Direct mail marketing is one of the most effective ways for those of us in real estate investing to score the best property deals.
Even though it seems antiquated to send a postcard or letter through the mail, tons of research proves that this marketing technique is very impactful. In fact, direct mail marketing still beats digital marketing (social media, email, websites, paid search, etc.) when it comes to getting the best response rates. And don’t take my word for it; be sure to check out the 2018 Data Marketing & Analytics (DMA) Response Rate Report on direct mail marketing (or, just take my word for it—and save some valuable time).
So, keeping that in mind, I want to talk about marketing with partners. And what I mean by that is… if you are sending out direct mail, there’s a way you can do it for free by working with a Realtor.
Now, as I mentioned, direct mail marketing is a strategy I wholeheartedly believe in. And that’s because it’s an extremely cost-effective way to get BIG results.
But, you can’t approach this marketing technique without having a specific strategy in mind. Remember that it’s best to mail out postcards or letters to a multi-layered list of potential sellers who have various levels of motivation.
I would highly recommend using Accelerated Investor Office (naturally). But seriously, it has tons of up-to-date lists of absentee owners, cash buyers, free and clear owners, and more. Using this technology, you can easily narrow down your properties—based on who owns them, their location, and their characteristics (# of beds/baths, year built, square footage, single-family or multi-unit, etc).
So, this is a great method for really narrowing down your direct mail list, especially if you have a shoestring budget and need to focus on the best leads possible. Instead of having a vague list of 16,000 records, you can zero in on about 400-500 records that best match what you’re looking for.
Then, say the postcard costs $1 each to print and mail. You’d only be spending $500 to send out these pieces to potential sellers/properties that you’re targeting. In the grand scheme of things, that’s super cheap.
AI Office also lets you choose each postcard in your campaign, and you can select the postage (I highly recommend choosing first-class mailing, so you can track when the postcards are delivered).
Once you’re ready to begin planning your direct mail campaign, you’ll need to determine the cost.
Pinching Pennies: Offsetting the Cost of Direct Mail
So, how can you cover the cost of direct mail marketing campaigns? Well, you could…
- Joint venture with another real estate investor and split the costs 50/50
- Sell your unwanted junk
- Cut out unnecessary expenses in your life (Netflix, Starbucks coffee, eating out)
- Do some odd jobs for others
- Take some overtime at your full-time job
But, let’s be real… who wants to do any of that? (I mean, for some of us, Starbucks is life.)
Instead, you could just partner with a Realtor. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:
- Send a direct mail marketing campaign with both of your names/business information
- Split the cost with the Realtor
- The Realtor can go look at the property and put it under contract for you
- The Realtor gets the house at your price, and you can wholesale to them (in other words, you pay them a commission after closing)
- The Realtor turns the other properties into listings for themselves
Really, it’s a win-win for both of you. Think about it: Realtors always want a steady stream of deals for themselves—retail and/or wholesale. If you work with them, this becomes a reality for both of you.
Other Direct Mail Tips & Pointers
Now, partnering with a Realtor on a direct mail piece is fairly straightforward, but I didn’t want to leave you without giving a few more helpful tips on how to use direct mail marketing as effectively as possible….
- Returned Mail: If a letter or postcard is returned to you, don’t throw it away! It could mean that the property is vacant, the owner is deceased, or you had the incorrect address. Instead, look up the owner’s name on the tax assessor’s (or county auditor’s) website in your area and give the owner a call. Or—better yet—if you have the financial resources, use an assistant to follow up with your returned mail.
- Determining Duplicates: You can also double check, in AI Office, to see if there are people and/or companies who own multiple properties or units. If you see duplicated names like this, obviously you only want to send them ONE letter or postcard. Don’t send 18 postcards to their 18 different properties… that’s just dumb. So, this is another way to save money but still get good results from your mailing campaign.
- Keeping Spares on Hand: I would recommend keeping a stack of postcards in your car that are specifically for vacant properties; then you can hand these out to people or leave them at properties that appear to be vacant. Make sure you leave a blank space where you can hand write in the property’s unique address. It also gives the piece a nice personal touch if you sign your name and hand write your phone number on the postcard.
And there you have it—an inexpensive (or free) method for sending your direct mail, plus some extra tidbits to help you get started.
Remember, it takes a little time upfront to narrow down your mailing lists and determine the most effective messaging for your direct mail pieces. But, once you have a system down, you’ll start finding some amazing property deals that are perfect fits for your business goals.