Productive marketing can be the backbone of any investing business. However, if you are not careful, it can also drain you of resources and confidence. Deciding to start a direct mailing campaign and just waiting for your phone to ring will not give you the results you are looking for. You need to be fully committed to what you are doing before you start. If you skimp on your budget or organization, you end up either wasting money or throwing away quality leads. Marketing can provide a real jumpstart to your business, but you need to avoid a few costly steps.
Before you decide to do anything, you need to know how much you are going to spend and how long you are going to do it for. Trying anything once will not give you any true indication of its results. Regardless of what type of marketing you do, you need to be willing to do it for a prolonged period of time. It is very rare that you will have overwhelming results with your first letter or email. In most cases, it takes multiple attempts before you start to see any results. This has to be factored into your plan before you start. If you are only willing or able to do one mailing, you are leaving plenty of prospective deals on the table.
The number of times you can mail is a direct reflection of your budget. Mailing, and marketing in general, is often much more expensive than initially presumed. Most investors will only factor in the costs to mail once and hope to get a return before they decide to mail again. If you do not have a large budget, you should look for marketing that you can do multiple times at a reduced cost, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. Your budget should be well defined and established before you start anything. If you are going to contract the letter distribution, you need to know all of the costs involved including stamps, envelopes, labels and even paper. Budget for at least three months of marketing and evaluate when necessary.
Getting your phone to ring is only the first part of the process. Before you market, you need to be able to withstand the flood of calls you will hopefully get. If you do not answer calls as they come in or are overwhelmed with the volume, you are wasting time and money. It is a good idea to have a script or a list of information you want to get answered from every new call. It is critical to be as efficient as possible with new calls and know which leads have a greater chance of being real deals over others. That being said, it is easy to throw away leads based on a first glance if you are busy with multiple deals at once. Always give all prospective leads a second glance when you aren’t as busy. If you marketed properly, your homeowner probably needs your services – either now or at some point in the future. If you wait too long to get back to a missed call or talk to a new lead, you throwing away a chance at landing a deal.
You also need to have a plan for how you will follow up with each lead. Your goal should be to get back to every person you speak with or call you miss within 24 hours. This can be very difficult if you are taking on new calls while trying to work with leads you received in the previous day or two. If you have a system in place and get all the information necessary on the initial phone call, it will make your job that much easier. Even if you call to tell your new lead that you are still working on seeing what you can do for them, this is better than waiting a week before you get back to them. When you market, you need to be able to put other parts of your business on the back burner and diligently work on new deals. You are most likely spending a good amount of money to get your phone to ring. Once it does, you need to be able to convert those calls into deals.
Not every lead will result directly in a new deal. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be of any value to you. If you have a lead that may be best for a realtor or an attorney, you should pass the information along without anything in return. This is how you grow a referral network and relationships as an investor. You can work the leads that come your way until you confidently know that you have done your best to help, but if not, you should steer them in the right direction. It is also a good idea to create a spreadsheet to remind you to follow up with your leads down the road, even if they did not want to work with you at this time. Many deals will manifest themselves six months to a year after the initial contact.
Spending money on marketing does not mean it will automatically generate deals. You need to do the right things and be ready before you start. If you can stay away from the costly steps, you will get more out of your marketing.