Direct mail campaigns continue to be one of the most important forms of marketing a real estate investor can implement. If you have a quality list of homeowners that genuinely need your help, you can quickly reach them with a good direct mail campaign. While it can be time consuming and costly, you can also build your pipeline. Your network will grow along with your marketing efforts. Simply knowing your market and sending out a letter is not enough, however. There are a few things you need to know and a few steps you should take to help with your direct mail campaign.
The very first thing you need to know is how much you can spend. It is important to know all of the costs associated with direct mail. In addition to the actual list, you need money for envelopes and stamps. If you are going to outsource the stuffing and addressing, you need money for that as well. It is also important to make sure you have enough money to repeat the process as least three times. Mailing out one letter and waiting for the phone to ring is not going to get the job done. You need to reach out anywhere from three to five times if you want the best chance at success.
In addition to knowing your budget, you also need to know exactly who you are marking to. Are you looking for foreclosure and short sale leads, or absentee landlords? What zip code and location do you want your properties to be in? Do you have an idea of the mortgage balances you are looking for? Before you mail out your first letter, you need to know who you want to reach. The more detailed you are with your list, the more expensive it will be. However, you can also get a better return. The success rates will vary based on how often you mail, but also on the list and market you reach.
It is no secret that the investing market has grown substantially in the past few years. It seems like every time you turn on the TV, there is another home flipping show on the airwaves. Many investors have the same idea, and will target the same set of homeowners. Simply mailing a postcard or a white envelope is not enough. Somewhere in your presentation you need to make your mailing stand out. Some investors will do this with a bright colored envelope, while others will opt for a glossy double sided postcard. There are also many variations as to the contents of the letter inside the envelope. The best way to differentiate yourself from the masses is by providing something of value to the reader. This can be something as small as an eBook on what to do if you are late on your mortgage to understanding your property value. You always want to try to get people to contact you, but there are multiple ways to go about that. You need your letter to stand out from the crowd while building trust with your audience. If you offer something of value, it will get the relationship off to a good start.
Someone who receives your letter may be impressed, but that doesn’t mean they will contact you. That is why it is so important to plan on mailing multiple times. Ideally you will get a few phone calls from your first wave of letters, but the majority won’t come until after you send it a few times. If you get discouraged by a lack of initial response, it may lead you to scrap your plan altogether. This is the worst move you can make. Regardless of how many people contact you, it is important to send a letter to the same address multiple times. You can tweak some minor aspects of the presentation, but you can’t give up. This is the single biggest area where most mailing campaigns are either successful or not. If you are not prepared to commit to the process – regardless of the initial results – your marketing money is probably better spent elsewhere.
It is important for your phone to ring, but the goal is to convert those into deals. This is done by having a plan in place to handle the expected call volume. If you are using your primary phone number, you need to be prepared to answer every call that comes in. You also need to be patient enough to deal with a calls from disturbed homeowners in the hopes that one out of every ten calls translates into a deal. It is a good idea to create a template for what you are going to say or how you are going to approach every new lead. You don’t want to sound like you are reading from a script, but the initial call is to get as much information as possible the first time you talk. If you do not retain this information or turn the first call into a hot lead, you are not going to convert it into a deal.
Direct mail is a great way to generate business, but sending out letters alone does not mean you will get deals. There is success to be had with mailings, but you should have a plan in place and be willing to execute it regardless of the results.
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