You may think that with Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, and email marketing you should be all set. The deals should be rolling in! My question to you is, "Are they?"
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If you're not using direct mail in your marketing efforts you're likely missing out! You're missing out on finding the best motivated sellers, the best tenant buyers, and of course all the income that goes with that!
We've found that the absolute best way to "niche" market to motivated sellers is through direct mail. Not only that, direct mail marketing, is a more efficient way to control when, where, and how many leads you have coming in!
The Secret To Direct Mail Marketing
The right letter and the right list! If you've ever used direct mail to market your lease option or real estate investment business, then you've probably discovered that, over time, a seller's circumstances change, and most times they're becoming even more motivated to sell their property. The world has to know that YOU buy real estate. So how does this play into direct mail?
With direct mail you can advertise, market, and most importantly, target the most motivated sellers that fit your investment criteria. This is how you find the absolutely most qualified leads!
The Winning Difference Between Online and Direct Mail
The "shelf life" of an email, or even a Craigslist Ad, is about a nanosecond. Either they read and respond, or they don't. Typically, with online mediums, you get ONE shot to make an impression! You also only have ONE shot to get the prospect to take action. With the click of a link, or a delete button, your prospect is gone, most times forever.
With direct mail this isn't so! Direct mail sticks around! How many times have you received an interesting mailer and left it on the coffee table only to pick it up weeks later. OR, how many times have you received some mail that interested you and said to yourself "I'm going to hold on to this, I might need it!". I know I've done that more than a few times.
Direct mail sticks around!
I also find these mailings to be very residual. These potential sellers will hold onto your direct mail pieces until their circumstances dictate that they contact you. When they are ready to sell, they will contact you first, especially since they probably haven’t had any contact from anyone else. Usually their properties aren’t being actively marketed; therefore there is no competition for these deals. In the meantime, you’ve gained credibility with these sellers by doing repetitive mailings.
Direct mail gives you more control!
1. You can cultivate the exact type of lead you are looking for in the
specific area or price range you are looking for.
2. You can control the number of pieces going out, when they go out,
and specifically to whom they are targeted.
3. You can create a response mechanism within the body of your
letter so that you get the specific response you want from the seller or customer.
4. It is very easy to “crank up” your mailing machine or pull it back
depending on what your personal situation or goal is.
5. You can create more solid leads using fewer of your marketing
dollars thus leaving you more dollars for other marketing you might want to do.
6. You can create a solid successful direct mail campaign even if you have a very limited budget to work with.
7. It is very easy to track the success and response rate of the direct mail campaigns you have created.
8. These mailings are very residual, potential sellers or customers
will hold on to them until they need your service.
9. You will reach prospective sellers or customers who might not
ever learn about you otherwise.
Creating A Solid Direct Mail Piece
One of the most important aspects to a marketing campaign that is going to work is to create a solid mail piece for your business. These are key points for creating a solid direct mail piece that folks will respond to no matter what business you are in.
1. The first thing you’ll want to do is to “touch” your prospective customer or seller with “the dream”, or “the solution” to their problem. You’ll want to touch the basic emotions and the needs of your client or seller within the body of your letter, whether that is fear, relief, greed, pride or vanity.
2. Keep it simple. The grammar doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. You want to reach this person at their comfort level. Keep your letter relaxed, personal and conversational.
3. Use simple language; don’t fill your letter with big words or technical words or “industry jargon” that your seller or your customer might not understand.
4. I also use paragraphs so that there is a specific break between thoughts and so that the letter just flows better and is more pleasing to the eye.
5. Even though this is a personal letter, I still begin with a powerful headline or first sentence to make sure I have their attention so that they read the rest of my piece.
6. I also list the benefits to the seller of choosing to work with me the investor, as opposed to perhaps listing their home or trying to sell it themselves. You always need to list the benefits of whatever it is you are selling and why they should buy yours.
7. In any piece you send out you need to have your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). For the Real Estate Investor this is going to be the ease with which you can help the seller solve their problem and/or debt relief. For every business the USP will be uniquely different.
8. Always include a strong P.S. In my case the P.S. is “contact me immediately since we budget to purchase a certain number of homes each month.” This motivates them even more to contact me right away.
9. Create residual mailings so that your seller/customer sees your message over and over again. By doing this you create credibility with your prospect and when they need your services they will contact you first.
When you are creating direct mail pieces or letters no matter what business you are in remember to think about writing your letter as though you are writing to just one person.
For example, you wouldn’t begin your letter “Dear Neighbors” you would begin it “Dear Neighbor” or “Dear Friend”. Within the body of the letter you should write as though you are writing to just one person, so you wouldn’t say something like “all of you” within the body of your letter. These few points will help you to create direct mail campaigns that will net you excellent results just as ours have over the years. For specific information on how to create direct mail campaigns register for the free webinar here:
How Do We Create The List?
This is the big question that I get a lot! The true secret to success for a Real Estate Investor is finding sellers who really need to sell. I use different direct mail campaigns to locate different types of motivated sellers: out of state owners, properties quit-claimed from one person to another, expired listings, burned out landlords, vacant properties and pre-foreclosures, just to name a few.
The best part is that you can customize your direct mail piece and your list to reach exactly the kinds of motivated sellers you want to deal with in order to create the kinds of deals you want. This is best done by locating mailing lists and refining them to meet your individual criteria, then mailing to these potential sellers again and again.
Investors often neglect to market to sellers in this way because they think the list is too difficult to get, or they only send the mailings once and quit.
These are some of the easiest lists for you to get and it will be very profitable for you to do so. You can contact a list broker or your local property assessor’s office and ask them for the list, or you can create the lists yourself. It’s fairly easy to do. You can go to the courthouse and research divorce cases, death notices, liens and judgments, tax liens, marriage licenses, bankruptcies or Lis Pendens, which is the first step toward foreclosure.
Let me share a few pointers here.
1. Do your homework when picking a list broker. How current is the list? Does it have all the information you need to create your direct mail campaign? Does it reach the audience you are targeting?
2. Do a test mailing of 100 pieces to test any new list. How many responses did you get? How many letters came back with a bad address?
3. Don’t waste your marketing dollars marketing to a bad list that won’t get you the result you want.
4. Create continuity with your direct mail campaigns. You can mail a lot of letters or a few letters but you need to have a flow of mail going out at all times in order to create a funnel of incoming leads.
5. Never mail more pieces than you are comfortable getting responses to. If you do a huge mailing and you get tons of responses you can’t get to, you are wasting marketing dollars. Put systems in place to help you respond to the mailings and grow your business gradually.
Another way to find motivated sellers is to cultivate relationships with individuals who can help you find deals. One way we do this is to create a direct mail campaign targeting attorneys who handle family law, estate planning and probate law, divorce and marital law, and corporation and business law and we let them know we are in the business of buying houses.
Once you develop relationships with some of these attorneys, they will call you when they have a client who needs to sell a property quickly no matter what condition it’s in. This is just another way to build ongoing lead sources using direct mail. You only have to create this direct mail campaign once to create an ongoing source of leads for your Real Estate Investing business.
If you own any kind of business and you need certain types of leads, think about unique resources that can provide you with the leads you need and create a direct mail campaign targeting these resources. This can be really profitable. For example; if you own an alarm company or a lawn maintenance service it would behoove you to create a direct mail campaign targeting owners of properties in your area who live out of state. These are potential customers who need your services.
The main reason that direct mail works so well is that you are reaching highly targeted leads.
You become the potential seller’s first option when they need to sell. Even if you are on a limited budget, direct mail is an excellent source of leads for you since you can buy more houses from fewer leads, thus maximizing your marketing dollars. As your business grows, you can increase the number of mailings you do. You can also target specific neighborhoods or dominate certain parts of town. In doing so, you become a “property value expert” in those areas, which makes the offer-making process that much easier for you.
You end up creating an ongoing relationship with your target market, which makes it easy for you to follow up with formerly inflexible or unmotivated sellers.
Since these mailings are so targeted and so residual, there is virtually no competition for these properties. It puts your lead generating system on “auto-pilot,” leaving you more time to make offers, do more deals, and make more money.
Most importantly, be consistent in all your efforts. The successful Real Estate Investor has a network of people and strategies at their fingertips at all times. If you don’t develop continuity to your marketing campaigns, you’ll see your results begin to drop off immediately. This is true no matter what business you are using direct mail to target to.
When you implement multiple techniques and several different direct mail campaigns, you will have more opportunities than you’ll be able to handle and the possibilities become almost endless. Using direct mail to develop a “cookie cutter” system to accomplish this is one of the most affordable, reliable, and effective ways I know to build your lead base quickly and have all the business you will ever need.
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