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The Power of Real Estate Direct Mail

By Sharad Mehta
7th Oct, 2022

Did you know that adults in the US receive 560 pieces of junk mail every year? It clogs up mailboxes, becomes litter, and often gets tossed directly into the trash.

Investors tend to earn a large portion of their profits via deals that result from direct mail campaigns, and excess junk mail can get in the way. So what can we do about it? How can investors ensure that their mailers are getting seen and not just thrown in the trash?

It all starts with mastering the basics.

 

What is direct mail?

“Direct mail” is a marketing term that refers to exactly what it sounds like: marketing material sent to someone directly through the mail.

Think about it: you’ve received direct mail, haven’t you?

You’ve been greeted at the mailbox with a postcard from an auto dealership or a seasonal retail catalog. You might use branded magnetic clips to display photos and artwork on your fridge. Have you ever received a promotional calendar from a new bank, grocer, or small business nearby? That’s all direct mail!

 

Why is real estate direct mail so popular?

Advertising professionals, business owners, and investors alike turn to direct mail for their marketing needs because:

  1. It’s affordable.
  2. It’s effective.
  3. It gets results.

Used in various industries worldwide, especially in real estate, sending direct mail to potential customers is an excellent way to reach as many people as possible with as little work as possible; to get the most bang for your buck!

Direct mail is one of the most powerful lead-generating channels in the real estate market; it is easy to send in bulk at a low cost. After importing a list, REsimpli users can send bulk mail to hot leads, cold leads, and cash buyers instead of spending hours making phone calls.

 

Can you track direct mail campaigns?

Direct mail is a measurable marketing channel like social media marketing, SEO, print advertising, or email. If you track performance, you can gauge whether a campaign is successful or not.

After launching a campaign, did you start receiving calls immediately, or did you hear crickets for weeks?

Analyze campaign performance.

Real estate investors use valuable data to identify which campaigns and mail pieces are the most successful. They analyze the number of callbacks received, appointments booked, call durations, offers made, and deals closed to determine if their direct mail marketing campaigns are working.

Invest in your highest performers.

Real-time business KPI trackers, like the one inside REsimpli’s CRM, allow you to see which campaigns are performing well and should be expanded to capture more members of your target audience. Likewise, you can identify and eliminate a poorly performing marketing campaign.

 

How does direct mail work?

As the experts know all too well: real estate investment is a numbers game, and it’s no different when it comes to sending postcards, yellow letters, or other printed mailers.

The more advertising materials you produce, the more bulk mailing materials you have to send to leads, and the higher your chances of hearing back from a motivated seller. Those who diligently send repeat mailers are more likely to get callbacks, book appointments, make offers, and close deals.

 

Why is real estate direct mail so important?

Building a successful real estate investment business requires constantly finding new leads and lots of them. Before making cash offers or closing deals, an investor could mail thousands of leads.

The response rate for direct mail is low, typically between 1-2%, so investors have to market to their prospects efficiently.

If you think that sounds like a lot of work for little payoff, you couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you’re working with the right software.

Breaking down seller responses:

We’re going to walk through a real-world example scenario that could happen to any professional investor in the real estate business:

  • You prepare 5k direct mailers for 5k leads for $2,000 (approximately $0.40 per postcard).
  • You send 5,00o postcards to absentee owners. A few bounce back, but the vast majority are delivered successfully.
  • Out of 5,000 leads contacted, only 1% of property owners responded.
  • You receive a total of 50 callbacks, and the real work begins.
  • Of the 50 property callback leads, you may close a deal on 1-2% of them.

Think about it: Soliciting 5,000 leads may only result in closing one deal, which is why affordable bulk mailing services are vital in real estate investing.

ROI breakdown:

Let’s keep the scenario going and say you connect with an incredibly motivated owner ready to make a deal. You offer $35,000 for the property as-is, anticipating $2,000-$3,000 in repair costs. The excited seller accepts your offer and moves out the next day. You’re ready to get to work on renovations!

Lucky you, the water damage wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked, costing only $700 to repair. You’ve flipped the house much sooner than expected, and an interested buyer comes along. They make a cash offer for $45,000, but their original proposal won’t provide the ROI you seek. After some back and forth, the cash buyer agrees to your asking price of $53,000. Just like that, the deal is done!

Tally your total expenses and note the property’s final sale price.

$2,000 (5k mailers) + $35,000 (cash offer) + $700 (repairs) = $37,700.

  • Marketing investment: $2,000
  • Cash purchase price + repairs: $35,700
  • Sale price: $53,000
  • ROI: $17,300

Your commitment to direct mail real estate investing turned a $2,000 marketing investment into more than $17k in profits!

You could use that money to purchase another property, make office repairs, replace old office equipment, or reinvest it right back into your marketing budget; let earned money earn more.

Are there different types of real estate direct mail?

There are many different mailing styles and formats that you can use to target leads, but successful mailing campaigns all have one thing in common: they are designed with the recipient in mind.

While calendars, magnets, water bottles, and other giveaways are great for tradeshows and lead appointments, mailers should be affordable, easy to send in bulk, and communicate your point in just a few words.

The most popular real estate mailers include:

  • Postcards: Visually stimulating, printed, and only 6″ x 4″, postcards generate leads, build brand awareness, and keep you at the forefront of owners’ minds.Real estate direct mail - postcards
  • Business letters: Arriving in personally addressed envelopes, business letters are excellent for opening doors with business-minded leads, absentee owners, wholesalers, and other motivated sellers.Real estate direct mail - business letters

  • Yellow letters: Often presented on lined yellow paper, similar to a legal pad, yellow letters are handwritten (or appear to be handwritten) letters sent to leads.Yellow letters

The type of direct mail campaign you create will depend on the type of seller you’re targeting. Consider how many pieces of mail you intend to send or have already sent to the seller.

You want to engage a seller, spark their interest, and encourage their trust. Bombarding prospects with could-be-considered “junk mail” is not a great way to build a relationship with the seller based on mutual trust.

Every piece of real estate direct mail should:

  • Target a specific audience
  • Clearly define objectives
  • Include your value proposition.
  • Be repetitive and consistent.
  • Provide the recipient with a clear call to action.

real estate direct mail

What are direct mail marketing campaigns?

A direct mail marketing campaign consists of a series of printed marketing materials sent to a property owner or a list of property owners. Each mailing sequence is designed to elicit a desirable outcome from a targeted list of potentially motivated sellers. Send a rotation of marketing materials in a series designed to move the seller closer to the desired result.

Create different mailing sequences designed to attract new prospects, connect with your target audience, or foster a long-term relationship. Still, the fundamental goal of every campaign is the same: increase the chance of making a deal.

Let’s look at two different seller types, and the types of mailers a real estate investor may send to each:

Example #1: Cold lead generation

If you have a list of properties missing important seller details that skip traces couldn’t locate, you may want to send postcards to each property to learn more. Anticipating that most (if not all) recipients will ignore the first mailer, you send a second postcard (or a letter) with a more intriguing message.

As you continue to send mailers, you’ll build up trust with recipients and pique motivated seller interest, all while identifying recently sold properties, confirming vacancies, and cleaning up your lead list.

Example #2: Hyper-targeted campaigns

Appealing to a long-distance rental property owner would require a different strategy than reaching out to a local owner with an address in your real estate market. Even more specific, marketing to a multifamily property-owning absentee landlord would require a hyper-targeted direct mail campaign.

Appeal to specific types of sellers by structuring your campaign differently, creating a sequence designed to target pain points and motivations that the average homeowner may not experience. For example, handing off problem tenants could be a huge motivator for an absentee landlord. Your direct mail campaign would address that pain point and increasingly highlight your ability to solve the landlord’s problem.

 

How effective is real estate direct mail marketing?

In the United States, Americans receive printed mail six out of seven days a week, and most of us enjoy it. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 56% of Americans consider receiving mail “a pleasure.” We look forward to it. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why direct mail marketing can be such a powerful tool.

Leading response rates

Compared to other marketing channels, direct mail marketing is incredibly effective, both in real estate and other industries.

On average, only 45% of consumers respond to digital media advertisements, but 80% of consumers act on the direct mail marketing they receive. Superior to email, mailers receive consumer responses 37% more than email advertisements.

Higher than average ROI

Direct mail campaigns yield an average ROI of 15-17% across various industries, including tech, marketing, and others. And if you like those numbers, you’re going to love this:

Real estate professionals see more success from direct mailers than other marketing professionals, experiencing an average ROI of 29% or higher.

In the wonderful wide world of real estate investment, direct mail works.

 

Why is real estate direct mail marketing so effective?

Mailers attract attention from prospective clients, build long-term relationships, and close more deals. There are various reasons why direct mail marketing is so successful, but it all boils down to one simple truth: print marketing makes a strong impression on consumers.

Let’s explore a few reasons why:

Customers trust printed ads more.

Printed advertising is the most trusted form, with 80% of Americans finding it the most reliable form of marketing. Furthermore, 76% of consumers trust mailed marketing more than video ads, online popups, unsolicited email, and other digital advertising.

Printed content is easier to consume.

We live in a world constantly bombarded by media advertisements, and many consumers find mail marketing easier to digest, especially younger consumers.

92% of consumers between 18-23 report finding printed advertising easier to consume and understand than digital marketing content. In fact, the response rate to printed media was 37% higher than it was for email marketing.

Think about it: After repeatedly hearing the same 5-second video ad, getting a postcard in the mail starts to sound pretty good.

Doesn’t it?

Consumers prefer tangible advertising.

Printed advertising gives customers something tangible; they can hold it in their hands. In an increasingly digital world, it’s one of the forms of tangible marketing left.

Why is direct mail marketing so successful in the real estate industry?

By holding your real estate postcards or letters, recipients can experience the object, using their senses to engage with your brand. As opposed to digital marketing efforts, tangible mail allows the recipient to create a memory with your brand, name, or business, making it easier to recall later.

And the best part? Tangible printed real estate marketing is a fantastic reminder to homeowners working on your behalf.

A potential customer could set your mailer on their work desk, stick it on the fridge, and completely forget about it, not seeing it again for months. During that time, your lead may have found a new home in the right neighborhood or experienced setbacks making them more inclined to sell.

 

How do you build a property list?

Build a property list by identifying numerous properties that share similar features, have the same owner types, or appear on multiple lists. After building a targeted property list, typically in a spreadsheet, you can quickly send low-cost bulk mailers to prospective clients and leads in your target market.

Identify a target audience for your mailing list, such as:

  • Absentee owners
  • Owners with eviction records
  • Pre foreclosures
  • Inherited properties
  • Tax delinquent owners
  • Distant landlords
  • Probate properties
  • Recently divorced
  • Expired real estate listings

After you build a property list, add it to a property list spreadsheet, or store it in a business management CRM, like REsimpli, for use in future marketing. Once you have multiple property lists, stack your lists to identify duplicate properties and identify which homeowners are most likely to sell: owners who appear on numerous targeted lists.

 

Where do you find properties for your marketing list?

There are many online tools, public resources, apps, and paid professional services that you can use to identify prospective properties, locate homeowners in your target market, and build mailing lists quickly. Some property record resources are free, allowing the public to search records, deeds, and even information on real estate properties currently on the market. In contrast, other record services charge a fee.

Public records:

Free resources, such as public records, are cost-effective prospecting tools that help build detailed lists. Many documents are easy to access online, and many public records are available at your local government office or public information center.

Many offices hold physical copies of public records for a certain length of time before archiving or digitally storing the material. If you cannot locate physical public record information locally, check out NETROnline.com, a property record database.

Driving for Dollars:

“Driving for Dollars” is a common term used in the real estate business that refers to driving around and looking for property leads. You’re literally driving around looking for the dollars you’ll earn later.

You could continue driving around town with a camera and a notepad, snapping photos of prospective leads, quickly scribbling down property notes, trying to commit the details to memory so that you can upload them later, or…

You could work smarter, not harder, with REsimpli.

The comprehensive CRM includes a built-in Driving for Dollars app, streamlining the prospecting process exponentially. You can upload photos, look up property addresses, and add notes to the CRM from your mobile device.

List Brokers:

List brokers are companies that offer property lists for purchase. Instead of spending hours creating a detailed spreadsheet of leads, you can pay a broker to compile the information for you, delivering it in an easy-to-read, organized format. Services like Click2Mail, Melissadata, and ListSource build targeted lists using various property filters. Sort properties by a range of characteristics, such as the year built, year purchased, owner equity %, and more.

Many list-building services charge a monthly subscription fee for access to their database of real estate properties, while others bill at checkout based on the number of properties you’ve selected for purchase.

Choose the right list-building strategy for your business. Look for a service that will provide quality results and reliable data. Import lists into REsimpli’s comprehensive CRM to get your next mailing campaign moving quickly, increasing the potential for a positive outcome.

How often should you send direct mail?

Send mailers consistently, as leads will likely ignore the first piece they receive. The more you send, however, the more likely the homeowner will start to build trust and a relationship with your brand. Effective campaigns are consistent but not overwhelmingly frequent.

We recommend sending mailers to a property list every 1-3 months. You can contact the whole list each month or break the list into chunks, sending mailers to one-third of the list each month, repeating the rotation every three months.

 

What should real estate direct mail say?

There is only one purpose for real estate direct mail: to get the homeowner to call you.

Personalize your real estate marketing.

Mailers should be personalized, including homeowner and property details. In addition to confirming that you’re a real-world real estate professional familiar with the local area, personalized real estate marketing demonstrates that you are committed to success and connecting with new clients.

Keep the message short and simple with a clear CTA, or call to action. After reading a printed piece of your direct mail marketing, the recipient should know exactly what to do next.

Common mail messages may include:

  • “WE BUY HOUSES. Any Condition. Fast Closing.” Call (123) 456-7890
  • “We buy houses. Get a fair cash offer on your property today.” (555) 555-555
  • “I wrote you last month, BUT HAVEN’T HEARD FROM YOU”

I wrote you last month

Include your contact info!

It may surprise you how frequently seasoned pros forget to include their contact information in marketing materials. Provide your name, business name, contact telephone number, or digital key!

With technological advances in marketing, businesses can quickly create a unique QR code that links customers directly to their website or personalized URL. Upload an image of your unique QR code and send it to the REsimpli team. They’ll add the image to your custom marketing content for use in future bulk mailers.

 

When should I stop mailing leads?

Remember, real estate investment is a numbers game. The more you reach out, the better your chance of making seller connections, taking more phone calls, and boosting conversion rates.

Remove a lead from a direct mail campaign if, and only if:

  1. The property sells to another owner.
  2. The owner asks you to stop.
  3. You purchase the property!

Remember, “No thank you” does not equate to “do not disturb.” It may only mean that the seller isn’t ready to sell right now, and if you don’t keep trying, you’ll never know.

follow up mail

Take advantage of powerful drip campaigns.

Drip campaigns operate as a 24/7 employee, helping you buy and sell quickly, even when you’re out of the office. If you’re having little luck contacting an owner via print marketing efforts, consider setting up a drip campaign to keep the lines of communication open. Setting up a direct mail campaign is a cost-effective way to follow up with leads and increase your chances of success, even when you’re at home with your family.

Add mailers to any drip campaign or lead.

To combine a drip and direct mail marketing campaign, simply open the property listing in REsimpli and assign it to a drip campaign. Choose from a pre-made drip sequence, or create a brand new direct mail campaign sequence designed with your target audience in mind.

Powerful drips keep real estate campaigns going, increasing your odds and potential to close a deal in the long run.

 

Bonus tips:

Whether you’re new to the real estate business or just started investing, these print marketing tips from real estate investment professionals and industry experts can help keep you on the path to success:

  1. Determine your direct mail marketing budget.
  2. Identify local markets with potential.
  3. Build a targeted property list.
  4. Choose which type of mailers to send.
  5. Build campaigns with a clear objective in mind.
  6. Split test mailers to see what leads respond to the most.
  7. Every mailer should have a clear CTA.
  8. Print letters or use a printed handwriting service to save time and money.
  9. Regularly review direct mail marketing campaign performance.
  10. Send mailers until the property sells or the owner asks you to stop.

 

What direct mail features does REsimpli offer?

REsimpli is an all-in-one CRM offering a suite of built-in direct mail campaign tools and services, including:

  • Live KPI Dashboard

    Invest more in the most effective campaigns and cut underperforming campaigns.

  • List Stacking

    REsimpli helps you identify leads with the most potential, identify duplicate properties, build highly targeted lists, and keep each property address up to date.

  • Driving for Dollars

    Stop saving lead notes to upload later. Add photos, notes, and property information to the CRM from the built-in mobile app.

  • Built-in Templates

    Choose from 90+ built-in templates and upload your custom mailers for free.

  • Keep lists clean

With free, automated NCOA list-cleaning, REsimpli keeps your property lists clean.

 

REsimpli offers cheaper bulk direct mail services than any of its leading competitors.

With a risk-free trial, unlimited onboarding support, and the ability to cancel anytime, there’s nothing to hold you back from revolutionizing your marketing.