The Exact Direct Mail Referral Marketing Strategy We Used To Generate A 500% ROI

Believe it or not, but using direct mail is an amazing referral marketing strategy for anyone in a referral based business. Direct mail is NOT dead, it’s alive and well and one of the most effective way to stay in touch and nurture your database.

“Referrals don’t come from strangers, they come from people you already know”

In the real estate, over 60% of business comes from referrals and repeat clients. Instead of spending tons of money on tech or other “noise” 90% of people never take action on,  start by marketing the people you know first.  

Referral marketing is all about keeping in touch with past clients, friends, prospects who aren’t ready yet, and anyone else who has the potential to send you business. It’s about keeping your brand in front of them with CONSISTENCY so you are not forgotten about.  The only goal is when people think of “real estate” they think of your name.

Why Direct Mail Should Be An Important Part Of Your Referral Marketing Strategy

A good referral marketing strategy will involve multiple touches, but here’s why direct mail is very effective.

100% of the people you send direct mail to will receive it. Secondly, everyone who receives it has to physically engage with you. If they pick up your postcard or letter, they still have to interact with it. You cannot say that in any other form of marketing. If they pick up your direct mail and throw it in the trash, they still physically engaged with you. That’s powerful for marketing. 

Direct mail going to have one of the highest ROI of any referral marketing strategy you implement as well. As much of the world has gone digital, direct mail is still tangible.  Don’t underestimate physical interaction. 

if you have 100 people part of your relationship marketing list you are sending direct mail to, 10-15% of them will be moving this year.  At the same time 100% of them have the ability to refer you at least one person this year.  This isn’t theory it’s mathematical. It will cost you about $12 a year to farm each relationship you have.

Do the math…

Everyone gets direct mail, but not everyone sees every email, or social media post you make. 

What do you send them?

Your marketing does not have to be about real estate. As a matter of fact it shouldn’t. You are nurturing people you already know so trying to sell them a house every time you communicate will put you on the stay away list really fast. You are not trying to convert them to a client, but more to to encourage their referrals. Sending out things like Holiday greetings, party invites, fun facts, recipes, local events, restaurant openings, newsletters, or anything else would be appropriate. You DO NOT need to talk business, you need to remind them about the business you’re in.

Here’s a simple checklist you can follow to get your direct mail marketing to your database automated with Referral Sweet.

Build A Direct Mail List First 

Referral marketing is not about sending content to strangers or a farm community, but more to people you know, worked with in the past, or would expect to get primary and referral business from.

Determining if you have someone worth marketing to comes down to a very simple test. If you were at the grocery store and came across someone you know, would you stop and say hello to this person? If that’s the type of relationship you have with them, then you should be be part of your referral marketing direct mail list.

If you were at the same grocery store and saw someone you recognized, but turned and walked the other way, then that person should not be on your list. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality of relationship you have.


The back of my postcards always asks for referrals. We call this referral programming. You cannot expect people to always remember what you do for a living. It also thanks the recipient of sending referrals ahead of time. Your company logo, headshot, title and information will all go on there, which is where you infer you are an agent. This is why you don’t need to communicate about real estate, it will be known. 

One Post Card Or Greeting Card A Month

You can send one postcard a month. Your content doesn’t have to talk about work, it can be anything.  You want to send your database content they will actually read like fun facts. The more interesting the piece, the better received and I’ve tested just about everything.  One example is a postcard I send about the world’s most expensive house.

These are short, sweet, cute, and fun to read. Remember all I want it to do is keep me on top of mind.

9 Holiday Cards Touches

I also send out holiday-based postcards. They follow a very similar format. Each postcard cites a fun fact revolving around that holiday.

I send my postcards out on the following holidays.

    • Groundhogs Day

    • Valentines Day

    • Patty’s Day

    • April Fools Day

    • 4th of July

    • Labor Day

    • Halloween

    • Thanksgiving

    • Happy Holidays
    • 2 Client Party Invites
    • Greeting Card

That’s and additional 12 touches a year. These cards are very simple and cute. They allow me to stand out and do not sell at all. The purpose is to wish a happy holiday in a cute way and to not be forgotten about when a referral situation comes about.