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Direct mail basics

It’s no secret that Realtors use direct-mail postcards, fliers, newsletters and other materials to announce their presence in the market, to send notice of just-listed and just-sold properties, or just to say “hi” to a past or potential client. Get in on the secret of how to do direct mail well by checking out the tips below:

1. Develop a Series
“Direct mail for new associates is very important as it is the initial mode of communicating with their farm area,” says Lamarr Seader, a broker-associate with RH Realty in Milton and a licensed real estate instructor. He suggests starting with a letter that features a color photograph of yourself as an introduction. Follow the letter with a series of four postcards (also with color pictures) to arrive at the farm addresses every two weeks.

2. Get Good Lists
To get lists of the names and addresses in your farm and any other subdivision you want to mail out to, use your local MLS’s labels program or turn to your county tax assessor’s or collector’s properties database. From that point, it’s just a matter of buying printer labels from your local office supply store and having the color postcards printed (a task made simpler with today’s graphic programs like Microsoft Publisher and color printers).

3. Get Your Message Out
Expect a two percent return on your mailing efforts, says Seader, but realize that the initial marketing postcard is less of a response mechanism and more of an introduction that gets you face to face with prospective clients. “Keep the message short and to the point,” he adds, “as you have five to eight seconds of the receiving party’s attention before they set it aside or throw it away.”

4. Follow Up in Person
Next, Seader says, new associates should walk the farm area, knocking on doors and introducing themselves. Have a giveaway item in hand (a postcard-sized list of emergency phone numbers for city offices, water department and police department is one good idea), and personally meet as many farm families as possible.