By Mike Baird
When was the last time you sent a letter? Can you remember the last time you bought a newspaper? With the Internet in your pocket and all of your contacts just a few swipes or clicks away, why would you? Well, the US Postal Service is still alive, and it provides real estate investors with one of the best-kept flipping secrets around: direct mail marketing. If you want to know how to get started flipping houses, this old-school marketing technique is the way to go, and here’s why . . .
A High-Touch, High-Trust Medium
When you send out postcards, flyers, or promotional letters to your target audience (potential motivated sellers), you invite them to get in touch with you and to get to know you and what you can do for them. You give them information about how they can get out from under a financial burden, and you let them know that you’re here for them.
By showing them that you are a real estate investor and giving them the information they need to understand your business, you begin to build a sense of trust. By encouraging them to call or email you directly, you give them the opportunity to get in touch with you and learn more about how you conduct your business and how you can help them.
Direct Mail Campaigns Have a 5% Response Rate
Motivated sellers are often under a lot of stress, and they very often don’t know that they may have alternatives to foreclosure or bankruptcy. When they receive a postcard from a real estate investor like you, suddenly they find that there might be another way, and they pick up the phone.
Granted, unless you are a meticulous curator of your list and only send mail to motivated sellers, not all of your recipients are going to be interested. However, even with more generalized mailing lists to the neighborhoods and areas where you’re interested in investing, you can expect about a 5% response rate. Furthermore, you can expect to make a serious deal with about 2% of serious responders.
That may not sound like a lot, but let’s think about the numbers. Assuming it costs you $1.00 per postcard (which is actually fairly high), you’ll spend $2000 to send out 2000 cards, and you’ll receive about 100 callbacks. Of those 100 callbacks, you can expect to make two deals. This still might not seem like a great investment . . . until you think about what you can expect to make on one of those deals. $2000 is a small price to pay to find two properties that can easily earn you $20,000 or more each.
In addition to reaching motivated sellers looking to get out from under their mortgages immediately, direct mail campaigns also get your name and your brand out there. Your recipients may have friends or relatives who are in the market to sell their homes for cash. They may also find themselves in similar situations in the future. When you get your name and your logo in front of them, they’ll be likely to remember you and either recommend you to their friends and family or call you themselves in the future.
Save a Few Postcards for Leads You Find in Your Area
I also recommend keeping a few postcards to send to leads that you find when you’re out driving in your area. This is one of my big flipping secrets. It takes very little time to find the residential addresses for owners of abandoned properties, and then you can just pop a postcard in the mail, with or without a personalized note about the property. If you want to know how to get started flipping houses, remember these direct interactions. They’re hugely helpful in finding leads and getting deals.