There is always a lot of discussion on the BiggerPockets’ forums about direct mail and the specifics of how to make it work for your business. Direct mail campaigns can be a great way to keep your funnel full of leads. It is in fact my number one source of leads.
I have been using direct mail in two different businesses for about 20 years, so I am going to be speaking about my personal experience. My experience has been that if you don’t do long running campaigns, in most instances you are not going to be happy with the results.
There a lot of real estate investors that send out one or two mailings to a particular list, and then go looking for another list to send out a couple more mailings to. All I can say about this is that it is a big waste of money.
So what is the answer? Do I send out two letters and then stop, or do I mail to my list forever? The answer is, “it depends”. It depends on several things one of which is what type of list you are mailing to. In general, you want to set up campaigns that run over time.
Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail campaigns are designed to build awareness of your product or service over time. Most folks don’t buy from a business the first time they come across it. There are a lot of things that go into building brand awareness and consistency is one of them. It’s important that you are consistent, and that you have ongoing direct mail campaigns.
Frequency and Length of Campaigns
Both the frequency with which you mail and the length of the campaign will vary depending on your list. Bear in mind, that you have to have your lists scrubbed at least every 6 months. You will want to get rid of those folks that are no longer candidates for this particular list, and you will want to add in new people.
In general, I mail every 4 – 6 weeks with once a month being my target. At times you will get behind a little bit; life will get in the way. Just make it a priority to get caught up and keep going.
Absentee owners. These folks are one of my favorite niches to market to. I mail to them as long as they remain an absentee owner, and they meet my other criteria. I bought a property from someone I had been mailing to for 3 years. Think about it; 36 stamps, some paper, and a $12K payout.
Probates. I love the niche of probates too. This list should be checked quarterly to see if the property has been sold. Realistically, I don’t usually get mine done more than twice a year. If someone calls to tell me the property has been listed and it’s a property I would like to buy, I always ask if I can keep them on my list just in case “plan A” doesn’t work out. I want to be “plan B”. The most important thing to remember about probates is, often times they don’t even begin to settle the estate for a year or more.
Pre-foreclosures and Foreclosures. These folks are in a situation where the time you mail to them will be dictated by their circumstances.
Whatever niches you choose to work in, you will need a database to keep track of all these contacts. I did a post here on this site about setting up your database. You can find the link to the post here.
A study done by the Sales and Marketing Executives International a few years ago resulted in some impressive statistics. The number of deals derived from direct mail campaigns look something like this:
- After the 1st Contact: 2%
- After the 2nd Contact: 4%
- After the 3rd Contact: 6%
- After the 4th Contact: 10%
- After the 5th Contact: 81%
The study went on to say that 90% of the people gave up after the 3rd contact. If you want to be one of the 10% who stick it out and close 81% of the deals, you must have a system for doing this. Without some type of system, it will never get done.
As you can see, the money is in the long term follow up. You want to be the “last investor standing” when that person is finally a motivated seller.
Image: Cindy Cornett Seigle