Today I want to talk about how to get the very best results from your probate direct mail campaigns. I have put together a comprehensive guide that you can follow for marketing to all different types of off market deals, not just probates. Direct mail campaigns are a great way to keep your funnel full of leads. As I have said many times before, direct mail has always been my number one source of leads. When it comes to real estate niches, probates have always been the most lucrative one of all for me.
However, there are some basic concepts that you need to follow in order to get great results with direct mail. This is true no matter whether you are doing probate direct mail campaigns or campaigns for any other real estate niche. Direct mail is still the best way to reach sellers of off market deals.
The Comprehensive Guide to Successful Probate Direct Mail Campaigns – Podcast #177
Direct Mail Basics
One of the biggest mistakes that I see real estate investors make is to send out just a few mailings and then throw in the towel saying, “This doesn’t work”. I talked about that in my reader question in my last show. That person asked me, “how many mailings are enough”, and I gave a quick answer to that question last time. Today we are going into much more detail, and I’m going to give you some solid statistics to back this up. I’m also going to tell you the 4 parts to any direct mail campaign.
The 4 Parts to any Direct Mail Campaign
The 4 parts are:
- The list
- The direct mail piece
- The message
- The campaigns
These are called “direct mail campaigns” for a reason. It’s really important to understand that your response rates will go up with subsequent mailings (campaigns). Think of it this way. Each series of mail pieces builds on the next. Your first mail piece will have much less weight and get a lower response rate than one that is 5 or 6 steps further down the process. It takes a while to get momentum. But once you do, you will have a steady stream of leads coming in the door.
The Way Sellers Respond Today
What happens when someone gets your mail piece from one of your probate direct mail campaigns?
Some people will call you right away. Others will look at your mail piece for months or even a year or more before they call you. Here's the thing to remember; you want to be the one that is still mailing to these folks when they finally become motivated to sell the property. Remember that time and circumstances change all things. A seller that is not motivated to sell today, may become very motivated later on for any number of reasons.
However, when they are ready to sell the house, there is a step in the middle between the time they get your letter and the time they contact you. They’re going to look you up on the internet. They will Google you to see what they find. This is why you need to be building your online presence. I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but you absolutely must have a website. You should also set up your social media profiles.
Let’s Talk About Direct Mail Response Rates
I like to say that numbers and statistics aren’t sexy but great results are.
A study done by the Sales and Marketing Executives International a few years ago resulted in some impressive statistics. The number of deals derived from direct mail campaigns look something like this:
- After the 1st Contact: 2%
- After the 2nd Contact: 4%
- After the 3rd Contact: 6%
- After the 4th Contact: 10%
- After the 5th Contact: 81%
The study went on to say that 90% of the people gave up after the 3rd contact. I want you to really take that in. Most people give up after just 2 mailings. If you want to be one of the 10% who stick it out and close 81% of the deals, you must have a system for doing this. Without some type of system, you will never be able to stay on track and it just won't get done.
Here is another statistic for you; think about this for just a minute:
- 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
- 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
- 12% of sales people make more than three contacts
Can you see how this all fits together? Here’s the really important question you have to ask yourself; “Which group are you in? A better question might be, “Which group do you want to be in”?
How Long do Probate Direct Mail Campaigns Last?
They last until you buy the house, someone else buys the house, or they come off your list for some reason.
Most probates will be at the point the house can be sold within a few months after the probate is opened. The actual estate may not be closed for 12 to 18 months or longer. You just need to be concerned with when you can buy the house.
You can get handout with the exact timeline completely free by getting my Probate Investing Roadmap. You can get that BY CLICKING HERE:
Lists and Letters
Before you can send a letter, you need a list.
Some states have programs set up where you can purchase a list of probates that these folks say are accurate. That has not particularly been my experience.
Those types of good lists are not available where I live, so I can’t speak about them. In my area we can get a list of all of the previous month’s probates from the newspaper, and it has every piece of information that you need. They are always published at the same time, so I know exactly when they will be available. There is also a way to get them online, but it’s not as simple as downloading a list. In many areas these leads are easily found online so check your area.
I know that in some areas investors actually have to go to the courthouse to pull these records. You can often find out the procedure for your area just by calling the probate court in your city. Most of the time you’re going to need to do some detective work. And that's a good thing. It means a lot of your potential competition simply won't bother.
What Type of Mail Piece Should I Send?
I only use white, computer generated, personalized letters for probates, and I always hand address all of my envelopes. I can tell you that people respond so much better to this type of mail piece. If you send yellow letters or postcards to these folks they will be often be offended and upset. When you’re working with probates, always be mindful of their situation and act accordingly.
I know folks that use yellow letters. Now, I don’t happen to be a fan of these. For one thing, I like to be professional with all my marketing. I always want to appear to be a reputable business. I don’t think yellow letters inspire confidence that you are a savvy enough business owner to actually close the deal.
The other thing I don’t like about these letters is that they are just too “general”. Sure, you get a lot of calls just by writing “I want to buy your house. Call me at 000-000-0000.” But do you really want to speak to a whole bunch of unmotivated sellers? I prefer to use a more targeted mail piece whether I am mailing to probates or any other group of folks.
Personalizing Your Mail Pieces
I also think it gives you an advantage to personalize these mail pieces, hand address the envelopes, and to use first class stamps. You will have a higher open rate if you do these things. Just by referring to them by name and mentioning the property address, they can tell you’ve done your homework.
All of my letters have my company letterhead at the top, and they have the individual’s name, address and the property address about which I am contacting them. I personally don’t use those colored, odd sized envelopes. People in probate feel like you have tricked them when you use a colored envelope that looks like an invitation or a sympathy card. Some people say that say brightly colored stamps help get letters opened.
While I think you get the best results with hand addressed envelopes, let's face it; that's not a scalable business model. At some point you need to outsource the whole thing. Don’t think you have to do all of this yourself.
There are some great mailing companies out there that are affordable. They also have some very realistic hand writing fonts to use on the envelopes. The important thing is to get your mailing out every single month so that when the PR (personal representative) is finally ready to sell the property you are the top of their mind.
Whether you do it yourself in-house or outsource your mailings, your probate direct mail campaigns should be a series of letters that is a nurture series. At the end of the day the message you are trying to convey is, “I’ll be here when you are ready to sell the property’.
Last but not least, the frequency of your mailings is also very important. I mail to my contacts every 30 days. If you space these mailings out too far apart, some other real estate investor will be there when the seller finally decides to sell.
Want to Become a Probate Investing Expert in Just 6 Short Weeks?
If you’re interested in becoming a probate investing expert in just 6 short weeks (yes, you can do that), be sure to check out my course “Probate Investing Simplified” here at this link. JUST CLICK HERE
Cash in on what is hands down one of the most profitable niches in real estate. Investing in my course Probate Investing Simplified will shave years off your learning curve. Think about it for a minute. What if you only did one probate deal every other month? How would that change your life?
Also, be sure to get my FREE Probate Investing Roadmap. You can get that BY CLICKING HERE
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