The direct mail campaigns that have produced the best results for us have been those mailings that are targeted. By targeting I mean either to a very specific geography or to very specific types of prospective tenant.As an example, we have done successful direct mail pieces to homeowners who had their residences listed for sale in the local realtors multiple listing services. These particular mailers extol the benefits of "de-cluttering” their home by using self storage as a means to make the home look more attractive to prospective buyers.
There are data base suppliers like Info USA who are able to tailor the mailing list to things like mail carrier route, defined radii, business owners by type of business or even things like household income or renter / owner. These type of mailings end up being more efficient in that they are target rich and we have higher response for lower number of mailed pieces.
Conversely, where we have not been successful are cases where we tried to go to wide spread geographically or where there were real barriers like major rivers or highways dividing a market into accesible and non accessible areas relative to our location.
Remember with any market campaign, make it trackable, by having a coupon as part of the mailer. The success of the mailer can be determined by the number of coupons you get back. This will require some discipline on the part of the manager. We have seen instances where managers have given out a mailed coupon indiscriminately to others who did not receive it in the mail.
In our experience mail marketing is pretty ineffective for the cost. We have had a handfull of rentals based on our total time of using mail outs. We mail out about 150 flyers a month. We used to mail them to families that have just placed their houses on the market. We stopped because so many of them just get returned.
So now we basically flip through the phonebook, which I know is terrible, but we are required to get our 150.
In my opinion there are much better ways to gets rentals than throwing stamps (money) out in the mailbox. Heck, we have even had a couple rentals from Craigslist and that was completely free!
This occurred today; a gentleman came in to rent a unit and told us about this nice postcard that he received from us "quite awhile back." The nice postcard mailing he was referring to was one we sent out the summer of 2006!
We did the mailing to owner occupied dwellings within our community. We mailed once, waited a few months then repeated the mailing to the same addresses. We mailed out to 5,000 pieces two times. Yes, the piece was a bit costly to produce, as we went for a really nice finished product, with a slight touch of humor, but nice enough to hang on to for many people. We used the bulk mail permit to save some money.
Rentals from the mailing were slow at first but with our discount noted on the card, it was easy to see how many responses we received. We did make enough of a ROI to pay for the mailing over the first 3-4 months after they went out. And they're still paying off three plus years later! We'll do it again if need be.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.
I just sent out a very small direct mailing. 200 to residences within 5 miles and 100 to businesses within 5 miles. the whole thing cost around 220.00. Created an oversized postcard, full color. we'll see........
I think it is not a good idea especially now that spending money to some things is quite hard, I think online marketing is the best way to use now a days you can also build a good relationship to our customers for referrals.