Direct mail, driving for dollar, door knocking, online advertising…there are so many methods for real estate investor marketing to choose from. How do you determine which is the most effective?
The short answer is that it depends on your investment niche and more importantly, your market.
Tony Javier, who has 16 years of real estate experience and does over 100 transactions a year, uses multiple marketing methods to find leads. He started with phonebook ads, and later added direct mail, radio, Facebook, and Google ads.
But in our recent conversation, he said, “TV is out number one lead source.” That’s right. Tony is the Billy Jean of real estate commercials (Remember those catchy OxyClean commercials).
Here’s how he does it.
Preparation and Execution of TV Commercials
Fortunately, Tony had an advantage in this real estate investor marketing niche because he was a well-known real estate agent in his market prior to airing real estate commercials on TV. He said, in regards to why he pursued TV commercials, “I just kind of wanted to ride that wave and put my face on the commercials so that people could correlate it. It’s really paid off because people that I haven’t talked to in years – or maybe went to high school with – are sending me leads because they’ve seen my face on the TV.”
Unlike most advertising methods you can do sitting in your pajamas at home, running TV ads takes more effort, and in Tony’s case, time. He doesn’t live in the market where his ads are aired. He lives in San Diego and runs ads in Wichita, Kansas.
“Every time I go to Wichita – every three months or so – I usually film another commercial,” Tony said. But once in studio, “it takes like 15 minutes for me to go in and shoot a commercial. I script it, I practice it a couple of times, I go in there, I take a few cuts of whatever it is I’m going to say, they cut up the commercial to make it look good, and then they produce the backend of it.”
Tony has a standard template for his real estate commercials where most aspects stay the same. “The message changes, but our jingle’s the same, our phone number’s the same, [and] some of the graphics are the same. It’s really just the message per commercial [that] changes, and really, our message doesn’t change that much.”
For the messaging of the commercial, it’s very similar to the messaging used for other, standard real estate investor marketing methods. “It’s pretty simple,” Tony said. “It’s ‘We pay cash, close quickly.’ That’s really what we do in any of our marketing methods: we look at the pain points that they have and make sure we hit those. A lot of people don’t want to do work to their houses. A lot of people need cash quickly. A lot of people don’t like the hassle of having to hire a realtor and go through that whole process. We say, ‘No hassle,’ in our commercial as well. We just hit the pain points.”
Now, if the prospect of speaking in front of a camera terrifies you, that doesn’t mean you can’t do TV commercials. It’s going to cost a little bit more to have someone else star in your commercial, but Tony said, “you can give them your ideas, they can put graphics in, they can put someone else’s audio in there and produce it for you… As long as you’re hiring the right person, you should have a pretty good product at the end to use”.
Costs of TV Commercials
Both the cost of production and the cost of the actual TV spot vary greatly from location to location. Tony airs his TV ads in Wichita, Kansas, and he says, “I’m in a smaller market, so it’s not as expensive as some markets. For example, I looked in Tampa, Florida and it’s just outrageous to market to that area because you have so many suburbs and a huge reach. So first of all, it’s expensive, so you can check in your area if you want to do TV [to see] if [it’s] going to be reasonable for you.”
For producing the real estate commercials in Wichita, Tony is only charged a few hundred dollars. “Every time we do a commercial, they shoot it, and really they just charge us the time to shoot it,” he said, “And then they produce it for us because we’re buying ad space from them.”
For the cost of the TV spots, it depends on what time the commercials air. When starting out, Tony bought filler spaces, but he bought some primetime spots and tested both to see if the cost per lead made sense to his real estate investor marketing strategy. The filler spaces were $1 to $10 while the primetime spots were $50 to $150.
Tony said the filler spots were the first spots he would fill since they were cheaper because the station “didn’t have that spot sold. If someone doesn’t buy that spot, then they don’t get any money anyway. Usually it’s like late night or some spot where there’s not nearly as many views.”
For those interested in doing real estate commercials, Tony said, “if you’re a little bit newer and you’re just starting with a small budget, you might start with some of those filler spots, [and] maybe just buy a couple of primetime spots. But you’re going to have to meet with the person that handles that in your area.”
If you are going to pursue TV commercials as a real estate investor marketing avenue, Tony said, “You have to have it in place for a certain amount of time to decide if it’s working r not.”
He added, “Fortunately enough for me, the first month we got a really good deal off of it, and we made some good money off our first deal. But then it was another five or six months before we got our next deal. Had I not gotten that first deal, there was a possibility I may have turned it off after a few months. But after talking to other people that have been successful on TV, … you really need to give it probably a good six months to be able to tell if it’s working or not.”
Nothing new here. Like all marketing methods, if you stop after a few months, you won’t really know if they it was effective or not.
Hiring a Media Buyer
Another aspect that’s required if you want to achieve good results from TV ads is hiring a media buyer. “We have a media buyer that we go through, and they know the trends and they know where the traffic is. They know the demographics,” Tony said. “You really need to lean on them if you’re going to do something like that because they’re going to be able to tell you better what spots they think you should buy and the demographics for those TV stations.”
Luckily for Tony, he found his media buyer through a friend at a poker game. If you don’t have a connection to a media buyer, that’s not a problem. Just Google your city name and “media buyer” and you’ll find that media buyers are everywhere. Like any other team member, interview a handful of media buyers and go with the best one.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.