Direct Mail Marketing In Real Estate: Handwritten or Print?

direct mail marketing for real estate, direct mail for real estate,


Direct mail marketing in real estate can be hugely successful and cost-effective if you know when to use handwritten and print direct mail.

Handwritten letters can have higher open and response rates while direct mail will let you use visuals and graphics. While one is personal, the other is more eye catching. You want to have a good mix of being on the top of their mind and to build a relationship and trust.

So, here are tips on when to use handwritten letters and when to use print mail as part of your direct mail marketing in real estate. (Link to download templates at the bottom)

Handwritten direct mail marketing in real estate:

Targeted marketing: If you are running a targeted direct mail campaign, think about using handwritten letters. If your campaign is targeted, you want to make sure it is as personal as possible. Plus, using handwritten letters will ensure higher open rates and higher conversions.

Special Occasions: Instead of the usual greeting card that every one of your competitor uses, send a handwritten note on the special occasion. It will have a stronger impact and will help build close personal and business relationships with them. A few ideas:

  • Take some candid pictures of them when they first sign the papers or move into their house. Save one or two of those pictures and send them on their first month, six months or first year anniversary with a handwritten note of course.
  • If they have young kids, on their birthday, send them a handwritten birthday note along with some helpful information for their toddler.

Referrals and Repeat customers: Referrals and repeat customers require a personal touch. You don’t have to create a new message every time you write to one of your customers and referrers. But, sending a handwritten card to thank them can go a long way  in providing a personal touch and strengthening your relationship.

After print mail campaign: Use handwritten letters to connect with people  who have responded to your print mail or flyer.

Events: To make it personal, use handwritten invites rather than postcards. Create your own events and have your own seminar. As Jason Van Steenwyk says,

Seminars can take a lot of planning, but people will line up to speak with you after the event if you do it well – and the crowds will usually be relatively free of competing agents.

Print direct mail marketing in real estate:

Non-targeted Lists: If you are sending flyers to a list that is not very targeted, it’s best to use a printed flyer. Printed direct mail can be cheaper to send out. Plus, non-targeted lists, generally speaking, have a much lower conversion than targeted lists. So, you do not want to waste your precious marketing dollars on a list that is not going to convert well.

However, your non-targeted list is still good because you can build a super-targeted list by marketing to them wisely.

To build a targeted list from your non-targeted list, insert a link or call-to-action (email or call me) in your direct mail piece. Your call-to-action should be a link to a landing page that collects emails so you know who on your list is possibly warm and considering taking action. Here is a good example of a landing page…

real estate CTA, real estate direct mail templates,

In your case, your landing page can offer an e-book download about market information for sellers and buyers or even a free consultation. Just keep it easy for yourself, you don’t want to spend a lot of time without further qualifying your prospects.

Create a separate list for those who responded to your print mail. Follow up with a handwritten note to start building relationships with these qualified prospects. Use a mix of print and handwritten direct mail.

Buyer & Seller Tips: Sending tips to your prospects can be a good way of staying in touch with your customers. While they may not convert directly, it will definitely keep you in front of your customers. This is best sent as printed direct mail since it will let you fit a lot of information on a single sheet. Here are a few ideas on info you can send out:

  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Home equity
  • Mortgage shopping

Neighborhood Information: People are always curious about the market value of their property, their neighborhood and the city. Once a month, send them your analysis of the market and statistics of their area or the city in general.

For example, when a house in a prospect’s neighborhood is sold, send them print mail with visuals. Add a call-to-action, and if they respond, follow it up with handwritten letters to start building a relationship.

Tip: Your handwritten letter or note should always have your phone number under your name.

Direct mail marketing in real estate, just like email marketing and sales, needs perseverance. We can’t give up too quickly.

Research shows in 2007, it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts. (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)

However, the average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect. (source: Sirius Decisions)

So, being consistent and persistent becomes highly important if you want to be successful.

You can’t just send out one direct mail piece and expect it to work. You have to be persistent and consistent. It’s a long term game with long term effects.

Our copy and letter writing experts have put together handwritten direct mail templates specifically for realtors. Written with best practices, they make it easy to get more yeses from your prospects.

If you liked this post, you might like: Direct Mail for Real Estate: 11 Free Templates

How to Use Direct Mail for Real Estate + 11 Free Templates

direct mail for real estate, direct mail in real estate, real estate direct mail
Direct mail for real estate, direct mail in real estate, real estate direct mail

Direct mail for real estate is great in theory, right? But it takes time, carefully crafted content, and a sound strategy for when and how to send letters if you want direct mail to be successful. Well, we’ve done much of the work for you so you can spend less time pouring over what the letter should say and more time working for your clients.  

I got married a couple of weeks ago, and my current situation reminds me much of what real estate agents face when they think about sending out letters. I’m in the process of writing the thank you notes. SighBut, I must. I can’t let everyone think I’ve forgotten about them now that the wine has been drunk, the dance floor has been cleared and the gifts have been opened.

One of the hardest parts, besides the hand cramps, is trying to decide what to say to whom. The message to my aunt and the message to my father-in-law’s business partner really should be different. The note should be somewhat personalized, and I want every thank you note to be well-crafted and sincere. I want every recipient to understand how grateful I am. But, when I have to write 200 of themthis seems a daunting task.

Your goal as a realtor when sending direct mail for real estate is very much the same. You want to send great letters to a lot of peopleand that can be daunting.

The Goal:

Send well-written and personalized letters to everyone without spending a lot of time doing it.

The Problem:

You want to connect with current clients, past clients, and future clients. You want to send them direct mail with great content to catch their attention. You want the letters to be somewhat personalized so each letter is meaningful for the recipient. But, you’re busy and you don’t have a lot of time.

The Solution:

Real estate direct mail templates tailored for individual clients and unique situations. Using templates assures you can send out well-crafted content and meaningful mail. Direct mail for real estate doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time-consuming. Here are some ideas for when and how to send handwritten letters to current and future clients.


Direct Mail For Real Estate Ideas

Farming and Prospecting

  • Expired Listing

These sellers haven’t been able to sell their home, and they’re most likely frustrated. Use this letter as an opportunity to introduce yourself and offer a solution to their problem.

Common Mistake: Being too pushy. These sellers are already frustrated. Offer them useful information and share your knowledge to build trust. 

  • Neighborhood Farming

Once you’ve picked a farming area, you have to send out quality content and you have to do it consistently. Chris Leo gives the following advice on

“While the quality of what you mail out to your farm is important, let me level with you. The MOST important thing of all, with any geographic marketing campaign is consistency. You have to bang away on your farm area, every 3-4 weeks, month after month, year after year, and you will dominate your marketplace.”

This strategy takes a number of different letters with different content, and it takes time. Templates offer a fix for both of these inconveniences.

Common Mistake: Failing to include market information relevant to the area. Generic info that doesn’t apply to the recipient is a waste of time for you and for them.

  • For Sale By Owner

Most people selling their homes without an agent don’t know as much about real estate as you do. Use letters to give them pertinent information. Share market trends or area home sale prices. These grateful sellers will look to you when they want an agent’s expertise.

Common Mistake: Belittling the seller. You don’t want to make the seller inferior. You want to share your knowledge so you can build a relationship. 

  • Send a thank-you letter

Send the letter after meeting with a client to show you were listening and that you care. They’ll appreciate the sentiment.

Common Mistake: Being too generic. Be sure to include something specific from your meeting.

  • Check in with past clients

Send a letter to see how they are doing. This shows you care about clients even after the sale is closed. It builds the relationship. This could lead to referrals and repeat clients.

Common Mistake: Starting with “I’m checking back to make sure…” or any other phrase that implies obligation. This isn’t how you would check-in with your friends, so it shouldn’t be how you check-in with past clients.

  • Send a letter or card for a special occasion.

Melissa Dittmann Tracey offers some great ideas for sending personalized cards in her article “Relationship Management: 7 Ways to Keep In Touch With Past Clients.” She also quotes Vicci Hall, an ERA Real Estate Professionals in Ridgeland, Miss. who sends out 50 personal letters a month to past clients. Hall says:

“I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of positive comments and feedback from this letterThis contact with past clients ensures that they don’t forget me and also reminds them to refer me to friends and family.”

Common Mistake: Only thinking to send a letter around the holidays. Mailboxes are already being flooded at these times, so consider sending a letter or card on a date that’s important to the individual client such as a birthday or anniversary.



  • Asking for referrals from past clients

Asking for referrals can be difficult, but referrals are important. In an article on, Paul Esajian says,

“Studies conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have already acknowledged the benefit presented by referrals. The majority of buyers and sellers get their agent from a referral.”

Esajian provides 5 Strategies To Increase Real Estate Referrals. One of these strategies is to “Respectfully Request Referrals.” A well-written, detailed template can help you do just that.

Common Mistake: Selling yourself short. Be confident and specific. Remind the client of your strengths before asking for a referral. 


Sharing News

  • Share you‘ve started a new business
  • Share you‘ve moved to a new agency
  • Share useful updates on the housing market

Providing information to clients keeps them in the loop. Update them on your current situation and location. Give them useful information every once in awhile to keep them updated on the current market or trends. Don’t let the saying “out of sight, out of mind” be true for you. Keep a connection with your clients.

“In order to develop a successful referral-based business, it is imperative to keep in touch with your clients and continue to offer them value in the future. This will not only generate a quality relationship, but the likelihood that they will reciprocate their appreciation is going to increase.” -Esijian

 Common Mistake: Forgetting about your past clients once the sale is closed. If you’ve had a good relationship in the past, hold on to it by keeping in touch.


Download 11 Free Templates

direct mail for real estate, real estate direct mail, direct mail in real estateYou want to build relationships with the clients and succeed in real estate- a people business. Sending handwritten letters is a crucial component.

But, if time is scarce or if your copy skills aren’t quite up to par, use templates and personalize them to fit you and your clients. We’ve written some helpful templates that avoids all the common mistakes and follows best practices.