real estate direct mail Resources

How to Use Direct Mail Properly

While most people are flocking towards internet marketing, the few agents who choose to invest in offline strategies are going to reap much greater rewards in the long run.

While we’ve given you a guide on how you can implement direct mail into your overall marketing strategy, that alone isn’t enough.

You see, it’s not enough to just know that information.

We can give you all the strategies, tips, and tricks on how everything works.

But if you don’t put those things action, then the information is useless.

The basic principles of direct response marketing are simple.

All you need is a good offer, sent to the right people, at the right time.

You don’t ask for the sale yet and focus more on building and nurturing relationships.

The problem is that to start this process, you need to do a lot of up-front work.

And we're not talking about the creative side of it either

The strategy, offer, and copy can all be done by yourself with ease.

All you need to do is sit down, focus, and get it done.

The real problem is getting your direct mail piece in front of your prospects.

There are a ton of tiny steps you need to take to get make your campaign work.

However, here are four steps you can take that will ensure your success with your direct mail campaign.


Choosing the right list

Direct Mail Advertising - Three Arrows Hit in Red Target on a Hanging Sack on Natural Bokeh Background.-1

According to the 40/40/20 rule…

40% of your success is targeting the right people.

If you’ve crafted a great message but the wrong people are reading it, you’re going to have a hard time converting them into clients

So, what’s the best way to find the best people for your services?

By purchasing a mailing list.

Now, the name is pretty self-explanatory.

You are buying the contact information on the exact type of people you want to reach.

The reason you want to do this is that it’s almost impossible to filter the stuff out one by one. Just imagine the time it would take to gather each lead...

However, with direct mail, you can reach thousands of potential clients at scale.

That’s why the first step is to purchase a list from a vendor.

The most common ones are:

  • Info USA
  • Dunn and Bradstreet
  • Hoovers
  • Experian

These platforms are intuitive, easy to use and guide you throughout the process.

Which lead us to our next step: segmentation.

If you want to get good results you need to target people that are the best fit for your services.

To do this, you can break your prospects down by:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary
  • Location

And even get into more specifics such as

  • Do they rent their homes
  • Do they own their homes

Once you purchase them, they usually come in an Excel file.

However, the problem with buying lists at bulk…

There can be a lot of wrong information in them.

It’s not a bad thing or done on purpose.

It’s because there are so many people compiled into a website's database.

Some people move, get married, get divorced, sell their homes, buy a home, and more…

The point is: there are so many variables, that you can’t control all the data in real time through these lists.

That’s why we recommend you clean your lists before you run a direct mail campaign.

Cleaning a list simply means that you’re going to get rid of any incorrect information.

This is usually done through the national change of address database.

They update their database every quarter.

That way, you can rest assured that all the information you have is up to date.

Once you have a list of the right people you need to start focusing on the creatives.


Writing Copy & Graphic Design

Thoughtful businessman reading book has crazy creative idea looking up colorful splashes coming out of his head isolated on gray wall background

Good copy and design is just as important as your mailing list.

If you have the right people, but your message doesn’t resonate with them, you're going to have a hard time converting them into clients.

And if your message is good but your design is not attractive, you’ll fail to capture their attention.

That’s why you need to get both of these things...

It impacts both your results as well as the image and reputation of your business.

If you do this incorrectly then your wound to get your direct mail pieces thrown in the garbage.

Now, in a previous guide, we broke down direct mail pieces into two categories: postcards and magazines.

Although they serve different purposes and come in different formats, the principle that makes both of them work remain the same.

Here’s what you need to do in order to succeed with the creative side of your direct mail campaign:

A clear headline that grabs their attention:

Every piece of marketing you do should focus on one big idea.

This allows you to get really clear on what you’re offering and makes it easy for the recipient to understand.

David Ogilvy, one of the most famous advertisers of all time once said:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Now, most people think that great headlines require you to be creative.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The best headlines that were ever written came from research.


You need to be able to point now things that are important to your readers.

You need to understand what makes them tick.

Here’s how you can easily do research to find out what motivates them:

  • Go to Quora and Reddit and research questions people are asking in the real estate niche.
  • Go to Google and type in common questions in the industry and take note of the headlines that come back as results.
  • Look up industry magazines and see what headlines on the cover. The people who work for these magazines are trained writers. Magazines make their money through sales and advertising. Therefore the headlines that are on the cover are the ones that grab the most attention and are responsible for the majority of sales.
  • Go to and look at books and magazines from the industry and see which ones are best sellers. While they say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, bestsellers often have titles that were responsible for the success and revenue of the book.

2. Make sure that your design supports the message

While it’s important to have a good headline that grabs people’s attention, if your marketing piece looks scammy or poor quality, people are not going to want to read it.

That’s why one of the first things you need to do is make sure it looks good.

Good design displays professionalism, trust, and authority.

Because of that, however, it’s very hard to find great designers to work with.

Good design is expensive and takes a very long time to be created.

As a real estate agent, you probably don’t have the time or money to do hire someone to do this.

But that shouldn’t stop you from getting high-quality designs.

These days, there are dozens of companies that sell templates.

Templates are pre-made designs and all you have to do is edit the content.

From our experience, there are two ways you can approach this.

The first is to use

It’s a free web application that allows you to change your content with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.

This platform will work well with postcards since it only requires two pages to design.

If you want to design both magazines and postcards, we recommend a second option which is a website called graphic river.

This is a website that’s home to thousands of designers who post their magazine and postcard templates for sale.

The great thing about this method is that you can get designs from world-class artists for a very low price.

Most magazine templates cost around $15 - $20.

And postcards are anywhere from $5 - $10.

Now, here comes the hard part…

If you purchase any of these, the files will usually come in and Adobe suite format.

The most common ones being Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign.

While this may seem intimidating at first since this isn’t your area of expertise, there are two ways you can approach this:

First, you can follow the documentation that the designer leaves for you so that you can edit the template yourself.

This, however, means that you’ll have to download these programs onto your computer and will certainly need some help through video tutorials.

The second option you take (and is what we recommend you do) is to hire a freelance designer to do this work for you.

Again, this may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite simple.

Once you’ve decided on the design you want to use, all you need to do is write the copy and show the designer exactly where you want to place your text in the template.

Then, you go to websites like Fiverr and Upwork and place a job ad.

In your description, tell people that you want to get your copy on to the template that you purchased.

Provide them with a link to the design and your copy.

Soon enough, you’re going to have a bunch of people apply to your ad.

When choosing a freelancer, these platforms usually have reviews, star ratings, and testimonials to help you make the decision.

For a postcard, this shouldn’t cost you more than $10.

And for a magazine, no more than $40.

That’s because the design is already done.

All you’re doing is paying for someone to play should content on it.

Now to create a direct mail piece that really stands out here are some guidelines:

  • Make sure that you choose an image that supports your message. If you’re selling homes, then obviously choose an image of a home. You can find these images on websites such as Make sure they are free to use and are not copyrighted.
  • Make sure that the most important things stand out. From both a postcard and magazine perspective the most important things that need to stand out are your headline and your call to action. You can do this by tweaking the colors, size, and creating a noticeable contrast on these two elements.
  • Make it easy to read. By having copy that’s short, clear, and concise, you give the reader a better experience. Be sure to keep your walls of texts spaced out and your fonts big enough to read. As for the content itself, focus on the benefits and how it can improve the reader's life. By coming from a position of value, you don’t need to rely on all the marketing tips and tricks. Show empathy and how you can solve their problems.


Administrative Tasks

Proficient young male employee with eyeglasses and checkered shirt, explaining a business analysis displayed on the monitor of a desktop PC to his female colleague, in the interior of a modern office

The more you progress through your direct mail campaign the harder it becomes.

Each step adds more work, responsibility, and expertise on your part.

Once you have the right people to mail and the creatives ready, it’s Time to get to the most time-consuming and boring part of the process: admin work.

In this stage, there’s a lot of stuff that you want to delegate.

That’s because it’s almost impossible for you to do everything alone.

There’s so much that needs to be done That you’ll need an extra set of hands.

Here’s what goes into the administrative side of direct mail.


This is also one of those things that are tricky.

Now that you are targeting the right people with good copy and design, you need to make sure that your artwork looks good when printed too.

There’s no point in creating an awesome design if it’s printed on cheap paper.

If you do this, your direct-mail piece will create a perception of lower value.

That’s why you need to carefully choose the type of paper you’re printing on and if you plan on giving it a glossy finish.

A simple hack we recommend is to find a direct mail piece you like and show it to the print shop.

They’ll be able to instruct you on what was used to create that final look.

But overall, for postcards make sure that you get the paper with a glossy finish.

Since they're short and will be delivered by mail, they need to be able to withstand the impact from traveling long distances.

As for magazines, make sure you get a copy of a top-tier company as an example.

Pages should be high quality and you definitely need to have a lot of glossy coding to make it shine and bring it out the design and images in your edition.


If you plan on doing this yourself be prepared to spend hours and various weeks on such a menial task.

If you send a local direct mail campaign you can expect to reach anywhere from 5000 to 10,000 homes.

Doing this by hand will take you forever.

That’s why we recommend you hire a direct mailing company that will do this task for you.

Paying a couple of cents to have this taken care of is definitely worth it.


This is the most expensive part of the project.

The way you send your postcard or magazine is going to reflect on how much your campaigns going to cost.

While we can’t give you an exact number to work with, the most common variables include:

  • The size of your postcard or magazine;
  • And how it’s going to be shipped.

Adjusting any of these two things will give you a completely different price and experience.

That’s why we recommend you work with a direct mail company that does all the time.

They will be able to get you the best rates and show you what type of postage and packaging can give you the best results


Direct mail is a powerful marketing tool.

Yet, most people are quick to neglect it because “everyone’s online.”

And while we’ve shown you The fundamentals of what makes a good campaign, getting in front of people is a whole other story.

The first thing you want to do is to target the right people.

Figure out who would be your best customers and segment them based on the services that you offer.

You can do this through age, gender, income, and even their housing situation.

The next step is to create a copy and design that resonates with these people.

Just remember to have:

  • A clear and bold headline
  • Body copy that explains what’s in it for them
  • And a clear call to action at the end

Finally, the process of getting it in front of people requires a lot of administrative work.

Make sure you get it professionally printed, outsource the addressing part, and speak with an experienced direct mail company about the best ways to ship your marketing pieces.

We know this can be very overwhelming.

That’s why we offer to do this part for you.

If you’d like to leave all this stuff to us and focus on growing your real estate business, click here to schedule a free consultation.

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