What’s up fellow real estate investors, and future Millionaires!
Today I want to talk about something that I’ve experimented with over the years, which has made me a LOT of money…direct mail marketing.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons (the hard way) with direct mail, and finally found the perfect company for what I’m doing.
Ballpoint marketing has made me over $40,000 (net) profit since November, off just my FIRST batch of mailers!
What Is Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail Marketing is the act of sending letters and postcards to people asking if they want to sell their home.
Direct mail is a powerful way to reach out to thousands of people very quickly. Sure, you might get a slightly better response knocking on doors, or calling people directly, but you won’t be able to knock on 3,500 doors in a single week.
You can, however, send thousands of mailers a month—or weekly if you prefer—and reach people in volume to talk about their properties.
Don’t get me wrong, knocking on doors is probably cheaper depending on the cost of gas in your area, but it is far less efficient. I’m all for finding the most efficient way to earn a return on my time and money.
I have personally tried many different methods of direct mail, from handwritten to postcards to printing them in mass from my home.
Hell, I have a friend who used to host pizza parties where he paid his friends a little money, bought beer and pizza, and had them help him seal envelopes for entire Saturdays.
When it comes to direct mail, I’ve seen a lot of methods, which is why I decided it was time to write this new article now that I’ve found a vastly superior method to find deals through direct mail—Ballpoint Marketing.
Over the years I’ve used direct mail marketing all wrong!
I would turn on the marketing funnel and send some letters whenever I was ready to buy a property, and then shut the funnel off again, instead of consistently marketing for deals.
Nonetheless, I still managed to buy a 10-unit, and 4 single family homes with direct mail!
Now, I’m much more consistently sending $3k+ mailers out every couple of months, and I have every intention of scaling that because of the incredible results I’m getting.
How It Started (handwriting, Oahu stories)
The first time I ever sent direct mail I pulled a list of absentee-owned homes in Lanikai, HI. Those of you familiar with Lanikai are probably laughing already.
Lanikai is a loop on the windward side of the island with only one way in/out. If you have ever seen the pictures of people hiking in Hawaii, and overlooking two little islands from on top of an old WW2-era pillbox, that neighborhood below is Lanikai.
Basically, Lanikai is one of the most expensive neighborhoods on the island. There isn’t a home in this neighborhood under a million dollars—and most are much more than that.
Well, I was new to the island and didn’t know any of this.
I handwrote almost 200 letters over the course of a month and sent them off at the end of each day—4-5 letters a day.
As a result of targeting million dollar homes that I could not afford at all, and were in great condition—with no distress to motivate the sellers—I landed exactly…zero deals.
I did have two cool phone calls though:
The first, was former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s son, who owned one of the homes in that neighborhood.
The other, was a man who owned two—yes two–$20,000,000 homes side-by-side on the beach. He called and said (paraphrasing) “I figure there is no way a Marine could afford one of my homes, and my neighbor received one of these letters too…we wanted to know if you’re a front-man for President Obama looking to buy a home here?”
That’s right, the only two phone calls I received worth noting were from well off people, wondering what I was up to, haha.
This is the wrong way to use direct mail marketing.
Not only did I target the wrong people, but I wasted hours and hours handwriting these letters too.
How It’s Going Now
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve experimented with several different methods of sending direct mail. I’ve learned how to pull lists to target more motivated sellers. I’ve even built systems to answer the inbound phone calls and screen potential sellers for me.
As I write this it is February of 2021, and I’ve purchased three homes (cash) from direct mail already this year—of just my first batch of mailers.
I just received another 4,000+ letters in the mail, and I plan to begin shooting them off this weekend to secure some more deals!
I don’t say this to brag, but just to point out that I’ve learned a lot about how not to conduct direct mail marketing—and learned it the hard way—over the years, and if I were you, I would prefer to learn from my mistakes…than having to learn the hard way yourself.
Response Rates From My Last Campaign (cost per deal)
My last order of direct mail letters cost $3,700 and landed me three deals. That is one deal for every $1,233 worth of mail. Keep in mind that I have other systems in place, and there were more costs associated with this due to those systems…but the mail itself resulted in one deal per $1,233 worth of letters.
Given that I’m making over $10,000 on each of these three deals—closer to $17,000 on two of them—this is a pretty great return on investment.
Actually, we had 75 leads—that we made contact with, and had a conversation with—from this list. I think over the next year we should easily land another 1-3 leads from following up with these leads. Realistically, this is a great response, when you consider the number of people who called/texted just to say “take me off your list” (or something similar nut with more expletives) who we did not count as leads. Also, we had almost 300 return to sender mailers, whom we are following up with via text and phone call.
All in all, this was a pretty solid response rate, and I’ve never landed this many deals off so few letters before.
What I Love about Ballpoint Marketing
Ballpoint Marketing is my go to direct mail company now, and I will not go back to using anyone else!
Ballpoint marketing uses robots to write the letters with ballpoint—hence the name—pens. These letters look completely handwritten, which means they get read much more frequently than any printed envelopes or postcards you can buy.
People are much more likely to read letters if they appear to be handwritten, or personalized, as opposed to appearing printed and mailed in mass. I cannot blame them, I do the same thing when I receive ads in the mail. Unless you can peak my interest…#trash!
Here are a few reasons I like Ballpoint marketing so much;
They catch your eye
There are a few different patterns to choose from, including some pretty cool Comic-themed mailouts!
I’ve not personally used these ones (yet) but the letters I use have both an eye-catching design, and contrasting colors, that make them stick out like a sore thumb amongst other mail.
You can spot these letters immediately out of your pile of mail, and I guarantee that your potential sellers will notice them.
They genuinely appear to be handwritten
Not only do these letters look like handwritten font, but because they use actual ballpoint-style pens, there are even ink splotches and some marks that make it look as though they were genuinely handwritten.
They even come in less-than-neat handwriting, which is much more realistic!
I had used font that “looked handwritten” in the past to print letters, but it was never very convincing. I was impressed when I got my first batch of mailers in, and saw just how real they appear!
You control the flow of outgoing mail
One of the things I never liked about direct mail was that if you ordered 3,000 postcards then you would have 3,000 postcards ship to your list of addresses as soon as they were printed.
This lead to 3,000 postcards worth of phone calls over a week or two, and then it tapered off again until you ordered another batch. For a new real estate investor this was an overwhelming volume of calls to handle.
This meant that I either needed to order 500-1,000 post cards every couple of weeks, or deal with being overwhelmed and trying to catch up with all of these leads asap—and inevitably missing a few.
What Ballpoint does for me instead, is send me individual boxes of mailers. They arrive in boxes of 350-500 mailers.
This allows me to drop 1-2 boxes in the mail every Saturday, and then I’ll receive a reasonable amount of inbound calls the following week.
I love being able to order in bulk, and still control the flow of leads in order to grow my business smoothly.
I can also tweak the day I drop these boxes in the mail in order to predict which day(s) I’ll receive the most calls on the following week.
This is super convenient, and I love it!
Systems You Need on the Back End If You Want To Be Passive
There is so much I could say about this, but I’ll leave it as a short overview.
I work fulltime, and am unable to field all of the unscheduled inbound calls from these Ballpoint mailers.
For that reason, I’m currently utilizing Call Porter to receive all of my inbound calls. They take the call, screen the seller, and input their data to my customer relationship management program REsimpli before scheduling them for a seller-appointment on the Calendly link I gave them!
This way I’m only talking to pre-screened, motivated sellers, at the time(s) that I allotted to have phone calls.
The Bottom Line About BallPoint Marketing
This is the best direct mail marketing company I have used, and you owe it to yourself to give Ballpoing a shot today!
Just know, that if you want to scale, you’re going to (eventually) want to build systems to handle the influx of calls.
Thanks for the tip David. I’ve been investing in real estate pretty heavily the last few years (mobile homes), and I know I need to jump into direct mail at some point. It was always a hassle to buy a list from one company, get the pre-printed material from another and finallly deliver to the post office so I’ll definitely check these guys out.
Hell yeah, let me know how it goes Lui!
What’s the cost for CallPorter?
They have several different packages depending on how you want to use them. Mine was $500/month, plus an additional $100, for every 25 calls I went over a certain amount. I can’t recall exactly