The 3 Apocalyptic Mistakes That Real Estate Investors Make When Marketing

If you want to light your money on fire, ignore this blog post. Some people will. They’ll read this post, they’ll think “oh, that’s interesting”, and then they’ll go on doing the same things they usually do…

… If that’s you, you might as well light your money on fire right now.

If you don’t like to waste your money, but would rather keep it to spend on a nice ham sandwich or a Lamborghini, then read this post and heed its dire warning.

Marketing your real estate investing business has the potential to grow it — to grow the number of deals you do, and their quality, and the money you make from each one. Marketing builds your buyers list and your sellers list. Marketing turns your kitchen table business into an empire.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a good marketing manual for real estate investors. (I’m working on one but it’s not done yet and I’m just one guy who is typing as fast as he can). And so real estate investors are often educated in the mechanics of how to do a deal but not in how to market their investing business. They end up making critical mistakes in their marketing because they don’t know how to do it.

Through mistake-filled marketing they end up flopping around like a fish that washes out of the ocean — flailing about in a strange world while gasping for breath… until they die.

That’s why I called this blog post “the 3 apocalyptic mistakes… ” because these aren’t just little stub-your-toe errors that you can walk off. If you make these 3 mistakes, it could be the apocalypse for your business, just as washing out of water is basically the apocalypse for a fish.

Here are the 3 business-killing mistakes that real estate investors make when marketing…

Apocalyptic Mistake 1: No Memorable Brand

A good brand performs three functions — (1) to hook someone in when they first encounter you, (2) to immediately and succinctly communicate your point of differentiation, and (3) to be the memorable thing that they can’t get out of their head long after they stop looking at your marketing.

  1. Hook: The people who encounter your brand are busy and overwhelemed with their own problems. Your brand needs to cut through the clutter in their mind and immediately communicate to them why their problems will be solved by you.
  2. Point of differentiation: When searching for a solution, your prospective buyers and sellers may encounter many options, such as other investors who offer the same solution that you do. Your brand should point out why you’re different, special, and “awesomer” (that’s a word, at least in my vocabulary) than anyone else.
  3. Memorable: Have you ever got a piece of sand in your eye? Nothing else matters until you get it out. The whole world is your eyeball for those few minutes. That’s what your brand needs to be. Not as annoying as a piece of sand but just as compelling for the person to drop everything and deal with it. After the prospective buyer or seller has stopped looking at your marketing, it should linger in their mind’s eye like a piece of sand.

If you don’t have a brand that does this, you end up attracting fewer people to your business, failing to convince them why they should do deals with you, and then being forgotten when they move on from you. That mistake will KILL your business fast.

SOLUTION: The solution is simple. You need a brand. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, slick brand that makes you look like a fortune 500 company. In fact, it’s okay (in some cases) if your brand is less than perfect. But it does need to be built around the three functions of your brand, above.

Oh, and you should expect to build more than one brand — probably at least one brand for your sellers and one for your buyers, because each of those audiences will have very different needs. You can make your brands related or you can make them very different. Both work.

Apocalyptic Mistake 2: Using Only Free Marketing Tactics

You blog. You post on Facebook. You Tweet. You write guest blog posts. You post videos on YouTube.

… And then you wonder why you aren’t getting droves of people flocking to your site, and why your phone isn’t ringing off the hook with people begging to give you their money.

The reason is simple: These marketing tactics work… but only to a degree. They perform what I call a “shotgun approach” to marketing, similar to when you shoot a shotgun. All the shot comes out but only a few pieces of shot hit the target. With this kind of marketing, you put in a lot of effort and only a few people come to you from it… and they can be the wrong people!

Hey I get it. Free marketing is attractive because you put out your message and sometimes people come to you through it but it costs you nothing.

But free can also kill your business if you rely on it because of this one reason that very few people realize:

There is no such thing as free marketing. You either pay in time and effort to post your “free” (no-money-cost) marketing or you pay in money to post your paid marketing.

SOLUTION: Use paid marketing. You can test it to find the best one and good paid marketing works really, really well. In fact, the difference in results is astounding: Free marketing brings in a few leads but most of those are going to be low quality leads, and you’ll pay a lot in time and effort to get those. Paid marketing seems expensive at first because there’s an up-front cost but paid marketing is almost always easier to target, which means you can bring in much higher leads. And, good paid marketing is also much easier to track, which means you can find the lead-sources that actually deliver the best leads.

The newbie looks at two marketing channels — a free one and a paid one — and chooses the free one. And then they spend time and effort to use that channel.

The expert looks at the same two marketing channels and they willingly spend money because it’s faster, more targetable, more measurable… and that makes it ultimately cheaper.

Note: There are good reasons to use free marketing. Heck, I’m blogging right now. And social media has its place — as a brand builder and a community builder. But not as a primary method to generate buyer or seller leads.

Apocalyptic Mistake 3: Not Having An Offer

You create a brand, you put out a mix of free and paid marketing… but then you fail to make an offer of some kind, and you fail to call your reader to act in a specific way.

It’s so common among investors and it’s a business killer, too.

Your marketing becomes “display marketing” or “brand marketing” and all it does is promote your brand and stroke your ego. It does not build your business.

SOLUTION: All marketing should have an offer — something that compels the reader to act right now because what you are saying is awesome.

It might be an offer to join a list or to download a report or to click to another page or to take out their wallet or to contact you for more information. There are lots of choices. But it should be something. Some action.

Putting The Pieces Together

If you’re new to real estate investing, you might look at these and think, “okay, I’ll be careful not to do those when I’m marketing my real estate investing business.”

But if you’ve spent any time building up your business, you’ll look at these three apocalyptic mistakes and you’ll realize: “Whoa. This IS my entire marketing effort… Heck, they’re my entire business.” Good realization.

These three things are your entire business. Your brand communicates the reason that people should do business with you, your paid marketing is a trackable way to get your message out there, and your offer is the way that you get people to act. If you miss all three of these things, you simply don’t have a real estate investing business. If you fail to do these three things effectively, you’re staring down a business apocalypse and it’s only a matter of time until your real estate investing business is flopping around, gasping for air.

Don’t be like the real estate investor who thinks they’re saving money by using only free marketing methods… and then wonders why they have no time or money and their buyer and seller leads are crap.

Instead, spend your real estate investing marketing dollars wisely. Invest a dollar and test it and work your marketing channels to that it returns $2.00 or $10.00 or $100.00 or more. That’s what smart real estate investing marketing is.

If you want to talk to me about making sure the pieces fit together (even if you don’t need any help creating the copy), get in touch with me right now. I can help to point you in the right direction to build a meaningful brand, to find affordable paid marketing channels, and to put some offers in place for every buyer or seller who comes to you.

Here’s Why It’s Stupid To Drive A High Performance Sports Car On A Toll Road

Imagine a road with a toll booth every 10 miles. You enter the highway, pay to go through the toll booth and then drop the hammer.


Within a few mind-blistering minutes you get to the toll booth…

… Where you slam on the brakes and you skid to a halt in line, waiting.

You watch in yawn-ish boredom as the slow-moving Sunday drivers root around in their ash tray for change. Finally it’s your turn and you throw your coins at the toll booth collector and then you drop the hammer again.


Another mind-blistering few minutes and you’re at the next toll booth… waiting.

Sure, those few minutes between each toll booth are moments of the purest joy as the scenery blurs past your peripheral vision. Sure, for those few minutes you are a bullet — passing grandpas and soccer moms and delivery trucks. Sure, for a couple of minutes you are Superman.

It seems like you’re going faster… but those toll booths are like cold water on your joy, giving all those other slow-pokes a chance to catch up.


You are tweaking each of the pieces in your biz, maybe testing new postcards, investing in better response copy, experimenting with multiple mailings, speeding up your ability to close a reluctant seller… whatever.

Your marketing is returning better and better responses…

But then you channel all those callers to your phone.


You alone.

Your marketing is becoming a high performance sports car but YOU are the toll both.

More sellers and better sellers are getting in touch but you are still there, answering the phone — interrupting that sexy date to answer the phone or pretending that you’re not in a public washroom when a seller calls.

And what happens if two motivated sellers call at the same time? Or three? It happens: They get home at the end of their busy day, they see your awesome postcard and, because they’re motivated, they dial your number. So when 5:30 pm rolls around, your phone seems to ring off the hook for a few minutes. You talk to two or three and the rest go to voicemail.


Okay, maybe that was a little critical. I get it. That’s what you have to do early on in your biz, until you can put together some $$$ to hire someone to answer the phone for you.

But it’s a problem. And as long as you are THE person in your business — the one who answers the phone and signs the contracts and faxes stuff and inspects the properties and whatever — as long as you are that person, you are a toll booth slowing down the potential galloping pace that your business could be running.

I’m not saying this to dissuade you from investing in better marketing (for the same reason that I don’t like poking myself in the eye) but I am saying this to tell you: You can invest in better marketing all you want but until you also invest in better systems, your better marketing can only achieve so much. It will give you a bump in the deals you do but it’s not a silver bullet on its own.


Think of your business as being built on two things: Marketing and systems. Each one needs your attention. A business with great systems but no marketing has no customers (and that’s a topic for another day). But often in this biz, investors end up with great marketing but no systems and they scratch their head and wonder why they aren’t seeing a huge bump in business.

Dude, it has very little to do with the marketing. A predictable return from marketing is great, and you should work at improving it. But when all of that high performance marketing speeds customers to you… only to have them wait in line at your toll booth… your business is broken.

Before you invest in more marketing, more branding, a better website, a higher-returning mailer, think about this: What will happen when more people start getting in touch? What systems do you have in place to handle the increase?

Systems are not my area of expertise. I have systems in my investing business and I work with clients who have them. I can give you some advice on what systems might be helpful for you. But it depends on your business and your goals.

What you need to do right now is outline the steps that your sellers take as they move through your sales funnel and determine what parts are going well and where YOU are the bottleneck. Then set up systems to eliminate the bottleneck.

Invest in high performance marketing but, at the same time, tear down those toll booths.

21 Kick-Ass Credibility-Building Reports That Real Estate Investors Should Write TODAY

There is a ridiculous amount of money-making opportunity in the real estate investing space. That’s the reason I invest in real estate and it’s probably the reason you’re investing, too.

But when that kind of “Wild West” no-limit opportunity exists, it attracts all kinds…

… from the high-achieving, ethical deal-maker to the aggressive scam artist, and MANY people in between. This sheer volume of good, bad, and morally-ugly people all vying for the same sellers and buyers means that you have to bust your ass to separate yourself from the pack if you want to actually do a deal.

One of the ways you can separate yourself from the pack is to offer a report.

No, I’m not talking about that 2 page, 16-point font, double-spaced report that was “repurposed” (without permission from another investor) and is dripping with generalities and spelling errors. (We’ve all seen investors trying pass that piece of crap off as the most highly valuable gem ever discovered).

I’m talking about a jaw-droppingly good report.

Something of quality, substance, and value.

Something that will leave readers thinking “Wow, I’ve finally stumbled upon the most insanely knowledgeable and generously helpful real estate investor on the face of the frigging earth!

A report that positions you as an expert and an educator — two qualities that sellers and buyers desperately want in the people they work with.

Something you can be proud of.

… A report that provides valuable information, positions you as a helpful expert, and supports your sales funnel by essentially becoming an extended sales letter. A well-researched, accurate, nicely-designed report that leaves the reader sprinting for the phone to call you.

If you have anything less than that kind of report on your website right now, take it down immediately. It’s doing you a disservice because it is working against you.


A report shouldn’t be an afterthought that you implement because every other investor is using one, nor should it be something that you offer just to capture contact information.

Your report is a sales letter. It needs to convince the reader that they should talk to you because you are the best person to help them solve their real estate need.

Your report fits into your sales funnel in this way:

  1. You use marketing to drive people to your website
  2. They visit your site where they see your report positioned as an irresistible in-their-face offer
  3. They acquire your report (perhaps by subscribing or whatever method of report distribution you offer) and the report “sells” them on why they should work with you.
  4. They contact you to do a deal with you.

See how the report is integral to your real estate investing sales funnel?

Now it’s time to think about the right mix of reports for your real estate investing business.

Here are 21 credibility-building reports that real estate investors should put on their website:


Report ideas to attract tired landlords:
1. How to ease the cost and frustration of owning a rental property
2. Are you at risk of financial ruin because of your rentals?
3. Six ways to deal with deadbeat renters (without killing them)

Report ideas to attract distressed homeowners:
4. How to deal with the cost, frustration, and utter humiliation of foreclosure
5. How to save your life, marriage, and financial future when your house costs too much to repair
6. Ten surprising options for your underwater house
7. What to do if you can’t pay your mortgage
8. The step-by-step secrets of people who have faced foreclosure… and survived!


Report ideas to attract retail buyers:
9. How to finally own the home of your dreams for less than you’d pay at market
10. Six shocking mortgage secrets of first time homebuyers
11. The homebuyer’s “tell-all” report that that real estate agents don’t want you to see!

Report ideas to attract rent-to-own buyers:
12. Why bad credit or no credit don’t have to stop you from owning your dream home
13. Six steps to take right now to own a home (even if your credit was destroyed through no fault of your own)
14. Recovering from divorce? The get-back-on-your-feet guide to giving your kids a safe, stable home again.
15. The secret bad credit “mortgage” that banks will never tell you about

Report ideas to attract flippers/rehabbers:
16. The eight most expensive risks that flippers face and how to avoid them
17. Ten tips to sell your flip for top dollar
18. The nine hidden costs of rehabbing that no one tells you about

Report ideas to attract landlords:
19. Step-by-step to own a rental for totally brand new landlords who are thirsty for cash flow
20. How to increase your rental income and still keep your tenants happy
21. Six secrets that successful landlords use to eliminate deadbeat tenants

You solve real estate problems for sellers and buyers. Your report should show them how. It should educate the reader and position you as an expert. It should convince them to contact you immediately. It’s an essential real estate investor’s sales funnel tool.

How Can You Succeed As A Real Estate Investor When The Market Is Saturated By Investors?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” the real estate investor told me on the phone. “I’m hammering my market with direct mail but they’re just not responding anymore.”

I have conversations like this every week. Real estate investors are feeling like their market is saturated by investors. In the past few years, I’ve seen an increase in this problem. I would say that a majority of my clients raise it as one of the more serious challenges they face.

Competition is rising. With real estate as affordable as it is, and with the proliferation of real estate investing TV shows promising massive fortunes with little work, so many people want to become real estate investors. Markets are becoming saturated with real estate investors.

And an increase in competition has a detrimental impact on your real estate investing business:

  • In some markets, prospective sellers are becoming inundated with investors’ direct mail. They’re becoming blind to it because it all looks the same (especially if you’re using the same boilerplate postcards that you got from the same “guru” that your competition sourced their postcards from!)
  • Sellers and buyers can’t spot the difference from one investor to the next. The investor who closes the deal with either a seller or a buyer is often the first, last, or most aggressive. Are you missing out?
  • Less-than-ethical investors are leaving a swath of bitter feelings from sellers and buyers who feel burnt.
  • Increased competition can sometimes turn into a “price war” with other investors when dealing with sellers or with buyers. (For example, a desperate real estate investor might swoop in after you’ve been working with a seller and they might offer a slightly higher price for the property because they’re willing to give up a bit of earnings to get the deal).
  • Your bandit signs get lost in the blitz of bandit signs nailed to a lamp post.


The scariest thing I see among real estate investors is the “insanity” approach. That’s where they do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Frankly, you might as well just throw away your money in the trash can because that is easier. If it doesn’t work for you, you need to stop doing it.

Related to that is: Real estate investors who aren’t willing to take a chance on something different. They see that a hundred other investors in their area are doing postcards so they feel that they have to if they want to be competitive. These investors seem to forget that the most successful people in ANY industry are those who zigged when everyone else was zagging.

Another scary thing I see among real estate investors is a lack of spending. Hey, money is tight sometimes. I get it. But I’m shocked by people who want to be taken seriously as real estate investors but who won’t invest in the things that will get them business. It’s true that the web provides a ton of ways that you can market for free, and you should certainly avail yourself of some of them. But carefully selected paid marketing, when built around a sales funnel, and one that incorporates action-compelling copywriting, can be a worthwhile investment.

And the fourth thing that you shouldn’t do (but I see all too often) is this: Investors who aren’t willing to test their marketing. Numbers matter. When you want to do more deals, you need to expect to market, then test, then market, then test, then market, then test… refining your marketing along the way. It’s the only way to get better at what you do.

And the fifth crazy thing that investors do when they feel that their market is saturated is: They move to another market. Hey, that is sometimes the right move to do but it might not be. It might be possible to actually succeed in the saturated market by taking a different approach.


If your market feels saturated, change the game. Do something different. Break free from the “same as” approach that you and all the other investors are taking.

Here are some ideas for you:

  • Build a daring brand. I don’t just mean a brand that amps up the same rhetoric as all the other investors are saying. I mean something totally different. Something that is 1 part celebrity, 1 part crazy, 1 part unforgettable. Frankly, a lot of investors’ brands are pretty similar, which gives you a HUGE opportunity to do something way, way different. Zig, my friends, zig. Be the crazy cat lady, the punk rockstar, the investor that wears a superhero costume. Whatever. Seriously, do something that people will talk about later. Hey, if you and everyone else are offering basically the same “service” then you might as well be the most memorable of the bunch.
  • Niche your marketing. One of my clients has done a great job of identifying what is common among all of his most successful deals. We’ve discovered that his sellers all fit within a certain narrowly defined group. So we’ve started sending postcards out that are laser-targeted to that group. It is a much easier and more effective way to market and he’s found a way to stand out in a highly competitive market.
  • Do something different with your marketing. Okay, I’m not saying that you should STOP doing direct marketing and blogging (or whatever it is you might be doing) but you should think about how you’re doing those things and maybe rework them. If you’re going to send out direct mail, don’t send the same direct mail as everyone else. Send out a letter from your dog. Or send a postcard that looks like a telegram. Or send lumpy mail. Basically, stop using the same postcard that everyone else is using.
  • Shock your sellers and buyers. One thing I’m seeing among investors is that they do the bare minimum when dealing with sellers and buyers. They interact with them just enough to do the deal and then move on. But your competition is doing the same thing. So how can you shock your sellers and buyers? Create what Dan Kennedy calls a “shock and awe” kit. A package of information that is incredibly valuable and special. Maybe include a signed copy of your book, or perhaps some of your favorite books, a couple of reports, maybe some business cards. Maybe something that is associated with your brand. And a personalized letter. Seems like a lot? Sure it does (although it can be done affordably). But it will also position you as THE person to deal with. I promise you: Those sellers or buyers won’t forget you!
  • Copywriting. Okay, you knew I was going to mention this, right? 🙂 Revisit all of your marketing collateral — your website, your blog, your brochures, your postcards and direct mail, any positioning content (like a book or report) — and strengthen the copy. Capture attention, focus on benefits, and give readers a reason to contact you right away.
  • Invest and test. I think this is going to be my mantra for 2014. Invest and test. Invest and test. Invest and test. By that I mean: Invest in your marketing; be willing to spend a bit of money to create awesome marketing that has the potential to deliver a higher ROI and test that marketing and improve it based on the results of your tests.

Saturated markets are a challenge. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean you should pack it in, or move markets, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean that you should keep doing the same thing over and over and hope for the best. Nope. What you need to do is be smart about what you’re doing and stand out. Don’t let the saturated market derail you… change the game.

Which Of These 7 Mindsets Do Your Sellers And Buyers Have?

You find a really compelling investment and try to work out a deal with a seller.
Or, you have a compelling deal and you try to communicate that opportunity with prospective buyers.

No matter who you are talking to about your deal, and regardless of whether you are communicating face-to-face with one person or sending out a postcard blast to an audience of thousands, you’ll be far more likely to close the deal if you can read the mind of the other person.

In my experience, most people feel one of 7 different ways about your deal. I’ve tried to present them in a sort of order…


These people are clearly opposed to the idea of doing a deal. There might be a number of reasons for it — perhaps they’ve had a bad experience in the past or perhaps they been misinformed, or perhaps you’re well into talking to them about the deal and they just don’t see (or refuse to see) how it will benefit them.

I’m ashamed to admit that my parents fall into this category because of misinformation they learned in the 1980’s. But I’m chipping away at them!

Surprisingly, this category is not the most difficult category to do deals with, but you’ll be more effective if you know why they are opposed and you can counter it with your real estate investing copywriting.


These people probably believe that investing is a good idea but they just don’t know about the type of real estate investing that is available to them. Residential flipping is well known (thanks to television), and most people know about landlording as an opportunity. However, few people know about commercial flipping, commercial landlording, wholesaling, or private real estate investment funds.

You can win potential new sellers and buyers with education. Just be aware of the starting point. Many investors make the mistake of starting the discussion by talking about returns on investment when they need to back up a few paces and start by asking: “Did you know that there are other kinds of investments beyond stocks, bonds, and mutual funds?”


People are busy and self-centered (hey, we all are) and it can be easy to become distracted by other things. Therefore, when you talk about a deal with a seller or a buyer, they may not realize that you are talking about YOUR deal. Rather than realizing that you are looking to help sellers out of their difficult financial situation or you are looking to help buyers earn passive cash flow, it’s possible that all they are thinking about is: “I don’t have time for this huckster because I have to run out to pick up the kids from soccer practice and why is they guy talking to me about real estate anyway? Are they an agent? Are they a financial advisor? Oh, I have to turn on the oven so I can have the casserole ready by the time everyone gets home.”

When communicating with this category of people, you need to be painfully clear and obvious about the benefits that they will receive, you need to be aware of what distractions they might be facing while you are communicating with them, and you need to also explain who you are and why you are bringing the deal to them.


A lot of first-time sellers and buyers fall into this category. They’re not opposed to the deal and they’re aware of it but they are now nearing the point of “I need to see this for myself before I believe it”. They may have been burned before or they more likely know someone who knows someone who was burned before. There’s still a bit of misinformation influencing them as well as a natural skepticism that we all feel because we’ve all seen those late night infomercials that seem too good to be true. I suspect that a majority of the people on your lists and in your audiences — as much as 80% of them — are skeptical to some degree.

The good thing is, this category is made up of people who are listening. (If they walk away then they aren’t skeptical — they’re opposed!). You can actually sell to the skeptical category really easily as long as you demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart and you overwhelm them with proven benefits. That’s the secret: Demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart and you overwhelm them with proven benefits.


This category feels neither skepticism nor interest in your opportunity. They are not convinced that it will benefit them but they are not convinced that it won’t, either, and they are not motivated to do anything about it.

In my opinion, this is the hardest category to sell to. It’s easy to sway people one way or the other to make them interested or disinterested) but it’s harder to do when there is no motivation. There are many reasons why someone might not be motivated to act. Usually it’s because they’re happy with the status quo and they fear change and risk. If you are buying from this category or selling to them, you are in for a long, up-hill battle unless you find the secret motivation button that will make them act.


This is a really big category and it could theoretically be subdivided further. They believe that the deal you are presenting has the potential to benefit them so they want to know more. Additionally, there might be some other external motivating factor (like a foreclosure for sellers or an impending impoverished retirement for buyers) that could be driving them to learn.

But the challenge you’ll face when selling to this category is: Getting them to act. Some interested people have no problem acting once they know the facts. But there are times when people are afraid to pull the trigger and they sometimes mistake “learning more” for “taking action”. I don’t need to tell you that there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between learning more and taking action. So your marketing, selling efforts, copywriting, and presenting all need to work together to first educate them and second to convince them that the next step is an action step they need to take.


This is every real estate investor’s favorite category! They understand the opportunity presented to them and acts — by selling their property to you or by buying something from you.

To get them to this category you need to educate them and then sell to them with an overwhelming amount of value and benefit. Once they’re here, it doesn’t take long to do a deal. And, once you get someone into this category once, it’s much easier to get them here again, so make sure you are working with people over and over whenever you can.


I find that, in general, people progress through these categories from to the next based on their experience and information they receive and their motivation to learn more. A combination of these factors can move people “backwards” from (for example) neutrality to skepticism or “forwards” from skepticism to neutrality to interested and finally to convinced. Copywriting helps here but it is only part of the overall picture — your sales efforts and the economy and timing of your offer and the type of offer you have are all components that can influence movement in one direction or another.

Self-promotional concluding paragraph: I go through a comprehensive checklist of factors whenever I do any copywriting for real estate investors, and one of the items in the checklist includes gaining an understanding of the market you will be communicating with — specifically, what mindset they have when they hear about your deal.