What Size Mailing List?

29 Replies

I know there are lots of variables here, but let's say for an investor just starting out looking to find 1 or 2 deals to start, about what size should the mailing list be so as not to overwhelm myself but still have a real shot at closing a deal or two? Let's assume each mailing list will get 5 different rounds of mailouts. Are we talking a list of 50 or 5000? I'm in the Dallas area BTW.

1000   assuming a 10% call back.   100 people.   You should get 10 solid leads.  Make 2 to 4 offers.    Buy 1 or 2 homes. 

This is assuming a 10% call back using yellow letters.  Which to me is a powerful way to market to sellers.  

@Gerald Harris    Agreed.  That's about the exact breakdown I would give...  

Let's see if we can summon an expert here...

Calling @jerry

Dang it...I had touch pads!

Sorry...Jerry Puckett is who I was attempting to call out!

@Gerald Harris @Ryan Mullin  

Wow, 10% is pretty incredible! Is that what you guys typically get with your mailings? How long have you been seeing those results? I assume your lists are highly targeted. Can you share who you are targeting, e.g. absentee, pre-nod, etc.?

@Jerry Puckett  Can you please chime in and tell me what a reasonable expectation is in your opinion?

I do one particular zipcode, absentee owners, and owned it for atleast 10 years.  I'm pretty sure...  I had YellowLettersComplete.com set it up and that is what they recommended.  Works really well.  I've only done 5 rounds or so...  It is a lot of work, especially if your not a full time wholesaler. 

Hey there, (thanks for the summoning @Hattie Dizmond  ; I feel like a genie in the bottle :-)

So, @Brandon G.  , you're right. There are a whole lot of variables. DFW is a very competitive market, and there are a lot of people here doing direct mail (ask me how I know!) A 10% response rate here would be phenomenal with a decent letter. 

Still, the number @Gerald Harris  through out is about right if you are truly going to be consistent in not only mailing, but answering your calls, and following up with your Prospects. By the end of month 5, I would expect to see a minimum of one deal done and 3 other leads monetized in some sort of way. 

Continue the process for another six months at the same rate with the same consistent and persistent attitude, and I would expect to see another 4 deals done and 10 or more monetized leads. That's usually the point where people start looking for a bigger list.

Thanks @Jerry Puckett  for chiming in. 

The numbers mentioned here are really quite encouraging! Thanks everyone!

@Jerry Puckett  Just to confirm, this is based on a list of 1000, correct? Also, what is the frequency of mailings? Every 6 weeks for example?

@Brandon G.  Correct, list of 1000, mailed no less frequently than 4 weeks apart, no more than 6.

Good thread here...

Jerry, do you use ListSource for the mailing list?  If so, have you had any luck with using the map function to segment by street parameters within a zip?



10% is very good. I guess parameter used to filter is key.

I use recently inherited property list success rate is 2-3 percent call. When I refine RE list a focus on absentee inherited property the success rate increases a few notches up.

Thanks for all the help everyone!

I'd like to offer an alternative perspective:

Since you are only buying houses one at a time, theoretically, you'd only have to have a list of one record...if you knew they met your deal criteria and you would close!

Since that's not realistic, we have to add in variables and mail to larger groups. When I started, my direct mail list was a rolling list consisting of about 20-50 new records (names) per week, that were hand-selected from high-equity, property owners in default. 

If I recall correctly, I sent them 9 different letters in sequence, each letter having a different theme, appeal, USP, headline, body copy and P.S. Owners received my letters over a 12 week period which paralleled the CA foreclosure process at the time. 

For a long time I'd scrub my list as nixies (returned letters) came back and would just throw them away as that's what I was taught to do. WRONG! I was throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunities that I failed to see, pursue or exploit.

I later learned to treat nixies as GOLD and created entire campaigns around them. 

My point is that, you don't necessarily have to have a large list, however it may take a while for you to discover for yourself where the real profit opportunities are. Until then, keep on mailing. 

@Rick H.  could guide you on what to look for. 

Go kill some houses....

@Rick H.  Thanks for this post! It will take me a bit to wrap my head around the info here, but I think there is gold here. 

Would knocking on doors like this be considered soliciting? Some people have no soliciting signs and some whole areas here have prohibitions against it. Would doing this violate that?

@Brandon G.   This gorilla has not suckled on a teat in a long time.  I would go knock. 

Brandon - nixies are returned for a variety of reasons. 

There was one particular word that I learn to look for for that has made more money than others would believe. 

For now, just remember that the letter (or postcard) that was returned to you means that, not only was yours not delivered, but the other people/businesses mailing this name at this address are not being delivered either. 

So, Brandon, what's your next step? Do you throw away the retuned mail piece? Or will you take some other action? 

As for for knocking, now that you know "Gorilla Mike" Q won't be trying to race you to the door, will you go knock, too?

Excellent thread.  I do love direct mail.


Nope. "Vacant" is not the word. 

But that's a good one and certainly well worth pursuing (if there's substantial equity).

This thread is awesome! 

@Michael Quarles   thanks for your input. Its always on point with little fluff! I did have a question though. You said to be careful on how you word the letters you send to old listings. Is that because they are still represented by an agent or because they are way past the cranky mode in a listings life? Also would the 80 owners with equity and a NOD be enough to market to, especially since California as a whole is ridiculously huge? Thanks for your ideas and answers.

@Rick H.  is there any way you could share your one word you look for? Or at least what the next step you use to monetize the 'nixies?'


Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here