In Direct Marketing News

How to Make your Real Estate Direct Mail Effective?

We have been doing real estate direct mail for many years with great results, and we can tell you what your problem is. It’s your list. As electronic devices only work when plugged in, direct mail only works with a proper mailing list and a consistent mailing.

Vacant or Occupied Houses?

If you failed in the past with direct mail, the problem could be your mailing list. What were your criteria for targeting? Real estate experts from BiggerPockets recommend several categories of targets for your direct mailing: vacant and occupied houses and probates.

First, it seems to be a good idea to look for vacant houses because these properties are one of the biggest money sucking problems for real estate investors. How can you find their absentee owners? The only way to reach those folks is through a well-managed direct mail campaign.

Through mailing, you can meet most likely homeowners being under distress that can’t afford to “fix-up” their houses and look to sell them quickly.

Or you can target specific subsets of owners for their occupied houses: retired people or those who have owned their homes for 20+ years. Many retired reconsider their housing options given that many of them face up to an income shortfall. Their solid reason to sell and move on are high costs with house maintenance, properties taxes, and homeowners insurance, that isn’t negligible. Selling the home in retirement and moving to a smaller one, allows them to downsize their living.

Another promising group of sellers is folks in probate that proved to be one of the most motivated sellers, as they almost always want to sell. Although they need time for grieving and for stuff disposal, they might inherit a house that needs a fixer-upper and some cash to invest in, or they have a mortgage to pay. Express your condolences and acknowledge that there might be a difficult time,  but let them know that you’ll be there for them when the right time for selling the house will come.

Where to Get the List?

There are a lot of free sources where you can get decent lists of these groups of sellers, but you have to do some cleaning on your own to have an accurate database. Or you can rent/buy an accurate mailing list from us with a high guaranteed deliverable rate. Also, you can restrain your list by area of influence filtering the list by zip codes, or by the price of the house, if you want to avoid those on the highest price range or areas with a bad reputation.

The ability to profile customers on more than just a zip code contributes to direct mailing success. The more you know about your customer, the better you will be able to cater the message to your market. Don’t march on one size fits all approach, send different messages to each of your segmented lists.

Be Consistent Over Time

Secondly, you need to mail to your list consistently for a more extended period. Mail to these houses until either you get the deal, someone else gets the deal, or your prospects ask you to stop the mailing, or you did some calling, and you are almost sure the deal won’t happen.

A direct mail campaign is an ongoing process, not a one or two-time event. Inconsistent mailings will only cause you to lose traction and waste money.

Those who responded to your offer put them on a long follow-up plan. Give your prospects a monthly call, send a follow-up letter, retarget them on Facebook or send an email sequence. They will eventually sell their property, and you will be the first person they’ll think about.  

Customers require up to seven interactions with an offer before they are willing to buy into it. That means that when you use direct mail or another integrated marketing channel,  you need to have enough interactions with your customers, before expecting them to take action.

A letter or a Postcard?

A handwritten letter might seem antique, but it has shown over time its effectiveness, even in the digital era. And you no need actually to write the letter by hand. Many mailing houses can actually print your message using a font that looks like handwriting.

Postcards are the most cost-effective direct mail format. They are cheaper to produce, and there is no lower postcard postage in USPS Marketing Mail. But with postcards, you have to downsize your message strictly to the point. You can send a 5.5″×10.5″ oversized postcard to make sure your postcard has been noticed. Or an 8.5″×10.5″ jumbo postcard that won’t get lost with other postcards and envelopes, but quite the opposite, it will be the first the recipient will see and read.

Or you can choose typed letters. This format can be pricier than a postcard due to folding and envelope stuffing. But, if you select a typed letter for its professional look, find a mailing house to do it for you because it can be a daunting task.

Don’t Forget to Test

If you don’t know what to send: a yellow letter with fonts that look like handwriting, a typed letter or a postcard, here are some clues.

Send to one-third of your mailing list the yellow letter, and to another third the typed letter. The letter that gets more calls and deals is your winner, and you should roll it out to additional zip codes, that’s the remaining contacts in your mailing list. Test your new formats against the winner, and you’ll know which works best for you everytime.


Remember, when it comes to direct mail marketing, your biggest asset is your mailing list. Approach each segment of your market separately and saturate your targets with a consistent mailing. Whatever format you choose, a handwritten letter or a typed one, don’t forget to test it first on a smaller portion, then roll it out to the rest of your mailing list.

AccurateAZ offers from a single-color letterhead to a fully customized magazine, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, the Accurate Mailing Services team is always happy to help.

You can reach us at phone: (602) 433-9101 and toll-free: 1-877-433-9101 or text us at

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