All successful business owners know that you need a solid plan for marketing your real estate investing business. In fact, you will need more than one plan over time as your business grows and evolves. Everyone needs a plan when they are first getting started. If you skip this step, you will likely look up one day and find that years have passed without making any significant progress toward starting your business not to mention building your business.
As your business begins to take root, you will need to plan how you will grow your business to the next level. This cycle will repeat itself until one day your plan will ultimately include retirement and how you will sell your business or pass it on to the next generation. But make no mistake these steps all include the need for planning.
“Success Favors the Prepared”
What Exactly Is Planning?
Simply put, “Planning is what you do before you do anything”.
Before you begin planning it’s important to know what you want to accomplish. What end goal will your plan lead you to?
- Is your goal to buy “X” number of houses each month?
- Do you want to expand your business into another county?
- Is “scaling up” your rehab business your next step?
- Maybe your goal is simply just to buy your first rental property.
- You can see that all of these goals will require a different plan.
Step 1. Decide Exactly What You Want
You cannot begin until you are crystal clear on this step. Once you know where you want to go, you can create a plan to get you there.
Step 2. Identify Tour Target Market.
Growing your real estate investing business will definitely involve some type of new or additional marketing. In order to implement this you will need to update your current marketing plan.
That might just involve marketing to another area. Or you many need to increase your mailing list, advertising or implement a new marketing strategy. One way or another, you will it will take some planning to accomplish your new goal.
Step 3. Decide On a Budget for Your Marketing
Anytime you increase your marketing, you will need to increase your marketing budget. You can definitely do some things like networking for little or no money. But in most cases you will need some cash to spend on marketing for increasing your direct mail and some of the other strategies.
Step 4. Identify Your Target Market and the Marketing Strategies You Will Use
Once you have identified your target market, you will need to decide how best to reach this market. Which types of marketing will you need to implement in order to reach your goal?
- Some growth strategies like expanding into other counties can simply involve reaching out to wholesalers in those areas (if you are a rehabber) to let them know you are looking for deals in their area. Look at all avenues for networking with other seasoned investors.
- If you have little cash and you are looking for your first investment property, putting up Bandit Signs might be the way to go if they are legal in your area. You could also put out some inexpensive fliers in your targeted farm area. Networking should definitely be on your list if you are brand new and are looking to buy your first property. Where should you network? The first place to start is your local REIA group.
- Increasing your direct mail by adding an additional list or additional parameters to your current list. Take a look at how you can reach these folks that are your target market.
Step 5. Get a Simple Website Up If You Haven’t Already Done That
This is the time to remind everyone that it is essential to have some type of basic website. Some people will tell you that this can wait but I disagree.
Will you automatically start getting leads on this website? The answer to that question is “no you won’t”. That will involve driving traffic to your site. But having a website is essential for your credibility. You look like a “real business” even if you haven’t bought a single house. A link to your website should be included on all of your marketing pieces. Now that will drive some traffic to your website.
Step 6. Create a Storyboard
I’m sure you have seen these before. A storyboard quite simply “tells the story in a visual form” of exactly how you plan to grow your business. This is where you will put all of the pieces together. I did this on my great big whiteboard in my office. I am a firm believer that this needs to be in a prominent place in your office. You can pick up a 2’x4’ piece of whiteboard at your big box home stores for under $10 and mount it on the wall.
Step 7. The Implementation of Your New Marketing Plan
This is the final piece of the puzzle. How will I accomplish my goal? What are the steps I need to take this week, this month and this year? You only need one thing for this part of the plan and that is one of those great big wall calendars. This is where you will schedule everything for at least the next 3 months.
What goes on the schedule? Everything! Decide first what you plan to implement. It may be some of these activities:
- I will order a new or expanded list for my direct mail campaigns
- I will send out “X” number of direct mail pieces on these dates
- I will distribute “X” number of fliers in my farm area
- I will attend my local REIA meetings and these additional networking activities
- I will contact or meet with 1 new investor friendly real estate agent every week to let them know I am expanding my business
- I will identify at least one new wholesaler this week and reach out to them
- I will send one letter to probate attorneys quarterly
- I will increase the number of deals I plan to do by implementing these new activities.
Only you can decide what will go on this list. Once you have made your list if you don’t have some activities on there that are new or ones that make you at least a little bit uncomfortable (those that you would rather skip), you haven’t stepped far enough outside of your comfort zone for this exercise. Growing or expanding your business will almost always require you to stretch outside of your comfort zone and do something you haven’t done before.
You know that old saying, “If you keep doing what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always gotten”.
Get Ready to Answer the Phone
If the ability to handle additional phone calls is stressing you out, here is a quick resource for you that I came across recently. It’s called “Grasshopper”.
If you want to look like a Fortune 500 company even though you’re working out of one room, be sure to check out Grasshopper.com. They have plans starting at $12 a month.
With Grasshopper you can have multiple extensions that will provide options for your callers. Here are a couple of examples:
- You can send callers right to a special extension that has a recorded message about each of your rentals or your properties you have for sale. They can get the basic property information, and they can leave their callback number.
- You can have a message that gives directions to your office or how to reach you by fax or email.
- If you have two or more people that work in your business, they can each have their own extension.
- You can get your voicemails by email or fax on your smart phone so you always know who has called.
- You can even get a special local or 800 number for your business.
This service can make you look like a real pro while alleviating “phone stress” especially if you don’t have a staff to handle those calls.
Do you have any comments or questions? Leave them below!
Photo: KalexandersonMarketing Your Real Estate Investing Business: 7 Steps for Perfect Planning by Sharon Vornholt