@Brandon Turner & @Will Barnard I am going to make an embarrassing admittance. :-) I started direct mail in the last half of 2011 and didnt really start tracking my marketing costs until about September this year; although, I could go back and recreate. I use Quickbooks and would do things like put the cost of stamps in "postage" rather than in a "marketing" account. In September this year I started making all my entries very specific to what they are for. For example, 99% or so of my postage is for marketing so it is expensed as marketing now. I also started out making my own post cards, letters and such. I did all the stuffing of envelopes etc. I now hire out some of my post cards with yellowletters.com, hire a neighbor girl to address envelopes for the ones I hand address, pay someone to stuff envelopes and so on.
My second admittance is that I also managed the rehabs myself and do some of the work. I mostly do some of the work because it is just easier to get it done rather than find someone to do a 2 hour job when there is not more for them to do for a full day.
So the point of all this is that I dont want to spend the time to determine what my return on investment was at this time. However, for 2013 I will much better prepared to answer that question. Also, two of the rehabs are going into 2013 so only 4 rehabs for 2012 but I got the deals in 2012.
Another factor that will affect my ROI is my profit from the rehabs (obviously). What I mean by that is I only did two on my own with hard money and the other 2 completed ones I partnered with a money partner which of course reduced my profits. One of the partnered deals I did was by meeting an investor that does about 75 deals a year and partners on most of his deals. We hooked up because of my marketing. The 2 on going rehabs one is on my own with hard money and one is with a money partner.
So after saying all of this and not having looked closely at my books, I made a GROSS profit of about $78,000 on my rehabs.
So the point in all of this is to start off keeping good records, your marketing costs are always evolving as more work is hired out and rehab profits will evolve as one is able to do more on their own rather than partner with people.
As far as the wholesale deals went I made $7000. Honestly I was afraid to take on the work with what I had going on at the time. I have been doing rehabs for several years, but I had a partner that handled the rehabs 100%. I door knocked and found deals back in the day before the RE crash.
I made about $30K GROSS on my listings and they were all standard listings. Remember all of these numbers are gross profit. I have my marketing, costs to be an agent, fuel, and so on. It adds up fast.
As far as time spent going through all the leads that is interesting. There were times when I was actually not able to get to calls and return them with everything else going on. Then there are times I would give up my ice cold Coke Zero for a phone call! There were even a few times this year I didnt even look a a house because I could tell the caller wasn't that motivated. When I am slow I will look at anything to try and make a deal; when I am slammed that will not happen. I took Sharon Vornholt's advise and purchased the ACT data base and implemented that this year. I even spent the money and hired a consultant to help me set it up so I didn't have to go through the learning curve. One of my best decisions on the year. Going through leads and follow-up takes a tremendous amount of time.
I am at the stage in my business that I want to grow but am honestly working 12 hour days. I have been direct mail marketing for such a short time I am not even sure I can match what I did in 2012 let alone grow my business. If I can stay consistent the next hurdle is just as hard as starting out was. To get to the volume when I can hire a project manager, have time to develop good systems, actually track marketing and and improve response rates and so on is tough but worth it. I LOVE THIS BUSINESS.
Lastly, I learned most of what I am doing with direct mail through BP. I really read most of the marketing threads. This is such a great resource and people are so helpful. People like @Jerry Puckett, @Chris Colvard and Sharon Vornholt have taken time from their day's work to help me. I am very grateful.