When sending out direct mail, you want to get the most bang for your buck. These days, if the homeowner thinks it’s an advertisement or junk mail, it usually goes straight in the trash. This means a wasted lead and wasted marketing dollars. As a real estate investor, your goal is to make your yellow letter stand out so that it’s read and considered.
For those who aren’t familiar, a yellow letter is a piece of mail that’s (you guessed it) normally on yellow paper and is meant to feel like a letter you quickly hand wrote after seeing a property and dropped off at the post office. It’s meant to ask the property owner if they’re looking to sell and letting them know you can provide a cash offer to the ‘as-is’ property.
Handwritten vs. Printed in Handwritten Font
There are a lot of variables that go into creating a yellow letter. One big consideration is if you’re going to be handwriting these yellow letters yourself after driving through a neighborhood looking for distressed properties or are you going to have a company mass produce them and send them out.
Obviously truly handwritten letters are going to have the biggest impact but it does take time to “drive for dollars” and as you get more deals coming in, it becomes hard to scale. This is when having a company create, package, stamp, and mail them becomes easier to manage.
In regards to your message, if you’re handwriting to a specific address, you can be a little more personal in your message to them. On the envelope, having a handwritten address and slightly crooked stamp makes it feel like it’s a piece of mail they NEED to open as a real person sent it.
For mass producing, it’s important to have their name and address shown on the letter so they see it as personal. Let them know you’re a real estate investor in the area and want to buy the house in ‘as-is’ condition and can close quickly. On the envelope, the printed handwritten font works well and some companies even purposely place the stamp slightly uneven to give it the handcrafted look.
Watch an Expert Interview over Direct Mail for Real Estate Investors.
Not all yellow letters look the same!
Heck, some aren’t even yellow.
From the font style and color to the information provided inside the letter, you can decide how you want them to look and it can vary depending on who you’re sending them to. A lot of investors like to use blue “ink” with a legible handwritten message.
You can even add doodles to your yellow letters (both with handwritten and mass produced letters) that add a personal feel to it. From arrows to sold signs to houses… they can all be added to give it that extra touch.
In regards to the message itself, you can create different messages to send to different types of leads. Always include their name and address (done by a simple mail merge if mass producing) and then tweak the message so it has the most impact to the seller.
Are they an absentee owner? Hit on the fact that you’ll buy the property as-is, close quickly as a cash buyer, and if there is a tenant in place, you can handle it (only tell what’s true).
You can also (on white printer paper), create a printed letter that tells a bit about who you are on both a personal and business level (pictures of family are a nice touch) and then let them know you’re interested in purchasing their house. This approach relies on the lead connecting with you on personally.
What Works Best?
Try out different approaches and use different phone numbers for each type of campaign so you can track your results accurately. Give each type of letter 4-6 months at least of follow up as direct mail is a marathon and not a sprint. As your business grows, so will your marketing budget. Try out different marketing strategies and once you figure out what works for your market, you can fine tune your budget so that it’s being spent effectively.
For more information on marketing, check out 6 Examples of Smart Marketing to Sellers.