Yellow Letter Marketing for Realtors

29 Replies

Anybody used yellow letter marketing solely as a Realtor with any success?

Interesting question.  No, we have not.  What would be the message of the letter?  Why would a Realtor being using a "handwritten" yellow letter rather than a professional white letter or postcard?

I think people hire agents based upon their brand, the capabilities of their business system, ability to market & promote, etc.  That just doesn't seem to fit with the typical usage of yellow letters...  

Dev,

That's kind of what I was thinking.

An actual handwritten letter with your company letterhead might be more effective and professional. It would be impossible to do this in bulk, but it may work with a select few houses you are targeting. I have done it previously with some success.

Kevin Hill, Real Estate Agent in NJ (#0894817)
201-214-1349
Originally posted by @Chris Elliott:

Anybody used yellow letter marketing solely as a Realtor with any success?

 Oh yes. I have several clients who are Agent/Investors who pick up plenty of listings from their mailings. Their true goal is the "deal", but when that doesn't work out the back up plan is to get a listing. The result is more bites at the apple which equals more monetized leads.

Ever hear people complaining about how they get "too many calls"? Or those that aren't really motivated because they (ughh!!) want retail? Those are fantabulous opportunities to monetize a lead and get your campaign to pay for itself. Seriously, who is too busy to make an extra $500 for making a phone call or sending an email? (More if you're actually an Agent and want to list it yourself).

I advise all of the straight up wholesalers to have an Agent on their team to help them capitalize, but more and more I'm seeing the Agent/Investor or Broker/Investor or best yet the Husband and Wife team where one is licensed and one is not be very successful with this. 

One couple in particular who used to divide their marketing budget between two very different campaigns stopped short when they realized how many people they were both mailing. That is to say multiple names that were on both lists. Their target audience was nearly identical. So they combined their budget, expanded the campaign and nearly tripled their business.

As to the message itself, it's a pretty simple tweak considering that Agents need to disclose. But as for branding as @Dev Horn  mentioned he has a great point. However what I've been finding is that most of the people we're reaching would rather deal with people, not companies or Agencies. We're actually getting through to the people who would not ordinarily contact an Agent.

Remember, the term yellow letter is general, not specific. It does not have to be yellow paper, red ink lined or unlined. It does not have to say "I want to $BUY$ your house". It can say what you want to who you want when you want. What makes them powerful is the open and read rate which naturally occurs when a letter is made more personal.

Hope that helps.

Originally posted by @Kevin Hill:

An actual handwritten letter with your company letterhead might be more effective and professional. It would be impossible to do this in bulk, but it may work with a select few houses you are targeting. I have done it previously with some success.

I think this can work with small targets like you said.

I have seen agents do this for expireds in a small local area so there aren't doing more than a handful a week.

To Jerry's question I think it is the "actual" part that makes bulk hard.  If you just use the handwritten font on letterhead you can do it in bulk.  

Shaun Reilly, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9517670)
1-800-774-0737

I've sent handwritten letters to a few targeted leads - it's worked fairly well so far.

Something that works fairly well is a professionally typed letter with the letter head. Sign the letter at the bottom, and also hand write the address on the envelope. People are much more likely to open a letter with a hand written address. Its more personal and show you took the time to "write" them. This tactic works especially well for the senior demographic. They're old school and like hand written letters ;)

@Dev Horn  - Why wouldn't they use all three? Each one has it purpose and mixing up the delivery increases the opportunity. For the same or similar reason you doubt the effectiveness of YellowLetters for Realtors® is why it would attract a positive response from some recipients. 

@Jerry Puckett  I completely agree with your post except however if YellowLetters didn't have lines and look like a piece of notepad paper I'm not its a Yellow Letter. 

This is a letter which works well for an agent doing Shorts.

One that works well in general

May be that I am just testing a market of one (me) here.  I just wouldn't take a Realtor seriously if they sent me something like that.  If it works for other people who maybe have different standards or perspectives on professionalism, that's cool.

P.S. Pieces sent by agents/brokers are generally required to include your BRE/DRE number and often a disclaimer as well (says you are acting as a principal in your offer to purchase, but you are also a licensed RE sales agent, etc.).

This is a great thread with a lot of unique insight.

Do you guys think yellow letters or any kind of direct mailings to investors specifically can help generate business for a realtor?

Even if investors test use you on a trial basis to just fill their rentals at first, it may be worth it, no?

Michael Noto, Real Estate Agent in CT (#RES.0799665)
860-384-7570

Great info. Would you guys still mail to distressed sellers or just an area farm?

@Jerry Puckett @Michael Q.

Originally posted by @Andrew Wu:

Great info. Would you guys still mail to distressed sellers or just an area farm?

 Hi Andrew, 

I would still target my marketing more towards distress, because I am still looking for someone motivated to sell. Not everyone who is motivated to sell is in a position where they're willing to trade equity for the speed and ease of the transaction. So here's my take on motivation as it applies to targeted marketing:

In the end, there are two factors built in to motivation:

  • A crisis of some sort
  • An individual's preparedness to deal with the crisis.

Number one is pretty easy to define: probate, divorce, evictions, absenteeism, tax liens....and many more. That's where the niches come from. But factor number two is almost entirely random. It has more to do with lifestyle than anything else and it's about as predictable as a good poker hand. Like Poker, there is some skill and some luck involved. The skill is in getting your message opened and read, the luck is in playing the numbers.

So yes, target your marketing to capture Aspect #1, and have multiple exit strategies to cover Aspect #2 . Retail listings are an absolutely viable exit strategy and a much easier sell.

As for standards of professionalism I don't see this method as being anything other than that....a method to connect and turn a prospect into a lead. It's certainly no less professional than telemarketing, a method employed by many big brands. 

I do this.

I send letters to absentees and probate lists. I do not hand write them or use yellow paper. I send a simple letter explaining I am an investor looking to buy their home and I am also a licensed real estate agent. My goal is to buy the house, but I also offer free valuations as a Realtor. I get quite a few calls and I have had listings and I am buying a house as we speak that was an awesome deal.

It takes a lot of time and follow up to make this work. I would have had much more success if I was better at follow up. I am very honest and tell people they will get more money for their house if they list it with me. That really opens them up and builds a relationship.

Originally posted by @Kevin Hill :
An actual handwritten letter with your company letterhead might be more effective and professional. It would be impossible to do this in bulk, but it may work with a select few houses you are targeting. I have done it previously with some success.

It would be impossible to do them by hand if you did a lot, but you could use a company like Click 2 Mail which prints out letter that look handwritten (at least from a quick glance).

I echo Jerry's comments.

If I'm marketing as a principal, I might do some pretty wild things. In CA, the common notion that you must disclose that you are a licensee is incorrect IF you are attempting to act as principal. Subsequent conversion of a purchase lead to a listing might put this in question, however.

However, if I was soliciting a professional service, yellow letters and other clever direct response pieces don't come across as particularly professional, IMHO. I think the whole point of being a professional is to act professionally!

There's no harm in testing, remembering to comply and disclose your professional status as a broker/agent, etc.

Given that I market via referrals, primarily to CA probate attorneys, I've always gone way out of my way to convey a very professional image, a consistent message along with branding, and proof that I know more about what I do than they do and hence am the go-to expert. I don't think I could pull this off with a yellow letter.

Jerry,

Thank you for engaging in this post.

And and ever bigger thank you for giving the Quick Tip of color coding an Excel/Google spreadsheet.

So,

@Dev Horn  @Jerry Puckett  @Michael Q. 

As a Realtor, would you include your typical real estate agent card with your letter. I want to lean towards promoting myself more as an investor but I figure the business card would allow people to connect with me as a real person with a face. Also, if they want a retail price, I figure having included a well designed, high quality Realtor card would give a good chance at securing the listing as opposed to be Joe Blow agent. 

Would love to get y'alls opinion

NO I would include my investor card and at worse both... It really depends on your letter...

 I figure having included a well designed, high quality Realtor card would give a good chance at securing the listing as opposed to be Joe Blow agent. 

If this is your objective then dont send an investor letter,,, Keep it to an agent letter.

Its funny you asked this, I had a closing today on a property I listed using yellow letters. My client has said numerous times he wasn't thinking about selling but my letter is what prompted him to call and list his apartment building. He made a killing on it

@Thomas johnson Was the letter written as a branded letter or an investor letter? 

I started sending branded letters for Dwell with not much of a response but as with any marketing it takes multiple mailings and consistency which means $. With that being said as a new company I believe I can do other forms of marketing that are not as expensive until deal flow becomes consistent enough to warrant mail marketing... I think it depends on your deal flow if this is worth it. just my opinion.. 

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