A Direct Mail Diary?

9 Replies

Howdy, I've been a member here for over 2 yrs. I've learned a lot by reading tons, and working with some fellow BPers, doing phone and email followup on direct mail campaigns. I've seen the process work when you "keep the pipe full". I figured now that I understand the system, and know how to talk to motivated sellers since I've been doing it for others for over a year now, I should be doing my own marketing.

I'm raising 3 kids and putting my wife through school on about $50k/yr plus financial aid, which pretty much all goes to day care. Hence, my budget for direct mail marketing is very small. But I'm going to keep it going, and step it up as I can afford to. Let's get this started...

1st campaign: a list I created myself in the zip cod. I'm looking to work in. Since my budget is small, I know about how many letters I can afford to send out every month so I was able to make my list pretty specific. I went with the following criteria :

Not owner occupied

1250-2500 sf

Tax value 50-150k

Recording date 10 yrs ago or longer, or no date listed.

Came up with 115 names on the list. Sent the list to my marketing company, and received the first 3 batches of letters today. My son and I stuffed all 115 of the first batch tonight, and we'll be stamping and mailing them tomorrow.

Calls should start coming in by Wednesday.

More to come!

Good luck Shane.

Looking forward to seeing your results!

Thanks Shaun! I need to check back on your blog and see how yours is doing!

Originally posted by @Shane Woods :
Thanks Shaun! I need to check back on your blog and see how yours is doing!


Don't worry about setting aside a lot of time for that activity... :)

@Shane Woods

Hey Shane, thanks for sharing. You have a marketing company? Can you explain more about that exacly, if you don't mind. Why wouldn't you just print them on your own printer? What does the marketing company do that you can't on a tight budget?

Also, you said you created you're mailing list yourself, and thanks for sharing your criteria, but "How" did you find these homes more specificaly.

Thanks Again,

I am using a marketing company because they have a proven track record and a plug and play system for direct mail marketing. To do it myself would require several things that would cost more more money and /or time than I have to put towards it.

Money things: high volume ink jet printer, special paper, special envelopes, expensive handwriting fonts, lots of ink

Time things: spending hours working out the mail merge kinks to make the letters and envelopes look handwritten and print out in the right order, figuring out the message for each successive letter to the same addresses, designing a lead tracking application to make sure I know what has been sent when and whoever called, and when I need to call them back... And many others.

You'll find many MANY established, successful investors on this site talking about doing what makes you the most money (and what you're good at) , and working on your business not in it. In the spirit of these two ideas, it's a HUGE waste of my time to try and recreate these systems that are already in place and proven. All I have to do is send the list, then stuff, stamp and send the letters. For a higher price, when I get busier, I'll prob up it to the turn key solution, where all I have to do is mail them.

The list I put together came from County tax data and realist. Took more time than I wanted to spend on it honestly. For a few cents per address, I may also pay for the list next time.

Hope this helps!

@Shane Woods You and I are in the same boat (except you have 2 more kids then I do). It's really hard to find the time and money for direct mail. I had about $250/mo budget for letters until my wife lost her job and went back to school. Now I have roughly $0. So I've been sinking my teeth into online marketing methods through lead generating websites. Been a slow go, but it keeps my "buisness" going for now until I get some more marketing dollars.

Might be getting my first deal from the websites soon though. :)

Keep up the diary here on BP because I'd be interested in seeing how you progress!

When starting out it can be advantageous to knock on some doors. Not just any door but figure out why someone would be motivated to sell and target. For example, if your county web site is free or low cost, look for notice of defaults. Look for run down houses in foreclosure. Team up with an investor that can work the short sale. It takes a ton of time per lead and you have to knock a lot of doors in the same manor one needs to mail a ton of letters. Foreclosure is only one motivation, and there are several others. I dont DK much anymore because I am sending a lot of mailers, but I started that way years ago. Oh and a tip: if your time is short, DK on weekends or evenings. More people home that way.

Quick update on this...full disclosure...I didn't do what I was supposed to.  @Jerry Puckett  will be disappointed in me.  I never mailed the 2nd batch....so technically I'm 3 months behind, and should have already mailed all 3 batches out from that list, and got more letters, plus mailed some to an entirely new list...but....that's how it goes sometimes.

The good news is, my small single mailing netted about 15 calls so far, 8 of which are possibly deals.  I'm staying in touch and working them as I have time.  Went and looked at one yesterday.  It's a non deal, but still working through the process.  Every time I talk to a seller, and/or look at their property, it's more information I arm myself with for next time.  

I need to get that 2nd batch sent out, and get the phone ringing again...

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