It's Hard to Stand Out
It’s hard to stand out as a real estate investor these days. When it comes to direct mail marketing, everyone is sending similar types of direct mail pieces. There are different types of letters and a whole lot of different kinds of postcards but all in all, they are pretty much the same.
So How Can You Stand Out?
I have a tip for you that will definitely get your mail piece noticed. Today I want to tell you about some postcard sending apps that you can put to use in your real estate investing business.
I know a lot of investors that focus on specific neighborhoods or they farm certain areas. They are driving for dollars or even walking the neighborhoods which I have coined “walking for dollars”. (You can get in your daily steps and look for distressed property at the same time. Now that is being efficient with your time!)
What Happens When You Find a Vacant or Neglected Property?
When you come across a vacant property or one that is clearly neglected, what do you usually do? You probably take note of the address and try to find the owner so you can contact them later.
What I want you to do the next time you find one of these properties is to whip out your phone, stop and take a picture of the house with your cell phone and note the address.
The next step is where the magic comes in. Upload the picture of the house to one of the postcard sending apps on your phone. You can quickly create a postcard (in about a minute or two) that has the picture of that particular property on it and send it to the owner of the property.
The next questions is where should you send the postcard?
Locate the owner if possible and send it to the owner’s current address. If you can’t find another address for the owner of the property just send it to the property address. Chances are the mail is being forwarded if the owner has recently moved. Mail is generally forwarded for at least 6 months.
Now which postcard do you think would get more attention? The one that’s just a plain card, or the one that has the picture of their property on it?
You guessed it. The one with the picture of the property on it. Now you may be thinking this must be a lot of trouble. Well it isn’t, and it’s very affordable.
Postcard Sending Apps
I have put together a list of 5 postcard sending apps for you. I’m sure that you can probably find more online, but these will get you started.
This one is really easy to use. You have choice of different templates and you can lay your postcard out several different ways. You can add borders, choose square or round corners, and you also have a choice of different font types and sizes which allows you to add more text. You can’t manipulate the image, but I still really like MyPostcard. You can also save these as drafts to send later.
MyPostcards are $1.99 each.
Postagram prints your pictures on a 3×3” square on the postcard which is pretty small. The picture has perforated edges and it can be popped out. That might be a handy feature if you’re sending grandma a picture of the kiddos, but it’s not a feature real estate investors would probably use. They offer a few free postcards, so you can try them out without spending any money. There is also a 140 character limit on the text which means you can’t say very much on the card. This one is probably my least favorite.
They cost about $1.00 each to purchase.
Postino has a small selection of frames and borders to make the cards stand out, and they print the picture all the way to the edge which is really nice. A fun feature is the ability to add a signature on the card by using your phone’s touchscreen. The text limit is 300 characters on this card.
They cost $2.00 a card which is still pretty reasonable.
PostDroid can be found in Google Play. This app has a few more features than some of the others. You can save postcard drafts and schedule postcards to be sent at a later date. It allows you to put 450 characters of text on the card which is a lot. You can also get mugs, calendars etc. from this company.
You can’t buy a single postcard, but you can buy credits for $5.00 to send 4 postcards which makes the price of each card $1.25. They have other bundles of credits too which brings the price down even further. One downside of this company is that you cannot manipulate the image at all. So you can’t zoom, crop or otherwise change the image you upload.
TouchNote is elegant and the one of easiest to use of the postcard sending apps. Once you have uploaded a photo you can re-position it, rotate it, or even zoom in. Another feature is that TouchNote reads your GPS location and you can include a micro Google map image which is printed above the “to address”. This really isn’t very useful but it’s kind of cool. There are also some other features too, one of which is Facebook integration.
I’m not sure that this would be a big benefit for investors, but this might be a cool feature for agents when it comes to branding. You could create your postcard about your new listing or your recent sale and share it with your Facebook friends. It’s another way for you to stand out and be different. I wasn’t able to find the character count for these cards.
TouchNote cards cost $1.49 each. There is also bulk pricing.
Thinking outside the Box-Other Uses for this App
I started thinking about different ways you could use these postcards. I think there are a lot of ways that they can be used, but wouldn’t it be really cool to use these as touch points with customers where you might send a regular card? Things like birthday cards or the “anniversary date” when someone bought a property. This would be easy to do if you kept a picture of the front of the home they live in in their file.
Or how about this for coaches or other service providers? Send one of the picture postcards on the anniversary date of when a long term client started working with you, or remind a former client that you are still available and would like to work with them.
If you have an event coming up, you can send personal invitations with the event branding on the postcard and a few of the details such as the date in the text box.
Check out the invitation postcard I made for my upcoming event, REI Marketing Mastery. It makes a nice personal invitation to someone that has expressed interest in the event, but hasn't yet signed up.
At the end of the day, branding and marketing are all about standing out from the competition.
Photo Credit: Wes Novak
Do you have some out-of-the-box ideas for these picture postcard sent with the postcard sending apps? I would love to hear about them.
If you want to schedule a 1 on 1 call with me to talk about specific strategies for building your brand and creating more effective marketing for your business, you can do that here by clicking this link.
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I am not an investor. I recently received one of these cards and I find it extremely creepy and upsetting. We recently went through a lot to save our home and have been in the process of repairing and fixing it up. I don’t appreciate being reminded about how distressed it apparently looks. The picture was taken the day we finally had time to do the yard because we both work 2 jobs and are getting our Masters degrees. I was pretty happy and finally felt we were in a good place until the stupid card showed up. I also saw none of our cars were in the driveway which also makes it more unsettling.
Hi Meena – I’m sure that wasn’t the intent. A lot of times they are vacant and/or abandoned houses, and the investors are trying to be helpful. Congrats for all your success both with your house and getting your education. I certainly know how it feels to have more work to do than there are hours in the day. Best of luck.
Sharon, you should try using postcard marketing software like Cardigent that allows you to send these campaigns for 19 cents per household. The key is to target to a specific neighborhood and localize the campaign with relevant information.
Liam – most investors target groups of people (distressed sellers) rather than to farm neighborhoods like Realtors do. That is a good strategy for them.
Great idea Sharon! I’m definitely going to give this a shot.
It works great for one-off marketing like driving for dollars. I sent myself a couple of postcards just to see how it worked.
Wow great idea! I’m going to try this with some houses in my market. I suppose I could 10X this by using a list and and outsourcing the photos. For example, I could use a list of recent evictions and hire someone to go each property, take the photo and upload it to the company cloud drive. Then I could review the photos as their uploaded and use the app to send out the postcards…
Tom – I sent myself some sample postcards and they are nice. I made the mistake of using the company in the UK, so don’t do that. It took too long to get the mail piece – about a week.It was very nice though.
I can think of a lot of ways to use these postcard apps. I just taught a 2 day seminar and no one had heard of these.
What a great tip, If you could do it with realist handwriting on the back that would be great!
I think you can choose the font on some of them Dan.