One of the biggest problems new investors have is marketing. It’s such a broad topic with so many options that is causes our stomachs to tie up in a knot as we worry about putting our good names out there on the line. These were (and still are) the questions that went through my head as I was trying to develop a marketing plan…
- What is the best way to market?
- Who should I market to?
- Are Letters better then postcards?
- does online marketing really work?
- how much does it cost?
- What if people actually call, what do I do?
- What percentage of people call from mailers?
- Should I hand write the letters or print them out?
- How long should a letter be?
- Should I put my phone number, email address or website on the marketing?
Now i’m sure there are many more questions, so if you have one feel free to post a comment to this article and I will answer it the best way I can or direct you to where you can find the answer. Let me see if I can answer the above questions for you.
What is the best way to market?
Simple answer to this is there is no best way and there is no wrong way. The only way is just doing something to get your name out there. Print an ad in your local newspaper, send out postcards or just hand out business cards to everyone you see. You can start small at first, but if you do just make sure you are going after a Target Market. What I mean by that is concentrate you marketing efforts on a specific group of people. For instance Pre-Foreclosures or probates. It’s like dumping a packet of sugar into a bath tub as apposed to into a cup of water. You will never notice the sugar in the bathtub, but take a drink from the glass and you’ll be able to taste the sugar.
Who should I market to?
It doesn’t really matter who you market to, just pick your niche and be consistent with it. Like the analogy above about the sugar and water illustrated, keep to a small group at first until your resources grow.
Are Letters better then postcards?
This is a tough question to answer as it really depends on the market you are in and what works best on your target audience. I recently read a blog post over at reiclub.com that talked about How to keep your apartments full. Even though it is written for landlords it definitely applies to what I’m trying to say here. To sum it up, it all depends on the generation of the recipient and how best to reach them. Read it…I’ll wait till you come back.
Does Online Marketing really work?
Absolutely it does! There are some reports that say 75% of people now go online in order to buy or sell their homes. Just look at the increase in real estate sites like Zillow.com, FSBO.com, Realtor.com, Trulia.com and a like. If it didn’t work craigslist wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is, so the simple answer is YES.
How much does it cost?
Marketing can cost as much or as little as you want. Yes you can spend thousands of dollars sending out mailers, putting up billboards and running commercials during prime time. My marketing budget right now is $200 a month, which I try to spend smartly to make it go further. There are plenty of free or cheap avenues for marketing like craigslist, bandit signs, business cards, door hangers or even just spreading the word on your facebook page that you buy houses. Many big time investors don’t spend a dime on marketing and get all their deals through referrals. So get out there and spread the word that you buy houses!
What do you say when people actually call?
The answer will actually surprise you…as little as possible. You want to get them talking by asking open ended questions, like “Tell me about your house”. The first contact should be you trying to figure out if they are motivated. They will probably ask you “how this works?” or “what kind of programs do you have?” or something like that. Just explain to them that you buy houses, and if we can agree on a price that works for both of you you would love to buy their place. Don’t make it more complicated then it really is.
What percentage of people respond to your mailers?
The rate of response is usually between 2 to 3 percent if you are doing a good job. Anything less then that you should continue to tweak your advertising material. You should always be testing. Change a word here and there, change the back color or the text. Try letters instead of postcards, try hand writing the addresses….have fun with it.
Should I hand write the letters or print them out?
Hand writing the letters can take forevery, but you will get the most bang for you buck. If i got a hand written letter I would most surely read it, I mean who gets hand written letters these days? If that just isn’t in the cards for you, then print using a hand written font and yellow notebook paper. You may want to continue to hand write the address though. That makes a big difference.
How long should a letter be?
If you were to get a letter in the mail that was 4 pages long, would you read the entire thing? Remember it is still an advertisement for a service and people will catch on to that quickly. So my best advise is to state what you can offer them as simply and quickly as possible. Have you ever read a 2 page advertisement in the newspaper? I didn’t think so.
Should I put my phone number, email address or webpage address on the material?
This depends on where you are marketing. On craigslist you can put all three. If you are sending out letters I’d put your phone number. For postcards i’d put your phone number and possibly webpage address if you have room. Your end goal is to have people contact you and the quickest way is by telephone, so if I had to chose one I’d include your phone number.
Hopefully by me answering some of those common questions I’ve helped you out. Below is a list of items one can use to get the word out that you buy houses.
- door knocking – Great for people with more time then money
- door hangers – cover a targeting neighbor hood with these for a quick strike approach
- Craigslist – be consistent and follow the rules and you’ll have success
- Banditsigns – The best bang for the buck in the business, just know the laws in your town
- Postcards – cheapest mailers to send. About 27 cents per. Use Click2Mail for easy sending
- Yellow letters – Effective mailer solution that is more personable then postcards
- Business Cards – Leave these on tables, bulliten boards and hand them out to everyone you meet
- Websites – not important when you are first starting out but great way to show you are professional
- Twitter – build up your followers and network with other investors
- Facebook – create a fan page that will advertise your services to your local area
- Newspaper ads – place a simple ad to attract buyers and sellers
- billboards – only if you have a lot of extra money laying around
- tv commercials – same as billboards, you’ll have to spend a lot
- radio spots – on local radio station this could work well, but still a bit to0 costly
- Third Party Advertising Affiliate Programs ( Lucky Buys Yucky Houses) – Very expensive but is proven to get your phone ringing
I also figured that I would list some of the resources I use to accomplish my marketing and learn how to market.
- Click2mail.com – One of the best ways to send out mass mailers. Just upload your template and your mailer lists and you are done in minutes
- Craigslist.com – Free, easy and affective place to advertise for buyers and sellers as well as team members
- USPS.com – some use the regular US mail webpage instead of click2mail
- twitter.com – networking social media site
- facebook.com – networking social media site
- 1and1.com – Cheap and reliable website hosting service – $5 a month for all you’ll need
- godaddy.com – Cheap place to register domain names, there is always a coupon around – $6.45 domains
- wordpress.com – best software to use to develop your blog/website
- joomla.com – another great software for blog and website development
- http://www.reiclub.com/forums/index.php/board,31.html – ReiClubs Marketing Forum
- WarriorForums.com – Best web advertising forum ever!
- realestateblackbook.com – Dialy blog posts on usefull techniques for getting your message to your target market.
I hope this helps…
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