IC E Lesson: How NOT to Market

If you’ve ever heard me talk about marketing, you’ve probably heard me say, “Any marketing works better than no marketing at all.”

And I stand behind that statement, as long as you also listen to the rest of it, which is, “But it’s worth it to do GOOD marketing, because GOOD marketing gets you a significantly higher return on your marketing dollar than just ‘any’ marketing.”

I say this because I’ve noticed a proliferation in the past few years of really, really bad marketing, pitched to busy real estate entrepreneurs as “done for you” and sold under the pretense that it’s effective for the simple reason that it’s DIFFERENT from everyone else’s.

Which is interesting, since these companies send out the exact same mailing with the exact same wording to the exact same lists whether it’s your name on the bottom or mine—but that’s not my point.

My point is that a lot of the marketing out there, especially to sellers, is awful to the point of being offensive. And I don’t mean offensive to ME, I mean offensive to the prospective sellers who receive it, and develop their initial impression of you and your company from it.

One of my favorites is the “Third Notice” postcard. If you own any rental property anywhere in the U.S., you’ve gotten this one multiple times, because it’s being mailed to absentee owners all over the country multiple times a month.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, here are the first few lines of the postcard:

Attention: Vena—I urgently need to speak with you about your property at 1122 Boogiewoogie Ave.

I’m hoping this postcard catches you in time. I’ve tried for hours to find your phone number using the internet but was unable to L

Or, as I like to read it:

vague threat, weird stalker-y statement that mixes verb tenses, inexplicable emoticon.

The premise behind this interesting little missive is that you SHOULDN’T tell your potential seller what you want—ie to buy their house—because the only goal of the card is to capture their phone number when they call the “free recorded message” line included later in the postcard.

Because…the poor little old lady (ie my mother) who reads this and assumes exactly what she’s supposed to assume (that some debt collector or government agency is after her about something about the house) and calls her daughter (me) in tears because she’s convinced she’s in trouble is then going to…cheerfully sell the SOB who scared her a house?

Motivated sellers are motivated because they have something unpleasant going on in their lives. Health and financial issues, deaths in the family, divorce, bad tenants, all those things.

And it’s generally accepted that people do things (like choose to do business with a particular company) when they believe that doing those things will make them FEEL BETTER.

The idea that getting a contact from a potential seller—even if that contact is the result of scaring them, or confusing them, or making them mad—is better than getting no contact at all, is just silly.

Your goal is not responses; it’s DEALS. And the face you show in your marketing is the first step to building rapport with a seller that you want to trust you, not be scared of you.

When I shared these thoughts with my other half, he was quick to point out that a “don’t do this” doesn’t help those of you who can ONLY get marketing out if someone else does it for you, and that this lesson would be incomplete without a “What TO do”.

FIRST, create or buy some marketing that shows that you understand and can help your targeted seller with their very real, already painful problems. I have a fantastic course on how to do that, if you’re interested.

Second, buy a GOOD list to which to mail your marketing. The “absentee owner” list that EVERY done-for-you service seems to use is actually NOT a good list in my experience or that of any of my students; it’s just easy to get, which is why they use it. A much better list would be inherited properties (USLeadsList sells one), out of area owners (listsource) or best of all, a list you have an out of country VA create from your public records of, say, vacant houses.

Third, have your mailhouse print AND MAIL your postcards or letters. It seems like a lot of people don’t understand that most smaller printers are also set up to handle mailings. Don’t let them label anything (have addresses inkjetted) and use a live stamp.

It won’t cost much more than the done-for-you stuff and trust me, it will be much more effective AND represent your business in the way in which you’d like the public to think of it.

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