Does Direct Mail Marketing for Property Management Work?
Direct mail marketing for property management is making a comeback, and we have asked Brian Pavek from SmartZip to join us on the podcast to discuss the role data plays in this space.
Over the past several years, the team behind SmartZip developed a scoring metric for the real estate industry that’s able to predict which homeowners will sell their home in the next year. Recently, they’ve expanded their data aggregation and analytics to serve property management companies. This is why Fourandhalf works with them to provide a data-driven direct mail marketing solution to property management companies.
But before we dive into direct mail, let’s first talk about the basics.
What is Data-Driven Marketing?
In a nutshell, data-driven marketing means working smarter, not harder. It involves using collected information about a group of people and strategically targeting those who are qualified to work with you. Here’s an example: If the total population in a town is 5,000, how do you know which of those people actually own rental properties that you could potentially manage? The answer is data. Would you rather market to the whole town, or only to those who own the types of properties your company can manage?
Data-driven direct mail marketing for property management companies helps you reach the right prospects. If you’re looking at a target market with 5,000 homes, you can take one of two approaches:
The first approach is when you have a smaller budget. So using data-driven direct mail marketing as an example, you’ll send out 500 pieces of mail to homes in that market. Those are blind samples. You don’t know which 500 households will receive your direct mail, but you know that’s the number you can afford to reach.
The second approach is when you can afford to reach every one of the 5,000 homes. You send your direct mail marketing to every address. This is still pretty blind; out of those 5,000 homes perhaps only 1,800 of them are investor properties.
Data will help you decide who gets your direct mail. Would you rather send out 500 mailers blindly or send out 500 mailers to people who you know may need property management services?
The data removes the blind targeting in direct mail.
You need three things for an effective direct mail marketing campaign:
- The right message
- The right recipients
- The right timing
The data is valuable and it provides a greater opportunity.
Consistency and Commitment:
Direct Mail for Property Management is Part of a Larger Strategy
By now, you know that effective property management marketing requires a multi-channel strategy. Your direct mail marketing for property management should fit into the rest of your marketing, and you have to commit to tracking results for a few months. If you try it in one month, you could get great results. But, you might not. This doesn’t mean it’s working or not working. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for people to receive your piece of mail. You can always be on-point with message, and the data will ensure you’re reaching the right people. Timing is always variable. That’s why a long-term commitment is needed.
Most consumers require eight touches to respond to branding. You need repetition in order to be successful.
Why is Direct Mail for Property Management Cool Again?
For a long time, direct mail marketing for property management got lost in the shuffle because online advertising arrived and it had a tremendous impact. Online advertising is still important, but a lot of people are using ad blockers because they’re annoyed by the constant online ads they see. Almost everyone has that one email account they never check but use for spam emails from companies trying to sell them stuff.
Direct mail either provides people with information or triggers a desire.
In either case, the goal is to get in front of potential customers.
Direct mail never stopped working, it just became really tedious. Now, companies like SmartZip are helping to make it cheaper and automated. It’s making a difference.
Instead of four or five steps, there’s one step. You pretty much click a button and you’re sending a beautiful piece of direct mail to a targeted audience.
Consumers aren’t going to respond to your direct mail unless you are making their lives easier or providing some type of advantage.
The automation has made direct mail more affordable. You know you’re only sending mail to addresses that can receive it, and your targets are relevant. Working with a data analytics company will allow you to access data that has been gathered and digested. You’ll have access to street addresses as well as email addresses and phone numbers, providing a comprehensive platform from which to build your multi-channel marketing strategy.
Data is what makes direct mail worthwhile. Don’t move forward with direct mail unless your data is reliable, otherwise you won’t get much value.
How to Measure Success with Direct Mail
Success starts early. If you’re sending your direct mail to a more reliable list of people – that’s success. Even if you’re not closing more sales in the first month, you’ve still succeeded by sending the direct mail only to the people who will benefit from it.
Reducing your cost is also a success. When you market to 300 people who are definitely potential clients, it’s cheaper than marketing to 5,000 people who may not have any need for property management. That’s a success measurement.
The data is making you smarter when you market through direct mail. That’s a success.
Success looks like two things when you’re launching a direct mail campaign: getting what you need from your vendor, and having a plan to convert the people you’re reaching into customers.
Direct Mail Trends are Rarely Consistent
It’s hard to know where and when direct mail works the best. It’s that timing piece that no amount of data can predict. Perhaps your direct mail piece is landing in the mailbox of a landlord who already has a property manager. So your postcard will not get much attention. But, three months later that property manager has done something to irritate the landlord you’ve been sending mail to. Now, he or she may be ready to give you a call.
This inconsistency is almost like a false positive on a test. You need to keep sending out your direct mail because you never know when the right time will be. You already know you’re reaching the right people. But you don’t know when the message will resonate the most.
Think about billboards. Everyone drives past billboards, but no one calls while they’re in the car, looking at the billboard. It’s something that you remember. Repetition works. It eventually delivers a response. Familiarity matters. Your favorite restaurant may not be the best market in your city. But, it’s the one you know. So you keep going back.
Another good analogy is the mp3 player. When they first came out, everyone called it an iPod. Not every mp3 player was made by Apple. But, they had established themselves as the brand that delivered music digitally.
Message Matters: You Need a Clear Call to Action
You need a follow up plan for after your direct mail goes out, and you need to make sure it has a clear Call to Action (CTA). Tell your potential customers what you’re offering and what they need to do.
Make sure all of your property management marketing is consistent, too. They might not go to the landing page that you’ve created to go with the postcard you mail. They might Google you instead. If they see information that has nothing to do with the direct mail they’ve received, there will be confusion.
Your message must:
- Address paint points
- Provide a CTA
- Align with your other marketing and branding
You need to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.
What are you doing that no one else does? Where can they go to learn more about you?
Why should these customers talk to you? If you can’t answer that question, you should not be sending out any direct mail. People get marketed to so much – even subliminally – that they need a really good reason to reach out to you.
Timing: When Do You Know Direct Mail Marketing for Property Management is Working?
The amount of time you need for direct mail to work depends on the scale and scope of your strategy. If you’re working on a larger scale, it will take less time for you to see results because you’re working with a wider sample. Three or four months of direct mail should really provide some great opportunities. If you’re marketing to 500 customers instead of 5,000, you will need an extra month or two to see the same results.
You may get a great response after your first mailer. But, you should plan on tracking the response rate for at least six months to a year to know that the data is really working for you.
Sample size is a big factor and you have to invest more than a month. People have short term memory. If you send something every two or three months, it’s like you’re making a first impression every time. Send your direct mail every month and follow up with emails and ads. Then, you’re building a brand.
Thanks to Brian for talking to us about the innovation of using data to drive your direct mail marketing campaign. If you have any questions about this topic, or you’re unsure about whether you should consider direct mail as part of your marketing strategy, please contact us at Fourandhalf – Marketing Solutions for Property Managers.