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How To Complete A Direct Mail Campaign (In Less Than 30 Minutes)

direct mail campaignOver the past 6 years, direct mail marketing has been one of the most successful methods that I’ve relied on to find motivated sellers. It has yielded a consistently solid response rate, which has resulted in my ability to generate more leads, close more deals and make more money (both in good times and in bad).

This is all good and fine – but there are a lot of real estate professionals who have heard this story over and over again and have never actually done a direct mail campaign. To a lot of new investors, the whole concept sounds overwhelming, intimidating and risky.

I’ll be honest – a direct mail campaign can certainly be all three of these things IF you don’t know what you’re doing, but with a little bit of direction – I think you’ll see that it doesn’t need to be difficult. You and I are actually very lucky, because we live in a time and place where there are several ways to execute a direct mail campaign. Some methods require a lot of hands-on work and others only require a few minutes of your time to complete.

In the 3 videos below, I’m going to dive in and show you one of the easiest ways I know of to handle a direct mail campaign. You might be surprised to see that the process of pulling your list, organizing it and sending your mail is really quite simple.

Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Pulling Your List

AgentPro247 is an online service (the most inexpensive one I know of) that allows you to pull detailed & targeted lists for your direct mail campaigns. It’s geared specifically towards real estate professionals and it will give you access to a goldmine of information.

Step 2: Organizing Your List

After you download your raw list from AgentPro247, you’ll have to do a bit of refining and editing so that your list can be outsourced and mailed to your recipients. This “sorting” process primarily consists of deleting and rearranging certain rows and columns and eliminating any redundancies that appear throughout the list. The goal is to end up with a list that is highly-concentrated with ONLY the people you want to do business with.

When your list is complete, you should have 5 – 6 columns, separated into the following sets of data:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Unit #
  • City
  • State
  • Zip

All of this information lives inside of the spreadsheet you downloaded from AgentPro247, so it’s just a matter of deleting the data that isn’t needed. Here’s how I do it:

Step 3: Sending Your Mail

Direct mail isn’t nearly as difficult and complicated as it used to be. The service I use is called Click2Mail and it provides a ridiculously valuable service that allows you to upload your list, upload your letter template and submit your order for processing in matter of minutes.

Click2Mail will print, stamp, and mail ALL of your direct mail pieces directly from their facilities around the United States and you won’t need to touch a single piece of paper during this process. Instead of wasting hours of your precious time licking stamps and stuffing envelopes, Click2Mail will handle the entire job for less than it would cost you to do it in-house. Here’s a quick walk-through on how to place your first order:

If you haven’t used Click2Mail yet, PLEASE stop punishing yourself.

It’s faster. It’s cheaper. It’s easier. Seriously – this is a no-brainer!

Important Considerations

All said – the success (or failure) of your direct mail campaign will be highly contingent on a couple of things:

The Currency and Accuracy of Your Data

One unfortunate aspect of any “list pulling service” like AgentPro247 is that the property data they make available is only as good as the sources they pull it from. Most of this information is pulled from each county’s public records…   and some counties do a terrible job of keeping their public records up-to-date. As a result, AgentPro247 (or whichever data service you’re using) won’t be able to do much better.

It’s not a common problem, but whenever I encounter it, it always seems to happen in counties that are extremely rural (probably because these counties have less tax revenue available to spend on a good, current public records database). This creates a problem for direct mail marketers because when these databases aren’t current or accurate, the lists we pull will be of similar poor quality, which will ultimately result in a much lower response rate (because without the right information, the right people aren’t going to be reached).

With this in mind – whenever you’re marketing to a new county for the first time, I’d suggest doing a test campaign (of say, 100 mailers) just to see what kind of response rate you get. If you find that your response rate is less-than-desirable in this initial testing stage, you’ll be able to determine any necessary changes BEFORE you blast out thousands of mailers using insufficient data.

Your List-Filtering Criteria

Another problem that plagues some direct mail markers is their inability to sort and narrow down their lists BEFORE they send their mail. Per the instructions in Step 2 (above), there are several things that need to be done to refine a list (and it all depends on what kind of recipients you’re targeting). Here are some examples I almost always try to abide by:

  • Delete any/all owner-occupied properties
  • Specify the property type you’re looking for (and delete everything else)
  • Determine the market value of the properties you’re looking for (and delete everything else)
  • Determine which zip codes you’re looking to buy in (and delete everything else)
  • Eliminate any/all duplicate recipients on your list (e.g. – if someone owns 10 properties, you don’t need to send them 10 postcards)
  • If a recipient is missing any address data, delete it

Again – these are some of the ways I filter my lists, but depending on the types of properties you’re looking to buy, there could be several other filtering criteria that you’ll want to use. The general idea is to remove as many of the “unwanted” recipients as possible, because if you’re blasting out mail to just anybody – a lot of your recipients won’t be in a position where they need to sell now. This means a lot of them won’t call you (and the ones who do call, won’t be motivated to sell – which will make the rest of your process much more difficult than it needs to be).

Whether you’re pulling lists from AgentPro247 or some other list service, make sure you’re working with the right data and that filtering it correctly. Your ability to target the right recipients will have everything to do with the subsequent success of your direct mail campaign.

About Seth Williams

Seth Williams (@retipsterseth , G+) is an experienced land investor, commercial real estate banker and residential income property owner. He is also Founder of the REtipster Blog - a real estate information hub offering real world guidance for part time real estate investors.

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