Using Promotional Items to Locate Motivated Sellers- Part 5 (Post Cards)

While I personally do not use a lot of post card mailings in my real estate business, they definitely have their place. One of the main uses for a post card is to either test a new list before spending a lot of money mailing from and also to canvas large areas at very little cost.

If you are going to use post card mailings, there are several different ways to do this effectively. On my web site at marketingmagiclady.com, I give you resources on how to find list brokers. One thing you can do is to create the list you want to mail to, download it to usps.com and let them do the mailing for you for around .24 cents per post card including printing. The post card is simply black and white, no frills, but can be used to canvas specific areas or large areas.

When using post cards be sure to make sure you have a “kick butt” headline to catch your reader’s attention immediately. Remember, you only have seconds before your reader decides to throw your post card in the trash. One of my personal favorite headlines is “Sell Your Home On The Date Of Your Choice For A Fair Price Without Doing Any Repairs”. This is a benefit driven headline that lets your potential seller know exactly what you can do for them. Then follow that up by telling the seller exactly what it is you want them to do. For example, are you going to send them to a pre-recorded 24 hour message? Are you going to have them call an answering service or you directly or are you going to send them to a web site where they can give you all of their information. These are all options when using a post card mailing to reach possibly motivated sellers.

While a post card is not necessarily the best means to reach truly motivated sellers, it certainly is an inexpensive way for the beginner investor to get started in the real estate business.

The other primary use I personally have for post cards is two-fold. One is to test a new list. If I have purchased a list and I’m not sure how current it is, a post card is an inexpensive way to test it. You can send out 300-500 pieces and see how many are returned to you for bad addresses. This should never be more than about five percent of your total mailing if you are using a good list.

The other way I use post cards is to build a buyers list. I send a post card mailing to areas with a high number of duplexes and apartment complexes. I use a headline which goes something like this-“Tired of Paying Rent Every Month? Would You Like To Own Your Own Home?”, or Are You Tired of Paying Off Someone Elses Mortgage?. You can get very creative with your headline and then use a benefit driven message to get potential buyers to call you. Once again, you have to tell your potential buyers exactly what you want them to do.

While I prefer to use letter campaigns to reach very motivated sellers, post cards can also be used in your business in a variety of ways. Take a look at marketingmagiclady.com and check out some of the post cards samples offered by Plan It Promo. They are probably the best in the business at what they do and that’s helping you to locate more leads than you can deal with.

Using Promotions to Locate Motivated Sellers-(Event Sponsorship) Part 4

One of the great ways to get positive exposure for your business and give back to your community is to sponsor events or teams. There are lots of great ways to do this.

You can sponsor sports teams such as soccer, softball, bowling or track. You can also participate in a local golf tournament for charity. One of the ways to do this is to provide uniforms or shirts which of course have your company information on them. Walk-a-thons are another great way to achieve this goal. This is a good way to get advertising out for your business and support your community at the same time.

Another way to do this is to sponsor events or take part in local functions by donating promotional items. For example, if your community is having a local fair or parade, you could donate balloons to be given out to the children which have your company name and logo on them. These are always appreciated and it’s a good way to get your company information out to the public. These events usually get press or television coverage as well. Imagine a news shot of a parade where every child is holding a balloon with your message on it! Or, imagine the winning team getting their picture in the paper wearing shirts with your message on them. What better advertising could you ask for!

Another way to participate in public events is by donating items for events where bags of free gifts are given out such as a health fair. There are lots of inexpensive items you can donate that have your company information on them such as pens, post it note pads, key rings, or mugs. Local associations are always looking for items they can give away.

You can also sponsor community classes on “How To Sell Your Home Quickly” and invite the public to attend. You could also do this through the chamber of commerce or local associations. Through these free classes, you can educate the public as to what your business is all about.

During the holidays your company could host a toy drive or a food drive for local associations. Not only are you getting great positive advertising for your company, but you’re doing something to help those who are less fortunate.

Another way to get your company name into the public eye with a short message is to use candy. The wrappers have your company name, logo and a short message on them such as “Let us help you get a sweet deal”. These are usually welcomed in the lobbies of your local paper, mortgage brokers, large employers, realty associations, the unemployment office, restaurants, or relocation services. You can even put a bowl of your candy on the registration table at your local real estate club or another club you belong to.

Get creative and take a look at your own community to find ways to get your company’s message out to the public. There are lots of ways to do this if you just look.

Using Promotional Items To Locate Motivated Sellers-Part 3 (Lumpy Mail)

One of the most effective ways to get a motivated seller’s attention is through the use of “lumpy mail”. Lumpy mail is anything that is a dimensional mailing or that makes noise or looks different than a normal mail piece. There are several different ways to use lumpy mail in your real estate investment business.

One way a lot of real estate investors use lumpy mail is when they are going after the pre-foreclosure market. These people are getting stacks of mail and post cards every day from mortgage companies, attorneys and other investors. You need to do something to make your mail stand out and look different from the others.

There are several ways to do this. One is to simply insert something into the envelope if you are mailing a letter. It might be a piece of candy or gum with information about your business with a tag line of “In a sticky situation? Call us first”. Or, if it’s a piece of candy, “Call us first, we can make you a sweet deal”. It just needs to be something that makes you look different and stand out from everyone else.

There are also specialty boxes available that stand out because of their shape, dimension, and the fact that they look like priority mail or express mail. These generally will get opened 80% of the time according to statistics. This greatly increases the chances of that motivated seller calling you first. In addition, when you send out these mailers, insert a penny into them. Anything that makes noise will arouse the seller’s curiosity. Just one warning though, if you implement these techniques, make sure you are ready to handle the responses since they will increase dramatically.

There are many items that are lightweight and small
that can be added to your mailings to increase the response rate. Let’s face it, you have competition, especially in the pre-foreclosure market. You need something that will set you aside and get your offer opened and read. You can use a post it note pad as an envelope stuffer or a small calendar. These are items the seller will hold onto and they will contact you first when their circumstances dictate that they do so. There are many items like these available for you to choose from.

I personally mail to a lot of out of state owners and in my mailings I have a response mechanism that I want the seller to send back to me either by mail or by fax, so I include a flat pen in my mailings. This significantly increases the response rate in two ways. One is that they wonder what’s in the envelope and the other is that they have the pen immediately handy to fill out my response mechanism. It just takes away one more step for them. Anything that makes it easier for the seller to respond will cause them to do it sooner as opposed to later. Plus, they will keep the pen to stick in their purse or check book. Once again, they have my information immediately handy when they are ready to contact me.

Don’t send out more pieces than you can realistically respond to since your responses will increase significantly. And don’t forget to tie the specific verbiage in with the market you are targeting with your mailings. For example, if you insert the penny into your pre-foreclosure mailings, use a headline on your piece that says something like “Tired of getting penny ante offers? Contact us for a fair offer” You will want to use different verbiage for lists containing divorces, military transfers, pre-foreclosures, job relocations, etc.

One of my specialties as a marketing expert is to help my students create the most effective lists and locate the best list brokers available; in addition to providing many ways to increase their response rates with their mailings.

Using a direct mail letter campaign is one of the most highly niched and cost effective ways I know to get motivated sellers contacting you in droves so you can pick and choose the deals you want to do with absolutely no competition for the deals whatsoever.

For more information on locating motivated sellers using promotional pieces, direct mail and list brokers, check out my web site at marketingmagiclady.com.

Using Promotional Items to Locate Motivated Sellers-Part 2 (Signage)

Signage is an important tool for you to use in your real estate business. There are several different kinds of signage you can use. You can use magnetic signs, or vinyl lettering for example on your vehicle. You can also “wrap” a vehicle with signage. This is a little more expensive and a little more permanent, however, it can be easily removed should you decide to sell your vehicle. Something I do in my personal business is to supply sun shades to friends, relatives and vendors such as my pool person and lawn man that say “We Buy Houses, Quick Closings and our phone number. That way, anytime they are parked somewhere, their vehicle is a billboard for our business.

Some of the other types of signage are yard signs, and street signs. These are the smaller signs that you can tack to posts or stick in the ground. Every property you own should have one of your signs in the yard letting the world know that you buys houses. If you have a rental property your signs should be in those yards as well. One way to avoid the “sign police” when placing signs is to keep them off main roads and keep them in subdivisions where you want to buy houses. Or, if you know of a home in pre-foreclosure in a particular subdivision, place one your “avoid foreclosure” signs at the entrance and exit to the subdivision. If you know of a house that sits at a busy intersection, you can knock on the door and ask the owner if you can place one of your signs in their yard and pay them with a free pizza coupon once a month. This is another inexpensive way to get your message out to the public.

Other types of signage include door hangers, flyers and banners. If you see a vacant house simply place one of your door hangers on the door. Go back a week or so later and recheck the property. If the hanger is gone, replace it with another one. Sometimes a neighbor will pick them up because they may need your services also. You can also have someone hang these or place flyers door to door for you. This is a great way to canvas entire neighborhoods where you want to buy houses.

Banners are another great tool to use. I use these in two ways. One is to put them up in local parks where there are baseball, softball, soccer games, etc. The parks usually sponsor your putting up these banners and it is fairly inexpensive to do so. Another use for banners is to contact store owners who own properties on main roads with fences around them such as car lots. Ask if you can pay them a small amount each month to place a banner on their fence. This is a good way to get signs up on main roads without any hassles.

Remember that anytime you are using signage the message must be short and to the point. The person walking or driving has only seconds to see your message. It needs to be something like “We Buy Houses” and your number and web site address, or “Avoid Foreclosure”. Remember to give your potential seller more than one way to contact you. This makes it easier for the seller to choose how they want to contact you. If you do have have a web site, this gives the seller the opportunity to “check you out” before they actually call you.

For more information on these and even more great marketing ideas, go to my web site at marketingmagiclady.com

Resources For Creating Mailing Lists

One of the Questions I am frequently asked by students wanting to implement a direct mail campaign is where to get the lists of sellers to mail to. While there are several resources available, I find they vary greatly in price quality of the lists.

There are a couple of resources for lists that I find to be especially reasonable in price and the quality of the lists are excellent for our use. One of those resources is very easy to find and use. Simply go to your property appraiser, auditors, or assessors office and ask them to put the list together for you. If your county is online this is usually pretty simple for them to do. Another source of lists is mailing list services which you can locate by going to your local yellow pages and looking under “mailing list services”.

One of the best sources of mailing lists I have found comes from a program called Real Quest. This program is a part of the services provided by First American Real Estate Solutions. Their program is designed to do a variety of things and mailing lists is just one part of it. Some of the things this program does is regarding lists to help you find the owners of properties that are vacant or rented, in divorce or partnership splits, properties recieved in an inheritance, properties in foreclosure, out of state owners and more. You can custom create your mailing lists in your own office or home at your leisure.

Some of the other attributes of this program are that it gets comprehensive information on any property including mailing address, phone number, purchase price, taxes, assessments, legal data, and mortgage information, all of which can help you determine what kind of offer you will make on a property.

Also available with the program are Document Images, Automated Valuation Models, Flood Maps,Neighborhood Demographic Profiles and Comparables.

Basically, this program provides you with a one-stop shop for all the items you need to create mailing lists, finding sellers who need to sell, and the information you need to create a win-win solution for yourself and your seller.

For more information on Real Quest, go to marketingmagiclady.com and click on “Information on Mailing Lists”.