Pre-Foreclosure Direct Mail and mkting-- In depth

5 Replies

I am experienced at direct mail and would like to utilize my experience to improve foreclosure direct mail success rates (I owned 2 printing companies and an ad agency). However direct mail marketing to individuals in foreclosure is a new and completely different market and psychology than the traditional markets I am used to. I have some questions that are best answered by experienced pro's. I am a newbie who is going into this full time with dedicated research and resources here in Tampa.

Part 1
I was planning on designing high-end direct mail pieces (creative, high-end, die-cut, spot UV coatings, large oversized postcards, brochures and letters). My costs are very inexpensive and are not an issue. However it appears to be a universal theme that this is NOT a good method. Everyone recomends just the opposite--plain white envelopes, no business name, even handwritten. The receipients get inundated and throw almost everything out. I agree that if you are going to do a regular letter, its necessary to be discreet on the envelope to get it opened. However most people don't have the direct mail, printing, graphics resources I have. The question is this: In my situation, would you still recomend the plain Jane apporach and call it a numbers game, or would you stand out of the crowd with professional, corporate, highend direct mail and personalization piece?

I was planning on sending oversized postcards (but being discreet about the services as not to embarrass or announce to everyone they were in foreclosure), sending personalized letters and postcards via Priority mail overnight envelopes, and doing some of the plain-Jane approach. What's your take/recomendations?

Part 2
What frequency are you finding most successful? I was planning 6 letters to each candidate, spread out roughly ever 3 weeks until 2 weeks before foreclosure (1X per week last 2 weeks).

What time are you finding the most success? Soon after they get notification of default, after it sank in, or at panic time 1-2 weeks before the planned auction?

Part 3
To keep it discreet and annonomous for people, I was going to have a website with free resources to help and educate them to hopefully build a relationship with them. Help them, and they may be more likely to choose you in the event they can't help themselves. Has anyone had experience with marketing foreclosures via the web -- more specifically directing your direct mail audience to your website.? (most proably don't have an Internet connection, but many may still have one)

Part 4
Has anyone gone so far as using Fedex? I can send an overnight letter for $6. $6 x 200 month= $1200/mo. ROI worth it if you get even 1 extra closing.

Part 5
I was planning on conducting an on going survey by directly contacting the people who receive these notices and get their real world feedback. It will be hard, costly and time consuming, but I beleive will help tailor my approach to my market here in Tampa in the long run. I will be happy to pass on the results to those that help.

Part 6
Anyone have experience with Shark Bait Software? Would you recomend it? What foreclosure software do you recomend?

Part 6
Do you have success with classifeid newspaper advertising?

Thanks for your feedback. :wink:

I was planning on sending oversized postcards (but being discreet about the services as not to embarrass or announce to everyone they were in foreclosure), sending personalized letters and postcards via Priority mail overnight envelopes, and doing some of the plain-Jane approach.

That's a good approach... pretty much what I was going to suggest.

What time are you finding the most success? Soon after they get notification of default, after it sank in, or at panic time 1-2 weeks before the planned auction?

It seems like people respond best to branded messages that are sent several times. Once a month should be enough. They won't contact you until the reality finally hits them, but it's good to be the first one that they think about.

more specifically directing your direct mail audience to your website.? (most proably don't have an Internet connection, but many may still have one)

You absolutely have the right idea. The best way to go about this is to realize that you are here to solve a problem (their inability to pay the mortgage). Education and solid advice go a long way to developing rapport with these people.

Has anyone gone so far as using Fedex? I can send an overnight letter for $6. $6 x 200 month= $1200/mo. ROI worth it if you get even 1 extra closing.

I have never tried this. Quite often the owner is no longer living at the address (if they are alive at all). Usually sending a plain letter with "return service requested" is sufficient. Of course if you try this I would love to hear the results!

I was planning on conducting an on going survey by directly contacting the people who receive these notices and get their real world feedback.

Never tried it. I would be interested in the results for this as well! I know the value of good hard statistics, but I just haven't put forth the resources to actually do this.

Anyone have experience with Shark Bait Software? Would you recomend it? What foreclosure software do you recomend?

Never tried Shark Bait. I'm more of a nuts and bolts guy and I've rolled my own. Takes more time to set it up, but ultimately is more rewarding with the control that I have over the sales process.

Do you have success with classifeid newspaper advertising?

Yes! :lol: The problem with this method though is that it's more like a hammer when all you really want is a nice sharp knife. I get a lot of calls for properties in areas where I don't really want to buy and these calls are basically just a waste of my time. Then again I'm looking at it from a rehabbing perspective and there are only certain neighborhoods where it is easy for me to market the property once I'm done with the rehab. If you are looking to strictly wholesale / bird dog then by all means have at it!

Hi - Sounds like your a pro at advertising. I have found a company that does affordable postcards, postcards4you.com. They have in their menu "foreclosure" postcards. I have used them on a regular basis and have had good results. You might try them.

How do you plan on doing your research regarding the best potential address to which the mailers are sent (you don't have to name any proprietary software)? In our experience with pre-foreclosure lists, it has often gotten to the point where people have given up on the residence and moved to an alternate living situation (apartment, relative...etc). Unless they have left a forwarding address, something people in financial trouble do not often like to do, you end up eating the postage and the message never makes it to the person you can help. This leaves you with a scattershot approach, if you are really hitting bulk numbers for the mailing.