PropertyRadar Community

Rate my direct mail piece: Real estate investor/ibuyer

We often get asked if we can provide mailer templates. Some of our partners, like PrintGenie, have great templates. However, if you’ve owned rentals, you’ve probably been bombarded by templated direct mail before. And, no surprise, you may even catch a few of the exact same mailer sent by different investors.

If the goal is to stand out, a better approach is to match the messaging to your niche list to make it stickier.

I have a fairly large treasure trove of mailers I’ve collected over the past decade. I’m thinking about posting one here a week as inspiration.

Today’s mailer is brought to you by Opendoor. Opendoor is about to have their IPO and the prospectus doesn’t mention how very expensive it it for them to enter new markets. They spend an incredible amount on direct mail and social paid ads. Here is one I got on my rental in Riverside County.

I think the corporate look and feel makes me feel like this is a serious, corporate buyer. They’ve got the blue ink signature with a local number. I love the right side of the flyer where the use iconography to break up the page to focus on the benefits of a cash offer. Great overall branding. Only thing I might have changed is the generic email address. Having it be more of a personalized email would have been a nice touch. Thoughts?

So keep in mind these guys have raised $1.3 BILLION dollars to compete with investors, and this letter represents their best effort. My guess is that every word has been analyzed and tested. And that “estimated offer range” - they’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on data, and data scientists to generate it. @aaronnorris, what I want to know is how many homes have they bought so far using this likely $100M letter?

Our customers have been sending similar letters for years. Many make a more specific estimated offer using just our AVM and Total Loan Balance combined with some simple math (percent of AVM greater than TLB). More sophisticated customers vary their offer based on year built or area. The bottom line is that this letter IS NOT an offer, it is just a gimmick to get the person to ask for an offer. And a lot of our customers are local and can get back to the person with a real offer in a lot less than 48 hours.

Still some things I think our customers can learn:

  1. Some people are afraid of human interaction and don’t want to call. Note “An offer in just a few clicks”, is likely far less intimidating than Call 800-555-1212 for your FREE OFFER - which I see all too often. Don’t overthink this, you can do something similar with a simple web form - you don’t even need a website. Check out Typeform.com or jotform.com or similar.
  2. I think investors do too much of the cheesy yellow letter with fake doodles thing. There is probably a group that responds to that, which won’t respond to this. And that isn’t really something a highly funded co like Opendoor can do, so I won’t say you shouldn’t – but I also think it’s likely this very clean look appeals to more of the population than doodles.
  3. It has ONE clear call to action “Get your offer at opendoor.com”. Sure there is a name, phone, and email, but it obvious what your next step is.

I also agree with @aaronnorris that the one big mistake I see is Dale’s signature, but with “contact@opendoor.com” for his email. Just clearly says Dale don’t give a $!#&, and won’t be talking to you. If you are going to use a real name - and I think you should - make it a person they will likely talk to.and given them that persons phone (google voice or similar not your own cell) and email (gmail or ideally one at your own domain). Much easier for small local investors like you to deliver that personal experience than $3.8B startups. :wink:

3 Likes

Here is the data I pulled for California in Q3 of 2020 looking at the volume of all the ibuyers. Opendoor and Zillow are the only two going strong into 2021 with the likes of Kellar Williams and Realogy brands starting their own versions. An unknown brand like Opendoor entering a marketing is spending five, if not six figures to gain traction. What I like about the letter is you’re seeing how they are trying to get sticky. I’ve got to find a way to ask someone whether they are happy with the volume of buys they get and their ROI on marketing.

I’m a hoarder of ads. I’ve been collecting ibuyer ads for over two years since I started receiving offers on my rentals in the Inland Empire. Special note on a few specific design elements:

  • Geographically targeted ads with images specific to the city (not county). I’m in the city of Riverside and many of the ads had pictures of our downtown that are fairly iconic locally
  • Their people ads are very racially and age-neutral. In Riverside, our population is 50%+ Hispanic. Notice that two out of the three behave in this fashion. Hispanic, Black, Asian, mixed? And are the people 25 or 50?! When they were running these I thought it was very smart for a Facebook ad. I’d be so interested to see how they performed.
  • No ugly houses - unlike Homevestors and Sundae, the houses in the ads never focus on fixers. The houses are always in nice shape. I don’t think that’s by accident since ibuyers continue to focus o quick turn-and-burn houses with fewer repairs.
  • Funnels - the ads typically lead to a squeeze page where the user simply entered their address to begin with and then later on are prompted for name and contact information. As an investor, using PropertyRadar, if someone gave you their address you could use the site to find contact if they left the page. I see numerous investors deploying this strategy. But, definitely visit the squeeze page because design is important. The concept is avoiding mission creep. The number one goal is to get them to fill out that form and nothing else.