Real Estate Yellow Letters… Should You Use Them?

If you own a mailbox, chances are you’ve received a mailer in your life.

Whether that’s a postcard, a catalog from a company, a marketing letter, or a personal letter from family and friends, you visit your mailbox each and every day.

And, if you’re like 77% of consumers, you probably sort your mail as you’re walking back into the house.

Which, if you’re attempting to get someone’s attention to let them know you may be interested in helping them sell their property, or even purchase it yourself, the odds are pretty high a yellow letter will do it.

In this guide, we’re going to help increase those odds by teaching you how to use real estate yellow letters for beginners to set up more deals in your pipeline and get a higher ROI while you do it.

We’re going to cover everything from A to Z so you know exactly what to do, what not to do, and how to make these proven direct mail marketing campaigns as effective as possible.

To kick things off…

What Are Real Estate Yellow Letters?

If you’ve never heard of the term before and you’re looking to dig a bit deeper to figure out what a yellow letter for real estate is — and why they’re so effective…

A yellow letter is a type of direct mail marketing campaign that’s used by investors, wholesalers, agents, and brokers to target a specific group of people.

These pieces, as their name implies, are handwritten on a yellow legal pad to help invoke a more personalized look and feel for the person receiving it.

Yellow is one of the most commonly used colors because it stands out in a mailbox and helps attract attention so you have a higher probability of the person receiving it actually reading it.

Now, when you’re using these at scale, it may be hard to handwrite each and every single one.

There’s a solution for that but we’ll get into that later in this guide.

But when done correctly, yellow letters are incredibly effective and non-confrontational ways to get in front of homeowners who may want to sell their homes.

When it comes to generating motivated seller leads, yellow letters are some of the top performing strategies you can use.

They give you a great base to build from, especially when you’re trying to start the relationship with your sellers off on the right foot.

And when you use them like we’re teaching you in this guide, you can achieve an almost 100% open rate.

Try that with cold calling or email marketing.

Yellow Letter Pros & Cons

Now, while this direct mail strategy is INCREDIBLY effective, it does have a few distinct disadvantages.

Understanding its strengths and weaknesses will help you overcome those weaknesses as you’re structuring your campaigns.


  • Higher Conversion Rate – When you start comparing direct mail (and yellow letters) to other forms of marketing, especially online marketing, direct mail tends to produce a higher conversion rate. That means you’ll spend less money to generate more leads, once you get it dialed in.
  • Personalized – While most people’s mailboxes are filled with spam and junk mailers, a yellow letter can be personalized to help cut through the noise. You can target your message specifically to situations that you know people may be dealing with, which helps you grab attention.
  • Generate Interest – Because of their design, the yellow-lined paper inside a normal envelope will typically generate more interest than a more commercial-style mailer. When people are interested, they’ll open the letter and, if the message resonates, will reach out to you.
  • Trackable – You can effectively measure the performance of each of your direct mail and yellow letter campaigns. All you have to do is track down who called or emailed and then determine which list you built that they were mailed from. This helps you tweak and test new ideas.


  • Can Be Time Consuming – When you compare sending out most styles of mailers, handwriting each yellow letter you send can be incredibly time consuming. There is a solution for this disadvantage that we’ll cover a bit later in this guide.
  • Can Be Expensive – When you’re testing and tweaking campaigns, the leads that you generate can get somewhat expensive. There are best practices you can follow to help you avoid making costly mistakes, which we’ll talk through in just a bit.
  • May Upset Some People – The general nature of direct mail and sending a personalized letter means you may end up receiving negative responses from people. They may even accuse you of using aggressive marketing tactics or being unprofessional by using a handwritten letter. Those people aren’t your prospects, though, so take it with a grain of salt — and ignore them.

Handwritten vs Pre-Printed

Which brings us to our next point — should you handwrite each and every yellow letter you send or should you use a service that can pre-print your letters and mail them out en masse.

And the answer to this is: it depends.

If you’re just getting started out and have to get scrappy because you have minimal budget available, take the time to handwrite each letter you mail out.

The key to making this work, though, is by performing your due diligence and ensuring that the list you’re sending to is actually quality. Don’t purchase a list from a data broker that has been hammered by dozens of other investors and expect to get results by sending out a limited number of handwritten yellow letters.

If you have a budget available, though, you’ll want to use pre-printed mailers and lists that you’ve built yourself to get the best results and highest return possible.

With pre-printed mailers you don’t just want to send a typed up letter. Instead, you’ll want to use a service that can mimic handwriting with real ballpoint ink to make your letter appear as manually handwritten as you possibly can.

(Consider using a service like Ballpoint Marketing — check out our yellow letters by clicking here.)

Start With The Right Approach

Now, if you noticed, one of the things I mentioned was taking the right approach so you aren’t wasting a ton of time, money, and energy, especially if you’re handwriting these letters.

There’s a handful of steps you can take to make sure you get it right the first time.

Step #1: Understand Who You’re Mailing

To make your campaigns as effective as possible, you want to match your message to the market.

For instance, if you’re mailing a list you’ve built that contains a bunch of people who are facing foreclosure, you don’t want to send them a mailer that’s focused on tax delinquencies.

By sending them a message that lets them know you’re able to assist with keeping them from ending up with a foreclosure on their credit history while even getting them a bit of extra cash, your chances of converting that person into a new phone call are significantly higher.

On the flip side, though, if you’re sending a message catered to tax delinquencies to a list of people who are in pre-foreclosure, the chances of you booking any calls is slim to none.

That means you’ll want to take time building your list and choosing the targets that you want to send your letters to. Then, make sure your message actually matches the letter you’re sending.

Step #2: Write Your Draft Letters

Once you understand who you’re targeting, the next step is to start drafting your letters.

In this stage, you have to keep in mind that you get around 10 seconds to grab someone’s attention, let them know what’s in it for them if they keep reading, and how to move forward with you.

That means your message needs to be short and get straight to the point — no paragraphs or full pages of text because your prospects simply won’t read them.

You also want to make sure you’re using short, simple words. If you use big or complicated words, your prospects are going to lose interest and move onto the next piece of mail.

Likewise, you want to make sure you’re actually telling them what to do and giving them contact information so they can get in touch with you.

Your phone number and email is often more than enough. Just make it easy for them to reach out to you.

Step #3: Create Your Yellow Letters

After you’ve dialed in your messaging, the next step is creating the letters you’re going to send.

With this step, you have two options — either writing them yourself or using a service like Ballpoint Marketing to create and send them for you.

If you’re writing them yourself, plan on setting aside a couple hours each night and putting together at least 100 mailers before you start sending.

If you’re using a service like Ballpoint Marketing, though, you can upload a list of 1,000+ leads and have them automatically created and mailed, saving you a ton of time.

Step #4: Track Everything

To ensure your campaign’s effectiveness, you need to track everything.

The key metrics you’re wanting to monitor are how many mailers you send, the message you used, when you sent them out, how often you send them, how long you’ve been sending them, and how many responses you’ve received.

This will help you adjust your approach in the future so you can eliminate loser campaigns and double down on your winners.

Step #5: Test, Test, Test

Split tests are the key to effective marketing.

To start, send out two different messages to the same target demographic. Then, based on the data you’re tracking, determine which campaign returned a higher ROI.

You can use a different message and design for each letter to see which gives you the best response rate and then test the same message and design with another set of prospects to verify your test.

Yellow Letter Template

Remember, your message can be incredibly simple and get straight to the point.

Check out this template to get started:

Hi [name],

I’m [your name] and I am interested in buying your property at [property address].

I would like to make an offer to buy your house in “as-is” condition and determine a fair price that would help you make some fast cash.

Please contact me anytime at [phone number] or [email] if you would like more information or are interested in selling.

Thank you,

[your name].

See, super simple.

How Much Do Yellow Letters Cost?

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around 70 cents per yellow letter that you send.

With a service like Ballpoint Marketing, though, each letter you send will be around $1.35 to $1.95, depending on the style and number of mailers you’re sending.

The more you send, the lower your costs get.

So while using a service like this one may seem more expensive, the time you’ll have to devote to sending out 1,000+ mailers makes it more affordable the more you send.

Alternatives To Yellow Letters

While yellow letters are incredibly effective, there are other alternatives that have been proven to convert.

You can take a look at some of our latest designs by viewing our catalog.

How Often Should You Send Yellow Letters?

With this strategy, consistency trumps all. That means you may need to send two, three, even four (or more) letters before you start generating responses.

Ideally, you want to send a letter or mailer to each property owner at least once per month.

What Response Rate Should You Expect?

The average response rate can be anywhere from 2% to 8%, as long as the list you’re sending the mailers to contains the right prospects and your message is targeted specifically to them.

Now, while that response rate may seem high, you have to remember that you’ll get all kinds of calls — curious calls, angry calls, tire kickers, and high quality prospects.

How To Get More Deals With Handwritten Yellow Letters

If you’re interested in learning more about using direct mail to grow your real estate business, you’re in the right place.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that shows you how to generate a consistently higher ROI through your direct mail campaigns than any other form of marketing.

To see what we mean, check out our guide on Handwritten Mail For Real Estate Investors.

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