We are now just past a week into the new year, and there is no better time than now to organize and evaluate the corner stone of your real estate business, and that of course is your direct mail marketing list. But sometimes it can be intimidating — especially when you’re new and you pull a new database with tens of thousands of leads and have no idea what to do next. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free To help you get started, I will share with you the process that I go through every year to turn my databases into manageable, automated processes that get me results on autopilot. Pull a New List Every Year In my business I market to a wide range of potential motivated sellers: tax liens, abandoned properties, absentee owners, high equity lists and many more. With most lists, it’s hard to go wrong as long as you avoid a few of the pitfalls. All of these leads I tend to only refresh annually — that is, I will only pull the lists for these leads towards the end or beginning of the year (January or December). There was a time where this wasn’t the case, but it quickly became a headache to manage trying to make sure my data was 100 percent up-to-date from month to month when marketing to thousands of households. The only lead that I market to where the data is refreshed constantly is probates, but only because it is time sensitive and they move so fast. But for all others, I tend to follow this model. It makes it easy to work with. Check Your Criteria What I tend to do is run my searches against the databases the Central Appraisal Districts provide me with once they update their data. Out of the leads my filters produce, I query them against my existing database and remove any duplicates or homes that have sold since then. Then I add the new leads from the query this year with the fresh data. This helps ensure that I continue to market to existing leads, allowing myself to stay on top of mind when it is time to sell. At the same time, this system is designed to be flexible enough that it allows new blood to enter the system to make sure new faces are seeing my marketing materials if they meet one or more criteria. Querying the databases against each other and removing duplicates ensures there is no overlap between all of the leads that I market to so my marketing dollars stretch to their maximum potential. Break Down Your Database Once you have established your lead list, you can make it even easier. What I do is break down the whole database arbitrarily into three groups. Each group gets a roughly equal proportional split of the database. Let’s say I was working with 6,000 leads in my database — each group would be broken down into groups of 2,000. A = 2,000 unique leads B = 2,000 unique leads C = 2,000 unique leads Set Your Mail Rotation Now that you have the database broken up into more manageable chunks, it’s time to set your mailing rotation. Every lead in the database will hear from me about 4 times a year, if I’m following the mail rotation outlined in this post. Remember, many of these leads are crossovers from previous years, so in all likelihood this may be the 10th or 20th time they have received a mailing piece from me. January: Group A February: Group B March: Group C April: Group A May: Group B June: Group C July: Group A And this cycle keeps looping through until the end of the year. Then once new year’s rolls around, we repeat the whole process over again. Fulfillment Next, I send off the approved mailing lists and notify them of my mailing schedule (mailing groups touched on earlier), and it’s easy as that. The fulfillment service that I use already has a stockpile of my marketing materials and postcards just waiting for an address to be stamped on them. They just need my go ahead, and they will start printing out the postcards for the month. Sit Back and Close Leads I do this once a year and never touch my database again — unless I want to add very specific leads to the database, for example any qualifying houses I find when driving for dollars. Little work, high reward, and my phone will go off predictably with each consecutive mailing. Once you go through all the work to get to this point, make sure you stick with it. Being consistent with direct mail is the best way to get results; giving up too early is the best way to ensure failure. If you have ever been flustered trying to put together a mailing campaign with your database, give this a try for the new year. I think you will be more than happy with the results. Investors: What does your direct mail campaign process look like? Will you be employing any of these tactics? Let me know what a comment!