Direct mail is one of the most useful marketing tools that you – as an investor – can use to find awesome deals.
For a lot of wholesaling and house-flipping businesses, direct mail is THE “bread and butter” marketing strategy that generates a constant flow of deals.
Real estate direct mail marketing is great because you can easily find targeted lists online (we’ll talk about that in a second) and you can scale this marketing method as much as your budget allows very easily.
Before I dive into real estate direct mail marketing specifics, let’s quickly recap some of the other deal-getting investor strategies I’ve covered in this series – (check out our post on developing a Wholesale Real Estate Marketing Plan). Last time, I touched on how to find For Sale By Owner properties and inherited leads, and also how to create effective bandit signs.
If you haven’t read the first 4 parts of this Free Deal Sourcing Course, then start by reading our articles about off-market real estate deals.
Ok let’s keep going.
Real estate direct mail marketing is similar to bandit signs in that it’s a printed way of advertising. On the other hand, direct mail (especially, yellow letters) should be much more personal – or, at least, seem to be much more personal.
So, where do we start? With the basics, of course…
First let’s talk about building your direct mail marketing lists. Then we’ll talk about what to mail!
With real estate direct mail marketing, obviously your mailing list is going to play a HUGE part in the success of this marketing technique. You want your list to be thorough so that the recipients on the list match your investment criteria to a T. Otherwise you’ll waste marketing dollars and be inundated with phone calls from people who are far from your ideal prospects (i.e. non-motivated sellers, or under-water sellers).
Where do you go to find lists to mail to?
National List Sources:
My favorite 2 sites are:
Once you’re on one of these sites, you can start selecting and narrowing down your mailing lists. Keep in mind each lead will cost you money, so you will want to start off with as narrow targeting as possible to keep your costs down.
To do that, make sure you focus on these aspects when creating your list:
Local List Sources:
Tax-delinquent property lists are KILLER lists to mail to! Each county collects real estate taxes within their jurisdiction. When people fall behind on real estate taxes, eventually the local county will foreclose on the property. But it typically takes years for this process to happen. In the meantime, these properties are PRIME TARGETS for you to focus on.
Why? Well, for starters these are usually free & clear. If they had a mortgage on them, usually the lender would require real estate taxes to be escrowed and paid. Those properties that fall behind on taxes usually don’t have mortgages. They have been inherited, passed down, gotten through divorce, or just paid off a long time ago. If the owner doesn’t care enough to pay taxes, then they don’t care at all about the property and will sell it to you at a good discount!
Where do you get these lists? Generally, these are not available in national online databases.
Instead, you’ll have more luck finding them at your local county courthouse. For instance, in my county, I was able to obtain a list of more than 26,000 tax delinquent properties – that’s an incredible number of leads! Go down to your local county and ask around. They will make the lists available to you.
There is no right answer here. Just like picking your lists, your success will come down to trying and testing different mediums and tracking every mailing campaign religiously! Then you get rid of losers, and scale the winners.
Yellow Letters have been one of the most effective real estate direct mail marketing methods over the last ten years or so. They work. But keep in mind that they’ve also been used so much by so many people that sellers have probably seen them many times. So use them, but only as part of a bigger test against another form of direct mail.
Here are the reasons why yellow letters can be effective:
So, what kind of response can you expect from yellow letters? You’re going through all this effort, after all – the least I can do is give you an idea of what results this could yield.
Well, consider this: postcard advertisements often have a recipient response rate of less than 1% and business mail has an average response rate of 1% to 2%. But, in my experience, yellow letters consistently have a response rate of 3% to 10%.
What’s the reason why yellow letters have a high open rate?
It’s because they’re intriguing! The handwritten envelope will induce curiosity in the recipient just about every time. I mean, who wouldn’t open that up? And yellow letters are also not easily forgotten – because of their uniqueness.
“Writing isn’t letters on paper. It’s communication. It’s memory.”
~Isaac Marion, American writer
Remember, your letters should be brief, simple and direct. Like this:
When it comes to launching yellow letter campaigns, you really have a couple of options:
This will allow you to still save money, but you’ll be able to crank out more real estate direct mail letters.
Couple of websites to check out for automated mailings:
I think yellow letters are a great place to start but you should test them against other types of real estate direct mail marketing. So, here’s what I would test against:
Alright, that’s enough for today. Go and create some mail campaigns!
Remember, even though real estate direct mail marketing may not be the most “modern” of deal-getting investor strategies, it’s a tried and true, proven method. By making the effort to send something personal (or that appears personal), you’ll reap the benefits of more property steals. Direct mail is effective – period.
Talk again soon,
What content ideas do you use for your yellow letters? Talk to me in the comment box below.