How to Get a 57% Response Rate on Your Direct Mail Campaigns
If you are sending out direct mail on a frequent basis, what is your response rate (i.e. the ratio of phone calls, text messages, emails, or other forms of communication in response to a piece of marketing to the overall pieces of marketing sent).
However, what if I told you that you could increase that rate by a factor of 10 to 100?
Well, Jay Connor, who fix-and-flips 2-3 deals a month with an average profit of $64,000, created a direct mailing campaign with a 57% cumulative response rate*, which is indeed 10 to 100 times greater than the average rate!
*Cumulative response rate is the ratio of owner responses to the number of owners contacted. It is not based on the total pieces of marketing sent. For example, if 100 owners were contacted with 200 pieces of mail, and 10 replied on the first piece of mail and 10 replied on the second piece of mail, for a total of 20 replies, the cumulative response rate is 20% (20 replies / 100 owners), not 10% (20 replies / 200 piece of mail)
How does he do it? In our recent conversation, Jay outlined his 8-step direct mailing campaign that results in a response rate of almost 60%**.
**Keep in mind that all 57% of the replies did not result in a deal. Angry responses count too!
Principle #1 – Multi-piece, intensifying campaign
According to Jay, there are two keys to receiving such a high response rate.
First, you must send out a multi-piece campaign with each subsequent letter being an escalation of the last, as opposed to a single-piece campaign or a multi-piece campaign with each lettering being the same.
For Jay, he sends 8-different pieces of marketing to owners. He said, “Each message starts intensifying a little bit more and more. Each letter looks different; each letter is in a different envelope; each envelope is hand addressed; each envelope is a different color and different size. By the time we get to number seven and we get to number eight – we’re using a very big envelope on seven and eight – they actually get a gold tube with a rattle inside of it, just for the sake of curiosity. So of course, with each letter we also start talking about how time is running out and times is of the essence.”
For context, that last part (“time is of the essence”) is in reference to the foreclosure date, because Jay’s main focus is on pre-foreclosed properties. Since these are pre-foreclosure properties, Jay said, “we also mail these letters three days apart. So here in North Carolina, from the time of a notice of default until the hearing day is typically about 4-6 weeks. After the hearing day, then the sale date is about two weeks after that. So it’s about eight weeks from the time of the notice of default. So at three days apart we’re going through these letters about every 24 days, and we’ll keep mailing the letters until we have a response or until the house goes to sale.”
Besides making certain changes based on your target property, the messaging for each letter, Jay said, is an iteration of “if you’re interested in a solution and having some cash to put in your pocket, reach out to us and we’ll see what we can do.”
To summarize, you goal is to create a schedule to send multiple letters with each being a different design and more intense than the previous letter and continuing to do so until the deal is 100% off-the-table (property was sold, owner asked to be removed from your mailing list, etc.).
Principle #2 – Offer Multiple Response Communication Channels
“One principle of marketing,” Jay said, “whether you’re a real estate investor or in any other industry is the more ways that you give a potential respondent to respond, the more response you get.”
Similar to the escalation of messaging, letter quality, envelope size and color, etc., for each letter, Jay offers additional ways for the owner to reply, and he has found that to increase his response rate substantially.
His progression is as follows:
- Letter #1 – Cell phone number with an individual’s name (for Jay’s campaigns, this is a virtual assistant’s name) for them to call
- Letter #2 – Cell phone number and email address
- Letter #3 – Cell phone number, email address, and 24-hour recorded message hotline (because some owners are turned off by the prospect of talking to someone)
- Letter #4 – Cell phone number, email address, hotline, and a tear-off where the owner can write down their information and mail the tear off back to Jay
- Letter #5 – Cell phone number, email address, hotline, tear-off and (this will blow your mind) a fax number
- Letter #6 and onwards – Cell phone number, email address, hotline, tear-off, fax number, and a number to text
Finally, for each letter, Jay provides a web address that sends them to a landing page. Overall, he offers seven different ways for the owner to reply.
Jay Connor, an investor who fix-and-flips foreclosed SFRs, conducts an 8-step direct mail campaign that receives a 57% cumulative response rate. Sometimes he receives a response on the first letter; sometimes he receives a response on the 8th letter; sometimes he receives a response with someone cussing him out.
In order to increase your response rate, Jay recommends following two marketing principles: (1) Create a progressive, intensifying, multi-piece mailing campaign and (2) offer multiple response communication channels
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