Should I Be Using Direct Mail to Generate Leads For My Real Estate Business?

There have been some recent interviews swirling around out there in cyber real estate land about direct mail and how a handful of investors use it within their own businesses. I took the time to listed to each interview this weekend just to hear what other investors are doing, but hearing what these other investors had to say has motivated me to write this not so short article. Although the interviews were relatively informative and did give some insight into other investors businesses, I wanted to go a little deeper into how I personaly use direct mail.

Within my own House Buying business ( we are constantly trying to figure out new, inovative and less costly ways to generate quality leads on a consistant basis. We are constantly running and testing a number of different marketing campaigns so that our lead flow & quality is always increasing….or at least that is the hope anyway. By doing this it allows my marketing funnel to consistantly be filled with deals….most of which we will eventually rehab and the rest will wholesale to other investors that I work with in my market. Even though we are constantly trying new marketing ideas to increase our deal flow and improve the business’s profitability, there is one marketing strategy that is the pillar of my business and creates deals month in and month out pretty much on autopilot…..and that marketing strategy is direct mail.

Learning how to use direct mail to generate motivated seller leads for your real estate business is definately not an easy task… least not at first anyway. When I first started using direct mail I was initially very excited about the possibilities and then soon thereafter very dissapointed about my response rate and the costs associated with it. I really thought all I had to do was buy a list and put a marketing piece in the mail and I would have motivated sellers blowing up my phone…..turns out there is a lot more to it than that. However once you do figure out how to use direct mail correclty as a real estate investor you really do hold the key to your financial future, and you can pretty much work as much or as little as you want. Here is a short list of the important things you MUST get right in order to master direct mail marketing in your business:

1. Who should you be marketing? – There are a number of options out there when it comes to who you should be marketing to….I personally mail the following: different types of leads: Probates, Absentee Owners, High Equity, 30-60-90 day lates, FSBO’s, Landlords, Expired Listings and Driving for Dollar prospects. Now this may seem like a lot of different lists if you currently don’t utilize any direct mail in your business, but this took a lot of time to build up to. When I started the only list I would mail is probates, and then as my business grew so did the number of lists that we market on a regular basis. The key is to master one lead source at a time and then put the mailings on autopilot and move onto the next list and campaign. I personally think starting with a list of probate leads is the best way to see results the quickest, the only problem is finding a way to source probate leads for your area. If that is not an easy task in your area I would then start with non-owner occupied leads in a part of town that you would want to start buying in.

2. Where can I get the list? – For my business we actually get most of our lists from different sources, so there is no magic answer to this questions. We are however able to to purchase an inheritted property list and the 30-60-90 day late list from an actual list selling providing company. As for getting the other lists….there is one slick trick and that is to get a membership to a real quest or REI source so that you can pull your own lists for absentee owners and high equity property owners. If you have your own membership it makes it really easy to pinpoint these types of leads by actual neighborhoods, so that almostevery lead is a good lead. Also if you have a good relationship in place with a title company they may be able to give you access to their data system FOR FREE, which is often times Real Quest or REI Source. This will make getting your list of prospects easy and cheap which is always nice.

3. What should I be sending them? – This is really the million dollar questions because if you send the wrong marketing peice to any given list your response rate could be non-existant, which means no deals! We personally send a combination of printed letters, yellow letters and postcards. We will use post cards to larger lists that are not as targeted or motivated (like landlords), but we will send actually letters to just about everyone else. We then have a drip marketing system for each list where we will send them a combination of yellow and printed letters until we hear from them. Sending letters is definately more time consuming than sending postcards using, but you will generally get a higher response rate for your efforts. In my business I have a full time marketing manager and some intern helpers that print and stuff envelopes, so it just makes sense for me to send more letters than post cards most of the time.

4. How often should I be mailing each lead? – They say the money is in the follow up….and whoever they are…are correct. We have a system in place for each list where we send them a combination of yellow and printed letters pretty much until we hear from them. Those lists that may be more motivated such as probate will be mailed more often or closer together (every 2-3 weeks) so that we up our chances of hearing from them when they are finally ready to sell. Other less motivated lists like absentee owners will be mailed every 5-6 weeks until we hear from them. The key here is to make sure that you continue to mail your lists even if you dont hear from them on your first go around. Some of your best deals will come from people who finally call after getting a small pile of mail from you….this is because you will likely not have much competition to buy the property.

There seems to be a lot more real estate investors getting back into the market these days, which is great if wholesaling is part of your business model. So to really set yourself apart from all of this new competition (or old investors getting back into the market) all you need to do is master the technique of using direct mail. If you can do this you will not only have more than enough deals to rehab and re-sell, but you will also be able to make a fortune wholesaling properties to other rehabbers & landlords who dont understant or dont have the time to successfully impliment a direct mail lead generation system into their own business. So to answer the question the title of this article asks….yes you should absolutely be using direct mail in your REI business. Just make sure that you educate yourself as much possible before you start and continue to educate yourself along the way. The more you learn the more you will earn with direct mail marketing……

I hope that you found this article educational and helpful to your Real Estate Business…..we try to write articles about topics that can actually put more money in your pocket after using the guidence that we try to provide. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Marketing For Millions Program that we will be releasing early next year. In it we will give you step by step instructions on how to build your own direct mail machine, along with providing you with all of the proven and tested marketing material that gets deal for each type of list! The course will go through in detail our direct mail money making machine and show you how to re-create it for your business….this will truely be a game changer for those real estate investors who are ready to take actions and become the top dawg in their market!

In the mean time if you have any other questions about how to affectively use direct mail post your question in the comment sections or on our facebook wall and we will do our best to answer it in a timely manner!

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