FIRST Direct Mailers / Yellow Letters!

19 Replies

Hey BPers! 

I'm getting ready to send out my very first direct mailers next week, and wanted to share my excitement!...and I'm a little nervous and looking for any advice prior to sending. 

I'm planning to send out 1,000 yellow letters once a month for 3 months. I'm using a direct mail service that provides a full service option: they provide the letters and envelopes, they stuff, stamp and mail out letters for $1.19/letter. They also provide the data/list source for $0 .20/name.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks!

Nicole

Depends on how much work you want to put in. If it's first class mail you will get the return mail and that is where real work begins. You can track owners that no one is contacting due to bad address.
If not first class mail for the envelopes and letters you might consider using a postcard for first mailing going first class. It would be less expensive but you would get return mail
I haven't done the math but I get at least 10 percent return mail. I can hunt down owner or heirs about 30 to 40 percent of the time.
I like to use a combination of purchased and then my own list of distressed properties.

Either way good luck.

Hi @Nicole Griffin

For sending 1,000 yellow letters your price of $1.19/letter is too high and price of leads is also too high. There are other companies that should be able to provide letters and leads at lower pricing. Shop around.

Are the letters via standard, pre-sorted FC or Forever FC postage?

Like @Joe Davalos send first mailer via FC postage so you get return mail back and don't have to keep sending mail to the same people over and over again that are not receiving your mail.

Also, don't send the same mailer 3 times in a row. Mix it up otherwise people will start identifying your design with spam.

Hope that helps.

Sharad

In my opinion, the "yellow letters" are played out and don't work very well anymore. At least not in my market. Our market in New Orleans is saturated with investors and has been for some time. There are just too many people sending out the same stuff for mailers. 

I had one prospect send me a picture of all the mail pieces he has received over a 4-6 week period and he had received about 30 pieces of mail in that short time. That was a few years ago in an area that was being rapidly gentrified, but that goes to show you how many people were mailing the area.

Our market is still being mailed heavily, especially in certain neighborhoods, but I think if you are going to do direct mail you need to get creative and stand out from the crowd. Yellow letters are not creative and don't stand out. When nobody else was doing them they were unique and stood out. Now everyone does them.

@Braden Smith I totally agree with your statement on Yellow Letters. People are getting them like they are going out of style. It seems like there are a ton of gurus hawking them and then getting a cut through an "affiliate" fee. What is working best for you?

I have found that Yellow Letters/Post Cards are a great lead source. BUT it takes time for it to work. Not only that but you have to be decent on the phone and then at the kitchen table. 

Role play helps when you do get those calls in. 

Good luck and congrats! Most people don't take action, good on you.

@Nicole Griffin Are you working investing full time or do you have another job? Do you have a phone script? I practiced my script for 2 days but when I actually started getting calls I was caught by surprise. Be ready to take notes and organize to keep track of the calls and following up with the sellers.

Hello @Nicole Griffin . I have to agree with @Sharad M. - that price is just too high.

I also wonder, do you know where your full-service company is getting their data from? I know when I pull owner data (from RealQuest Pro), it includes when that data was updated. This gives you an idea of how recent the address was updated, and can definitely help with lowering your chances of getting returned mail/mailing to bad addresses. 

@Sean Carroll - thank you for letting me know about ReSimpli, I have looked around a bit more and they do have the best pricing out of the few that I looked at. They also customize orders.

@Braden Smith and @Eric A. - if I don't send these yellow letters out ASAP, I'm afraid I never will! I'll keep you posted on my results.

@Deren Huang - thanks for the info and encouragement!!  I have a coach that will take my calls for me, since I currently would feel uncomfortable taking them. I signed up with BetterVoice to record calls and he will teach me how to work the call. 

Anyone have any thoughts on adding an email address in addition to the phone #? 

Here is my draft the yellow letter message, please let me know your comments! 

@Doug Haisten - I'm not working another job. I have a list of questions/checklist that I could use as a phone script, but I have a mentor/coach that will take the initial calls and teach me how to take them. Thankfully I'm organized and a pretty good note taker. Thanks!

@Erin Spence - that is a great question. I used ListSource, I don't know when the data was updated, but that would be good information to have.

@Nicole Griffin ,when I send out letters, I like to give them as many ways to contact me as possible. Phone and email are great.

@Nicole Griffin this is a great thread. So 5 months later, how did your first mailing go? Any insights to share? What went right and what did you learn?

Did you draw any conclusions on the best list source, best message or type of mail piece, etc?

One thing about this . . .

A 3-month direct-mail campaign is really a stretch to be able to draw any major conclusions.

Direct-mail is such a long game. It can take 3-months to respond, 3-months to negotiate, 1 month to get a contract signed, and then another to close the deal. Then, depending on your investing strategy, there can still be lots of time.

I think it's much much much better to get yourself a website. The in-bound marketing leads can sometimes be same day signed contracts. Direct-mail I've literally never had anything like that. Chase leads down for 1 year, or even 2 years, to get ink to paper.

Now, of course, I've heard stories, "I sent one letter and net a $50k deal!"

I guess it happens.

Originally posted by @Brian Bandas :

@Nicole Griffin this is a great thread. So 5 months later, how did your first mailing go? Any insights to share? What went right and what did you learn?

Did you draw any conclusions on the best list source, best message or type of mail piece, etc?

 I don't know about Nicole, but I've seen old threads where someone requests an update and the OP doesn't respond. I wonder if in a lot of cases like this the person juat gave up and no longer even comes back to the BP  website.

Originally posted by @Eric James :
Originally posted by @Brian Bandas:

@Nicole Griffin this is a great thread. So 5 months later, how did your first mailing go? Any insights to share? What went right and what did you learn?

Did you draw any conclusions on the best list source, best message or type of mail piece, etc?

 I don't know about Nicole, but I've seen old threads where someone requests an update and the OP doesn't respond. I wonder if in a lot of cases like this the person juat gave up and no longer even comes back to the BP  website.

 Most likely man.

Especially with a letter like that, I don't think there would be much success to be honest... but then again.. I HATE hand written letters...

@Jerryll Noorden @Eric James it’s not for the weak hearted. I see it all the time here in El Paso. People get the I want to be an investor bug than disappear after a few months. Takes time and money. Gotta stay motivated when you getting deals and when you not getting deals. Continue to market through dry spells and be flexible. Sometimes for me, craigslist works better than direct mail. Than craigslist stops working and all my leads start coming in from direct mail. 

Unfortunately, because of some unexpected personal issues, have I've had to put this on hold. I only sent out 1 batch of letters, and from that I received a handful of calls asking me to remove them from my list, but a couple have asked me to call them back in a couple months. I used REsimpli to manage my letters and mailing - they had a lot of options and I could customize pretty much everything, I liked their pricing and I didn't have to sign up for a particular number of months. They have great customer service! Sharad Mehta and @Ray Lai answered all of my questions, which I had a ton of,  with quick, clear responses - I would use them again (and hopefully will again in the future). 

What type of list are you using? I know that different targets can come with varying prices, but I agree with @Erin Spence and @Sharad M. that 20 cents is very much on the high end.

Another way to improve deliverability is to be sure that your list provider performs list hygiene. National Change of Address (NCOA) and CASS Certification for the address are 2 that the compiler should supply documents of completion. 

The overall list industry standard for a purchased list is 90-95% deliverability. Some vendors will experience higher rates due to the compilation practices.

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