As a Realtor, we all know the old adage, “Everything Works”, so we all try to strive to be better through different venues and save money wherever possible, at least most of us. I was doing some research when I came across “EDDM”, every door direct mail, where you bundle and bring your postcards to the post office, use those desired “oversized postcards”, the mail carrier distributes them out personally to each address on their route and the postage is only 17 cents a postcard. In a perfect world, this would be a great idea/deal, but beware… Things are not always as they seem.
I start a USPS account; put my card info in, select EDDM. I carefully select which routes in what zip code I want my postcards to go to: even choose what age groups to distribute to, wow, this is awesome! I pay online; bring in my postcards to the post office with the selected route sheets, etc. Mind you, I don’t do light advertising: I picked 4-5 postal routes in 5 zip codes… Each zip code area cost me over $830.00+ a piece.
For years, I have been sending out postcards the conventional way: Addresses on postcard postage, etc. My response is usually very good. My ROI (return on investment) is substantial. On average, my mailers numbered close to 20,000 oversized postcards, which gave me over 100 responses or more (like 200), turning into 5-6 properties closed a year (on avg, give or take a few) on this type of campaign. I spent $3,400 on postage and $4,750 on oversized postcards (I got a great deal on the postcards):
I GOT ONE RESPONSE… ONE.
When you spend over $8,000 dollars in advertising of this kind, you should expect some loss, but, only one response? Even in the down market we had in 2008, I got 300 responses with the same campaign!!! The statistics show this is not possible:
I live in NYC, and there are literally 100’s of other Realtors I have to compete with, granted, but I have been doing this for 18years and have never seen such a poor response on this type of campaign. So I did a little investigating on my own. One of the postal routes is where I live: NONE OF MY NEIGHBORS THAT I SPOKE TO RECEIVED MY POSTCARD. I also met with numerous people I know in the different route areas I selected, showed them my postcard and… THEY NEVER REICEIVED MY POSTCARD EITHER. But, through the years, when I put the addresses on myself, they were received. I also spoke to the local USPS business office about this… They gave me the “I understand how you feel” speech, soft shoed me, and I was forgotten.
Since then, I have made numerous complaints: starting with the postmaster general, BBB, etc to no avail. I don’t know how this works in your area, but for me, living in a big city, sending out approximately 20,000 postcards… I should have gotten more than one response. Any retailer or laymen can obviously see… There is something very wrong here. I want to be compensated for my materials and postage, or at least half of it. Through further investigation, through friends who spoke to anonymous postal workers on my behalf: They told me if mass mailers have no address on the postcards (which EDDM doesn’t have) they most likely won’t get it.
This has ruined a majority of my business for this year and has cost me quite a bit. 18 years ago, when I started in this field, I wanted to get to this level, where I can blanket areas with my advertising independently, to be substantial and productive on my own. A lot of people know me, and to get a postcard from me refreshes their memory, but when they don’t get anything, business will pass to the next guy. I thank God for the word of mouth business I have, and hope it will help me recover from this loss.
TO THINK THE USPS CAN SCREW THE COMMON BUSINESSMAN LIKE THIS IS OUTRAGIOUS!!!
I have no other choice: I have to use the USPS for my postcards. It’s a big part of my business. But from now on, I’m going to address each card, use a meter, bulk mail, etc. Getting ripped off by the one entity I have always trusted all my life leaves with a very bad taste in my mouth. I guess it goes to show you:
”If it looks too good to be true… It is.”
I hope the Postmaster General does the right thing, compensates me for my loss, makes me whole, and we can move on from this dilemma, go back to business as usual, but I have strong doubts of that happening.
As for me, word of mouth business from clients I have dealt with is gold. It’s the best business you can have: I thank God for that. There are many venues I use but, I will never tell (trade secrets). I also advertise and donate to my church’s little league baseball organization and pamphlet they give out after Sunday mass. Meeting with people, pressing the flesh, answering questions for people who don’t know much about buying and selling: I LIVE FOR THAT. When I’m done with someone who is selling or buying, I make sure they understand every aspect of the procedure. Sometimes… With a simple postcard, you can make make a lifelong connection.
I hope the Postmaster General does the right thing, compensates me for my loss, makes me whole, or works out some sort of compromise so I can move on from this dilemma and go back to business as usual.
RE/MAX AT THE SLOPE
NYS Lic. RE Salesperson
261 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11215
NAR, NYSAR, BBOR, REBNY, ACRE,CRE, GRI, EPRO