Creating Absentee Owner Letters That Get A Great Response
I have talked about direct mail for a long time now. One thing that is so important to understand about direct mail is that you have to set up campaigns to be successful with this strategy. Creating absentee owner letters that get a great response all starts with consistency with your direct mail campaigns.
Sending out a whole bunch of letters or postcards once or even a couple of times is just a waste of money. Direct mail is a long-term strategy. Before we move on to creating absentee owner letters that actually get a great response, I want to spend a little time going over the basics of direct mail.
What Exactly is a Direct Mail Campaign?
A direct mail campaign is an ongoing process of sending mail pieces to your target audience. It is not a one or two-time event where you mail to your prospects. For most groups of motivated sellers, my rule is that I mail everyone every month so long as the house is still available. There are some types of off-market deals like foreclosures that will have a different timeline.
This is what I know for sure: folks that are successful with direct mail marketing follow some tried and true principles, and that's what this article is about.
Surprising Statistics You Need to Know
Here are some statistics for you that you just might find surprising. About 81% of your deals (not calls) will come at or beyond your 5th mailing. However, around 90% of the people will stop mailing on or before the 3rd mailing.
Stop and think about that for a minute. If you just mail consistently, you will be ahead of 90% of your competition. Just stay in the game. You want to be the last man standing when it comes to follow-up.
You can find out more about direct mail statistics here: Numbers and Statistics Aren't Always Sexy, but Great Results Are.
Here's one more statistic for you. Something like 80% of all your deals will come from follow-up. So what is follow-up? It's your ongoing direct mail campaigns, a call after someone has said no to your offer, or a second call just to follow up. It's any continued contact you have with the seller. A thank you note is a follow-up.
What are the 7 steps that make up a direct mail campaign?
- The mail piece: Decide on the type of mailpiece (letter or postcard).
- Your message: Create a compelling message for your mail piece.
- The design: Choose the design of your actual mail piece.
- Your list: Put together a list of prospects. Know who your target audience is.
- Putting the mailing together: Do it In-house or outsource it?
- The actual mailing: Drop it in the mailbox or have the direct mail company do that for you. (Recommended)
- Follow-up: Rinse and repeat every month.
Congratulations. You have just set up a direct mail campaign. This is the first step to creating absentee owner letters that get a great response.
One more bit of advice to help you out. You can keep your lists organized in a spreadsheet. However, you need to get a database or contact management system to manage your leads right from the beginning. You won’t be able to manage this process unless you automate it.
Should You Send Postcards or Letters?
My answer is, it depends. I generally use postcards for most of the niches except probates. (You can find out more about marketing to probates by clicking here.)
I've had good luck with postcards. However, you might need to do some split testing to find out what works best in your area. When I first started out, I used letters for everything with good results. Then when I moved to postcards, I also had good luck. One main reason to choose postcards is they are so much more economical than letters, especially if you are outsourcing your mailing. Another reason is that they have to see your message when they pick up the postcard. There is no envelope to open.
Figure out what's working in your area by testing. You can get a copy of the letter that worked well for me below. One last thing. Be sure your picture is on your postcards. Branding is an important part of getting sellers to choose you (over someone else).
What are the Components of a Good Direct Mail Letter (or Postcard)?
There are several key pieces to a good direct mailpiece.
- Your letter should be personalized. Wouldn’t you rather get a letter that says “Dear Dan” than one that says, “Hello homeowner or dear executor” or something like that? Your letter should also have the subject property address on it.
- Headlines and sub-headlines are some of the most important aspects of the letter. You have to get the person’s attention right away so it should be scannable. The person receiving the letter should be able to determine quickly what you are contacting them about.
- When you are using postcards, getting your message across clearly is important you have very limited space. Choose your words carefully and get right to the point.
- Use bullet points whenever possible to highlight your message. People have notoriously short attention spans. Using sub-titles and bullet points makes it easy for the reader to scan your letter quickly. If they can easily identify with your message or your offer, they will be more likely to read the whole letter.
- The letter isn’t about you, so don’t spend a lot of time talking about you or your company. You should say something like, “I will buy your house AS-IS, can pay cash, and close quickly”.
- Those are things about you (or your company), but they are also benefits to the seller. List some problems the seller might be having such as:
*They tried to sell your property before you moved but didn’t get an offer.*Possibly they inherited an unwanted property.
*Or, they had tenants in the property and wanted to hold onto it for income. But, it turned out to be more trouble than you thought.
- Offer some solutions or ways that you can help them now.
*You won’t have to worry about making any of the needed repairs.
*You’ll stop sinking money into a property you don’t even want.
*We will take care of all of the paperwork for you.
People are motivated by two things; pain and pleasure. Figure out how to make their pain go away.
Want a Copy of My Absentee Owner Letter?
Just click the link below to get yours.
Here Are Some Previous Posts on Direct Mail you Might also Enjoy.
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*This article which was originally published in March of 2013 has been revised and updated.