Great Blog on Marketing. Very good perspective, Karen. Just remember all the time you invest in these endeavors as they are equated to money as well.
Anyone can open a business but, if you want customers, you’d better be marketing.
The million dollar questions are: how much should you be spending and what’s the most effective way to market?
How to market depends largely upon which audience you want to reach. The over 70 crowd may not be using the internet as much as you think and, if your target audience is 18-25, you’d better be on Twitter.
But for the majority in the middle, a “layered” approach is what we use. By “layered,” I mean that we use lots of different media. First, of course, we’re online. We have websites, I blog, I write online articles for ActiveRain and Ezine. These are what get you higher in Google rankings so clients find you when they search online.
We also depend heavily on direct mail marketing. It’s important to use companies that allow you to drill down to a specific audience. As an example, for buying, we pick neighborhoods we prefer and then detail further to find properties we want. Some drill-down items include: age of home, owner or non-owner occupied, age of mortgage, free-and-clear, etc., all directed at getting to the specific seller we want to buy from. We then send postcards to those targeted homes with the message we want them to receive.
We are in neighborhood newsletters, we put signs in yards of homes we acquire so neighbors see us purchasing in their area and how quickly we renovate and resell or put in a tenant. When we buy a property, we mail letters to the neighborhood giving them the details and inviting them to the open house. I’ve had many neighbors show up at open house only to ask if I can buy their home, too.
The more ways you can get your marketing in front of the same customer, the better. Statistics show that someone needs to see your message seven times before they act on it. Hence, the redundancy of TV commercials!
It’s very important to track the results you get from your marketing. If you don’t track, you won’t know what’s working (that you should do more of) and what’s not (that you should eliminate or modify).
When we started, we checked out about 100 properties to buy one. 100 properties leads to 10 solid conversations to make 3 offers to buy one home. Our numbers are much better now, but the skill with marketing and communication takes, like anything else, time to improve.
How much should you spend on marketing? Did you know that the auto industry spends $400 for each car they sell? Have you ever questioned what big companies spend to get you to buy? I guarantee you have a different opinion of a BMW than a Ford than a Lamborghini. Is that from personal experience, or from marketing?
What are you spending for your marketing? At the beginning, we spent about $2500 to buy a house. Over time, that number dropped to $1500. Now, it’s even less. You will spend more at the beginning because people don’t know who you are or if you’ll still be in business 6 months from now.
Over time, your marketing builds your credibility. The only way to build a business is through communication. It’s important that you communicate consistently so people will believe you (credibility) and respond.
Marketing is essential. It takes money and it takes time to build the level of business you desire. If you don’t have enough business, you’re not spending enough on marketing and/or your marketing is not effective. Whether or not people can find your business and believe in your product is a direct result of your marketing.
How effective is yours?