Real estate farming is an effective strategy to prospect and develop a steady source of home buyer and seller leads by establishing yourself as “your neighborhood’s realtor.” A successful real estate farming strategy should result in at least 30% of the sales within your targeted area. To successfully geo-farm real estate you must consistently be in contact with the members of your target community. This is where direct mail can elevate real estate marketing efforts.
We know that direct mail works. It outperforms digital mail marketing channels by 600% according to the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report. They found that 70% of people believe direct mail is more personal and nearly 50% of people keep direct mail for future reference. As a result, 4.9% of direct mail recipients will buy from that company. This level of contact and response rate is necessary for geo-farming real estate to work.
Real Estate Postcards Vs. Flyers Vs. Letters
The ideal real estate farming strategy combines a mixture of postcards, flyers, and letters. However, the real backbone of your campaign is real estate farming postcards. These should be sent twice per quarter and give a snapshot of the market in your target area. This also includes on-demand postcards to send when a home has been listed or sold in your area.
Flyers and real estate door hangers are a great opportunity to advertise open house events and give more detail about your real estate business like the number of active listings, average sale prices, your number of monthly sales, etc.
Real estate farming letters should be sent quarterly. This is an opportunity for you to discuss what is happening in the community and give your audience a more detailed look into the market with more space for thought and analysis.
Of these types of direct mail, postcards are the easiest to produce and the most profitable, costing only a few cents to print and mail. Postcard content is more visual and attention-grabbing. According to the DMA, postcards also have the highest open rate as well as other advantages.
Flyers still use a visually focused design while providing more informative content. Although letters are more text-heavy, they can also be more personal and deliver useful and engaging content. The cost of direct mail varies, anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per piece depending on the volume, type of mail, size, design, personalization, and more. All types of direct mail have a high ROI, with letters showing an impressive 112% ROI.
Real Estate Farming With Direct Mail
Direct mail should be a central component of your real estate farming strategy. It does require some planning and a thoughtful approach, but the results are well worth it, and the process can be broken down into five steps.
- Choose your neighborhood. Research the macro trends, demographics, and community activity of several different areas to find a place with healthy demand and where homes are actively being listed for sale. Ideally, you should choose an area close to where you live that you are familiar with. The area you choose to target should be 500 homes or less. The exact size will depend on your budget and goals. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to farming. What makes farming effective is that you’re targeting a specific set of homes with a specific message that is relevant and speaks to them directly.
- Find a target market within that area. To make your farming strategy even more effective focus on a specific group of people within your areas such as young families, middle-aged professionals, retirees, first-time home buyers, move-up buyers, or downsizing sellers. Really think about what the people in this area have in common.
- Plan your direct mail content. Real estate agents who successfully farm neighborhoods deliver consistent value to homeowners. Your direct mail should convey that you are the expert when it comes to buying and selling homes and living in the community. Consider what information would be useful to prospective clients, what type of direct mail you’ll send, how often you’ll send it, and how you will keep your brand consistent across marketing channels. You can increase engagement and integrate direct mail with digital marketing by including a QR code on your mailers that directs recipients to your website or a market report.
- Track your results. Include elements in your direct mail that allows for tracking to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. This could include: a QR code linked to a lead form or a campaign-specific landing page, call tracking phone numbers, unique promotional codes, etc. Then attribute leads in your CRM and promptly follow up.
- Start your real estate farming program with direct mail! Real estate farming is a long-term game. To be successful, direct mail should be sent regularly and the message should be consistent.
Real Estate Farming Postcard Ideas
When it comes to ideas for real estate direct mail messaging, there are some do’s and don’ts you should be aware of. Some things you SHOULD do are:
- Respect seasonality. Fewer people buy and sell homes during the holiday season. Families tend not to uproot their children during the school year. Other seasonal trends depend on the location. For example, warm-weather cities, like Phoenix, experience a snowbird effect when people relocate or buy a second home for the winter months.
- Provide informational value. What do potential clients want and need to know? Share information like the number of active listings in your area, the number of homes sold, and average sale prices. If you are advertising a home for sale or an open house, describe the home and provide basic details.
- Show your expertise and experience. Offer neighborhood tours or provide a list of the best pizza places to show that you’re a local expert. Share a professional success or the number of homes you’ve sold this year to demonstrate your experience.
On the other side, you should AVOID being hyperbolic. Excessive exaggeration can breed distrust and skepticism. Don’t send too many communications. This can be annoying or come across as pushy. You should also avoid sending the same postcards or mailings multiple times. Keep your content fresh, relevant, and interesting!
When it comes to designing your mailers, use various types of direct mail including postcards, flyers, door hangers, and letters. Be sure to include engaging images like your photo and pictures of homes for sale. Also make certain that the text is scannable, easy to read, and your contact information is easily found.
Above & Beyond Geo-Farming Strategies
In addition to your direct mail campaign, there are other real estate farming techniques that will help position you as the area’s go to realtor. Attend city zoning and council meetings. This will help you identify the concerns of the community. Participate in community events like cook-offs, block parties, and fundraisers.
You could consider offering free consultations to your neighborhood’s residents. Establishing a relationship and providing guidance and helpful information increases the likelihood of them choosing you as their realtor.
If you can, a farm close to your home. Making connections will be easier, you will be more relatable to your clients, and you are knowledgeable about the area. Reports show that 74% of home sellers said an agent with local or neighborhood-specific knowledge was important in helping them choose an agent.
Establish yourself as “the local realtor” with an engaging and cost-effective direct mail campaign. Reach out to the experts at One Stop Mail to learn how to get started!