23 Facebook Strategies For Real Estate Investors

I’ve say this often: Real estate investing is a people business. You’re ultimately the “middleman” (and “middlewoman”, of course) between a motivated seller and a cash buyer (or private lender or tenant or whatever). That means, if you want to do more deals, you have to connect with more people.

And where do you find more people? Well, you have to go where the people are!

For that reason, I love recommending Facebook to my real estate investing clients as an essential tool in their investing toolbox.

Facebook marketing for real estate investors

In this blog post, you’ll read about 23 different ways to connect with people and build relationships with them on Facebook. (There are other ways to use Facebook, and many more will be developed as Facebook continues to innovate, but if you start with these 23 different ways and just run through them like a checklist regularly, you’ll start implementing a very powerful Facebook strategy in your investing business).

One more point before you read on… Effective use of Facebook requires careful consideration of what you write. Posting on Facebook isn’t just about jamming out half-assed content and hoping people read it. Using Facebook effectively means carefully using copywriting to your real estate investor marketing on Facebook… from the words you write to the links you post to the replies you make… it’s ALL copywriting!

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #1. Build A Facebook Profile And Make Friends With Other Investors

I’m talking about your own personal profile (not a business page… see Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #2 about that). This is the place to start. You’ll need a profile to be able to do a lot of the other things below, anyway, so start here. Chances are, you already have a Facebook profile. Now you’ll want to build it out and optimize it as an investor.

  • In the About section of your profile, add your main buyer website and your contact information
  • Clean up your pictures — it’s okay to have some personal images there but think about getting rid of those drunk college pics (or at least untagging yourself from them)
  • Make your profile public so people can find you
  • Enable the ability to have people follow you
  • Review your Interests, Movies, Books, etc. to make sure that they present you in the best light

I’m not suggesting that you create a false persona. Rather, I’m advising that you look very carefully at your profile and make sure it presents your best side. Prospective buyers will come to your Facebook profile as part of the due diligence process. They’ll check you out and see what you’re like. It’s GREAT to have some personal stuff on there to show your human side but just make sure that it doesn’t show only your worst side!

Continue to use your Facebook profile as you always have (to connect with family and friends) but be diligent about the statuses you post and about the comments and replies that your friends post. Since you do want to put your best foot forward, it’s okay to edit some of the less appropriate stuff.

Most important: build a Facebook profile that describes you accurately and authentically while also highlighting your assets and downplaying your liabilities. (It’s not really any different than what you do when you rehab a property, right?!?

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #2. Build A Facebook Page To Find Buyers

Next, build a Facebook page (to clarify: these are like Business profile pages — they’re different than your personal Facebook profile).

The advantage of using a profile page is: to build up followers who might not want to connect with you personally; to use Facebook’s post-boosting and advertising tools that are not available on your personal page; to access analytical insights that you might not get on your Facebook profile, and to capture more search engine traffic through strategic search engine optimization.

You can go in a couple of different directions here, depending on your brand. However, I like using a slightly more corporate brand for a Facebook Page. I tend to prefer adding more personal content on a personal page and more formal content on a business page, although this is not a hard-and-fast rule that I follow all the time for my clients. Whatever I post on a Facebook business page ends up on my Facebook personal profile… but not always the other ways around: I might post an investing blog post on both my Facebook business page and my Facebook profile, but if I was going to the movies with my wife, I might only post that on my Facebook profile. (In my mind: Your Facebook profile is “stream” of your personal and business life; your Facebook business page is the running a “stream” of the business-only aspect of your life).

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #3. Build A Facebook Page To Find Sellers

You’ll often hear me say that the best way to get motivated sellers is through direct mail, and I still believe that. But maintaining a Facebook page for sellers can help you capture some search engine traffic and drive people to your seller website; with the right ads, you may also capture some motivated seller traffic that you wouldn’t get through direct mail.

Your seller page should be set up strategically to drive traffic to your seller website. Link out to your seller website and use that link as a call to action for sellers.

When you create a Facebook page for sellers, you won’t necessarily have as much connection between your personal profile and your seller page (certainly not in the same way that you connected your personal profile and your buyer page).

Frankly, I don’t think this is done very much — or very well — on Facebook right now… but that’s not to say it’s impossible. You should do it and spend 5-10 minutes a week on it to keep it updated and relevant. Even if you get one or two deals a year out of it, it pays off.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #4. Boost Your Posts

There are two ways that I love using Facebook ads. The first way is to use Facebook’s “Boost Post” ad tool to promote readership of your posts. Write a great post on Facebook and then spend some money to boost it. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot of readership. It’s an effective way to get more likes to your page, more readership of a post… and if you choose your post carefully, you can drive more readership to your website.

Start by writing an AMAZING post on your Facebook page. You might consider linking out to a blog post or video that you’ve created and published elsewhere. Then click the “Boost Post” button below the post to start advertising it. Carefully select your audience and spend a bit of money to have the post read widely.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #5. Advertise On Facebook To Drive Traffic To Your Website

Along with Facebook’s post-boosting ads, you can also use advertising to drive traffic to your website. There are three components to success here:

  1. You need a great offer on your website. Set up a specific landing page with a unique report and an opt-in form.
  2. Write a great ad for Facebook (and be sure to use a compelling picture!).
  3. CAREFULLY choose your audience — don’t just blast it out to anyone but choose a group that closely matches your avatar. Facebook’s audience-selection tools are very powerful.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #6. Share Your Ideas, Thoughts, Insights, Questions

There are many things you can share on Facebook but first and foremost, I believe you should be sharing YOUR OWN ideas.

When you share your own thinking, you help to position yourself. Even if you share personal experiences of what’s going on in your life right now, it’s still positioning. More importantly, when you share things you learn, successes you’ve had, and struggles you’re overcoming, you help to position yourself as a real estate investing expert… and that’s how you want to position yourself to prospective buyers. They’re looking for a “relatable” human being who is trustworthy and who is likely to take the right actions with their money. Keep this in mind as you post, and be sure to post frequently.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #7. Share Your Links

You likely create content in other locations — Twitter (including Medium and Periscope), Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, BiggerPockets, your own personal blog, and elsewhere. Share it all here. Let people know that you’re not just on Facebook but that they can find you and follow you at these other places as well.

This not only helps to position you as an expert, it also gets your name and brand in front of them in other places too.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #8. Share Your Images

Of course you may upload images and share them via a site like Instagram, but you should upload and host your pictures on Facebook, too, and talk about them on your Facebook profile and Facebook page.

Share images of:

  • Your real estate successes (like a great rehab)
  • Your investing success (like a big check you got from the sale of a property)
  • Your personal life (you and your spouse on a date night)
  • Your inspirations — like images of quotes that you find inspiring

Bonus tip: Don’t just share quotes that other people have said; create your own insightful quotes and get someone on Fiverr to turn them into inspiring quotes. Upload them to your Facebook profile and page and encourage people to share them.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #9. Share Your Videos

Of course you can link to videos in other places (like YouTube and Vimeo) but Facebook is trying to gain a larger footprint in the video hosting space. They want to host videos so people don’t go offsite to view them. So record videos and upload them to Facebook.

I see this as being a HUGE area of growth for Facebook in the coming years, and I suspect that they’ll favor Facebook-hosted videos over offsite-hosted videos in their search.

Here’s another idea…

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #10. Create A Podcast Or Video Show And Host It On Facebook

Podcasting and video-casting are hot right now and I think this is a huge opportunity for investors to leverage this trend, plus Facebook, plus Facebook’s video trend, plus Facebook’s audience…

Instead of creating an audio podcast show and hosting it at a site like iTunes, create a VIDEO podcast and host it regularly on Facebook.

Right now, investors are creating occasional videos and posting them, or linking out to podcasts. But I think we’re at the perfect storm of trends and technology to make this happen on Facebook right now.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #11. Share Your Discoveries

Facebook is a very “share-friendly” environment where people freely share stuff they’ve seen elsewhere. I do this all the time and perhaps you do too — you share posts and videos and images and whatnot. I’ve included it here because I think you should do it frequently; however, I’m including it as its own strategy because I think it should be only PART of a much larger content-creation effort… and I think you should create more of your own content than reposting other people’s stuff.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #12. Write Facebook Notes To Provide Another Way For People To View Your Content

Facebook notes were total crap for a long time. They had just the most basic functionality and no one used them. But lately Facebook seems to be pouring more effort into them and allowing a broader range of functionality and design… making them a lot more like Twitter’s long-form content site, Medium.

You should continue to blog elsewhere (at offsite locations like your own business blog or a site like BiggerPockets) but consider incorporating some long-form posts on Facebook through its note function.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #13. Join Facebook Groups

There are many Facebook groups out there and they are a great way to connect with like-minded people. I confess that this is an area I have not paid a lot of attention to until recently. I did belong to Facebook groups before but just never really participated all that much. But now I’ve started recently and I wish I had done it sooner.

What I like about Facebook groups is that they are self-selecting affiliations. Which means, if you join a group of investors, most of the people in that group consider themselves investors. It’s huge to get in front of an audience like that.

So join groups that are associated with the type of investing you want to do. But don’t stop there: think about how your cash buyers would most likely identify themselves and then join THOSE groups. For example, do your cash buyers identify themselves as disgruntled stock investors looking for better returns? Then join stock investing groups.

Of course you shouldn’t just join these groups and start jamming out links to your investing business. But join, learn, participate, communicate, connect, and share from time to time about what you do.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #14. Start A Facebook Group For Investors

Joining a Facebook group is good… but starting a Facebook group is better. Think of a real estate investing Facebook group like your local real estate investors’ association (REIA). Who do you see as the expert of your local REIA? Probably the person who started it.

Well, your Facebook group is like a new local REIA started by you… and the fact that you started it will help to position you as an expert to other investors.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #15. Start A Private Facebook Group For Your Team

Facebook groups have privacy settings and you can set a Facebook group to private, turning it into a hub for you to direct your team. As your team grows, add people to your private Facebook group. Give direction, invite discussion, and share links and documents with others.

Facebook groups might not always be the best choice for team management but they are a good free choice for many investing businesses. Once you get bigger, you can always switch to a site like Basecamp but for most investors, a private Facebook group is very useful.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #16. Create Events

Events are another tool on Facebook and I think they are under-utilized right now but I suspect that Facebook will figure out a way to really rock out their event functionality.

You’ll likely be putting on events, whether webinars, seminars, launches, REIA events, open houses, etc. Start using events to help position you as an expert. You probably do a lot more events than you think (and, if you put your mind to it, you can probably create more events based on what you already do).

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #17. Locate (And Attend AND CONTRIBUTE!) To Events

There are already many events in Facebook. Find some that are relevant to you and start participating in them.

I searched “real estate investing” in events and the search results returned a lot… although many of them had already expired. So this is an area that I think Facebook can really improve upon but if you do a bit of searching, you’ll still find events that you can participate in.

Like groups, events are powerful because people are self-identifying as investors in events about investing… so if you want to meet investors then start going where investors are spending their time.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #18. Integrate Facebook Comments Into Your Blog Post Comments

Okay, so here’s the deal: I’m not a big fan of blog comments. I think they’re spam-heavy, and there are many other ways that people can connect with you (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). There was a time when blog comments were great but I just doing see the ROI on it right now… even with tools like Akismet or Disqus to help you better manage comments.

However, if you are thinking about adding comments to your blog, I’m intrigued by the possibility of adding Facebook comments. I don’t think it erases all the problems you have with blog comments but I think it does help to promote the conversation in a channel that people are already using, plus it helps to cut down on spam (although it doesn’t eliminate it entirely).

So I’m including this as a Facebook strategy for you to consider although, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s not something I’m using. I’m helping one of my clients make the switch over to Facebook comments.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #19. Actively Search Out Other Investors And Friend/Follow Them

So far I’ve been describing Facebook as a positioning tool (with profiles can content) and a connection tool (with friends and followers) but it’s also a search tool. Don’t just passively sit there and wait for people to find you… go out and start actively hunting down other investors and connect with them. Friend them, follow them, like their pages, etc. Get active on other investors’ pages. This will help to position you as an active investor and it will attract investors to you in reciprocation.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #20. Build Relationships With People

Creating profiles and content on Facebook is not just about writing words. It’s ultimately to connect with people. I’ve listed a whole bunch of strategies so far but all of them are useless if you skip this one. Use Facebook to connect and communicate and build relationships with other people.

Post statuses that engage other people.

Write comments on other people’s statuses.

Write replies to the comments people make.

Like things that people write.

Ask questions (as statuses and as comments).

Wish people happy birthday.

… in other words, ENGAGE with people. Build relationships. Facebook is a great big party and the only way you’ll meet other people is by sauntering over to another person at the party and striking up a conversation. Period.

Social rules apply here. Don’t always make it about yourself and how awesome you are and how much of a return you can help people earn if they invest with you. Keep it real. Be authentic. Ask other people for their ideas. Share yourself and invite others to share themselves.

And just to be clear, I’m not just saying that you should only engage people that come to your profile or your page. There’s something else you should be doing actively…

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #21. Comment On Other Investors’ Posts

As you connect with other investors — whether through groups or through those who friend your profile or follow your business page — be sure to comment on things THEY post. Go to their profiles and pages and comment on things that they’re talking about.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #22. Invite People To Message You To Learn More Info

As people engage with you, they’ll eventually become interested in doing business with you. One of the easiest ways to take the conversation further is to invite them to Private Message (PM) you to discuss further. Don’t share all your details or their details in public conversation; take the discussion private.

Think of Facebook as a key part of your real estate investing sales funnel: You capture their attention through your earliest introductions, then you build a relationship with them as you connect with them, and when they’re ready to take your business relationship to the next level, then you invite them to PM you.

Facebook Real Estate Investing Strategy #23. Carefully Choose Your Facebook URLs To Help Own Your Google Top 10

People search Google when looking for help in their investing. Will they find you? One way to help increase the likelihood that they will find you is to change the URL in your Facebook profile and business pages to be relevant to the search terms that people will be using. If you want to be found when someone searches for “Invest In Columbus Real Estate”, for example, then change your Facebook profile and page domains to include those keywords.

Here’s The REAL Reason You Can’t Find Cash Buyers

Can’t find cash buyers? Welcome to the club: There are MANY investors who can’t.

Investors give many reasons for a lack of cash buyers — from “I’m in a bad market” to “It’s a bad economy right now” to “There’s too much competition” to “There are too few of deals” to “Aliens took all the deals” (well, maybe not aliens).

But none of those are the REAL reason that investors can’t find cash buyers.

There ARE cash buyers out there. In fact, cash buyers collectively have BILLIONS of dollars available for real estate investing (yes, Billions with a B… that’s not an exaggeration). It’s actually obscene how much money is out there.

So why are investors having trouble finding these fat cat cash buyers?

The real reason is because investors aren’t communicating enough value to their cash buyers.

If you have a real estate deal, you have an opportunity to give a buyer a return on investment. Sure, the exact numbers and methodology might differ, depending on whether it’s a flip, rental, wholesale deal, multifamily, commercial deal, whatever.

But too few investors adequately communicate that value to buyers. They give details about the property itself, or confuse the situation with too many particulars. Or they generalize. Or they talk about value but don’t really talk about the value that is important to their cash buyers.

All a cash buyer wants to know up-front is what they can get out of the deal compared to how much they have to put in. That’s the value equation. They want to know return versus investment.

But I’m not just talking about how much MONEY they have to put in versus how much MONEY they get out of the deal. Don’t naively assume that every cash buyer just wants to get profit from the deal. There are other valuable returns on the investment as well, including safety, peace of mind, more time, less effort, bragging rights, the ability to own a specific type of deal, multiple extra strategies, an investment that matches a specific time horizon… gosh, I could go on and on here.

Case in point: I’ve turned down investments even though the capital requirement was acceptable but the time and effort required from me was not. In other words, I measured my ROI by the entire amount of money/time/effort I had to put into the deal versus the amount of money I’d get out of the deal (plus the amount of time and effort I would be saved). That kind of information dramatically changes the value equation on SO MANY DEALS.

So how do you communicate value to your cash buyer?

Well, it starts with knowing who your cash buyers are and what they are interested in

Cash flow? Security? Capital gains? Easy investing? Working in a specific state? Tax advantages? Building a portfolio for retirement? Diversification outside of Wall Street investments? Building a legacy? Getting to say they own real estate?

… There are MANY reasons people invest and you need to know what YOUR cash buyers’ reasons are.

THEN when you find a deal, you need to hammer home the value the property provides. Don’t assume that your buyers can figure out the value for themselves. They’re busy with other things and maybe have a ton of opportunities presented to them everyday. You need to make it explicitly clear what value your deal has.

In fact, I advise that you OVERWHELM your audience with value.

Identify the value and hammer it home over and over (and show how the deal has tons of extra value… even bonus value they never realized would benefit this). You need to bring the deal to the point where it’s ALMOST too good to be true. (Of course you should always present the deal ethically… I just mean that you need to identify the value your buyers want and then show them in no uncertain terms that your deal is exactly what they want.)

And here’s the great news: You can deliver all kinds of value even beyond the money. As I mentioned before, other elements of the deal the provide value include:

  • The deal’s safety factor.
  • The deal’s location.
  • The other components they get in the deal (such as: a turnkey deal might come wrapped in an LLC).
  • And don’t forget: You can also be a value — through sharing information and guidance. Many of my clients have this as an additional value add to their cash buyers. It’s huge.

Tear apart your entire business and locate ways to add value — perhaps ways you already add value that you aren’t exploiting, or ways that you can add value it you did something different. Get strategic. Get creative.

For example, for one client, I’m writing an ebook that walks clients step-by-step through the process of building a portfolio. And for another client, I’m creating specific autoresponders for people who are already buyers and now need to learn how to go to the next level by turning one or two properties into a dozen or two dozen properties.

Ultimately, find out what value is important to your cash buyer and make sure you provide an over-abundance of it. Then create marketing that shows them exactly how much value they’ll get. And when you hit that sweet spot, you’ll end up with more cash buyers than you’ll know what to do with! (That’s a nice problem to have).

The Brain-Dead Simple Answer To The Question: “How Should I Market My Real Estate Investing Business?”

When I connect with real estate investors, one of the first questions they ask me is about where they should be marketing their real estate investing business to find the best motivated sellers and cash buyers.

And my answer is brain-dead simple but laser-sharp effective. I always say:

“It depends where YOUR motivated sellers and YOUR cash buyers are paying attention.”

Real estate investing marketing success is NOT about a basic template of specific marketing channels that are combined together in exactly the right way with exactly the right information or social posts.

It’s not a plug-n-play formula of “1 Twitter account plus 1 Facebook account plus regular postcards equals ridiculous levels of success.”

Unfortunately, real estate investors are led to believe this from the gurus and experts who make it look easy and never really fully explain how to effective market a real estate investing brand.

That’s why I’m here. 🙂

I’ll give you the simplest, fastest way to market effectively for the right motivated sellers and cash buyers.

First, stop trying to copy the the big guys exactly. It’s folly and you’ll only waste your money. No two real estate investors are exactly alike. Each one serves a different market and a different motivated seller and a different cash buyer.

Let’s say you’re an investor in Cleveland Ohio who buys properties from probate sellers and who then creates turnkey investment opportunities. You’ll STILL serve a somewhat different market than another investor who invests in Cleveland and buys from probate sellers and sells turnkey. Your differing personalities and levels of expertise and network and skills will combine to create slightly different brands… and therefore you might connect with sellers and buyers in a different way.

Second, figure out EXACTLY who you are and what you do and who you are connecting with. Sit down with a pen and paper (old school!!!) and list out what markets you work in and what your sellers and buyers are like.

Third, figure out what value you provide sellers and buyers… don’t miss this step because it’s essential to creating ANY communication that will compel your seller or buyer to act.

Fourth, identify exactly where your sellers and buyers are paying attention. Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Magazines? Television? Radio? Newspapers?

Yeah, I listed television and radio and some of you are reading this and thinking “are you crazy? That’s so expensive!!!” and then you’ll go out and spend a ton of money on cheap marketing that reaches a wide audience ineffectively and delivers zero return on your investment.

Unfortunately, too many real estate investors value a marketing channel by whether they think it’s affordable or not… instead of whether it delivers the intended results.

There are no bad marketing channels… even seemingly expensive marketing channels can be good… it all depends on what your target audience is paying attention to.

If you are mailing out a ton of direct mailing and getting crappy results then your current direct mail strategy is not a good choice for your intended audience… even if the big real estate investors are killing it with this strategy. (You should test some slightly different language in your copy and see if that solves the problem, and then test a different strategy altogether).

Twitter might be great for you if your audience is there and paying attention and seeking answers. But if they’re not then it’s not for you.

Heck, if your target market is ignoring all marketing because they are too busy at their kids’ softball games then that’s great news: Go sponsor the team, rent a hot dog cart and give out free hot dogs and meet with parents as they load up their dogs with mustard, hand out your business card, give out labelled bottled water, give prizes, whatever.

You see my point? The way you market doesn’t really matter actually. Only the results. And if you want results in your marketing effort then you have to figure out the best way to communicate to YOUR motivated sellers and cash buyers.

The bottom line: Just figure out where your motivated sellers and cash buyers are, and market to each of them there.

These Are The 3 Most Effective Brands For A Real Estate Investing Business

Every business has a brand.

Yes, every single business.

Even your real estate investing business has a brand (whether you think it does or not, and whether you’ve intentionally done anything with your brand or not).

Since every business (including your real estate investing business) has a brand, you might as well take charge of your brand and build it intentionally.

Building your brand intentionally gives you the most control over how others see you, whether they do business with you, and what they can expect from you when you work together.

I’ve been helping real estate investors build brands for years. I’ve observed, made notes, tested, failed, succeeded, learned, and built a significant playbook on real estate investing branding. Yeah, I boasting. Whatever. It’s the result of years of toil (mostly good toil) and I’m proud of what I’ve built and how I can help people. From all of this work, I’ve found that there are really just 3 types of real estate investing brands. Of course there’s a lot of subtle variations within each of these 3 but there are 3 big categories of real estate investing brands.

So if you’re thinking about how to brand your real estate investing business, consider how each of these brands might play out for you. Here are the 3 in no particular order…

The Corporate Brand

With a corporate brand you position the company first. Usually the business name is prominently displayed on the site. There are often images of the properties you work with. Images of people on the site are often stock images of ideal customers or, professional headshots in an “Our Team” page.

Memphis Invest (they’re a client) is an example of a corporate brand.

The corporate brand is the most formal of the three brands I’m talking about in this post. (It doesn’t have to be so formal that it seems like you are a robot sent from the future to generate cashflow, but the brand typically has a formality to it).

At times, this corporate brand can impart a “big business” feel to your investing company (although that’s not always the case, especially if you use the corporate brand approach but work toward a “boutique firm” feel).

This brand scales really well so if your business grows from a one-investor-operation to a team, there is no real impact on the brand itself.

This brand works well with professional, experienced investors and high net worth investors. And if it doesn’t seem too formal and bureaucratic, it’s also a good brand when dealing with sellers because they can get a sense of assurance from the structure and professionalism (however this is a fine line to tread so be careful).

I should warn you, though, that there are a BAZILLION of these brands out there already (most done poorly but they’re out there anyway) so you need to find a way to be unique among them.

The Celebrity Brand (or) The Lifestyle Brand

The celebrity brand positions YOU as the brand. You’re the rockstar investing expert who can help sellers sell fast or buyers buy for massive cashflow. Sometimes it’s all about you and your larger-than-life personality… but sometimes it’s about your lifestyle and how real estate investing lets you life your life on your terms.

Donald Trump (not a client) is an example of a celebrity brand. He’s got a massive personality that is notable and magnetizes people, and his gold-plated lifestyle also adds to the brand. One of my clients, Mark Evans “The DM”, loves to travel the world so we have positioned him as a “world-traveling virtual investor” (meaning he can invest no matter where he happens to be). Another client, Sunil Tulsiani of the Private Investment Club, has positioned himself as “The Wealthy Cop” because he used to be a police officer and is now a full-time investor and founder of an investment club.

The celebrity brand is usually far less formal. The person themselves (or the lifestyle they live) is front and center.

All the content in this brand — from websites to blogs to emails to images — all center around the person or their lifestyle. In some cases (with a few exceptions) a lot of the content comes directly from you, so your blog might say: “I was climbing in the Himalayas last week when an investor called to do a deal…” The language is “I”, “Me”, “My” to help establish YOU as the brand.

This brand is harder to scale because the entire brand is built around one person and that can sometimes cause confusion among investors if they think the one investor is doing everything behind the scenes. (There are ways around these, such as by mentioning that you have a team). It’s not impossible to scale but there can be challenges.

This brand is also harder to break free from if you want to do something else or if you start on the wrong foot. One example (outside of the real estate investing space) is Tim Ferriss and his Four Hour Work Week. This is a celebrity/lifestyle brand and Tim has said publicly that the “four hour” piece of his brand has been both a blessing and a curse because everyone thinks that Tim really only works four hours a week… when even he admits that it’s not true.

This brand works well if you have a great angle and/or a big personality or ego. (Nothing wrong with that). For an angle, you need something that will attract your ideal target market. For example, investing from the beach, or cellphone investing, or investing in your underwear, or investing by the pool, or investing from your South American villa, or investing from your private jet, or investing from your motorcycle, etc. See where I’m going with this? Your angle needs to be some attractive aspect of your lifestyle that makes other investors think: “I want that!”

This brand works well to attract new or experienced investors (and depending on your brand, you can increase one or the other). I don’t recommend this brand when working with sellers, since you don’t want to put your flashy lifestyle as the front-and-center piece when you’re talking to them. (However, it’s possible that a celebrity-style brand may work with sellers but your celebrity will need to be built around generosity and helping others).

If you don’t like the spotlight, don’t pick this brand. However, this is probably the fastest way to create a unique brand.

The Educational Brand

The educational brand is, as the name suggests, focused on educating others. The entire brand is built around showing others how to achieve their goal, whatever that goal might be (selling fast, buying for cash flow, flipping, wholesaling, whatever).

This type of brand is slightly more formal (like the corporate brand) but most importantly has a layer of instruction to it.

This is a great brand to build if you want to attract brand new investors or if you want to focus on building a passive income stream of information and coaching. My client REIN (the Real Estate Investment Network, a Canadian network of investors) does this very effectively.

The potential is also here to attract sellers by educating them, however I’ve seen a lot of seller education brands struggle because they potentially educate sellers out of selling. (I’m not saying it’s impossible to build a seller education brand; I’m just pointing out the challenge).

When done appropriately, you can do deals with your students using an educational brand — you just need to be cautious that you don’t come out of the gate swinging with deals when the student might want to take a slower approach. One challenge, however, is that many people start out as real estate investing students and they STAY as students and rarely move forward. So a component of your education should include encouraging them or enticing them to take action.

In many ways, this brand straddles the fence between the formality of the corporate brand (which tends to be more trusted among students) and the lifestyle aspect of the celebrity lifestyle brand (which tends to attract more students), but the most important thing is to give good instruction. The more instruction you give — the more step-by-step and easy-to-follow instruction, the better for your students to become your investing clients.

This brand can be easier to scale because a lot of the information can be automated through autoresponders and video and PDF ebooks/reports so it can take a lot of work to set up initially but you can potentially do a lot of deals to your students later.

There are many educational brands out there (and it’s growing all the time) so you need to find your own unique angle.

The Hybrid Brand

I said there were 3 brands, and that is true. You’ve just read about them. But I realized that there’s technically another brand — a hybrid of the 3 above. For example, with the right approach, you can build a hybrid model of 2 or all 3 of these. A good example from among my clients is Kent Clothier, who has built a very professional investing brand (it’s a celebrity brand but it’s ALMOST corporate), and he is a very prolific educator.

So What Should You Do???

If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following:

Consider who your avatar (ideal target market) is. The more experienced your buyers are, the more formal they may want to be. (i.e. they may not necessarily be attracted to education or your lifestyle). I have a client who is somewhat famous before becoming an investor and we were going to build a celebrity brand for him… until we analyzed his target market and realized that they were actually more famous than he was. So it wouldn’t make sense to go with a celebrity brand, instead we’re building a corporate brand.

Think about whether you want to build multiple brands (one for sellers and one for buyers, which you should do if you are using a celebrity model for buyers — you need something for sellers) or whether you only want to build one brand (which is easier to do when using the corporate brand). With a corporate brand, you can put a buyers side and a sellers side on the same website pretty easily. With a celebrity brand, you should only focus on one and keep the other very separate.

Decide if you like the spotlight or not. (Nothing wrong if you do; nothing wrong if you don’t… either way, it helps to inform you of the direction to take).

Narrow your focus a little and then test out each approach. You don’t have to invest a lot of time or money but just do a bit of brainstorming and think about whether you can sustain a one-post-a-week celebrity lifestyle blog for a year, or whether you have the experience to deliver helpful education to students.

There are so many possibilities and variations but these are the 3 brands I build for my clients over and over and over again.

Copywriting Response Rates: The Myth, Mystery, Beauty, and Damnable Frustration (And Why I Rarely Share My Response Rates When Someone Asks)

One of the reasons I was attracted to copywriting in general, and direct response copywriting for real estate investors specifically, was the idea of response rates — the ability to accurate measure results from your work.

Marketing should not be considered an art, it should be considered a science. Every ad is a test and every response rate is the data to help you draw a conclusion.

Often, prospective clients ask me about my response rates. They say, “I’m thinking of doing a direct mail piece to find cash buyers and I’d like to send out a letter. What are the response rates you get?”

I have mixed feelings about this question. On the one hand, I absolutely LOVE that they care as much as the result of the ad as they do about sending it. (That is a surprisingly rare mindset). On the other hand, they’re asking a question that is almost impossible to answer.

I know what my response rates are for nearly every type of copy I write. But I HATE giving out a specific number as “proof” of my ability to write copy. On any type of copy, my response rates vary: Some have been infuriatingly below industry standard, some are at industry standard, some are above industry standard.

I’ve seen my work falter. Yeah, I’ll admit that. I’ve also seen my work sell out a client’s project by 100%. (I’m happier to admit that one!) I love measuring responses and I’m generally proud of my response rates but here’s why I don’t like talking about specific response rate numbers:

Response rates are only part of the picture.

I’ll use an analogy to explain. When you go on a trip, you put gas in your car and you probably have some expectation that the mileage you get from that tank of gas will get you a certain distance.

BUT… It assumes that you have a car (and not just a gas tank). It assumes that you have maintained your car so it’s working at maximum efficiency. It assumes that you won’t just leave your car idling at the grocery store while you run in for beef jerky and energy drinks for the trip. It assumes that you have adequate air pressure in the tires. It assumes that you aren’t driving into a massive headwind while towing a trailer. It assumes that you are driving on a generally flat ground at sea level and not through winding mountain roads. Heck, it assumes that you’re actually traveling on a road.

Think of my copy like gas in the gas tank. My response rates are like the mileage you’re expecting to get. Like a car salesperson, I can tell you what the expected mileage is based on past experiences but there are a lot of assumptions wrapped up in that number. Your experience might be totally different. Here are some interesting observations I’ve made over the years:

  • I put together some postcards for a real estate investor that got an insane response rate. Unfortunately, the client’s sales funnel wasn’t fully set up so they got a great response rate from the mailing but couldn’t deliver on what they had promised in the postcard.
  • I created an client’s ad for a real estate investing magazine that, at first, seemed to have a dismal response rate. But it continued to deliver responses a full year after the magazine was published and turned out to be one of the best marketing investments they made.
  • I wrote a sales letter for a wholesaler that was pretty good and I was hoping for a 25% response rate from it (which I would be happy to get on that particular offer). I don’t know what percentage the sales letter actually delivered (we lost track of the number of letters that went out) but the client sold out and continues to use that sales letter.
  • And here’s another story that happened to a client of mine (although I wasn’t involved in this story, unfortunately): My client was getting dismal response rates on a mailing so he tested a new mailing like crazy and sunk A LOT of money into testing. Now his mailing is incredible but it was a journey to get there.

I have more stories like that. Way more. And I’ve learned something really important: Good copy is about response rates (and we all should pay attention the response rates of our marketing) but those response rates aren’t necessarily a specific, transferable number to other investors. I may get a GREAT response rate from a sales letter for one client but it doesn’t mean I’ll get you the same response rate from a sales letter.

To get a good response rate on your project, here’s what you and I need to do when we work together:

  1. Complete a ton of research. (Seriously. Just when you think you’ve done enough, you’re actually just starting.) Do 80% research and 20% copywriting. Sometimes this ratio doesn’t work out (oftentimes it doesn’t work out) but it’s the ideal that we should all aim for.
  2. Carefully choose the right market. You can’t just flood the market with postcards; you need to find a way to narrow your list and identify only those people who are likely going to want what you have to offer.
  3. Create a good offer. (Preferably, a REALLY good offer.) Here’s a huge problem in real estate investing: Newbie investors hear about all these “no-money-down, no-real-work investing” strategies and they try to adopt those bare minimum strategies to start. But what they really do is offer barely anything to their sellers and buyers. Real estate investing is a service that needs to be sold, just like anything else in the world, and the better your offer, the better your response rate will be.
  4. Build a scalable sales funnel. Oh gosh. If I had a nickel for every time this was a problem… Your marketing will likely create a response and you need to be ready for it. In my opinion, getting people to call your cellphone in response to a postcard mailing is a bad idea. It’s not scalable for you and it’s not attractive for the caller if they have to leave a voicemail.

Good copywriters are “numbers-focused” and the response rate is important to them. As a real estate investor who is investing your hard-earned money into your marketing, response rates should be important to you too. But a response rate in and of itself is just a number, devoid of any context. A one percent response rate might sound bad in one situation and amazing in another situation. A 25% response rate might say “hey, this copywriter is amazing” or it might say “hey, the offer was ridiculously underpriced.”

And asking a copywriter for their response rates is, in my opinion, no different than asking a prospective employee to give you their resume. Everyone makes their resume look shiny and copywriters are going to give you the best response rates they’ve received.

Yeah, I do that because I’m proud of my response rates and people want to know the numbers. But don’t hire me because I’ve had good response rates.

So, how do you decide whether to hire a copywriter for your work? Well response rates can be one piece of the puzzle. Copywriting experience is another. Industry experience is another. Owning the “control” of a letter is good, too. (A control is copywriter-speak for the sales document that a company mails over and over. A copywriter who writes the best performing sales letter, for example, owns it as a “control” until another copywriter comes along and writes a better-performing sales letter. Then that second copywriter owns the control).

But again, these are only part of the story. A really successful copywriter will also need to depend on you, your market, the offer, and the timing of the offer to help them. I think of a company that created a really great offer and unveiled it… on September 11, 2001. Even the best offer will be eclipsed by other events — sometimes outside of your ability to manage them.

I’m not making excuses for why some copy works and some doesn’t. Rather, it’s my desire to point out that good copy works in collaboration with many pieces of your business (and from outside sources like the marketplace and even a little luck). If you are going to hire a copywriter, you need to think about the big picture.

You can hire a great copywriter to deliver copy that has an amazing response rate and you can still lose money in your business.

When people call me up to write “a postcard” or “a webpage”, I never take the project because I know that my work will not be as effective. Rather, I only accept clients who are thinking about the big picture — not necessarily asking me to write it all for them but rather thinking about how the pieces I create will fit in with the pieces that are being created by others… all toward building a bigger, better, scalable, more profitable sales funnel.

Ultimately, it’s your real estate investing sales funnel and the components that make up that sales funnel that will determine the response rate of the copy and (more importantly) the success of your offer.

So hey, ask me about response rates. But don’t stop there. Ask my about my copywriting experience and real estate investing experience. Ask me about the controls I own. And most importantly, ask me about how your real estate investing sales funnel can grow when all the right pieces are put in place.