The most important form of marketing for any business is communication with their sphere of influence; clients, customers, friends, associates etc. It is a lot easier to get someone to buy from you or use your service a second time if they already know you. It is also more likely to get a referral from people who already know you than from a complete stranger. I don’t know the exact figure, but I would bet that almost without exception more than 80% of your business comes from repeat business and referrals.
I work with many types of businesses and most use postcards either as addressed direct mail or as what is refferred to as “unaddressed admail” in their marketing. The majority of Realtors will tell you that 80% or more of their business comes from repeat clients and referrals, but for them “farming” an area or building brings new clients that are vital to growing their business.
A lot of work goes into creating an effective postcard for farming. When clients want to cover an area of 2,000 homes there is a lot of competition to differentiate themselves from. Careful thought has to go into what you are sending. To make it easier to budget for direct mail I have developed an inclusive price list for clients that takes the guessing out of the cost.
One measure of success of a good direct mail campaign is the length of time your marketing piece sticks around. (see my article on refrigerator marketing) When you are sending 6 – 12 pieces of mail in a year there should be a cumulative effect on the reader. Over time you are building credibility and trust ad in the case of a Realtor you want them to consider you an expert in the area they live in.
There is a Realtor in Vancouver by the name of Ian Watts who has farmed a building for the past year. His web site for the building Electric Building is dedicated to everything the tenants and buyers need to know. Here is what Ian has to say about farming:
“Taking Farming to a New Level. As farming is as old as real estate itself, finding new ways to stand out and become the authority in a neighborhood is becoming more and more difficult. I started farming a building called Electric Avenue in Downtown Vancouver 2 years ago and because of the frequency of flyers sent to the 456 unit complex I developed a bit of a reputation as the local expert. People would call every so often to list their homes or ask for a current market price. Furthermore people would also contact me regarding finding a parking rental or even to rent out their units etc and this is where the community site / uberFarm was born. I contacted Ubertor for assistance with the new concept and 2 years later our site is the authority on this building. The key aspects of the site includes current listing, a rental notice board and floor plans. In 2006 we had 11 ends in the ElectricAvenue building and we’re on pace to match that number in 2007. Eleven ends at approximately $5500 per end, we grossed over $60,000 for this single website. Not a bad return on a $900 annual website hosting fee, plus the nominal costs of our just sold flyers.”
If you need any further proof feel free to call me at 604-618-5512 or 800-568-8338.