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Is Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Better Than Email?

Published on Wednesday - November 02, 2016

When you go to your mailbox and leaf through your mail, what do you do with the ads you find scattered throughout the pile? Do you look at them? Throw them away? What do you think your customers do with the real estate direct mail marketing you send them?

Think back to sifting through your own email on a daily basis. When you came across a piece of email marketing did you even open it? If you opened it, how much did you read?

Perhaps most importantly, with either real estate direct mail marketing or email marketing, did your reading turn into sales? As someone whose viability depends largely on business created through one of these channels, you need to figure out which one will give you the best results.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Vs. Real Estate Email Marketing

Direct mail marketing campaigns

Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Pros

  • Higher response rate: A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review found that direct mail marketing has a higher response rate. All things considered, the whole reason you are marketing in the first place is to turn that marketing into sales, profits and business.
  • Guaranteed visual: Emails can get lost or deleted before they’re ever opened. With direct mail, people touch their mail and feel it in their hands. There is a tactile connection between your message and the intended receiver. They are also more likely to glance over your entire message, even if its next destination is the trash.
  • Taking you from paper to digital: With the advent of QR codes, potential clients can now easily pull out their smart phone, snap the code, and instantly be connected to your website or other marketing materials. From there, the client can just as easily shoot off an email, call you on the phone or research respective listings.

Cons Of Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing

  • Expense: Direct mail is expensive. According to that same study published in the Harvard Business Review, direct marketing can be 100 times more expensive than email marketing. Many small-business owners can find themselves stuffing thousands of envelopes, slapping on thousands of stamps, and paying for all of those envelopes and stamps. There is also the cost of design and printing to consider.
  • Data: How do you know if your postcard is the reason why some of your leads called in? It’s hard to track down if a specific direct mail campaign is driving business, which postcard is most effective or what action is being taken based on your direct mail. You might not even be sure whether your response rate is from a billboard, radio or newspaper ad.

Pros Of Real Estate Email Marketing

  • ROI: For a penny on each marketing dollar, you can send an email. And once you have your email crafted, there is no additional cost to sending that email to more current clients and potential clients. While the response rate might not be quite as high, emails definitely give you more bang for your buck.
  • Data: Do you want to know if your email made it to the recipient? Do you want to know if the email was opened, how much time was spent reading the email or what links were clicked? With an email, all this data and a lot of other crucial information can be yours for the analyzing. You’ll know if your clients are reading the email and if they are reading; you’ll know if they are doing anything about what they digested. This can give you insights into what is working in your pitch and what pieces need to be tweaked.
  • The need for speed: Sometimes the speed of implementation is crucial to a specific marketing campaign. Maybe you can’t wait the weeks or months it will take to design, craft and mail your direct marketing. You may need a response quickly, or you might need to beat your competition to the punch. With email, you can quickly craft your message and have it arrive in your prospect’s email box that day.

Real Estate Email Marketing Cons

  • Nobody likes spam: If you thought junk mail was annoying, junk email takes irritation to a whole new level. Everyone is tired of getting ugly, poorly written or predatory emails. Not only are they annoying to sift through, but they can be emotionally off-putting or even offensive to have to read. We’ve all become a little burned-out and smothered from the sheer volume of these poorly executed emails. As a result, we’re masters of quickly deleting and scanning through emails without digesting most of what we see.
  • We like it personal: Emails can feel bland, rote and impersonal. Whereas real estate direct mail marketing can be more visually appealing and give a sense that you took more time to connect with your client. You cared enough to take the time to stuff that envelope, lick a stamp and send it right to their door.

“And the Winner Is…”

So which one should you focus on? A lot of that will depend on what your particular business is modeled after, what resources you have and who you’re trying to reach. If you have limited cash reserves, time is of the essence and you want to have a great return on investment, real estate email marketing is probably your best bet.

If you want your clients to feel a connection to you, be sure that your message will be seen and have a higher response rate, focus on real estate direct mail marketing. If you want to cover all of your bases and reach the maximum amount of leads, do both.

Like an investment portfolio, having a blend of different types of marketing will ensure you get the best of both worlds — even if that world doesn’t open your first email or read your first postcard.

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