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Can you direct mail to preppers?

Once considered a fringe group, more people respond to uncertainty

A phenomenon of the times is the pursuit of properties as a hedge against social and economic collapse, but can you send direct mail marketing to the fringe world of preppers and survivalists? Strangely enough, these people are becoming less fringe and easier to find.

farm fence posts
Resilient people are looking for land to escape uncertainty of cities.

Urban housing costs, criminal chaos, and the sheer oppression of dense population are driving people who would not consider themselves to be preppers or survivalists to seek out safer havens. These havens might be retreats from big-city tyranny, like the movement to suburbia post Word War II was. Increasingly, though, people are looking for a place to escape impending doom.

City refugees can range from billionaire investors to the last of the middle class seeking green acres away from traffic oppression, maybe getting a peek at the stars, and finding a more relaxed pace. For real estate professionals seeking prospects in this odd mélange, it helps to focus on who you really want to connect with.

Affluent professionals and billionaires can be targeted with a range of criteria available through consumer data programs. This data can be segmented by key indicators, such as income and where they live. More importantly, you can segment by lifestyle attributes, such as recreational and outdoor pursuits, for example.

Billionaires may be seeking properties to build enclaves and compounds to protect themselves from the rest of us. The large properties appeal to them are either about investment advantages or closer control over people and areas, as discussed previously.

Of course, some people love city insanity and would never leave the concrete jungle, comfortable with their despair. However, more and more people harbor free-bird desires away from the tripwire pressures of overcrowding, crime, more frequent riots, and a growing belief that governments are unable to cope with rising threats to infrastructure, social challenges, or community security.

In some markets, they’re called homesteaders, young, liberal, and seeking peace and quiet. In other markets they are radically self-reliant survivalists, says Cary Biron in a The Thomas Reuters Foundation article.

You know that once the labels change, a bigger movement is coming. Survivalists and preppers are now called “resilient citizens” more than crackpots and crazies. The resilient citizens reportedly can live on their own for a month.

The category is more precisely defined, though, to include Highly Resilient Citizens who can survive for 90 days or longer and Ultra-Highly Resilient Citizens, who report they can survive for 180 days or more.

You can segment prospects out by job type, income, personal interests, and family size in urban areas known for unrest, for example, to narrow where to send direct mail to find prospects beginning their search or making decisions to leave it all behind.

Speak the language

As you focus your marketing and communications on your targeted prospects, keep in mind that some of these groups have their own language. Do you know the acronym TEOTWAWKI (tee-ought-wah-key) or WROL? These buzzwords mean The End of the World as We Know It and Without Rule of Law, part of indigenous communications.

You don’t want to use those terms generally, but a prepper will know what you’re talking about and would want you to know it, too, if mentioned.

Preppers have a strong sense of self-worth, and if TEOTWAWKI happens, they understand that those worth saving then are those who are prepared.

To purchase from you, they must find survival use in what they buy, so highlight aspects of your properties that would appeal to them, such as secluded, water available, or farmable.

Because they prepare for future events and they are self-reliant, highlight the property as able to support off-grid living comfortably and would supply basic needs of food and water.


Maria Sparagis in her DirectPayNet blog suggests asking what your prepper customer needs and be a source of other related goods, such as solar and battery companies, well drillers, and supply houses.

These are people who believe they need to be prepared for anything that happens and they gather with like-minded people to learn, discuss, and prepare. Social media groups are popular.

They need to trust you and feel like you know what they’re thinking. You know where the world might be going and what makes these prospects feel secure.

Use Call to Action statements that relate to their purpose: “Secure your place”, “Protect your family”, for example, are better than “Click Here”.


Finding niche populations is easier if you have a good idea of whom you’re trying to connect with. The better you define that, the easier it is to define crucial elements, such as income, lifestyle, and personal interests.

The more defined your segments, usually the fewer people in the grouping. However, the more precise your grouping, the greater return on your marketing investment.

Olde School Marketing helps you devise a direct mail and data strategy the gets you leads and sales. Call for a free analysis.

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