Direct Mail Campaign Results - Comments & Suggestions Welcome

39 Replies

Hey everyone.  I did a lot of research on BP about direct mail before I started my own campaigns last November. I figured some people might get some value if I posted the results so far. I'll appreciate any comments or suggestions too.

  1. Target Market: Absentee owned 15+ years, Below average ARV
  2. Campaign Type: Postcards
  3. Total Prospects: 854
  4. Total Mailings: 6
  5. Frequency: Monthly
  6. Total Leads: 13
  7. Total deals: 2
  8. Deal types: 1 flip (back-end sale pending) and 1small wholesale. One other seller backed out at the last minute and breached contract.
  9. Comments:This was my first mailing and surprisingly the first deal (the one pending back-end sale) was the very first call I received. Lucky, but I'll take it!
  1. Target Market: Absentee owned 15+ years, Average ARV
  2. Campaign Type: Mixed Mailing (Postcards, White typed letters, Zip Letters)
  3. Total Prospects: 899
  4. Total Mailings: 4
  5. Frequency: Monthly
  6. Total Leads: 9
  7. Total deals: 0
  8. Comments:I'm pretty disappointed with this campaign so far. The area is nearby the above postcard campaign. I'll ride it out up to 7 mailings and see how it goes.
  1. Target Market: Absentee owned 15+ years, Average to Above Average ARV
  2. Campaign Type: Mixed Mailing (Postcards, White typed letters, Zip Letters)
  3. Total Prospects: 905
  4. Total Mailings: 2
  5. Frequency: Monthly
  6. Total Leads: 7
  7. Total deals: 0
  8. Comments:This is a hot area in town with a lot of tear downs and rebuids. I expect fewer deals from this campaign, but the profit margin should be much higher.
  1. Target Market: Probate
  2. Campaign Type: White typed letters
  3. Total Prospects: 544
  4. Total Mailings: 1
  5. Frequency: Every 6 weeks
  6. Total Leads: 12
  7. Total deals: 0
  8. Comments:Overall, this has been the most impressive campaign. The response rate to the first mailing was more than I expected. No deals yet, but I have several warm leads that I am working on. We'll be add new probate to the list monthly.

Overall Comments: DM is generating leads, but I would have expected a few more deals by now. Is that an unrealistic expectation? Houston is a hot market and very competitive. Most of the motivated sellers I've spoken with mention that they receive multiple letters/postcards a month. Call volume is picking up more now so hopefully a couple of deals are right around the corner. We're going to start supplementing DM with bandit signs periodically until more deals start to roll in. 

Thanks for the info!  Based on a few investors I've talked with, you shouldn't expect results until after 6 months of continued marketing.  Some have mentioned DM has not been as successful as initially thought and that bandit signs and door knocking seem to work better.

Keep up the great work!  We'll post how our campaigns we just started go as well once we have a few more months.

Hey Chris, 

You sent 3200 mailers and got 2 deals, that's not bad at all.  If you averaged $1 a piece your CPA is $1,600.  That's not bad at all.  Ours hovers around $1,000-$1,800 and we aren't just doing direct mail.

The only thing i would change is to work a larger list, and mail more.  As you scale up you should find more consistent success.

Something else to think about...Most land lords burn out long before the 15 year mark.

Keep it up!  This business rewards the consistent.

@Sam Craven , thanks for the input.  The acquisition cost is actually much higher considering I've done multiple mailings.  Once I close out the pending sale I plan on rolling it into more DM.  Good point on landlords.  I was thinking 15+ years equals equity.  Maybe I'll sort by equity instead since some landlords may be inheriting.

I guess you are right, factoring in the multiple hits the returns aren't that great.

However, widen your pool by putting a 3 year ownership and using the equity tool and your list should grow by quite a bit.

We prefer a giant list, and breaking it down to try and hit each person once a month or so.

@Sam Craven , I will try that.  I've been using Realist since I can get that data for free.  For equity % it looks like I will need to use listsource.com instead.

Has anyone used realaquisition.com for their lists and other services they offer? Just curious as to how they compare to listsource.com, etc.

Originally posted by @Gigi Ochoa :

Has anyone used realaquisition.com for their lists and other services they offer? Just curious as to how they compare to listsource.com, etc.

That might be a question better for a new thread. I've spoken with RA a few times before and have seen them at local REI events. They seem legit, but I haven't used their services.

@Chris Bounds You sent about 10,000 pieces for 2 deals.  That sounds about right , that's what i've seen in Austin so far on my campaigns about one deal per 5,000 pieces.  Like @Sam Craven  says I think you just have to send more mail for more deals. 

@Chris Bounds

 I had a similar experience as you. My first list of ~1000 leads netted me 3 deals after 3 mailings or so. My next list in the exact same area and criteria has so far netted me zero deals after 6 mailings.

As mentioned above, I would definitely pay the 15-20 cents per lead to be able to filter on equity. That way you know that with every call you get, there is at least potential to make a deal.

You really want to be sending at least 1k letters a month. Hit a list for 6 months. 

I wouldn't waste your time with postcards. Give yellow letters a shot as they are my bread and butter.

Chris, are you answering your calls yourself or letting them go to voicemail? Do you have a special script for your voicemail? 

It's good to hear that you're getting promising leads from probate. That is one niche I haven't fully explored yet. Keep us posted!

Originally posted by @Chris L. :

Chris, are you answering your calls yourself or letting them go to voicemail? Do you have a special script for your voicemail? 

It's good to hear that you're getting promising leads from probate. That is one niche I haven't fully explored yet. Keep us posted!

My wife and I try to answer 100% of the calls that come in.  Sometimes they go to VM, but most do not leave messages.  We return all VM asap and missed calls as time allows.  Right now we're managing that with about 6000 letters monthly.  I'm thinking we'll need to train buyers to help with calls soon so that is something we are planning for.

Originally posted by @Chris Bounds :
Originally posted by @Chris L.:

Chris, are you answering your calls yourself or letting them go to voicemail? Do you have a special script for your voicemail? 

It's good to hear that you're getting promising leads from probate. That is one niche I haven't fully explored yet. Keep us posted!

My wife and I try to answer 100% of the calls that come in.  Sometimes they go to VM, but most do not leave messages.  We return all VM asap and missed calls as time allows.  Right now we're managing that with about 6000 letters monthly.  I'm thinking we'll need to train buyers to help with calls soon so that is something we are planning for.

 You are currently sending out 6000 letters monthly? Are these all vacant properties in the city that you reside and what percent of these typically respond to your mail and how many actually get to talk about selling?

@Account Closed , my target response rate is 2%.  I'm on my second drop with 39 responses (most from the first drop). I should exceed 2% before I get to 7 drops.  It is an Absentee owner list.  Some are vacant, but most or rentals.

Originally posted by @Chris Bounds :

@Greg F., my target response rate is 2%.  I'm on my second drop with 39 responses (most from the first drop). I should exceed 2% before I get to 7 drops.  It is an Absentee owner list.  Some are vacant, but most or rentals.

Couldn't help but cringe based on the number of deals from the 3200 mailings. It might be worth trying to contact a group of more motivated sellers to increase the rate of deals. This seems to affirm that the owner may be absentee but not necessarily motivated to sell.

@Fitzgerald Hall , I took @Sam Craven 's advice. Here is an updated breakdown:

  1. Target Market: Absentee
  2. Campaign Type: White typed letters and zip letters using YellowLetters.com
  3. Total Prospects: 5735
  4. Total Mailings: 4
  5. Frequency: Every 6 weeks
  6. Total Leads: 102
  7. Total deals: 5
  8. Comments: This has been the best campaign yet. Only a slightly higher response rate and still a high cost per deal, but it's been the most profitable campaign yet. I'm still working on several warm leads too. 

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to post your results.  What has been your average profit per deal?  Are you wholesaling/holding/flipping, or some of each depending on the property?
I'm also curious where your probate leads were obtained (my area would obviously be different, I assume, but just wondering if there is a nationwide service out there instead of just physically going to the courthouse).


Thanks!

@Chris Bounds what made you choose typed letters and zip letters (the most expensive mail pieces)? 

Also, are you shying away from postcards from now on? 

Lastly, were the 5 deals large, small, or both?

I am asking because I am increasing my budget to 15k and I want to be sure Ive done as much research as possible first. 

Thanks!

@Owen D., with only 5 deals so far from this campaign it wouldn't be accurate to give an average profit.  We have 2 flips that have not sold yet. Est. profits for those range from $15-30K.  We've wholesaled the other 3 making anywhere from $2000-20,000.

@Fitzgerald Hall , we tried postcards but the response rate was unbelievably low. It's cheap so every wholesaler in my area that wants to do direct mail uses them. I want to stand out. That change alone increased our response rate.  We may do them here and there to change it up, but it is not a primary mailer choice for us currently.

@Chris Bounds - Where are these lists coming from? I see you have absentee lists but don't define specific criteria.  How detailed are you getting.  The more focused you are, the better the results.  Are you targeting entire counties or are you specifying by city or better yet, zip code? 

I.E. Targeting to Absentee +15 years is great, but what about if you added a sale price of 0-1 to hit on the ownership transfers and inheritance.  Are these all out of state? What price point are you hitting on?

I think it's vital that you are EXTREMELY specific with your DM criteria.  

Do you have a lead generating website? Throw your URL on there and apply Google Analytics to your website to see how many people are actually manually typing in your information.  What is the yellow letter message?

The point here is every single detail in your DM campaign should be well thought out, ask yourself why, why, why, why over and over again until you come to a logical conclusion. You will always get your best DM results by doing this.

Good luck.

@Kyle Cabral My list came from list source.  I did not filter for years owned on this last run. Only equity and median price range. Area is fairly large, West to Southwest Houston which is my backyard. It's been a successful run so far.

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