What to do when your direct mail isn’t producing the results that you expected?
Epic Real Estate Investing gives you a step by step guide on what to do when your direct mail stops working. It starts with getting more lines in the water and then continues with recommitting to generating motivated seller leads in your market with a series Epic lead generation and follow-up strategies.
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What You Will Learn About What To Do When Your Direct Mail Stops Working:
Strategies to improve your response rate
Other ways to generate leads
Five hot principles for getting more out of your marketing plan
How to garner more attention with direct mail testing
Why you should get more out of your direct mail
- Exactly what to do when you direct mail stops working
The best list to use for direct mail
Why you must have multiple marketing channels at the same time
Additional angles for finding motivated sellers
A prior episode of the podcast to reference to get started fast
Why it pays to go deep with a single marketing channel before moving on to the next strategy
The one thing that will make all the difference in your business
How to avoid discouragement and keep going
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Matt Theriault: Yeah, welcome. Welcome to the Epic Real Estate Investing Show. Glad you found us. If you’re struggling with a lack of money, limited options in life, finding the right education, I want you to know that you’re in the right place. If you’re frustrated by a job that has lost its luster, its lack of free time frustrates you and you’re concerned about your financial future, you’re in the right place.
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Ready? Got an email today. It reads, “Hi, Matt. I posted a question yesterday but not received a response.” Forgive me for that, by the way, and I could not find your response so I couldn’t respond to it, so I was like, “Hey, we’ll just respond to it right here on the air.” It says, “My mailings are not pulling very well and was wondering what mailing list you guys use to generate leads. Thanks, Dave.”
Let’s discuss that, and thanks for the email, Dave, and sorry that you had to wait for this. But hey, now, we’re on the stage and I just made you famous. Let’s discuss what there is to do when your direct mail isn’t working or it’s not working as well as you’d like. Is it the list? Maybe, but maybe not. I understand the frustrations here when you get a low response rate, and the frustrations when … That expense. Direct mail can get expensive.
Also, when it’s not working, you start looking for other directions to generate leads. You start chasing these shiny objects that are everywhere. And the fear that this isn’t going to work for you the way that it’s working for others, that fear starts to creep in and it can be debilitating. It can be paralyzing, be a little depressing too. But when you get this part right, you get that steady flow of leads. That’s what you want.
What you wanted is lower costing leads, that would be preferred. You want to find something that works so you can stick to just that, and all of these with the aspiration that real estate keeps its promise to you, that it delivers the financial and independence and freedom you signed up for in the first place when you decided to pursue real estate as your vehicle. That was the promise that’s made to you and that’s all that you want. I get it. When you get that part right, that’s what you do get.
I was thinking about this email and as I was preparing for this episode, it made me think back to when I got started, because I didn’t use direct mail, nor did I even know anybody that was using it. I wasn’t even aware of the concept of buying leads. I learned only one way in how to make money in real estate, how to generate leads that led to the actual business, that led to the paycheck and that’s the freeway.
I want to go over a little bit of that today as well, as well as what there is to do about your direct mail. I’ve got five hot principles for you. One, let’s talk about your expectations. Two, I want to talk about the list and three, I want to talk about diversification and four, I want to go deep and then, five, I want to talk about your stick-to-itiveness.
All those things, your expectations, the list, diversification, going deep and stick-to-itiveness, which one of those do you need most? Which one of those is troubling you the most? Which one of those, if you were to solve it would have the biggest impact on your business and why? Think about that and we’ll go through them.
First, your expectations. Let’s talk about your expectations. This is a biggie. Disappointment really is just unmet expectations, and for the most part, direct mail has always had a terrible response rate. Historically, across every industry, I’m just talking about direct mail in general. You’ve had to send a lot to get a little. If you’re above 1% or 2% response rate, you’re doing better than most regardless of industry. You are getting exactly what you’re supposed to get historically.
We might have been a little bit misled over the last, I don’t know, almost a decade now or so, eight, nine years, where the response rate has been significantly up, because there’s a whole lot of demand and pent-up demand out there that people are responding to it. And now, it’s kind of settled back down to a normal market. Also, direct mail, it’s a game of testing. It’s marketing. You’re always trying something new to get people to open up their mail.
Right now, we’re just in a society where it’s one big fight for people’s attention. You’ve got the TV. You’ve got the radio. You’ve got magazines. You’ve got the cellphones. You’ve got Netflix. You’ve got YouTube. You’ve got text messaging and you’ve got a mail. Think about like in the past, when it comes to your mail, how many different gimmicks have you received in your mailbox over the years?
I think back when I … If I go back far enough, what I remember specifically is there’s a company called Columbia House and they used to send a penny attached to a letter in the mail and it said, “For one penny, you get 10 CDs.” Those are compact discs for those of you who don’t remember back that far. That’s what they used to play music on. We used to walk in the stores and buy music on a compact disc. It seems like it was just so long ago, and it seems so archaic, but that wasn’t that long ago at all.
Anyway, but that was a gimmick. Let’s put something on the direct mail piece in the envelope, makes it heavy, makes it look unique, separates its appearance from everything else and we’re still doing that today. Businesses are always trying something new to get your attention because they know their direct mail marketing, it mostly gets ignored. Most people stand over the trash can and sort their mail. If it looks like trash, it’s going in the trash.
Think about that with your direct mail and just kind of set your expectations appropriately. If people aren’t responding to your direct mail, maybe you change it up, maybe you send it to someone else, or maybe you just kind of adjust your expectations and continue.
The second thing to address Dave’s question specifically, let’s talk about the list. Let’s talk about who you’re sending it to because I’m asked daily, “What list is the best to use?” Well, maybe not daily, but it’s a pretty common question. “What list should I send to?” My answer, the best list is the one that you’ll actually send the mail to. Here’s what I mean. We’re looking for people that want to sell their property. And if you go to people like realtors, they’ll pick a neighborhood and just send to every single door in that neighborhood because that’s where they want to work.
That’s the best list for them because it’s where they geographically want to work. But is it the best list for motivation or finding people that need to sell? No. It’s just the best list for them geographically and by sending it over and over and over, they can trust that they’re going to build, I don’t know, inadvertently a relationship becomes recognizable and familiar to the houses, or the homeowners and the houses of those areas.
If we want to pick up the motivation inside of a list, we’re going to look for signs of distress. We’ve talked about it here countless times, financial distress and personal distress and property distress. Now, you can narrow those lists, maybe not define them geographically so much but more define them if they have specific types of distress attached to them, like a probate, like a code violation or divorce, or bankruptcy, or absentee owners, or out-of-state absentee owners, or vacant houses. All those things are just little signs of distress.
Every single one of those things can cause a person in a situation. It can push a person into a situation that would have forced them to sell their property at a discount. Which one is the best? They’re all just clues that there might be some distress there. Is there an act … Are there people in foreclosure that are going to come clean and come current on their bills? Yes. There are.
Are there people that haven’t paid their taxes in a couple of years that are eventually going to pay them before they lose their house? Yes, but there are some people in there that might not. You just kind of plan the odds. The more factors you can stack on your list, probably the better performing the list will be. If you someone that’s in for closure and tax delinquent and has a code violation, that’s a really good indicator. That might be someone that’s really motivated to sell, but then again, it might not. Then, when you start adding those factors on top of each other, the list gets smaller and smaller pretty darn quickly.
I don’t think it’s so much the list. I think you’re going to get a response from the list as long as you hit that list, have your expectation set appropriately and you’re not sending anything ridiculous to the list that wouldn’t resonate with them. I don’t think it’s the list. I really don’t.
The third thing I want you to talk about or to consider is diversification, diversify. If you’re counting solely on direct mail as a lead generation source, you’re going to need deep pockets. It will work. It absolutely will work but you’ll need the budget to make it work. I recommend that you have at least three, preferably five marketing channels working for you at all times. The more, the better, but as many as you can responsibly manage.
Keep your direct mail going and that’s a game of consistency and accept what it brings in, but consider adding additional marketing channels like PPC or Facebook campaign. Consider bandit signs. Consider online classifieds. You got the housing wanted a section, the real estate for sale, garage sales, the estate sales, for rents, jobs, and gigs. Consider door knocking, working for sale by owners, for sale by owner websites, [inaudible 00:11:22] all that’s just time-honored stuff that does work. People continue to use it.
What else? Property management websites, auction websites, auction themselves and your network. Create, build and nurture strategic relationships. Be known as the person that buys houses and buys them quickly and easily. I went into this deeply and in great detail on episode 325. I’m actually building an entire lesson around that inside of the academy right now but it’s all right there. The lesson is there, episode 325. It’s actually how I built my business with no money.
It’s how I got started without direct mail. Listen to episode 325. Go to [inaudible 00:12:01]. Go to your meetup groups, chambers of commerce. There’s a ton you can do on a daily basis, and it’s work. It is work. You need multiple channels working for you, so diversify your marketing.
Now, the fourth thing is I want you to go deep. And now, this is a little bit of a contradicting statement both what I just talked about with regards to diversifying, but pick a marketing channel. Pick one. There’s a lot of them to choose from. I just went through, I don’t know, a dozen. Pick a marketing channel that you know that you’ll do, so pick one that you know that you’ll do consistently and go deep with it. Get good at it. Put it in place and basically, just get good at it before adding another one. But go deep before going wide.
Direct mail, not too difficult to go deep on. You get a good list and you get a good mailing piece, and then you go ahead and you schedule that out for 90 days, and be ready to answer the phone when the phone rings. That’s as deep as you really need to go with the list. But now, add something else. Don’t just count your … Rest on your laurels with that. Just keep on adding different marketing channels. I recommend you go to at least five. Get there. You don’t have to do it all in one day. You don’t have to do it overnight, but have that in mind that you have to work your way up to that.
It might be a marketing piece. It might be a marketing activity. It might be actual work or relationships or just a practice that you do, or maybe it’s a piece of technology that brings in leads automatically, I don’t know. There’s shiny little thing like that all over the internet all the time. I don’t know which ones work. But I don’t care which ones you use, just the ones that you’re going to use consistently are the ones I want you to use. That’s going deep.
Fifth, persistence. You got to stick to it. This business and any business for that matter are built on consistency and persistence. If you chose real estate as a, well, I’m going to give this a try for 90 days type of thing. If that’s what you’re thinking about, “Let me give it a try for 90 days, see how it works.” If that’s what your thought was, you might as well just quit now. That’s not the mindset that’s going to produce consistent long-term income and wealth creation for yourself. If your direct mail didn’t deliver after the first or second attempt, and that’s what has you discouraged, this might not be for you.
If your marketing channel of choice didn’t generate a deal in the first week and that’s what’s got you discouraged, this might not be for you. Lightning has been known to strike in this business, and you can get a deal right away. It happens much more frequently than people get struck by lightning, and it’s not uncommon to get deals done inside of your first couple of months, not uncommon at all. But for the most part, it’s going to take longer than you want it to. That’s what I know.
For most people, it takes longer than they want it to and what you really got in real estate for was not to flip a few houses and quit. Anyone that told you it was easy money was lying to you. It’s simple. Anyone that told you it was easy, they’re lying to you. That’s not why you got in, is just a flip of few houses and quit, but rather to make some money, convert it to passive income so you can take your foot off the gas a bit in the next few years. Certainly, before the typical traditional retirement age, that’s the goal. That’s why you got into it.
Remember why you got into real estate in the first place and stick to it. What’s your alternative? I just got off a coaching call with a client and what we’re talking about, he’s like, “I just need to stay focused, man. I need to stay focused on your plan.” I just walked him through a process and got him all the way down to why he got into real estate in the first place. Why did he want real estate? Why are you in the real estate? Very few people are in it because they love real estate. There’s very few people. They get into it because of the income potential, the earning potential, the wealth creation potential.
The next question is why do you want the income? Why do you want to wealth creation? “Because I don’t want to have to work so hard.” Why don’t you have to work so hard? “Because I want to enjoy life a little bit more. I want to spend that time with my family. I want to spend that time with my grandkids.” Why do you want to do that? “Well, it makes me feel good.” And how does that make your family and your grandkids feel when you feel good? “Well, I’m much more fun to be around and they like me more.” Great, and then how does that make you feel? “Well, that makes me feel fantastic.”
Boom. That’s why you got into real estate. That’s what you focus on. It’s the feeling we’re after. It’s not the real estate. It’s not the money. It’s the feeling that we think the real estate and the money is going to bring us. That’s worth it. It’s worth sticking to. And the alternative is, well, you really don’t have one. You don’t have a choice. Get back out there. Get it done, and don’t quit until you do. Your odds of success are greater in real estate than anything else. The numbers and the statistics, they prove it.
Time to do it, so I’m going to give you three quick action items. One, pick three to five marketing channels that you see yourself doing consistently. Pick three to five marketing channels that you see yourself doing consistently, and then do them consistently and stick to it. We met a lot of people too smart to get this, having yet to meet someone too dumb not too. It’s that simple.
That’s it for today. God bless, and to your success. I’m Matt Theriault, living the dream.