Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Donna (SoCal)

Posted by Bob Eberle on June 21, 1999 at 09:15:22:

We have an affliate membership of the area Board of Realtors.

Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Donna (SoCal)

Posted by Donna (SoCal) on June 19, 1999 at 21:51:02:

So I’ve just sent out 3000 postcards to absentee owners in tax default, and have had a really meager response so far: 2 calls(lousy deals I’m just using for practice) and a couple hangups in 2 days. I know the responses will keep coming in over the days and weeks, but is something else wrong with this picture? Don’t the really desperate and motivated call right away?

I’ve been following Joe Kaiser’s “Pushing the Envelopes” experiment on his website, and have heard Bill Bronchick say in his Vegas seminars he finds postcards and phone calls the best way to find deals, but I’m not getting anywhere near the responses I was expecting for 3000 mailers, even allowing for the hot. L.A. market. Even though it’s early in the game yet, I’m starting to think about the next batch of postacrds, and obviously I need to do some fine tuning to be more efficient.

My question for those who’ve done direct mail: How many do you send, what criteria do you use to create your mailing lists, what response ratio do you get per 1000 mailers, and approximately how many decent deals on average do you get from each mailing/per thousand.

One more thing: what’s the consensus on bulk rate mailings or Pitney-Bowes’ stamp thingy?

By the way, here’s a tip for those thinking of trying it out: expect to spend more time putting stamps and labels on postcards or envelopes than you expect to. REALLY monotonous, and surprisingly exhausting work.

Thanks for your advice
Donna in SoCal

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by SandyFL

Posted by SandyFL on June 22, 1999 at 16:45:41:

DONNA!! Where have you been hiding yourself? :slight_smile:

Anyway, just curious. What do your postcards say?
And are these people who are 1 yr behind on taxes, 2 yrs, or what?


Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Janine Peterson

Posted by Janine Peterson on June 21, 1999 at 06:57:53:

How do you get a list of all absentee owners in tax default? Is this something that is already compiled at the tax office and available to the public, or do you have to do the drudgery of checking the tax lien records one by one? Do you involve an outside company in getting this info?

Re: Postcard Mailers - A Simpler Way To Deal With The Lickin’ & Stickin’ Thingey! - Posted by Mr. Jason Channing, Nashville

Posted by Mr. Jason Channing, Nashville on June 21, 1999 at 01:36:37:


For years I owned a small direct mail company. Most of our mailings were in the tens of thousands, but occasionally we would do matched test mailings of three to five thousand, one with the bulk mail indecia and one with stamps, just to see what happened to response.

Most major office supplies catalogs show an item that looks sort of like those large date stamps with the spring loaded handle like you see in shipping and recieving offices. I don’t recall what it is called, but your old-time office supplies clerk will know. Office Depot or Staples clerks can’t even link paper clips!

You open this thing up and insert a roll of stamps, and fill the little plastic bottle that keeps the moisture pad damp, and you’rer reads to stamp 'em.

We would lay out rows and rows of mail on an 8 foot folding table, starting at the right of the table and overlapping the letters or postcards so just a couple of inches of the stamp end showed out from under the one on top of it. You can get hundreds of cards on the table that way.

Next you take your stamp thingey and go down the row, bap, bap, bap, just like you had a rubber date stamp.

As you plunge the handle down, that device moistens the end stamp on the roll, presses it down on the mail piece, and holds it there while it tears it loose from the rest of the roll.

You just go bapping down the row of cards. Thirty "baps in ten or twelve seconds and you have stamps on thirty postcards, no licking and sticking by hand.

When you finish the table, you just scoop up the cards, row by row, just like a deck of playing cards. Since you are sending them first-class, you dont have to keep them in zip-sort order.

It is still a little tedious on three to five thousand mail pieces, but much, much less so than hand applying.

What we would do to reduce the monotany was pick our target mailing date far enough in advance (some of our mailings had dated offers), that we could devide the stamping project up into stacks of a thousand and do a stack each day. With the method above that takes only a short while for each stack and you never get a chance to learn to hate it.

Now----about your response so far:

Since I have no way to grade the quality of your list and I have not seen your offer, or how it is presented on your card, I have no way to comment on your response rate, but I agree that this is way too early to start to doubt your list or mail piece. I would NOT, however, start re-designing your mail piece or do another mailing till you have AT LEAST six or eight weeks of response data on this one unless it’s to a different type of list for a different purpose.

Just as real estate pros say the secret is location, location, location, direct mail pros will tell you the secret to success is, testing, testing, testing.

You really do need to let your tests run their course and evaluate your results before blindly changing something, or doing another mailing.

And, I sure would not re-mail to THAT list segment for at least 6 mos. to a year.

If you are super interested in using direct mail techniques in your real estate investing, there are some really good books mailing piece design psychology and direct mail copy writing, and the columns and how-to articles in Direct Marketing Magazine will be invaluable to you.

I’m sure you can find it in the magazine rack at the Business Reference Section of your main public library, and at some of the branches. They will also have years of back issues you can xerox great articles from.

I no longer subscribe, but might again, now that I am getting into this real estate investment thingey, and have plan to use direct mail as a primary prospecting tool.

I may wish I had not sold my small press printing equipment. It would be perfect for this!

Don’t be discouraged. You are on the right track.

Mr. Jason Channing,
Nashville, Tennessee

My favorite offer delivery mail piece was usually a brightly colored, dramatically illustrated, boldly written OVERSIZE postcard, something like 5 1/2 by 9 3/4. Because I owned the press and the cutter, I could experiement whenever I wanted to. Those were some fun times!

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Bob Eberle

Posted by Bob Eberle on June 20, 1999 at 06:31:57:

Donna,I would think that based on the list you were mailing to that Rob is right it may take a while for responses to come in. When I mail which is a lot, I expect about 2 - 5% response, mostly tire kickers. In reality if you get 1/2 of 1% I believe that is the number most of the real direct mail pros look for to be determined a success.

As for how many deals? Let me ask you this, how deals is it gonna take to pay for your mailing? If I get one good deal from a mailing, I’m a happy camper.

The pitney bowes thingy… if your mailing a lot and doing only postcards, I would recommend. Otherwise it makes letters look like bulk mail (bad), and it’s got a few “fees” that go with it. But easier than stamps of any kind.

As for kinds of lists to mail to… first on Joe’s experiment I believe he mailed to only out of state owners, not absentee owners in tax default. Although you would think yours would be a good list as well. Me personally, I would do both of those, I’ve done expired listings, listed properties with creative terms, non owner occupants (here you get out of state and tired landlords), FSBO’s, and anything else I can get my hands on… because it only takes one deal to more than pay for it, so to me it’s worth it.

Good luck and hang in there more than a few have probably put your postcard on their refrigerator for future reference.

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on June 19, 1999 at 23:15:32:

How long ago did you send those letters out? Usually they respond quickly, but sometimes it takes awhile because the mail gets forwarded to their new address or it gets bounced back to you. I would guess that in 40% of the cases, the owner of an abandonned or foreclosure property is not at the address on the tax rolls.

I usually send out 50 to 100 at a time and get a response rate of about 4 or 5%. Maybe it is something that you said or didn’t say in your postcard?

As far as labels go, I use a rubber stamp for the return address and self-adhesive stamps for mailing. They work much quicker than the old fashioned way.

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Donna (SoCal)

Posted by Donna (SoCal) on June 22, 1999 at 02:39:10:


I used an online database service. It’s the same information available to the public for free both by the county and I believe title companies. The advantage of a database service is that one can be really specific about the search parameters; transfer costs, search by zip code, non-owner occupied, year built, how many rooms, etc.

It costs per minute to download so for my next batch I’m ordering a list of out of state owners from a title company…for free!


Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Donna (SoCal)

Posted by Donna (SoCal) on June 21, 1999 at 24:55:35:


How do you get expired listings?


Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Donna (SoCal)

Posted by Donna (SoCal) on June 21, 1999 at 01:10:38:

I sent them out last thursday. only two calls so far.

May I ask you what text you use on your cards?


Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Bob Eberle

Posted by Bob Eberle on June 21, 1999 at 05:17:05:

I have our area’s MLS on my computer.

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on June 21, 1999 at 21:22:47:

Here is what I have used:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. lname,

I am sending you this letter to let you know that I might be interested in purchasing your property located at , Florida or any other properties that you might own. You may be transferred or need a bigger or smaller house. You may be having financial difficulties and risk losing your house. I am looking for houses that I can fix up to resell or that would make a good rental. I am specifically looking for houses that need a new roof, new air-conditioning, new electrical, new plumbing, or painting. No job is too large. Also, I can offer you full price if you are willing to sell on a rent to own basis or with seller financing. If you prefer, you can fill out the bottom portion of this letter and mail it to me at the above address. I will be in contact with you as soon as I hear back from you.


Rob FL, Realtor ®

________YES, I am interested in selling my property located at:

It is ( ) Occupied ( ) Vacant
My Address:
City: State: Zip:
Phone #: ( )
Any information about the property that you consider important:

We will contact you shortly after you return this.

Re: Regarding Postcard Mailers - Posted by Janine Peterson

Posted by Janine Peterson on June 21, 1999 at 07:02:04:

Did you get this compliments of a realtor that you know or work with? I have several realtor friends that I would like to approach about MLS when I’m ready, will they be willing to do this?