3 Ways for Real Estate Investors to Succeed With Postcard Marketing

by | BiggerPockets.com

Postcard marketing is a great tool for real estate investors to use to grow their businesses. It operates on 3 simple strategies that, when perfected, can generate consistent leads and revenue. Postcard marketing can seem complicated. However, if you focus on nailing down the direct mail fundamentals, it becomes a simple and effective tool for business growth.

I’ve been using postcard marketing for 20 years for my own company as well as my clients’ businesses. I am able to boil down all the trial and error that most beginning marketers go through (been there, done that), so you can get ahead of the game and start succeeding right away.

Here are the 3 direct mail fundamentals you have to master…

 1) Choose the Right Size

“What size postcard do I need?”

“Can I get away with a smaller card?”

“What is the benefit of a bigger card anyway?”

The size of your postcard plays a huge role in getting the attention of your prospects. The three questions above are most business owners’ first questions when they’re putting together their direct mail campaign. It’s the first big decision you have to make for your postcard marketing campaign, and it’s critical. If you are in a competitive market, you’ll need a bigger card to get noticed in a mailbox full of letters, bills and, in all likelihood, other postcards.

To find out what size postcard YOUR real estate investing business needs answer these 3 questions:

  1. How much do other companies in your industry market?
    1. Not at all/I’m the only one (You can lean towards a smaller card)
    2. Light to Moderate Amount (Lean toward a larger card)
    3. Moderate to Heavy Amount (You need a large card)
  2. Do your competitors also mail postcards?
    1. No (You can lean towards a smaller card
    2. Yes (You need a large card)
  3. How much explaining does your offer require?
    1. Not that much/Easy to grasp  (Smaller card is fine)
    2. A little background info (Medium should do the trick)
    3. A lot/Details are important (Go big or go home)

First, make sure your direct mail provider offers a variety of sizes. Most will, and the choices will look something like this: Small (4×6), Medium (5×8), and Large (6×11). Steer clear of a direct mail company that promotes a one-size-fits-all strategy, because the only way to get optimal results is to mail postcards sized to match the level of competition in your industry and market.

 2) Design with Marketing Intent

The right size gets your card noticed, but the real work still has to be done once the prospect picks it up. You need to use intentional marketing design for your postcards using marketing strategies based on successful postcard marketing results.

In my experience a successful postcard design has 10 essential elements:

  1. Clear Headline
  2. Supporting Graphic
  3. Color that Pops
  4. Intriguing Sub-Headings on the back that lead into benefits
  5. Benefits!
  6. Enticing Offer
  7. Company Name and Logo
  8. Call to Action and/or expiration date for the offer
  9. Contact Information – website, map, phone number
  10. Return Address
  • Elements 1-3 take the prospect’s attention and turn it into genuine interest in what the rest of the card says.
  • Elements 4-7 take the prospect from “interested” to “sold” by fueling their interest with relatable benefits to their current circumstances. Then, an irresistible offer convinces them that by not calling they are missing a big opportunity.
  • Elements 8-10 give them every opportunity to take advantage of what you are offering them. You should provide as much contact information as possible, such as mailing address (if you have a brick and mortar office location), phone number, email, website, social media pages, etc.

 3) Choose the Right Mailing List

The size and design of your card are crucial; however, it all means nothing if you send it to the wrong audience. To generate the best response you need to find your “ideal prospect.” This is the kind of person who already wants the services you offer. For real estate investors, you are obviously looking for prospects with enough money to invest. Sending your cards to lower income individuals is going to yield terrible results. Even if these individuals are interested in investing in real estate, they aren’t in the position to do so. The best way to find your ideal prospect is to analyze your current clients. After all, you already turned them into clients! They were obviously fertile soil for your marketing message.

Are there trends or similarities in your client base? This can help you see what the common characteristics are of someone who is ready and waiting to invest in real estate. You can do this research yourself, but many direct mail companies are more than happy to help you put together a list of great, quality prospects.

When you master these 3 direct mail fundamentals, you can use postcard marketing to build your business through consistent lead (and revenue) generation. I’ve seen it work for over 55,000 business owners many of whom are real estate investors just like you. Try it out and see for yourself!
Photo Credit: snaps

About Author

Joy Gendusa (G+) is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a firm that specializes in direct mail marketing, and the author of the 95-Step Total Marketing Checklist. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from almost nothing—just a computer—to a $20 million enterprise in less than a decade.


  1. Dear Joy Gendusa,

    Well, you had some great suggestions in points #1 & 2 but totally lost me at #3.
    Generally, the postcard marketing being done by real estate investors is going to people who have a piece of property but owe money (or have declining income) and have an immediate need to sell NOT to people with money to invest. Consequently, your hypothesis is flawed.

    You say that as an investor, i am “looking for prospects with enough money to invest.” But I say that if I am marketing to someone who needs to sell their home, I am most likely going after low-income or low net worth individuals. That flies in the face of what you wrote.

    Can you elaborate on your thinking here and let me know what it is that I am missing (or what I misunderstand) in your third point?


    • Travis,

      After reading the article, I initially had the same thought process as you. However, I believe you and I were initially thinking of marketing to the homeowners (who are in distress and wanting to sell ASAP) as opposed to marketing to funders (other investors who may have the money to invest but not the interest or time to handle all the details, i.e., doctors, lawyers, and other high-income earners).

      Thank you for the good read, Joy!


      • Greg.

        Marketing to people as a method of finding funding is very “iffy” as you don’t want to be perceived as a securities company. What would your offer and benefits be! Obviously we think we can make a good return for any investor but we surely can’t say thy in a postcard that is bulk mailed. The S. E. C. would be all over us like “a duck on a June bug!”

        I attend a lot of REI meetings and have not run into any investors like myself who do Directmail to look for funding. None of the “so-called guru’s” are encouraging this method either. Hm?! I wonder why? (Stated facetiously!)

        There are way too many other ways to find investors that are more direct and much more personal than direct mail.

        Just my 2-cents worth.

        Travis West

        • Travis, sorry for the confusion! While my original article was referencing investors looking for funding (which is definitely a type of campaign we run into frequently in my company), the overall advice wasn’t just to mail to only those types of people — it was to find out who YOUR best customer is and mail to people like them.

          Your most frequent clients seem to be those who are low-income, so I would advise that you model your mailing list after them, with a message targeted to their problems and the benefits of using you. This would increase your chance of a response!

          In addition, in keeping with the theme analyzing your best clients, I recommend that you survey a few of them to see why they picked you over the competition. Was it a specific incentive you offered, or the fact that you called them back within the hour, etc.? By doing this, you may find a couple trends in your closing patterns, the things that make YOU stand out, and I would emphasize this in all of your future campaigns. Talking to your very best customers not only helps you learn more about who you should target in the future, it can help you understand what makes YOU so successful.

          I hope this helps and clears up any confusion there may have been!


  2. Thank you for the article Joy. In my “to do” pile is a couple of my postcards waiting for a revamp. #3 states color that pops. I have read a few posts on BP stating that simple colored stock cards with black lettering and perhaps one colorful graphic vs high gloss lots of color post cards convert better. It sounds like your company mails for a wide variety of clients, some of which are RE investors. So my question is what would your suggestion be for a PC going to a motivated house seller (usually means some sort of distress) glossy-pop-lots of color vs plain color stock – black lettering with perhaps a color logo?

      • Gary, this is a great question, and unfortunately I don’t have a clear and finite answer. The most “successful” color scheme is a bit of a myth, but the most important thing to remember is that the color should POP. Contrast! It doesn’t matter so much WHAT the colors are, as long as their juxtaposition makes one of them really pop.

        I will say though that yellow is a great color that communicates urgency, and red conveys danger or distress. These are two colors that you can use in splashes across your postcard with your most important message, in order to grab the attention of someone who may be distressed financially.

        I hope this helps!

        • It does seem that most people here on BP indicate that their deal rate goes down the nicer they make a post card and people doing really well seem to have the most basic ones possible.

          So to summarize:
          If you want to get someone to sell you their house at a big discount you mailing piece should look cheap and tacky with a very in your face obnoxious message.

          If you want them to buy a pizza make sure it is beautiful and processional.

          I’ve stopping trying to understand the thought process of other humans…

  3. Good post Joy, Thank you. Timing is great as well, I am in the process of launching a couple of new marketing campaigns which includes postcards. I checked out your website and instantly remembered being here before… a very good friend and mentor of mine uses your service and had recommended your service.

    • That’s great, Dick! Who was the friend? Might be someone I know. A few of our best clients are in the real estate investment business.

      Also, I’m wishing you the best on your campaign! If you’d like to talk it out with one of our marketing consultants, we do provide free marketing advice anytime.

  4. Direct mail is still a great choice, done right. Yes, a solid offer, enticing bullet points and strong headline all still apply. And be sure your offer matches the pain points (or aspirations) of your mailing list. What problem are you solving?

    As a printing company owner, I’ve seen the industry change greatly over the last decade. Today the cost printing a tiny 4 1/4 x 6 card vs a generous 8.5 x 5.5 card are about the same. And assuming you are using standard class (bulk) mail, the postage costs are the same as well. So no reason to sweat over buying a small vs large card.

    Most important, test, test, test your offer (and a variant offers) to samples of your mailing list, maybe a few hundred names each time. Find the offer that works best for your list. Then scale it up into the thousands.

    To save money on direct mail, print in quantities of several thousand or more. Many printing firms (I do this) will handle the direct mail for you as well, or you can work with a direct mail company. Either way this will save you countless hours of sticking on mailing labels, deciphering cryptic USPS forms and lugging around trays to the post office.

    Direct mail is like *any* kind of selling: salesmanship counts! But so many folks flunk out on the basics. Make sure your offer is relevant to your readers. And that it addresses a real problem or pain in their lives. That your headline captures attention in the precious seconds the reader is flipping through their stack of mail.

    Take your time and get it right, or you’ll lose money on direct mail, mostly due to the postage costs. But done right, direct mail will provide a constant stream of quality leads to your doorstep.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Bill! And speaking of testing offers (and messages and mailing lists — test them all!), the most important part is to TRACK RESPONSES! This is the #1 rookie mistake made by marketers, and it can result in so many wasted leads and lots of wasted marketing dollars.

  5. Donald Tepper

    Kind of an old post (5 years old), but since PostcardMania is promoting it in emails to customers, I thought I’d pose a question: Point 7 recommends including a company name and logo. More generally, PostcardMania’s approach seems to be to establish corporate credibility. And yet a number of “gurus” suggest coming across (in person and via mail) as just an ordinary person. You don’t reveal that you’re the owner of a company; sellers (they advise) can find that intimidating.

    And, in fact, I have a rental property that meets many investors’ target criteria–long length of ownership, absentee owner, great location, older property. I probably receive an average of 3-4 mailings a week. Some (like Express Homebuyers) do display their corporate identity. However, most of the others (including one earlier poster to this thread, who’s in the same area as I am) just come across as a sole buyer, often “an ol’ country boy.”

    So, the question for Joy and the others here is: Do you hype your company name and logo, do you mention it but not prominently, or do you bury it entirely? And have you tried a variation of approaches?

  6. Mike Snyder

    Arg, this is confusing the ^&#$%@*%)%$ out of me. I am working on getting a postcard campaign going for typical motivated sellers (non-probate for this) but the two camps of “O’l country boy” and XYZ company branding in multiple BP threads is not clearing anything up. The only thing that stands out and makes sense is what Donald said about getting a majority of the generic mailers. Which sounds like you should go “nicer” to stand out IF your market is flooded w/ the generic ones.

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