Death of Direct Mail...Birth to Digital Marketing

84 Replies

Direct Mail has not worked for me. It is a channel (medium) that is too easy to learn (get a list & mail to that list consistently). It "seems" to work if you have the marketing budget, list, and ability to mail higher quantities consistently. I have met investors sending up to 50,000 mailers to 4-5 list combined. As an up and coming Wholesaler, with a limited budget, I was researching marketing strategies and found this video by Gary Vanerchuck. Fromt watching this and other videos of his, I come to the decision to stop this romance with Direct Mail, as well as old school markerting (Driving for Dollars, Door Knocking, paper ads, etc), so that I can try new things (Digital Marketing).

Since I am launching my site in 2 days, I want to know if there are any Wholesalers here who have converted to digital marketing? If so, since the cost of Direct Mail is higher compared to Digital, have folks noticed the arbitrage of the value of the ROI in Digital?

Omar.

I have tried and tested both of them. and I think that both of them are great options. 

Of course, for a lower budget, facebook ads make way more sense. I get $.02 video views on my videos that I run with facebook ads.

But you just have to make sure that your content is great and really speaks to the people you're talking to.

I'd also recommend learning about facebook dark posts. 

(650) 430‑6644 | http://martelfamilyrealty.com

@Omar Ruiz Very interested in how it works out for you and if you get leads and close deals through digital marketing.  It makes sense since everyone is on their phones or computers.   Good luck to you Omar on your website launch!

@Antoine Martel I like to FB ads for some things but still have a lot to learn.   Can you give an example of your copy and what you use as photos for any that have been a success??  Same as the postcard just digital format?  Also do you target low income, like to move, etc???  Thanks!

TN Agent # 328312

@Brad Turley I will definitely update this post in about 6 months or so if and when I get leads that turn to deals through digital marketing.

@Antoine Martel I am currently taking a course online about Google Ads and once I finished, I will take a course onj Facebook Ads. 

I hold a belief that newbie wholesalers get introduced to traditional marketing because there really is'nt much to learn other than you choose a list, choose a channel, and pay/market. But online, you need to take time to learn about it unless you hire a marketing director to learn that for you.

I am beginning marketing after the holidays and will be focused primarily on digital marketing.

That is my background for the past 20+ years so I want to try a few different avenues.

Although direct mail works, it's an antiquated business model that I believe is evolving.

Hey @Omar Ruiz I've had way more success with Google Adwords vs. Facebook ads.  If your leads could potentially come from a Google search, I think paying for Google ads boost your SEO in general searches as well and helps your website get out into the interwebs.  Once I started paying for Adwords I started getting calls.  Upping your SEO isn't something they advertise that paying for Adwords does but I definitely think it helps.  

Adwords support is also pretty awesome, and there are always discount codes floating around.  Would love to hear how your class went!  

Medium cobnb tagline 01Tyler Work, COBnB Listing Management | [email protected] | 571‑435‑0752 | http://www.cobnb.co

@Brian Garrett

Even though I am just days away from launching, I have seen the evolution and it has been here for years:

  • Direct Mail is todays Facebook Ads
  • Outdoor billboard signs/bandit signs/Wrapped Cars is todays online Retargetting Ads
  • Business Card/Flyer/Brochure/door hangers is now your Website
  • Word of Mouth/Yellow Pages/Referral is now your Yelp/Better Business Bureau (BBB)/Google Map reviews
  • Television commericials is now your Youtube Ads
  • Radio commericals is now your Podcast
  • Newspaper is now your Blogs (Content Marketing)
  • Door Knocking is todays Youtube Live, Facebook Live, or Periscope Live Video Ads
  • Driving for dollars is todays Google Search Results (Ads or Organic)
  • Print Ads in Magazines or local restaraunt table tops is todays Email Marketing

@Omar Ruiz Message me the link to your site once you go live so I can check it out.

Originally posted by @Kelly Kormos :

@Antoine Martel I like to FB ads for some things but still have a lot to learn.   Can you give an example of your copy and what you use as photos for any that have been a success??  Same as the postcard just digital format?  Also do you target low income, like to move, etc???  Thanks!

 I target homeowners in the neighborhood that I like to invest in. 

(650) 430‑6644 | http://martelfamilyrealty.com

how narrowly can you target online audiences?

Interesting idea.

But the perfect investor target isn't searching the internet... their utilities are cut off.

The mail still gets delivered every day.

Medium mte logoTom Gimer, Masters Title & Escrow | [email protected] | (240) 630‑3700 | http://masterstitle.com

@Omar Ruiz I will disagree that word of mouth or referral is out. It is true that people have found new mediums to get referrals. For example I have friends on Facebook who post, "Anyone know a good plumber". Even though it may be posted on Facebook, it is still a person to person referral. 

As far as driving for dollars or door knocking, hardly anyone has the drive to do that. Getting face to face with a prospect is always going to be more effective than digital advertising. Keep in mind that many run-down homes are owned by older people. They lack the digital savvy that you have. 

I think you provided lots of good perspective on modern ways to reach people, but again don't discount some very effective old-school methods. 

@Joe Splitrock

I never said word of mouth or referrals are out. I am pointing out that the medium of online has evolved. Your statement proved my point, "I have friends on Facebook who post, 'Anyone know a good plumber'." The action of word of mouth remains the same, but the platform has changed and I believe I need to evolve with it.

You still need a digital medium when drving for dollars to track people (Online County records or Skip Tracing services). However, nobody wants to talk about the time spent driving, collecting the data, the money used for gas, and additional time spent researching.

I respect the traditional ways of marketing because without that, the way people market today would not provide the highest ROI. My main point is that as technbology advances, so will the need for investors to start learning how to connect with their customers.

Think about it. Before texting, we had pagers. Before pagers, we had phone booths. Before phone booths, we had landlines (home phone). And so on. The medium (phone) remains the same, but the way it has evolved changes how we use that medium. 

@Tom Grier

Not all distressed homeowners suffer from property/utility issues. As I am sure you are aware, distressed homeowners can be those who are going through a Divorce, Inherited a house (Probate), Health issues, Downsizing, Landlords, having a lien, etc. What you are speaking about is more about a damaged house (major repairs) or a condemned property in which utilities may have been impacted.

Yes, mail comes everyday. There is no doubt about that. I am more focused on how the ROI for online marketing is better. This video best explains my point. 

Direct Mail services (such as YellowLetters) cost $.79 for a stamped envelope & handwritten letter or $.40 for a small yellow postcard. Take a look at this article, published in November 2017, on How much does Facebook Advertising cost. Cost for ads range between $.31 to $.61 per click, depending on ones industry.

Within online marketing, you can track whether people are clicking on those ads or at least engaging with them by them (by clicking the like button on Facebook). With Mailers, they may work in huge quantites (over 1,000 per month). My choice to distance from mailers and traditional marketing is that I have no idea if the person opened my mail or threw it in the trash. All I can measure is if the letter itself is returned back to me (with the yellow tab stating whether the person was deceased or no longer living there) & if they call me to discuss possibly selling or request to take them off the list.

@Omar Ruiz I was referring to distressed properties with owners who are broke and can't keep the lights on.

I understand what you're trying to do, I was just pointing out the fact that not everybody is searching online for the solution. Also don't forget that if you actually put together a solid print marketing piece it will have a shelf life. It can sit around for months, waiting to be referenced once the decision has been made. 

With online ads, once the user clicks the back button your ad and money are gone forever... unless you want to pay to re-market it aka re-annoy. 

Medium mte logoTom Gimer, Masters Title & Escrow | [email protected] | (240) 630‑3700 | http://masterstitle.com

@Tom Gimer

What I am learning as a marketer (wholesaler), you take the risk of losing money on any campaign you bark upon. I see no difference if someone clicks on my page and then clicks the back button from I mail a letter and don't hear back. I lose money both ways. However, I at least know the person who landed on my page, I can retarget them, which allows for an ad to follow them as they go to many different sites, without having to worry about them telling me to take them off any list. 

For me, Traditional marketing is not holding up the highest ROI for leads. If mailing works for you, great...continue your farming. But, once the years go by and we inheirt the next generation of homeowners, you will have to adapt to their lifestyle.

My belief is that becuase of how technology has evolved so quickly, getting access to a phone (which has online capacity) is so much more attainable. So, there would not be any excuse of not even having a flip phone with 2G/3G internet. 

People in need of solution will do one thing, which is to reach out. Whether that be a phone call to a family member/friend, to going online, to speaking with a neighbor or postal worker, people will find out someway. Most likely, those same people they speak with may suggest to go online or they will go online for them.

Give me 6 months from this Friday and I will post up my updates about how online marketing has worked out. I will be glad to present my numbers just to showcase whether I am far fetched or I am on to something.

@Omar Ruiz I find it interesting you are considering this approach and how I haven't heard many people address it. I spent most of last year studying digital marketing and I agree with you 100%.

I'm new to investing and last night I looked on List Source to get an idea of what a mailing list costs and was amazed at how expensive it can be. I'm sure direct mailing has its perks but for my budget and to be just getting started, digital seems like the best way to go.

On another note, the majority of investors that I've spoken to have said the majority of their deals come from referrals and networking. Not bandit signs, not direct mail. I'm sure those approaches do work but I'm interested in being able to measure my marketing campaigns performance and this is possible using the digital approach.

I'm going to keep driving for dollars as well because I do see the value of knocking on the door and talking to the home owner.

As for your website and content , what value do you intend to provide?

I really think it's how you advertise. I disagree with the idea direct mail is dead. Me personally I still open some junk mail because it catches my eye and what women doesn't like invitations. 

See online marketing is dead it some areas as well. Like who really checks advertising emails anymore? We also have trained our brains to see advertisements as evil. Don't you just love those ads that pop up and require some kind of action? Even with Google ad words people tend to scroll down. On the other hand if you have a well built site that targets keywords and is content rich its a solid way to bring in leads. It's also time consuming. 

This is why I love bandit signs over all other marketing. It creates a response and it is free to view. It's also less work than running a good web page. You can track its metrics, you can implement new headlines on the fly if something isn't working, and it works both for buyers and sellers. 

P. S. Sorry about the long response. 

Originally posted by @Omar Ruiz :

Direct Mail has not worked for me. It is a channel (medium) that is too easy to learn (get a list & mail to that list consistently). It "seems" to work if you have the marketing budget, list, and ability to mail higher quantities consistently. I have met investors sending up to 50,000 mailers to 4-5 list combined. As an up and coming Wholesaler, with a limited budget, I was researching marketing strategies and found this video by Gary Vanerchuck. Fromt watching this and other videos of his, I come to the decision to stop this romance with Direct Mail, as well as old school markerting (Driving for Dollars, Door Knocking, paper ads, etc), so that I can try new things (Digital Marketing).

Since I am launching my site in 2 days, I want to know if there are any Wholesalers here who have converted to digital marketing? If so, since the cost of Direct Mail is higher compared to Digital, have folks noticed the arbitrage of the value of the ROI in Digital?

I think you're likely to be disappointed. (NOTE: In addition to my remodeling company and investment properties, I also own a direct mail advertising company that also does some digital work. Also have a background in ad agency work.)

Digital was the hot new thing a few years ago, but it hasn't delivered, with the exception of very targeted digital. (For example, Angie's List works great for my remodeling company.) Huge companies like Pepsi, P&G, JC Penney and others pulled money from direct mail and TV ads to put it into digital, and are now slashing their digital budget and putting money back into traditional channels.

Industry experts were predicting the death of direct mail a few years ago, but the numbers actually show direct mail growing year over year for the last several years.

You're right that direct mail to absentee landlords is a pretty crowded space. That's because, frankly, there are too many people who want to be real estate investors chasing too few real deals. I've been successful, though, with targeted direct mail to other categories, like probate and pre-foreclosure leads. And since I own a franchise of the Money Mailer coupon envelope, I've used that very successfully in reaching owner-occupants who want to sell, who are folks I'd never reach targeting absentee landlords. Response rate is really low on something like that, but cost is so low I can reach a big audience.

Hopefully I'm wrong and your digital campaign will pay off, but overall, digital has been pretty disappointing across a wide variety of industries.

Michael Hayworth, Home Front DFW Remodeling | 817‑697‑5021 | http://www.HomeFrontDFW.com

@Michael Hayworth

I can see your perspective if we are talking about Big brand multi-billion dollar companies. Those commerce businesses have been around for years and when they tested marketing online, it made no sense because, my guess, their product & brand is what gets people to buy. But when we are talking about small businesses, like new investors, I truly believe online is our best option for a higher ROI with our marketing efforts, since we are more of a service than a tangible product. If you want to think outside the box, our websites are our product.

Just like Psychology Today works for my counseling business, Angies list works great for your remodeling business. You pay to be a member of their site as they have done the work to make their site rank on page 1 of Google, which guarantees that people will search within their site to find you (just like people do on Psychology Today for me). 

I had created my own therapy site using therapysites.com but soon realized that I was getting 99% of my referrals through Psychology Today. After 3 months, i decided to ditch my personal site altogther. No love lost.

What you just shared just proves my point even more because these referring based websites (Angies list and Psychology Today) do a great job creating an online presence that ensures they rank on high on Google searches so that they generate more visitor traffic, essentially giving them more authority im Googles eyes.

Your clients for remodeling and my clients for counseling are searching online, which proves that digital marketing does work. 

Honestly, if digital marketing didn't work as well as traditional, why would OnCarrot.com or LeadPropellor.com still be in business? They have successfully gained customers who have generated leads by using their template sites. Even though I am not a customer of either site, I still respect what they have done to pave the way for modern investors.

Let's put things into perspective about mailers. My experience is that you have to send out a huge quantity of mailers due to having a response rate of 1%. 

Example, 600 mailers are sent. Possibly 6 people respond. Half of those want to be taken off the list, which leaves with 3 people. And half of those won't accept your offer, which brings you to 1.5 deals that month. Mailers (if using yellowletters) cost what... $.79.  Multipy that by 600 letters, that is $474 for the month for marketing cost. And, people say it takes at least 7 touches before people respond, so thats 7 months if i send mailers once a month which equals $3,318. 

Since you do mailers, am I off on the numbers? How many mailers do you send monthly and out of those, what is the percentage of leads, and from those leads, how many deals?

Following...and loving this thread! Would also love to take a look at what you've come up with @Omar Ruiz

Graham Howell | [email protected] | 615‑955‑0437 | TN Agent # 325250

I saw a post while back about Bluetooth ads... they seemed cheap to set up.  Wondering if anyone tried proximity marketing (not limited to BT)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_marketing

@Matt K. , thanks for introducing Bluetooth ads as I was not even aware that medium existed. I will do some more research about them.

@Gerrell King , I saw a video on Youtube from Trevor, owner of OnCarrot.com, where he was discussing some website he found. He mentioned howthe site provides its' visitors with exact information about their business (almost like a comparison chart regarding how much percentage they charge customers). He mentioned the idea of looking at my Unique Selling Proposition (USP). So, after looking at so many investing sites, I came to realize that no one cares to go in depth about the process of how investors come up with an offer or the actual step-by-step process from the time they contact the site owners. So essentially, I decided that the value I am providing will be transparent content (information) on my site. That no homeowner will be confused as to why their offer might be 40% to 70%^ below Market value. My BP profile has my site listed, in case you wanted to check it out since today was my launch.

@Jonathan Damon , I do agree (wholeheartedly) about how we go about marketing has an impact on how our audience will recieve the information. As for email marketing, here is a link to an article about the response rate for emails. It shows that roughtly 20% of people (depending on your business niche) will open those emails, about 3% click on the link to head back to the website, and 1% may bounce off from the site after landing on the site. Similar metrix from Direct Mail of the 1% response rate.

According to ZeroLimitWeb.com, they found that 67.60% of Google searches click on the top 5 organic results (which are the results below the ads). Only 3.73% click on results 6 through 10. And 71.33% of people will click on a link on page 1 of their results before deciding to do another search.

This leaves with Ads about 15% of all traffic within any given search. So, people do click on the ads, but depending on many factors (specific keywords you choose for an ad, how much you bid on those keywords, the struture of your ad, etc) will determine how much actual traffic your ads are truely generating.

Bandit signs, similar to direct mail, may become over saturated. There is still a cost to Bandit Signs, you still have to pay for the sign and the the aluminim bar (unless you staple the sign onto a wood pole). I had signs posted up and my market was rough. I had my sign taken down the next day, other signs taken down within a week, and lost some signs becuase of severe weather. I posted them on high traffic areas, close to the surburbs and highway. No calls. Like I said before, I have tried and continued to try but decided to not waste my money as well as time on traditional marketing in a digital age world.

Originally posted by @Omar Ruiz :

@Matt K. , thanks for introducing Bluetooth ads as I was not even aware that medium existed. I will do some more research about them.

@Gerrell King, I saw a video on Youtube from Trevor, owner of OnCarrot.com, where he was discussing some website he found. He mentioned howthe site provides its' visitors with exact information about their business (almost like a comparison chart regarding how much percentage they charge customers). He mentioned the idea of looking at my Unique Selling Proposition (USP). So, after looking at so many investing sites, I came to realize that no one cares to go in depth about the process of how investors come up with an offer or the actual step-by-step process from the time they contact the site owners. So essentially, I decided that the value I am providing will be transparent content (information) on my site. That no homeowner will be confused as to why their offer might be 40% to 70%^ below Market value. My BP profile has my site listed, in case you wanted to check it out since today was my launch.

@Jonathan Damon, I do agree (wholeheartedly) about how we go about marketing has an impact on how our audience will recieve the information. As for email marketing, here is a link to an article about the response rate for emails. It shows that roughtly 20% of people (depending on your business niche) will open those emails, about 3% click on the link to head back to the website, and 1% may bounce off from the site after landing on the site. Similar metrix from Direct Mail of the 1% response rate.

According to ZeroLimitWeb.com, they found that 67.60% of Google searches click on the top 5 organic results (which are the results below the ads). Only 3.73% click on results 6 through 10. And 71.33% of people will click on a link on page 1 of their results before deciding to do another search.

This leaves with Ads about 15% of all traffic within any given search. So, people do click on the ads, but depending on many factors (specific keywords you choose for an ad, how much you bid on those keywords, the struture of your ad, etc) will determine how much actual traffic your ads are truely generating.

Bandit signs, similar to direct mail, may become over saturated. There is still a cost to Bandit Signs, you still have to pay for the sign and the the aluminim bar (unless you staple the sign onto a wood pole). I had signs posted up and my market was rough. I had my sign taken down the next day, other signs taken down within a week, and lost some signs becuase of severe weather. I posted them on high traffic areas, close to the surburbs and highway. No calls. Like I said before, I have tried and continued to try but decided to not waste my money as well as time on traditional marketing in a digital age world.

I normally see a 3 to 8% conversion on direct mail not 1% and with yellow letters it tends to convert a bit higher. Bandit signs have a good call rate of about 8 to 10% but conversion is around 3%. That's my area though and my marketing skills. I've found most top 3 spots with ppc were extremely expensive in good markets. It's really about what you are good at though and if online marketing is your niche you will be successful. All of it is expensive and requires hard work to make conversions though. 

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