When researching the topic of real estate mailers, you can often read about them being inexpensive and effective for real estate lead generation.
This sounds nice at first, but I wanted to see what there is to it and how effective they are by looking at marketing performance numbers.
One thing I can spoil already is that in some cases, real estate mailers or direct mailing perform better than digital marketing methods, and not only with baby boomers.
As someone a bit biased toward digital marketing, this is still a hard pill to swallow.
So, I created this performance guide for real estate mailers that covers…
…what mailers for real estate are
…22 surprising statistics about them
…what you can take away from the statistics for campaigns with real estate mailers
…real estate mailers that allegedly work (including an analysis with grades for different examples)
…real estate mailer design and copywriting principles
…9 providers for realtors
…12 monthly real estate mailer ideas and where you can get many more
…whether direct mail is effective in real estate
…and if it can also work in commercial real estate
Curious? Then just read the rest of this article.
What Are Mailers for Real Estate?
If we rely on the strict definition of “mailer,” it’s actually just a container for any type of direct mail.
When we use the term “real estate mailers,” this usually refers to different formats of direct mail, such as flyers, letters, door hangers, and postcards.
Mailers for real estate are still used as a marketing method to reach potential buyers and sellers and convert them to leads and customers.
Many websites describe them as an allegedly effective marketing method without backing this claim up with marketing performance data.
Whether real estate mailers are effective or not, you will find out in this article.
22 Surprising Statistics About Real Estate Mailers
I wanted to lay the groundwork before getting deeper into real estate mailer tips, ideas, and companies. So, I researched several statistics about them that you may want to keep in mind.
We can then draw conclusions from them and base the overall strategy on more reliable data, which is better than assumptions.
So, here come the partially surprising statistics about real estate mailers.
10 Mailer Statistics Regarding Different Generations
To Gen Z (someone invented they were born between 1997 and 2012), direct mail is perceived as unique to them since they practically were born while taking selfies and already having an influencer account on TikTok. (source)
The large majority of the Gen Z generation (72%) would be disappointed to no longer receive direct mail (mailers) (source), and 12.4% is the response rate for people in the age range of 18 to 21. (source)
30% of Millennials are influenced toward taking action by direct mail vs. 24% of them who are nudged by receiving emails. (source)
60% of Gen-Xers pick up mail 6 times per week compared to 44% of Millennials. (source)
50% of baby boomers prefer to receive direct mail promotions than the same in digital formats. (source)
More than half of baby boomers (66.6%) get a better impression from a brand sending out mailers. (source)
The best direct mail formats seem to be catalogs, advertising cards, or flyers when it comes to the purchasing decisions of baby boomers. (source)
The boomer generation also enjoys checking their mail most compared to all the others (56%). (source)
12 General Mailer Statistics Regarding Marketing Performance
According to this source, direct mail has a higher response rate/lead conversion rate (9%) than paid search, email, and social media.
Some people seem to have messy homes because, according to this source, 31% still have the mailers at home after a month.
Less than half of recipients (42%) read or scan their mailers. (source)
The majority of direct mail responders visited a physical store and went online afterward; also, a majority (66%) opened and read it for a minute or more (82%). (source)
Households with incomes of at least $100k also seem to respond well since 65% of them made a purchase in the past 30 days due to direct mail advertising. (source)
Mailers also seem to be more believable than email. This is the case for 87% of the people vs. 48% in the case of email. (source)
Direct mail advertising seems more suitable for cold offers since 70% prefer physical mail. (source)
As it seems, direct mail managed to maintain the recipients’ attention for 118% longer and stimulated a 29% higher brand recall than digital advertising. (source)
And when you combine digital marketing campaigns with direct mail, it can increase attention by 39% compared to only a digital marketing campaign. (source)
Additionally, a coupon used in direct mail speeds up the decision-making for purchase in 64% of affluent customers. (source)
Similar to using a personalized approach in email subject lines, you can increase the response rate of direct mail by 135% when you do this in mailers too. (source)
Takeaways from the Statistics to Improve Your Results with Real Estate Mailers
In the spirit of the saying “don’t use statistics you haven’t manipulated yourself”, you may want to take the above statistics with a grain of salt, although I assume good intentions and an objective approach for all of them.
So why take them with a grain of salt?
Since no one is free of bias, and I am obviously biased toward digital marketing, I can see when someone else may also be biased. This may be the case for several of the above sources.
And the sources for the statistics I found are mainly from entities that are either directly or indirectly benefiting from marketers using mailers. They are either mailer service providers or postal services.
Nevertheless, as you will soon see, many of the statistics are likely true.
So, to find more objective ones, I did some extra research to see if impartial sources like colleges or universities did studies on the topic. And I found several.
A study from 2021 from the Universities of Groningen, and Maastricht, both in the Netherlands, found that direct mailing significantly influences consumer activity metrics in online channels (i.e., online search and clicking behavior).
It is also effective throughout the purchase funnel with a positive net sales effect.
The same study also confirms that there is a positive synergy between direct mailing and display advertising (e.g., Google Display Ads), and they confirm that it still is an effective marketing method, combined with digital or by itself.
Another study, this time from Michigan State University, also confirms several of the above statistics.
Recipients perceive unsolicited emails as more intrusive and irritating than direct mail.
So, by having cross-checked with studies from universities and colleges, the above statistics are likely reasonably accurate.
The numbers may not be too accurate when you compare some digital advertising channels with direct mail, which is at least the case regarding Facebook ads.
You can see at one glance when you check my overview table in my article about real estate prospecting conversion rates.
Paid search via Google Ads gets a lead conversion rate of 3.9% (here, the stats would be correct), but on average, Facebook Ads in the real estate industry get a traffic-to-lead conversion rate of 10.68%.
Still, there are several conclusions that we can draw from the above statistics with some reasonable confidence.
So, from the above, we can take away that direct mail or mailers are still effective across different generations (from Z to boomers) and are ideally combined with digital display advertising or as follow-up after an email campaign.
Instead of cold emailing potential real estate clients, you may want to do a direct mail campaign in a particular neighborhood since it’s less intrusive.
Lead conversion or response rates are likely higher with direct mail than with Google Ads and other digital marketing channels. Again, you can review this in my comparison table in my real estate prospecting conversion rate article.
The exceptions are text messages, radio ads, push notification ads, and Facebook Ads, which should get you higher response or lead conversion rates.
Real Estate Mailer Ideas that Work [Postcard Examples Analyzed]
Now that we have the facts and primary conditions covered, you may wonder about real estate mailers that work.
This thought is a little paradoxical. Let me explain why.
You may know some marketing gurus on YouTube that throw around one hundred dollar bills using a cash cannon.
Most of the time, these are sort of Ponzi schemes, but that’s for another topic.
They often seem to have helpful information, and when they share a tip about a particular marketing method or tip that allegedly works, it likely doesn’t anymore.
The moment the tips are shared with a large audience, they will not work anymore.
Why? Because if it were a method that truly worked, they would have milked it for as long as possible before sharing it.
But they can share it once it is saturated, and it doesn’t work as effectively anymore.
And once they share it, the saturation effect accelerates because all the people following the guru are now implementing it.
It looks a bit like this graph I drew with my “highly elaborated” painting skills below.
So, all marketing methods and channels have a saturation point, and more so if you just copy something that allegedly still works.
This is especially true for concrete marketing tactics and tips in contrast to principles that stand the test of time.
I researched a bit further so I could share real estate mailers that “work” with you, and I found two websites with a collection of allegedly working real estate mailers. At least in the title, it was mentioned that they supposedly work.
Maybe I need glasses or contact lenses, but I couldn’t find a word about marketing performance data (response or lead conversion rates for different designs, etc.) and what “works” means in the first place.
Yes, I know what “work” means, but when they write “work,” do they refer to a particular open rate larger than X% or a certain lead conversion rate? I don’t know, and you don’t know, either.
So, the only thing we can do is take their word that they work in some shape or form.
Now, what can we do to determine which ones most likely work regarding conversion rates?
Thankfully, copywriting principles can help us out. And based on them, I will filter them out for you from the first source I mentioned above.
We can assume that the better copywriting principles are applied, the better they will convert and thus “work.”
So, I went through them individually and checked how well the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) or PAS (problem, agitate, solve) copywriting principles were applied.
Since on a mailer (especially postcards) there is not much space to use all elements, especially in the case of the AIDA formula, I focused on whether headlines were attention-grabbing, pains and benefits were mentioned, and a call to action was included.
I made a table that collected the different real estate mailer copies where I analyzed them based on the above and graded them from 0 to 10 for each copywriting element.
|Mailer Copy||Attention in Headline/ Design Elements||Pain Directly or Indirectly Mentioned||Desire/Benefit Mentioned||Call to Action Included||Total Score|
|Trouble Selling Your Home? You're Not Alone - Call today and speak to our professional realtors who specialize in expired listing sales. We Can Sell it for You. Free Home Staging & Yard Clean Up When You List With Us. Restrictions Apply. Call Today....||10||10||10||10||40|
|If You Don't Buy It, Someone Else Will. We Guarantee It! - Just Listed [Address] - Call Today for a Free Tour And Home Buying Consultation!||10||10||10||10||40|
|Are You Tired Of..Rent? Having Landlords?Unexpected Rent Increases? Paper-Thin Walls? No Front Yard? No Back Yard? That One Maintenance Guy? No Parking Spots? Your Neighbors? Wasting Money? - Let Us Help You Find an Affordable Home You Will Love! - Call today and we'll show you how easy it is to own your own home!||10||10||10||10||40|
|It's what you DON'T know that can cost you! Selling your home in today's market can be tricky, especially when it come to negotiating and signing contracts. Understanding how to protect your family from predatory buyers is a must. As an experienced real estate professional, I can help you navigate what you NEED to know before selling your home on your own. Give me a call today. I'm happy to help.||10||10||10||10||40|
|Are You Experiencing Property Pain? - Symptoms Include: Bad Tenants, No Tenants, High Taxes, Back Taxes, Bad Property Managers, Too Much to Repair - We Will Buy Your Property and Give You a $500 Rebate at Closing! - Call Today to Be Pain Free!||10||10||10||10||40|
|Sometimes it Pays to Wait. Now is NOT that time! - Home prices are shifting across North America! If you've Ever thought about selling your home NOW is the time to do it! - Call me today to find out how much you can save by moving into the home of your dreams!||10||5||10||10||35|
|Waiting Could Cost You Plenty! - If you've been waiting to see what the market is going to do, it's time to stop waiting and start planning. Don't make the mistake of waiting too long to list your home. Amazing opportunities don't last forever. Call me today. I'm here to help.||10||10||1||10||31|
|Sell Your Home Fast With Your Neighborhood Real Estate Expert - Free Professional Home Staging When You List With Us. Restrictions Apply. Call Or Visit Us Online To Get Started!||10||0||10||10||30|
|Home Values in Your Neighborhood. Real Estate Market Report||5||5||5||10||25|
|WANTED: Real Estate Agent Referrals - (Both Local and Out of State) Having a strong referral network is a vital part of success in today's market - right? I respect your work and would love to share referrrals when possible. - Let's connect today to find out how we can help both of our businesses grow.||10||0||10||5||25|
|Thinking of Selling Your Home? Get a Trusted and Experienced Real Estate Professional on Your Side! - Free Professional Staging When You List With Us. Restrictions Apply. Call for Details.||5||0||5||10||20|
|FREE COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS - Thinking about selling your home? See how your property stacks up compared to recent sales in your area. Call or text me today for a free market analysis. No cost. No obligation. Just answers!||5||0||5||10||20|
|Get Honest Experienced Help Selling or Buying Your Home. Buyin, Selling, All Your Real Estate Needs||5||0||0||10||15|
|Open House - Jan 1 - 9am - 4 pm - You'll fall in love with this Dream Home - Call me today! [Contact information]||5||0||0||10||15|
|Attention: Homeowners in Sample School District - We have multiple interested buyers looking for homes in your school district. - We're the Trusted Experts at Selling Homes in Your Area! - Contact us Today for a Free Home Value Estimate!||5||0||0||10||15|
|Just Sold - Another home sold by John Smith - 3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom, List Price: $250,000||5||0||5||0||10|
|Cowboys Football - Sally Agent||5||0||0||0||5|
|ENTREE - Seafood Gumbo - Mike Jones||5||0||0||0||5|
|Happy Home Anniversary! Time flies! I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say I'm thinking of you and to wish you happy anniversary on the purchase of your home. If there's ever anything I can do for you or your family, know that I'm just a call away. - Sally Agent - 800-287-5710||1||0||0||0||1|
|From Our Family to Yours Happy Holidays - The Johnson Family||1||0||0||0||1|
|For All Your Real Estate Needs - First Time Buyers or Sellers - Buying - Selling - Appraisals - And More - John Smith - Real Estate Agent - 1-800 - 624 -1804||0||0||0||0||0|
I would consider the ones that reached a total score of 40 as winners.
From the 21 examples mentioned in the article, only 5 reached a total score of 40. For these, chances are high that they will “work”.
My absolute favorite from the winners is this one:
“Are You Tired Of… Rent? Having Landlords? Unexpected Rent Increases? Paper-Thin Walls? No Front Yard? No Back Yard? That One Maintenance Guy? No Parking Spots? Your Neighbors? Wasting Money? – Let Us Help You Find an Affordable Home You Will Love! – Call today and we’ll show you how easy it is to own your own home!”
It not only ticks all the boxes in terms of required copywriting elements, but the design also aligns with the copy well.
What I want to bring home here is that instead of copying some concrete marketing tactics that allegedly work, you may want to understand the principles that make something work.
Concrete examples can give you inspiration, but then you modify these examples with the knowledge about the principles.
Real Estate Mailer Design and Copywriting Principles
Let’s look at the table from above for a second, where I collected the different copies of the real estate mailer examples and templates. What do the ones with the lowest total scores below 20 have in common?
Yes, they have somewhat attention-grabbing headlines, so at least the attention element from the copywriting formula AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) is taken care of.
But all the other elements, be it from the PAS (problem, agitate, solve) or the AIDA formula, are mainly neglected.
So, let’s explore what you can do to apply further copywriting principles to real estate mailers.
The sales copy you will have on a real estate mailer will inform the design.
Good design will consider the copy and use it as is done in the favorite I picked above (nicely done with the thin font type for the words “Thin Walls”).
You can check out the design of this winning postcard here. It’s example number seven.
Depending on the mailer format (a letter or postcard), you can use a short or long sales copy.
But using a letter doesn’t mean you have to use a long-form copy; it all depends on your target audience and potential clients.
Enough knowledge about the latter is the key to good real estate mailer design and copywriting results.
So, let’s take one of the lower-graded examples and turn it into a better one.
This is the old copy:
“For All Your Real Estate Needs – First Time Buyers or Sellers – Buying – Selling – Appraisals – And More – John Smith – Real Estate Agent – 1-800 – 624 -1804”
Let’s use the PAS copywriting formula to improve it. We need to emphasize a potential client’s problem, agitate it a bit, and solve it.
Here is my improved example:
“No matter if you need to say goodbye to your annoying landlord or finally sell your home that has been an expired listing for too long (PROBLEM).
Before you get a rental increase on top of the annoying landlord or have an expired property listing for the third time (AGITATE), I will get you either in your first home or sell your property at top dollar fast (SOLUTION) – Call me today at 1-800-624-1804 – John Smith – Real Estate Agent”
Although this is likely a better version, I don’t like it. Why?
Because the original copy is already pretty broad, targeting not just one particular type of client but two of them: sellers and buyers.
In terms of copywriting and targeting when it comes to a mailer campaign, this is unfortunate. You will not be able to specifically target buyers or sellers.
And to write copy, you ideally have only one type of potential customer in mind that you address, as was done with my favorite pick above.
9 Real Estate Mailer Companies for Realtors Including Costs – An Overview
There are several real estate mailer companies that you can use as a realtor with different pricing options.
So, for the table, you will find below I found nine that you may want to keep in mind.
Some include postage in their pricing, and others only show the pricing for their printing services.
Most of them also offer mailer templates you can use to customize the postcards with the design and copy of your choice.
|Real Estate Mailer Provider||Main Mailer Type||Printing Cost per Piece (Low Volume)||Printing Cost per Piece (High Volume)||Cost per Piece Including Printing and Mailing (Low Volume)||Cost per Piece Including Printing and Mailing (High Volume)|
12 Monthly Real Estate Mailer Ideas
I already strived in my article “Finding the Cheapest Provider for Automated Real Estate Postcards” the topic of monthly real estate mailers.
It basically takes a nurturing email campaign offline and applies it to direct mailing.
Similar to nurturing campaigns, it’s not always easy to know what content to use regularly.
Unfortunately, the home anniversaries and birthdays of past clients and/or current prospects, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, are only once a year. So, what could you do in the remaining seven or more months?
A direct mail real estate newsletter (not a postcard) is most suitable if you want to run a monthly real estate mailer nurturing or follow-up campaign.
Why? Because you can take your whole online real estate content marketing into the offline world. The work you may have already done for your content marketing can be repurposed.
The same principles as for your real estate content marketing strategy apply here. You want to know your potential customer or audience and cater valuable information to their needs considering the customer journey.
We can borrow several ideas from my article “254 Real Estate Content Ideas and Samples.
Here are 12 (a year’s worth of monthly real estate mailer ideas) of them that you could use:
- Stories and myths about your neighborhood
- Typical housing styles and architecture in your area
- What historic building can be found in your neighborhood
- The most common and biggest mistakes when selling
- A home inspection guide/ checklist
- How to do a thorough walkthrough (checklist)
- Stats about a neighborhood important to sellers and buyers
- How to detect overpriced homes
- Where you see things in 5, 10, or 20 years
- A list of appliances and how long they last
- A list of ideas for unique features
- How to manage bad neighbors
Again, there are many, many more ideas (well, 254) you could use from overall real estate content marketing you can find in my article.
Using topics that align with your target audience’s customer journey is key.
And if you would like to know how you could automate the regular sending of mailers, you may also want to read this article.
Click2Mail, for example, is a provider that doesn’t solely focus on automated postcards but also on letters.
Is Direct Mail Effective in Real Estate?
From the above marketing statistics and studies, we can conclude that direct mail is generally effective and thus can also be effective in real estate.
That said, you want to use sound copywriting and design principles to create the mailers and ideally combine direct mail with digital advertising channels and vice versa.
Ideally, you don’t copy just good direct mail templates or examples but try to improve them with the right copy and design aligned with your potential client’s needs and problems.
Combining both is also essential in the context of tracking.
For instance, you can add a particular QR code to a unique landing page that the recipients can go to and that you can track afterward.
A dedicated phone number for a specific campaign is also helpful.
To create less friction, using postcards is a good idea so that the recipient doesn’t need to open an envelope.
Can Mailers Also Work in Commercial Real Estate?
As you can learn from the general statistics above, mailers can work across different industries, and thus also for commercial real estate.
The same principles apply to being effective generally in real estate mailer campaigns.
In the case of mailers for commercial real estate, the mailers’ copy and targeting vary since sellers, buyers, and tenants are usually business entities.
So, when you send mailers, you will have to find out first where the business entity is located and who would be the decision-maker.
When running a campaign for commercial real estate buyers and tenants, you will need to focus the effort (targeting, copy, etc.) on a particular industry that likely needs space to rent or buy (e.g., catering).
But if you are in commercial real estate, you will specialize in one niche anyhow (e.g., industrial, shopping centers, etc.).
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.
Author & Founder