Building Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing must be persistent and consistent to be successful.
When all else is said and done, if nobody knows what you do your investing career will be a difficult one. You can know how to do every kind of real estate transaction possible but if buyers and sellers arent calling you will not make any money. You have to get the message out to wholesalers in addition as homeowners that you buy houses, rehab houses, rent houses or in any case it is you have chosen to do. You should establish a monthly budget for advertising and stick to it. The meaningful in marketing your business is persistent, consistent advertising. Send the same message out in spite of of the platform. Put the same message on your business cards, newspaper ads, car signs, etc. Be consistent in the message and be persistent in getting the message out and the phone will start ringing with sellers wanting to sell to you and buyers wanting to buy from you!
Finding the Deals
There are many ways to find deals. If you dont mind rejection you can cold call from for sale and for rent ads in the newspaper. We prefer to have sellers calling us. For sale ads will produce a few deals from homeowners facing foreclosure, divorce, job transfers, etc. It is human character to wait until the last minute to recognize that Im going to lose this house if I dont do something now. When cold calling these ads you will find a lot of people in this situation who refuse to recognize it. They are convinced an Angel will fall out of the sky and save them. Wish them luck. Dont waste your time trying to save them. You will usually end up making their problem yours and now you have become the motivated seller. Look for sellers that are willing to deal on price or terms or both. You may find sellers that are open to selling unprotected to or wholesale this way. When calling for rent ads, you will mainly be looking for tired landlords. They can be an excellent source of owner financed deals in addition as wholesale deals. You may already find out of town owners that are willing to do unprotected to deals. Lets look at some other ways to find deals by your marketing efforts now.
Use your Team Members
As you assemble your team, you will come across wholesalers, agents, mortgage brokers and attorneys that can be a source of leads. Wholesalers can be a good source of character to be rehabbed for rental or resale. Ive already purchased from a wholesaler and then turned around and wholesaled the deal to another investor! He specialized in that neighborhood and didnt know the house was for sale until he saw my I Buy Houses bandit sign in the yard. He called and made me an offer I couldnt refuse. I made a $30,000 wholesale fee on that house before I already started the repairs! Agents frequently run across sellers that they cannot help for a variety of reasons. They can refer the homeowner to you (but they usually cant legally accept a referral fee for doing this) for a possible solution. If you get a character that you intend to rehab and sell retail, let the agent have the listing. This creates a legal win-win situation for everyone involved. Mortgage brokers and attorneys frequently deal with people trying to refinance to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy. They can refer sellers to an ethical investor to help solve their problems. Again, you should refer your buyers to these professionals for loans and character closings.
We have received more calls from car magnetic signs than any other source of advertising we have done. Weve had people call us while sitting in traffic. Weve had people chase after us at Home Depot when they saw the signs in the parking lot. Sometimes they will be contractors trying to drum up business but more often than not they are sellers who have finally reached a stage of motivation to solve their problem! Car magnetic signs are a very cheap and effective source of advertising your business. Keep your message short and simple and definitely put your web site address on the signs if you have one. Our signs are very simple:
I BUY HOUSES
We use a white background with black letters. When we additional the web site to the signs, our web traffic increased 25% the first week.
Everyone has different feelings about the design of business cards. Some people like them to be a bright color to get attention. Some people prefer a more specialized look. The truth is that the color of the card doesnt really matter. What matters is the message on the card and truly passing the cards out. If the cards are sitting in the box on your shelf, they will not do you any good. The message on your card should be crystal clear. If you buy houses, the card should say that. If you rent houses, the card should say that. A generic card that doesnt tell anyone what you can do for him or her is useless. The message should tell them what is in it for them; they dont want to know how wonderful you think you are. Nobody really cares that you are the Number 1 Rehabber in your county. They want to know that you can solve their problem. Tell them in plain clear English that that is exactly what you do. For a very small charge you can print on both sides of the card! Dont waste that space!
Newspaper ads can be very effective but they can also be expensive. When you are first starting out you will find the local penny saver or thrifty nickel kind papers are much cheaper and typically bring a better return for your dollar. Some people use a lot of time trying to perfect their message so that they get the top identify in the real estate wanted category. Most sellers will start at the top of the category and call every ad trying to get the best price. Your time will be much better spent truly answering the phone when a seller calls. Most people are not comfortable leaving information on an answering machine. The investor that has a live person answering their phone will get more deals than someone using a machine!
Our second best method of getting leads has been bandit signs. We place them in the yard of every character we buy. We leave them up as long as we are rehabbing the character and take them down when we are trying to sell the character. Be careful in placing bandit signs. Most cities and counties are starting to enforce sign codes more vigorously. Check the local ordinances and stay in compliance. In our market area, signs may be placed after 5pm on Friday and must be removed before 9AM on Monday.
We have found our web site to be both good and bad. We include it in all of our advertising so that possible sellers, buyers and tenants can get information when they like. This is part of the good side…. we dont have to take the same calls and answer the same questions all the time. We also include rental applications and seller information forms that can be filled out online and sent to us via email. This saves a lot of time for everyone involved. The bad side is we get a few applications that are filled out with fake information. Seems like Mickey Mouse wants to leave Orlando and move to Atlanta!
Classified Ads – Shotgun Marketing
Thrifty Nickel Ad – Weekly ad about $15
Atlanta Journal – Not targeted enough, expensive
Yellow Pages – Not targeted, very expensive
Direct Mail – Targeted Marketing
Targeted Prospects from Tax Rolls
Out of state owners
Target specific Zip Codes or Subdivisions
Postcards – Weekly mailing of 100
Letters – Weekly mailing of 100
There are many ways to market your service. These are just a few of them. in any case methods you choose to use, you should be consistent with your message and persistent in your marketing to keep your message in front of your target audience.