Okay, listen up. It’s time for some straight talk from The DM. (Is there any other kind of talk from The DM? I don’t think so!)
Now don’t get me wrong: Homelessness is a serious issue and I realize that there are many factors behind it. I’m not making light of it. In fact, I’ve donated several furnished houses to homeless veterans as a way of saying “thank you” for their service to our country. My point here is to simply highlight how our assumptions are actually reversed: That the people we often consider to be most successful (real estate investors) get it wrong, while the ones that society often deems as “failures” are the ones who are doing it right.
This post is going to seem a little shocking, maybe a little absurd, and perhaps even a tad offensive at first. But read it through to the end, let it sink in, try out what I’m recommending, and I think you’ll (eventually) agree with me... The average bum on the street is actually a better marketer than most real estate investors out there.
WHY INVESTOR MARKETING GETS A FAILING GRADE
Many real estate investors spend A LOT of money on fancy-looking brands, high-priced websites, beautifully cut business cards, shiny brochures, multi-channel social media cross-posting tools, lead management systems, autoresponder systems, flashy lawn signs with QR codes... and on and on and on and on. Their logo and brand colors appear consistently everywhere.
It looks great. But the truth is, it doesn’t work... Their high priced marketing doesn’t generate action from buyers and sellers. All that cash they dumped on a fancy brand and on a car wrap and on glossy brochures? They aren’t getting buyers or sellers to call them back.
That’s because buyers and sellers don’t care what color combinations make up your brand or whether it’s consistent across every sign and web page. Buyers and sellers don’t care if you have a logo and whether it shows up in the right spot on your brochures and Powerpoint presentations.
The fancy, high-priced marketing that most real estate investors use does one thing: It makes the marketing designers (graphic designers, web designers, etc.) filthy rich.
And as for the real estate investor? Their brand looks tight but their phone doesn’t ring off the hook.
THE THREE WAYS THAT BUMS GET IT RIGHT
You might not give them a second thought if you pass them while walking downtown but bums do their own marketing. They borrow a black Sharpie marker from a local store clerk and scrawl a few words across a piece of dirty cardboard. “Out of work. Need money.” or “Please give.” or something along those lines. Perhaps these bums go even further and offer to clean your windshield, or they play guitar and sing on a street corner.
The result? As people walk by, the charitable ones dig into their pockets and pull out money and toss it into a hat or jar.
Their marketing wins because it is cheap and simple, it’s highly creative, and it gets results. (If it didn’t get results, we’d see fewer people begging).
Let’s talk about those factors a little more...
- Cheap and simple: Most real estate investors sink a lot of money into expensive looking marketing. Even if that marketing does get some results, a good portion of the profit is sucked out to cover the cost of the marketing in the first place. Compare that to the bum’s cardboard sign and borrowed Sharpie. Every coin dropped by a donor is pure profit. For investors, cheaper, simpler marketing could get just as good results (or even better results) and that leads to more money in the investor’s pocket.
- Creative: Think about all the fancy, high-priced marketing that investors rely upon. They don’t invest in that marketing because it gets results. They invest in that marketing because it makes them look like “a legitimate real estate investor” (which means they look like every other real estate investor who is marketing that way). Bottom line? The fancy brands of real estate investors all blend together. On the other hand, the down-and-out bum is forced to get creative to make money: They position themselves where the foot traffic is, perhaps they offer a service (like washing windshields) or they entertain. Their creative marketing – cheap signs and attention-getting methods – cost them almost nothing but are effective at attracting attention.
- Gets results: Frankly, this needs to be the number of measure of whether or not your marketing is working. If your marketing doesn’t get results, change it and do something else. Don’t keep dumping money into the same thing. There’s a reason that many bum signs all say the same thing. Because they are proven result-generators. People reach into their pockets and give.
WHAT KIND OF MARKETING ARE YOU DOING?
It’s no secret that I do a lot of deals. (In fact, these past couple of months have been busier than ever at my office and I’m running Peter and my team off our feet as we have been closing bigger and bigger deals). Some of my deals run into the six and even seven figures.
And it shocks people to learn that I use signs that look like this:
Ugly! That’s just some beat-up yellow coroplast and the biggest, stinkiest black marker I could find. That “marketing campaign” cost me nothing and helped to close the deal.
That’s “bum quality” marketing! Other real estate investors might look at it and turn their noses up in disgust, pointing to their logos and cross-channel brand consistent and blah blah blah. All I have to point to is my results, and I’ll happily stack those up against a nicely-manicured brand any day.
Let me make one thing abundantly clear: I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever spend any money on marketing. I do spend money on marketing: I drop a ton of postcards regularly, I’ve got a really effective autoresponder system set up, and I have a few other different marketing strategies I invest money in.
But you’ll never catch me spending a minute of my time or a dollar of my money on anything that doesn’t deliver an obvious, measurable, profitable result.
For your real estate investing, I would urge you to consider the same thing. Before you go out and spend more than you need to on a fancy web design and the shiniest business cards in town, pretend that you needed to accomplish the same thing but on a zero dollar budget. What would you do? I know what I would do: I’d be tearing up cardboard boxes to make signs and I’d be bugging my friend to lend me a Sharpie marker.
I talk about this in my latest book, One Buck Deals. The book (which I started when I was walking the Camino de Santiago last summer and finally finished this February) talks about how to do deals without putting down more than $1.00... but not only that, readers get an extra bonus: I go into A LOT of detail about how to do super-cheap marketing... “bum marketing”.
In fact, I tell you about the crazy-simple ways that I sold my VERY FIRST DEALS when I got my start in real estate 17 years ago. (Most investors will get really angry at this because my marketing efforts cost me less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks and they netted me thousands of dollars). And I show you the marketing I still do today – even though I’ve come a long way since those early deals – is still “bum marketing”.
So check out One Buck Deals and learn how you can do these deals yourself for whatever change you can dig out of your couch cushions, plus you’ll learn about how to find deals and sale them to buyers literally for pennies of marketing expenses.
Your friend and mentor,
Mark Evans DM,DN
PS, One of my investors checked out the book and he said that the book was worth it for just the story of how I got started as The DM. He said he’d buy the book just for that story alone. So pick up your copy of One Buck Deals, get my story, find out how to do deals for a buck, find out how to market like a bum, and I’ve even thrown in all the forms you’ll need (plus a coupon worth hundreds of dollars).