Mailing campaign - letter, post cards (Still a good idea?)

11 Replies

Pretty much every call I get from potential sellers I find they have received at least 3 or 4 letters or cards from other investors.
Is it time to shift gears and if so where to because it appears at this time the mailing/printing companies are really the ones laughing all the way to the bank!

Thoughts?

Thx
LS

@Luiz Souza I'll be in Gainesville next week. I'd love to get a quick bite to eat with you when I'm up there. 

I'll say this..... it appears to me that you are sending letters/post cards and you are getting phone calls back.  The next question I have is if the people who are calling you are also calling other people who send their post cards.  Competition is going to be part of it regardless. The people who want to sell their homes badly are going to be calling bandit signs, people who send them letters, etc.  

The thing that can be the difference between you and the other people who are sending letters is that you can actually provide a solution. I see way too often people sending out post cards or putting out bandit signs trying to get properties UC to wholesale but yet they don't even have a buyers list. 

Will be glad to have a bite to eat and chat about REI.
I gave up on Bandit Signs about 2yrs ago or so when I had to face a judge for spamming the city - lucky and to make a long story short I had to pay ONLY $600 in fines and 6mo probation.

LS

I too quit using bandit signs the last time I had to pay a $500 fine to code enforcement :-) I used to do a lot of web work, SEO, pay per click, etc....quickly found that the days of dominating your local market and cheap internet leads was long gone.

I have found Direct Mail to be the best bang for the buck bar none. You have to realize there are more people with the real estate bug than ever before, and because of that more people doing direct mail than ever before. Largely because of the success of HGTV and diy shows.....EVERYONE thinks they can flip a house.

But the resulting influx has actually been a blessing for those of us who are established, persistent and consistent. Most of the new crop do their mail very badly, . Perhaps because of getting in with the wrong providers (those mail houses laughing to the bank?). In turn that makes those of us who do it well look better.

Remember to answer your phone. Don't fall for the "screening voicemail". You'll get more hang ups than anything else. Motivated folks will just call the next number till they get to talk to someone. If someone calls, you can't get to it....let it go to voice mail, but whether they leave a message or not shoot them a quick text: "Did you call about your house? Tied up now can we talk later?"

That will interrupt them and likely keep them from talking to any one else before talking with you.

So, Direct mail still a good idea? Heck yeah!! 

Originally posted by @Luiz Souza :

Pretty much every call I get from potential sellers I find they have received at least 3 or 4 letters or cards from other investors.
Is it time to shift gears and if so where to because it appears at this time the mailing/printing companies are really the ones laughing all the way to the bank!

Thoughts?

Thx
LS

Yes, I'm guessing you bought from a list that everyone else has bought from. You need to be a bit more creative because your response rates will suffer if you're mailing the same lists as everyone else is. I'm also guessing you're doing absentee... those are the 2 most common lists people go for.

Marketing is about doing things differently than others, doing the same thing = waiting for 'luck'

Did you run split tests? Did you test different types of lists? Did you try compiling lists the hard way? 

More effort you put in, the harder it is for others to copy. 

@Luiz Souza I agree with @Jerry Puckett .  Regardless of what marketing approach you take, you will find competition.  The trick with direct mail is that anyone can do it but only few do it correctly.  If you take the time to set up your campaign correctly, then you will see good results over time.  DM is by far my best lead source but that didn't happen overnight.  I'm not sure how many times you've mailed out or what lead list you're using but track your results and change things up.  I can tell you if you're mailing to the same list and using the same mailpieces as your competition, don't expect amazing results.  Find ways to mail to niche lists and make yourself stand out from the competition.


Originally posted by @Scott Sankhi :

Drive for dollars. You will have a unique and unknown list.

Originally posted by @Ray Lai

Yes, I'm guessing you bought from a list that everyone else has bought from. You need to be a bit more creative because your response rates will suffer if you're mailing the same lists as everyone else is. I'm also guessing you're doing absentee... those are the 2 most common lists people go for.

Originally posted by @Justin Silverio

 I can tell you if you're mailing to the same list and using the same mail pieces as your competition, don't expect amazing results. Find ways to mail to niche lists and make yourself stand out from the competition.

Just wanted to add a quick word about lists. EVERYONE who has enough equity in there house, (even if just barely), is getting mailed to by SOMEONE. There is no such thing as a secret list that no one else mails. If anyone tells you there is....run. If the house has equity (which is the only criteria that matters when buying at a discount, barring creative financing) it's getting mail. There are outfits in every market with the ability to reach them all, and they do.

Driving for dollars? (D4$) If any of the houses on that list have equity, they're getting mail. If they don't, you'll likely waste some time (Unless you can convert Sub 2 , Short Sales, Listings, Lease Options, Wraps, or other forms of owner finance.

Niche lists? Probate, Divorce, Code Violations, Evictions, Water Shut Off, Inheritance, Tax Lien, Tax Delinquent.....Yup. Pretty easy to figure out what the distressing factors are; but motivation is made up of two factors, distress + the ability to cope. How good of a decision maker are you? How much money do you have stashed for a rainy day? Those are things no one can know, so it makes the likelihood of an uber laser targeted only to the motivated list something of a unicorn. Or at the least requires crystal ball because I'm telling you, EVERYONE on those niche lists with equity is getting mailed to by someone.

Absentee Lists just happen to be the most motivation rich lists there are. As well as most of the above "niches" you'll find tired landlords, unwilling landlords and Bad landlords. You'll find people who, some time back, got frustrated with their retirement accounts, pulled out all of their money and threw it at RE without having a clue  what they're doing. You'll find HGTV lover who THOUGHT they learned something from "Flip or Flop" and lost their shirts.

Funny thing is I just can't tell you how many times I've rolled up on a property at the same time as one of my competitors (in truth most of us around here are colleagues). They spent a lot of time and / or money on an expensive list (a good probate list can cost $4 per name, U.S. Leads list more expensive than that at times....) and very cool looking mail piece (often paying a premium for expensive paper or envelopes). I got my lead for less than 10 cents and used a custom and quality, yet rather simple letter.

All in all though, I have to agree with Justin Silverio 100%. Track your results, change things up, stand out......but most importantly, be persistent and consistent, and for heaven's sake, don't over think this. That just leads to Analysis paralysis and shiny object syndrome. Just sayin' 

I'm curious how you guys get busted for bandit signs given I'm assuming you post a Google phone number or some other burner cell phone number?

Do they set up a sting where they say "I would like to sell you my property, when can we meet?"

@Cody L.  YES!!! That is exactly what happened to me. Was using Google voice,  got a call to look at a property, and when I showed up there was a Code Enforcement vehicle full of my signs at the curb and an Officer with a $500 ticket.

The sheriff came to my house and kindly handled me a nice "invitation" to see a judge at the courthouse!
Not really something I was expecting but learned the lesson, they collected about 25 of my signs and I could've been nailed according to the judge with $5k per sign. If you're dealing with bandit signs you better watch your back because they show up from nowhere!

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