Marketing Monday: My Yellow Letter Process

Scott Costello All, Blog, Marketing 18 Comments

Putting together the mail pieces for out of state owners definitely takes up a decent amount of my time during the week.  However it is a great thing to do late night when it’s to late to make phone calls and you want to wined down.   After going through the process for 2 months now, i’ve tweaked and perfected what works best for me.  Here is my routine…

1) Download the out of state owners list from the tax records. This is simple process in new jersey as the website allows me to download it to an excel file.  I usually grab all owners who have owned the property for 5 or more years.

2) Scrub the list. The list comes with all types of owners, what we want are just the out of state owners.  So I remove..

  • All owners who’s mailing address is in New Jersey
  • All owners who’s mailing address is in New York City, East Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
  • Bank owned properties
  • Trusts
  • LLCs
  • Corporations
  • And properties with more then 2 owners (just gets to hectic)

3) Identify owners who have multiple properties.  (don’t want to send them multiple letters)

4) Clean up the data for input into SI Lead Manager. The tax records are manually inputed by government workers and to say they are not always accurate is an understatement.  It’s almost impossible to write a program to automatically clean up the data, so it must be done by hand.  I end up just retyping all the names and addresses.  Usually a list will produce about 50 to 100 leads when all is scrubbed.

5) Upload list into SI Lead Manager

6) Schedule 3 mailings, each 6 months after the previous. You should mail out of state owners every 6 months or so until they tell you to take them off the list or the house has sold.

7) Print out the letters using my custom font.  It was recommended to me to handwrite all the letters, but I’m getting comparable response using the custom font so why bother?

8) Hand write all the addresses onto the envelope. I write these out in the order the addresses are in in SI Lead Manager.  Doing so makes it really easy to stuff the envelopes later.

9) Fold the letters and stuff the envelopes.   Because the letters were printed out in the same order I wrote out the envelopes, this process is fairly easy.    I make 3 folds….1st I fold it in half from bottom to top. 2nd I fold it again in half from bottom to top.  Last I fold over about 2 inches of the paper from the right to left.  This last fold is to make sure I fits in the greeting card size envelope.

10) Seal the envelopes with a wet sponge. I lay out 10 envelopes out on a table, use the sponge to moisten the glue on each of the 10 envelopes and then go back and seal them.  This gives the water some time to evaporate and the glue to get sticky.  Other wise the envelope gets very wet and the glue doesn’t stick as well.

11)  Put the stamps on the envelopes.  I lay out all the envelopes on my kitchen table, facing the same direction.  I then can quickly peal the stamps from their backing and place them on the envelopes.  I put more then one stamp on each envelope so this makes it much more efficient.

12) Put return address on all the envelopes. I turn the envelopes over, mailing address facing down.  Then I have a decorative stamp that has my return address on it that I use to quickly stamp each envelope.  I can whip through this process and the stamp looks cool and very personable.

13) Decorate the envelopes with a rolling stamp.  I want my letters to stand out and get opened so I have a rolling stamp and pad that I use to put a little design onto the envelope.

That’s it!  All in all, it takes me about 2:30 hours to put together 100 mailers.  The part that takes the longest is the retyping of the list.  However the last time I created the list I discovered a new technique to really speed that process up, hopefully reducing my total time to under 2 hours.

In the beginning it was taking me well over 4 hours to put 100 letters together.  This was when everything was new to me and I was experimenting with what technique worked the best.  Now that I’ve got it down to 2 hours, I’ll be able to double my output and get more people calling!

How do you save time when putting mailers together?  (out side of hiring someone to do it  hahaha)

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Scott Costello

Scott is a part time wholesaler, but full time real estate investing addict! As his family grows and his free time shrinks,He has been slowing building his wholesaling business over the past 7 years in between life events.Drive, dedication and never giving up are his strengths.
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Comments 18

  1. Don’t seal the envelope , just tuck the back. This makes them more curious to open the letter. Also use invitation envelopes in either cream or bright colors. ( make them think they are receiving a invitation or a card as they are much more likely to open). I use the “celebrate ” stamp as well to have the prospect think it is a invitation or card they are receiving. As far as font goes I use Cheyanne Hand , italicized –looks just like handwriting at first glance.

  2. Don’t seal the envelope , just tuck the back. This makes them more curious to open the letter. Also use invitation envelopes in either cream or bright colors. ( make them think they are receiving a invitation or a card as they are much more likely to open). I use the “celebrate ” stamp as well to have the prospect think it is a invitation or card they are receiving. As far as font goes I use Cheyanne Hand , italicized –looks just like handwriting at first glance.

    1. Not sealing the envelope seems like a good trick that I haven’t thought of. Maybe i’ll give it a try on my next round of mailers. Your other tips are great as well! thanks so much for sharing your ideas Robert

  3. Yep – don’t seal the envelope. Not sure why it works but it does. Also – when they send them back to you with ‘return to sender’ or ‘moved’ a lot of times they seal it. You know somebody read it then!! 🙂

    We did handwrite the main template of the letter and then photocopied it onto the yellow paper. Then someone just had to handwrite in the name and address. Worked very well. We didn’t try a computer printed thing….

    Great process!

  4. I guess I’m fortunate that the data I get from my tax assessor office (actually I get it through my Title office… my county won’t reveal a property owner’s contact info on a website or over the telephone) is pretty clean data… The name comes in inverse format (Smith, John)…

    In addition, I guess I’m lucky that I work for a company that does direct mail for my day job, so I can use a whole bunch of tools to manipulate the data.

    1. That would be great if our tax site put the data in a more user friendly format. It comes out like this….

      “Owner Name(s)”, “City State Zip”

      and there is no consistency for either field, so it’s only possible to wright a script to “Help” separate some of the data. You always have to manually check it.

    2. Oh, and Out of State Owners are a subset of Absentee owners. They are more likely to be motivated because of distance.

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      Hi Tamara,

      All calls go to my Google Voicemail and they will get a call back during my lunch hour or right after I get out of work. I did struggle with this big time early on before a found an investing partner to help return the phone calls. Lance is pretty good at it and we return calls much faster then I did before we partnered up.

      I didn’t have money to spend on a live answering service, so the free google voice account works out well. It sends you an email with the transcript of the message as well.

      Hope that helps answer your question

  5.  Since you are already planning for multiple mailings… Taking a direct mail tip from a Guerilla Marketing book I read.

    On the second or later mailing… crumple up and then smooth out both your letter and envelope and add a hand written post-it note (uncrumpled) on the outside of the folded letter that reads, “Please take another look, thanks!”

    1. I like this idea a lot and have thought about doing something similar in the past but have yet to do it. I’m gonna split test later. How about tearing the envelope and letter and then taping them up 🙂

  6. Scott,
    Not sure my other email went through.  Still having trouble with your website showing this as your latest post on your main page.  It appears that way on 3 different machines now and 3 different browsers.(firefox, chrome and ie)  I cleared cookies for your site with no success.


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  7. Hi Scott,

    Great tips. I listened to you and Steph yesterday. You sound good, very relaxed and real.

    By the way I was born in Red Bank, NJ. Haven’t been back there in over 30 years since my grandparents passed. They lived in Matawa and Keansberg. I always loved those little townships all by the shore. Now I live “landlocked” in Atlanta, Ga.

    I am a real estate agent and trying to get into investing, but it is hard to change my mindset from agent to investor. But I’m working on it.

    Love the way you did you website too. Thanks for sharing so much info.

    God Bless,


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      Hi Shirley, thanks for listening to the interview and for stopping by my blog. You will eventually get your mind to think like an investor I’m sure. The hardest part for me was separating what I want in a house to live in as opposed to what a good investment house is.

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