The Advertising Agency
for Today's Serious
Real Estate Professional

A Whole Lot More Than Just a Direct Mail Piece

Are you using your personal brochure to its full potential? We’ll show you how to maximize the effectiveness of your brochure by sharing five great tips that will get more brochures in more people’s hands.

Okay, you’ve mailed your personal brochure to your entire farm area. Now what?

What on Earth are you going to do with the rest of them?

Hopefully, this sentiment doesn’t sound familiar. But unfortunately, far too many agents seem to operate under the assumption that you only visit your boxes of brochures once or twice annually when it’s time for another mailing. Despite the fact the majority of your personal brochures will be distributed by mail, direct mail is far from the only method you should be using to get your brochures in people’s hands.

The Wow Factor
Handing someone your personal brochure is actually a very powerful method that immediately establishes a perception of quality and value. The key is to never forget that you are a marketer and must behave like one. Don’t be afraid to put your brochures in the spotlight and invite conversation about them. The good news is that due to the inherent value a high-quality personal brochure possesses, you can create curiosity without having to hard sell anyone or shove it down a stranger’s throat.

In this article, we’re going to outline five methods of using your brochure outside of part of your direct mail plan. Let’s get started.

1. Bye-Bye Business Card
Agents sometimes have a hard time understanding when to use their brochure, says Don Hobbs. Basically, every time they use a business card, they should be using their personal brochure.

At Hobbs/Herder, we’ve often said that your personal brochure replaces a business card. Now let’s clarify that statement a little bit by means of comparison. When you hand someone an ordinary business card, there is no marketing value associated with it. If anything, you are simply blending in with everyone else. On the other hand, if the first thing you give to someone you just met is your dynamic, full-color personal brochure, you instantly make a positive first impression and convey traits of quality and professionalism while providing insight into who you are.

So when we say that a personal brochure replaces a business card, we don’t mean the business card is obsolete. What we mean is that it isn’t necessarily your best option as an introduction to who you are. A personal brochure makes a much stronger impression right from the start. Keep your business cards for mailing along with letters and giving to people with whom you’ve already established a relationship.

We can hear you now: But, what am I supposed to do, carry around a stack of brochures?

Well, yes and no. Of course, how and when you distribute your brochures depends on each given situation. If you have a meeting with someone, that’s a perfect time to hand the person a personal brochure rather than your business card. If, on the other hand, you strike up a conversation at your daughter’s soccer game, that’s probably not as appropriate a setting for handing over your brochure. Instead, swap business cards with your new acquaintance and then follow up like the sample to the right:

This method can be used for any social setting, private parties, for example, in which you feel it would be inappropriate to hand over a marketing piece.

Dear John & Mary,
It was very nice meeting you at the kids’ soccer game Saturday morning. I’ve enclosed my personal brochure to give you a better idea of who I am and what I do, and I would enjoy serving as a resource for any real estate related questions or needs you may have. Please feel free to contact me anytime.
See you next week!

Sincerely,

Joe Agent

2. Get Creative!
The difference between a true marketer and the common agent is that the marketer is constantly thinking of different, creative methods to get his personal brochure in strangers’ hands. The common agent waits for people to ask if he has a business card. That approach is too passive. True marketers are people of action who aren’t afraid to stick their necks out to get noticed.

Some of our favorite stories regarding creative usage of a personal brochure come from real estate marketer extraordinaire, Ralph Roberts. The personal brochure Hobbs/Herder created for Ralph has been known to be distributed in first-class cabins of jets worldwide, which led to home sales to several flight attendants and pilots, as well as the inside of nearly every restaurant in the Greater Detroit area.

Ralph’s most talked-about method of distributing brochures, however, is his notorious tip treatment. Every time he ate in a restaurant, rather than simply leave a tip like everyone else, Ralph saw a marketing opportunity. He would stand one of his brochures upright and drape a generous tip over the top of the brochure. The result was not only an increase in his business, but Ralph got people talking about him.

Ralph’s not afraid to attract attention, says Greg Herder. He always has his brochures visible and people are intrigued by them. Without them even knowing it, he gets prospective clients to ask him about what he does.

3. Promotion Power
Are you planning a theater promotion for one of the upcoming summer blockbusters? Do you hand out poinsettias to your farm during the holidays? Do you conduct an Easter Egg Hunt or hold an annual summer picnic?

Do you hand out flags on the Fourth of July?

These, and any promotion you conduct, are perfect opportunities for putting a personal brochure directly in the hands of prospective clients and making a big impression in the process. The effort required to put together a promotion is impressive in its own right, but when combined with a professional, high-quality image delivered via your personal brochure, it’s a combination that’s bound to overwhelm everyone in attendance.

Tim Fiebig, owner of RE/MAX In Motion from Castro Valley, CA., holds an annual Easter Egg Hunt, which provides him the opportunity to give each parent in attendance a promotional packet that includes his personal brochure. Many of the attendees may already have his brochure from his mailings, but giving them another simply reinforces his brand and perpetuates a high-quality image.

You can’t be afraid to use your brochure, Don Hobbs says. You can’t try to decide who’s worthy of receiving one and who’s not. Some agents tend to horde their brochures, but the real key to making it effective is getting it in as many hands as possible. Don’t worry about it if someone may already have your brochure, just keep them coming.

A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not distributing a minimum of 200 brochures every month outside of your direct mail farm, your program is deficient.

4. Community Connection
When it comes to distributing your personal brochure, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of community organizations and local businesses. Organizations such as the chamber of commerce and visitors’ bureau will often agree to include your personal brochure in information kits they distribute. In turn, not only do your brochures end up in the hands of many people you wouldn’t have reached otherwise, but also you receive the benefit of implied credibility from the organization itself.

You may remember the story of Roy Grimm, a Sedona, Arizona, buyer’s broker who reaches prospective buyers by leaving his personal brochures in strategic spots throughout town frequented by tourists. He has built relationships with concierges at many Sedona hotels and bank officers who are often asked for tips regarding the local real estate scene. The Chamber of Commerce included his brochure in relocation packets, and he even generated business by leaving a stack of brochures at a local car wash.

Your brochure can also be used to establish credibility for public relations purposes. By delivering or giving your brochure to editors of local newspapers, along with a cover letter explaining who you are, you can often foster relationships in the aim of becoming a source for real estate-related information. When your name is included or you are quoted in a news article, your perception is elevated to that of a local expert.

Also, don’t be afraid to attempt to create reciprocal agreements with local businesses where you spend your money. Businesses such as dry cleaners and supermarkets are community hubs. Take advantage of your patronage by asking if they will allow you to place a stack of your brochures on their counter or better yet, a display including brochures.

5. Pack It in Your Packets
Finally, don’t forget that every pre-listing packet, relo kit or media kit you create should always include your personal brochure. Again, some agents will say, Well, I already sent a brochure to these people, so I’ll leave it out. Don’t do that! Remember that your high-quality personal brochure will always make a positive impact, whether it’s a first impression or reinforcement of your image. It never hurts for people, especially happy clients, to have more than one of your brochures.

In fact, we’ve often advised people to mail two or three brochures at a time to past clients, requesting that they give a copy to friends or family. Think of the impact your brochure will make when accompanied by a recommendation from a trusted friend.

Another place agents sometimes forget to use their brochure is in their flier boxes. Paper clip a personal brochure to each House Flier (feature sheet) you place in the box, or simply leave a number of brochures along with the House Fliers. You’ll be amazed at the increase of calls you’ll receive from this one simple tip.
The lesson to be learned in all of this is that you can never underestimate the power of your personal brochure. Our advice is to take advantage of decreasing per-unit printing costs, print way more than you think you’ll ever use, and then use your brochure everywhere you go. Remember, success as a real estate professional is not dependent on the quality of service you provide, but how good of a marketer you can be.

How Are You Using Your Brochure?
We would love to write another article sharing all the creative ways agents have used their personal brochures that we didn’t cover here. Are you thinking like a marketer or are you the common agent we described? E-mail us with your answers and ideas, as well as any questions or comments you may have.