Whilst a lot of commercial real estate marketing today will be online based, the traditional direct mail piece still offers good momentum and new client opportunity. As a broker or agent, if you are looking to establish a marketing campaign to attract new business in commercial real estate then merge a few direct mail campaigns into your marketing plan.
Don’t Make This Mistake!
A word of warning here; don’t send out hundreds of letters and hope that new business will flow your way. It just won’t happen and you will waste a lot of money. The conversion rate from any mass direct mailing that is not followed up with a telephone call is very low. The cost of postage will soon drain the ‘resource coffers’.
There are better ways to do this direct mail process more effectively. You want results for all the effort and costs expended. Here are some rules to help you set up and establish your prospecting mail processes in commercial real estate brokerage:
- Specific letters – You will always get better conversions from specific letters sent to a select group of people. That then says that separate letters should be sent to sellers, buyers, investors, business owners, and tenants. Craft the letter to the segment of people that you are sending messages to.
- Get the names right – Always send your letter to a specific person. Get the names and addresses right. That process will take a degree of effort in research for the location and property. On a regular daily basis check out small groups of specific properties in your locality so you can drill down into the property ownership structure and get to the right people.
- Limit your numbers – Stay small on mail out numbers. It is better to send 5 to 10 letters per day than it is to send 500 letters per week. The issue is that letters should be followed up with a telephone call where possible. If you send out too many letters you will not be able to do the follow up calls. A special note should be made here that generic letters sent with no follow up call invariably will have a low level of conversion. You simply must make the calls to check up on the letters sent. I go back to the point that it is better to send 5 to 10 letters per day and make the follow up calls as part of the process.
- Headline and content layout – Every letter should have a headline that is locally focused. That could for an example be ‘Los Angeles Warehouse Shortage’ or ‘New York Retail Shops Show Rent Growth’. Understand the motivations of your reader and craft the headline accordingly. That is why you should send letters to specific groups each time; the message can be matched to the reader. The content of the mailing should be contained on one single page of A4 letterhead and preferably on the front page. Adults do not read direct mail pieces to any great depth; too many words will encourage them to ‘bin’ the letter. To make the letter even more readable, use dot points and only a few paragraphs to get your message across. Keep things simple in all respects.
- Tell a local story – Always tell a local story about the property market; perhaps the story should be current to the time with a focus on any recent property headlines that people would have seen in other media sources. It will make your letters more attractive to the reader and on that basis help the letters to be opened and read. There are many things that you can say about the local property market including recent sales, new property developments, levels of enquiry, and successful property trends.
- Be relevant and real to the reader – Too many marketing letters are poorly designed; they focus on the need of the brokerage to get listings. Just about all of those letters get ‘binned’ faster than you can imagine. There is no reason for a person receiving such letter to lift the telephone and make an enquiry. Write the letter from the reader’s perspective. Relate everything you say to them and their property needs. Put your personality into the letter. People like to do business with other people they can relate to. Personality in professional writing will help you lift your conversions.
- Repeat the process – Send out letters every 90 days to the same group of people, but change the letter message within the separate groups of people. It takes about 3 letters to the same person for the conversions to meetings to be lifted. Also remember to make the followup calls.
Simple rules like these help your direct mail strategies in commercial real estate brokerage. Merge the letter process into your prospecting efforts and keep sending out high quality letters.