (town, city, zip) and what that all means to me as a person that owns a property in a crappy market?
I think the latter is a better way to go. The data is there for you. Just do a quick print of the month’s activity through the MLS. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but just make sure you cover the activity with some interpretation. Nothing more frustrating than being given the numbers without any explanation. I’m left to try and interpret myself. You’re the expert. Tell me what it means.
The canned fodder comes in different formats offline including postcards, letters and slicks, oh my. None of these are better/worse than the other you simply determine the content, which leads to choosing the best media for communicating the message.
As with the above example of market metrics, the best way to express numbers and figures would be in a longer format such as a letter and subsequent 8 ½ x 11 pages with the market data. What I do recommend if you use a letter to deliver a message that you print on the outside of the envelope for a higher open rate, especially if it’s to an audience that doesn’t necessarily know you. If you are mailing to your past clients then your open rate is higher from the start.
With any printed piece you can either hand deliver it or mail it or hand it out at a public forum. If you are talking about past clients, they are probably too spread out and it would be hard to hand deliver to them. But you can mail the stats to them, and if the list is not too exhaustive, you can follow up with a phone call to see if they have questions, if they want a home valuation or if they know of anyone buying or selling. Or, why not try walking a neighborhood with market stats? Mail to past clients, walk the info in a neighborhood farm.
If you use the canned fodder you run the risk of another real estate agent farming your clients and/or target farm with the same information. That wouldn’t look good now would it?
Check the expiration date on that canned fodder and I think you’ll see that it’s out of date.