Real Estate Marketing – Getting Focused

The single biggest question I get from people getting started in real estate (and experienced for that matter) is “how to find deals?” They say, “I don’t know what to focus on in real estate. Should I focus on rehabbing? Should I focus on finding absentee owners? Should I focus on direct mail?”

The problem with those questions is that the real estate investor is confused about the whole business of real estate and the marketing plan behind finding the deals. I understand that you go to a three-day real estate training, or you buy a home-study course, and every angle of real estate investing is attractive. You can see the potential in all these different markets.

First things first, you have to get focused! This is the only way to get good at overcoming objections and solving problems unique to different types of motivated seller markets.

Let’s simplify this whole real estate marketing game and boil it down to this:
Who, What, When, Where, Why & How (And How Much)!

Who is that we are going to be talking to? Who is that we are going to be trying to purchase homes from? You may want to work in one or two of the following markets: foreclosures, absentee owners, our probates, divorces, for sale by owners, tired landlords. This is your market – the who.

What are you going to say in your marketing? This may be a real estate marketing script that you follow, a direct mail postcard system that you roll out, or specific copy in your advertisement. Understand, that you are looking for motivated sellers to take action. If you’re taking the time to write a letter, place an ad, etc you want your prospect to do something like call you or email you or listen to a recorded message!

When are your prospects going to receive your marketing message? Timing and consistency is everything to your real estate marketing campaign. You need to be the single person (or company) they think of when the moment strikes at which they realize they are, in fact, a motivated seller!

Where are they going to receive your message? Obviously if you’re door knocking, you’ll meet them at their home. But if you are marketing to personal representatives of an estate, the attorney may receive the letter and pass it on. It’s important to think about where your potential seller is going to “see” your message because this will affect the action they take.

This is where your real estate investing exit strategy comes into play. What are you going to do with the property once you’ve gained control? Are you going to wholesale it to another investor? Are you going to fix it up and flip it yourself? Are you going to hold on to it for rental?

As you grow into your real estate business, you’ll have a number of options for each deal depending on what’s most suitable for the piece of real estate. You may have properties that you can assign, rehab OR rent. But, initially, decide where you are on your real estate investing scale and work within those parameters. If you are asking: “Should I focus on rehabbing houses or should I target probate?” you’re asking two different questions.

The next thing is the communication method. That is ‘how are we going to talk to our potential motivated sellers?’ So let’s suppose your market is foreclosures or pre-foreclosures (the who). The next question is how? There are basically only four methods that we can use to communicate with our target market.

1. Driving for Dollars (or door knocking)

2. Telemarketing

3. Direct mail

4. Mass marketing

How Much:
I toss this in because this is going to affect your real estate marketing strategies. How much can you afford to spend? Understand for a few dollars a day, you can have an extremely profitable real estate investing business. It doesn’t take a lot of money to bring in home run deals!

Here’s a quick real estate marketing business plan that you can implement immediately using the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How approach:

Who: Pre-foreclosures within 2 weeks of sale at the courthouse (note how specific this is)

What: Yellow legal pad letters

When: Two weeks prior to the sale

Where: Prospect’s Home

Why: Seller is more motivated and has run out of options

How: Hand-written, hand addressed, first class postage and return address label

How Much: Based on a budget of $100/month, I will send 59.5 letters each week (remember to figure out your marketing budget down to the penny – stamps, ink, paper, envelopes, etc.)

Paid Market Research

Paid market research is a great way for businesses to learn about their customer’s likes and preferences. In addition paid market research is an earning opportunity for the entrepreneurial minded who want to get paid to share their opinions. Information gleaned from consumers through market research is an invaluable tool. This wealth of information can be instrumental in the development of products and services from start to finish.

Paid market research can come in different forms. For instance some market researchers use focus groups. Focus groups may get together in person or online. These groups are designed to reflect the diversity inherent in the general public. Additionally, a participant in market research may partake in an interview (online or off) where their opinions and feedback are thoroughly examined. Also paid market research may come in the form of online surveys. These online surveys have become increasingly popular, because they are convenient for the participant as well as the market research company.

Another way market research is used is by having consumers write product reviews. Market surveys attempt to generate relevant questions in a fair way that is representative of the larger population. When used efficiently, paid market research can yield relevant information about how a given product will be received and how to maximize profit.

By assessing the ideals and tastes directly from the consumer, a company can create products that appeal to their clients in every way. For example, little differences in the design of a product can make or break the product in terms of marketing success. In addition, input from consumers supplied directly through paid market research, can reveal what packaging and promotion actually sells the product. That is why smart companies are paying good money for your insight and opinions. They are willing to do so because there is no better way to know what consumers are looking for than going directly to the source.

Furthermore, paid marketing professionals are trained to interpret the data these surveys generate in useful and insightful ways. The information gained from these surveys can also be used to project what consumers will want in the future. The result is that product development and marketing becomes a dynamic process that remains fresh and cutting edge. Thanks to the efforts of paid survey takers, marketing has never been so exciting.

Market research using surveys is fast, simple and provides data at an amazing speed. Information can be recorded and analyzed in half the time it took using old fashion methods of surveys. Those who are paid to participate in this research benefit right away in two ways, first they have the instant gratification of knowing their opinion is valued and second because they get paid good money to express those same opinions.

Participation in paid market research is simple and easy as well. Most surveys take mere minutes to complete. Some surveys are longer, but the compensation makes the time and effort worth it. In addition, the products and surveys in question are everyday products that they are probably quite familiar with. There are no special skills or training to undergo, simply a sincere willingness to express your thoughts with a well-defined and comprehensive survey. Many of these surveys are taken online, and are as convenient as clicking a mouse. The fact that the survey is conducted online makes it reliable, too. There’s no room for creative interpretation of your answers like there might be with a survey done in the traditional fashion. Online paid surveys can provide companies with those instant answers that will help them keep their edge on the global market. In addition, they can count on accuracy down to a mere fraction of error.

Paid market research may involve being invited to participate in a focus group. However, for many people such face-to-face events are not practical or desirable. For people who would like to sign up to participate in market research, but not leave the comfort of their home online surveys are abundant.

Privacy is often a concern for market research participants. Companies that employ consumers to take online surveys, usually carefully protect personal information of the participants. This assures consumers they won’t be swamped with spammers if they consent to take one online survey or if they participate in twenty.

In order to be a panelist for online surveys and paid market research, the participant needs to be invited. Because these marketing tools are scientifically engineered to be representative of the wider market, eligibility in a survey or focus group may be dependent on meeting specific demographics that the company is looking for. When a panelist is chosen for participation, they will be invited to participate. Some paid market research panelists are compensated by a set fee. Others are entered into drawings, and still others will receive free or discounted products as an incentive to join.

Entrepreneurial people who are motivated to earn money doing market research sign up with companies as potential participants. There is an ample opportunity to make good money in market research by participating in a selection of market research activities, including online surveys, product reviews and focus groups. Market research companies will conduct an interview with potential respondents, to get a clear demographic profile. It is important to note here that these companies are generally very conscientious about protecting personal information. It is in fact an industry standard for market research to do so. After signing up with a paid market research company, consumers are generally free to sign up for only the projects they want to. Some may choose to only participate in online surveys, while others will find focus groups more to their liking. Either way, this could be an interesting, fun way to make extra income. For some this may be an ideal job that has benefits such as flexibility, working days and hours of their choosing, and the ability to make money at their leisure. This paid market research is a winning situation for everyone involved, providing in-depth information for companies and for the consumer will also benefit by having their opinions count and by supplementing their incomes.

How To Create A Small Business Marketing Strategy That Will Triple Your Profits This Year

What does a small business marketing strategy mean to you? Some people automatically think in terms of their company’s long-term goals. When they start their small business, they create a long-term business plan, including a marketing strategy, that will help them develop their company over time. Others think of a small business marketing strategy as a single campaign. They create a marketing campaign for one product or service they offer, and create a series of marketing tools that will help them sell that product or service.

While both may technically be correct, there is a distinct difference between the two. One creates a stream of income for a short period of time (typically a few weeks to a few months), while the other ensures you have a stream of income coming in on a regular basis.

In order to ensure an effective small business marketing strategy, you must have three things in place.

1. Multiple marketing tools in place. Every day a person is marketed to 60-100 times. You see banners on the sides of busses, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and coupons in your mailbox. It’s easy to see why marketing tends to become almost non-existent in our minds.

But the thing that a good marketer realizes is that he has to use different marketing tools to reach different target audiences. Everyone has a different attention span. Everyone is searching for different products and services at different times. A good small business marketing strategy has multiple tools in place to capture a prospects attention when he or she is ready for our product or service.

The key is to knowing who your ideal clients are. The more you know about them, the more you’ll be able to reach them in a manner that’s best for them. Good marketing tools are:

* direct mail postcards

* direct mail letters

* advertisements in magazines

* advertisements in newspapers

* neighborhood postcard packs

* door hangers

* flyers

* brochures

* promotional products

* tradeshows

* billboards

* bus stops

* school buses

* regional transportation systems

* sponsorship of school athletics

* and much more

An ideal small business marketing strategy will encompass many of these types of tools, and have campaigns set up using select tools at different times throughout the year.

2. Use those marketing tools over long periods of time. Once you have your marketing tools in place, continue to use them again and again. Probably the biggest mistake a small business owner makes is to grow tired of his own marketing campaign, and abandoning it before it’s realized its full potential.

The average campaign takes a person 8 – 12 times of viewing the same material to recognize the information and take action. If you quit running a campaign before you reach the 8 – 12 times average, you won’t achieve your desired results.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will provide goals to seek out longevity in marketing campaigns. While nuances of a campaign can change (i.e. changing ad advertisement to showcase seasonal products) the structure of the campaign should always remain the same.

3. Use those marketing tools in many different places. Your prospects come from a variety of different sources, and have a variety of different interests. Mailing your brochure out to prospects is a great way of marketing; but you may also do well by placing your brochure in offices of complimentary businesses. Advertisements may work well in your local newspaper; but they may do just as well in an industry trade publication. Direct mail postcards may inspire a lot of people to pick up the phone and call you; but it may motivate more people to visit your website.

Creating a handful of tools to use in your campaigns provides you with the resources. Getting those tools into the hands of your prospects is what requires a plan.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will be a long-term plan that involves creating marketing tools, putting them into the appropriate places, and leaving them in place long enough to let them work.

Turn Marketing Research Into Lead Generation and Public Relations Gold

Marketing research isn’t just a way to collect opinions, measure awareness or test positioning statements any more. Packaged correctly, your research itself can be your message. You can turn your results into media stories that attract favorable publicity and establish you or your business as an authority. Or you can craft compelling premiums – reports, guides or booklets – with must-have information that generates leads.

Case in point: I worked with an agency that promised its client, a software provider in the mergers and acquisitions field, 500 qualified leads for its sales team. The entire campaign, from print ads and direct mail to e-mails and telemarketing was built around a booklet of insights on how to do better deals. The substance of the book came from one-on-one interviews with the client and its customers. The offer worked: we ultimately pulled at least 1,200 qualified leads, more than doubling the client’s expectations.

Another case: One my other clients, a franchise marketing agency in New Jersey, initiated research to poll franchise executives regarding agencies and agency relationships. But the interviews proved deeper and richer than they had anticipated, yielding a wealth of insights on franchise marketing and franchisor-franchisee communications. The resulting report has become the foundation for a press campaign and a major component of the agency’s branding and lead-generation efforts, which are pulling in clients as I write.

I talked to Rich Higginson, president of The Princeton Research Group, the firm that executed the research on behalf of the franchise marketing agency. We put our brains together and came up with a few pointers on who should leverage research and how they should go about it.

Who can package research to their advantage?

Businesses with big “brain capital”: Think professional services and consulting firms. Or industries such as financial services, insurance or healthcare. Here, knowledge is money. Any insights you can provide on how customers think, feel, hope and fear has an immediate value your clients will appreciate.
Non-profit organizations: In any major fundraising campaign, the real money comes from a handful of big contributors. But before the big players pony up, they want evidence that the need is real, the goal desirable and the organization effective. A third-party report based on objective data can be the story you need to win over major contributors.
Political organizers: Gathering support for a referendum, such as a tax override, can be tough work. But you can soften the ground by distributing research that lets voters know what their neighbors are thinking. Likewise, incumbent parties can package data regarding constituent desires – what voters said they want from their government – with facts on how the government has responded to their concerns.
What do you do with the research you’ve gathered?

Pepper your press releases: Reporters are often too busy to conduct deep investigations on their own. That’s why editors really appreciate press releases loaded with fresh, objective information that can form the core of new stories. Example: “In a survey of leading American textile manufacturers, 85% believe that competition from China will cripple the nation’s textile industry in the next five years.” Or: “Consumer surveys indicate that CD music sales still run strong in the 50+ crowd.”
Share it in your own bylined articles: Consultants and other service providers looking to establish “thought leadership” are always eager for ideas on which they can build bylined articles. One good research study can become fodder for a half-dozen substantive articles based on the data you’ve gathered. These may be placed in industry-relevant publications. Or you can bypass traditional media and distribute your articles online through a syndication site such as
Put together a premium to attract leads: It’s one of the perennial problems of business-to-business marketing: how do you get the attention of the big decision-makers and top executives you must persuade to make the sale? Here’s your ace-in-the-hole: they’re hungry for information. They want to know what the market’s up to; what their competitors are doing; what their colleagues think; what their customers desire. Consider packaging your research into white papers, reports or guides you can use as offers in a lead-gen campaign: “Call today for our free guide, 8 Things You Must Do to Engage Hispanic Consumers.” These same reports make excellent downloads from your website (in exchange for basic contact information, of course).
What else do you have to know?

Keep your strategic information to yourself: You don’t need to (and should not) give everything away. Any specific information you uncover that gives you an advantage over your direct competitors – and would likewise help your competitors if they should get their hands on it – you should keep to yourself.
It’s not that expensive: Some people balk at the cost of research. But think about it – what’s a few thousand dollars to survey a few hundred people? For the amount of money you’d spend on a modest media buy (and for a short period at that), you could gain raw material for articles, press releases, premium guides, Web content, direct mail, e-newsletters and more. In the greater marketing context, the right marketing research is a downright bargain.
The Web is changing everything: Back in the old days (meaning: just a few years ago) your opportunities to disseminate information were limited to your influence with the media. But the Web has evolved into an extraordinary messaging platform that often leaves the traditional media players behind. Think of what’s available now to help you distribute your information: blogs, e-newsletters, virtual networks and communities, press release syndication sites, article syndication sites, e-book downloads, Web-specific publishing sites. These and other online mediums can help you get the word out. And through the power of hyperlinks and search engine robots, your word can spread must faster in bits and bytes than it would in ink or broadcast signals.
Make research part of your message
Before you begin your next big PR or marketing campaign, think about conducting research first – not simply as a guide for your campaign, but as the very substance of your offers, your message, your brand. Because the best way to rise above the clutter is to give your prospects something better than more clutter – honest-to-goodness information and insight they can really use.

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