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Direct Mail for Moving Companies in 2024

The resurgence of direct mail as a favored marketing tool for home service enterprises, particularly moving companies, reflects the rising costs of popular digital advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. With the real estate market’s slowdown (due to high interest rates) leading to limited lead pools, movers are turning to direct mail as a more effective strategy. Amidst the flood of direct mail that homeowners encounter when putting their homes on the market—often receiving 5-6 mailers at once—differentiating your message becomes critical. To succeed with direct mail, movers must target the right homes at the right time and ensure quick delivery while focusing on clean, professional design to maximize impact. This comprehensive guide will delve into best practices for mastering direct mail, offering actionable steps to boost ROI and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Direct Mail vs Digital Advertising: Finding the Right Balance

Most movers are either in the digital marketing (PPC, SEO, content, etc.) or traditional outreach (direct mail, realtor outreach, door-knocking, etc.) camp. But we’re here to say that they complement each other and should both be part of a mover’s marketing mix.

The way to view the two strategies as being outbound and inbound marketing tactics. Outbound is where a mover will proactively reach out to homeowners and realtors to increase their brand awareness and “pull” leads to their company. This is inherently a harder strategy to track compared to digital marketing, which brings in real data points. However, following the steps below will help movers become efficient with their direct outreach and limit the waste common with outbound marketing. If done correctly, direct mail (and other outbound marketing strategies) will build brand awareness and limit your need to spend money on inbound tactics.

In 2024, PPC and other inbound strategies have become very expensive. The slowing housing market has decreased the number of Americans moving, and the limited supply means higher costs on Google and Meta. Other movers have tried to optimize for SEO and content, which we recommend, but there are only so many inbound levers that can be pulled for local-based service companies.

The formula we advise: have great reviews + use direct mail efficiently + have a clean/concise website + test PPC channels + generate local content = massive local brand share.

Direct mail frustrates movers because of the “waste” they experience with their programs. The guide below will help mitigate waste, but it requires upfront work to have a successful direct mail strategy. Movers are busy—we know it. However, the best outbound marketing campaigns we have seen across our hundreds of movers are the ones that spend a few hours optimizing for the steps we outlined below.

Let’s jump into it.

Step 1: Sweet Spot Homes

Collecting Property Listing Data: Turning Information into Insight

Most home service providers are doing this already; mining property listing data is a strategic approach to identifying potential moving leads for direct mail campaigns. Inherently, homes for sale will have homeowners needing moving services.

Since real estate sites do not allow their APIs to be used by home service providers, most movers collect this data on their own in a very manual, time-consuming way. Also, as you’ll see in Step 2, speed wins. Your home listing data shouldn’t have more than a 24-hour lag between a home coming onto the market or moving to contract.

The key to successful data mining is collecting information and transforming it into actionable insights.

Most movers will leverage property listing data and use the home sale stages (newly listed, for sale, and under contract (aka pending) as triggers to reach homeowners. However, narrowing down to the type of home that your company mails is key.

Spray and pray is a great way to drain your outbound marketing budget and become frustrated with the strategy. Look at your booked moves and target the areas and home profiles you tend to serve.

What are the zip codes?

What size and price point do you specialize in?

The goal is to only market to homeowners that you can service and make money on and not waste money on direct mail going to homes outside your target.

Step 1 Action items: Putting a Data Collection in Place

Property listing data is available across many web sources. However, syncing it daily and filtering for the right homes is time-consuming. The easiest way to have daily information is to use one of the services dedicated to collecting and cleaning this data for movers (hint hint:

Otherwise, identify someone internally or find a virtual assistant (Upwork and Fiverr are good starting points) to start a spreadsheet of daily data.

If you go this direction, be very clear about the areas you want to service and the types of homes in each area. For example, you may target a more affluent neighborhood and want to only do a $700k search in that area, while the zip code next door may have nice move opportunities starting at $400k.

Collecting daily property listing data can become quite costly, so make sure you’re only bringing in data for zip codes that you can service and have an “owner” of the data that’s responsible for checking the quality and getting it synced to the postcard production.

*Special Note: Avoiding Direct Mail Waste

One of the quickest ways to waste money is sending mail to the wrong audience or households that cannot use your services. How can you limit waste by mailing vacant homes, new homes, and undeliverable addresses?

To avoid this, moving companies should implement a rigorous data hygiene process.

We’re biased, but using a fulfillment partner familiar with the data and space can save a lot of headaches and money!

If you’re running the program internally, see how to scrub the data for new construction and owner occupancy. This may require manually looking at property images or setting filters when pulling the data.

If you’re using a tool or provider, ask this current partner if they use owner-occupied or new construction filters.

These alone can curb 20-25% of direct mail waste.

Additionally, consider using address verification services to ensure the mail reaches the intended recipient.

Looking for Property, Realtor, and Renter Leads?

Step 2: Speed to Home

Importance of Direct Mail Speed: A Race to the Customer’s Mailbox

This may be the most important step.

In direct mail marketing, speed is of the essence. The quicker your mail reaches a prospective customer’s mailbox, the better your chances of securing their business. This is particularly true for moving companies, as the decision-making process for selecting a mover can be swift.

The adage remains true with so many mailers arriving at homeowners’ homes. First to home, wins.

The calculation for increasing your direct mail speed is simple but not easy: Timing of data + mail piece creation speed + location of mail piece + USPS postage.

The timing of data references Step 1, but you never want to be 24 hours delayed on new listings or listings going under contract. Make sure to tighten this up before working on the other speed optimizations.

Production Speed: Internal vs. Providers

The second optimization is how quickly you create (aka “print”) the mail piece for the prospect home. If you use an automated service, like Moovsoon, this is done as soon as the property has been listed or going into contract. If your team has bulk direct mail pieces, this would be applying the label and getting it ready to ship.

We’ll preface the next statements by saying that shipping direct mail that you have printed internally and dropping it off at the post office will always be faster than using a fulfillment partner. Obviously, there are labor costs and time commitments associated with this approach, but it can give you a day advantage getting to the homeowner.

This is relevant for movers using fulfillment providers.

Ask your team where the direct mail pieces are shipping from. If they don’t know or if it sounds like it’s a printer far from your location, get your fulfillment partner on the phone and ask them where they are printing and shipping from.

Often, it’s from a single location where the printing and shipping happen. This is ok if that location is near your market, but what if it’s in Ohio and you mailing to California?

Plan on adding another day for arrival.

Make sure to vet this with a fulfillment partner. At Moovsoon, we use a distributed network of printers to get as close to the delivery address as possible. If your mailers are shipping from a distant location, do an audit to see the delivery turnaround. It may be ok if your fulfillment partner ships your mailers quickly after receiving the trigger to print.

Follow the Step 2 action items for a quick way to analyze your fulfillment supply chain.  

First-Class Mail: An Investment Worth Making

Choosing First-Class Mail for direct mail campaigns can be a strategic investment for moving companies. This service, provided by the United States Postal Service, offers quicker delivery times, typically within one to three business days. This speed can be particularly beneficial for time-sensitive offers or messages that require prompt attention. First-Class Mail also includes return services for undeliverable mail at no extra cost, which helps maintain an up-to-date mailing list and reduces waste.

Moreover, First-Class Mail items are treated with a higher level of care, which can reduce the risk of damage during transit. This ensures that the mail pieces arrive in the best condition, reflecting the quality and professionalism of the moving company. Although it comes at a higher cost than standard bulk mail, the advantages of First-Class Mail may lead to a more effective campaign with better results, justifying the investment.

Step 2 Action Items: Audit your Process

For movers printing and shipping internally, we’re assuming you label mailers each day with the newest listings and get them out the door. If you’re not, we encourage you to keep the turnaround within 24 hours to have a competitive advantage with mail delivery speed.

For movers using or about to use a 3rd party fulfillment provider, ask them about their process. This is standard due diligence, and you want to ensure printing is happening quickly, your account is not being overlooked (or deprioritized in the printing order) because of lower volumes, or it’s shipping from a long way away.

Use these questions for a jumping-off point:

How quickly do you print mailers after a lead comes through? Within a day or two days?

Is there an SLA for turnaround on printing?

Where are you shipping from? What’s the average door-to-door delivery time (from bringing in a lead to arriving at the homeowner’s doorstep)?

How often do you audit your turnaround time?

What class of postage are you using?

Step 3: Clean Design

Impact of Design on Direct Mail Effectiveness: Unveiling Best Practices

The design of your direct mail piece is crucial for making a strong first impression. At Moovsoon, around 500 direct mail templates and designs are sent out daily. Anything 6×9 inches and above will deliver the best results. Don’t worry about the size as much as the messaging and layout of the postcard.

The goal is to appear professional.

The messaging and layout must be clear and easily digestible with a skim. A clean design with a compelling headline, high-quality images, and an obvious call-to-action (CTA) can make the difference between the mailer being read or discarded. Keep the message focused on the recipient’s benefits rather than just listing the features of your service. The layout should logically guide the reader through the content, leading them toward the CTA. Use whitespace effectively to avoid clutter, and choose colors and fonts that are consistent with your brand and easy to read. Using geometric angles and image boxes gives the layout a more professional appearance.

Leveraging Genuine Images: Establishing an Authentic Brand Connection

Using genuine images in direct mail can significantly enhance your brand’s connection with prospective customers. Authentic photos of your moving team in action or happy customers in their new homes can build trust and add a personal touch to your marketing materials.

It’s about creating a narrative that the potential customer can see themselves in – shots of trucks, packing a move, loading a truck. When people see real images, they’re more likely to believe and remember the message. This trust and recall are invaluable in a cluttered marketplace where moving leads have multiple options.

If you’re limited on your available content, do not use the internet’s stock images. These are usually international and do not look and feel like a local mover. If you need quality stock images, reach out to our team! We’ve collected dozens for you to repurpose.

Crafting Tailored Promotions: Leveraging Market Knowledge for Effective Messaging

Leveraging local knowledge and understanding of the market is a powerful tool in direct mail design. As a mover, you have insights into the challenges and needs specific to your area—for example, navigating narrow city streets or managing moves in high-rise buildings.

Use this knowledge to create mailers that address local concerns and showcase your expertise. Highlight stories or testimonials from local customers to build trust and credibility. Ensure your design reflects an awareness of local culture and community values, which can resonate more deeply with recipients. For instance, if your area is known for its historic homes, tailor your messaging to convey expertise in handling delicate moves.

What promotions work well for that area or type of homeowner? White glove moving? Storage discounts? This is where you need to leverage your market knowledge and showcase it through your direct mail. Your direct mail stands out by connecting your services to the local context. It demonstrates a personalized approach that can be the deciding factor for homeowners in choosing a moving company.

Displaying Reviews and Certificates: Boosting Credibility with Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful marketing tool, and displaying reviews and certificates in your direct mail can significantly boost your credibility. Positive testimonials from satisfied customers can resonate with potential leads as they provide evidence of your company’s reliability and quality of service. Including these in your design can help alleviate concerns or skepticism that homeowners may have about hiring a moving company.

Add your Google Review Star rating, association certificates, Angi awards, BBB, etc.

**Add your license and DOT numbers to prove your trustworthiness. These are often overlooked as a form of credibility. Make them seen!

Step 3 Action Items: Differentiating Your Mailer

To make your direct mail stand out, consider the following actions:

  1. Invest in quality graphic design that aligns with your brand identity and appeals to your target audience.
  2. Incorporate elements that invoke a sense of locality, such as landmarks or local language/promos, to make your mailer more relatable.
  3. Include a unique selling proposition (USP) that differentiates you from competitors, such as specialized services or a price-match guarantee.
  4. Use customer testimonials, awards, and certifications to build credibility and trust with potential clients.
  5. Integrate interactive elements, like QR codes or scratch-off discounts, to increase engagement with the mailer.
  6. Test different formats, such as postcards versus letters, to see which garners the best response rates from your target market.

By executing these action items, you’ll create a direct mail piece that’s visually appealing and effectively communicates your value proposition, making it more likely to convert recipients into customers.

Step 4: Innovative Solutions and Testing

Adopting “Handwritten” Generated Content: Differentiating Your Direct Mail

In a digital age, the personal touch of “handwritten” content can make your direct mail stand out. Adopting handwriting fonts and technology that simulates pen on paper gives the impression of personalization and effort, which can differentiate your mailing from the more generic printed pieces.

This approach to content creation can be particularly effective for moving companies, as the moving process is personal and often stressful. A touch of personalization can convey empathy and a willingness to provide individualized service. Moreover, recipients may feel a stronger connection to the brand, increasing the likelihood of them keeping the mailer and considering the service offered.

While genuinely handwritten notes are not scalable for large campaigns, technology now allows for the next best thing—a printed message that looks convincingly handwritten. This innovative solution can lead to increased engagement and, ultimately, more effective conversion of moving leads.

Ask Moovsoon about our handwriting solutions!

Iterative Design: Testing and Learning from Direct Mail Campaigns

Iterative design is a cornerstone of modern marketing and is just as applicable to direct mail campaigns. Moving companies can continuously improve their mailings by adopting an iterative approach based on actual performance data. Testing various design elements, from the headline and imagery to the call-to-action and offer, can reveal what resonates most with potential customers.

After each campaign, analyze the results to learn what worked and what didn’t. Did a certain message or design element lead to a higher response rate? Did recipients in one area respond more favorably than those in another? These insights should inform the next iteration of your mail piece.

The process of testing, learning, and refining should be ongoing. This improves the effectiveness of each campaign over time and keeps your marketing efforts agile and responsive to changing market conditions and consumer preferences, thereby enhancing your ability to generate moving leads.