This week, we’re looking back at the almost five months since the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. So much has changed. There are still more questions than answers. And several trends have emerged that have helped us understand how the coronavirus has changed media, how the coronavirus has changed consumer behavior, and how the coronavirus has changed real estate. We’ve already talked about how digital first is finally here and the benefits of programmatic audio. Today, we’re going to take a pause from touting the importance of digital advertising for real estate and highlight the benefits of leveraging direct mail, particularly during a time of crisis.

The Direct Mail Opportunity

You’ll probably be surprised to see a non-digital media trend as our third trend to watch. Yet this trend speaks to our emotional needs as much as anything else – specifically, our need to feel connected. Maybe not surprisingly, mail is one of the ways in which consumers have felt connected during the coronavirus pandemic and because of that, they’re open to receiving more of it. Add a promotional offer – for real estate you can be super creative here (think real estate specific offers, like free staging services or free moving help, or something non-real estate and/or COVID-19 related like a membership to a virtual yoga studio) – and you’ve got a winning combination. 

In fact, though the number of pieces of direct mail sent out has been on the decline and is often the least utilized medium, data provided by Valassis shows that since the pandemic, 37% of consumers are more excited to receive mail each day and 46% of consumers said they were more interested in receiving deals, coupons, and promotions. This is on top of already strong consumer perceptions of information received in the mail. 

Coronavirus Mail Stats

Studies have shown that receiving personal mail can be effective across generations, as it makes Millennials feel special and is more likely to influence Baby Boomers than other forms of advertising. It’s also cheap – and likely to get cheaper as the United States Postal Service struggles to stay afloat due to sharp declines in mail volume during the pandemic. 

The key to taking advantage of direct mail to stand out (beyond relying either on your mail to be the only mail your target audience receives or the gratitude they’ll feel when they receive it) is to make sure direct mail efforts are both personalized and integrated with digital marketing campaigns – communication should be consistent across channels. In addition, offers and calls to action (including landing page URLs where recipients are directed for more information) must be unique and appropriately tagged to measure their effectiveness. Ultimately, a good direct mail campaign should yield a similar ROI (typically measured as a cost per response) as a good digital advertising campaign (for which cost per lead is often a key performance indicator), especially when done together. 

This post is part three of a five-part series that highlights how Coronavirus has changed media.
Read Part 1: Digital First is Finally Here
Read Part 2: Programmatic Audio’s Heyday
Read Part 4: Media Buying Becomes more Flexible
Read Part 5: Performance Marketing Takes Center Stage