Welcome Back to the Discount Property Investor Podcast Episode 15! Thank you for sharing some time with us today. Today the hosts discuss Direct mail marketing. Should you send direct mail if you want to start wholesaling? If so why? Visit www.YellowLetterHQ.com for the best deals on direct mail.
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David: Hey guys, welcome to back to the Discount Property Investor podcast, this is episode 15. I am your host David Dodge with co-host Mike Slane; we always encourage our listeners to check out the Discount Property Investor podcast, as well as the freewholesalecourse.com. Tons of information on there to help you guys get started wholesaling today. So today’s topic we are going to be talking about direct mail. Direct mail is one of the most important parts of this business, and probably the best way to get leads, at least in our market.
David: St Louis Missouri here.
Mike: So you’re kind of starting out and you are like, should I send direct mail? It’s kind of expensive, is that something I really want to do? Seems like everyone else is doing it — well the answer to that question is absolutely.
Mike: There is – Dave do you want to show? We have a stack of direct mail from investors in St Louis, just this — was it the past 12 months?
David: We have probably — 30 — letters here and maybe 25, 30 postcards. So this is just a sack I have so the listeners here are not going to be able to see this. But whenever I get direct mail from somebody else in the market place, I always save it, I am actively investing, I’m actively buying and selling a lot of houses, but I also have — a decent number of rentals, so I get a lot of people marketing and mailing to me for a rental property that I have.
Mike: Right. So again, it is kind of nice, Dave can look through them and see what everybody else is doing as well as — it’s a kind of a reminder that there are other people out there doing this business and — they are sending direct mail, it’s important.
Mike: It is a staple I’d say of the business so — yeah I mean there is competition, I mean, you can’t pretend like there isn’t competition but it shouldn’t slow you down either. You shouldn’t — look at that as necessarily an issue for you. It’s just what’s going on.
David: Competition is also a good thing to because — if they are sending mail then you know it works. If they are doing t, you should be doing it to.
David: Let’s talk about why. Why would we want to send direct mail?
Mike: Sure. I mean the short answer is that we need leads. I mean — if you are not sending direct mail, how are you getting your leads? So — this is probably one of the easiest ways to get started — because of all the different variables you kind of select and screen out, just a super easy way to generate leads.
David: Absolutely. Whenever we do our mail, we change our mail pieces up as well. So we are not really consistently sending the same piece of mail, we change it up. We definitely would suggest you get out there and just get some mail out. So let’s talk about — the steps that you would need to take in order to start your first mail campaign — if you haven’t already started a mail campaign.
Mike: Sure. So I guess the first thing is — who you are going to send it to. You kind have to find that Dave is that fair?
David: I would absolutely agree with that. You have to define it.
Mike: Yeah and I think the reason to elaborate I would say is — yes there — in St Louis, I don’t know how many millions of people; you can’t send it to everyone.
David: This isn’t even that big a market.
Mike: Right, so there is a need to define your target market. So again, it’s the who you are going to send to. Some criteria, what criteria would we use in selecting who we are going to send to?
David: Absolutely, so typically whenever we are going to go out and find yourself a list — because that would be the first step would be to target who you are going to send to. So we usually will define — areas that are buyers — are actively looking for properties. So as wholesalers we aren’t going out and buying properties for ourselves. Our end game is to buy these properties and sell them to our cash buyers, to make that win.
Mike: That’s a great point. I mean you really are shopping for someone else; you are placing orders for someone else.
David: Yeah exactly. I love that, you are placing orders for someone else. I am going to repeat so — what we do is we figure out where our cash buyers are looking for properties, then we will target those zip codes, those little cities or even those counties — from there we will define the property type. At this point we have determined, hey we want to market in this part of town, and then we are going to determine what the property type is. Are we looking for single families, are we looking for multi’s at this point in time in our marketing campaign? Are we looking for houses that are two bedroom maybe three bedroom? Are we looking for houses that are three plus bedroom? So depending on the zip code, the county and the area, we may have different criteria — for different parts of town. Bed and bath is definitely something we want to target, then price. Are we looking for something at the medium price range? Are we looking for properties that are below the medium price range? So on and so forth, that may change depending on the area of town that we are marketing.
Mike: Absolutely, so I guess the — next thing is, we just talked about the area and the type of property that we are looking for. So the next question is, where do we get these lists? There are huge list vendors out there, lists just nationwide and a couple of them we have used in the past are list sourced, list ability and USleadlist. All those basically you can find online, we will have links to them in the show notes — places you can go out and get the list. There are tons of criteria that you can actually limit or define your — list.
David: These sites are great to because you can add and remove your criteria at any point in time. So you might start with — 20,000 people on your list and as you start narrowing them down, like let’s say that you are only looking for three beds. Well that is going to take the list from 20 grand down to 3000 let’s say. Then let’s say your buyers don’t want one bath homes, they want two bathrooms, so you add two plus bath into the criteria and it will take you down again. You can get these lists down to — a few hundred people, in some cases less than a hundred. You can target very specifically with these lists. So we want to caution you to — play around with these before you go ahead and buy — because you don’t want to be too specific — but at the same time you don’t just want to be shotgun mailing out your entire city.
David: Gets expensive
Mike: You don’t want to spend a whole bunch just mailing everybody in the city.
Mike: Especially for your first few campaigns. So the next thing I would talk about is — when are you going to send these mail pieces? Dave, do you want to answer that question?
David: Yes, so I mean — my best piece of advice would be yesterday. Get them out immediately, don’t delay — if you want to start doing deals and making money and creating these win wins — helping people out then you need to get this mail out, so — don’t over think it you know? I do caution you to spend a little bit of time on these sites like listsourced or listability, figuring out exactly where you want to mail — but I don’t mean spend half a day. Maybe spend 30 or 40 minutes just playing with the site — figuring out exactly what you want. And then once you have your list — get it out, start mailing — if you don’t have a ton of funds then handwrite them. We have talked about that in several of our previous episodes. If you have a little bit of a marketing budget, which we definitely encourage — the bigger the marketing budget the better. You can reach more people — there is tons of third party sites out there as well that you can use to help fulfil these.
Mike: Yeah, we have a great one that we use. We have got a link in the show notes to yellow letter headquarters. That is our preferred mailer, I think it is 55 cents or so — I can’t quote the prices because sometimes they do change. But it is very, very inexpensive, one of the lowest per cost for the letters in full colour if you want it. One of the lowest costs on the postcards we have found. So check out the show notes — for yellow letter HQ — and yeah definitely I would recommend you using them, but again it depends where your budgets at. The other thing on the win Dave, that I like to focus on is — the follow up to. We mentioned that there are other people mailing and that’s true. So one of the ways that you stand out — let’s get into the design of the letters or — design of the mail piece after this. One of the ways you stand out is you send the mail piece again. You can’t just mail one and done. They might not be ready to sell today — they may throw your letter away. But, three months from now if you mail them again, they might be ready to sell and they might call you.
David: That’s a really great point Mike, because it all comes down to — the level of motivation that the seller has when they receive your postcard or letter. They might not be motivated today, maybe they have a divorce or death in the family, a week or two or three later, after they get that post care — well they already threw that away. So they are not going to remember that number, so we always recommend mailing at least three times, ideally you want to mail five, size, seven times. Again, it can get expensive if you are mailing to a lot of people — and you are constantly buying new lists. But the mail point of what Mike is getting at here, don’t be one and done.
Mike: Three to six times probably is a target. You buy a list that would be my goal to mail it three to six times. I think that is going to get the best bank for your buck on that list purchase. The — next thing then, so let’s talk about the mailing Dave, I know we were chatting earlier about — a seminar that we had went to and it was pretty much exclusively on — direct mail.
David: It was a two day weekend event, it was a long event.
Mike: Almost the whole thing was talking about direct mail, and what works with the direct mail — what doesn’t work and — what would you say the biggest take away was?
David: Man, the biggest takeaway was that there really is no magic bullet to direct mail. Here is the thing; we spend two days with an expert — that does millions of dollars in direct mail all over the country. They talked about this post card versus that postcard — and this verbiage versus that verbiage and these colours versus those colours.
Mike: Fonts and — text size.
David: It went on and on and on. I wanted to jump off the roof at this seminar. But, I learned a lot, but at the end I realised that — you may only one get a 1 or a 1.5% better response rate by using this particular colour over that or — this versus that. The most important thing is just to do it. Do something —
Mike: My main takeaway was — don’t over think it, just send. It gets — it’s difficult when you just really trying to find tune it so much, just send the letters.
David: They were talking about having water marks in the background and having grammar errors and spelling errors because it makes you look more like a human —
Mike: The paper quality —
David: So many things, there was 40 different things that went onto it and we tried to implement some of those when we got back. But we didn’t really notice a huge spike in leads from sending out a couple of files in postcards or — a thousand or so letters from what we did prior when we were just sending them on yellow letters. Not much different so — main point is there, don’t overthink it guys, and keep it simple. You just want to get a letter out ok. Now that we have kind of discussed when to send, we want to focus on what to send. So again, lets kind of recap before we talk about the what. You want to find your list of who you are going to mail to, and by doing that you can go to a place like listsource or listability — you want to definitely have a good target criteria. So you want to be able to narrow it down on those sites the city, the county, the zip code — etc. of — who you are going to be mailing to. Then you want to also define what type of property. Are you going to be mailing to absentee owners, are you going to be mailing to people who have recently had a divorce, or pre foreclosure, or probate? There are tons of different ways that you can define that. Then you want to define the property itself. Are you looking for single family or are you looking for multi? Are you looking for slabs, or homes with a basement? Do you need to buy homes with two or three bedrooms? So on and so forth, so you can narrow all that stuff down. So when you figure out who you are mailing to, and you have bought yourself a list, and you have decided that you are ready to send today, then you put together maybe a follow up frequency. Saying you are going to mail that list five times and you are going to mail it every 6-8 weeks — so you have got yourself a plan. I am always harping on about having a good plan folks. So now that you have yourself a list, you got yourself a plan, what do you send? How does that work? So again, we just kind of mentioned that — what you are sending isn’t super important, just get something out there. So if you have a big list, Mike and I, we recommend postcards because you can get more bank for your buck. Yellow letter HQ is what we use.
Mike: Absolutely, and I think it is a big list, or if you have a small budget, either way use a postcard and get them out there. I know wholesalers here in St Louis exclusively use postcards, I think for that reason. They’re cheaper and then you just get more messages out there.
David: You can almost do — two and a half postcards per letter, you can do a lot of postcards. They’re cheap you know —
Mike: All things considered.
Mike: I would change it up a little bit though; if I am going to re-mail the list I would definitely incorporate a letter and a postcard as some point. Just — again I know it’s not — I am a big fan of the — it doesn’t exactly matter exactly what you are sending, but just get it out there. But I still think you need to change it up a little bit, because you just never know what’s going to catch someone’s attention.
David: Right, maybe they don’t like postcards and they hit the trash can.
David: But a letter they will actually open and will read. So you got to mix it up a little bit. We don’t really have it down to an exact science because — we are just more Rhinos, we — head down, get the mail out, let’s do some deals you know? Typically we will send a letter first or second time, then we will follow up with post cards. But you can do it anyway you like, whatever works for you. But again, the most important thing is you do something, get out there, get some mail going. Your phone is not going to start ringing on its own, you have to let people know you are in this business and one of the best ways to target all these motivated sellers is to put a letter in their hand.
Mike: Direct mail. That’s right guys, get some direct mail out, I thin
k we have covered everything we wanted to talk about today, right Dave? David: Yeah, absolutely, maybe real quick talk about some of the main points you should put in your mail piece. It doesn’t matter if it’s a letter or a postcard you know. But you definitely want to put your name or your business name in the mail piece that says; hey this is who I am. Next you want to tell them that you buy houses for cash, you close fast and you buy them as is. So you can make that even simpler if that’s too many words for ya. If you are limited on the —
Mike: The website or the mail that we recommend — it mean they have formats out there, you just have to select a couple of the templates or you can create your own customised one, so — if you are doing that absolutely you have to tell them a little about yourself as David mentioned. Highlight some of those features that you offer when someone sells their house to you.
David: Absolutely. So next thing — not only have you mentioned your name and you have mentioned that you buy houses for cash, close fast and you buy as is — you want to highlight the fact that you — want to help them. You want to let them know that — you know, you are not trying to steal their home, but you can offer a solution to them to — get out of a problem they may have so — we want to buy your house. Next you need to put — a phone number. We recommend putting the phone number in three or four times, multiple calls to action if you have an e-mail address put that in there as well. After that just leave your name and contact information, that’s it. You could put together a three or four paragraph letter or postcard if you want, but it’s not necessarily. You just need to get the main points out to these people that — hey this is who I am, this is the service that I provide, I am looking to help you, I am willing to buy your house, and this is how you can reach me. So keep it simple folks, — there really isn’t much to it — mail is very important and it’s probably the — way that a majority of the wholesalers in the nation are getting their leads, in St Louis especially we probably get 75 -80% of our leads from all of our direct mail.
Mike: Absolutely. So I guess we will go ahead and kind of wrap up then? I would say the action item for this week would be to check out the show notes and click on the link to yellow letter HQ and just check them out — see if they are the right mailer for you — again I think one of the most cost effective out there so please go check that out. If you have not doing anything in wholesaling yet, I would encourage you to check out the freewholesalecourse.com, David and I are really excited about that still — being able to offer this free course — walks you through step by step what you need to know to get started in wholesaling so please visit freewholesalecourse.com or you can visit us on discountpropertyinvestor.com — and I guess we will close up with a quote. Dave?
David: This is one of my favourite quotes, “success is guaranteed, if you take consistent, persistent action.” Consistent, persistent action folks — you got to start and don’t stop, just keep going and in time you are guaranteed to be successful.
Mike: Awesome, thanks for listening.
David: Thanks folks.