Step-by-step guide to direct mail marketing

9 Replies

Can anyone out there point me to a step-by-step guide to setting up a direct mail marketing effort? My partner and I have been investing part-time for a few years now and have close to 20 units, and a reasonable amount of liquidity to start purchasing more. We have not yet tried anything other than simple SFR buy and holds, but are now ready to try something new to start scaling up our business.

While I know there is TONS of info on Direct Mail Marketing (DMM), Wholesaling, and Subject To on Bigger Pockets and elsewhere online, it is almost too much... 

Has anyone found a single go-to source that provides a nice outline of how to get started:

  1. Where to find/purchase lists
  2. Where to find best mailer options - yellow letters, etc.
  3. What phone services to use - google voice, etc.
  4. Scripts for responses/screening calls
  5. Scripts/process for initial homeowner interviews
  6. Strategies to offer homeowner/seller options - cash buy vs. wholesale vs. subject to vs. MLS listing by agent (I'm an agent in Philly)

Ideally, I am looking for a simple guide to get us started, but also open to hearing about potential courses/gurus that charge reasonable rates to provide the whole system in a box.

Thanks in advance!

Thanks for the recommendations @Matthew Teifke . I reached out to both of them. 

I WAS working on it, but then lost all my work (stupid computer) and am now in a contract for a house (from the MLS) and am looking at purchasing another I found on Craigslist. I don't need to do direct mail right now. I have all the properties I can handle at the moment. lol But, I can offer some help. Here's a great list of sources for finding motivated sellers.

A lot of folks purchase lists from List Source, but I figured I'd just make my own...which has now been lost.  :-P  A lot of people also like the Yellow Letters website.  If I recall, I think he's actually on BP.  Inconveniently, there are several similar sites and I can't recall which is his.  As for voice mails and such, it's usually recommended to answer if at all possible.  I had a couple of phone services that had been recommended, but I lost them too.  I found a podcast off BP that had some great phone dialogue on a podcast, but again, lost.  It's from this site, but for some reason, I can't connect to the site.  Hopefully it's just a temporarily glitch as I found a lot of good information on her site.  

Sorry I can't be more help.  My DM plans all sort of fell apart, but now I don't need least for the moment...  But good luck to you!  Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can help.  (Sorry to make you look bad, @Matthew Teifke . lol)

@Vera Rosen  

1.  You can typically buy lists from any mailer site.  

2.  When doing mailers keep in mind you get a larger discount for the number of people you mail.

I have used yellow letters and had little success, also I believe they change charge double what others do for similar services (others may have had success).  Their customer service is responsive but not always helpful.

I use quantum digital to mail small lists but their website makes me want to pull my hair out and I believe they are slightly overpriced.  I keep using them because they have my postcard design already setup and I am getting call backs.

I just switched to postcard-mania from yellow letters and its too early to see what success I will have.  I will tell you this, I have saved a ton by mailing bulk with them and their customer service so far is amazing.  They even call on you to check on everything periodically.

3.  I use googlevoice because I just like google but I heard others using callrail which allows for 10 numbers, you can use a different number in each ad campaign to track it that way.

4. There are a lot of scripts out there but in my opinion you will sound fake if you use them.  I suggest educating yourself and putting your own style to it.  Plan on failing your first few calls and take notes to rebound next time.

5. Same as number 4.

6. I would keep all strategies on the table.  Ask questions, listen to the seller and structure a few offers that meet their needs.

Lastly, the guru classes work for some.  I have been to a few myself but there is a lot of smoking mirrors in the majority of them.  Most of them are just looking for foot soldiers to find them deals and split the profits with (which is not bad for your first deal).

Oh, and don't forget that you usually have to mail out for a very long time.  Don't even expect a response until your 5th or 6th mailing (though it could happen sooner, but don't expect it) and some people won't respond until you've been mailing for a year or more.  But the more folks you mail, the more likely you are to get responses you can work into a deal.  :-)

Thanks for the details @Kevin Kite . This is really helpful! 

@Jody Schnurrenberger I'm hopeful we can get responses/deals before a year, but trying to stay realistic about this also. I appreciate your input.

@Vera Rosen , the more mail you send out, the better your chances of a response.  I have faith in you!  :-)  You can do this!  

@Vera Rosen

1. Building your own list is preferable to buying a list unless you have cash on hand (which sounds like you do) and want to scale quickly. You can get lists for around 12cents per qualified lead but more importantly you need to know what filters to use

2. Can send you free templates of mailer options for you to see what's effective

3. Google voice to get a same area code to the people you're mailing to will increase your response rate and make building rapport easier

4/5. I have those if you want, just shoot me a message and I can send you. I have different scripts for different situations: high volume screening, full detailed analysis with CRM, and also highly distressed like pre-foreclosure

6. Fantastic that you're an agent. You can sell the homes to everyone, motivated and unmotivated.

If you want a game plan or checklist for direct mail, will be happy to send you as well.

@Ray Lai - I like the suggestion to use google voice numbers that are local to the area I am marketing. Makes sense. 

I agree that being an agent will helps. It helps us to approach this with the idea that we can offer a solution to any seller (need to test this hypothesis, obviously). From everything I have read and seen on Bigger Pockets it seems like the successful wholesalers are those who approach this with the idea that this should be a win/win for all parties. 

I'll send you a direct message for the templates/scripts, as those sound very helpful.

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