Magic socks that will make you move house

My mate lives in a rather nice little village in the Cotswolds, and the other day he posted something on the Book of Faces that made me chuckle. 

Black and white drawing of a pair of socks flying downwards

Lumpy mail is a great idea but don’t forget to include a sales letter.

It was a “WTF” post with a photo of a pair of socks… from an estate agent. Now, I’m a bit loathe to mock the estate agents too much because frankly most of the residential ones are utterly shit and I’m impressed that they’re doing anything interesting marketing-wise… but I never pass up an opportunity to drop a few hints out to you. Because that’s the way I roll.

You can see the mail package – and I use the word “package” loosely – here.

A little more digging revealed that their slogan is “We work our socks off!” so I guess that’s the tie in. However, I’ve a few problems with this:

Working your socks off for your clients should go without saying – but for an estate agent, this is a USP (as far as I can tell, most are lazy bastards. Can you tell we’ve been looking to move house recently?)

The slogan’s a little generic; it could apply to any business in any industry.

The socks arrived on their own! That’s a massive opportunity missed.

And that’s the thing, see. I admire their spunk in sending something vaguely interesting in the first place. In fact, I’m impressed because most businesses never do anything like this. But they’ve gone at it half-cocked and missed a ton of opportunities.

Firstly, you never send lumpy mail without an accompanying letter with a strong call to action. I’ve no idea what the estate agents want my friend to do, because there’s just socks. That’s it.

Secondly, it should be part of a multi-piece campaign involving lumpy mail, email, phone calls, postcards… because you can’t rely on your prospects seeing, keeping, or acting on the one thing you send them randomly out of the blue.

Here’s the lesson: keep contacting your clients and prospects until they buy, die, or tell you to stop. But don’t just sell at them all the time. Entertain them. Provide value.

Part of me would love to work with a residential estate agent because it would be so easy to get them great results because people hate them and they’re terrible at marketing. Plus, there’s some great fun stuff we could do – as a current estate agent user, I’ve got some awesome ideas. (The other part of me would rather stick pins in my eyes.)

Anyway. I’ve actually got a commercial estate agent in my Inner Circle, and I’ve seen him doing great stuff on LinkedIn. He’s in a tiny minority who actually want to improve their marketing. But, of course, you do have to apply the stuff you learn.

There’s a great opportunity for estate agents – and every other business owner out there – to find a niche, too… And you can find out more about that in my book, Business For Superheroes.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS You might think I’m bashing estate agents here. I am. Because I’ve had very, very few good experiences with them. There’s an enormous opportunity for a good estate agent to absolutely kill it – just by not doing all the things that drive us nuts. I mean, FFS – the other weekend I wanted to view a house . I was informed that they don’t conduct viewings at the weekend and could I just pop in and get the keys? Because nobody wants to view houses at the weekend do they? And no, I can’t “just pop in” on the Friday because I live more than an hour away.

I wonder if the vendors know what a shit job their agents are doing? Rage.

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