Something’s not working.
Maybe your marketing plan is generating too few leads. Maybe it’s leaving too many leads behind. Maybe it is effective, but it’s not efficient.
Or maybe, you don’t have a plan.
Not to worry.
Our team over at REISift is made up of marketing ninjas. And in this guide, we’re going to give you a marketing plan that you can follow.
There are just three parts to building a successful real estate investing business.
- Generate High-Quality Leads
- Consistently Turn Those Leads Into Deals
- Build Systems to Easily Repeat Steps 1 & 2
So let’s dive right in.
Part 1: Generating High-Quality Seller Leads
Without a consistent flow of high-quality leads, it’s impossible to grow your business.
So here, we’re going to walk you through some proven strategies that successful investors use to generate leads. There’s nothing ground-breaking here. But the process works. Follow it.
I’ve yet to meet a successful real estate investor who isn’t sending direct mail campaigns every month.
In fact, this is a service that we’ll be providing soon for REISift members — with a single click, you’ll be able to schedule direct mail campaigns.
Some of the top lists to send mailers to are…
- Tax Delinquent List
- Code Violation List
- Absentee Owners
- Inheritance List
- Yard Sale/Garage Sale List
- Arrest Record List
You can also find properties by “driving for dollars” — which is the process of driving around your area of operation, writing down the addresses of distressed properties for later skip tracing.
How often should you send mail?
We recommend sending mailers consistently throughout each month. Your volume will depend on your marketing budget. Here’s some advice from a BiggerPocket’s thread…
To determine your advertising budget, check out this nifty calculator that Carrot created.
We recommend starting with direct mail and then running advertisements as your budget allows.
A few useful advertising strategies are…
- Retargeting Website Visitors — Facebook allows you to retarget website visitors with ads using their Facebook Pixel.
- Hijacking Ideas From Competitors — All pages on Facebook are now required to reveal all of their advertisements. Check out what your competition is doing by clicking on “Page Transparency”
- Targeting High-Value Search Phrases — In Google, you can bid on the most motivated keywords, such as “Sell my house fast in [market_city]”. Those leads are already looking for you.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (or SEO) refers to the process of getting your website ranked in Google organically (not through paid ads) for high-value keyword phrases — such as “sell my house fast in [market_city].
The benefit is clear — more leads at a lower cost.
Improving your site’s rankings, however, while worthwhile, requires a commitment to consistently creating new content (on your blog, for instance) as well as a clear understanding of how SEO works — here’s a helpful guide from Fortune Builders.
Keep in mind, SEO efforts typically take 3-6 months to pay off, depending on the competitiveness of your market.
Skip tracing is an extremely useful tactic for real estate investors.
Essentially, it’s the process of digging up critical information — phone number, current address, name, etc — on a record where you only have a little bit of information.
If you’re driving for dollars, for instance, and you only know the address of the distressed property, skip tracing will help you find the name, phone number, and current address of the owner.
Then you can add them to your list of leads.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this process manually.
Tools like REISift can skip your lists with a single click. Just upload your data, we’ll clean it for you (removing duplicates, separating incomplete records, fixing addresses, and never re-skipping the same record), and then select “Skip Trace”.
We recommend separating incomplete data from complete data — otherwise, you’re going to waste time and money using incorrect information to contact leads.
Cold calling might be uncomfortable, but many investors have built bigger businesses because of it.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of cold calling is that many investors avoid it — so those who do it stand out.
(Keep in mind, skip tracing is a prerequisite to cold calling)
But who should you cold call? And how often?
Well, you can cold call the exact same lists you use for direct mail. In fact, doing both is typically pretty effective (you can cold call leads two weeks after you send a mailer, for instance).
How often you cold call is dependent on your team’s bandwidth. So try it out and see what works best.
But before you start cold calling, make sure you have an excellent process for cleaning data and managing leads. Otherwise, you might end up doing more harm than good (accidentally calling the same person twice, following up inconsistently, etc).
Part 2: Consistently Closing Deals
Now let’s talk about turning those leads into deals.
We’re going to discuss data management, sophisticated follow-up, and mastery of the sales process.
Most real estate investors manage their leads like the average person manages their finances: haphazardly.
That’s not to say that the real estate investor isn’t closing deals… but they’re certainly not making the most of their leads.
That causes two problems:
- Leads get left behind.
- Money and time get wasted.
Investors might not like to talk about it, but good data management begets more deals from the same marketing plan and budget.
Good, clean data allows you to follow-up with each lead when it makes the most sense, contact people rather than trusts or LLCs, never waste marketing dollars on incorrect information, and avoid skip tracing the same list twice.
But what does good data management look like?
It means cleaning your lists often, monitoring which lists that you’ve used in the past, re-skipping information when databases have been updated, and tagging contacts based on where they’re at in the follow-up process.
If you look at your records and...
- Don’t know which numbers have been contacted…
- Don’t know which leads are interested or not interested…
- Don’t know when leads entered your marketing lifecycle or how long you’ve been working prospects to no avail…
...then your data is broken.
Ultimately, you need to keep data clean on the frontend (detailed customer relationship management) as well as on the backend (mailing and cold calling lists).
Sound like too much work?
Well, REISift can do all of it.
With REISift, good data management is as easy as clicking a few buttons (on the frontend and backend).
You can even filter leads so that you’re always targeting exactly who you want to be targeting.
Check out our 14-Day Auto Lead Gen Challenge if you’re serious about growing your investing business but don’t want to increase your marketing budget.
It’s only $99 and the process is changing investor’s businesses big-time.
Here’s what some people are saying in the Facebook group about the challenge.
90% of deals get dug up during the follow-up process, not during the first few calls.
For experienced investors, that’s no big secret.
And it’s why top investors have such rigorous follow-up processes. Many of them follow up with leads for at least 12 months.
It’s also why 47% of wholesalers listed the follow-up process as one of the biggest opportunities for improvement in their business.
Maybe 12 months sounds like too much.
But you’ve got to keep in mind that timing is everything, especially when we’re talking about something as large as buying or selling a home.
Many of your leads will say “no” right now, but in 6 months or 12 months, who knows what they’re going to say? Time changes things.
To succeed, you need to be committed to following up with your leads.
(This ALSO requires good data management)
Here’s a great follow-up process from Call Porter that you can follow. Start there and improve it as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
If you want to turn leads into deals, then you’ve got to master selling.
Or at least, you’ve got to hire people who’ve mastered the sales process.
You (or they) must know how to talk to motivated sellers, how to empathize with their concerns, how to be straightforward, how to deal with rejection, and how to quickly build trust.
This is partly an art and partly a science.
As for the science of sales, here are some of our favorite books to check out...
- How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Secrets of Closing The Sale by Zig Ziglar
- The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
Part 3: Building Systems
On the other end of generating leads and closing deals is a problem.
It’s hard work.
You can’t shut your eyes, put down the phone, or pray for a more successful business.
You have to work for it — you have to keep generating leads and doing deals every single month.
So this next part is all about building systems that make the process easier, more efficient, and more consistent.
Using The Best Tools
Whenever you can automate something, do it.
Even if it’s going to cost you a little bit of money upfront, you can trade the time you’re saving for time spent growing your business (vs. just surviving).
At REISift for instance, we’ve created easy-to-use software that can tackle mind-numbing but important tasks (like cleaning your lists, managing your customer relationships, skip tracing data, sending direct mail campaigns, etc).
That’s what our software excels at.
We certainly don’t claim to be an all-in-one tool, however.
You can then use those tools together to build a business that’s easy to manage and runs partly on autopilot.
But steer clear of tools that try to be a jack-of-all-trades. Typically, they’re amateurs at everything and masters of nothing.
Streamlining Internal Processes & Hiring The Right People
What is a business if not a combination of processes and systems that work together, day-in and day-out, to trade value for revenue?
From a bird’s eye view, that’s all it is. Simple.
But not easy.
Successful business owners know that they need to consistently remove themselves from their business in order to work on their business. They need to build processes that manage the business for them. And they need to not rely too heavily on any one team member (including themselves).
The system is what makes a business a business.
Here are a few to-dos that you should consider creating streamlined processes for (ASAP)…
- Good Data Management — Cleaning lists, skip tracing, customer relationship management, etc.
- Lead Generation — Sending mailers, creating content for your website, cold calling, advertising, etc.
- Sales — Phone answering and follow-up.
- Acquisitions — Making offers, coordinating deals, finding buyers, and closing.
To do that, you’re going to need to hire team players, leverage every tool at your disposal, and start viewing your business like a puzzle that you’re putting together.
Your job is to put the right pieces in the right places.
Your Marketing Plan Just Needs a Motivated Real Estate Investor (i.e. YOU)
You’ve got everything you need.
But don’t misunderstand.
We’re not saying that this guide has taught you everything you need to know in order to build a successful real estate investing business.
There’s a lot left to learn.
But now you have a plan — and a plan is how all great businesses start.
So get up, take action, learn from your mistakes, and keep taking action.
Eventually, if you don’t quit, you’ll build a business that you’re proud of.