Oftentimes I am asked which marketing tool I prefer to generate leads: yellow letters or postcards. Before I break down both of these tools, I just wanted to clear the air: Real estate is a hyper-local industry. What works best for me may not be best for you. Your results will likely vary based on several factors, such as price point, neighborhoods, city, zip code, lead type, etc. So please keep the pitchforks down.
Yellow letters get the best response rate, hands down, no questions asked. If you want your phone to ring immediately, then this may be the tool for you. However, many of the leads you receive will not be as motivated to sell at a discount — or even list their property for retail if you are both an agent and investor. Be forewarned that these leads are notorious for generating hateful calls. I have had people threaten to file a lawsuit, I’ve been cussed out, and I’ve even had people accuse me of stalking them. The reason these generate such a high response rate is simple. The letters appear authentic and handmade if done correctly. Paired with an envelope that people must open, it really gets their attention compared to postcards, which are often sorted into the trash.
The higher response rate may work to your benefit, especially if you are an agent and/or have a wide array of exit strategies available to you. Assuming it’s a decent lead, sellers always appreciate options. Sometimes the numbers won’t work for a flip for what their asking, but the deal might work if you take over their payments. Or maybe the house is ready to list on the MLS. In my local markets, I have not found this to be the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this strategy works better in other markets.
From years of split tests sending yellow letters to the same lead lists as postcards, I have found that not only do postcards tend to outperform yellow letters in the long run, but the amount of tire kickers you have to deal with is substantially lower using this method. And that is a great benefit for me: Like many of you, I am very busy, and after doing this for several years, it gets exhausting getting call after call with absolutely zero potential.
One thing I would like to caution about regarding yellow letters: Please do not send these to probate leads. It will come across as very offensive, and you will not get any leads that way. Instead, I would recommend for this specific lead type to stick to postcards or a generic white letter.
Although the response is lower with postcards, they do some of the filtering up front for you. People will not generally call you off a postcard unless they are looking for more information. So the leads you tend to get are in my experience much more serious and willing to sell overall. I don’t try to hide my message to get calls. I state outright that we are looking to buy houses at a discount, with cash, no repairs needed. And if you get that message in front of the right people, they will call you. Don’t be afraid to hide your message, whatever it may be, whatever marketing tool you choose.
People seem to measure success of their marketing efforts by the sum total of phone calls they generate. I don’t care about that. I would rather get seven calls a month and close four deals than try to handle a larger volume produced by other marketing pieces where most of the leads turn into dead ends or are just tire kickers.
Another benefit with postcards that I don’t see touched on very often is the cost per mailer. Postcards are substantially cheaper than yellow letters and allow you to cast a wider net with your marketing budget. Because of this, you can also hit the same prospects a great number of times over the same period of time if you choose to since they are cheaper. In my business I notice conversion rate goes up drastically between the fourth and fifth contact. It’s a numbers game, and you need to stick the course to build your lead pipeline. If your marketing budget is limited, then postcards might be a great choice.
Build a Solid List
Of course, none of this matters if you don’t have a solid lead list to build from. You will pull your hair out in frustration if you don’t take the time to do it properly. So please ensure you take the time to build a solid list with highly targeted leads, whatever your exit strategy may be.
What marketing tool do your prefer in your real estate business? Have you seen better results with yellow letters or postcards?
Let’s talk in the comments section below!