It Looks Like a Normal Letter, so It Gets Opened
Yellow letters can generate a high response rate because they get opened, and they get opened because they do not look like a normal marketing letter.
They come in a hand-addressed, invitation-style envelope. The envelope stands out because it’s a different size than the normal #10 business style envelopes people get in the mail everyday with bills, bank statements, or credit card applications.
The invitation style makes the letter look like it’s an invitation to an event or a “thank you” card–anything but a marketing piece.
By hand addressing the envelope the person receiving the yellow letter has little doubt that there’s a personal message inside, so they open it.
Your Return Address Matches the Area of the List
The return address on the envelope should match the target area of the list. The return address can be a PO Box, a UPS Store box number (which looks like a physical address), or a physical address.
It helps to have a return address that is local to your target area. This eliminates the Why is someone from Montana sending me a letter? thought, which is one less obstacle to overcome when trying to get a person to open an envelope.
The Message Inside Is Concise
The message inside the envelope should be concise. It needs to be short enough, so the person receiving it will read it before she loses interest.
That means giving enough information to elicit a response, but not so much that she stops reading it.
Once you are actually talking with that person, you can provide her with the solution you feel is most appropriate given her situation. If the letter is so long a person won’t take the time to read it, it’s not likely to generate a response.
Your Phone Number Is Local
The phone number in the letter should be local to the target area. If your mailing list is targeting people who have properties in a specific area, make sure the phone number on the letter is an area code a person who owns property in that area is likely to recognize. A phone number with an area code the recipient doesn’t recognize will increase skepticism, which can impact the response rate. Google Voice makes this easy.
Your Recipient Is Interested Because Your List Is Targeted
The recipient should be interested in the message she sees on the letter. This is why a targeted mailing list is so important. As an investor there are several options for mailing lists, including absentee owned, owner occupied, and distressed. We’ll get into more detail on mailing list filters in our next article.
P.S. Your Choice of Postage Is Important
No matter what type of letter you send, consider the postage on the envelope. First Class postage is what most people think of when sending mail, and with First Class stamps you can mail letters one at a time. This makes it easy to stagger mailings if you have a large batch of letters or prepare and mail letters as you go.
First Class postage gets postmarked, while Standard postage does not.
Standard postage is a type of bulk mail, and the post office has some rules to follow when mailing with Standard postage. One rule is the sender needs to have a permit, and permits are good for a year. Another is mailing a minimum of 200 units (letters, postcards, etc.) per batch, and each letter in the batch needs to be the same weight.
While Standard postage is less expensive than First Class postage, there is a difference in delivery time. First Class mail is generally delivered within a few days. Standard postage is usually delivered in less than one week, but can take up to 30 days.
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