I may be a little impatient but after hearing nothing from 70 probate direct mailers, I am wondering if anyone else uses a different method to market to probate. I am working with an experienced direct mail company and finding the list myself on our local CCAP. We mailed out our list 4 months after probate was issued. Does anyone recommend a different way to market to probate leads? Posting something on our FB might appear to be heartless. We know we can help people that have a trust, just looking for ways to market it.
Probates are a sensitive subject. The heirs have to grieve and sometimes may not be ready to sell for many months. Direct mail is best for this niche, as it is a less intrusive method of contact. But do not send mail that specifically addresses the probate situation. If you do, you will come off as a vulture. Send a letter just as you would to any other potential motivated seller. It may take months before the heirs are ready to sell. Be patient. As with all direct mail, it takes up to 5 times before you get a response. And keep in mind that the response rate for direct mail is 1-3%, and can be less than 1% in competitive markets. A mailing list of just 70 addresses is a very small list. Investors who have consistent success with direct mail have lists in the 7-8k size.
@Ryan Janssen I agree with @Braden Smith in regards to 70 mailers not really being enough to create KPI's or understand your response rate. In the past we have gotten 0.5-2% response rate. With this formula, you would need to send out 100 or so mailers just to get one call.
How many times have you mailed them? I would recommend a drip campaign where you start maybe with a postcard, then send a professional letter-head mailer, then maybe a personalized hand-written letter. Different people and personality types will respond to different types of mail, so we like to switch it up for best results.
Probate is a tough one for me to justify cold calling, to piggyback on what Braden said, it can come off the wrong way; however, with this being said, we do normally call/text all of our other leads that we are unable to get a response from via mail.
My advice would be to mix up the mail, and keep sending up to ten times to get responses. Do not give up after just one mailing, be consistent.
Mailing to probate is all about timing and your mail piece.
Timing has to be right, that means multiple mailings. I have found that when they are ready to sell, they call the letter they most recently received. Sometimes people hang on to the 50 letters they get and call them, most of the time they trash them until they are ready to sell and then call Mr. Recent Homebuyer that just sent a letter.
I have worked with a lot of “professional” direct mail companies. Most of the time their mail pieces suck, don’t perform well and have to be replaced.
You need to go really personal (hand written, not fake hand written...pay someone or do it yourself) and don’t address the situation, just that you want to buy the house.
Go strictly professional. This is your business, include a logo, business letter look and feel. Address the situation of probate and your are a legit company without feelings but you are aware of the situation and want to buy.
And even better,
Do both periodically until you hear from them.
@Ryan Janssen sorry to say but you can't expect a deal mailing to only 70 records. As Braden mentioned above that your list must have a volume of 7-8k if you want continuous success. If you can't afford then go for at least 1k records. It's a minimum to start. I have seen people landing a deal sending mail to 1k records 5 or 6 times and then scaling up.
Wow! Thank you for all of your responses. I am targeting a certain area in the Greater Milwaukee Area and the list is for a months worth of time in that area. I plan on doing a drip campaign too for 1 year. I appreciate the honest answers and will have to dip deeper and go out of our sweet spot range. What is the monthly average you spend on these mailers? I used a professional who did make a handwritten looking letter and it did not have our logo on it. He is experienced and his letters have worked for his. I think I need to find more areas that I am interested in marketing too.
I don’t know if I totally agree that you have to mail thousands of letters to get a deal. When I first started this business I worked super specialty lists and probate was a part of my efforts.
I’ve also mailed thousands of postcards per week to lists that I paid thousands for. I don’t love that method but at this point, I don’t have the time to manage the specialty lists.
You can have success mailing 70 letters, but the HAVE to be the right letters. And what has to happen before anyone ever sees any letter?
They have to open the envelope.
So the envelope is equally as important at the letter. Open rate is key. So get that down. Make it so the is NO WAY and I mean NO WAY that envelope goes unopened.
70 probate leads also leaves me lacking enough information to know if they are the right 70.
Generally speaking, a small segment of the population is ever going to sell to you anyways. The fact that they are in probate DOES NOT mean they are pre-disposed to sell to an investor.
You need to further sift your probate leads.
@Ryan Janssen Probates are very competitive, especially if you wait four months to send out mailers. After four months the executors have most likely been contacted by many other investors. But that doesn't necessarily mean that a deal can't be made. You will find that with probates patience and persistence are key.
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