Marketing Idea Of The Month - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI) on February 11, 2002 at 21:29:44:


Was it a local company or was it a national mailing list company that can be used anywhere?


Marketing Idea Of The Month - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 07:01:02:

Hi All,

There was a one week delay, because I had a speaking engagement. I wanted to make sure that I was prepared for that. It was very enjoyable and I plan on doing more of it. If your club needs a speaker drop me an e-mail. This month, I will discuss the direct marketing campaign I just sent out.

In January, I sent out a mailing to out of state owners. This mailing, netted me a $4996.00 house so far and another two are in the works. Needless to say, this mailing was a success. Here is what I did:

Once I got my list of names, I sent each of them a postcard. The postcard read:

I Buy Rockford Homes!

Dear Owner,

Interested in Selling your Rockford home? If so, call me. Paying cash and closing in days is not a problem.

Tim Jensen
(815) 558-4663

I know this is not real creative, but it does get to the point. Most people only give postcards a glance, so you better try and tell them what you do in the headline.

I sent out 250 of these things and here were the results:

25 returned to sender
12 responses (more probably will trickle in)
1 deal (2 more are in the works)

I am somewhat pleased with a 5% response rate. The 10% return to sender is bad, however I blame myself. I was using a list of names that I got back in August.

Now, here are three suggestions to make your mailing successful.

  1. Always use your list ASAP. As you can see, I waited just 5 months and over 10% of my list became bad. That may have meant that I missed out on another house, costing me thousands of dollars.

  2. Mail to your list in waves of three. Send them a postcard first. That way it only costs you .21 to see if you have a good address or not. Then about a month later send them another postcard or letter. I would try and reference the previous mailing, if possible. Then another month after that, send them a letter. What happens a lot is that people get your postcard and say ?Great, I need to sell that place in Rockford, I?ll put this card aside and call the guy later.? What happens is that they lose the postcard or it gets thrown out. Bingo, a month later they get another mailing from you and this time they decide, I will call now. The third letter is sent just to get any stragglers, if they don?t call by the third letter, chances are they are not going to call at all. That?s fine too. Maybe they will be motivated when you mail them next year.

  3. Use USPS.COM to mail your postcards. I must admit, I did not use them on this mailing. Why? I did not know their service existed. For .21 each they will send out a black and white postcard. That includes printing and postage. You just upload you list and your postcard template and they do all the work. They even have online templates, so you can make your own copy up. Another cool thing is that you can get spot color for an extra .03 per postcard. Full color is .49 a postcard. I would make my first mailing black and white and the second spot color. I see no real advantage to paying .49 for full color. For that price you might as well send a letter. Go to the post office website for more details.

Well, that wraps it up for the this month. NOW, I need something from you. I would like you all to email me a copy of one of your postcards or letters that really draws. I was going to put them up on my website for all to see.

Tim Jensen

PS- Next Month I will discuss my bench signs, until them send me your marketing letters and postcards!

Re: Marketing Idea Of The Month One Last Thing - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 22:02:42:

I just got an e-mail from someone who wanted to send me some of his letters and postcards. I forgot to leave an address.

Here it is:

Tim Jensen
PO Box 1503
Rockford, IL 61110

Send all your marketing postcards, letters, flyers and the such.


Return to Sender - Posted by Andrew

Posted by Andrew on February 11, 2002 at 19:55:12:


I’d bet you’d still get about 10% Return to Senders even if you got the list yesterday. I’ve done a couple of mailings off the tax records and have had similar results.

Not sure if you included this, but I use “Return Service Requested” so that the USPS will return the card or letter with the new address if they have it.

As for getting a list of out of state owners…some MLS systems are linked to the public records and you can do a search on the owners mailing address to exclude your state or specific zip codes.


My results… - Posted by Ben(OH)

Posted by Ben(OH) on February 11, 2002 at 19:28:38:

…will be posted, asson as I get my list together. Thanks for the fine post, Tim.

For obtaining a list of names we use the local Haines directory. It should be available in your area. It’s an excellent toll for lists, comps, financials, you name it.

That’s How I Did My First Deal! - Posted by J.P. Vaughan

Posted by J.P. Vaughan on February 11, 2002 at 13:46:05:

Hi Tim,

This is exactly how I did my very first deal. In those days, things weren’t computerized, as they are now. So I paid Jeanne (then 14 or 15) to go through all the tax records by hand and write down the names/addresses of the out-of-state owners.

With computers now, this is a whole lot easier today!

Thanks for sharing.


How to get the list - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 12:51:22:

Now, this is tricky.

There are two ways you can do this.

  1. You can talk to someone at your local courthouse and ask them who you need to speak to about getting a list. I would start in the tax office. It may take you some digging, but you should be able to buy the list. It took me 3 years to find the list.

  2. A list broker or public records company. If you live in a large metro area there should be a public recods company that can sell you this information. Try a serach for Axium(sp?) or First American. Those are public records companies.

As for the cost, you really have to ask the provider. I paid .14 per name for mine.

I hope this helps,

Mailing lists - Posted by Russ Sims

Posted by Russ Sims on February 11, 2002 at 12:47:31:

I can’t speak for Tim but I get my lists from my local title company. They will even give me mailing labels if I want to do letters/postcards myself…and of course it’s free (they hope to get your business). Call a title company and ask for customer service, and then enquire about this service.

Reminds me of a mistake I made… - Posted by Jesse (CO)

Posted by Jesse (CO) on February 11, 2002 at 11:55:10:

Hi Tim!

I put the neighborhood I was interested in on a flashy business card. As anyone sees them, they may not feel that my company can solve their problem. Well, I’m learning from my mistakes…

However, the post card idea is ingenious. Like several others have posted, I’d love to know how you got the list.


Jesse (CO)

Re: Marketing Idea Of The Month - Posted by Sharonda (No VA)

Posted by Sharonda (No VA) on February 11, 2002 at 11:27:40:

Great idea Tim! How did you get the mailing list of out of town owners? Did you purchase from a service or research at the courthouse?

What is your website address? NT - Posted by Jon NY

Posted by Jon NY on February 11, 2002 at 10:48:10:


Re: Marketing Idea Of The Month - Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI)

Posted by Brian M. Powers(MI) on February 11, 2002 at 09:42:55:


I’ll say it for the 147th time…thanks for taking the time to provide your weekly post!

Can you share how obtained this mailing list? How much it cost? And if you used a Mailing List Provider, what search parameters did you give them?


10% of CORRECTLY Addressed Mail is Mishandled - Posted by J. Clifton

Posted by J. Clifton on February 12, 2002 at 19:48:34:

I agree on the 10% figure, which concurs with the estimate given by marketing expert Ken McCarthy in a taped lecture he did for the John Beck Seminars 10 years ago. I don’t know if the figure still stands up today, but he said at the time that 10% of CORRECTLY addressed mail is mishandled/not delivered by the Post Office. Always factor in an “Uncle Sam” error rate in delivering your direct mail, fresh list or not.

Re: Return to Sender - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 21:59:20:


I get that too. It really is a great thing!


Reverse Directories - Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX

Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX on February 11, 2002 at 23:03:51:

In addition to Haines & Co., there are four other major publishers who produce reverse directories. They are R.L. Polk & Co., Cole Information Services, Hill-Donnelly, and City Publishing. With two exceptions (Richmond, VA and the 5 boroughs of NY) each area of the country is serviced by only one of these publishers. When I lived in San Diego, Haines covered the area. Now that I live in Houston, Cole Information Services is the provider.

These publishers print hard-copy directories as well as making the information available on CD-ROM. They may also make the information available over the Internet. Their products are available for lease or by subscription. Most good-sized local libraries will lease a copy of the printed version. These companies claim to provide superior information compared to either the free on-line reverse directories or the CD-ROM’s sold at the local computer store.

While these reverse directories provide a lot of valuable information, I wasn’t aware that you could get out-of-state properties owner from them.

Best of Success!!

Jim Kennedy,
Houston, TX

Re: My results… - Posted by DN in SF

Posted by DN in SF on February 11, 2002 at 20:09:42:

Hey Ben, I have the Haines real estate CD for my county. How do I get a list of out of state owners from it?

Re: Mailing lists - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on February 11, 2002 at 14:43:40:

Russ, Who do you use for a title company in the Tacoma area? I am still using Stewart out of Seattle, but I will need to be setting up contacts here in Tacoma now that I live here.

Great Idea! - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 12:52:29:


Good idea! In my area none of the title companies offer that service.

Tim DNO - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 11, 2002 at 17:14:35:


Re: Mailing lists - Posted by Russ Sims

Posted by Russ Sims on February 11, 2002 at 15:03:23:

I use First American…I’ve also been told by Fidelity that they will do it…actually, I think all the majors in the area will do it.

Sorry I couldn’t make the first investor’s meeting…I was out of town but we’ll be at the next one.