Yellow Letter with a twist

 So being brand new to the world of real estate investing I feel the best way to get my feet wet it to get a wholesale under my belt first. Having purchased a list of properties in the area I am ready to start a mailing campaign, however I feel as though the typical "yellow letter" is too shoddy looking, and am leaning towards sending it on my personal stationary. Good idea? Bad idea?

Good idea.

We don’t need a gimmick to get sellers to open letters from us. We just need something that doesn’t look like a gimmick.

Ask yourself, “Who sends me gimmicky mail?” It’s people with something to hard-sell me, on an impulse. It could be cars, shoes, sales, water conditioners, or whatever. For me, gimmicky impulse-buying offers go right into the trash.

On the other hand, you could be selling me a gas-powered nose clipper, and if the offer comes in a white, thin envelope with a personal, return name and address, I’m a sucker to open it.

As an aside, what are the conventional give-aways that tell us we’re about to be hard-sold on a gas-powered nose trimmer?

Well, it’s a thick envelope with a fat sales letter inside; no return address; a photo of Grandma Moses happily running tree removal equipment up her nasal cavity; bar codes; suites; PO boxes; and bulk mail stamps.

There’s no need for a gimmick to get real estate prospects to open our mail.

Consider how we’ve framed our offer otherwise, if we’re playing games at the get-go. How serious does the seller take us, if all they have to go on, is a yellow, lined, photocopied, handwritten letter saying 'we buy houses"?

I don’t want to frame my offers, or create the perception, that I’m a huckster. Instead I want to create trust and credibility by sending a simple business letter with a personal return address and a typed address (or even a label!!!) to my prospects. They’ll open my letter. Everyone does.

And the greater thing is that I’m not creating a false/bad impression about my credentials, or intentions, by running the prospect through a gimmick.

It’s said that “First impressions are the most impacting impressions.” If so, I want to be careful to come across as honest, approachable, trustworthy and credible.

I don’t believe that yellow letters do that for me.

Ignore all this if you’re trying to sell Grandma Moses brand nose-trimmers by mail.

I appreciate the response, I was thinking on the same wavelength but was just looking for some confirmation.

Just for clarification…

I was just reminded today about the original reason(s) for sending yellow letters.

This has been a marketing strategy/campaign used for foreclosure and NOD victims. These people are routinely swamped with mail, offering to buy their houses, etc. As a result, one way to get your mail opened is to send a yellow letter.

However, that’s another ball of wax.

I’m assuming you’re not trolling through a pile of NOD’s or foreclosure lists. If so, yellow letters may be necessary to capture the prospect’s attention, since much of the mail coming to these people is from investors.

Meantime, when we’re marketing to people who aren’t in obvious trouble, we find that a standard letter works well. Again, these sellers aren’t wading though dozens of “I Buy Houses” letters. So a plain, white envelope stands out from the prospects junk mail.

The bottom line for us, is to first create curiosity without undermining our credibility. Plain, thin, white envelopes with first class stamps definitely accomplish that for us.

So, there is a place for yellow letters, if we’re competing with a dozen other marketers for the same fish.

Good idea.

Just make sure you don’t spend so much on it. Anyone receiving a mail in their name is most definitely likely to open it. So, if it yields the same response if you were using the ordinary yellow letter, it might be a thought. Still, I like your idea, it will certainly give sellers a good impression of you.

It sounds like a good idea, but a lot more work. But it is certainly worth a try. I hope it works out for you.

Anything you can do to differentiate yourself is great.

If you can personalize the letters by having the owners name on it that’s a good start.

Whatever yellow letters look like, do the opposite. Create a brand for yourself. Make it look professional. You will get a higher response than typical yellow letters, trust me.

Direct mail is a marketing function. I think the most important thing to understand is whatever you will “work” or “not work” is just a thought. If you are experienced and have a strong hunch you may be right, but if you are very experienced you will know that maybe your not right. From a marketing perspective your thought is a Hypothesis and you just need to test. So pull a list and randomly split it. Send half the traditional yellow letter and the half send the letter on your personal stationary. If you measure the results you will then be able to validate or disprove your hypothesis. Whatever was better is now your control and you can test other thoughts to see if you can beat it and create a new control.

I think to many people focus on the creative part of marketing (Which is important) but don’t focus on the science of testing and learning.