Which Real Estate Direct Mail Strategy Should You Use Next?

Key Takeaways

  • Direct mail campaigns are not only still viable, but they are some of today’s best marketing strategies for real estate investors.
  • Direct mail shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy, but rather a component of a much larger plan.
  • Done correctly, there is no reason the right mail piece can’t land you your next few deals.

The advent of technology has made it easier than ever to reach the masses, which begs the question: What place does real estate direct mail have in a world governed by social media platforms that can spread to millions of people with the single click of a button?

The answer may surprise you, but I can assure you it’s a welcome one: There isn’t just a place for real estate direct mail, but rather a large one. Despite its simplistic nature, direct mail remains one of the most powerful marketing tools used by investors — provided it’s done properly.

Put simply, a direct mail campaign is as viable of a marketing option as it has ever been — if not more so. Despite the direction technology has taken us, there is still a large contingent of people clamoring for a more personal touch. Whether you want to believe it or not, a great deal of people want to be spoken to on a personal level, and real estate direct mail is one of the last outlets capable of doing so.

There’s no doubt about it: advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we communicate with one another, and marketing is no exception to the rule. The internet, alone, has given small business owners the ability to market on a platform they never thought imaginable just a decade ago, but I digress. Sometimes the best marketing tool is the simplest one. It stands to reason that a sound real estate direct mail campaign will strike a chord with a lot of people. In fact, you would be surprised at how big of an impact a personal message tailored to a target audience can have.

It’s worth noting, however, that executing a direct mail campaign isn’t as simple as writing a letter to a neighbor and hoping for a response; there are a myriad of logistics you need to take into consideration, not the least of which includes the type of parcel you will send. You see, it’s not only what you write in the message that is important, but also the method of delivery.

Real Estate Direct Mail: Yellow Letters Vs Postcards

Real estate postcard marketing

The way I see it, real estate investors have two options when it comes to implementing their own direct mail campaign: yellow letters and postcards. Both have their place, but each one is unique in their delivery. Which one will work best for you will depend on what you are looking to get out of your campaign. To help make your decision a little easier, here’s a breakdown of each and what they bring to the table:


As perhaps the simplest direct mail piece of them all, postcards represent a great entry point for real estate investors to test the marketing waters. If for nothing else, they offer the least amount of work upfront, as they don’t require envelopes; a small difference, but an advantage, nonetheless. Perhaps even more importantly, postcards do not require the recipient to open an envelope before they can read your message. That means there is a better chance the reader gets your message, which is all you can ask for as a real estate investor.

To break it down, here’s a brief list of pros and cons one can expect from implementing a postcard direct mail campaign:

  • Easy to mass produce (PRO)
  • Less expensive than other options (PRO)
  • No need to open (PRO)
  • Message is viewable immediately (PRO)
  • Typically a lower response rate (CON)

If you are, in fact, considering going the postcard route, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. For starters, you will want to personalize each postcard. That doesn’t mean handwriting the entire message, but it does mean at least handwriting the recipients name and address. In doing so, you may decrease the likelihood of the recipient from ignoring your postcard altogether. You’d be surprised at how far a personal touch can take your message. In fact, people are more likely to be interested in what you have to say if you spend the time to write your message, as opposed to having a printer do all the work.

Outside of the writing itself, I would suggest investing in some unique stamps — anything to garner attention for your piece. At the very least, the addition of a unique stamp will generate some curiosity from the prospect. Remember, the longer they look at your postcard, the better chances your message will have to reach them.

Yellow Letters

As their name would lead you to believe, yellow letters are exactly that: handwritten letters on yellow legal or notebook paper. And, not unlike their postcard counterparts, yellow letters are intended to market to a specific audience. What’s more, yellow letters are crafted with the idea of being as non-confrontational as possible, as if they were coming from a friend or family member. It’s worth noting, however, that the handwritten nature of yellow letters are their most promising feature. Due, in large part, to the time it takes to write a letter, recipients are much more likely to appreciate the time and effort that went into your campaign; it has a way of making distressed homeowners feel like people instead of a number. More specifically, yellow letters tend to suggest more empathy, and, as a result, have become synonymous with a higher response rate.

Just for clarification, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a yellow letter real estate direct mail campaign:

  • Non-confrontational (PRO)
  • Great response rate (PRO)
  • Difficult to mass produce (CON)
  • They have to be opened (CON)
  • Take longer to do than postcards (CON)

The Final Verdict

I wish I could provide you with a definitive answer as to which real estate direct mail piece works the best, but the truth is that they are both a great option. Whereas postcards get your message in the hands of recipients without even opening an envelope, yellow letters provide the personal touch most distressed homeowners are desperately searching for. In reality, each could serve as the foundation for a great real estate direct mail marketing campaign. I maintain that you can’t go wrong with either, so long as you add the correct content.

When you combine the right message with either mail piece, it stands to reason that your direct mail strategy will reach more people, but I digress. What does a great direct mail piece say? What content do you need to add to your yellow letters or postcards to get them to resonate with recipients?

As it turns out, there are five things every real estate direct mail piece must have in order to work:

  1. A Catchy Headline: As the single most important aspect of your real estate direct mail piece, your headline must be catchy enough to grab people’s attention. Consider hitting on “pain points” that will address the needs of distressed owners. For example, you may want to ask if they “Need A Creative Way To Avoid Foreclosure.”
  2. Empathy: Exercise empathy, as your target audience is most likely dealing with a very tough situation. There’s a good chance they are already frustrated and confused, so it stands to reason they will appreciate a helping hand. If you can express an inherent degree of empathy, there is a least a chance they will hear what you have to say.
  3. What You Can Offer: As a real estate investor, you stand to benefit from the acquisition of a home, but it’s also important that you inform recipients of your ability to lend a helping hand. While you may not be able to prevent them from losing the home, you could keep them out of bankruptcy.
  4. Call To Action: Simply put, a call to action will tell the recipient of your letter that to do, in a timely fashion. This process should be goal-based, telling them exactly what you want them to do.
  5. Contact Information: No real estate direct mail piece is complete without your contact information, and for good reason: How else do you expect an interested homeowner to get a hold of you? That said, be sure to leave the necessary information.

In the right hands, a real estate direct mail strategy can be a very powerful marketing tool. Have you found your direct mail efforts worthwhile? Perhaps you have a different strategy that has worked well in the past? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies