The 3 Must-Do Direct Mailing Campaigns for All Real Estate Investors
As a Real Estate Investor, you need to be marketing all the time for seller and buyer leads. If you are not doing direct mail, you are missing out on some really good opportunities. Direct mail is a very effective marketing source and can be cheaper, easier and more efficient than you may think.
The most important part of a direct mail campaign is determining the types of people to mail. The following are three “must-do” mailing campaigns and how to target potential sellers.
- Probate and estate mailings– When a seller dies and the property goes through the estate to their heirs or to an estate manager, they are very motivated to sell the property. Sometimes it is sold on the open market, but most of the time the property needs a substantial amount of work. Perhaps it was a grandmother’s home that hasn’t been renovated since the 1950s and hasn’t been touched since. Most of the houses are similar to that and they need work. An investor can come in, perform some quick upgrades, and sell it on the open market for profit. Normally, the seller wants out of the property because the estate doesn’t know what to do with it, often times the heirs live out of state, and they are extremely motivated to sell.
- Absentee owners — is someone who owns a property they do not live in (the best scenario is when they live out of state.) The property could be in Maryland, but the owner lives in Texas. They may not be 100 percent motivated at this time, but you won’t know until you mail to them. That being said, they are not local and typically do not have the resources to sell the property themselves. Often times they want to sell right to an investor. When developing your criteria, you want to make sure that the property was purchased prior to 2003 and don’t live in it. You don’t want a recent purchase because there is probably not a lot of equity in it if they just purchased the property.
- Targeted neighborhoods — I’m always surprised that people don’t mail to areas they know well (perhaps their neighborhood) or areas around where they just purchased or sold a property. In the mailing, you can say that you purchased or sold a property in the area and that you’re an expert. When a seller calls you and seems motivated, since you know the area, you can talk to them wisely about it. An advantage of this is that people like doing business with people who are already familiar with an area. If you bought a neighbor’s house, this makes it more likely that they’re willing to sell you their house.
A few key tips related to direct mail:
Stay consistent with the mailing. Send them out monthly, again and again. Don’t send a mailer just once. It won’t do you any good. We usually mail to a targeted list for 12 months.
Have a call to action. What do you want them to do? Do you want them to call you or send you an email or go to your website and get a free report? The most effective way is for them to pick up the phone and call you. They are the most motivated.
Alternate between letters and postcards. We typically mail a letter out the first two months and then a postcard after that. It’s less expensive and right in their face. We change the text, colors, call to action and other aspects of the piece.
The best way to set up mailing campaigns is through a company called Click2Mail.com, which is a full-service provider. It only costs about 60 cents for a letter and 40 cents for a postcard. They will produce, stamp and mail the piece. All you are doing is uploading the flier or letter to their website. Each campaign should take you about one hour the first time using their automated process. After that, it is quick and easy to duplicate the mail piece (a few minutes per month).
Where to get lists:
There are a few different ways to get your lists. At a minimum, you can go to listsearch.com and search for your criteria. They are fairly inexpensive, somewhere around a few pennies per record. Another way is to reach out to a local REIA group. There are usually people there who sell lists for all of these target groups. The best way to develop lists, if you have the resources and know how to pull them yourself, is to go a site like elance.com or guru.com or freelancer.com and find a virtual assistant to actually pull the lists for you regularly and enter them into an Excel spreadsheet. The lists are public record so all that matters is how much time or money you want to put into it. We just pay for ours since there are pretty cheap and immediately available.
As you can see, the technology available today allows for more targeted and automated direct mailing than ever before, providing you with a steady supply of leads. This is why direct mailing is a must.