If there is one topic that is always on the top of every real estate investor’s mind, it has to be marketing. Without a steady stream of leads we are, quite simply, out of business.
Marketing is also a topic that is debated frequently here on BiggerPockets. One of the major things discussed is, “What is the best mail piece to use in your direct mail campaigns”?
The short answer to that question is, “The one that works.”
How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job
Many investors think that they need to quit their job to get started in real estate. Not true! Many investors successfully build large portfolios over the years while enjoying the stability of their full-time job. If that’s something you are interested in, then this investor’s story of how he built a real estate business while keeping his 9-5 might be helpful.
Different Stokes for Different Folks
When you are setting up your direct mail campaigns everything has to be tailored to that particular niche. To take that thought one step further, there are also other things that play into choosing the perfect mail piece for any specific group of individuals “or your audience” in your direct mail campaign.
Here are a few things to consider:
The socioeconomic status of the recipient will be important. This will have a great deal of bearing on whether or not they will be responsive to a specific mail piece. The particular problem they are having that makes it necessary to sell quickly will also be a determining factor.
A highly educated person will not respond the same way to certain mail pieces that possibly another person with a different background would. No single mail piece will be right for everyone.
This information is in no way meant to be discriminatory. It is meant to make it easier to help specific individuals by understanding what particular marketing strategies they are likely to respond to.
Tailor Your Marketing to the Recipient
There is no, one perfect mail piece or marketing message for everyone. So let’s look at some of the ways to pair mail pieces up with the recipients.
Know Your Audience
Yellow letters might work well for folks in foreclosure in certain types of neighborhoods. Will they work for someone in the same situation in a high end neighborhood? It’s very unlikely.
That particular group of folks in high end neighborhoods will be looking for something different. They want someone to help them that’s able to present themselves as a real business; one that uses a professional mail piece like a white letter. They want a “closer;” someone they can look at and know they have the resources to help them. It’s all about projecting the image your audience needs to see to get the desired result.
Remember that you just need to get in the door.
I hear from folks all the time that say, “But I want them to know I am just a regular guy; not a corporation.” When sending a white letter you can always say something like, “I own a local real estate investment company, and we have been doing business here in this area for 15 years.” You have the opportunity to portray yourself however you want to be viewed. They have to actually open the mail piece and read it though.
I strongly believe that you should only use white letters for probates. I have worked in this niche for a long time, and I hear a lot of comments from folks about receiving yellow letters and postcards. Overwhelmingly folks in probate are upset when they get either one of these mail pieces, so just don’t do it.
I have a friend that uses yellow letters with outstanding results. Her market is very well defined. She only works in inner city neighborhoods. Her letter is like a standard yellow letter in many ways, but she adds some additional text that I think is responsible for her success.
She makes it clear that she is looking for a motivated seller. One of the problems I have always had with yellow letters is that they are just too generic. “I will buy your house, as is, for cash. Call me at 000-000-0000.” There is just no indication most of the time that you are looking for a motivated seller. Personally, I am not in the phone answering business; I am in the problem-solving business so I don’t want to talk to 75 non-motivated sellers. I only want to talk to those folks that have a problem and that may be willing to sell at a deep discount.
If you can tailor your message in a yellow letter to include this type of text and you are sending it to a people that will likely be responsive to your message like she does, then you may have a home run.
Postcards work very well for many niches. Someone that is in the foreclosure process may be embarrassed to receive a postcard offering to “help them out before their home goes into foreclosure.” You want to be careful not to invade their privacy or cause them embarrassment with the message on your postcard. Keep your message very generic and don’t mention the foreclosure or “their problem.”
In general, I have the same results with postcards as with white letters for my absentee owner mailings in my area. This may or may not be true for you in your particular area. Everything needs to be tested.
White letters can be used for most niches. Using a white letter when you can use a postcard will cost you more money, but you have to weigh the results after testing various mail pieces in your area and in your niches.
If you are working in lower socioeconomic areas, they may be put off by a professional looking letter. This is a case where a simple yellow letter with the right text fits the audience better. You will just have to test it to see which one works best.
There are 4 Parts to A Successful Direct Mail Campaign
Successful direct mail campaigns nail each one of these things:
- the list
- the mail piece
- the message
- the mailing/campaign
It’s critical that you have a well- defined list, the correct mail piece, the right message on your mail piece and you set up a campaign or a series of letters. How long you mail to folks will be determined by the particular niche you are working in. Just remember that 85% of your deals will come at the 5th mailing and beyond. Check out these articles for more information on direct mail campaigns.
If you’d like more information on direct mail marketing, please see:
What kind of results are you all getting with these types of marketing campaigns? Let’s discuss in the comments below…