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5 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes You Hope You’re Not Making – But Probably Are

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*from Mediaspace Solutions

According to findings from a Temple University study, direct mail campaigns have a greater effect on buying decisions than digital ads. The study found that participants had stronger emotional responses from physical ads, and that those physical ads left a longer lasting impression.

So, whether or not direct mail marketing works is not really up for discussion. What is up for discussion is how to do it the right way and the wrong way.

If you’ve been struggling to get your direct mail campaigns to work for you, chances are you’re making some common mistakes.

Mistake #1: You’re Not Leveraging Data

All of your customers are different, so lumping them into one “target” group won’t work. To launch an effective direct mail campaign, you’ve got to spend some time looking at your data so you can properly segment your audience into specific groups. This will allow for more relevant communication that they will actually respond to.

Don’t create messaging that speaks to a target group – use data to speak to individuals within that group.

Mistake #2: Using a Not-so-Clean List

If you like missed opportunities and wasting money, then by all means, use a messy list. But if you want a solid ROI on your campaign, clean your database from time-to-time to check for address or name changes, and scrap any duplicate records. No one will think fondly of your brand if they keep receiving two or more postcards from you.

Mistake #3: Your Mailings are Boring and Not Personal

You may think that, these days, a person’s mailbox isn’t as cluttered as their email inbox, so you don’t have to try as hard to get their attention. Wrong! Boring and nonpersonal mail will be tossed immediately into the trash (or recycling bin for those conscientious recipients).

Your communication is still vying for attention so make sure your creatives are creative and grab attention. Always be thoughtful and personal with your messaging. Remember, your goal is to connect, engage and inspire your audience to action.

Mistake #4: You Have No Point

Or if you do, it isn’t very clear.

Remember, you’ve got like 3 seconds to convince a recipient to spend some time with your mailer to digest your offer. If, right off the bat, your message has confused them, you’re going in the bin.

Make sure your copy is very clean and makes complete sense. If you don’t have someone in-house who is strong at direct mail copywriting, outsource to someone who can create a message that is clear, direct, and drives your desired reaction.

Mistake #5: You’re Not Testing

If you have no idea what is and isn’t working, you’re obviously not testing. And if you’re not testing, you’re not optimizing your campaigns to get the biggest return.

There are an awful lot of moving pieces to a direct mail campaign, and the chances of you getting everything 100% perfectly right your first time ‘out of the gate’ are fairly low. A/B test everything, your colors, images, headers, bullet points and calls-to-action. Only when you have reached peak optimization should you roll out big.

Need help with your next direct mail campaign? We help our members improve their creative execution, expand their market presence, drive action and maximize their budgets, and we can do the same for you. Get in touch with us here at the PAAR Marketing Center today.

Leveling Up Your Marketing Strategy with Direct Mail

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*from lumegent.com

It’s no secret that marketing campaigns have shifted to the digital realm. Companies are ditching flyers and postcards and are instead opting for social media, email, video, and other digital channels. While the internet serves as the bedrock for most marketing efforts, it’s important for a company to implement an integrated marketing strategy to maximize reach.

This is where direct mail comes in. Direct mail creates a tangible connection between company and customer—an interaction that digital campaigns simply cannot replicate. Most mail recipients take time to sift through their mail, whereas emails can be lost in spam folders, video links ignored, and Facebook posts passed over. Even if recipients don’t respond to direct mail, they at least look at the flyers and postcards they receive. With my years of experience in printing and direct mail campaigns, I can attest to the high conversion rates that accompany direct mail. You’d be surprised at how many people fill out reply cards to request information or the increase in web traffic after mail pieces are delivered to customers.

Direct mail also offers flexibility to accommodate a company’s marketing strategy. A common use of direct mail is to promote sales and events, but that’s only the beginning. Companies can use direct mail to gather information about existing and new customers, to offer coupons and discounts, and as a reminder of important dates. Direct mail can meet both the short-term marketing goals of a company, such as driving sales for a promotional event, and the company’s long-term goals, such as building relationships with customers.

Another significant aspect of direct mail is its trackability. Data and analytics are central to a marketing campaign, so being able to track the number of responses from reply cards or the number of times a customer uses mail-only coupons provides important insight into a company’s marketing strategy. Companies can then use direct mail data to improve or readjust their campaigns as needed.

One concern with direct mail, however, is cost. With most digital options free or nearly free, it’s understandable why a company would put away the paper and focus on web-only collateral. Although direct mail does cost money to design, print, and ship, the cost isn’t as prohibitive as you may think. The unit cost for most mail pieces is only a few cents (if that), so it’s possible to incorporate direct mail into a marketing budget without breaking the bank.

In today’s business climate, an integrated approach to marketing has become more essential than ever before. As marketers, we want to reach customers and clients largely through digital means, but connecting with individuals over multiple channels—including direct mail—ensures the highest rate of return for our efforts. As a bonus, multichannel marketing solidifies a company’s brand and flavor of messaging. Direct mail ultimately provides an inexpensive, effective channel to supplement a company’s digital marketing endeavors.

How to Be a Savvy Open House Guest

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*from houselogic

Getting smart — about what to do, ask, and avoid — can move you ahead of the crowd.

Ah, the open house — a chance to wander through other people’s homes and imagine yourself knocking out walls and gut rehabbing their kitchens. This is what dreams are made of (or at least episodes of HGTV).

In all seriousness, going to open houses (and scheduled private showings) is one of the most exciting parts of the home-buying experience. Beyond the voyeuristic thrill, visiting houses allows you to assess things that you just can’t see online.

Anyone who has taken a super-posed selfie knows that a picture doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Professional listing photos can make small rooms look spacious, make dim rooms bright, and mask other flaws of a home — but you don’t know any of that until you actually see the house yourself.

You can tour houses at any point, but it can be helpful to first discuss your needs and wants with your partner (if you have one), do some online research, and talk with your agent and your lender. That way, you — and your agent — can take a targeted approach, which saves you time and can give you an edge over your buying competition.

So, before you start viewing, follow these tips to get prepared.

Make It Your Job to Know Which Houses Are “Open”

There are four ways to know when a house is available for viewing:

  • Ask your agent. He or she will have details on specific properties and can keep you informed of open houses that fit your criteria.
  • Use listing websites. A number of property sites let you search active listings for upcoming open houses. On realtor.comÂź, for instance, when searching for properties, scroll over the “Buy” tab and click the “Open Houses” link to see upcoming ones in your area.
  • Scroll social media. On Instagram, for example, you can search the hashtag #openhouse, or similar tags for your city (#openhousedallas, for example), to discover open houses. Many real estate agents and brokerages also post open house announcements on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; find ones from your area and start following.
  • Drive around. Cruise through the neighborhoods you’re interested in — it’s a good way to get a sense of the area amenities — and look for open house signs.

And while you’re searching, be sure to jot down the location, time, and date for any open house that strikes your fancy. It will make it that much easier to plan times and routes for hitting as many homes as possible.

Get There Early (and Say Hi to the Neighbors)

If you’re seriously interested in a home, show up to the open house early. That way you’ll beat the rush, and the agent showing the house (AKA the host) will have time to focus on you and your questions.

And don’t be shy! Many home buyers hop from one open house to the next without talking to the listing agent. But chatting up the host can help you learn information that you wouldn’t get by only touring the premises.

If a house seems like a match, take a walk around the neighborhood. Strike up conversations with the neighbors to get an insider’s perspective on what life in that community is really like — families, singles, what the vibe on the block is like, and whether the homeowner’s or condo association (if there is one) is easy to work with.

Ask Lots of Questions, But Avoid TMI

To make the most of your open house visits, have a list of questions in mind for the host — and take notes while you’re there, so you can keep track of what you learned.

At the same time, remember this: Your interaction with the host could be the beginning of negotiations with them. If you end up making an offer, you’ll use the information you’ve gathered to inform your bid. (They’ll also remember that you were an engaged yet courteous person, which can’t hurt your cause.)

Equally important: Oversharing could hurt your negotiating power.

Be careful about what information you share with the agent hosting the event. This person works for the seller — not you. The host can and will use stats they’ve gleaned about you to counter, reject, or accept an offer.

Keeping that in mind, here are eight questions you can ask a host to help determine whether a house is a good fit for you:

    1. Have you received any offers? If there are already bids on the table, you’ll have to move quickly if you want to make an offer. Keep in mind: Listing agents can’t disclose the amount of any other offers, though — only whether they exist.
    2. When does the seller want to move? Find out the seller’s timeline. If the seller is in a hurry (say, for a new job), they may be willing to accept an offer that’s below list price.
    3. When is the seller looking to close? Price isn’t the only factor for many home sellers. One way to strengthen your offer is to propose a settlement date that’s ideal for them. For example, a 30- to 45-day closing is standard in many markets, but the seller may want more time if they haven’t purchased their next home yet.
    4. Is the seller flexible on price? Most listing agents won’t tip their hand when you ask this question, but there’s always a chance the agent says “yes.” And, in some instances, the seller has authorized their agent to tell interested buyers that the price is negotiable. In any case, you might as well ask. (It’s kind of like googling for a coupon code when you buy something online.)
    5. How many days has the home been on the market? You can find this information on the internet, but the seller’s agent can give you context, especially if the house has been sitting on the market for a while. Maybe the home was under contract but the buyer’s financing fell through, or the seller overshot the listing price and had to make a price reduction? Knowing the backstory can only help you.
    6. Has the price changed? You can see if there’s been a price reduction online, but talking to the listing agent is the only way to find out why the seller dropped the price.
    7. Are there any issues? Have there been any renovations or recent repairs made to the home? Some upgrades, like new kitchen appliances, are easy to spot, but some are harder to identify. Specifically ask about the roof, appliances, and HVAC system because they can be expensive to repair or replace. BTW, repairs like a leaky faucet, aren’t things that need to be disclosed.
    8. What are the average utility costs? Many buyers don’t factor utility bills into their monthly housing expenses, and these costs can add up — particularly in drafty older homes. Ask the listing agent what a typical monthly utility bill is during the summer and during the winter, since heating and cooling costs can fluctuate seasonally. Be prepared for higher utility bills if you’re moving from an apartment to a single-family home.

Now that you’ve got your answers, there’s one last thing to do: Thank the host before you go. You never know — you could be seeing them again at the negotiating table soon.

Top 11 Reasons to Have a Facebook Business Page

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*from idxcentral.com

Looking for another excellent resource to promote your personal brand? A Facebook business page can be a highly effective marketing tool, and if you are like most people, you probably already have a personal account and are fairly versed already. As of spring 2017, there were over 1.86 billion monthly active Facebook users with five new Facebook profiles being created every second. We encourage all real estate agents to create a business page that is separate from their personal Facebook account. Creating a Facebook business page is a great way to reach a bigger audience. Furthermore, it has the great potential of attracting new clients, it is easy to maintain, and it may be just the thing you are looking for to generate more traffic to your real estate website. Most importantly, it just plain makes sense when Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide.

Top 11 Reasons to have a Facebook Business Page:

  1. It allows you to keep things strictly professional. This narrows down your postings to information that is of specific interest to your real estate clients. You can even monitor what personal items you want people to see (if any).
  2. It shows people you are current, social and appreciate the value of being social online. A great tip is to learn how to use hashtags on Facebook to widen your marketing reach.
  3. Drive more traffic to your website! Your Facebook account will drive traffic to your website.
  4. It’s a FREE way to promote your business. Get creative!
  5. It promotes your personal brand. Upload your professional photo as the cover photo and place your logo in the banner area. If you don’t have a logo, you can use the space to showcase a gorgeous landscape from your real estate area. Be sure to link to your real estate website or your agent profile so they can learn more.
  6. It shows you as an expert in the real estate field. All you have to do is post about topics or questions people often ask you and link to your own site or other sites that might resolve those questions.
  7. It is a great marketing tool. Use your business page to promote your experience, your listings, sold listings, your awards and accolades, etc.
  8. It promotes your website. Invite your Facebook fans to visit your real estate website or blog to look at the hottest listings, read relevant articles, visit the buyers and seller sections, neighborhood profiles, check out local information, and more. Find creative ways to drive Facebook visitors towards your site so they start using it.
  9. It is a great place to directly interact with clients and target a specific audience.
  10. It is a good place to “poll your audience” or ask for opinions to generate discussion. You can even add a discussion tab to your page to answer any questions visitors might have.
  11. Use your Facebook page to run a contest. “Like Us” and be entered to win a dinner on us or gift card to a local shop or service company. Use this avenue to generate buzz around your Facebook page and direct traffic to your site.

June 1 Central Illinois Homes Guide – Available Online!

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Wendy Kolbus of RE/MAX Traders Unlimited presents this spectacular masterpiece with golf views, beautifully landscaped privacy, and casual luxury. This home has so much to offer. Link for more information and photos inside on page 7.

Also Inside:

Details about the PAAR CARES Foundation Charity Golf Outing. Please help support the community through fundraising. More details found on page 10.

The Importance of Print Advertising to your Marketing Campaign

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*from Raeanne Meyer, www.mcarusselljohns.com

While print advertising may seem “one dimensional” it’s not nearly as bland as you might think. The importance of print advertising to your campaign is actually a lot more far reaching than you might think. Print advertising actually has the ability to do some of the things that almost no other advertising is able to do at all.

Longevity–  After the funds have run out there is pretty much no other type of advertising out there that has the ability to hang around quite the way that print does. Magazines are often found lingering for months and in some cases even years after they are published. Newspaper ads are convenient to rip out fold up and keep in your pocket so that you can tack it up on your refrigerator until you are ready to use. Often our reps will hear from their advertisers that they received response from their ads weeks if not months after their ads stopped running because someone told them that they cut out the ad from the newspaper and saved it until they were ready to buy.

Cost effective– While pay per click was definitely a hot topic for several years, in reality, nothing really translated the way that they expected. The close of all of those clicks can start to compound before you even get a sale.

Resonates– The in your face aggressiveness of digital advertising as well as the ability to fast forward through our television programming has given nearly everyone the uncanny ability to drown out almost all advertising in general. Print advertising defies the odds. In fact most people actually do stop to look at advertising when they are able to do so on their own terms rather than being bombarded by them every where they turn. Studies show that the importance of print advertising to memory is actually quite profound.  People are better able to remember and recall ads that are found in print for a number of reasons, the ability to touch being one of them, and the other being that when people look through a magazine or a newspaper they are doing so at a time they are designating for that purpose. Thereby making them more engaged than they would have been viewing the same ad on one of their digital devices.

Trustworthy– Today it seems like almost anyone can create a Facebook page and set up a pay per click campaign and set up a website with a shopping cart faster than it takes a person to drive across town. These days almost anyone can own a business and “ look” like the real deal. But in fact most people are more trusting of businesses that they see in print advertising. Even younger generations who are typically less trusting of advertising in general feel like printed publications actually have valuable information for them.

The importance of print advertising is evident in almost any campaign. The addition of print advertising to an existing media campaign has shown to improve the results of a number of other types of advertising from TV to digital.  People are more likely to remember an ad as well as connect with a brand image.

 

HOW REAL ESTATE AGENTS CAN MASTER THE 3 MOST POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

*from Delta Media Group

How Real Estate Agents Can Master the 3 Most Popular Social Media Sites

Becoming a master of real estate social media is no small task, but it’s more than worth the effort. The most popular social media sites—like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—are an excellent place to connect with Millennial clients, and members of every generation. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how you can master the three most popular social media sites for real estate agents.

Simple, Smart, Social Know-How

1. Facebook
If you’re looking for the best social site to connect with real estate clients from everygeneration, then Facebook is the place to be. Start by building your business page, adding attractive photos, and sharing the content that you create for your real estate blog. Understanding paid Facebook advertising is another key to mastering the most popular social media site.

  • Success with Facebook advertising starts with understanding your goals. Facebook allows you to create ads to boost awareness of your brand, increase engagement, and convert curious potential clients into qualified leads.
  • Next, you’ll pick an audience, and Facebook allows you to get very specific about who you want to see your ad. You even have the option to target your ad at people who are “likely to move” based on Facebook’s algorithms.
  • In addition to advertising, make sure that you’re taking the time to engage on Facebook, both by reaching out yourself and responding when people post to your page.

2. Instagram
For real estate agents, Instagram ranks close to Facebook as one of the best places to market your business online, and the fact that it’s a very visual medium makes it a great fit for real estate marketing. Success with Instagram requires consistent effort, and quality content.

  • Learn the ropes of shooting and editing photos, so that you can produce your own high-quality Instagram content. Instagram offers a ton of tools for editing your photos in within the app.
  • In addition to posting photos of your most attractive listings, you’ll want to give your Instagram connections an inside look at how you do business. Posting pictures / video of your team, your town, and your passions is a great way to build connections.
  • Don’t forget video content. Videos are a great way to share home improvement ideas, how-to real estate tips, local events, and information about your team.

3. Twitter
Twitter is a fast-paced social network where content and conversation is king, so it’s important to find the conversations that matter most to your real estate business. Since Twitter posts have a 280 character limit, it’s also important to practice saying everything you can in as few words as possible.

  • Keep it short and sweet when making Twitter posts. Your audience has a ton of information to take in, and the best way to catch their attention is often with one well-crafted tweet.
  • Create appealing real estate content, and link to it through your Twitter page. Twitter is a great place to generate engagement, so be sure to get involved with the conversation that your content creates.
  • Hashtags make it much easier to find the content you’re looking for on Twitter, and to help your audience find you. Learn the basics of real estate hashtags, and use them wisely to help connect your audience with your content.

 

7 Reasons to Use a Facebook Business Page

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Small business owners who use social networking sites effectively are able to promote their businesses in powerful ways, and one of the best ways is with a Facebook business page.

While Facebook began as a way for college students and other young adults to connect online, it has become a staple for businesses and community organizations. Here are six reasons to create a Facebook page for your small business today.

  1. Learn about your target audience 

A business page on Facebook gives you a way to communicate directly with your target audience. Think of it as an ongoing focus group. Your fans are there because they are aware of your company and want to learn more. While they certainly are expecting to receive useful information from your Facebook page, you also can be collecting useful information from them through their participation.

Facebook Insights also provide useful information about your fans and their interactions on your page. As a microcosm of your target market, your Facebook fans can tell you a lot about what they want through their interaction, comments, and feedback.

2. “Humanize” your company

Social connections and genuine communication are integral parts of social media, and Facebook gives you an opportunity to attach a face, name, and personality to your brand. While your Facebook page may represent your company, it also allows you to show the human side of your business through one-on-one conversations, personal tidbits, and nonbusiness interaction.Even if you automate parts of your social media activity, you can fit in a moderate amount of live, on-the-spot communication to create richer, more “human” relationships.

 

3. Build a community
Facebook pages are excellent places to gather your customers, prospects, and fans to provide reviews, share opinions, voice concerns and offer feedback. You can build a community on your Facebook page in a number of ways, including:

  • Posting useful, relevant and interesting links
  • Asking fans to contribute with comments
  • Organizing contests and promotions
  • Providing a place to leave reviews and other feedback
  • Offering incentives for activity on the page

 

If the Facebook page you create for your business successfully brings people together, you can develop a loyal following that will continue to grow.

4. Facebook is good for search engine optimization (SEO)

Facebook can be an effective way to direct traffic to your business website and blog. Your posts, links, and other actions that are contained on your public Facebook page also can give you an SEO boost if they are indexed by search engines.With the speed of social media and new weight being added to information shared through social channels, having a Facebook page filled with rich content relevant to your business can help you boost your search engine rankings.

 

5. Your competition already has one

Doing something simply because your competition is doing it isn’t a good enough reason, but when it comes to social media, not having a Facebook page or a presence on other social networks can cost you opportunities—especially if your competition is using social media and using it well

6. Put your business in front of your clients and customers everyday

Most people on Facebook visit the site every day, so regular status updates, shared links and videos, and other information gives you a chance to connect with your customers daily.

With more than 2.2 billion active Facebook users, as of 2017, an increasing number of consumers are using the site to find products, services, and brands to solve their everyday problems. Facebook and other social networks make it easy for potential customers to find you. And when they do, they often are more likely to remember your brand and share it with their own connections.

Ultimately, a branded Facebook page for your business can be a powerful way to expand your reach and increase awareness of your business online.

It gives you visibility, exposure, and marketing. It is essentially a free advertising platform. It provides an easy venue for communicating. It helps you stay in touch with many clients at once. Clients expect it. It allows you to build relationships and promote listings. The list goes on and on!

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