Is your canvassing working, or are you just chucking your money away?
The average agent (is there any such person??) sends out around 1,000 leaflets a month, and gets back just 3 calls, if they’re lucky. That’s a response rate of 0.3%.
In terms of return on investment, this might not seem so bad. Say 1,000 leaflets cost you £300 in design, print and distribution, and your average fee is £3,000, then so long as you convert at least one of those calls to an instruction (and then sell it), you’re quids in – right?
But what about the other 997 people who didn’t call you?
Some might argue that mass leafleting keeps you top of mind so that when they eventually do think of selling, it’s you they think of.
That’s true, to a point. But you could also be hurting any potential relationship you might enjoy with them, if you weren’t bombarding them with leaflets each month.
Let’s take my email list as an example. If you get my Supertips you’ll know that every Friday, you get a short, useful and interesting tip from me by email. Around 3,000 agents get my emails each week, so what’s to stop me sending out offers to you? Simple: it wouldn’t work. You might open the first offer email, and perhaps the second, but after that, your interest would no doubt wane and it wouldn’t be long before you hit that unsubscribe button.
I don’t use my emails to sell anything. I want you to open my emails every Friday, so I try hard to make sure they are worthy of being opened. If the purpose of my emails was solely to sell, then our relationship would suffer because you wouldn’t trust that the information I imparted was unbiased and impartial.
Mass canvassing damages trust
So if you shouldn’t try to sell to a homeowner, aka encourage them to book a market appraisal, then what can you do with your canvassing to make it work?
The three pillars of canvassing: Market, Message, Medium
Market – who you’re sending the leaflet to
Message – what you’re saying to them
Medium – what it looks like, and how it’s sent
By far the most important aspect of any canvassing campaign (or any other type of marketing), who you send your leaflet to will determine the success or failure of your promotion. If you’re looking for decent quality instructions, you don’t want to be leafleting HMOs or rented flats, for example. Pick your roads and areas carefully so any responses you get back will be from people who you actually want to work with.
If you want someone’s attention, you have to make it worth their while to pay attention to what you have to say, then to respond to you. They don’t want to read 100 words on why you are the best agent to sell their property. They may, however, decide that your article on 5 Things to Do Before a Viewing is worth spending a few minutes reading. Try experimenting with long copy (lots of words) versus short copy, as some research suggests long is better. Yes, less people will read to the end, but those people are much more likely to be quality clients for you.
What the piece (postcard, letter, flyer) looks like is actually the least important factor, but the one that agents usually spend a disproportionate amount of time on. Choice of images, font, thickness of card and where your logo will go are all far less important questions than who you will send it to, and what it will say. Get the first two factors right before you decide on design, and when you are ready to make it look beautiful, hire a really good designer. It won’t be cheap, but it will be worth every penny.
Is your canvassing working?
If you’re now wondering whether your canvassing is up to scratch, or if it needs a re-think, I’m offering 10 canvassing review spots to my readers. Just email your latest leaflet to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll tell you what I think of it, and if and how it could be improved.
Not only that, but the best leaflet I receive will win my Year of Canvassing Ideas for Estate Agents, worth £97! I’ll update this post with the winning design as soon as I decide which one deserves the prize.
What to read next: Clever Canvassing
What to watch next: Canvassing for Estate Agents – (Estate Agent Marketing Tips)