How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

*from Mediaspace Solutions

Did you hear the news? Print is dead. Did you hear the other news? The idea of print being dead is completely bogus.

Data continuously shows that consumers respond favorably to direct mail. And here are some stats to back that up:

  • 59% of U.S. respondents and 65% of Canadian respondents agreed with the following statement, “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”
  • An International Communications Research survey found that 73% of consumers actually prefer snail mail over other advertising methods.
  • 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail.

What do these numbers indicate? When done strategically, direct mail is a fantastic way to increase revenue for your business.

Before we discuss costs, let’s figure out which type of direct mail piece will be the most effective for your brand. While research from the Data and Marketing Association suggests that the response rate is typically highest for oversized envelopes (as opposed to, say, a letter-sized mailer), you’ll still want to determine what will work be best for your campaign goals.

Which is right for you is going to depend on a few different things:

  1. What’s your budget? – Oversized mailers and catalogs are more expensive to design, print and ship (because they are heavier).
  2. What are you selling? – If you sell a more serious product, like insurance for instance, you most likely will want to send a traditional letter. If your offer is more fun, you can create a colorful and eye-catching postcard.
  3. Who is your campaign targeting? – If you’re nurturing past customers who already know what you’re about, you won’t need to give them so much information. A letter or postcard will do. If you’re targeting cold leads, you might need to send a bigger brochure so they can learn more about you.

If you’re interested in the more expensive direct mail pieces, it’s a good idea to do a test run on a smaller group so you can measure how well it converts before going wider with it.

Direct Mail Costs

Direct mail pieces can cost anywhere from 30 cents to more than $10 per person, depending on how much you spend on design, marketing copy, mailing lists, printing, and distribution. Some organizations do much of this inhouse and wind up only paying for printing and mailing.

Let’s break down these individual cost factors:

Design Costs ($0 – $100)

When it comes to designing your direct mail piece, you have a few different options:

  • DIY – If you only require something very basic, like a renewal letter, you should be able to create something suitable in Microsoft Word.
  • Use a template – You can find numerous online sites that sell templates that cost around $10 on average.
  • Hire a professional – If you need help in the creativity department, your best bet is to pay a professional print designer. You may use someone local in your area, or find a freelancer online on sites like UpWork.

Marketing Copy Costs ($0 – $100)

If you have a very small budget, you may have no other choice but to write your own marketing copy. However, if you have a bit to spend, we always suggest clients hire a professional copywriter. This copy has got to be persuasive and there is an art to getting it just right. Copywriters, good ones anyway, are trained to write content that hooks the reader and gets them to buy.

Mailing Lists Costs ($0 – $0.30 / record)

Free mailing lists can be had by either gathering data you already have on your current customers, or by doing a trade of your info with another business in your industry.

If neither of these options is possible, you’ll end up paying anywhere between .02-.30 cents per record. The cost will vary based on the quality of the data, how many records you buy, and how many times you can send to the list (make sure you’re clear on that last part).

Printing Costs ($0.03 – $2.00 / person)

Printing costs will vary based on the following:

  1. Black and white vs. color
  2. Paper quality
  3. Paper size
  4. 1 sided vs. 2 sided
  5. Number of pages
  6. Quantity

Visit any online printing business to find out exact printing costs for your campaign.

Distribution Costs ($0.25 – $2.00 / piece)

Of course, the final cost you will have to consider is mailing costs. Prices fluctuate and are dependent on the current postage rate, the amount of mail you send, and how much all of that mail weighs. Remember, the bigger the pieces, the heavier the order, and the more you’re going to pay.

Direct mail, if done right, is both an effective and cost-effective way to market your business.

9 Social Media Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

*from RISMedia.com

The age of social media is upon us. Its adoption is a cultural phenomenon. In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 2.77 billion social media users around the globe.

Real estate agents who want to be successful today will not only need to leverage social media to meet the needs of buyers and sellers going forward, but also need to be very wise about creating and delivering relevant content for effective marketing and engagement.

It’s easy and cost-effective enough to open a social media account and be up and running quickly, but you’ll want to take in these 9 Social Media Best Practices to effectively send the right message to the right people at the right time.

1. Quality Content
Studies show consumers receive up to 10,000 brand messages each day! Your audience has a lot of options to spend their time on. Make sure to stand out from the crowd by delivering high-quality content that is compelling, interesting, and relevant. Find out what your audience likes by offering several kinds of content for them to choose from. Offer a mix of industry news, trends, polls, videos, local interest, even editorial (your own opinions and viewpoints). You can curate news you find yourself, or you can partner with service providers, (like the PAAR Marketing Center!) that produce real estate-focused and lifestyle articles you can use. Often, these services can post professionally-written content to your social media accounts automatically, providing a “set it and forget it,” hassle-free experience.

2. Frequency
It’s a numbers game. Shorter, more frequent messages are needed in today’s always-on world. Aim to publish a steady stream of usable information for your followers and create a plan to provide consistent news and updates. Statistics show that posting
frequently drives engagement. How frequent? Most experts recommend posting a minimum of several times a week, with many suggesting engaging on a daily basis. If you’re new to social media, make a habit of browsing the feeds of those you are
following each day and repost, like, or comment on their posts. In no time at all, you’ll get a feel for the pace that meets the needs of your audience.

3. Branding
You’ve invested a lot in your personal reputation and business brand; now, you’ll want to leverage every opportunity to elevate yourself and your message. Make use of the customization tools available within your accounts to keep your brand top-of-mind with your prospects and clients. Twitter and Facebook provide you the ability to add images to personalize your social media presence and present your unique value proposition. You can add your own profile picture, full contact information, a logo or even a photo of your real estate office and deliver a consistent look and feel to each and every post. There’s really no better way to let your viewers know who you are and that you’re open for business!

4. Video
It’s been proven that people are more likely to respond to video content by a factor of three. It’s never been easier to take advantage of this format and post interactive content to fully engage your audience. Many social media platforms have made it very simple to add short video clips or animated images to your postings, including linking to existing content from other sites. For example, if your company or team produces videos on its website, consider linking those within your own posts. Additionally, your smartphone can be used as a mini video studio available anywhere you go. Use your phone to create your very own virtual tours or walk-throughs, and add descriptive information about each of the properties you list to entice buyers to contact you.

5. Trusted Resource
Just as in real life, building long-term relationships with your prospects and customers should be one of your goals with social media. The best way to do that is to follow key referrals and contacts and build your list of constituents for each stage of your buyer’s or seller’s cycle. Do you partner with a local mover, electrician, or plumber? What about bankers or lawyers? Perhaps you know about a newcomers club, daycare facility, or a reasonably-priced dry cleaner in your area that you can recommend to home-buyers moving into their new neighborhood. Make a list of people and service providers in your network, and follow them on their social media accounts so you can make easy referrals with the click of a button. You’ll quickly become an indispensable resource to your clients and their contacts for years to come.

6. Be Timely
Topical and timely posts are a must if you want to keep your audience engaged. One of the best ways to do that is to provide the latest news and trends that appeal directly to your home-buyers or sellers. This means going well beyond the recent property listing or sale and including content they can use throughout the year, such as the latest mortgage interest rates, trends in home prices, or home improvements that have the greatest ROI. Sprinkle in homeowner-related content, like spring cleaning tips or driveway maintenance 101. Sharing groundbreaking industry survey results and infographics can really get your message across quickly and in a memorable and engaging way that will keep your audience coming back for more.

7. Mobile
Social media provides new and innovative ways for you to deliver your unique brand of customer service in a world that demands an immediate response. Fortunately, top social media platforms all have mobile applications that allow you to stay connected with your audience while you’re on the move. By setting alerts and notifications, you’ll be available from anywhere at any time when home-buyers and sellers want to reach out and inquire about your services or local inventory. With the power of social media in the palm of your hand, you can get more done in your day while keeping your prospects and customers fully engaged and satisfied.

8. Be Social
Don’t forget: Social media works best when the engagement is bidirectional. If you want people to respond to you and your content, take proactive and deliberate steps to reach out and like, follow, up-vote, and share the posts of those that are in your sphere. Ask them questions about the vacation pictures or special events they post. Take a genuine interest in the stories they tell. Consider starting and leading an online group about a topic that’s important to the people who share like-minded interests and watch your community grow! Many social media platforms enable you to post your own polls, allowing you to quickly capture valuable insights about the sentiments and preferences of your potential business opportunities.

9. Automation
So much social media, so little time! Are you a power user that needs to manage several accounts? Or maybe you’re just getting started and feel a bit overwhelmed? In either case, you may want to consider automating your social media content delivery. There are a couple of third-party tools that can help you manage your social media account, like Buffer or Hootsuite, which provide scheduling and the ability to post across all of your accounts, but you still need to create the content and the post yourself. If you’re looking for true automation, consider the PAAR Marketing Center, which will connect engaging and innovative content to your social media accounts and publish it on your behalf.

Broker Open Houses – UPDATE!

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The Weekly Broker Open House E-Blast is a free service offered to all PAAR members, from the PAAR Marketing Center.

To submit your Broker Open House, the process is very simple and user-friendly, with  fields such as:

  • Date and Time
  • Location
  • MLS Number
  • Host Contact Information (name, company, etc.)
  • Brief Special Event Details (example: lunch provided)

Broker Open Houses MUST be submitted no later than the Friday before the actual open house. Then, all of the Broker Open Houses for that week are included in the Monday Weekly E-Blast sent out to all PAAR members.

Click HERE to submit your next Broker Open House!
Or feel free to contact us! Give us a call at 309.688.6419 or send us an email at centralillinoishomesguide.com.