Case Study: Realtor Judith Weiniger on Creating a Dynamite Mailer
By Andrew Rapp
About Agent Basics
As leader of the Weiniger Group in Warren, NJ, Judith Weiniger is noted for marketing that supports her sophisticated, upscale brand image. That knack for producing top-notch materials was in evidence in a recent mailer that caught our eye.
Weiniger, a Broker Associate with RE/MAX Premier, created and distributed her “40 Top Tips” piece to attract seller leads within her market. The eight-page brochure, filled with helpful tips, employs attractive design and professional images to convey the firm’s marketing savvy. A follow-up piece including infographics on local market data was sent shortly after to stay top-of-mind with potential customers, and underscore their local focus.
Weiniger agreed to share a bit about her process for producing this dynamite mailer:
In your comments online about this mailer you said “direct mail is back.” Why do you think it’s a strong medium for real estate marketers right now?
Have you looked in your inbox lately? We all are bombarded with emails. To me, there is so much noise, that I delete, delete, delete, or Unroll.me takes them out of my inbox and I rarely, if ever, go in to read those “non-essential” emails.
This fact, in combination with the fact that most of our bills now come as ebills, and that fewer and fewer Realtors and other businesses are mailing since the downturn in the market, leaves a nice opportunity for those that realize the potential of mail. Now my valuable mailings have a lot less competition for the attention of the homeowner retrieving their mail from the mailbox.
Another key reason is the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign from the USPS. I mailed this eight-page brochure for just 17.5 cents per piece. The only restriction besides properly labeling the document and bundling them properly, is that you have to mail to “every door” in a mail route. I chose to mail to my whole town of 5,900 residential households, but you don’t have to. Just pick 1 or 2 routes that you want to call your “farm” area. It’s extremely affordable.
Were any parts of the process much easier or much more difficult than you expected?
Since I am very meticulous and want to provide great original content, I wrote the whole piece myself, adding insights on my specific local market. This took tons of edits, and when I was ready to design it, I tried out hiring a designer through Elance. This was my first experience doing so and it was easier than I expected. I posted my job and looked at 10–20 designers’ portfolios. I asked a few to give me a sample page of their vision, based on my direction. And I chose one. I think she did a super job. I paid per hour, so I never had to apologize for “just one more tweak.”
How have you tied the mailing to your online presence?
I have offered this piece as a free download through Facebook promotion. And through my relationship with Curaytor, their graphic designer set me up with a landing page where we can send it to interested homeowners. I purchased a domain name through my GoDaddy account, 40TopTips.com, and they now direct all traffic to this Unbounce landing page.
Have you been able to gauge the success of the mailer? If so, what have been your measures for success?
I immediately got 5–6 listing appointments from it. In my market, just one listing will easily cover the entire cost of the project.
Also, I strategically chose to print on beautiful glossy paper — heavy stock, which was the most expensive option — so homeowners would choose to hang on to it in a drawer or a magazine pile until they are ready to sell their home. It was too nice, I hoped, to chuck or even put in recycling.
I also make extra copies to distribute through brochure boxes I pay for at local restaurants for their reading pleasure. And I have plenty to bring on listing appointments for owners to see all the tips for preparing to sell.
Were you trying to reach homeowners selling in the near future, establish your brand with those who may be years away from selling, or a combination of both?
Definitely both, so I sent to my entire town of Warren, NJ.
My high quality, high value content piece matches my brand. So even if someone didn’t plan to sell now, I believe every homeowner wants to update their home over the years in a way that maintains or improves its market value. My 40 Top Tips will be of value to that person too.
I even got an appointment because a recipient told a friend about the piece and passed it along because they found it so helpful. I am in this business for the long term. If someone isn’t ready now for my services, they will be one day — or they will know someone who is.
Do you think it’s a better strategy to invest a lot in a single piece that is very high-quality but costly, or create several more modest pieces over time?
I followed up with another mailing within 4–5 weeks, with the same branding and design. This time, it was a market report. It was four pages, lightweight on 100-pound glossy paper. And I plan to send my next one at year’s end.
I truly believe that you need to invest in at least 6–8 mailings a year, preferably 10–12. They don’t have to all be high-end brochures. So if your budget only allows for postcards, and one or two routes, stick to that — but be consistent. I plan to send some postcards in between cornerstone pieces, so I hope to take my own advice.
What one piece of advice would give to someone considering creating a mailer for the first time?
Start with something simple to just get into the routine and process of mailing. I have used Quantum Digital over the years. You can even set up your own “farm” and they will mail for you. If you want to try EDDM, you should speak to a local printer.
Just-sold cards are very effective. I have gone to listing appointments where the owners have pulled my mailing out from the desk drawer at our meeting. That surely made me smile!
To check out two of Judith’s mailers, click on the images below:
Check out our Personal Branding: The Complete A-Z Guide for Getting it Right for more tips on building your brand image.
Do you send out direct mail? Share what works best for your email marketing.
Published on November 14, 2014
Written by Andrew Rapp
I'm the Managing Editor at Placester, where I oversee the creation of great content that helps real estate agents be successful in their careers. When I'm not clacking away at my laptop I enjoy walking all around the great city of Boston.