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Tracking ROI in Real Estate Direct Mail Campaigns

Case Study: Jim Sprague of RE/MAX Realty Professionals

jim sprague Customer: Jim Sprague
Company: RE/MAX Realty Professionals
Industry: Real Estate

The Challenge: Jim had his Just Listed & Just Sold postcard campaigns dialed in nicely, but he was looking for a good way to track his return on investment.

The Campaign: Regular Just Listed and Just Sold mailings to his sphere of influence list, as well as to fresh prospects in his area.

The Design: "I used the suggested designs and include my 800 marketing number, and can track the response easily by including an extension number that lets me know where the prospect saw the message, as well as my USP (unique selling proposition) with each mailing.  I believe the most important part of any marketing piece is the call to action.  The entire purpose is to get people to raise their hand in your direction, and the cards work well."

The List: Geographic targeted lists surrounding his listings, as well as his sphere of influence list of past clients and other contacts.

The Results: Jim reports strong results with his regular mailing program.  More importantly, by incorporating a simple tracking system using a unique phone extension and selling proposition for each mailing, he knows which cards produced results.

Why "They are incredibly easy to send as it only takes a few minutes to fill out the form online and I'm done!  I think the cost is very reasonable and the quality of the mailing is very good as well."

Tracking ROI with Real Estate Mailings:

We hear from a lot of agents with a common problem.  The only evidence that their direct mail is working is circumstantial.  They know their marketing is working because they have plenty of inquiries, and they might hear "I received your card, looked great," but they have no way to tie new customers back to specific mailings and no way to test different designs or mailing strategies.  Here's a few of our favorite tactics for incorporating ROI tracking into your direct mail campaigns:

  • Unique phone numbers for each mailing:  Jim uses a single 800 number with a different extension for each mailing.  Keep a running tally of incoming calls, noting the extension dialed for each, or check your phone records at the end of each month.  If you're feeling a little more ambitious, there are now VOIP solutions which make it realtively easy and cheap to assign a unique phone number (not just extension) for each mailing.  You don't need 100 phone numbers, either, just enough to set up a rotation in line with your mailing schedule.
  • Make it part of your 1st conversation with each prospect:  This takes a little bit of discipline on the agent's part, but it even easier to implement.  Every time someone new calls your office, be sure to ask "how did you hear about us?"  And don't be afraid to ask "which card did you receive?"  The important thing is to make sure you have a procedure for tallying the responses.  If you have multiple people fielding incoming calls, just make sure they know (a) the importance of tracking and (b) what mailings are in currently in circulation, and (c) that this call data is recorded in a central location.
  • Include a unique offer on each card:  This can be a little tricky, since the only things you sell are homes (and you can't exactly say "mention this card, get a free house!"), but you could say "mention this card and get a free local market report," or "get a free 2010 calendar," or whatever collateral you have to offer.  Include a specific "promo code" in case you need to clarify exactly which card.  Being in the real estate business, you certainly don't want your offer to come across as chintzy or gimmicky, but done right, there's no doubt that people always appreciate free stuff!