Direct Mail Campaign

22 Replies

Morning BP, Ive been investing(Flipping and Landlording) full time since 2011 but I skipped wholesaling and jumped right into rehabbing because deals were every where. Now I see I skipped a vital step because I dont know how to find deals now. So Im looking to launch a DM campaign in both South Florida and Charleston, SC. 

My question is Im probably going to do a split test between postcards and letters but Im wondering what kinds or results are you guys getting in these markets from each method. 

I have heard that most people swear by yellow letters. They cost more, but they have a much higher success rate. One technique I have heard mentioned is to use postcards for the first mailing so you can remove the returned addresses from your list before you do the more expensive letters. Most wholesalers swear by consistency. My first campaign is mailing the same list for 6 months. 

Thanks Lance, that makes sense so I dont waste money on returned addresses. I was looking at doing both but I just ran the numbers and I can actually afford to do letters for the next 6 months consistently. I can do this because instead of buying online I called Listsource and created an account with them and got a discount of almost 1/2 off because of the amount of money I put down. This allowed me to re allocate my monthly funds. So know Im wondering if its worth it to send all letters to a smaller list or if i should mix letters and postcards and attack a larger list.

My thoughts on repeats were to reach out to everyone that called but wasnt motivated every 3 months(4x a year) and attack a new list + plus follow ups every month. But, you are hitting the same list once a month. How is that working for you, do you have any results yet?

Russ that is good to know. I either flip or hold in Charleston but now that I plan to get my own deals Im sure Ill have more than I want. Thanks for the heads up. I have your contact info saved.

@Robert Rainey please send me all the deals that you want to wholesale in Charleston.  I do some wholesaling myself and have an very strong buyer's list and good realtor relationships. Including @John Semanchuk :-)  All about the win-win.  I can help you make a good profit while assisting one of my local investor-friends and/or a local realtor at the same time.

Originally posted by @Robert Rainey :

Morning BP, Ive been investing(Flipping and Landlording) full time since 2011 but I skipped wholesaling and jumped right into rehabbing because deals were every where. Now I see I skipped a vital step because I dont know how to find deals now. So Im looking to launch a DM campaign in both South Florida and Charleston, SC. 

My question is Im probably going to do a split test between postcards and letters but Im wondering what kinds or results are you guys getting in these markets from each method. 

 I know about 3 rehab deals off the top of my head. See, you didnt even have to send out a letter :-). 

I've been looking for my first rental purchase to obtain with a VA loan (so has to be turnkey) but I keep running into these 'investor's special' rehab deals that I wish I had the cash to get into.

I already qualify for a 203k loan upwards of $275k but 10% downpayment cash is needed. I didn't consider partnerships before, but as I run into these rehabbing deals I want to connect with fellow investors who have rehab experience. I plan to VA refi once the property is rehabbed and cash my partner out so I can hold and rent.

One in particular that is keeping my eye has a potential cashflow of almost $700 a month. 

Anyway, I'm not a wholesaler but I do send out letters to get my own deals and I do drive the town a lot so I may be able to refer you to some people who are looking to sel

@Robert Rainey I live in Florida as well.  South Florida is always a good bet to find deals, as I am sure you know.  I' would be interested in looking at any deals you are wanting to fix and flip yourself.  I also have some rehabbers I work with to fund their deals, and I would love to be able to send projects their way.  Send me a invite to connect and we can talk later.

@Robert Rainey

As you can see, many people have an issue finding deals. You're building up a buyers list without even trying. :)

Regarding your actual question, if you are going to go with a DM campaign.m, I would recommend one of 3 methods, yellow letter, lumpy mail, or greeting cards.

The most important issue is getting your letter opened and your message read. All 3 have a decent open rate (with my favs being #2 greeting card, #3 lumpy mail, and 4# yellow letter.

"You miscounted," I know you're saying.

"No, I didn't."

My absolute favorite approach and by far the most effective approach is an actual call to the owner.

If you have created the best list possible, then the best approach will be to actually call them. (More on that if you want)

The thing is though, whether you decide to call or use one of the direct mail approaches, you need to choose the right list to reach out to.

Are you going after abandoned properties? Are you going after pre foreclosure? What is the problem you are going to solve? (That is how you find deals, by finding people with problems and solving them)

If abandoned, go a little deeper. Add behind on taxes.
If pre foreclosure, maybe ask for only estates. This way you are mixing pre foreclosure and probate, or include individuals or private lenders as the plaintiff.

The point is, try to make your list more specific to get a different list.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the replies and the connects guys. Im glad I posted up.

 @David Dey :

What source do you use for phone numbers? And i have been seeing this term lumpy mail throughout threads I research. Is this just an item (i.e. a fake key) to intrigue people to open to see what it is? 

Also how does a greeting card differ from say a postcard? When looking at DM companies Ive only seen postcards and letters advertised. 

Don't switch up your list, @Robert Rainey . According to the direct mail experts, that's a textbook mistake that people make. You have to define a good list at the outset and keep mailing those same people, month after month. You can expect a 1% to 3% response rate. After the 7th or 8th round of mailing, some magic happens and the response rate goes up.

Also, don't discount postcards. They don't require the recipient to open them. Keep in mind that whomever you're mailing is on a list that many others before you have used / are using, so your letter might not get opened because they get similar ones every day. Postcards get tossed just as easily, but at least you have a chance at getting some of your message seen. 

I'm not saying use postcards because they're not appropriate for every list. Probates, for example. For probates, a letter is more appropriate. For absentees, it's probably six in one hand, half a dozen in the other. Go with your gut.

Also, check out the guide on direct mail. It has everything you need to know.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/04/0...

I've stopped using postcards and yellow letters because everyone else is using them and I wasn't getting noticed from my prospects.  Now that most markets are really competitive, you need to do something different to stand out from your competition and get your prospects to notice & remember you.  Also, creating a brand will also gain trust with your prospects.  Work on creating unique mailers.  

But before you work on your mail, make sure you have a good list.  You can use the best marketing techniques but if your list is crap, so will your results.

Originally posted by @Robert Rainey :
Thanks for the replies and the connects guys. Im glad I posted up.

 @David Dey:

What source do you use for phone numbers? And i have been seeing this term lumpy mail throughout threads I research. Is this just an item (i.e. a fake key) to intrigue people to open to see what it is? 

Also how does a greeting card differ from say a postcard? When looking at DM companies Ive only seen postcards and letters advertised. 

 Lumpy mail is exactly what it sounds like.  Mail with a lump in it, pen, magnet, fake key, use your imagination, the lumpier the better.  (I received a letter that was actually taped to a huge bouncy ball, yes I opened it)

Greeting cards are one of the most opened mail out there.  When you see an envelope with balloons or snoopy on it, and you know it's a card of some sort, don't you open it?  That's the idea behind greeting cards.  

Hope this helps.

Originally posted by @Justin Silverio :

I've stopped using postcards and yellow letters because everyone else is using them and I wasn't getting noticed from my prospects.  Now that most markets are really competitive, you need to do something different to stand out from your competition and get your prospects to notice & remember you.  Also, creating a brand will also gain trust with your prospects.  Work on creating unique mailers.  

But before you work on your mail, make sure you have a good list.  You can use the best marketing techniques but if your list is crap, so will your results.

 I was going to try to keep things personal and less business like. When you say create a brand your referring to sending the same letter every time and not changing it correct? So people become familiar with me.

Also I purchased from List Source, so I'm assuming their list is reliable. Is that what you mean?

@Robert Rainey

Regarding reliability, one thing you should do is scroll through your list manually to make sure nothing in it jumps out at you as odd. I use Listsource and haven't had a problem. I also tried AgentPro and the lists they delivered were garbage. I pulled a list of absentee owners and noticed that in 75% or more of the mailing addresses, there was an apartment or a suite number. Sometimes, there was an apartment number and a suite number for the same address. And the same apartment or suite number was repeated quite a few times throughout the list. 

I could just eyeball the list and know that something was wrong with it. They told me that the county had provided bad data and it would be corrected with the next upload, which they couldn't give me a date for. I needed to do a mailing, so I went back to Listsource and pulled the same list and the data was good. Also, AgentPro's filtering system was broken for the entire six weeks I was a subscriber, so even though I checked the box to exclude LLCs, my list was full of LLCs. 

On the positive side, they promptly refunded my money with no hassle. I know lots of people use AgentPro successfully, but my experience was that they couldn't provide me with a single, basic absentee list with correct mailing addresses and no LLCs in the six weeks that I was a subscriber. 

I say all this so that you know not to assume your list is good just because you got it from a reputable provider. This may not be specifically what @Justin Silverio was referring to, but doing a manual scan of the list is one of the things you should do to ensure you have a good list. If I hadn't checked that list before I used it, I would have wasted at least one entire mailing.

@Robert Rainey what I mean about branding yourself is to use envelopes, letterhead and mail stuffers that will get you to stand out from your competition and to enable your prospect to identify that it's your company when you send subsequent mailers.  For instance, you can send highlighter blue envelopes which are very unique and will get your prospect to remember you.

For your list, just because you're pulling from Listsource doesn't mean you have a great list.  While their database is reliable, it doesn't mean you're pulling the best leads.  You should identify filters that will help scrub your list and provide a quality output so you reduce your competition.  Also, I highly recommend you manually scrub your list so you're not mailing to war zones or areas you don't want to invest (near train tracks, highways, etc.).

Hey,

Guys well I got my list out. I focused on Florida Preforclosure owners and Pre-Foreclosures/Absentee Owners. Its been about a month now and out of the 508 letters that went out I got 4 call backs. I ended up using a company that did the entire campaign for me. They use these 5x8 yellow legal pads with a hand written font and a small envelope also hand written.  I thought  I would get more call backs than I did to be honest. Every person I mailed to was if nothing else in Pre-Foreclosure. But, the people who called said they were hammered with letters and postcards. Im getting a good open rate Im guessing but with so many people doing this in my area, I guess the owners are finding it a waste of time to even call, which is probably fueled by the other complaint I got  which was no investors or brokers, Im a rehabber so I can pay more than a wholesaler but the wholesalers are hammering people with low offers. Has anyone encountered this before, and what were some of the solutions?

@Robert Rainey
I've used yellow letters in the past and have gotten a very good response rate. The advantage of the yellow letter is that it looks handwritten and hand delivered. If you're buying SFRs, your seller is probably a homeowner and the personal touch of the yellow letter makes you seem less institutional, which I believe creates a level of trust right off the bat.

I think it really depends on the type of property and type of seller you are targeting. Different products will work well for different strategies.

@Robert Rainey

What you've described is just how direct mail works. You'll never be the only person who sends them mail. And one round of mailing isn't going to get you anywhere. That's the mistake a lot of people make. The way direct mail works is you have to keep mailing the same people over and over, month after month. The best way I heard it put is that you want to be the solution on their kitchen table on the day they decide to sell. The only way you can do that is by mailing your list month after month. A homeowner may not be motivated today, but in two months or six months, that may change. See my first post in this thread regarding your response rate. Four callbacks on 500 mail pieces is a normal response rate.

And some homeowners in foreclosure will never be motivated to do something about their situation for a variety of reasons that it's a waste of your time to even try to make sense of it because there is no sense in it. You will encounter plenty of people who will bury their heads in the sand like the problem will just go away or some just throw their hands up and don't care about having a foreclosure on their credit report, even if you talk to them and explain how you can help them get out of their situation with no adverse consequences. It doesn't make sense. They have a problem and you have a solution and they will choose to let the process run its course and have their credit wrecked. If you keep targeting foreclosures, you'll see plenty of that, so don't even bother trying to figure out why people don't want help. Focus on the ones who do value their credit and do want help and are motivated to cooperate in order to get out of their situation. You have to reach out more than once to find those people, though.

@Robert Rainey As Lenzy mentioned, the key is to be consistent.  Your results should increase as you send out more mail.  Also, listen to your prospects when they call.  

Your prospects said they receive a ton of mail, but ask them why they called you.  If they say that they liked your letter or that you stood out, that's a good sign your mail is working.  If they don't have anything good to say about your letter, then keep that in mind.  Direct mail is all about testing, tracking and refining.  

How do folks find the phone numbers for people? I am a rehabber not a wholesaler and saw an empty house that needed work while driving. I looked up the county tax record and got the owners name and tried to look up the phone number. I found one (unique name same address as listed on tax site) but the number was bad. I'm all about calling folks and making it more personal so I'm excited to figure out how to call.