First Direct Mail campaign - Failure

13 Replies

Hi All,

I recently sent out my first DM campaign. 374 pieces to absentee and out of state owners with 60-100% equity. It hit homes on 11/17. I have had NO responses. I know the whole idea of having to hit people with multiple touches before they call but everyone else I have talked to has received at least 5 or 10 calls on numbers like this. I know my message is good because it is in line with many others out there. Just wondering what I'm doing wrong. I'm sending to the CT shoreline and the towns are fairly affluent but houses here are sitting on the market for 120 days or more so I really expected a better return. Also, I received 9 postcards back. Out of 374 is that an average undeliverable adddress or should I be worried that the lists are not up to date (I used ListSource)? Thanks so much, -kim-

@Kim Handelman ,  I wouldn't be too discouraged. We've (Charlotte Print) had clients to receive calls immediately after their first mailing and others after multiple mailings to pre-foreclosures, absentees, probate, etc. We follow similar guidelines for our mailings as did you. What we've come to a conclusion about is that direct mail marketing is part art, part science. There are certain things that you can control and others that you quite simply cannot. Based on your post, you seem to be off to a good start and have a solid process. I would continue. Something that is out of your control is motivation. It cannot be created/manufactured. If and only when the owner is ready to sell the property will your phone ring. Just my two cents...

@Kim Handelman  , Don't get discouraged after your first mailing.  

I believe there are several other factors to consider, the time of the year, is a big one, also you are in the marketing business not the re investor business now and you have to think like that.

Yes you are an investor but to me that comes second, now you have to become a marketer in order to be an investor!

Here are some of my most recent experiences; I mail to probates, a very targeted list that I create myself, up until July I was receiving, on average, about a 10 to 12 % reply on all my mailings of about 250 to 300.  Then it just stopped.

Nothing changed, list was the same, campaigns were the same, etc.  I kept mailing.

Then last week I did a drop of about 130 and I have received about a 3% call, all great properties that will more than likely turn into deals.

Again..nothing changed.

But if I would have stopped, then I would not have deals ready for the first of the year and starting off 2015 in a great direction.

This is a fickle business, don't get discouraged, stay the course!  

You have to if you want to succeed in this or any business.

Some are fortunate to get calls off their first mailing others are not.

I have found that it usually takes about 4 to 7 mailings to get my phone to ring and that is mailing every 30 days.

I hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions, I will help where I can.

Jon

Hi @Kim Handelman  

I would agree with the gentlemen above, it´s much too early to be discouraged or to make drastic changes to your marketing. Also, 380 is a fairly small (but perfectly adequate) sample size, so it would have been surprising if you received a lot of calls on the first mailout. 

By all means make some tweaks (even hardened pros continuously do this) but definitely don´t stop. It can take 5 to 6 touches before the best leads in that list get round to calling you.   

Best of luck! 

@Kim Handelman  

 There are several different factors that weigh in on response volume. The average response on postcards is typically only half of a percent. As to your returned mail, up to 10% return on postcards is not uncommon. Sometimes its undeliverable, others it's just the post office being lazy. Everyone will tell you, they key is follow-up. Test your list with a couple different pieces/messages and find out what works. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Originally posted by @Jon Gillman:

I believe there are several other factors to consider, the time of the year, is a big one, 

 Keep sending to the same list.  After they have seen your message a few times and the holidays are over, your January mailing may prompt the calls you are waiting for.

@Kim Handelman  Oh, stop it!

You sent out a mailing and did not get the response you wanted. That's all. 

Do you think your targets (recipients) were sitting around waiting for the day when your letter arrived? Of course not. 

This (first) letter was experiment #1. That single mailing, with that letter, with that message, to that list, in that envelope, with that way if addressing, on that date, has not (so far) produced a response. 

Re-read the above paragraph. There are seven variables. There are probably more that even I missed. 

Taken separately, each is significant and will likely affect the response rate. 

There's more to look at with your post. 1) Your tolerance for frustration (I'm no stranger to that, either). 2) The art and science of direct response marketing. 

BTW, we haven't touched on what happens when someone responds!

If you must, give yourself an hour or two to grouse about this, then get busy again.

Go serve meals at a homeless shelter. You'll feel better being of service and remember that you get to be a real estate marketer instead of homeless. You have a choice.

"Plan you work and work your plan, but don't plan the results"

Thanks so much for the posts. All good input. It's frustrating to know that it may take a while but also good to know I'm not alone and that I'm realistically not doing anything drastically wrong. I may try yellow letters next time out. As my 8 year old said last night, "You gotta have GRIT mommy, push through and don't give up!"

@Kim Handelman  

Also another note since nobody else touched upon it, take the returned items off your mailing list but don't toss them. Take those properties and dig in a little deeper. Sometimes the owner address may have changed or there might be a small problem with the way the records were listed. Look up the owner information yourself through the tax records, land records, white pages, or whatever you can take. If you think about it, everyone else mailing to that address got returned too so actually finding that owner will give you a leg up on your competition....

Also, if you're looking to meet more investors there is an investor meet up in Fairfield, CT next week that would be worth checking out. Southern CT REIA Meetup

Keep at it and good luck!!

Dan

I own a sign/printing shop and have assisted several other investors that are close to me with their mailings. I would be happy to look at the piece you are sending and let you know if it's in line with the other pieces I have clients using that are getting good responses. I haven't done any DM pieces yet for my personal investing yet but I know it works well for the clients I print for.

Originally posted by @Daniel Raposo :

@Kim Handelman  

Also another note since nobody else touched upon it, take the returned items off your mailing list but don't toss them. Take those properties and dig in a little deeper. Sometimes the owner address may have changed or there might be a small problem with the way the records were listed. Look up the owner information yourself through the tax records, land records, white pages, or whatever you can take. If you think about it, everyone else mailing to that address got returned too so actually finding that owner will give you a leg up on your competition....

Keep at it and good luck!!

Dan

This is spot on. Last mailing I did was ~400 names, over 20 were wrong and would have likely been returned. Most were severely misspelled street names or transposed street numbers. I feel the returned pieces are likely some of your best candidates. Most people wouldn't bother finding the correct address so these prospects are the least likely to have ever received any REI-related marketing.

Originally posted by @Kim Handelman :

Hi All,

I recently sent out my first DM campaign. 374 pieces to absentee and out of state owners with 60-100% equity. It hit homes on 11/17. I have had NO responses. I know the whole idea of having to hit people with multiple touches before they call but everyone else I have talked to has received at least 5 or 10 calls on numbers like this. I know my message is good because it is in line with many others out there. Just wondering what I'm doing wrong. I'm sending to the CT shoreline and the towns are fairly affluent but houses here are sitting on the market for 120 days or more so I really expected a better return. Also, I received 9 postcards back. Out of 374 is that an average undeliverable adddress or should I be worried that the lists are not up to date (I used ListSource)? Thanks so much, -kim-

 Kim,

You have to remain positive and confident with the process. There's a lot MONEY to be made. Keep campaigning, Don't quit!

@@Aaron Ramm , Yes, I was pretty tied to my phone. I've heard it's better to answer so I made sure I was available as much as possible Funny, I did get one call, ONE and I picked up the phone at 9:30 at night while at a restaurant. That was last December. The crazy thing is I'm signing a contract with them tomorrow and it's an incredible deal! 

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