Let’s face it, most of us REIs are spending a good chunk of money each month to provide for our marketing efforts. We’re either subscribed to a direct mailing site, hiring someone to manage yellow letters, or buying bandit signs.
Whether that describes you or not, I’d like to suggest an alternative. Think about your monthly marketing expense. There should be a number in your head. Now think about taking that money and reinvesting that into your business. Instead of paying for the premium services that you’ve been accustomed to, think now of spending that money on hiring a full/part-time employee to slowly take over the reins of your marketing scheme. Now think of this person as a VA who works virtually from anywhere in the world.
The investment is obviously not for the faint of heart, but if done patiently and correctly, a VA is an excellent approach to turning your marketing scheme into a hands-free marketing machine.
What is a VA?
A VA, or Virtual Assistant, is someone who works remotely from anywhere in the world. They can be in the Philippines, India, or right here in the U.S. They will trade their time and skill set for a reasonable hourly rate or salary. Obviously, rates will vary depending on where they live, what their skill sets are, and how well they speak English.
How Can a VA Take Over My Marketing Campaign?
Commit for the long-term, and make progress slowly. Of course, you don’t want to place everything on their lap and expect miracles. But, you can slowly build their skill set to the point where they (and their team) can take over the day-to-day operations of your virtual marketing program.
Let’s get into some of the big marketing tasks that we are endlessly hampered with:
- Bandit Signs – A VA in the Philippines won’t be coming to your area to place hundreds of bandit signs around your neighborhood. But they can have the bandit signs printed, shipped, and they could even hire somebody on Craigslist to place them for you. (Note from the Editor: These signs are ONLY appropriate to use when legal in your area.)
- Direct Mail –I imagine most of the direct mailing websites out there are doing this? But if you are heavy into doing direct mailings, why wouldn’t you consider farming this out yourself. If you were to hire a VA to spend 40 hours a week, at $300 per month, to take your list and write as many mailings by hand as possible, how many do you think they’d get? Now compare that to what you’re paying your direct mailing company. If you needed more mailings, could you hire another VA and it be worth it?
- Screening – I know that using a VA to screen your potential sellers can be hairy. They potentially don’t speak very good English, or they aren’t very knowledgeable. But, you could at least use them to filter the voicemails that you get and tabulate them into an easy to read format. This would reduce the time you have to spend, and allows you to get right to the negotiations.
- Website – If there is an area that has serious potential for VAs to flourish in the REI world, it would have to be website SEO, social media, content marketing, video/audio editing, etc. The VAs that are out there are the best at this stuff. When I hired a VA for my website, I had tons of new backlinks in just a month. From a local SEO standpoint, do you know what that does?! If you’re looking to get leads through SEO, and you don’t have the time/expertise to get these things ironed out, a VA could do wonders for you.
- Data Mining – How good can your REI business be if you’re not bringing in deals to close on? Whether you’re an investor or a flipper, we’re all in the business of finding motivated sellers/leads. If your VA has extra time at the end of the day, there is plenty of opportunity for them to scout out potential leads through internet research. Anybody can find tons of data online, but who has the time? A VA is extremely effective online, and you’d be surprised at how much useful data they’d bring back to you. A great example would be to go through municipality databases to find home owners with addresses that are different than the property they own in that municipality (absentees).
If you’re starting out fresh, hiring a VA may not be the first thing you should be looking to do. However, if you’re a one-person show who is bringing in deals that are booking you solid, I would suggest thinking about it. If you’re in, then commit to it. Put in the time up front to give them the training they need. If there is a system or process to a certain task, write it down on a script for them to reference in the future.
Photo Credit: dollie_mixtures
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.