The Level Up Your Business Podcast
Episode 17 of Season 2
Clickable Show Highlights
[02:17] Danny’s background and his business
[04:10] How marketing has really made an impact on his business
[08:36] What digital marketing really is
[10:47] How much does he focus on digital marketing vs offline marketing
[11:49] Tips on how to make time in order to make sure that marketing still gets done
[16:43] Systems and processes that he haven’t place right now that have the biggest impact on his productivity or marketing efforts
[18:08] His advice to a new real estate investor for the path of least resistance to get their marketing up and going to generate leads
[21:00] Advantages of bandit signs
[22:17] What are the trends in digital marketing for real estate right
"If you’re not marketing your business, then you don’t have a business ... or, you won't have one in the long run."
THE LEVEL UP YOUR BUSINESS BLOG
Danny Johnson - Sell More Houses
By Making Marketing Your
If you’re not marketing your business, then you don’t have a business.
...Or, you won’t have one in the long run.
Whether you have a real estate business, an Amazon business, or a lemonade stand - consistent marketing is the lifeblood of your company.
As real estate entrepreneurs, consistent marketing is what ensures we have a steady stream of prospective customers finding our services, and the properties we have for sell.
When you neglect marketing it’s inevitable that you’ll suffer from an inconsistent deal flow. And you’ll feel like you’re working from deal to deal - which makes you uncertain about your income and the stability of your business.
I did a previous post on how important it is to focus on one thing (or your big domino in your business), which if you topple it, everything else becomes easier. So in this post I interviewed Danny Johnson, the host of Flipping Junkie.
Danny shared his insights and tips on how your real estate business can be more successful, and you can sell more homes, by making marketing your Big Domino.
Today on the Level Up Your Business Podcast I interview Danny Johnson of Flipping Junkie. Danny shares his insights and tips on how your real estate business can be more successful, and you can sell more homes, by increasing your focus on your marketing.
My Interview With danny johnson
“Tell us a bit more about you and your business.”
My wife and I have been flipping houses for about 15 years in San Antonio, Texas. I became interested in real estate investing from watching my dad, who was a contractor at the time, partner up with another investor to flip houses. I saw what my dad was doing and I decided that it looked much better than what I had going on - being cooped up in an office all day long.
So, I came across a Carlton Sheets course on VHS tape that I found in my garage. He was teaching cold calling as well as a lot of weird deal structuring. It completely turned me off of the business. I said “I can’t do that, that’s not me… I’m not that kind of person.” I was really shy and introverted, so it was hard imagining that's how you’re supposed to get deals.
I didn’t know any better. So, I put real estate on the back burner for bit. But, later that year I went out and got my first property. And then we started flipping houses and doing marketing with direct mail, driving for dollars, and bandits signs. We chased MLS deals at first, but eventually found that motivated seller marketing was really better for us.
“How has marketing really made an impact on your business?”
I think figuring out marketing and lead generation - so that you always have deals coming in - is probably the most important thing you can know, besides learning the basics of flipping. Because if you can’t generate enough leads to have consistent deals, you’re spinning your wheels all the time.
Once you have marketing figured out you can scale up, and do so much better in your business. You can be in a position to actually quit your day job, and have that freedom that you want. So, figuring out that marketing piece is super important.
The toughest part is getting that first deal, right? People I’ve talked to, have often taken at least 6 months to find and complete their first deal. But then it takes two weeks, or less than a month, before they line up their next deal.
So why is it so much faster to find the second deal? I think people have to deal with their doubts of whether there’s really deals out there. When many people first start looking for deals, they’re making offers in the MLS and competing with other investors. That makes doubt set in, because they’re not very confident with their numbers, and they’re probably more conservative at first.
But once you have faith that the deals are out there, then it becomes so much easier because then it's just a matter of putting your marketing out there more often, and making more offers on deals - and it changes everything for you!
If you’re spending all your time trying to make every single lead that comes across your desk work, you’re gonna get frustrated and burned out. You’ll start wondering, “how many leads does it take before I get a deal?” I think a lot of people don’t really know what their numbers should look like.
That’s one of the things a lot of people say that they enjoyed about my book, Flipping Houses Exposed. In that book I showed 34 weeks of my house flipping business; how many leads I was getting in; what and why people were selling; and how I analyzed those deals. But the biggest impact was that people told me it opened their eyes to how many leads they need to look at before getting a deal. This was good because it meant they wouldn’t lose steam so soon, since they saw the reality is it can take a ton of leads to get a deal.
Once you know that, then you can stop trying to force everything that comes across your desk to be a deal somehow.
I don’t do subject-to, lease options, or that other stuff. I keep it simple. I just want to buy cheap as possible so I have a lot of options. It makes it easy because I’m either going to buy a home at a low price that makes sense to fix-and-flip, or wholesale - or I’m not. And If I don’t buy, I’m going to follow up.
I just had the mentality of “next... next…” If this one isn’t a deal, then I go to the next lead.
““You obviously believe in the importance of marketing, especially digital marketing in your business. Can you shed some light on what exactly is digital marketing, for people that may be a little less familiar with the term?
Digital marketing is awesome!
Basically, digital marketing is anything where you’re leveraging online resources to get leads. The type of leads I’m mainly referring to are motivated sellers who are looking for us. So basically digital marketing is inbound marketing, whereas direct mail is more outbound marketing.
With direct mail you’re throwing a bunch of mail out hoping that some of the people that might need your message will receive it and call you. But the majority of people will likely not need your message, and they’ll throw your mail in the trash.
With inbound (digital marketing), the difference is they’re looking for us most of the time.They’re going to Google and searching, “how do I sell my house fast,” or “my house needs a ton of repairs, can I sell it?”
They’re looking for solutions to their problems - so you already move pass the first stage where you’re trying to convince them that they have a situation and you can help them. They already know they have a problem and they came looking for you - which makes all the difference in the world.
“In your business are you putting more focus on digital marketing than offline marketing, or is there a balance?”
At one point direct mail was about 25% of my business, and 75% was digital marketing. We’ve since changed that where we basically stopped doing direct mail this year.
The only direct mail we’re doing is to probates, but that’s a very small list. Everything else that we’re doing is digital marketing. It provides the lowest cost per lead, and cost per deal of all our marketing. And it’s been the most consistent, so we know what works.
It’s also easier to track. We know if the Adwords and Facebook ads are working, and how much it’s costing per lead and per deal. Organic search is still our best lead generator.
“For that person that says they’re too busy to fit marketing in, do you have any tips or strategies on how they can make time to make sure it still gets done?”
Yes, that’s super important because marketing does get dropped a lot of times if there isn’t a plan in place.
If you’re doing direct mail, you need to have a calendar. You also need a list size that you can handle mailing to at least six or more times. The key with direct mail is that you’re hitting people multiple times over a span of nine months to a year.
This is important because time has a way of motivating people. For example you could be sending me a postcard to buy my house, but I’m not interested in selling right now because my rental has great cash flow and no problems - so I throw your mailer away.
But, you continue to mail to me to me every six weeks or so. Then four months go by and I get a call from the neighbor of my rental property who is complaining about noise, multiple dogs, and the condition of the home. On top of that, my tenant becomes unruly.
Now that dream rental becomes a nightmare. All of a sudden, I’m considering the possibility of selling, and that postcard reminds me to give you a call to see what you’d offer. So, it’s more of a timing thing.
If you’re mailing to people once and not getting responses, it’s less likely likely that you need to change your letter, and more likely it’s just timing.
For digital marketing, Google and Facebook allow us to do retargeting, which is basically when ads follow you around on different sites based on other ads that you’ve clicked, or pages you’ve viewed.
The approach you can take is to target the people that come to your site through those platforms. But, you don’t want to do it an an annoying way where they’re seeing you EVERYWHERE constantly.
Instead have it so they’re seeing you randomly, like a postcard, maybe once a week. That way they still remember you, but you’re not annoying.
Retargeting ads can be be credibility builders in the form of video testimonials, text testimonials, or pictures of a house that you bought. The ads just remind people that you exist. Those ads can help send people back to your website so they can give you their information to call, and become new leads - and eventually deals.
“Do you have any other systems or process that you have in place right now that you feel have had the biggest impact on your productivity and your marketing efforts?
The biggest thing was stop doing everything myself. That’s obviously a big problem a lot of us entrepreneurs have. We learn how to do things, and then we do them, and then keep doing them because we feel like nobody could do it as well as we do it - or we don’t want to take the time to train somebody.
Once I finally got to the point where I was willing to hand over the reigns of a lot of the online stuff in my business, my life got a lot better. We got focused on more important things, like working on the business, instead of me having to always keep everything going.
I handed those responsibilities off to somebody in my office, and they have been doing it for me and also for other investors. It frees me up to not have to worry about lead generation at all - other than giving more ideas on how to do it better, and tweaking our systems.
“If a complete beginner came to you and said they’d like to know the path of least resistance to get their marketing up and going to generate real estate leads, what would you tell him?”
Honestly, the easiest thing if someone is just getting started is probably some of the less complicated, and less technological strategies.
I sell websites and services for investors, and I would say that’s the easiest thing. But I think there’s some knowledge that needs to be learned first. If you’re trying to get things ramped up I feel like driving for dollars is one of the absolute best things an investor could do when they are starting out.
The reason is, you basically get to know every part of your target city very well. I’ve lived in San Antonio all my life, but I probably was only familiar with about 30% of the city. When I started to drive for dollars, I got to know all other areas.
I was really shocked about the areas I discovered which were great working class neighborhoods with a lot of rehab activity going on. It's also good for meeting contractors, investors, and finding properties that are run down - so you can send letters to owners.
Since the homes are vacant and run down, you already know that there’s some sort of motivation there. Whereas if you’re just buying a list and sending mail, you don’t know the situation for those houses. So, driving for dollars is good because it doesn’t cost as much, and you get to find out more about different areas of your city.
The other thing I recommend (although you need to check with your county since it’s prohibited in some areas) is bandit signs. They just work - especially if you put them in the right places, like busy intersections.
The beautiful thing about bandit signs is most of the time people aren’t seeing your competitors’ marketing, so they’re going to contact you. That means you’re likely not dealing with a lot of competition, and you’re not worried about what other people are offering - which would typically force you to up your offer. Instead, it’s just you and the seller, working out something that makes sense for both of you.
If you’re looking to generate some quick leads and talk to sellers, those are two ways. Then once you get a deal and some experience (as well as some money to spend on marketing), Adwords is a good option.
“Are you seeing any trends in digital marketing for real estate that you think people should be aware of?”
I overhead a couple talking as I was a leaving a building a few months ago. The woman said “I looked online and I couldn’t find their company website. And, I checked on Facebook and didn’t see them either.” Then she said, “Well, I guess we need to find somebody else.”
That really made me think. More and more people, regardless of age, are looking up your business online. Before someone decides to work with you, they want to find out more about you. It’s so easy nowadays for everybody to find out anything about anybody.
So now, instead of just getting a postcard in the mail, a seller will be curious and go online to look up:
- Is this business online?
- Who is this that wants to buy my house?
- How does this work?
Even if your website isn’t listed on the postcard, they’re probably going to Google your business’ name and phone number.
In the past, a lot of the top investors were just using direct mail, and sticking with that. But now, its not a matter anymore of “should I do online marketing?”
It’s to the point that you need to do digital marketing just to be found. All your other marketing efforts actually might be driving people online to look for you. And if you’re not there, they’re finding your competition.
There’s two benefits of being online. Not only do people find out more about you when they look online after they get your postcard; but also you get the benefit of being found by sellers when your competition is sending out postcards, but maybe they aren’t online. So sellers find you instead of them.
Next Up In Season 2
Next up in our productivity series I’m going to talk about something that is critical to leveling up your business and being more creative. It’s also something that I’m personally working to master. That thing is WHITE SPACE. I’m not talking about margins in your website and your business cards. I’m referring to the time that you purposely reserve when you’re not working IN your business.
It’s the time you set aside for creative thought, brainstorming, and sometimes just to do nothing. Adding white space could be the tweak you need to take your business from good to great. So make sure you catch me next post!