14 Profound Internet Marketing Principles To Generate Motivated Sellers
Richard Shepherd is a property investor and property developer, educator, and author, and runs a Digital Marketing Agency specialising in motivated seller leads in the UK. He is the co-author of the Property Option PowerPlays Reference Manuals, The Consent-to-Let Handbook, and the soon to be released Lease Option Lenders Guidebook.
We’d been successful in finding motivated seller leads both online and offline. We felt we knew the strategies in depth but when a combination of Facebook removing 500 targeting options a few years ago and also Google radically altering their algorithm, our results when we formed our Digital Marketing Agency failed initially. What we had to do was to radically alter our approach to online marketing and in so doing, we managed to unearth these profound internet marketing principles which we have developed the Comprehensive Online Marketing Protocol and under which we have now created a successful Marketing Agency.
This Marketing Agency was set up in order to deliver an immediate and effective plug-in and switch-on solution for property investors desperately seeking motivated seller leads. Rather than an agency which merely builds marketing campaigns we also build the web site for our investor-clients and provide other unique tools and resources through which property investors can turbo-charge their own marketing. This is done using the UK’s most advanced online real estate marketing platform.
Before we start we have to state that we always felt we were the most skilled and experienced property investors in the UK at converting motivated seller leads into jaw-dropping property investment deals. We still consider ourselves expert property investors rather than expert internet marketers. We spend most of our time doing property investment transactions. So in order for us to deliver an amazing service, it had to include processes gained from our experience, but it also had to be affordable service, and to survive a sometimes quite brutal internet marketing arena it had to adhere to a set of creative limitations.
So we went about setting up the most advanced platform for property investors in the UK to make it easier for our students, investors, and mentees to get up and running by marketing for motivated sellers in their local area. This online marketing platform isn’t only about digital marketing however, as we also incorporate some outside-the-box offline marketing strategies. It is the most advanced suite of tools and resources that property investors can use to get motivated seller leads efficiently. This relies on being Direct-To-Vendor as this is how the best deals are found.
A fair proportion of this platform involves what is effectively a Digital Marketing Agency – as we set up social media campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, both off and on-page search-engine optimisation, specialist landing pages and we carefully monitor these metrics to ensure that our clients have businesses that are scalable. But as we stated, it is not merely limited to online marketing.
What we found is that what worked one year online is not what actually works 1-year later, especially in this lockdown/post-lockdown era. We determined that going forward that this would always be the case. As we had difficulty getting motivated seller leads initially, we were not about to give up. We researched what actually worked. We read academic papers about marketing, we had our own bitter experience of not being able to provide enough leads and we built everything around this premise.
We were always keen to get to the cutting edge in terms of marketing technology and automation. However, the technology itself wasn’t enough. We had to implement radical changes in our approach and processes and in our staff themselves to ultimately be successful at lead generation for property investors in the UK. There are many things changing in the modern world. What we found was that to begin with all of the people in your organisation must be “curious, flexible, agile & nimble”. What this means is that they must always be asking questions, willing to radically change up their approach, able to change up their approach even if their neck is on the line because they came up with the previous idea, and nimble which means they must be quick to change the approach and willing and able to take risks. Ultimately in internet marketing you are rewarded for taking calculated, considered, and managed risks as long as you take them often enough.
We had to be willing to implement all of this so that we could become successful and through this process I am now highlighting the 14 most profound internet marketing principles – The Comprehensive Online Marketing Protocol. You won’t see this in a book anywhere. If you Google it, you won’t see results anywhere. However these are the set of principles we based our marketing agency on and we are now running internet marketing campaigns, and generating 20 motivated seller leads per month to property investors in the UK.
14 Profound Internet Marketing Principles To Generate Motivated Sellers
- Never Rely On One Specific Marketing Channel. The results from different marketing channels change all the time. One minute a specific marketing channel may get lots of eyes and indeed yield good results for generating leads at that time. However, things change:-
- The Return-On-Investment on one particular channel rises to begin with, then tails off and deteriorates over time. This means that either the Cost-per-Lead rises, or the number of leads generated falls or a mixture of both as that channel is not ready to admit that it is failing. Your ROI gets to a point where continuing with this particular channel becomes untenable. At that point as it is your only lead generation method your business is already struggling.
- Online Lead generators work out ways to ‘game’ the marketing channel resulting in sub-optimal performance from that particular channel. As a result, the channel’s popularity decreases as customers realise that they are being conned all the time. So the channel establishes ways to re-establish their dominance by cutting out ways that they can be ‘gamed’. They start punishing advertisers and this in many ways can result in the marketer being ‘slapped’ and having to rebuild their marketing efforts from scratch which can take anything from a few months to a few years.
- The Map is not the Territory. Marketers mistake being high up in the index (rankings) of a particular channel with being highly regarded by the customers (motivated sellers) who are actually searching for a high performance service. The index (for example being on Google Page 1 or having a high Page Rank) is meant to be a reflection of your web site’s actual authority, importance, & relevance. We should NEVER try to game the map or the index. Instead we should endeavour to dominate the territory itself. In motivated seller language we should never try to only get high up in Page 1 as that can change in just 1 day. Rather we should seek to be highly regarded as adding real value for sellers and seek to build a real audience first and gains in the map later merely because of the law of cause and effect. By adding real value, relevance, and authority to real people, marketing channels will reward us.
- Understand that there is ALWAYS more to learn about internet marketing. The process of internet marketing and the rate at which all there is to learn increases means that we will always be trying to get ahead of the curve. For this reason we founded our organisation’s core principles on growth hacking techniques which means we start with Product Market Fit, and then we carry out consistent testing, rapid testing, strategising and optimising our offering. By focusing on these micro-elements we get our edge on any particular marketing campaign.
- Search Engine Optimisation should augment current marketing methods, not define them. Search Engine Optimisation is fantastic. But it takes 6-12 months plus to implement a comprehensive strategy and then to see the results from it – at best. In the property investor market for motivated sellers we find MANY existing companies already in the same boat. Our property investor clients would need to have a minimum budget of £1,000 – £2,000 per month and still possibly NOT get rankings. This means that they could spend £24,000 per annum and not get traffic on their site until much later, or an algorithm could change which severely impacts their site’s results.
- Data Is King. Cutting edge data should be used to refine your target audience and this should form the base of your marketing efforts. Wherever possible, in order to remain at the cutting edge you should also use artificial intelligence and/or machine learning which could also be brought in to allow you to have a mechanism that i) nobody else has, and ii) allows your data intelligence to grow automatically the more clients you bring on board, and the more marketing you carry out. It is very difficult to compete with an organisation which specialises in a field and where the model itself is improving day-by-day based on data analytics.
- Marketing also involves remarketing. Remarketing is basically the following: You may be marketing and getting a visitor to your site who may not be ready to buy your services at that point. So, in terms of motivated sellers, perhaps they visited your web site, or your landing page but they didn’t opt in to your web site or landing page. If we are able to capture some details of this lead in a way that doesn’t necessarily identify them, then we can then remarket (or retarget) these potential leads or potential motivated sellers on other marketing channels. The important thing is that the remarketing strategy is a strategy in its own right. This means that our remarketing strategy needs to be thoroughly tested, implemented, the audience segmented over a period of time in order to prove the results. It also means that because we are providing a new marketing channel with our own audience that our results in terms of the cost per lead are both cheaper and also more laser-focused.
- Nobody knows anything. Just because other internet marketers or property investors say that a particular marketing strategy or channel doesn’t work, don’t listen. It could be that it works effectively in your niche. See what they are doing, and based on what you know about internet marketing, test it thoroughly yourself first. Test it, implement it, improve it, segment the audience, retest it. Prove your own results. Again and Again!
- Although your web site may be central to your internet marketing efforts, don’t let your web site define your internet marketing efforts. This is very contentious but it is something we have tested and proved. Your client’s web site is important to them. It gives them a presence of which they are rightly proud and it establishes an identity. However, strictly speaking, the site isn’t absolutely necessary with the advent of other marketing channels. It certainly need not be the most important aspect to your client. In terms of our agency, we set up a web site for our client – but our skill set is not limited to the web site. The real skill is the build, implementation and optimisation of various internet marketing techniques including social media all working with each other. Breaking down the silos of the traditional departments in a company of sales, offline marketing, online marketing, business development is of critical importance as we now need to understand the proper relationship of these departments to each other and to also understand what that relationship is to our bottom line.
- The marketing methods you choose to employ in the first instance must be affordable. This means affordable to the client. We take the view that rather than focusing on Search Engine Optimisation, instead get instant results and then use the income from those results to drive up your marketing budget. In this way the agency is able to demonstrate and add true value to the client as the client can see that their business is growing with tangible results.
- Your Clients must be able to see immediate results. This is because the client has chosen to invest in your services. As a result it helps if you are able to produce leads for them as soon as possible. Even if you then need to optimise the campaign (which you should be able to do quickly by studying the metrics and doing rapid testing). In this instance because your results have been immediate, the client should bear with you to optimise the campaign as you may need a further 3 months to provide basic on-page or off-page optimisation before adding in other strategies, channels or strategies. So, much better to focus a client’s campaign on getting immediate results. This way the client is able to gain confidence and can see what you’re doing. Start doing property deals and this way the money from the deals helps to enhance their marketing budget to get even greater results. This feeds back into the agency and so the agency can then add further marketing services which are chargeable.
- The process is as important as the marketing channel – if not more. It is one thing to be advertising on the marketing channel that sees a lot of eyes. However, what we are looking for is targeted traffic not merely general traffic. So, we need to implement a process throughout our marketing strategies that chisel down that traffic into only buyers (or in our case only motivated sellers) that will benefit from our services. We may need different touch points (customers buy after seeing your marketing message on average 7 times) for instance, delivering your message several times over several different vehicles and in several different ways. If you are able to target and track all of this then you will be able to track what works and deliver more of it to a more targeted and specialised audience at a cheaper cost.
- The money is in the follow-up. Often marketing is treated as separate from sales. However this is a mistake. As property investors ourselves, our real skill actually is in the negotiation of deals. I have personally trained thousands of property investors to do lucrative and creative property transactions. I’ve trained everything from people who I consider to be some of the best negotiators in the UK – and that includes the highest decorated Hostage Negotiator in the UK, and also household names in the property industry – although for obvious reasons I shall not name names. If you are able to negotiate 1 deal from 30 leads, you may call yourself an average negotiator. You’re not bad. If you can do 1 deal from 20 leads, then you may call yourself a good negotiator. I know from experience that my best negotiators can deliver 1 deal in every 8 leads. This is excellent and you should aim eventually for 1 deal in 10-12 well-targeted leads. Some of this is in the follow-up. You literally have a follow-up system in the form of a Customer Relationship Management System where you deliver on your promises you make when you speak to motivated sellers within 24 hours of them leaving you their details. We obviously use Skrumpt CRM. There then comes a negotiation process (another process!!) where it is about converting that lead into a deal. The more tools in your toolbox, the more deals you can do. However, this is not separate from the marketing as you still must layer in your Unique Selling Point at every opportunity throughout the negotiation, and structuring processes.
- Once you’ve committed to this profound set of marketing principles we can then add onto that content marketing. So Content marketing is about building an audience and driving them to a place where they can opt in. We can build an audience by writing articles, doing videos, writing a blog, and we can build an audience in Twitter or on Facebook or our blog! We can then drive that audience to your website. In doing so you are literally building a relationship with your audience in that your value and authority rises to be sky-high and then converting that traffic into opt-ins becomes a lot easier.
- This Comprehensive Online Marketing Protocol has scalability built into its core. It is important that for example in the aspect of deal packaging, if you are spending £1,000 per month on marketing and a deal sells for £5,000 then your aim is to do 1 deal per month as soon as you can. On that basis our job as a Marketing Agency is to provide you with enough leads for this to be possible at an affordable price – say 20 leads per month. When you reach this figure, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince you to double your budget. So at the cost of £2,000 per month you’re now making £10,000 per month from 40 leads. It goes without saying that the biggest thing you could do at this stage, rather than doubling your budget again, is to invest in increasing your conversion rate and getting down from 1 deal in 20 leads, to 1 deal in 10!!! As then, when you double your budget to £4,000 you are doing rather than £20,000 per month you are producing 80 leads per month and if you are converting 1 in 10 then you are doing 8 deals at £5,000 which is £40,000 per month minimum and the expectation would be higher than that principally because on learning how to negotiate more deals you are also learning how to negotiate more lucrative deals, and how to extract more money from these ‘impossible’ deals.
- Branding should also be part of your marketing efforts. While branding cannot be totally expected to produce leads in and of itself, it allows your prospective customers to be aware of what you and your company stand for. It allows you to distance yourself from other investor companies by being able to communicate your unique selling point. So if you USP is high levels of customer service or the ability to solve problems that most investors cannot solve, then because you are marketing across many channels, using several vehicles, we can express our USP several times even before we get to speak to the motivated seller. Remember your customer will buy from you after they have seen your marketing message up to 6-7 times. Therefore, we need several different touch points at the point where it is possible to show your prospective targets your brand and also demonstrate the value that your company is able to give your motivated sellers.
The real taking home point from this article is that the traditional silos of marketing, sales, negotiation, deal structuring, and deal packaging have to be broken down whereby one department doesn’t really speak to another. The reason we specialise in only marketing for motivated seller leads is so that we can traverse these boundaries – so that each department knows in detail how the other department works and provides active feedback in terms of the quality of those leads for example, what they are finding in this current market, or even the many, many different ways of adding value to motivated seller transactions which feeds back into skyrocketing your conversion rates, and also to the marketing so that you can spend more money on what is currently working, and less money on what isn’t currently working.
If you are interested in getting Direct-To-Vendor simply by using a Business-in-a-Box online marketing platform watch this Deal Packaging Masterclass here.