Want to do more deals every month?
Then you’ll have to generate more leads and make better use of the leads you’re already generating.
In other words, marketing.
You might not want to hear this — because it’s much easier to stick to what you know — but every serious real estate investor needs a marketing plan, an ongoing system for generating leads and turning leads into deals.
And below are 10 tried-and-proven marketing strategies for real estate investors.
1. Hand-Written Mailers
Direct mail is probably the most-used marketing tactic among real estate investors.
It’s relatively easy to pull data from a tool like PropStream, send out a few thousand mailers, and wait for the phone to ring. In fact, here are some of the lists that we recommend…
- Absentee owners
- Abandoned properties
- Pre-foreclosures and foreclosures
- Apartment owners
- Expired listings
Here’s the problem: all of your local competitors are also sending direct mail to those lists — how do you make your mail stand out?
Well, one way — this is how Ryan Dossey, our founder, does it in his REI business — is to use hand-written mailers.
But don’t fret. You don’t have to handwrite them yourself. You can use Ballpoint Marketing — our sister company — to print “hand-written” (i.e. robot-written with real pen and ink) mailers. These get a much higher response rate than any other mailers (Ryan’s tested it).
Ballpoint Marketing also has these eye-catching comic postcards that stop people in their mail-flipping tracks (the “hand-writing” is on the back).
If your direct mail campaigns are underdelivering, then give Ballpoint Marketing a try!
2. Driving For Dollars
What if you could find real estate deals on your way to the grocery store, while walking your dog, or during your daily commute?
That’s the idea behind “driving for dollars” — you drive around the city, write down the address of distressed homes, and by so doing, find off-market deals that probably aren’t even on your competition’s radar.
At the very least, you can keep a notebook in your car and write down addresses for distressed homes whenever you see them.
If you want to take driving for dollars a little more seriously, then consider DealMachine, which is software that makes driving for dollars efficient. You can track your routes, enter addresses, manage leads, and send direct mail with the DealMachine app. It’s convenient and easy to use — we recommend checking it out.
3. Answering The Phone
This might seem obvious.
If you’re spending hard-earned time and money on marketing — to get the phone ringing — then you should be answering the phone… when it rings.
After all, it’s no secret that response time plummets after just 5 minutes of not connecting with a prospect…
Thing is, you have a life outside of your real estate investing business. You want to have dinner with your family, play with your kids, watch a movie, or go on a date without being interrupted by a ringing phone.
That’s why we created Call Porter — so you can grow your business and enjoy the freedom that entrepreneurship offers.
4. Following Up
We talk about follow-up a lot, but that’s because it’s very important for getting people to accept a low-ball offer.
Here’s a fact that most “guru” investors won’t tell you: 90% of people are going to tell you “no” when you first make your offer. That’s because it’s probably lower than they’re expecting and they might even be offended by it.
But here’s another fact: most deals happen after several follow-ups… not after a single phone call.
When it comes to selling a house, people need time to consider, weigh the pros and cons, and decide whether they trust you or not. The more you follow-up — graciously, of course — the more trust you’re going to build and the more they’re going to think about your offer.
General sales stats support this claim…
And so does Ryan Dossey’s personal experience.
5. Search Engine Optimization
What if motivated sellers came looking for you?
Wouldn’t that be convenient?
Well, that’s what search engine optimization (or SEO) is all about — optimizing your website so that it ranks in search engines (i.e. Google) for keyword phrases that motivated sellers in your market are already searching.
For example: “sell my house fast” gets a whopping 5,400 searches every single month in Google.
And what you can do is optimize that keyword for your specific market: “sell my house fast in Dallas” for example.
That way you’re up against less SEO competition and you’ll be able to rank more quickly.
(By the way, this is just one example — there are a lot of high-value keywords that investors can try to rank for)
Sounds great, right?
With SEO, you could be driving traffic to your website and generating leads for free.
But… how do you do it?
Well, there’s obviously a lot that goes into SEO (experts get paid a lot of money to help with SEO), but here’s a basic guide we created that will get you moving in the right direction.
6. Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are also a great way to generate leads for your real estate investing business.
In fact, if you’ve got SEO driving some traffic, then we recommend using the Facebook pixel to retarget people who’ve visited your website.
More generally, of course, you can create Facebook advertisements for homeowners in your community — you can target things like age, zip code, interests, and other demographic information.
Here’s an example of what your advertisement might look like…
It doesn’t need to be super complicated — sometimes simple is better. Just tell people what you’re offering and make it easy for them to get in contact with you.
Who knows how well Facebook ads will work in your market. But it’s worth a try!
Oh — and make sure you’ve calculated your budget per deal so that you know if your advertisements aren’t cutting into your profits. Carrot has a great ROI calculator you can use!
7. Google Ads
Search engine optimization was tip #5… and it’s a great tactic that we highly recommend.
However, the downside to SEO is that it can take quite a bit of time until your website starts ranking on the first page (6 months to a year in highly competitive markets).
In fact, my SEO buddy once told me that time is the biggest SEO factor.
But Google ads are a great way to pay your way to the top of the rankings…
With Google ads, you can bid on specific keywords and start ranking immediately for those phrases rather than waiting for your website’s SEO to build steam.
Here are a few phrases to consider…
- Sell my house fast in [CITY]
- Sell my house for cash in [CITY]
- Sell during divorce in [CITY]
- Sell an inherited home in [CITY]
- Sell quickly in [CITY]
Naturally, to scale your business, you’ll want to depend on marketing strategies that don’t require a ton of your personal time or effort… tactics that are scalable.
The more automated, the better.
But let’s not forget about the power of networking, especially in the early days of building a real estate investing business. It’s a good idea to try and make people — real estate agents, community leaders, etc — “fans” or “cheerleaders” for your business.
We recommend attending community events, entrepreneurial meetups, working at coffee shops every now and again, volunteering for charitable causes, and doing everything you can to become an influence in your market.
The more people you know — and the more people who know you — the better.
Because then, when someone needs to sell their house fast for cash… who they gonna call?
You. They’re gonna call you.
9. Competitor Analysis
Want some marketing ideas that work well in your market?
Then look at what your competitors are doing!
And don’t worry — analyzing your competitor’s marketing efforts is easier than it sounds (thanks to Facebook and Google). Here are a few tactics…
Become a Lead — The easiest way to figure out what your competitors are doing is to opt-in to their online form and give them your contact info… then wait and see what they do. Do they call you? Do they text you? Do they email you or send you direct mail? Do they retarget you on Facebook? What do they say? What lessons can you learn from what they’re doing?
Look at Facebook Ads — Facebook now has an awesome feature called “Page Transparency” that allows you to look at the ads any Facebook Page is running. Just visit the page, click on “About” and then “Page Transparency”… and you can browse through all of your competitor’s ads.
Look at Google Ads & SEO — By typing in high-value keyword phrases in Google for your target market, you can observe and analyze how your competitors are trying to attract that traffic, whether through Google Ads or SEO. Pay attention to their title tag, meta descriptions, and the content of their pages.
You’re a local business.
While that might seem like a disadvantage (because your growth is limited to the potential of your market), it’s actually a huge advantage. It means that you don’t need to compete on a nation-wide scale and it means that you can sink your marketing budget into local advertising, which is less expensive and more effective.
Radio, newspaper, and billboard ads, in particular, are great marketing opportunities to consider. After all, if a bandit sign works, then why not those shotgun-spread tactics?
(We don’t recommend bandit signs because… well, they’re technically illegal… hence the name)
So give your local newspaper a call and see how much some advertising space costs. It might not be something you do for the long-term, but it’s at least worth a try!
You can ask inbound leads how they heard of you to gauge the effectiveness of your local ad.
As with all entrepreneur ventures, marketing is a fundamental part of growing a real estate investing business.
To grow, you need to generate more leads and make good use of the leads you’re generating. That means sending direct mail, driving for dollars, running paid ads, optimizing your website, following up, and answering the phone when it rings.
In fact, the most successful real estate investors… are also the best marketers.
But marketing is a skill that anyone can learn.
And the above 10 strategies will get you started on the path to growing your business in a steady and predictable way.