Marketing Monday: What To Do With “Not Deliverable”

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Marketing 7 Comments

I send out, on average, 80 letters each week to Out of State Owners and addresses that we get from driving for dollars.  I get the mailing addresses from the tax records, clean them up a bit and then import the list into SI Lead Manager so I can print out the letters.  The process works pretty good.

Normally I would get 2 to 3 returned envelopes each week for a variety of reasons…

  • No Such Address
  • Left No Forwarding Address
  • Person No Longer Lives At Address
  • etc..

I never really worried about these and just made note of them in my records so I can come back later and see what was going on and correct what I could.  Recently however,  I have been getting back more and more of my letters.  A couple weeks ago I got 6 letters back and two weeks ago I got 8 letters back.  Still not really enough to worry about.

Well, yesterday I received 19! “Undeliverable” letters back from a mailing of 130 pieces.  I got home late from my mastermind meeting last night so I didn’t get a chance to research why this happened but this is worrisome I think.

My eventual plan is to correct these addresses (if I can) and re-mail them, but has anyone ever gotten roughly 15% of their mailers returned?  Hopefully I’m not pissing off the USPS and they are just starting to return a mail piece with minor errors like using “St” instead of “Rd”.  That would Suck!

Reasons for Keeping Returned Mail

For those just getting started sending out mailers, make sure you keep track of which letters got returned to you.  You are probably not the only investors trying to reach these home owners and the harder it is to reach these people, the less likely the other investors are going the extra mile like you should.  Here are a few reasons why you should keep track for Returned Mail…

  1. So you don’t waste postage sending letters to the address again
  2. So you can investigate and turn up a valid mailing address
  3. You can keep statistics for how many have been returned
  4. By keeping track of the reason for return, you can possibly discover a flaw and correct it for future mailings.


Scott Costello
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Comments 7

  1. I too have had returned mail, but now where close to 15% like your latest round. I have had probably close to around 2-3%.

    You probably aren’t getting them returned to do St vs Rd issues.

    Try running the addresses through the Click on the “Find a Zip Code” tab. Put minimal information in the box. The site will spit back out the USPS standardized mailing address.

    I work for a direct mail company, so I have the privilege to be able to run my addresses through software that can standardize all the address for me before I mail them.

    Here is a link
    USPS Find A Zip Code

    1. Great Idea Chris, I never thought about using to standardize them. Seems obvious now thought! Thanks man

  2. I have a stack of returned post cards and letters waiting for me to do something with them. It’s hard to take the time to do it, but I try to at least find phone numbers for the ones returned because they are vacant. I like when the owner’s address is different from the subject property and the postcard comes back marked vacant. Now I have two subject properties.

    Great tip on keeping track of which ones come back. I don’t know how many times I’ve been annoyed with myself when I have a stack of several letters and postcards that have the same address on them. Just wasting money and time.

    1. Yea I like the ones that say “Vacant” for sure. With all the returned mail, I’m going to add a feature my lead management software that will allow you to keep track of the reasons the mail was returned. This way you can quickly pull out all the returned address that were marked “Vacant”.

  3. Scott,

    I don’t worry to much about other investors. I have never once received absentee owner letters for my properties. Direct marketing has very little competition at this time.


  4. Wow, I am surprised reading your guys’ comments…..
    These ‘undeliverable’ letters are really one of the golden gooses of Real Estate Investing.
    You should really do some internet search on this subject and think about trucking these absentee potential sellers..

    1. Post

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