To the BP community, this maybe one the of the most sought-out blog posts that I’ve written to date on this website. Now, it’s not necessarily the most informational or educational — but it is something that will hit home with most of you who are involved in direct mail.
This subject comes up so much that I felt like this was the right time and opportunity to address it. Direct mail is something that I’ve written about two times on BP. You can check out those articles if you’re one of those who likes the direct mail approach as one of your primary ways of capturing leads.
Mailing to a List
You may have heard people say that “the money is in the list.” This can be a newsletter list, opt-in list or even a mailing list. People tell you that “the money is in the list” if you’re able to build that list in some form or fashion.
Simply put, if you’re selling something or promoting an item that is valuable to your list, then you should be able to make money. Same goes in the real estate industry when you buy or capture a list of potential leads.
There should be no problem mailing out to the list and getting some form of response for whatever you’re promoting or trying to achieve. Meaning, if you’re mailing to a list of property owners, you should be able to get people to respond to that mailing in some capacity.
Now, the issue of how much response you plan to get is what most investors struggle with. How many of those people are really going to read, act and take action on calling you or visiting your website?
You see, this is where the game starts to change for most people who do these mailings. They simply send out 500 or 1,000 or more mailings to see what sticks to the wall. Sadly, the response rate is always low, but sometimes, as with everything in life, people will get lucky.
They may get one or two people to contact them back to do business. So don’t think that mailing like this is not good — because it can be worth it if the cards fall your way on the table. Just like playing my favorite card game of blackjack. No matter how good I am at the game, the odds are against me if the cards don’t fall my way, and at the end of the day, I’m playing on luck.
Why is My Response Rate Low?
You as an investor must educate yourself if you want to dominate your local market. That is the key for success in life: to know what the competitors don’t know and beat them at their own game. One of the reasons why I can go dominate anyone in real estate out there in any city in this good country of the United States is because I know what it takes to market on a budget effectively.
Now, before you all go out and buy another list — which I advise you not to, and I’ll explain why here in a minute — think about this for a moment and make an educated decision on how you would approach your needed mailing.
Here’s an Example
I want to ask you all one question that pretty simple to answer when you think about it. That question is: “How do people become friends?”
At this point, you might be saying to yourself, Well, most people become friends by meeting at some point in their lives. A true way of starting any friendship is by meeting and someone saying something like, “Hi, my name is Antonio Coleman. What is yours?”
The other person responds, and the conversation will carry on from there. Maybe you all exchange phone numbers and even start to follow each other on the social networks. You will talk every now and then to build that relationship up to another level, which leads to another good friend who is a part of your life.
Over time your new friend goes through some issues with their property, and they will need to sell quickly to maybe avoid foreclosure or something. It can be pretty much anything in the real estate industry when it comes to people having to sell their property.
Since your friend knows about you being this top real estate investor, he/she turns to you for help in solving their issue. One of the reasons why the friend came to you first before the broker, realtor or even putting a sign in the yard that says FSBO is because of the personal connection.
He/She contacted you first. How powerful is that?
What I’m trying to explain to you is that when this person meets this other person for the first time, he/she doesn’t say, “I Buy Houses” or “Need to Sell Your House?” That person simply introduces themselves, and the journey of friendship starts from there.
If you want to be successful at direct mail, then you have to stop running up to total strangers asking to buy their house. They don’t know you nor have you even introduced yourself to them. All you did was approach them and tell them to sell you their house without building any sort of relationship.
The reason why the response rate of my newsletters is around 40%, 50%, or even 90% for the first email that I send out is because of the educational process before signup. The goal is to educate first, which is the “introducing yourself” part, and then to continue to educate them indefinitely.
You don’t ever have to say that you buy properties — because if your mailing is done right and you can get those people off of that postcard onto your website, then you will see a higher response rate.
Here’s how I would send out my next postcard mailing.
Hi, Owners Name (must be personalized)
My name is Antonio Coleman, and I’m a local real estate specialist right here in Shreveport, La. Well, I’m sending out this postcard today to let the public know about this brand new, free to use local real estate website that my team and I have put together for all the residents of this beautiful city.
We Cover the Following Topics:
- How to Plant a Garden
- How to Save on Utility Bills
- How to Avoid Foreclosure
- What to Do if You’re Behind on Your Mortgage
- How Rent-to-Own Works
- How to Fix Bad Credit
- and much more…
Free Membership at www.yourwebsite.com
Now, this is just a simple run through of what I would include, but you should be able to see my angle. I never said one thing about “I Buy Houses” at all. The goal is to get people to take action by providing great content on the website, which will convert these people over to leads.
All of the categories above will touch on someone who needs help in those areas. No matter what, I just got people over to my REI website all for free, and if I’m doing right when it comes to content, I then have them in my funnel.
Finally, I would like to say that the only way that this system works is not having a landing page. Landing pages will hurt your business if you’re really trying to get leads. Educate them, and then allow them the choice to opt-in. Don’t force it on them.
Investors: How do you write your direct mail postcards? What kind of success have you experienced?
Leave your best tips and tricks below!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.