Leads are the backbone of your real estate investing business. Without effective lead generation, your business will wind up flat and stagnant—you’ll be one of those real estate investors, who spends their day calling your real estate agent or wholesale buddy to see what they’ve got in the works. Don’t be that guy. Make sure you have a smart, strategic lead gen system in place, especially in the beginning. Why? It’s simple.
The difference between those who are crushing their market and those who are being crushed by their market is LEAD GENERATION.
Successful investors are focused on successful marketing—marketing that happens seven days per week, Monday through Sunday. Done right, THIS is what gets your phone ringing. So what’s your job then? To pick up the phone and talk to all those potential leads—potential leads who could very well lead to potential opportunities and potential pay days.
And that opportunity-rich process—the weekly process that will get you in front of many more lucrative deals in your marketplace—is called your Weekly Marketing Machine. Flip the switch and your funnel will always be filled with leads and opportunities.
START HERE: Determine Your Investment Strategy
Before you can start filling your funnel and creating strategic marketing initiatives, you need to determine your investing strategy. Rehabbers and short sale experts, for example, will have very different approaches to marketing and lead generation. Your tone will be different. Your copy will be different. And, of course, the ways you help homeowners will be very different.
With your investment strategy in place, you can focus on implementing a few unique marketing methods that will maximize your lead gen success. Here are just a few sources to start generating leads:
- Direct mail
- Bandit signs
- Door knocking/Driving for dollars
- Social media ads
- Online classifieds—Craigslist, local boards
- Networking events
- Divorce attorneys
- Probate attorneys
- Title companies
- Multiple List Service (MLS)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… there are many more!
What These Marketing Campaigns Look Like
To be successful, most real estate investors tend to focus on distressed properties, and those owned by very motivated sellers. Remember, it’s all about equity and motivation!
Let’s take a look at what some of the different marketing campaigns would look like for different types of investors:
Rehabbers & Wholesalers
- Absentee owners
- Free and clear properties
- Expired MLS listings
- Distressed properties
- Absentee owners
- Free and clear properties
- Properties with large amounts of equity
- Property managers
- Asset managers
To maximize your reach to these audiences, you’ll want to choose campaigns that focus on three core elements:
Investing part-time versus full-time makes a huge difference in the amount of time you’ll have to spend implementing and activating your campaigns. When assessing the next steps for your possible campaign, you’ll need to take that into account, and assess the amount of time it will take to execute each step—and, if each step is even important enough to spend your time and talent on. Also, keep in mind that some strategies are easy to outsource—direct mail, for example. But others, such as an FSBO prospecting campaign is very hands on, and really needs you at the helm. If you’re crunched for time, details like that will definitely need to inform your decision.
Marketing is an investment. As with all investments, there is a cost associated with every campaign. Bandit signs, direct mail campaigns and pay per click advertising all have a cost.
Every time you shell out some cash, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll get— what return you’ll see in exchange for that investment, right? For instance, let’s say you spend $2,500 on a direct mail campaign and it produces one deal. And your average wholesale deal? You usually make about $8,000. So, in this example, you spent $2,500 to make $8,000. Sounds pretty good, right? Wouldn’t you spend the entire week deploying direct mail campaigns to get a return like that? I know I would.
So you’ve spent your time and made your investments. The money is spent. The marketing is out there. Then the phone rings. Is the person on the other end motivated or not?
Maybe it’s an inheritance with multiple heirs, and the property needs tons of repair work and general updates. Getting those heirs to work together will never be easy—unless they’re all focused on getting a pile of cash for that property. Motivated? Absolutely. And, in their mind, you’re a smart solution to their problem.
Maybe the seller is in pre-foreclosure and they’re desperate to sell before they wind up in full on foreclosure—that’s a pretty big stain to have on their credit history. If that’s the case, you’ve definitely got a motivated seller on your hands, and in my experience, you’ll be able to put 15%-25% or more of those deals under contract fast.
But not every lead will be so ripe with opportunity and motivation. You might only close one of every 50 calls that come in from a bandit sign, for example. Usually it takes about that many incoming calls to actually find a solid, motivated lead.
At the end of the day, there’s potential in every single call—it’s your job to weed through it all and find those diamonds in the rough. If you have a relationship with a real estate agent or are a licensed agent yourself, your diamond could be unlisted properties. Listing referrals can drive significant revenue for your business—and it’s just another example of why you need to pick a smart, strategic investing strategy and campaigns that align.
Feeling Stuck? Here’s Where To Find Quality Leads
As I mentioned earlier, there are countless companies who can drive leads to your business—and, that’s why you DON’T have a lead problem. In fact, lead generation is a really big business, with a host of businesses who JUST drive leads and sell/rent lists. Here are a few places to start:
- Tax defaults: rebogateway.com
- Pre-foreclosures: rebogateway.com
- Vacant properties: findmotivatedsellersnow.com
- Divorced leads: rebogateway.com
- Expired listings: MLS
- Inheritance list: usleadlist.com
- Absentee owners: listsource.com
- High Equity/Free & Clear: listsource.com
- Pre-NOD 30, 60, 90: listsource.com
- Bankruptcies: listsource.com
- Evictions: check with the courthouse—it’s usually easy to pull these yourself
- Fire damaged properties: check with your local fire department
Depending on your marketing strategy, any or all of these lead sources can be good “go-tos” for your business. Choose one, gauge your success, then rinse and repeat—it’s as easy as that.
Your Weekly Marketing Routine
You’ve established your investment strategy and you’re ready to start marketing your business and driving the best, most motivated leads.
Again, you’ll want to implement a Monday through Sunday approach to your marketing efforts. Tackling one method every single day is the best way to fire up your marketing machine and keep it going 24/7. So what does that look like?
MONDAY: Direct Mail
TUESDAY: MLS Offers
WEDNESDAY: Classified Ads
THURSDAY: Networking & Business-building
FRIDAY: Online and Social Media
WEEKEND: Bandit Signs and Auctions
So let’s break it down:
MONDAY: Direct Mail
Yes, direct mail is a little dated. Yes, people are leveraging online marketing and advertising tactics now. But bottom line, direct mail works. And as online campaigns become more popular, fewer people are investing in direct mail, which means much less competition for our campaigns.
But that lack of competition isn’t the only reason direct mail is a winner. The true beauty of direct mail is that it’s so easy to quantify. Every piece works or doesn’t work. I can actually look at the results and determine how much revenue a particular direct mail campaign generated, as well as response rates and other success metrics. If I find something that works, then I can immediately apply it to next week’s direct mail campaign. If a particular strategy falls short, I can try something else.
Bottom line, direct mail WORKS.
Direct mail is also a great way to get in front of audiences that, otherwise, are impossible to reach. How else can you get in front of a probate lead or estate sale, for example? There isn’t a consolidated list floating around in the world, and it’s not like you can pick up the phone and call an heir to an estate. Direct mail is the only way you can effectively and efficiently get in front of this valuable audience.
You’ll also want to test a variety of direct mail formats. Switch it up from week to week and use yellow letters, postcards and regular mailers. It all feeds into an effective “shock and awe” approach—get as many pieces in the mail as possible, then measure those results.
TUESDAY: MLS Offers
You can run your MLS offers any day of the week, as long as you truly commit to one day each week and stick to it. My day? Tuesday.
Once you’ve selected your day, let your real estate agent know that this is going to be your day to submit offers every single week. Let them know it’s the only day you have available.
In addition to the MLS, you’ll also scour auction sites, HUD deals and more, pulling comps and getting offers into the world. It’s a big day, for sure.
WEDNESDAY: Posting Ads
Wednesday is “Hump Day.” People are tired. They don’t want to be at work. So what are they doing? They’re browsing ads online. They’re screwing around on social media. They’re checking their favorite Craigslist boards to see what’s up for grabs. They’re weighing in on a favorite message board.
That’s why Wednesday is a great day to post your ads—PPC, SEO, social, classifieds, whatever. Just get your message out there, and take advantage of all those workers looking to kill time. Keep posting, keep testing new creative and new messages and see what happens. The best way to learn how to post effective ads is to just do it.
THURSDAY: Networking and Business-building
Make sure you network at luncheon meetings, attend local REIA meetings (if they’re not held on Thursdays, though, you should still go!), or meet a contact for coffee or drinks. If it helps you build your network, then do it.
Your Network Is Your Net Worth!
Reach out to anyone and everyone—mortgage brokers, hard money lenders, title agents and attorneys, contractors, wholesalers, you name it. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Shoot a text or two.
FRIDAY: Online & Social Media
Your digital strategy should include much more than just ads—and that is what Friday is for. On Fridays, building your online presence by focusing on the digital tactics that don’t fall under the Wednesday advertising umbrella such as:
- Writing on (or starting) your blog
- Writing on other people’s blogs
- Posting on social media—your pages/profiles or someone else’s
On their own, none of the tasks listed above are particularly time consuming… so plan on doing a few—or ALL—every Friday. If you don’t have a Facebook or LinkedIn business page, that first Friday or two can be spent getting those up and running. Thinking about Twitter or Instagram? Spend a Friday rolling out that platform.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Bandit Signs & Auctions
What To Do on the WEEKEND?
Remember I said you would be marketing from Monday to Sunday? Your marketing machine doesn’t rest on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday are a great time to tackle bandit sign marketing. Start by placing just 25 signs. It should take you about an hour or so, if you go early on Saturday—head out before the kids wake up, even.
Before you go, build out your roadmap so you have a plan of attack once you hit the streets. Know where you want to go and how many signs you want to hang—think busy intersections, big box stores, hardware stores and other high visibility locations.
The weekend is also the perfect time to take advantage of real estate auctions, both in-person and online. Even if you don’t plan on bidding (yet…), auctions are a great place to learn the ropes and get the inside scoop of your local market. Check out the most recent sales and prices, see how quickly they sold, and from there, start analyzing it all. And when you’re ready, jump in. There are great deals to be had at real estate auctions if you know what you’re doing.
So what’s next? The steps are easy:
- Step #1: Define your budget—how much can you afford to invest in your business?
- Step #2: Pick a campaign—we just went through several of the best campaigns available. Which one works best for you at this time?
- Step #3: Take action! Consistent action and traction will make or break your business.
It’s all about creating a marketing plan and sticking to it. Plan the work, then work the plan—it’s that simple. And the best time to start? RIGHT NOW.