Use Your Website to Track Flyer and Postcard Responses
on Apr 15, 2013
Listed in Marketing

Use Website to Track Postcard ResultsI struggled with how to approach this topic because there are so many great angles here that I want to share about this particular strategy.  After reading Katie’s article last week about forwarding extra domains to specific pages on your website, I decided to build off that great information and show you how we are doing this for a Just Sold farming campaign in south Orange County, California.

If you haven’t read Katie’s article, go ahead and click on the link above.  It will open a new window.  Read that article first, then come back see how we applied that strategy to a recent print marketing campaign.

Breaking Into A Market You Don’t Already Dominate

Ok good, you’re back!  Let’s dig into a real life experiment that we’re in the middle of right now.  First, a little back story.  Our goal here was to take advantage of rising home values to market for standard listings in this market.  The typical approach here is Just Sold postcards, and we decided to add several additional layers of conversion opportunities and tracking mechanisms to the campaign.

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The agent in this experiment is trying to get a foothold in this community and delivers 2,500 Just Sold postcards to his farm every month.  I asked him how many responses he gets when he drops these postcards and the response was that he was unsure, to none.

Fact is, breaking into a market that you don’t already dominate can take a long time and sometimes it’s just a branding play, keeping your name and company in front of neighborhoods so that you have an opportunity at the business when it arises.

Increase Value Proposition

Since this is primarily a branding play, with the hopes of it turning into a listing appointment, we decided to change up the approach and instead of simply delivering a report of Just Solds, we took a different angle.

How about if we create a resource to allow homeowners to track the rising home values in their neighborhood?  The goal was to drive people to a page on our website with an IDX search page that shows solds and pending sales in this neighborhood.

In a perfect world, we could get homeowners to sign up for IDX drips for just solds to “watch” home values in their neighborhood rise.  Here’s what we tried, and how it worked out.

The Marketing Blueprint

We used a Just Sold postcard listing all of the recent sales in the community.  We stripped out all of the REO and short sales and tried to show a range of standard sales with the shortest days on market covering the whole range of home values in this community.

The internal dialog we are trying to create for home owners with this formula is “wow, my neighbor sold their home (for a profit) in XX number of days….and my home is TWICE as nice as theirs!”

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Next, we created a “Marketing URL” and used Katie’s method for forwarding URL’s to a specific landing page on our site.  In this case, we used this recipe coming up with the name – www.(community/city name)  This URL is long tail enough that you can vary it slightly, or rearrange the wording a bit and it’s almost certain to be available.

Here’s what the postcard looked like

Just Sold Example

The One-Two Punch with Co-Branded Marketing

The next thing we did was to put information about the HARP 2.0 Underwater Refinance program on the backside of the postcard.  This side of the postcard also had a unique marketing URL and a unique phone number used to track calls.  The logic here was that some folks might be pretty far underwater and they may want to try to exhaust all of their options before looking at a short sale.

If we were contacted by a homeowner in this situation, we would make every attempt to qualify them for a program that will make it more affordable for them to while waiting for values to increase enough that they can sell, or not feel trapped by the negative equity.

Here’s what this side of the postcard looked like

harp postcard example

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What Worked and What Could Work Better

What worked fantastically about this strategy was that for the first time for this agent, we were able to track at least one dimension of the level of interest in this postcard and specifically this approach.

Here are the Google Analytics numbers for this first attempt.  This first graphic is visits to the IDX landing page.


This second graphic is the Google Analytics numbers for the HARP Underwater Refinance landing page.


What could have worked better is conversion.  For the HARP side of the postcard we did get 2 phone calls.  One was from a lender in the area trying to figure out what the heck we were doing, the other was from a homeowner that is upside down desperate for options.

We did ask the homeowner what other options they might be considering if the HARP refinance didn’t work, the answer was that they didn’t want to have to think about that.  Sounds like a potential short sale listing to me?

Although we did have unique visitors to the page, there were no IDX registrations.  I actually have a theory about this that we are testing in our second attempt coming up next week.

This is a diverse community made up of condominiums in the $400k and up range, all the way to single family homes that go up as high as $1.6MM and up.  The landing page took visitors to a search results page sorted by price in descending order.  That means that someone living in a condominium lands on the page and sees recent sales starting just under $2MM and probably figures this information is not relevant to them.

We did get some traffic, that was the good news, we didn’t get conversion – that was probably our fault, we did not welcome the visitor with content that was relevant to them.

Test, Tweak and Try Again

How many flyer drops or post cards do you typically have this kind of data on in the first 30 days?  I would venture to say that it’s not very common.  So we tested out a crazy idea, we tweaked it and we are going to try again.

This time, we created a landing page at the other end of this URL that gives the visitor options for finding the values most relevant to them.  Here’s what the new landing page looks like.

Landing Page Tweak Test

Will this work?  I think we’ll see different results, and yes, I think we’ll build on the success we saw with the first piece.  I also think that by consistently dropping these postcards we will build trust as a valuable source of information about rising home values that stands out from what everyone else is doing.

Of course, this is all still a work in progress, and I’ll follow up if we make any major breakthroughs.  I think the take-away here is to think outside the box, use your website to track results with offline marketing strategies, and fail as fast as you can so you can get up off the mat and try again.

With a broad set of experience, the TRIBUS marketing team not only ensures that our brand promise is carried through everything we do, but they also assist our clients in their marketing efforts.
  • Scott,
    Looking forward to your follow up on conversion on this!

    One thing I’d love to see you try with this though is pURLs ? Could the agent make shell postcards with a place to print behind it a custom link? Using something like Purelm integrated with WordPress you can not only find out how many people went there but who went there.

    • You’ll have to tell me more about that Eric. My understanding is that you have to have the database first, right? And have that database uploaded somewhere that can reference the pURL for the incoming traffic? This particular piece is being dropped off by a service. While the cost is significantly less than mail, there is absolutely no tracking. pURLs add a whole other layer of “tech savvy”-ness to this and definitely takes it to the next level!

      • Scott –
        You could track by address even if you don’t know their name and ask the drop service to make sure the address matches to the one they are dropping off?

        That way you at least know the address of the person interested and can follow up with marketing to them.

  • It may be a code of ethics violation by printing a list of sold properties that the agent did not participate in or received written permission from the agents who did in the area.

  • Jay, you’re right – this particular piece was approved by the MLS and contains a disclaimer that satisfies that concern!

  • macleanrealtygroup

    I love the the individual site address based on value proposition. You can also segment the 2500 homes. Use title or someone like Rebogateway to find out the particulars of the homes; outstanding loan amount, when they purchased, are they renters, absentee owners etc. Then you will have an accurate list of who is actually behind the door. Now that you have that info you can have the right value proposition for that particular homeowner / renter. You will be able to get a higher attention rate thus a higher capture rate.

  • I agree Robert that you could definitely go micro with this strategy. Marketers that have the ability to go that granular with their targeting could really knock a strategy like this out of the park. Another piece of this to consider is what message goes out to someone that registers for an IDX drip for the sole purpose monitoring home values….so much to do!

    • It is limitless what you can do. You have to call it a day at some point. I send out a Market Report monthly that shows a 12 month trend for the people that solely are monitoring home values.

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