As the new year begins, it’s a time when most of us are thinking about how to grow our investing businesses and asking questions like: “How can I get more motivated sellers?” and “How can I get more cash buyer?” and “How can I do more deals?”
To help you, I’ve recorded a video that walks you through a game-changing concept that you need to know in your business and then reveals the 3 actions you must do this year.
The good news is: if you do these actions, your investing business will grow!
If you liked this video, I have more planned for 2018. So make sure you follow my Facebook page, https://facebook.com/aaron.hoos so you see them as I publish them.
As a real estate investor, your business can only grow so far by tapping into the existing network of people you already know. If you want to increase the number of cash buyers, private lenders, and motivated sellers, you need real estate investing marketing to promote and grow your business to get more seller leads and buyer leads.
The reality is, it seems like there are a MILLION things you could be doing to promote your business, how do you do it well, do it strategically, and do it in a way that scales so you can get more leads without burning yourself out? A lot of investors get in touch and ask: “how do I market my real estate investing business? Where do I start? What should I do first?”
In this blog post, I’m going to share the first 5 real estate investing marketing steps you can take to promote your investing business. If you’re not sure where to start (and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed), or if you’ve been in the biz for a while and need to improve how you market your investing business, then here are the most important things to do.
Just follow these real estate investing marketing steps in order, put the pieces in place, then come back and revisit each step again in the future to hone and refine your market strategies.
Real Estate Investing Marketing Step 1: Identify Your Target Market
Real estate investors usually have 2 target markets: sellers and buyers. (Yes, it might vary, depending on the type of investing you do but most investors have 2 target markets.) Your marketing tactics will be different for each of these groups because they have different interests in your business.
Sellers generally want to know that you have the funds available to make a quick sale, that you’ll accept the property in as-is condition, and that you have their best interests at heart.
Buyers care about various things (depending on the kind of buyer they are) but their preferences may include location and quality of the property, or cash flow or resale potential.
Tailoring your marketing to each group’s needs and interests will help them know you’re there to help them and not just yourself, and they’ll be more likely to work with you!
But you need to move beyond the blanket attempt to market only to “cash buyers” or “motivated sellers (within a certain geographic area).” In fact, you’ll want to narrow your target market within each group of sellers and buyers to a closely defined group. In doing so, you’ll increase the effectiveness of your real estate investing marketing.
Check out this video where I share some insight and strategies on how to narrow your target market…
You should narrow your focus as much as possible, targeting demographic factors among your clients (age, location, marital status, income level, etc), and psychographic factors (personality, values, lifestyles, attitudes, etc.).
Ask yourself, “Who is most likely to be interested in what I have to offer?” And, “What can I do to appeal to their specific needs and interests?”
Note: keep in mind that being specific can be helpful, but if you get too specific you could be excluding potential clients. Finding a good balance is key. Initially, you can look at the most prominent common factors among your buyers and sellers and focus there. As your business grows, you can continue to evaluate your target market and learn whether there is more you can offer in a particular area. The point is that you need to have an idea of who you are targeting in order to successfully take the next steps in marketing your business.
Here’s How To Identify Your Target Market
Start by figuring out who you love to work with. Who are the most lucrative people to work with? Who are the easiest for you to deal with and sell to? Who do you really want to help? Who do you love getting onto the phone with? (And, to help further narrow the list, who do you dread working with? Who do you avoid talking to? Who do you hate helping?)
If you are an experienced real estate investor, one of the best steps to take is to look at all of your previous deals and see which ones were the fastest, easiest, and most fun.
If you don’t have a lot of deals under your belt yet, consider doing this instead: start with yourself and work on defining a target market that is like you, in terms of your age, gender, income, and life experience.
Real Estate Investing Marketing Step 2: Identify Your Voice
Each person has a unique voice. In a similar way, every strong brand has a voice. It should be consistent, and should help people trust and recognize your brand.
For example, compare the distinct voices of three common car insurance commercials:
Progressive uses the optimistic, loud and enthusiastic voice of a young woman named Flo. They also frequently focus on the fact that they openly compare their rates to other companies.
Geico’s Cockney-accented gecko is calm, friendly and informative. They prefer to point out simple ways that you can save money on insurance through their company.
The Allstate man’s voice is reassuring and trustworthy, and the brand often uses commercials that are sentimental and family-focused to motivate potential clients to get insurance.
Each one has a different voice that suits its different purposes and each is easy to recognize. None is inherently better or worse than the others. They key is that they are constant and don’t flip-flop around different voices. Doing so could make your brand seem unreliable and also make it more difficult to remember.
Want to learn how this works for investors? Check out this video below, where I show the importance of having a real estate investing marketing voice and I give two examples.
Your voice doesn’t need to have a character attached to it, but the style of your writing and real estate investing marketing should be consistent, whether you want it to be more casual, in-your-face, sentimental, humorous, etc. Once you choose the voice for your brand, stick with it, and make sure all of your copy uses it consistently.
Here’s How To Develop Your Marketing Voice
First, sit down and write a letter (yes, old school!) to a friend or two. Your own natural voice will come out.
Second, consider who your target market is (see Real Estate Investing Marketing step #1, above). What do you need to adjust about your voice to connect with sellers and with buyers. (For example, you might need to tone down your voice for one group or get more in-your-face for another group… depending on who you’re working with).
Real Estate Investing Marketing Step 3: Nail Down Your USP
A USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. It’s a well-known marketing acronym that ultimately prompts you to identify what makes you unique in the marketplace.
Investors often fail to create a USP for one of two reasons:
Investors may think that their business is just too similar to every other real estate investing business to be able to identify a USP to use.
Investors may think they created a USP but, in reality, there’s nothing unique about it. (“I offer amazing service to my cash buyers,” one real estate investor might say. That’s not actually a USP because many other investors could argue that the service they provide to cash buyers is just as good or better.)
Neither of these are correct. You need a USP, or you’ll get lost in the crowd of investors vying for attention from sellers and buyers. And, you need to make sure that your USP is actually unique, or you’ll get lost in the crowd!
Check out this video to learn about the importance of a USP and how to create one…
Real estate investing marketing can be particularly challenging. Most people have the idea that investing is simply a continuous process of buying and selling. What else do potential clients need to know about what you do that will help them distinguish your service from another investor’s? What more do you offer that could lead potential clients to choose you over someone else from a seemingly endless list of names?
Developing a USP can be difficult. It requires you to really evaluate yourself, your business, your goals, your competition, your clientele, and needs of the market you’re working in. Even though it can be time-consuming, discovering a genuine need or gap in the market can help you develop a solid USP that will attract many new potential clients.
Here’s How To Develop A USP
Ask yourself, “What do I do as a real estate investor that no other real estate investor does?” This could be for sellers or for buyers (or you may need to create 2 USPs, one for each).
Dig really deep to brainstorm several ways that you could be unique, and combine ideas. It will be tempting to create a USP that isn’t that unique at all but you need to be able to say, “I’m the ONLY investor the world who does this.” That’s when you’re doing something unique.
Real Estate Investing Marketing Step 4: Develop Your Sales Funnel
The purpose of any funnel is to help minimize loss; likewise, a sales funnel is a marketing design that will help you to minimize the amount of clients you lose, and hopefully help them stick around to continue to do business with you in the future.
In real estate investing marketing, buyers and sellers will come through separate funnels to connect with investors. What you need to do now is to identify and develop what YOUR funnels will be for buyers and sellers.
Check this video, which reveals the often overlooked opportunity that sales funnels provide to real estate investors.
Here’s How To Develop Your Real Estate Investing Sales Funnel
You already have a sales funnel in your business (every business does). But to really take your business to the next level, you need to define your sales funnel and optimize it.
You’ll need to create multiple sales funnels — at least one for your sellers and for your buyers. If you’re in different markets or work with different types of sellers or buyers, you’ll probably want to create separate sales funnel for each one. (For example, maybe you work with sellers in foreclosure and sellers who are burned out landlords — that is 2 different sales funnels because they may need to interact with you in different ways).
Get a blank piece of paper and write out who your target market is at the top.
Then write out each step that they interact with you in.
In the video, I give the example of motivated sellers in foreclosure who go through the following funnel:
That’s just one example; yours might look different. But it’s a good place to start.
Once you’ve developed that list, then you can start optimizing it:
Identify opportunities to broaden the top of your funnel with more opportunities to come in.
Identify opportunities in the middle of your funnel to build a deeper relationship with those in your funnel.
Identify opportunities at the bottom of your funnel to increase the level of commitment that the seller/buyer needs to make (through increased urgency, a higher dollar value, etc.)
I’ve listed these 3 opportunities fairly broadly. As you dig in, you’ll discover that there are MANY potential opportunities at each step.
Real Estate Investing Marketing Step 5: Start Writing Content
Now it’s time to put your plan into action! Content in marketing is essentially anything you give or send to clients that is beyond what you are directly selling to people. Some of the most common content mediums are social media, blog posts, websites, direct mail, reports, and emails, but there are many others as well.
In this video, I share with you the 5 top content pieces you should build first to deploy your real estate investing marketing…
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t write content just for the sake of content. Content marketing should always have a specific purpose. Why are you doing that particular promotion? What good does your blog post provide readers? What function does your email newsletter have in building clientele or your credibility with them? Your audience should always benefit in some way from the content you are providing them with.
Content marketing is an essential part of marketing your real estate investing business, so start with the 5 pieces of content I shared in the video above and then slowly add more content as you grow — try new content types, try new media… test it all!
Here’s How To Start Writing Content For Your Investing Business
Work backwards through your sales funnel.
Start with your emails. Create the first 5 emails and plan to deliver them over a period of 5 – 10 days. What do you want to say in the first 5 emails that will build a relationship with your audience and get them thinking about doing business with you?
Next, write your website content. What do you need to say to people that will convince them to sign up to your email list? What information did you put in your emails that they will benefit from? (Don’t forget the bigger picture: you’re ultimately trying to get them to do a deal with you, so be sure to dial in content that assures them that you are the right person to do deals with.
Then, write your blog posts. These are slices of information and insight that position you as an expert, and they act as landing pages for people searching for answers. So write on one idea and, at the bottom of each post, invite them to get in touch.
Then, write your social posts. Think about what information you can share in your social posts that would entice people to click a link to go to your blog and/or website. The social posts should capture the attention of your audience and tease information to that audience to get them to click.
Then, write your direct mail. Your letters or postcards need to capture the attention of people who have a problem that you can solve with your selling or buying service. Direct them to call you to talk further.
Real Estate Investing Marketing Will Grow Your Business!
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a real estate investor – whether a day or a decade – you need to be constantly building, deploying, and revisiting your real estate investor marketing.
By doing so, you’ll create a constant flow of seller leads and buyer leads into your business so you can do more deals (and do more profitable deals in a scalable way).
Use this blog post to build a real estate investing marketing plan and then schedule time to revisit this post regularly so you can adjust your real estate investing marketing, strengthen it and make it more effective, and grow your business.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Jane Average are either worried about their financial situation or they’re oblivious to it (and their oblivion should worry them). Companies are starting to tighten up. Money is running out. Governments are at the end of their ropes. Predictions and forecasts are integrating the nuclear option into their economic models.
The headlines are all screaming that something bad is coming down the line.
BUT IT’S NOT ALL BAD (FOR SOME OF US)
It’s bad for a lot of people, and it will get WAY worse for many… but then there are the real estate investors — the good people like you and I who buy, sell, rent, flip, and wholesale properties.
Most of the real estate investors I work with aren’t worried at all about the economic apocalypse on the horizon because a lot of investing tends to be reverse correlated to the economy: the deeper the economy falls into the toilet, the better investors tend to do. (Disclaimer: I know that’s not the case for all investors… but it’s true for many of them.) Many investors get access to more motivated seller deals and, if they rent property, they get access to more renters.
So if you have nothing to worry about, why am I writing this blog post?
NOW’S THE TIME TO CRANK UP YOUR REAL ESTATE INVESTING MARKETING
The truth is, we don’t really know when the financial collapse is coming, and most of the time (with a few exceptions) the collapse starts more like a whimper than a crash. (Recessions, for example, are technically measured through a “hindsight” metric when there are 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth).
Since we don’t know, we need to start getting ready now because some of this marketing takes time to develop.
HERE’S HOW TO GET YOUR REAL ESTATE INVESTING MARKETING READY, TESTED, AND DEPLOYED…
Get your marketing ready
Start designing your real estate investing marketing to speak to people in serious financial situations. Think about what will happen when the economy crumbles: there will be more motivated sellers coming online, and there will also be more properties for rent AND more renters. But there might be fewer cash buyers and private investors.
For example prepare your seller marketing for motivated sellers who are in deep financial crisis. And, prepare your tenant marketing to renters who have a lot of rental options. And if you work with private lenders or cash buyers, you’ll want to revisit the marketing you use with them to build your credibility and establish deeper trust.
Test and refine your marketing
Once you get your marketing ready, you can take the time to test and refine it (which is why you should be doing it now instead of waiting for the storm to hit and THEN trying to figure out why your real estate investing marketing isn’t working).
Send out small tests, see what works and what doesn’t. Yes, people aren’t necessarily in dire financial straits right now but these small tests will give you a taste of what needs to happen.
Deploy your marketing
If I were you, I’d also start deploying your marketing now.
Actually, I’ll rephrase that: you should be deploying your entire real estate investing sales funnel right now. That means you should have your marketing ready to go at the push of a button AS WELL AS your employees fully trained and ready to go to handle the increase in volume and the potentially new and deeper financial conversations they’ll have.
Although you might be tempted to wait until the economy actually crumbles before your press the “START” button, you shouldn’t wait. Sure, your motivated seller marketing postcards might be okay to wait for a while but I would suggest 2 areas of your business that need to start going right now:
Any website that will be relying on search engine optimization (SEO) since that can take weeks or even months to really gain the search result position you want it to.
Your private investor or cash buyer marketing — there might be fewer private investors and cash buyers once the economy starts to tighten up so get them onto your list right now and start building trust with them so you’ll be ready to do more deals with them.
OTHER CHANGES TO MAKE TO YOUR INVESTING BUSINESS
You may need to make other changes to your business as well. For example, if you’re selling high-end luxury homes that you’ve just refurbished, you may consider exploring rental or rent-to-own options if you can’t move those homes. Or, if you do turnkey wholesaling and you need to flip these properties faster, you might want to scale up with more contractors who can handle the work.
The whole point of my blog post is this: Start now. These things can take time to develop, test, and deploy… sometimes they can take days, weeks, even months. It makes sense to have everything in place right now. That way, some of your real estate investing marketing (such as search engine optimized websites) have time to start rising to the top of search engines, and your team gets fully trained to handle the increase in business when it happens. And perhaps most important, your cash buyer list is big and full of trusting buyers.
You need to ramp up your real estate investing marketing right now because we don’t know when the financial collapse is going to happen. A month from now? Six months from now? A year from now? Two years from now? It’s inevitable…
… so now’s the time to get ready with a strategy and a stockpile of real estate investing marketing.
When a real estate investor contacts me to talk about writing for them, one of the first questions I ask is, “who is your target market?”
Every single real estate investor has a target market that they’re trying to reach.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem among investors that I see quite often: many investors make the mistake of thinking that “anyone” is their target market.
They’ll tell me, “hey, I’ll happily work with any cash buyer who has money.”
It’s hard to say anything against that because it SOUNDS preferable, but it really isn’t preferable at all: you shouldn’t work with ANY cash buyer who has money. That’s a business-killing mistake.
That’s because a well-chosen target market will be fun, fast, and super-profitable, while a generic market that has not been targeted will be difficult, slow, and often unprofitable.
Let’s dig into this a bit more…
WHY THE PERFECT TARGET MARKET IS NOT “EVERYONE” OR “ANYONE”
There are more people out there with money than you realize… and they’re not all like the people you want to work with. So among the big group of “anyone”, only a few are appropriate tow work with.
I’ll give you a few examples and you can start crossing them off your list of “everyone” as your target market…
For example, in our great big world of 7 billion people (or so), not everyone has money but even those who do have cash and want to buy real estate are not all perfect to work with you. If you’re not set up to work with anyone who doesn’t speak English then you can scratch off a whole bunch of wealthy non-English speakers. If you’re not aware of the cultural differences of an international cash buyer, you might not do a deal with them that makes sense for both of you. And there might be factors related to politics or international law and finance that you’re not intimately familiar with, so that probably scratches off a few more people from your list of “anyone”.
Okay, so you’re down to English speaking people with money who live in areas that are culturally, politically, and financially compatible with where you work. Great. But even among this group (which is still very large), you’re not going to be able to work with everyone: For example, exchange rates might play a factor into where people invest: as I write this, the Canadian dollar is quite low, which means that it can be very expensive for a Canadian cash buyer to buy American real estate (unlike the way it was a few years ago when I invested in the US). I’m talking about national exchange rates but this also works on a local level, as well: the value of currency in one area of the US is very different. Houses in Los Angeles cost hundreds of thousands more than a similar house in Columbus Ohio. Depending on the kind of investing you do, it might make sense for someone from one state to invest in another – but only under certain conditions. If you’re trying to partner with a private money lender on cash flowing properties, they might prefer to buy three or four in Columbus when they can only get one in LA. So your business might not be set up to work with investors because of where you do business or how you do business.
We’ve scratched more people off the list. Let’s keep going: the kind of deals you do will also determine who invests with you. Someone who needs cash flow will more likely invest with you if you’re a cash flow investor than someone who prefers the big (but inconsistent) hits of money that come with flipping.
The list is much smaller now but even among this group, you’re still not looking for “anyone”. That’s because on this group that’s remaining, there’s going to be people who are really happy to work with you – they know you and appreciate the value you have for them, and there’s going to be people who (frankly) don’t really like you that much or don’t appreciate the value you have for them. I can tell you from experience that you should do everything in your power to work with the first group of people and everything in your power to avoid working with the second group of people. The first group of people will make your investing fun and profitable. The second group of people will call you up every time something goes wrong or every time they have a question.
See? In just a few short paragraphs we’ve narrowed the list from potentially millions or billions of cash buyers to probably a few thousand. So you DON’T want to work with ANYONE. What you should prefer to do instead is find a group of people who you absolutely love working with and narrowly define that group, then invest in marketing efforts that reach ONLY those people (while ignoring or repulsing everyone else).
If you’ve done deals before then you probably already know who this group is, ideally. Chances are, you have a pretty good idea of who would make the perfect cash buyer or private money investor on your money list… and who would be absolutely horrible to work with.
If you’ve never done deals before then you have to take a best guess at this point and expect to refine it in the future. A good place to start is to find someone who is a lot like you, in terms of age, gender, interests, etc. (That’s not a perfect method of choosing a target market – when I was a financial advisor, for example, my target market turned out to be nothing like me at all – but if you have zero experience as an investor then this is a good starting point to build from).
PICK A TARGET MARKET TO ACCELERATE YOUR INVESTING BUSINESS
When you know exactly who your target market is, you can communicate with them in a way that is authentic, enjoyable and effective. You’ll connect with them and that will build trust very rapidly. And when you’re ready to do a deal with them, they’ll want to do a deal with you.
But when you don’t know who your target market is, your communicate lacks power. You’re trying to be everything to everyone, and you end up communicating too many irrelevant messages at once. Your marketing goes from laser-focused to scattered and confusing.
… And effective marketing is profitable, while ineffective marketing is expensive.
The day I stopped trying to work with everyone is the day my investing business totally changed. And I see this time and time again with so many of my clients. I urge you to think about who your target market is and narrowly define them.
Some investors are “total noobs” (as the kids say… wait… do the kids still say that?) and some investors are so advanced that they’re working and thinking at the stratospheric level. I meet them both, talk to them both, get into their heads, learn their secrets and struggles.
Along the way, I’ve discovered a painless, simple, and FUN way to start a real estate investing business that any aspiring investor can use.. even if they’re stuck in a 9-5 job, have zero cash, and don’t have any deals under contract or in the pipeline. Trust me, you’re gonna love it.
Yes, it is possible. And the best part is, anyone can do it even if you don’t see yourself quitting your job in the near future.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM ABOUT LACK-OF-EXPERIENCE THAT NEW INVESTORS ARE FACING
What do you need when you have a deal? Well, you need money and a deal.
But new investors get bogged down, especially if they have a job and don’t have any money or any deals in the pipeline: They encounter the classic catch-22 of investing — they need money to do deals but they need deals in order to get money.
The money allows them to do enough deals to quit their job and start working as an investor. However, in order to get that money, they often need to have done some deals and demonstrate enough experience for their private investors to trust them enough to lend them money.
This forces new/aspiring investors to stay in their jobs longer while they find the money and try to do the deals (but having a job doesn’t give them enough time to find the money or do deals!)
It’s a very, very difficult loop to break out of, and that’s one of the reasons why there are many more aspiring investors than there are actual investors.
HERE’S THE SURPRISING SOLUTION FOR YOUR NEW REAL ESTATE INVESTING BUSINESS
What do you think your private money sources are looking for when they’re deciding whether or not to invest with you? Put another way, what qualities are they looking for in you that would allow them to invest with you?
Most investors would say that their private money sources are looking for an investor with experience.
However, that’s not actually true. Private money sources aren’t looking for experience. What they’re really looking for trust. They need to know that they can TRUST you. They need to have the CONFIDENCE in your abilities and the BELIEF that you’ll do what you say you’ll do.
Private money investors are looking for trust, not experience. It’s true that experience is part of the trust equation but it’s certainly not the only part.
Trust is built in the following ways:
Experience (there it is!)
Rapport between the investor and the private money source
Alignment of vision/goals between the investor and the private money source
A clear and detailed plan with contingencies
Assurances (such as guarantees, control, deal structuring, who owns the title, etc.)
Knowledge/education level of the investor (does the investor KNOW what they’re doing?)
Reputation (of the investor as a trusted person)
Positioning (of the investor AS an investor)
Confidence in your ability
As you can see, experience is part of it but only one part. There are many other factors that contribute to trust.
And here’s where it gets exciting for the new/aspiring investor: You may not be able to control your level of experience at this point in your investing business but you can control almost everything else!
HOW TO CONTROL THE TRUST FACTORS
You may not be able to increase your experience but you can increase almost every other trust factor.
Rapport can be established through continuous communication.
Alignment is achieved and maintained by communicating your vision/goals and building bridges between yourself and your private money sources.
A clear and detailed plan is one of the easiest things you can put together. And remember: the more detailed, the better.
Assurances seem trickier because you may not be able to offer guarantees (depending on the kind of investing you do and where you live) but you can provide other assurances, like how the deal is structured.
Knowledge/education is one of the easiest to acquire. Just keep reading, studying, learning, and getting coached, trained, and mentored. Don’t ever stop.
Reputation doesn’t require experience — you can get lots of people to share that they think you’re trustworthy, diligent, and hardworking. Find someone you’ve done business with in the past and get a testimonial from them. (Oh, and your credit score is also a form of reputation — that may play a part as well in showing your private lender just how reliable you are).
Positioning is the idea that you provide some kind of unique angle to the market. Your position as an expert in a particular type of investing (with your expertise based on education rather than experience) will help you. Branding is an important component of positioning.
Confidence may surprise you but it’s important. When you talk to your private money sources, they’re looking for someone who is confident. Your lack of confidence, rather than your lack of experience, may hurt you. In fact, I’d venture to say that more money goes to inexperienced investors with confidence than unconfident investors with experience!
BUILD TRUST INTO YOUR BRAND, MARKETING, AND BUSINESS… INTO EVERYTHING YOU DO!
Since your private money sources are looking for trust, not necessarily experience, you can control many of the factors that will contribute to trust.
Here’s why I’m talking about this: Many of those components can be built into your brand, your marketing, and your business. For example, your positioning should be evident within just a few seconds of someone encountering your brand; your reputation (via testimonials) should be peppered throughout your marketing; your knowledge and your confidence should ring through in every website page and blog post and email you write; your rapport will be evident through every interaction you have with the private money source.
Here’s what to do now: Get a piece of paper and write down those trust elements I’ve talked about above. Then, start listing what you can do for each one. Aim to create 3 to 5 ways to build up each trust element. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole bunch of trust-building tools in your toolbox.
You won’t need experience because you’ll have a ton of other reasons why private money sources should invest with you… but before long, you’ll also have the experience to go along with it!