You may have jumped into real estate investing with one eye on your dreams and the other on your potential to become fabulously wealthy in a very short time. While it's true that it's possible to become the richest person you know, the reality is that it will probably take time to happen. Another reality you may not have considered is that as a real estate investor, you also wear another hat: professional marketer. If you can't devise a winning online and offline marketing effort, your dreams will be largely unrealized and your destiny will be held hostage by unfulfilled potential.
There are a number of offline marketing strategies you can employ to encourage possible buyers and sellers of residential real estate to contact you. Some of the most common ones are:
Radio & television ads
Brochures, flyers, and billboard signs
However, to turn the corner with your marketing, you can really ramp up your offline marketing strategies by establishing yourself as a noted real estate expert within your local community. There are three great strategies for doing this:
Local Media Interviews – The best way of getting your name in front of News Directors and Program Directors is by issuing pertinent press releases. They need to be well-written and they need to discuss newsworthy issues of importance to their viewers. Once you've begun to establish yourself as an expert in your field your phone will ring more regularly. These media appearances can increase your exposure and improve your name recognition which can result in increased investing deals because of your perceived status as an expert. Many people with whom you'll be trying to buy properties from or sell properties to will know your name – and be more willing to trust you – as a result of your prominence within your local community.
Seminars – Giving free seminars in a real estate-related niche can increase the size of your portfolio. As a residential real estate investor, you could give a free seminar about topics as wide-ranging as “How to Sell Your House for Your Price in a Down Market” to “How to Buy a House with Bad Credit.” The key here isn't to directly market yourself. Your goal is to come across much like a financial planner. Show your clients what you know – and how you can help them – and they'll gladly show you their money later on.
Public Speaking – This may not seem like a natural offline marketing strategy, but it has potential you may not have considered. Most people aren't natural public speakers; if this identifies you, don't despair. Join your local Toastmasters club and learn the fine art of public speaking. While you're learning, you'll be exposed to business and community leaders (many with cash) who would be prime candidates as potential investing partners or sources of private cash for long term investments or down payment and rehab funds.
Online marketing strategies are like gifts that keep on giving because the overall costs are reduced. This allows you to cast a wider net and increase the area in which you invest. In addition, you'll be able to build buyers lists and prequalify prospects without an investment of time, which is one of your most precious commodities.
Effectively reaching potential clients with online strategies increasingly demands that you have a website of your own, in order to prescreen prospects, build buyers lists, and to gather other vital information. None of these efforts mean a thing if you can't figure out how to drive Internet traffic to your website. Your online efforts will generally revolve around two basic strategies:
PPC – Pay Per Click campaigns are a good way of getting visitors to your real estate investing website. However, if you don't carefully analyze your target demographic and get crystal clear about which words and phrases you wish to bid on, your expenses could explode and you'll have nothing to show for it. Google and Yahoo have helpful analytic tools that can help you determine what words and phrases make the most sense for driving paid traffic to your website. In addition, they also offer the ability to target traffic based upon geographic location of potential clients, so your ads would only be seen by those most likely to be good targets.
Organic Placement – This form of marketing won't cost you a penny, but the competition for top ranking can be fierce. The key to achieving top ranking is by having content on your website that is relevant to the needs of your site's visitors. While SEO can play a role in your search engine rankings, you'll have greater success by ensuring that your website has great content. Resources related to real estate investing – articles and ebooks about wholesaling, short sales, rent to own, or whatever areas in which you concentrate, can gain you improved ranking by the search engines. Concentrate on relevant, high quality written content and you'll be rewarded with traffic. The increased volume of traffic will mean you'll gain more prospects, which will generally translate into more buyers and sellers for your residential properties.
While your online and offline marketing efforts will differ, in many cases you can tie them together for maximum effect. For instance, any offline marketing materials will have physical contact information. If you can include a catchy and memorable web address, you'll increase your exposure to potential clients while reducing the legwork necessary to pre-sell them on doing business with you.
Marketing your real estate investing business may seem like a waste of time and effort, but by paying close attention to these efforts you can win over potential clients, increase the size of your portfolio, and move yourself closer to realizing your dreams. If you're not familiar with the marketing strategies you want to employ or you're at all uncomfortable with your knowledge of specific real estate investing techniques, you should consider finding a good mentor that specializes in the type of investing in which you're most interested. Their experience and guidance can set your mind at ease and their wise counsel can help get you on your way.