Why You Should Do MORE Internet Marketing

by | BiggerPockets.com

Did you read Jason Hanson’s post last week? Seems like I’m going to have to stir the debate pot on Jason again because I have somewhat of a different stance than he does. Last week Jason created a pretty controversial article that was titled: “Why You Should Do Almost Zero Internet Marketing” When I saw the title, I had to read it, and I must say it was pretty interesting.

There are some points that I have to strongly disagree with and strongly agree with when it comes to this post.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the points Jason was driving at:

  • The Internet produces crappy leads and not many deals compared to direct mail.
  • The Internet is a waste of time for most real estate investors.
  • Direct mail (not the Internet) is the best way to go out and buy single family houses and become a successful real estate investor.

One of his final thoughts:

“If you really, truly want to be wealthy, you’d be much better off mailing 1,000 or 2,000 letters a month, instead of doing any Internet marketing.” ~ Jason Hanson

Now for my response…

What are we talking about here?

Are we talking about an advertising technique (direct mail) versus marketing on the Internet?

or Are we talking about Offline Marketing (to include direct mail) versus Online (Internet) Marketing?

You see direct mail is an advertising method and only an element of marketing. It’s a way to get your message out there about what you do and how you can solve problems with your business as the solution. It’s heavily used in Offline Marketing.

Whether you refer to it as direct marketing, direct mail, or direct mail marketing, it is still a form of advertising and only an element of marketing as a whole.

Where am I going with all of this?

My question to Jason would be:  How can you compare a single advertising element of Offline Marketing to the hundreds of advertising elements of Online (Internet) Marketing?

If you said direct mail marketing produces more deals than classified advertising, then it might have made more sense to me. However, you said Internet Marketing.

I’m not here to knock direct mail. It can definitely produce some great results. There is something about seeing a message in writing that really makes that personal connection. I remember when I was deployed overseas, my wife asked me why I didn’t finish writing her a letter yet, and I replied, “I sent you an email yesterday.” Needless to say, she wasn’t very pleased and a letter was in the mail that same week.


It’s simple. A written letter comes across more personal than a typed letter because it gives the undeniable perception that you put more time and thought into your message.

Jason used this principle as a way to present the case that a mail lead would be more motivated and produce a better response. He said that this is why you’d get more deals. Yeah that might be better than classified advertising, but Internet Marketing as a whole… I think not!

My wife and kids loved it when I was able to get on the video Webcam and talk to them while I was deployed. I loved it too and although I could reflect on letters, I more so looked forward to the face to face aspect of connecting online.

Face to Face is great and the closest you’ll ever get to that (when doing internet marketing) is through Video. In my opinion, a Video Marketing Campaign would crush a direct mail letter campaign. Then again, this is just my opinion.

When I was deployed, I waited in line for 2 to 3 hours just to speak to my family for 15 minutes. Sometimes, they weren’t even home.


I wanted to hear their voice. Letters are great, but to hear their voice just made my day.

Hearing a real live voice can definitely add more of a personal effect. This is why I ask for a seller or buyer’s phone number when they send me an email. I’d rather talk to them, so they can hear my voice, listen to my tone, and be able to feel the authenticity of how I can help them. In my opinion, Audio Marketing would crush direct mail letters. Sometimes you’ll see signs that say “24 Hour Free Recorded Information Line” on listings. This is typical with offline marketing and from what I hear it works really well. I’m going to test it out soon.  Audio Marketing can be done online as well, through podcasting or just simple web audio.

I also disagree with the statement that “The Internet produces crappy leads”

If tire kickers (crappy leads) can come through your phone or they can come into your office, surely they can come through the Internet.

It’s not the Internet that produces crappy leads, it’s a crappy marketing message that produces crappy leads. A solid marketing message can produce quality leads because most of the tire kickers will disqualify themselves. Your marketing message should speak to those who need to hear it (your target market), and not just focus on everyone. Sure you’ll still get some tire kickers; that comes with marketing in general, but the more tight and focused you are on your target market, the better your results will be because you’ll be going after people that need you.

It doesn’t matter if you use direct mail, Banner Ads, Flyers, Google Adwords, Newspapers, Craigslist, Email, etc. It all comes down to the message and your ability to show that your business is the solution.

Also, we need to look at leads as people and not just numbers. While numbers are extremely important, it’s the person behind that “lead” which determines its quality. It’s not the Internet. It’s not direct mail. It’s is all about the individual.

A “lead” can walk outside to check their mail and see a direct mail letter and say, “This is great. I can get my home sold.”

That same lead can hop on Google and do a search and find a website that delivers a good message and they can say, “This is great. I can get my home sold!”

Who they go with will depend on who they see as more of a solution to their own personal issue. I doubt they’ll say, “Well this investor was nice enough to send me a letter in the mail, so I’ll go with him/her”

It all comes down to the message and your ability to show your business as a solution.

Once you get to this point, you’re still only half way towards turning (converting) that lead into a DEAL. It comes down to whatever system you have in place in order to close the lead. I’ve certainly lost leads.

The problem wasn’t the lead, it was me. How are your phone skills? Are you able to explain your business on a level that they can understand while not feeling confused or intimidated?

Here is what I do agree with in regards to Jason’s post:

He said something about how he tracks his results. This is something that many investors tend to overlook. Tracking your results will show you the truth and reveal to you what is working versus what is not.

Jason came to his conclusion based on his numbers. Based on his numbers, he saw that the Internet wasn’t working for HIM as well as direct marketing was. Therefore, it would make complete sense for HIM to conclude that he should focus his time and money on direct mail. I get it and this is a smart move…for HIM.

He also said, that if you didn’t believe him, then you should test it. Testing is crucial for those who want to get a good idea on whether or not something is worth their full commitment of time and money. I had a friend tell me that Bandit Signs don’t work. Then I had another friend tell me that they get an insane amount of leads from Bandit Signs. Who is right? The only way to find out the truth is by testing.

With that said, you need to actually analyze your results. Don’t test it and say, “Well that didn’t work, time to move on to something else”. Analyze why it didn’t work and see if you can improve the results. Sometimes the smallest changes in your marketing can have the biggest results.

Jason also said that it was about the deals, not the leads. This is definitely the mentality you want to adopt. One of my mentors put it this way, “It’s not all about effective marketing. It’s about profitable marketing.” Generating leads can be very effective. Closing deals can be very profitable. With that said, you can’t have one without the other. Leads and deals are virtually inseparable. Just switch around the “d’ and the “l” in each word and you’ll see what I mean.

My final thoughts:

Both Internet Marketing and Offline Marketing have been proven to be both profitable and effective for different people. With that said, it’s not about whether you market offline or online. Applying the principles of marketing is what really matters. Sending the right message to the right target market, along with using advertising methods that work (whether online or offline), along with having an ability to convert that lead to a deal, will put money in your pocket every time.

I don’t doubt Jason Hanson’s marketing skills one bit. I still respect his game.  However, his conclusion is based on his personal results and there could have been many variables in place that could have caused him to arrive there versus someone who is doing very well online.

Whenever someone tells me that something doesn’t work, I always dig into the reasons why and try to figure out where they might have went wrong. If I do it the same way they did, then it’s likely that I’ll get the same results and prove them right. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Personally, I’ve found that there is profitability in both marketing online and offline. If I were to try and prove the case for more Internet Marketing, I’d say that when online you’re fishing in a bigger pond of potential buyers and sellers. Simply put, more people are using the Internet these days.  You might have to sort through more leads to find the quality ones, but you can still accomplish the task of getting deals . The more targeted your marketing is, the less dead leads you’ll have to deal with.

Personally, I’m leaning more towards combining both online and offline marketing. I think that is a direction you might want to take a close look at.

To Your Success,
J. Lamar Ferren

New Breed Real Estate Investor

PS. Was my response fair? Also,what do you think? Zero Internet Marketing or More Internet Marketing?

PPS. Which is better for YOU? Offline Marketing or Online Marketing?

PPPS: Have you ever tried combining both?

Photo: Salvator Vuono

About Author

J. Lamar Ferren is a 26 year old New Breed Real Estate Investor who takes down deals nationwide. Through direct response marketing he uses creative and outside the box methods, both online and offline to attract buyers, sellers, and investors.


  1. Great post!! I think the only answer is to TEST your ROI. Direct mail is more expensive than online advertising. You talked about this … but I honestly believe the answer is going to change over time and will be different for many people. For us, we’ve spent a ton of money on direct mail to get deals. It’s been our best source of quality leads BUT they have also been our most expensive.

    Here’s an idea … TEST your message ONLINE … it’s cheaper. When you have a message that is generating results take that message offline. That way you don’t spend a few hundred bucks mailing a postcard or a letter out that nobody responds to.

    I think a book worth reading is Multi Channel Marketing by MaryEllen Tribby and Michael Masterson. It’s the best marketing book I’ve read … and it covers off what you’re saying which is a combination of online and offline is going to produce the best results.
    .-= Julie Broad´s last blog ..How Many Properties Do You Own? =-.

  2. I appreciate your in-depth look and defense of online marketing. It is my personal opinion that the quality of the lead directly correlates with how the contact information was squeezed from the homebuyer. If you force visitors to give up their personal information just to look at listings, of course you’re going to get a lot of worthless leads. Internet leads are a different kind of beast altogether, but again, it greatly depends on how you come by the lead. If you can capture buyers that are “Googling” with specificity rather than using generic keywords, this changes the quality of lead too. I’ve worked in both fields, direct marketing and Internet marketing and obviously there are different preferences and results, but developing a strong Internet presence lasts much longer than a letter or flyer. A homebuyer isn’t going to accidentally throw their hard drive in the trash or miss it amongst coupons and insurance renewal notifications.

  3. Wow…I was away from the BP blog for a handful of days and missed all of this! J Lamar, I actually like the approach of combining both methods….however, whenever someone finds a method or two that is working REALLY well for them (whether online or offline), seems like the smart thing to do to focus on those methods. Experimentation is the name of this game. I personally love direct mail to find sellers and internet to find buyers 🙂

  4. Here’s an idea … TEST your message ONLINE … it’s cheaper. When you have a message that is generating results take that message offline. That way you don’t spend a few hundred bucks mailing a postcard or a letter out that nobody responds to.

  5. I run an online marketing firm and can speak first hand to the subject.

    The end all be all to this discussion would be to implement call tracking along with your web analytics. With call tracking you would be able to assign a specific number to both your online & offline campaigns. So everytime someone calls that number a “conversion” would take place in your analyics solution that can then be attributed to a specific campaign. We have done this countless times for clients and sometimes the results are surprising but the ROI always goes back to online.

    Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

  6. It all comes back to ROI. If you launch a campaign and produce a positive ROI. Keep doing it. Split it into A/B tests on multiple variables. Improve and improve. But, I still cannot agree with Jason’s post. That was way out there.

  7. Youre right that people will try something and assume it doesn’t work for them but maybe they just need to try other elements or stick with it longer. Maybe a mental thing…I prefer Internet to direct sales but like you say its a matter of preference and what works for you.

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