New to DIRECT MAIL, is this realistic?

by mpluto
17 replies
Hi guys, I am new to direct mail and I have a questions.

I am releasing an ebook on how to fill an apartment complex with residents fast and for free. For sales price, I am thinking like $69.00

Now, I am thinking to approach apartment complexes with direct mail. It will cost about $0.50 - $0.60 cents per letter.

I have some questions here:

1. Assuming that direct mail letter is good, is it something worth doing? To break even, one out of about 115 mailed complexes must make a purchase. I mean, in the real world, is it realistic to get like 5% conversions?

2. Would I be targeting the apartment complex owner or office manager in this case? The reason I am asking is because these are two separate lists, so which list would I have to buy? I am assuming that in owner's list it would probably go to their homes while in apartment complex list it would go straight to leasing office?

To be honest, I would prefer to do it only online without direct mail, but I can't find the precision there... It's like demand for "apartment complex marketing" doesn't exist in Google Planner.

BIG thanks for help!
#direct #mail #realistic
  • Profile picture of the author s62731
    Are you going to have a back-end offer?

    First of all, you're letter is going to have to be mighty good, sent to a really targeted list that actually opens it, to be able to break even.

    So the only reason you would do this was if you had a back-end offer.

    Some sort of service you can charge $5,000+ for.

    And if you dont... The other option would be to find someone who DOES offer a service to those people, and do a joint venture.

    You sell 100 books. You know have 100 hot leads in a specific target market.

    If you were to find somebody who makes a lot of money off Apartment Complexes, then they would be happy to pay $100-$600 per lead. You could make $10,000-$60,000.

    That's the way to go. You must have a way of making money on the back-end to recoup the loss on the front.
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    • Profile picture of the author mpluto
      Originally Posted by s62731 View Post

      Are you going to have a back-end offer?

      First of all, you're letter is going to have to be mighty good, sent to a really targeted list that actually opens it, to be able to break even.

      So the only reason you would do this was if you had a back-end offer.

      Some sort of service you can charge $5,000+ for.

      And if you dont... The other option would be to find someone who DOES offer a service to those people, and do a joint venture.

      You sell 100 books. You know have 100 hot leads in a specific target market.

      If you were to find somebody who makes a lot of money off Apartment Complexes, then they would be happy to pay $100-$600 per lead. You could make $10,000-$60,000.

      That's the way to go. You must have a way of making money on the back-end to recoup the loss on the front.
      Interesting idea, thank you. Yes I would have no problems taking $600 per lead when I find the client, but I live in the middle of nowhere now and can't have that job. I could personally teach office staff how to do and this is something I want to think about...
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Your costing per letter is just not right.

    Remember you have to pay for postage and printing the
    letters.

    And most likely you'll have to pay for a list.

    Also at the price point you're selling you want to be thinking
    of selling to the owners of apartments and possibly rental
    agents (or property managers or whatever they might call
    themselves in your area).

    As has already been mentioned you really want a backend
    to sell...you could break your ebook up into multiple reports,
    record some on audio, build the whole thing out so it's a much
    more sophisticated course that you sell in the $200 to $2,000
    price range.

    Ideally you should have products and services covering an
    entire price range:

    You might have a free report, video or audio that generates leads for your...
    $47 ebook or audio that generates leads for your...
    $97 to $197 audio program with workbook which generates leads for your...
    $497 to $997 full program with consultation which generates leads for your...
    $1,497 to $2,497 seminar or workshop which generates leads for your...
    $2,997 to $5,997+ mentoring program.


    It's really difficult to make money selling just one ebook
    (many of the serious marketers actually make a LOSS on
    that first front end sale but make their real profits on
    their back end offers once they have a paying client).

    As has already been mentioned you'll need a great sales
    letter to sell your front end offer.

    And you'll have to test to work out what price points and
    offers work best.


    Having said all that what is stopping you from sending
    an offer by mail TODAY to 50 or 100 apartment block
    owners to see if you can get any response?

    If you get some kind of response you know you might
    be on to something.

    If you get nothing you might want to rethink your
    whole strategy.

    There's really no need to spend so much time talking
    and thinking about this when you can test it immediately
    for $100 or less and see if you have something that has
    a chance of working.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
    Originally Posted by mpluto View Post

    Hi guys, I am new to direct mail and I have a questions.

    I am releasing an ebook on how to fill an apartment complex with residents fast and for free. For sales price, I am thinking like $69.00

    Now, I am thinking to approach apartment complexes with direct mail. It will cost about $0.50 - $0.60 cents per letter.

    I have some questions here:

    1. Assuming that direct mail letter is good, is it something worth doing? To break even, one out of about 115 mailed complexes must make a purchase. I mean, in the real world, is it realistic to get like 5% conversions?

    2. Would I be targeting the apartment complex owner or office manager in this case? The reason I am asking is because these are two separate lists, so which list would I have to buy? I am assuming that in owner's list it would probably go to their homes while in apartment complex list it would go straight to leasing office?

    To be honest, I would prefer to do it only online without direct mail, but I can't find the precision there... It's like demand for "apartment complex marketing" doesn't exist in Google Planner.

    BIG thanks for help!
    Well, for starters...do you want these people to know you exist or not?...if you go online only how many months, possibly years are you going to wait around for a worthwhile number of them to decide to go looking for the type of thing your selling? ...and when they do go looking...how do you know that your the only option they're going to run into? or that they ever even find you?

    Every apartment management, needs your book right?....and that fact doesn't change even though maybe 10 a month go looking for something like your ebook. Every management Co, still needs your book....they may not realize it but they still need your book right? of course they do.

    So...you need to get yourself in front of their eyeballs before they ever decide to go looking. Whether you snag a sale or not on any given recipient...you STILL nudge or influence their thinking.

    Also...using postcards will cut your production costs in half, and a much higher percentage will see your message.

    Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    First yes a good letter will convert but none of us can tell you what % as there are way too many factors that go into it.

    Second it is hard to say which list would be better. Some owners will be hands off so they would be worth nothing unless they forward it on to their managers. And some managers would not be able to buy this without the owner's approval. In both cases you have to double sell. You have to see the first person on it enough for them to pass it on and the second person enough to buy.

    Now that we answered your question let's talk about what I think is actually the more important questions.

    1. Why would I want to buy your system?
    This is what will make your sales pitch. And it better be amazing because I would be willing to bet they get offers like this all the time. So why is yours different? Why will it work? And how do you remove the risk?

    You will get 0% conversions if the pitch sucks.

    2. Is an ebook the right way to sell this system?
    In my honest opinion it is the worst possible way to sell this system. In the real world (outside the IM niche) people value the digital a lot less than the physical. And i don't think a $69 physical book would sell.

    The way the product is packaged needs to overwhelm them with value. I'm thinking multiple physical books and maybe a few DVDs. Of course that take to #3 with what is the right price.

    So before you get to price decide how to package the system so they will feel it has a great real world value.

    3. What is the right price point?
    Now depending on how you package it you will need to decide what is the right price point. I personally would suggest avoiding any low price point. Honestly if what you design for your package would sell for under $199 I would go back to the drawing board. These are guys used to large costs. If you expect them to believe this is a game changer for them they need to see it priced that way.

    Look at some of the guys both here and out in the world that sell packages to businesses. What do they charge. Remember it is not about your pricing but about the pricing your potential customer will be comfortable with.

    IMO $69 for an ebook is too expensive for and ebook but also too cheap to be a true price on a game changer. It hurts you both ways on price. You need to avoid situations like that.

    4. Can you create multiple products at multiple price points?

    You need to find a way to get multiple products into the system. That way you can offer something for all customers. Some people will want a cheap solution while others will want a great full package for a few grand. Just be careful that you cheaper products don't steal from your higher end ones.

    Ideas:
    $199 Package: Quick Start Package: Maybe 3 books and a Workbook.
    $499 Package: Great Start Package: Add in some DVDs
    $299 Webinar: Upsell this to people who buy either package. A full 6 hour webinar live where you will be going over how to put this into action. Plus you will be there afterwards to answer all questions.
    $999 Two Day Retreat: Come to visit us at ______ where we will give you an intense 2 day bootcamp to get this system going.

    You can also have live help buy phone and in person and like seminars in their regions.

    i don't know what your system is but use these ideas to package it multiple ways.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I agree with the others.

    You won't know your conversions for the letter until you test.
    Then, comes your webistes conversion rate.
    Let's use 5% for our numbers.
    You send out 1,000 letters and get a 5% response rate.
    Now you have 50 people going to your site.
    If your site converts at 5%... You will get 2.5 sales.

    Both of these numbers will be determined through testing.

    You should cold call apt.comlexs and to see if they could use any more tenants.
    Then, get their email and invite them to a webinar where you will pitch your $197 (min) program.
    Now email the replay to everyone on your list.
    Call the ones that didn't buy, depending on list size, to answer any questions they still have.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    It's not the percentage who buy that matters, it's your ROI which matters.

    When I dabbled with real estate it seemed to me that many apartment building owners had their favorite real estate agency who handled their rentals. If you have a marketing technique that those agents can use then maybe that's a market to look into.

    A forward by Barbara Corcoran wouldn't hurt either.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Mpluto; I think the plan is unrealistic. It's possible to get a 5% response. But almost always, those are from lists of people who bought from you before.

      If it were me, I'd publish your e-book on Kindle, Amazon....and a print version on Createspace. It's literally free.

      If you get sales, you'll know there is demand. If you get no sales...you know there isn't.

      Another way is to buy Adwords PPC ads and test the response. You'll know in a day or two if the idea is valid.

      But..please...I'm begging you...don't mail out 2,000 letters for $2,000 ...and then ask us for advice. Better to try the cheap tests.

      By the way, would you buy an e-book for $69? How many physical books are sold for $69?

      I found out the hard way, that $19.95 was way..way ...too much for a printed paperback. $9.95 was better.
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      One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

      "Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle".....Ian Maclaren
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  • Profile picture of the author mpluto
    Ok guys, thanks ALL of you for help! I'll mail out 200 copies to 2 different segments: Atlanta, GA (large city) and 100 to med-size cities and small towns and see how it goes. We'll see what happens, I want to post results here once it is done. I still have to finalize the product, sales letter, etc...
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Have you really found demand by speaking with property managers?

      At the moment you've invested time into your e-book.

      Next investment is your list.

      Next investment is your website.

      Next investment is your sales message.

      What for...to test they want it!

      You've got it around the wrong way.

      Speak to property managers and ask what their
      problems are around keeping occupancy high.

      Keep listening for the problems.

      Once they've got them off their chest,
      ask how they would like this solved....
      as in what format.

      Then when you get a few who seem most helpful,
      work with them to create your solution.

      They have helped you create it.

      They'll buy it.

      Then so will more property managers,
      because it was built by them for them.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author mpluto
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Have you really found demand by speaking with property managers?

        At the moment you've invested time into your e-book.

        Next investment is your list.

        Next investment is your website.

        Next investment is your sales message.

        What for...to test they want it!

        You've got it around the wrong way.

        Speak to property managers and ask what their
        problems are around keeping occupancy high.

        Keep listening for the problems.

        Once they've got them off their chest,
        ask how they would like this solved....
        as in what format.

        Then when you get a few who seem most helpful,
        work with them to create your solution.

        They have helped you create it.

        They'll buy it.

        Then so will more property managers,
        because it was built by them for them.

        Best,
        Ewen
        I worked as a property manager. This is where I got the experience... My friend is a property manager too. We talk...

        But overall, yes, I am very well aware of seeking demand first before doing something. Also, I can convince that there is a demand. Never tried it through direct mail yet.

        I like how you say to work with them and let them help me. I am sure that there is something way more they would want to see in the product than I am originally thinking to put there. Thank you for a great tip!
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        • Profile picture of the author Robert Domino
          I'm not sure who your target market is.. are you targeting owners or property managers?

          In both cases, I'm not sure I agree with the strategy,

          Owners: they don't care, they use PMs and those that manage themselves usually just find tenants for free through craigslist.

          PMs: Why would a property manager pay for this? I think you'd do better if you repackaged it as training for property managers, especially since you mention you have experience.

          I'm still not sure if it would work great.. As far as I know PMs aren't concerned about finding tenants so much as they're looking for ways to get more doors to fill.
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          • Profile picture of the author mpluto
            Originally Posted by Robert Domino View Post

            I'm not sure who your target market is.. are you targeting owners or property managers?

            In both cases, I'm not sure I agree with the strategy,

            Owners: they don't care, they use PMs and those that manage themselves usually just find tenants for free through craigslist.

            PMs: Why would a property manager pay for this? I think you'd do better if you repackaged it as training for property managers, especially since you mention you have experience.

            I'm still not sure if it would work great.. As far as I know PMs aren't concerned about finding tenants so much as they're looking for ways to get more doors to fill.
            Then maybe a strategy would be to target leasing agents?
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            • Profile picture of the author Robert Domino
              Originally Posted by mpluto View Post

              Then maybe a strategy would be to target leasing agents?
              If you have experience and do know proven techniques to do so, I believe that's what would work best. It actually helps resolve a problem "how do I get more clients and how do I fill those doors".

              You can gear it towards newer real estate agents that just started doing leasing, or that are thinking about it. Leasing agents make money quicker than listing agents in most bigger cities.
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  • Profile picture of the author elijahdean
    Check Robert Blackman training on direct mail
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  • Profile picture of the author crsnetwork13
    In the world of Direct Marketing there is no such thing as a sure thing. I have done direct mail campaigns where the return was great and other times it was low. If consistent then people sometimes tend to give it a chance but if you are a fly by nighter then the chances are slim. Go in with an open mind and don't be disappointed at the results just keep trying new methods or new pieces--a good campaign can have several trials and errors and also trials and successes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leon Zykos
    I feel direct marketing is a very good form of advertising for any form of business. In fact, it is quite possibly one of the best form of advertising I have personally used for my business. But however, bear in mind that only through constant advertising and testing will you find out how well does your copy does and in which market.
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