I just recently cleaned my letterbox, which was well overdue. There were lots of letters, especially from real estate agents. I work with real estate agents, so I thought I should make a video about it!
The thing with letterbox drops, is that the principles that apply online, apply offline as well. Many of the same principles apply with the letterbox drops, apply with Facebook advertising and your online landing pages as well. They just have a different medium.
With that said, it helps when you research what your competitors are doing! This can be difficult as some of them aren’t in your area. So, I thought it would be interesting to see who is doing it right and who is doing it wrong. So, let’s talk about the principles and start rating them!
Principle 1: Open Your Window to the Soul- For A Reason- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Showing Yourself
Some people reveal too little (moving somewhere with family), too much (which bores the prospect), or nothing at all (being a professional of 25 years). These strategies don’t work very well.
Introduce yourself as a real estate agent. Tell people who you are and include photos! With a photo usually comes a bio, which is very important. It creates a connection between the prospect and yourself. People don’t want to look at pictures of buildings.
How do you write about yourself? What do you write? Well, I will show you some examples of how to do it correctly and how to do it incorrectly.
The Generic Insight- Forgettable
The generic insight is where people will make themselves look like a 2D cutout. One example is with Carmen Briggs. The letterbox says, “Your local agent, Carmen Briggs, is passionate about people and helping them to achieve their dreams. Selling a property in the Inner Western suburbs of Brisbane for over fourteen years has not only given Carmen intricate knowledge of the area and its changing market dynamics, but also an extensive and loyal client database… exceeds their expectations…. personal commitment.”
She is the agent I would choose to use, even though she doesn’t have a good bio. So just because the bio is off, doesn’t mean they will be terrible. The bio is just a great way of presenting yourself.
One way to check what you’re saying is to ask yourself if it has relevance. If you say you’re passionate, well, is that relevant? Would you really say that you’re not passionate? Everyone would also say they’re committed to customer excellence. Therefore you’re not positioning yourself different from others in any way by saying these things. Some things mean nothing and can be copied and pasted on any website. It’s forgettable, and when people read it, they zone out.
The Irrelevant Insight
An example of this is, “Steven stepped out of his civil engineering career in 2015 and joined his wife, Kathleen luck, in their small family business. He wanted to create a better work life balance for his family and support Kathleen in the growth of their real estate business, situated in Brisbane’s inner West suburb of The Gap.”
This bio is better than the original one I showed because he reveals personal things about himself. This is great, but the problem is, a lot of the stuff is irrelevant. For example, being in civil engineering doesn’t have anything to do with real estate, and he’s basically saying he dropped out. So, not the best way to start.
Another example is saying “I like basketball”, which is also irrelevant. Although it’s a nice gesture to reveal things about yourself, there’s not much to be said there. People won’t say, “that’s great. I want to use you as a real estate agent,” after simply hearing that. Again, It’s irrelevant.
The Shoot Yourself In The Foot Insight
This is where you say things that make it better for you not to have said anything at all. In this next example, she has a photo which is great, but then she describes herself as a mum, driver, chef, tutor, cleaner, nurse, family planner, financial controller, and one of Brisbane’s most refreshing real estate agents.
As you can see, most of these have nothing to do with real estate. They come with lots of questions. I would take out a cleaner, because is that really what you want people to think of you? I would take out the driver, because what does that mean? We all drive cars. I would also take out a nurse. Does that mean you’ve been a nurse and just started doing real estate? Maybe this means you tried different things and aren’t reliable. Overall, this is a shoot yourself in the foot example where you’re bringing people in but then turning people away with what you say.
The Conversion Implication Insight – Ray White Example
This is the gold copywriting standard of how to write about yourself. This example is from Ray White and her team of copywriters.
“Bridgette’s fascination and appreciation for real estate was established many years ago, having had a father who was a builder and a property developer. Bridgette fully understands the stresses in buying and selling houses, having bought, sold and renovated many of her own properties prior to her entry into the real estate industry. When you couple her local market knowledge with family values, integrity, and her proven track record as a real estate agent professional, Bridgette has to be your first choice.”
The wording is beautiful and amazing. You find out things about Bridgette that have meaning and implication with it. It shows that she has experience through herself and her father. This is pertinent to the value she provides.
By saying, “Bridgette fully understands the stresses in buying and selling houses”, she again speaks to the prospect by showing how much experience she has. When you talk about yourself in this way, you’re telling a story and sending a message to the reader. You’re showing your value. This is a perfect example because this is what will get people to call you.
Principle 2: A Picture Tells a Thousand Words. What do your photos say about you?
You Want to Show Your Window to the Soul.
Look into the camera. Our eyes are so essential and say many things. We also connect with people this way. For example, in this picture she is looking at the baby and not the camera. When you aren’t looking at the camera, it makes it seem like you are hiding something.
Avoid the “Combat Stance”.
How you stand is so important. In this example, one of the guys is holding his hand around his private area, like he’s defending a soccer goal. Don’t do a soccer stance! You want to have an open stance. Also, don’t put your hands in your pockets like this other man. This makes it seem like you are uninterested.
Move to the side, smile and stay relaxed. Confidence is attractive! The lighting is also important. Find a photographer who understands lighting and visual cues!
Bonus Tip: Generic and Irrelevant Stand Ins
This is where you have a photo of something that doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with the website or content itself. For example, this photo of a house and a dog. This is a fantastic brochure, but the photo is generic. I see this on so many real estate websites.
Some also put photos of the insides and outsides of homes. Both of these are forgettable and add no value. The top conversion optimization experts know how important people are in this situation, that’s why car commercials and insurance commercials have pictures of actual people.
Use Your Family.
This may sound bad, but families comprise the largest target market of property purchases.
So, create photos of you and your family. A great example is the post by Remy Duriieux below. Whenever you go on a family outing, take pictures and upload them! This builds trust, similarity, and a connection. They say, “Oh, you have a family, I do too.” You’re much better off using a picture of you and your family in your bio. This makes you a real person to your prospects.
Principle 3: Be More than Just a Pretty Face- Pretty vs. Conversion Optimized Design.
Whenever people go to make websites or pamphlets, they focus on making it look pretty. This is great, but there is a difference between making something that’s pretty and something optimized for conversions. These are two separate skill sets. If I had to choose one, I would choose the one optimized and written very well. When your copy, layout and focus points are out of whack, it can break you.
Make Certain Things Bigger.
For example, your awards! When you make your recent property sales bigger, you’re not achieving much. You’re supposed to sell properties. No one is impressed (unless you sold it over a reserve, within a quick turnaround, or set a record for the suburb of the street).
Below you see some serious accomplishments that should be made bigger. For example, “Agent of the year for The Gap”, “No 1 sales consultant residential” and the other awards are small. These are huge achievements and should be put in a prominent position. This usually happens because women are encouraged to be humble, but this is not a good strategy if you are advertising.
Make Certain Things Smaller.
For example, sections for selection of recent property sales. People expect you to sell properties! This is not important. No one will be impressed by this.
Remove Some Things.
Remove what doesn’t add to your cause and things that work against you. Example: how many offers were on a property. If you only had 2 two offers, and put that on the letter, this wouldn’t give many people confidence in you. Putting that you had 3 inspections and only 700 views is also not impressive! I would completely remove this section.
What are your eyes drawn to first, whether with a letter or on the internet? Your eyes go to whatever is highlighted. So put focus on impressive numbers rather than their titles!
Understand what you want to bring attention to. If you’re writing a long block of text, highlight what’s important, for example, the 21 offers made, and 83 buyer inspections in 24 hours from the example above. Make them red and bold as a vocal point. Also highlight years of experience. The property is not what matters, it’s the results you achieve with it.
Overall, your brochure can look pretty, have the perfect color scheme and still fail you. You need to make achievements bigger, past property sales smaller, remove unimportant numbers of inspections and offers, and draw eyes to what’s important.
Principle 4: Go Narrow and Flood —The Importance of Consistency.
If I look at letterbox drops, the one thing you’ll note is consistency. Everyone has sent me one letter. Ray White has sent me three items in a relatively short period of time.
Why is this important? You need to narrow your focus and go into one area/suburb and flood it with a ton of repeating messages. This creates a more focused budget. Going off a smaller area brings more success than trying to reach everyone.
This concept also applies to facebook. People think it’s a one time thing- you pay facebook and leads come. Sometimes you have to wait- 7 times.
Most advertisers do the same thing- pay for one advertisement and wonder why they aren’t getting results. The truth is people have to see things multiple times for it to click and for them to remember it.
This is what I do with my clients- even if someone books something with me, I send a ton of content before the appointment. The reason is I’m positioning myself in the appointment so they know who I am. Also send emails, which is another thing I do. They tell me they’ve never had someone email them so much – but they end up watching my videos.
Principle 5: Don’t Insult a Customer’s Intelligence.
“Obligation Free Appraisal”, “Free Appointment”, “Free Appraisal”
Putting this on a letterbox drop is sleazy. What does this mean anyways? If they come into your office, are they obligated to do business with you?
No one charges to book an appraisal. It’s expected to be free. No one will be excited to meet with this real estate agent for saying this.
Instead talk about what they’ll receive in the appraisal. Provide a personalized marketing strategy (based on your experience of selling 500+ properties in your area). If you do facebook advertising, provide a custom demographic report as part of the appraisal appointment. Show them the audience you will target on facebook.
Principle 6: Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don’t – Using and Positioning Numbers to Increase Conversion
Decide Which Number You Want to Display
People trust numbers because it’s harder to refute. This shows you are trustworthy. People are very skeptical these days, so be specific. Saying “our customers trust us” won’t make people trust you.
Zac Tully Example
The example below is very popular with new agents because they have to prove themselves.
Saying, “83 buyer expectations in 24 hours, 21 offers made, 6,885 views online, 50+ buyers still looking for a family home in Ashgrove” on your letterbox drop is a very smart move.
Use great numbers of buyer inspections, offers made, and views online. Use numbers that are believable. These numbers show that he’s good at selling real estate.
Another example is showing the most recent sale and showing the amount of views his property got compared to average on the site. This shows how much traffic he drove from facebook to the property.
Don’t Use Numbers Against You
Don’t use low numbers. This will just work against you. Remove numbers not adding to the cause. For example, “3 open homes, 2 offers, and 19 inspections”. This is not impressive and brings you down more than helping you.
7. Ray White’s Secret Weapon – All the Powers Combined
Most of the letterbox drops are saying, “look at me, pick me. I can sell your home.” What Ray white does is offer a report, which gets a high retention rate and makes it real. People will not toss it out.
Easy To Do
The great thing about the reports is it shows recent sales, which aren’t all sold by Ray White. So even agents starting out can make a report like this.
Ashgrove is a very small suburb, it’s not North Brisbane or Brisbane, it’s one suburb. A property report for your suburb is unique and hard to get. It’s not something they’ll be able to find at the book shop, that’s for sure.
The “Houses and units sold last quarter” section don’t all have to do with Ray White in ashgrove. So, you don’t have to use your own numbers. The numbers build a case by showing median sale price. This is great because it’s not just saying, “look at me”, it’s giving numbers. It’s giving solid evidence.
Also write a bio and show what you can give, like the one below. It gives testimonials. In this case, a great copywriter is vital. Also, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. You are advertising and need to show what you can do.
Think About Your Value
All of these concepts apply to any online marketing you do, whether it’s emails, facebook or phone calls. People want to know statistics about their own suburb. So, use the statistics for the concentrated area. You also need to understand how to communicate and know the value you provide. This is why localizing your work is so important. It helps increase your value.
Use A Follow Up Strategy
This is like what I’ll be doing. I’ll be sending this out to real estate agents and making sure they watch it. Check your own letterbox drops and all marketing materials. Advertising is very important.
Shift Your Strategy Towards Value
All the value you create will be useful for your online strategy, letterbox drop and follow up strategy. It’s easier to follow up when you have something to follow up with.
I want to be completely transparent about my strategy. I hope you’ve gotten some value from this. This will give you a better eye for good and bad advertising and you can use it in many of your own advertising strategies.