Hot markets and direct mail

12 Replies

I'm not sure about the market where you live but Dallas is red hot and everyone and their dog is sending yellow letters.  I have heard of owners getting 4 or 5 letters a week from investors, all saying the same thing, "I want to $BUY$ your house, all cash, fast close, please call".  I assume these are the standard prospects, absentee, good equity, X number of years owned, ect...

My questions are:

1.  If you are doing direct mail and having success how do you differentiate yourself from all of the other investors out there?

2. What group of prospects do you mail to since the standard prospect is being flooded with letters?

Looking forward to the answers.


I was wondering the same thing!! If someone is getting properties, Im guessing they probably dont want to say! Dallas is insane right now. I looked at a potential flip listed on the mls a couple hours after listed and it had 8 offers, im sure all above list. I was planning to ramp up direct mail but Im guessing that everyone is being flooded with letters. Maybe driving for dollars is the only way. Door knocking?

@John Hixon , competition is a good thing! It reenforces to your prospect group that you're an option. Having said that, using different types of direct mail pieces appeals to different types of prospects and helps you stand out. Second, this cannot be overstated, answer your phone or have some sort of answering system. Deals are made and fall through because of it. 

To your second question, every list starfs with an equity base... For your strategy, I would go no low than 30%. Beyond that you have out of state, in state, and in city absentees, code enforcement, tax foreclosure, evictions, etc.

Would anyone in Dallas sending direct mail be willing to share their success or lack there of? I am about to start mailing 1000 pieces per month for six months at minimum. I have a driving for dollars list of 250 and there rest will be purchased from list source. If someone would be willing to share their experiences it would help me make the commitment to spending all this money in such a hot and competitive market! Thanks in advance for any help! @John Hixon Have you had any luck?

I've found that putting a picture of my really hot girlfriend and asking people to call her helps. Adding combined years of experience in the DFW market and saying "Not ready to sell, keep this card", all has helped.

I'm a firm believer in that most of it has to do with luck and timing. Be consistent with your mail for different lists. Good luck!

@John Hixon I try to make my mailers a little more personal than the "I BUY HOUSES FOR CA$H" crowd. But don't overthink it. It's really a numbers game. I prefer postcards as they are cheaper and my response rates seem to be about the same. As far as what prospects to mail, the harder a list is to find the better. However, I will mail almost anyone as long as they have equity.

@Erik Drentlaw If you have the budget, I would mail out more than 1250 per month. I am in the Dallas market and mailing about 4000 per month, and getting about a deal per month. Test different areas, most of my deals have come in certain areas (sorry don't want to say which ones). I will say that I am not targeting mid-high end flip neighborhoods, have not had as much success there in direct mail. Not to say you can't, that is just my experience.

Other tips:

1. ANSWER YOUR PHONE - you would be surprised how many investors don't

2. FOLLOW UP FOLLOW UP FOLLOW UP - a good portion of my deals come from people who didn't want to sell at the time and I kept checking in with them periodically

"I've found that putting a picture of my really hot girlfriend and asking them to call her helps."

You really just typed that didn't you. LOL

@John Hixon I don't know the Texas market all that well but the Boston market is also VERY competitive.  To answer your questions. 

1) Yes, I'm still sending direct mail.  This is my main source of deals and it's still working very well.  I've been mailing creative style letters that stand out from my competition which is why it's still working.  I'm also including my logo in all my marketing to build brand awareness and build trust.

2) The best lists that I'm sending to are DFD, Tax Liens and some other small niche lists.

@Mark Allen I've found that putting a picture of my really hot girlfriend and asking people to call her helps. 

I don't think she's that hot...;-)

I'm a firm believer in that most of it has to do with luck and timing. Be consistent with your mail for different lists. 

That's good, Luck, Consistent and Change a Variable.

@Erik Drentlaw We've been using software that finds the Leads by type, puts a campaign together and sends it out for you. It's only $7/month for the first three months. On our site, in the blog, there's a Summary of our last meeting, including that software example and a link to try it.

Well, I took a look at which is what Mike Hurney was referring to.  Of course it sounded too good to be true. It would cost me $4,500 in credits for 500 probate leads. I didn't have the stomach to find out how much it would cost to mail them. I guess this is a good system for people that can afford it. 

@John Hixon My plan is to continue with the SEO and PPC of my website. It seems to me that those lists in markets like Dallas are useless. They're no different than the MLS, especially with websites like Realeflow. Everyone checks the MLS, and everyone checks the other lists. So what is left? Inbound marketing. At least those people that visit your website WANT to be there. That is my theory. But I am a beginner still. Good luck!

Updated about 2 years ago

Revision: Those credits would not cost that much, I made a mistake. I think 500 leads would cost closer to $2,000. Still too much for me but that is much better sounding.

@John Hixon The answer is simple:

Arrive differently.

Most marketers are not really marketers. They are mailers. They don't think it thru. 

If you narrowed your list down to high shot prospects you could afford to spend more, not less, money trying to reach them. 

Why do guys try to impress women? To get their attention. Why do woman dress to attract guys? To stand out and attract them.

Have you considered lumpy, dimensional mail? 

Mailing something inside an envelope that can be felt outside?

A box with a letter?

An odd shaped, mailable item? I've heard of people mailing a wooden paddle! (I guess the message ought to be, 'If you're up the creek without a paddle, use mine).

Yellow letters are so boring. Shows no creativity. Even worse, using off-the-shelf copy. 

Find out what you can mail and make your mail stand out and strive to arrive differently!

Set yourself apart from the other investors sending mail pieces - send a post card or something very different.  My neighborhood is hot right now and I get a couple pieces a week in my front door and in my mailbox.  I keep them as references - some have wording that doesn't make sense?  Not everyone is an investor so write in simple terms, not jargon.  Some are just bad english.  Some are yellow, some are pink, some are white.  Some are serious sounding like if I don't sell I'll lose my house or my family will when I die.  Some are generic.  I've never received a post card and think that is the ticket - forced to look at the content, not hope the open it.

Try something pointed, like : foreclosure? divorce? cash for bills? 

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