Your first step in a mailing campaign is to decide who you want to mail to. You will need a names list, a list of names and addresses of those people who will receive your advertising.
There are several options to making a names list. You are looking for motivated sellers, property owners who know and may not know they have a property to sell.
• Expired listings – MLS listings that have expired
• Vacant properties – No mail being delivered to the property
• FSBO’s – For Sale by Owner
• Out of state owners – Owners that live out of state
• Absentee owners – Owners mailing address is different than the property address
• Probate – Owner has recently died (Yes, that sounds a little morbid, but you can actually be providing a great service to the heirs.)
• Free and clear – Houses with no mortgages
So once you have decided on what type of prospect you want to mail to, the next step is to get the list. Some of these lists you can buy from a list broker. Some you need a connection to get. Some you may have to dig out yourself. These lists can be acquired by zip code or other parameters. Some lists arrive within minutes on line while others take days. Some lists have a few property listings other lists have many. We use a combination of all lists to achieve target market and a minimum of 800 mailings a month.
List brokers can be a great aid to your marketing campaign. They are best at getting you lists based on public information. So a list broker can provide lists for out-of-state or absentee owners, pre-foreclosure, divorce or bankruptcy. If you want houses in a “farm” area that you’re working, they can give you a list of homeowners in a particular zip code or mail delivery route. You can also target your list by income level or home value. Let’s say you want to target high-end homes. You could ask for a list of houses in a particular area with assessed values over $500,000.
These types of lists are normally very inexpensive, usually just a few cents per name. The more criteria you give the list broker to narrow in on your prospect, the more each name will cost.
You should also be aware there are usually a minimum number of names you must purchase. That will vary by list broker and list criteria.
You want to talk to your list broker about how often the list is cleaned or refreshed. We are a country of people always on the move and addresses change frequently. Make sure you buy a list with up to date addresses. List suppliers should be giving you some kind of guarantee on the deliverability of the list. I still occasionally get mail for my mother who died in 2002. I always wonder where they bought their list.