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How to Create a Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail gets a bad reputation. People don’t take kindly to junk mail and most people just throw it in the bin. But every so often there’s a piece that will catch their eye and make them pause for a second. If this is your advert, it can be hugely lucrative. That’s one of the reasons that direct marketing has been responsible for over $2 trillion in sales. The fact is that it can have an incredible return on investment for your real estate business, but only if you are able to create effective marketing campaigns. Here’s exactly how you can.

Build a Great List

One of the key factors the success of your direct mail campaign hangs on is the quality of your mailing list. After all, if it’s only made up of people who will never be interested in your service, your direct mail campaign will never be effective. Here are some tips to make sure you build a seriously good mailing list:

  • Check out public records: These can be a wealth of information, particularly eviction records that can lead to frustrated landlords and tax records that will tell you which properties are landlord owned. You’ve also got probate records, which lead to unwanted inheritance properties
  • Use a list broker: Believe it or not there are people whose entire job is finding and selling lists of leads to real estate investors. These lists can be filled with gems, but there can also be some serious duds, so be careful.
  • Use an online platform: Some real estate tools like REIPro have build in mailing lists that you can make use of. Not every platform has them though, so check before you buy.

A great mailing list will only get you so far, however. Send out dud mail and you still won’t receive a response. Keep on reading to see how you can improve your response rates.

Check out the Competition

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to creating your direct mail, it’s always a good idea to look at your competition first. What are successful real estate investors doing? What direct mail are you getting through your letterbox that catches your eye? If you see something that you think works, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a try. Just make sure you aren’t sending it to the same people!

Another great place to find inspiration or to check out the competition is at your local REIA meeting and other local networking events. There will often be speeches or discussions on marketing tactics and you’ll be surprised how often direct mail comes up. Even if there isn’t an event dedicated to the subject, you can learn a lot just by talking to other investors to find out what they do and what works for them. Remember, don’t be shy. Investors will be more than happy to discuss what didn’t work for them (even if they hide what is currently working). There’s a lot you can learn from people who have been there and done it before.

Track Key Metrics and Follow Up

You can’t tell if your campaign is successful if you don’t have a way to track your results. This should be one of the first things you do when designing your mail. One of the easiest ways is to create a unique URL on your website that you can direct recipients to. Something like www.YourWebsite.com/frustratedlandlords would work well. Assuming you have Google Analytics setup on your website (it’s free and you definitely should), you’ll be able to see how many people visited your page and what actions they took next. If you don’t have a website, you could use a unique phone number or a unique email address instead. Failing that, just ask recipients to quote a code or phrase when calling you up in response so that you can do the tracking yourself.

Once recipients respond, make sure you chase them up. It would be expensive to follow up with everyone you sent the direct mail to, but you should 100% chase those people who have shown an interest in what you had to say.

Get Their Attention

People are so used to junk mail that it takes something special to effective. For some, this will involve thinking outside the box. For others, it will be about being so personal it hurts. We’ll discuss how you can use both methods to make an effective direct mail campaign below.

Trying something different:

The goal of your direct mail is to catch the eye of your target audience. You can do this by making it personal (see below) or you can do it by making your mail stand out. There are plenty of ways to do this. In fact, the only limit is your imagination. Think of all the junk mail you receive, it all looks pretty similar, right? Well what if yours was a different size? Or a different shape? What if it was presented as a normal letter? Or an invitation? There are so many options you can choose to make your direct mail catch your recipient’s eye.

Making it Relatable:

When it comes to making mail relatable, personalization is key. It has to seem like only a handful of people have got this message, like it was meant specifically for them. Part of this will be achieved through your list building by compiling a highly targeted list. But your mail also needs to drill down into the specific needs of your audience to catch their eye. If you’re emailing a list of frustrated landlords, for instance, you need to make it clear that you can take properties off their hands quickly and for a fair price.

If you need further advice on direct marketing, pop down to your local REIA meeting today. You’ll find dozens of professionals who will be more than happy to help.