Agent Resources

Is direct marketing still relevant?

Is direct marketing hopelessly old-fashioned in these days of online advertising, or is it an overlooked but cost-effective marketing method that is still just as powerful as ever? Let’s consider both sides of the argument.

Direct marketing needs to be nifty

With estate agency, direct marketing tends not to take the form of mailshots. Instead, the business card through the door (complete with fake "hand written" note) is a favoured method. The trouble is that a business card is small and risks being trampled by dogs and children, before being snatched up with the pizza leaflets and travelling straight to the bin, without the householder ever being aware of it.

Larger agencies with multiple branches often have marketing strategies handed down from headquarters. Smaller operators can therefore be niftier. For example, as soon as the Sold sign goes up, they arrange to have the local area leafleted with marketing materials telling people that they have just sold a house in a specific road and still have disappointed buyers who are interested in a property in the area. This is much more effective than simply putting some corporate marketing materials through the door, because it speaks to people about their street and their house.

If it's phone-based, it must be accurate

If you are trying to sell a property, and have decided to phone everybody on your marketing list, you had better be sure that your list is accurate enough not to irritate potential buyers. For example, if someone downsizing has a dog and has said they must have a garden, they are going to be extremely irritated to be called by someone in your office praising the wonderful views from a third-floor flat you’ve just taken on.

This is the kind of behaviour that causes people to tag your number in their phones and start screening your calls. When agents have a range of direct marketing tools at their disposal that are non-intrusive, such as texting and email, people are not going to be very happy when they use a method as intrusive as a phone call for something that the buyer has already told them they’re not interested in.

SEO can narrow down the field

Compare this to the result that you can get from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you have a particular type of property to sell, you are able to specify keywords that users are searching on, such as "flat with garden". Similarly, people on your website, or on property portals, can select filters such as “garden”, to include only those properties of interest to them. Effectively, they are targeting themselves with relevant and specific offers when they do this. If your direct marketing is not this efficient, it is probably wasting your money.

Banner ads - old but effective

Banner ads can count as direct marketing if they are sufficiently targeted. Research shows that banner ads, which many people think of antiquated, are actually effective. AppNexus, a US marketing platform, carried out research and found that while banner ads were the least expensive form of advertising, they had almost the same clickthrough rate as fancy expandable ads.

By the way, this was at the astoundingly low rate of 0.04%, so it’s just as well they are inexpensive. When you look at those sorts of numbers, the 1 in 100 response rate of direct marketing begins to look quite dynamic.

Source: Nethouseprices, 12/10/17

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