Just Listed Postcards: An Easy Add On Product For Real Estate Photographers

March 16th, 2014

Here’s a photo related product that real estate photographers can easily sell or just include along with a shoot. The product is “Just Listed” postcards that let neighbors near a new listing know that the property has come on the market. The point of the postcards is to get the listing agents face and name in front of the neighborhood and to show them what kind of job that agent does marketing a property. Agents that do this well and repeatedly can significantly increase the number of  listings they get in a neighborhood. It’s called “farming” a neighborhood. Listing agents do better if they are recognized as the specialist for a given neighborhood.

If you have the photos of a newly listed property and you’ve done it once or twice, creating “just listed” postcards takes a few minutes, you don’t even have to leave your computer and it’s a huge benefit to the listing agent. You can either supply the client with a PDF file that they can use to order postcards themselves or you can order and have the printing company will deliver the postcards right to the agents office. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use a front exterior shot of the home on the front of the postcard: You want neighbors to recognize the home that is for sale. I use Photoshop to create a postcard according to the specs of the online printer. My ebook, The Business of Real Estate Photography comes with several examples like the one above.
  2. Use a photo of the listing agent on the postcard: This is important. Listing agents should have name and face recognition in the neighborhood they are working in. 
  3. Use a simple URL for photos and more information: Frankly, this is one of the prime motivations for having a tour. Very few broker supply agents with a simple URL to put on postcards and flyers. If you supply a tour and simple URL with your shoot you should also provide a rider or topper sign with that URL for the For Sale sign. Nowadays a QR code can be used instead or in addition to a short URL.
  4. I suggest just supplying a PDF to your client: This way the agent can do the order and you don’t have to collect the money from them for the order. Creating a PDF post card with a standard format is so easy you could easily throw this in for free for an added incentive for clients to use your services.
  5. If you do ordering use an online printing company: I’ve used expresscopy.com (works for anywhere in the US) for years but there are many other companies that do the same thing. Just upload the correctly formatted PDF and fill out the order.

Your listing agent customers may already be doing a diluted form of “just listed” postcards where they send out a generic postcard that isn’t customized to the particular property and that doesn’t have a photo of the listing agent and doesn’t have a simple URL to more photos and information. Being a top listing agent is about winning the competition for the home sellers business. As a photographer you can provide listing agents with photo based products that help them win the competition for the home sellers business. By photo based products I mean, Just Listed postcards, Just Sold postcards, Flyers, brochures and tours.

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13 Responses to “Just Listed Postcards: An Easy Add On Product For Real Estate Photographers”

  • In the neighborhoods we farm ( mail monthly to same 300-400 homes) we use the camera on a tri-pod and the 2 of us stand in front of the Re/Max For Sale sign and fire the camera with my remote. Depending on the way the house faces we may need a fill flash. Expresscopy has all the addresses so I review in LR5, load the jpg, use the same back with the address and hit the send button. Great quality and fast.

  • The ‘hood I live in is FLOODED with about to be foreclosured on, and old people needing to go to a home type properties and my mailbox has been flooded recently with these postcards, except with recently sold homes , and a pitch to list yours for top dollar. Its STUPID easy to just make a direct mail campaign based on postal routes for a certain distance around a property and it costs .14 cents each to mail. Many printers offer a one stop upload and direct mail option that works out to around .40 -.75 cents each and all you have to do is upload photo. They drop mail them and everything for you, postage included. Thats enough room to still make a profit as the middle man and do almost ZERO work on your end – BUT save your client some valuable time and hassle.

    Also of note – the cards I am flooded with daily all look just about the same.. They are color on front, with low print quality and block arial text on the image, with a black and white back and block text poorly laid out on one half in a 4×6 postcard… If you want to stand out, I HIGHLY suggest going with something bigger than 5×7, such as a 6×8, or even bigger mailer on card stock.. print BOTH sides in color too and use a GREAT layout. If you googled “free postcard template for MS Word” to get your design, it will look JUST LIKE the other 37 people in your area trying to get the same business who did the same thing..

    I have a design background and it just kills me to see something people are mailing out that looks like it was done with MS Paint, and low quality pics, but its still representing your business. This is often the first and ONLY impression your company has to make with someone – make it count. My business card has been a non stop jaw dropper and people are always impressed with it because they have never received one like it before. I get calls from new clients in my commercial photo work that start the conversation with “I got your card at xxxxx several months ago, and still have it! I WANT YOU to do our photography now that were in need of that service”.. I spent 5 cents each more on cards that are unique, and its landed me several gigs in the mid 4 figures alone. It does make a difference.. You can use services like graphic river for next to nothing and look like you hired a big $$$ pro.. Look at http://graphicriver.net/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&term=real+estate I mean theres a ton of stuff there thats better than ANYthing I have received in the mail so far from some rather large agency that I know have a good budget..

  • @Jason – You raise a good point about standing out and a great way to do that is to use a gloss Jumbo postcard that is larger and is more attention grabbing than small postcards. Having a great looking visually strong, front shot of the property is also a big factor. We’ve had many sellers come to us and say we want you to take a photo of our home like that and show is the postcard or flyer.

  • I’ve never found marketing to homeowners has been in my best interest (I always get a lot of portrait or event / wedding inquiries, none of which I want to shoot). I’ve found marketing directly to brokers has always returned the type of work that I want to shoot.

  • @Malia – This post is not talking about real estate photographer marketing to home owners… it’s talking about a simple product real estate photographers can offer to listing agents. Most listing agents send crappy just-listed postcards, real estate photographers can very simply help them do it better!

  • Ah, I misinterpreted it. 🙂

  • I’m with Jason on this one. Maybe because I was a graphic designer first, I have noticed that photographers are often terrible designers. Just look at some photographer’s logos to see that is true. Just because you own Photoshop doesn’t mean you should be making postcards. Let a real designer handle that. It is similar to the idea that just because you have a camera doesn’t make you a photographer. The flyer above is not very good. It is way too busy and hard to read. That is the type of card you see a good bit though. Most people throw them away pretty quickly.

  • I asked my favorite client if he would be interested in Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and this was his response:

    “this one’s difficult. do you do 50 cards? what if the neighborhood has 30 homes? what if it has 250 homes? how do you get the addresses and names?
    i think that’s one reason why many don’t do it.”

    So, yeah how do you get all the addresses? How do you determine how many to send?

  • @Sean- I’m flabbergasted to hear of such an uninformed agent! Every competent listing agent I know sends postcards! Literally every county in the US has to have their property tax records public and the easiest way for them to do that is to have them online. To find your cities tax records just google “mycityname tax records” and you’ll find the county assessors office website. Here is mine: http://www.co.marion.or.us/AO/ Notice down low on the page it says Assessor’s Office Tax Records “click here”. The tax records are the address and name of every property in the county and what they pay for taxes and a description of the property. This is public by law. Doing an extract from tax records is very easy. A child can do it. Many MLS sites have applications that do this for you… many online application do this by giving an address and a radius, and it will extract addresses within that radius.

  • Sweet! Thanks Larry! =)

  • actually its even easier than that… the post office direct mail marketing system is 10 times easier for this sort of mailer. You simply look at a map, tell them which postal routes (many neighborhoods/subdivisions are broken down into multiple postal routes so you can send postcards to just 40-50 homes in a bigger subdivision, or the whole thing)

    gotprint.com will do one better, just order your postcards and they drop ship them out to the program that drops them into the directmail system.

    Ever wonder where all that mail you get that says “resident” with your address came from? Its because they didnt buy a list, they just paid the post office to drop one of those off at each house on this particular route.

    you can sign up for an acct and do it yourself, or pay a third party service to do it. If you can figure it out yourself, it saves a ton of money. You can literally wlak in to the post office with a stack of postcards (make sure the back is printed to thier specifications so there is an address box, they will print info in there), hand them to someone with a route code(s) you want them delivered to and its around 14cents each for smaller cards, 20ish cents for bigger cards each.

  • It appears that everyone around here opens their mail in front of the shredder. I’m an agent as well as a photographer and have gotten nowhere fast with post cards.

    But on the good side…When I was doing real estate full-full time, I started a blog which did get good Google juice. I’m bringing that blog back to life with web pages of the listings that I shoot, using SEO which I’m quite good at. The longevity of the site is helpful for traffic and I’m hoping to build it back up into something that will be useful for the agents that use me. Unfortunately, I have to have the site upgraded, its very old-fashioned in appearance and needs a facelift. I don’t code that well, so I will have to spend some $$$ when I have some to spare.

    I think a good move is to talk to agents to find out what they find useful or not . My feeling for what it is worth is that things vary tremendously from area to area. In an area where postcards hit the mark, my web pages would probably flop big time.

  • My parents hired a discount broker off a post card. 6 months later and with their home now off the market, I think they are wishing they would have asked their son for some advice. 🙂 But the point being, I think post cards do work for some people, and if we as photographers can make them quickly for our agents it’s one less thing they have to worry about. Happy clients keep us shooting.

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