Insider Secrets to Using Direct Mail to Grow Your Real Estate Investing Business (Part 3 of 4)

In part 1, we went over some stats/data on why direct mail still makes sense from an ROI and results-getting standpoint.  Then in part 2, we covered WHO you should be mailing to and why.

This week, in part 3, we’ll be going over the various types of direct mail.  In other words, WHAT should you be mailing …

Yellow Letters

Yellows letters are exactly what they sound like – letters written on yellow legal pad paper, usually handwritten, and made to look very personal.

Just like someone sat down, whipped out a pen, and quickly jotted down a short note on a yellow legal pad, written directly for a specific person.

Kinda looks like something your grandmother or a good friend might send you.

And to top off the whole personalized, ‘under the radar’ approach, the most effective way to send this yellow letter is in an invitation-sized envelope, with the addressee and return address looking hand-written, and with a live stamp attached.

Of all the types of direct mail you can send out, I’ve found this method to be one of the most effective in generating high response rates.

That’s the upside.

The down side?  Same.  High response rates.

Yes you can get great response.  But many people will call you simply out of curiosity.

But for me, that’s a worthwhile trade-off.   Yes, you have more leads to sift and sort through, including the not-so-serious sellers, but motivated sellers with specific reasons and a ‘need’ to sell are calling you as well.

You can handwrite them yourself, hire someone to do it for you, or just have a full-service mailing house handle the whole A-Z process for you.

It really depends on your budget.  But I really think your goal should be to eventually get this process as push-button and automated as soon as possible.

Do what you gotta do to get going.  But always remember: The big profits are made from marketing, negotiating, and putting deals together … not from doing time-consuming and tedious manual labor that you can easily hire others to do for you.

Postcards

Even though you can typically get better response rates by mailing letters, postcards can be a more cost-effective way to reach more people in your target market, as they’re cheaper to both produce and mail.

Mailing a postcard 1st class costs $.34 cents these days, so total cost will be $.40 - $.50 cents to send out if you do it yourself … and probably between $.40 - $1.00 if you hire a mailing service to tackle the whole process for you.

Again, response rates are typically lower with postcards, but then again … I’ve also gotten response rates as high as 8-10% in certain markets – with postcards.

So it really just depends on your specific market.  And the only way you can tell which works best is to test, test, test.

Typed Letters

An ugly, casual-looking yellow letter that looks like a 5th grader wrote it may not be the most effective approach for all target markets.

Like maybe probate leads.

A family who’s just had a loved one pass away may not be too keen on receiving a bright, hand-written yellow letter with an offer to buy their just-inherited house (although I do think a yellow letter approach can work … as long as you inject it with some genuine sympathy).

With this market … maybe a more professional-looking, typed letter, with company logo, and even a picture of yourself might be a more effective approach.

TIP: A 3 to 5 step sequence of letters, 1-2 pages each in length, spread 7-14 days apart (20-30 days apart for probate leads) can be one of the most effective lead campaigns for you to implement.  The key word here?  SEQUENCE.

Forget one-shot mailings … one of the ultimate secrets in direct marketing is the power of the sequence.
When I kicked off my real estate investing career many years ago, one of my primary marketing campaigns was mailing a series of 3 yellow postcards to NOD’s (Notices of Default), spread 10-14 days apart, with each subsequent mailing making reference to the previous one.

It worked really well, and it’s how my partner and I found most of our deals at the time, primarily because we were diligent about following through … and staying CONSISTENT.

ANOTHER TIP: I mentioned earlier that I’ve gotten response rates as high as 8-10% with postcards.  The postcard I sent out looked like someone slapped it in a typewriter (with courier font and all), banged out a message, and sent it off.

The addressee was typed as well and so was the return address.  The color of the postcard was beige.

Why did it work so well?  Who the heck knows!

Again, only TESTING can tell you what works best in your own market.

[COMING UP IN PART 4 – Content is king … what to say in your pieces … and how to say it]