The Good Life in Austin Texas

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America Sorts its Mail over the Trash Can!

I do not know where I first heard that statement but caught myself doing it ten years ago (and I still do...don't you?). It was at that point that I wondered if my direct mail was ever seen before it went into the trash.standing over the trash

I decided years ago that I would not send any more mail to my clients in envelopes. I set began sending monthly marketing cards and yes I still do. Even with all the wonderful ways of communicating through the internet and all of the new technology, it still works for me. I keep it simple and usually send "just listed", "just sold" and market data cards. And I have been consistent every month something goes out to my SOI (the single most important source of referral business) and my geographic and professional lists. Not only do I keep it simple but I actually use an up to date picture (so people still recognize me at the grocery store and other public places). Over the years the consistency and the simplicity have paid off. Many people try this and are gung ho for several months and then stop. It takes a minimum of five times before people will even notice and after that you better follow up at least every other month. This is just another component that works with everything else we do to generate business.

The best part of the card is that when the recipient is standing over the trash can, they always look at one side to see if the mail is something that's needed and then turn it over to make sure. They see a brief message and then your name and face and then it's into the trash can but by then they have seen you and your message so the job is done. I cannot tell you the number of people whom I meet that know me just from my cards and we always manage to have something to talk about and that is all you really need; chance to make yourself known in a non threatening manner. I know this is rather "old school" but I have to tell you it has continued to pay dividends over the years!

Onward,

Russell

 

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39 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • July 31 2008 12:08AM

Comments

Good idea, however...I shred everything with my name on it...

Posted by Karen Monsour,REALTORĀ® Broward,Palm Beach,Miami/Dade! 954-464-4194 anytime! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) over 2 years ago

Thanks for this post. I have seen others swear that the "read" rate was much better on letters in envelopes...and as I'm about to begin a new farm in my new market area, this information is very timely and important to me.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Realtor, Getting You Where YOU Need to Be! 925.407.7987 (Keller Williams Realty in Danville CA) over 2 years ago

As long as you send it on Recycled paper!

Posted by Dave Philipp (Lyon Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I farm with postcards and get mixed results. I know it works. Last week a guy came up to me during dinner and said he sees my newspaper ads and gets my cards all the time. I dont use newspaper ads, but I do farm his neighborhood monthly with postcards.

I also sort my mail over my shreader. They say the average time someone looks at your card will be 2 seconds. If you can get a message across by then, you are doing great.  

Posted by Mike Wong Realtor, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Southwest) over 2 years ago

The best way to get a person to take a look at your mail is to hand address it.

Posted by Jim Dunlap (Roberts Realty) over 2 years ago

Karen, Dave & Mike:

Thank you for the reminder to shred and RECYCLE!  We startde doing it here in Austin about 10 years ago and I am always amazed at the huge amount of paper we take to our local elementary school for recycling!

Vickie: Good luck with your farming!

Jim: I agree that if you are sending a letter, it is always best to hand address but in the caes of a regulat card mailout, labels or direct printing is more efficent!

Have a great day! Russell

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Most of the agents Ido work for use the 5 X 11 cards.

They are a ltlle higher to print and mail but for the few seconds that the recipiant is reviewing, they make a better impact!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russell,  When I farmed an area I sent out cards, but today most of mt correspondence to clients is via email.  We do shred our mail at home, though - no opening at the trash can,  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Prince William, Fairfax ,Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (RE/MAX Olympic Realty) over 2 years ago

I agree that email is becoming more prevalent but as a part of an overall marketing program cards still are effective!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Allysoun,

I use imail outs as one component of my marketing and so far it still gets results! I do have to revaluate as time goes by and I utilize more and more online resources!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell,

I agree !  I pick up my mail, open it and get rid of 99% of it ... right into the recycle bin ! 

Flip the cards, just as you said, then toss them too !  I agree with your statement though, just enough time to capture the name and photo into your memory.

Kimberly

 

Posted by Kimberly ( Underwood ) Kostescu (Coldwell Banker Crampsie Realty) over 2 years ago

That is a very funny way of putting it but is so true so it makes sense to use cards for a quick review!

Thanks

Posted by Anonymous over 2 years ago

Russell,

I send Post card as well and it too has been a effective way of reaching my clients.

Good Luck,

Tyrone

 

Posted by Tyrone Brown (Better Prpoerties South sound) over 2 years ago

Russell,

Thanks for responding to my comment. i look forward to more good info from you!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Karen, Allysoun, Kimberly and Tyrone

Thank you for your comments. It is so important to capture attention in the brief moments that our cards are actually seen (and before they end up in the trash/shredder) so we have to make sure they at least remember our name and face!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I always used postcards--they are the best for the least investment- and they're "greener" as is politically and ecologically correct.

Posted by Ann Jones (Mortgage Lender) over 2 years ago

Also, be sure to use stamps...don't put your direct mail through the postage machine. 

Posted by Joan Wexelbaum (Luxury Mortgage) over 2 years ago

Ann and Joan Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I am glad to see good information. Actually I am fortunate. Our company has it's own in-house primting facilities so the address and bulk stamp are printed from a data base all at the same time. Less wear and tear on the environment and in Austin, more and more  people have been recycling for many years!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell

Thank you for telling me about Active Rain! I wanted to look at your blog and see what you had to say and thought this was appropriate. You are so right about mail outs but I have to tell you that I have had success as long as I am consistent and I actually got a couple of listing appointments for your card ideas!

Shari Chambers

Posted by Shari over 2 years ago

Russell, Whilelooking over your blog I came across this article on mail outs and you are correct. It takes originality AND consistency to be successful!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

 Hi Russell, this post bring back memories for me. The first time I heard/read that phrase was in a newsletter by marketing legend Gary Halbert. I'm not sure if it's his but I wouldn't be surprised. The battle for attention isn't just online. Have a great weekend!

Posted by marti garaughty (The Art of Marketing YOU) over 2 years ago

Shari & Anne It's really good hearing from both of you. I know we are in agreement with the fact that we have to be both compelling and consistent. I had several comments from agents who describe a new person entering a market, very gung ho and after a few months will stop the marketing and mailing, LONG before any results can be expected!

MartiYou are certainly a marketing whiz both on line and any other arena that is viable. I am glad I made your acquaintance and have had numerous comments on the fantastic blog header you created for me! Thanks for commenting and have a great weekend your self!

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell,

 

I know that you and many of us at our office are still firm believer's in direct mail. It is good to see that it is still working but that it does need to be consistent! Hey I just realized we are online at the same time...call me! Thanks!

Posted by Cindy over 2 years ago

Some people still prefer to have it mailed. You do what you have to do to keep your face in front of them.

Posted by Robert L. Brown~Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Michigan (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) over 2 years ago

CindyThank you again for your comment! Even with the advent of on line marketing and all that the Internet has to offer. Mail outs still work (at least for now!)

RobertYou do have that right. it is always important to stay in front of as many of our customers and future clients as often as possible! Thank for your comment!

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell, It's the end of the week and I am taking a few minutes to check your blog! This is a VERY GOOD post! it is so important to stay in touch and keep the marketing going and I like the idea that the card works in just afew moments! We are beginning to try and get more involved here at active rain so keep posting!

Posted by Karen over 2 years ago

Karen With all of the online resources available today, I still get good coverage by mailing out a card monthly and I also include (if they happen to see it as it drifts to the trash can) all of my online info!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

America Sorts its Mail over the Trash Can!  I do not know where I first heard that statement but caught myself doing it ten years ago (and I still do...don't you?).

Hahaha!  Yes.  That's EXACTLY what I do!  :)

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Not Yet LicensedHey there, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I actually do send "monthly" card to my soi and small areas where I work but realize it is effective ONLY if the message is received in the few seconds before the card falls into the trash!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Shari Thank you for your call, you are welcome to use any of the ideas I post here! Thecard I sent out netted me several calls and one listing. The main thing to remember is that there is just a brief time for the recipient to see your message and name before they drop us in the trash can. And you have to maintain consistency!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell - having just gotten back from a conference where 5,000 agents were told NOT to mail anymore, ever, you will be competing with fewer agents for brain cells! I always did great with direct mail and the consistency and branding was key. Keep up the great work!!!

Posted by Tara Jacobsen - Marketing Artfully (Keller Williams) over 2 years ago

Tara Thanks for the great news! That's some mail outs that I will not be competing with in the next year! And it's nice to hear from a marketing person on the subject! I stay consistent and always send out something monthly to a carefully targeted group!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

That is the main reason why I try to exclusively use the Internet to market my real estate business!

Posted by Jim Crawford ~ Atlanta Real Estate-ABR E-PRO (RE/MAX Paramount Properties) over 2 years ago

The card I sent out netted me several calls and one listing.

That short comment ought to make some agents stop and think!

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Jim Like you I am doing a lot more marketing on-line but NOT exclusively because with consistency and specific targeting I am still getting results and I also put my web site and email info pn every piece of print to drive more business to my Internet resources!

Not Yet Licensed Thanks for reading through and yes as long as i am receiving legitimate results I will continue! As always, I appreciate your comments!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Someone recently called the trash can the "circular filing box".  I thought that was so hilarious!  I think there is a way to write something catchy and then promote your blog so they bookmark it!  Gotta make that stuff sticky if you are spending $$$ on it!

Posted by Renee Burrows - Las Vegas Real Estate (702-580-1783) www.ShackDiva.com (The Force Realty -Realtor>Estate>Probate>REO>Short Sale) about 1 year ago

Renee Wow...you went into the archives for this post and yes the circular filing cabinet fits! I do only use larger simple message cards and do it on a quarterly basis! thanks for adding to this conversation!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) 11 months ago

Until yesterday, it had been decades since I sorted my mail over the trash can. However, I was waiting for the sun to set yesterday, and since the mailboxes and trash cans were right there, I just decided to check the mail and sort it right there. It worked great!

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector (Russel Ray, Property Consultant) 6 months ago

Russel, Good point! Nothing like having a view while doing a chore. That's why we have a large window overlooking the valley behind our house above our kitchen sink ;-)

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) 6 months ago

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