My 2nd direct mail marketing campaign.

21 Replies

Back again and with more action- today 400 letters will start being delivered by USPS. Here is how I went about this campaign:

Stepped up from 200 to 400 yellow letters with red ink and pastel blue envelopes to distressed or high equity owners in my farm area. Specifically distressed owners are- recently gone through eviction in past six months, tax delinquent, absentee landlords, some driving for dollars houses with a noticed defect of their property.

I'm still doing all the work myself- Printing out hand written font on a 5 x 7 yellow letter, printing same hand written font on envelope with mail merging from an excel spreadsheet, and stuffing each envelope plus putting the stamp on. Definitely took a whole weekend working about half days- roughly 4 hours each day. The main problem was my printer kept having a paper jam, I'm suspecting I need to use a higher lb paper and it won't happen.

Costs- per entire mail piece it is costing 63 cents.

If I can solve the paper jam I may do one more campaign myself and then start to outsource it. It seems to get a decent rate from another yellow letters supplier your order must be around 1,000 units, and I haven't seen the option to send out a tiny a1 invitation envelope from any sources. I really like this style since it definitely is unique to the opener in a stack of mail, it looks like a baby shower invitation.

Regardless of the results, I'll be back again in 4-6 weeks for round 3. There are really no deals on the MLS, and I haven't found a wholesaler to work with so for a while I'll be doing direct mail. Being a new company, my partners and I are not willing to buy foreclosures that are site unseen, and most likely our bank won't loan on the first property that's a foreclosure that needs a lot of work. Thanks for reading. Questions appreciated.

@Ken Nyczaj . Great job following up there and keeping us informed on what's up. Are all your addresses local only? Do you mind sharing the message in the letters? 

(919) 434-3132

Sounds like a great piece, I’m definitely in the same boat as far as outsourcing near my 5th round. Congrats on the success and keep up the great work!

Have you tried click2mail?  They have a 3.5x5 inch option.  I’ve used them for single letters and up to 1000 letters.

Originally posted by @Ken Nyczaj :

I'm still doing all the work myself- .....Definitely took a whole weekend working about half days- roughly 4 hours each day......Costs- per entire mail piece it is costing 63 cents.

Just thought I would chime in here since this is a thing that comes up every so often. You have not calculated the cost of your time into your cost per piece. 

I bill my time at $100+ an hour. That run of 400 would cost me $800+ (in addition to the 63 cents per piece) and that's just for the time itself....but what about the things I may have missed spending my weekend working?

But let's say $20 an hour...it costs more than $150 in addition to the supplies to produce 400 pieces. People in this business, especially the newer ones often forget to pay themselves which is one reason so many fail.

Your time is your most important asset....the opportunity cost of your time is very high. Using those hours to better understand the market, talk to sellers, network with your team....all likely to produce higher returns. 

On the other side of the closing table, cashing that big check, trust me, you're more likely to say "wow that was a lot of work, how can I make this easier?" than "woo-hoo, I saved $100!". Just sayin'

Unlike money, which there is always more of, once your time is gone, it's gone. 

As to the paper jam, regular 20lb paper should work in just about any desk top printer. If you are using actual yellow sheets torn from a pad, that's 16lbs at the most, and I have terminally jammed many machines....I'd suggest switching to regular yellow paper and print the lines on it before blowing up a printer.

Most DM companies will be willing to use any sort of envelope you are willing to pay for. Looks like a pack of 500 costs about 8 cents per piece.

Hope that helps!

@Henri Meli yes all my addressees are local, unless they are absentee landlords. I’m not yet comfortable doing deals outside 30 miles from my house. It makes sense to me to invest near neighborhoods , school systems, retail/ resteraunts that I know. Plus why do deals far away when there could be deals in your back yard.

As for the message- if it’s the first mailer then a generic message saying I’m interested in buying houses in the area. I’m not addressing the homeowner with “Dear....” nor am I addressing the actual property location. The second message would just be a follow up to the first. “Hi I sent you a letter last month..:: haven’t heard back....” stuff like that. Generic messages so it’s less invasive, maybe it works maybe not, it’s too early to tell.

@Jorge De Jesus @Victor Noriega thanks for the support and advice.

@Jerry Puckett you’re right about factoring in what is my time worth. It’s certainly worth more than fighting with my printer all day on a Saturday when I could be out networking or strategizing with my business partners. The next go around I will definitely be outsourcing, I just need to do some more research and find the right company.

@Ken Nyczaj Let us all know how it goes with the follow up! Would be interesting to hear your results on any bites you get. Tried going the direct mail route in another life. Didn't work out. Just didn't fit my personality. Going out in the field and talking with people worked better. Everyone has different preferences and personalities. Whatever works, eh? :) 

@Rachel H. will do Rachel. Thanks for the reply. My full time job is in account selling which is relationship selling really, so I figured direct mail may be right up my alley.

@Ken Nyczaj Hey Ken, 

Great job on doing on sharing. I'll be curious to see what the costs are when you include the amount of time and mental effort that it takes to put all this together. 

If you are financially able to outsource to a company I think you might see some interesting results. 

Expectant on your next post. Goodluck. Thanks! - Ola 

@Jerry Puckett @Ola Dantis

I'd say it took 5 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday to finalize this campaign. My lists were already compiled before then. These 8 hours were spent printing letters, fixing paper jams, mail merge to printing envelopes, stuff envelopes and then putting the stamp on.

Opportunity cost (what did I miss out on) due to my current experience level is not much- I don't have many connections yet, my team members are usually busy on Saturday/ sunday mornings, I don't have a buyers or sellers list yet. On a Saturday at 3am-8am before most people get up, I honestly can say all that was lost was sleep, which is fine with me.

That being said, yes I do realize I need to outsource this. I was in a time crunch to keep my second campaign 4 weeks after my first and didn't want to wait learn more about DM companies. Now before the next campaign I do have the time to research a good DM company I'd like to work with.

Like I hear repeatedly on Biggerpockets, learning from actual experience is valuable. I have learned that printing, stuffing and stamping my own letters is not something I want to continue to do, but when it came to taking action, action was taken.

Jerry is right though, I'm looking to make DM easier and shell over the extra couple hundred dollars. I'll be researching companies extensively before the next campaign. Thank you all.

Originally posted by @Ken Nyczaj :

@Jerry Puckett @Ola Dantis

I'd say it took 5 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday to finalize this campaign......Opportunity cost ..... I honestly can say all that was lost was sleep, which is fine with me.

In speaking of opportunity cost, meant more along the lines of time spent with family and friends. My time is precious to me...ESPECIALLY the weekends. Folks who know me know that Real Estate simply funds my first love:

Just in case you were curious.....yes, that IS a 2017 SG Gold Custom....plays like a dream :-)

@Jerry Puckett Weekends are precious, especially in the summer when it's fishing and crabbing season!

@Henri Meli @Jorge De Jesus @Victor Noriega @Rachel H. @Ola Dantis

I wanted to update you all after two weeks since the mailings.

About a 1% total response rate. Lower than I thought it would be, but of the few leads I got two were very strong with homeowners that own multiple properties:

One being a tired landlord owning homes in a lower-income area, the other being a couple that is retiring and plans on selling their primary residence and three rental properties within the next few months, and then live life traveling in an RV- sounds like how I'd like to end up. Luckily, these three rental properties are in areas I would definitely like to invest. The tired landlords properties are slightly outside of my preferred area but it may work.

I'll be doing a third campaign the second week in May and changing a few things. The letter will be a follow up rather than an introduction letter, and I'll be placing our business card inside each envelope. Got a great tip on a BP Podcast to use the backside of your business card to explain what your company does, buys, or use the space for placement of your companies mission statement. Our companies website will also be listed on the business card to give homeowners more security that we are not scammers.

As far as outsourcing, I'm looking at a few different companies. Or thinking of hiring an unemployed family member to fold, stuff, seal, stamp envelopes. I would just be mail merging, printing and then handing them the materials, tremendously reducing my time involved. I may try both, one this month, one the next to get experience completely outsourcing or having an "employee".

Thanks for reading.

Hello!

Thank you for the update!

I’d reach out to @Jerry Puckett or Mr Quarles above for new copy and ideas!!

Best of luck!

Keep at it! 

Originally posted by @Ken Nyczaj :

@Henri Meli @Jorge De Jesus @Victor Noriega @Rachel H. @Ola Dantis

a couple that is retiring and plans on selling their primary residence and three rental properties within the next few months, and then live life traveling in an RV- sounds like how I'd like to end up. 

This is a trend. I did two deals last year with couples on either end of town who simply wanted enough money for a nice RV, and they were going to hit the road. Both wanted the money sooner rather than later and willing to trade some equity for the speed and ease of the transaction.

The first one I thought interesting, the second coincidence, but now a third....trend :-). 

@Ken Nyczaj . Great job following up. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I'm sure your efforts will definitely pay off. 

Because the market has been so tight, I think building solid relationships with owners, specially in your niche is a great idea and will eventually pay off. Patience and persistence do pay off. 

I have been building a list in selective markets and will be starting a campaign soon.  

(919) 434-3132
Originally posted by @Jerry Puckett :
Originally posted by @Ken Nyczaj:

@Henri Meli @Jorge De Jesus @Victor Noriega @Rachel H. @Ola Dantis

a couple that is retiring and plans on selling their primary residence and three rental properties within the next few months, and then live life traveling in an RV- sounds like how I'd like to end up. 

This is a trend. I did two deals last year with couples on either end of town who simply wanted enough money for a nice RV, and they were going to hit the road. Both wanted the money sooner rather than later and willing to trade some equity for the speed and ease of the transaction.

The first one I thought interesting, the second coincidence, but now a third....trend :-). 

 I completely agree! I am looking at  a 30+ door deal with a mix of multi and sfr in a similar situation. 2 couples in partnership 

@Jerry Puckett @Jorge De Jesus I hope you're right. If so, then now is a significant time to start investing.

@Henri Meli That is my plan- to build rapport with sellers. I do account sales for my career and patience and persistence has been a great attribute of mine. Even if I'm talking to sellers for months or years, that is fine, I'm here to help them and find a solution that works for us both.

We hope we are too trust me, time to hit NOO harder but stand out at the same time

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