When it comes to creating a list of motivated sellers, the more unique you can make your list—the better. In the competitive world of real estate investing, a list that is highly specific to your needs and goals will get you much better leads that help you boost your business.
So, what does it take to make a highly unique, highly effective list of motivated sellers in your particular market?
Let me give you a hint: systems and software
Well, maybe that was more of an answer than a hint, but you get the idea…
Keep in mind that many of the systems that I want to cover today do charge for their services. However, remember—as with anything in life—that you get what you pay for.
If you want high-quality leads that are going to give you the best results, you’ll probably need to shell out some money. But think of it as an investment in your business. Every successful company allots a certain amount of money to their marketing efforts; you should too.
While these systems have worked very well for me, also consider that you’ll need to adapt the tips and techniques I’m sharing with you to your specific market. Once you do so, you’ll be able to generate some very promising property leads.
So, let’s dive in to the main topic: The 5 steps for creating your own off-market lists and how to follow through and track your marketing efforts using these lists.
STEP 1: CREATE YOUR LIST
Where to begin?
With the creation of your list, of course.
When it comes to developing your list, there are so many software options out there; ATTOM Data Solutions (formerly RealtyTrack, with new, added resources), FindMotivatedSellersNow, and List Source are a few examples.
But what a lot of people don’t know is that many of these software options are being supported by ATTOM Data Solutions. This is the company that provides their databases to third-party companies that customize the info and features in their own way.
So, if you haven’t registered for ATTOM Data Solutions, you need to do that first.
Make sure you go to www.AttomData.com/Marketing-Lists. (This is an important step to get started.)
Once you create an account, you can start your list. Now, realize that there are a TON of features to this system—too many for me to cover in one blog post. So, I’ll keep it simple, and you can do the in-depth exploration on your own time.
First, you’re going to select your desired property locations.
Important Note: If you enter too much information (for example, “Orange County, FL” and ZIP code 32628, the system will give you the error message: “Some of your entries are already included in previously selected geography.” So if you’re interested in a specific ZIP code, just enter the ZIP code and nothing else (because the zip code is already coding for the county). If you’re seeking more detail (such as a specific ZIP code), don’t include a “higher level” like a county.
Using the “Ownership” tab, you can find specific deed types (such as “Surviving Spouse,” “Divorced” or “Joint Tenants”). Keep in mind, though, that different states will choose various naming conventions. This is something that’s never truly been available before—so it’s very valuable information.
It will allow you to create very powerful marketing pieces that draw the attention of your specific audience. Being laser-focused with your list will usually give you the best results.
Under the “Transactions” tab, you can see specific tax exemption categories, such as “Senior,” “Veteran” or “Widow.” Many times, these are people who are highly motivated to sell, because they’re at a turning point or transition phase in their lives.
So, the awesome thing about ATTOM is that you’re not focusing on just the physical aspects of the property, but also the human elements.
Using the “Property Type” tab, you can separate commercial and residential properties. Under the residential category, you can choose from single-family homes, multifamily units, condos/townhouses and much more. Select your preferences for # of beds/baths, year built, square footage, garage specifications and so on.
The possibilities are basically endless; this system is SUPER detailed. If you need help, you can easily call ATTOM and someone will walk you through all the scenarios that you want to see.
Rather than sending marketing pieces out to thousands of people, focus on narrowing down your lists. And then target those specific people by sending them a few rounds of letters/postcards/etc.
Then, when you receive a phone call or email, you’ll know that it’s a serious inquiry.
STEP 2: PHONE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM/CRM
Fielding and tracking your incoming phone calls is also an important aspect of the marketing process, because it lets you know which of your efforts is working and which ones are maybe not so effective.
Many real estate investors use FreedomSoft—and that system is fine—but today I want to mainly talk about CallRail.
CallRail is only about $30/month. It has everything:
- Google Analytics
- answering services
- multiple phone lines
- the whole shebang
When you send out mail pieces, you generally don’t want to include your own cell phone number, because you might not be able to manage all the incoming phone calls alone. Plus, you won’t know where these leads are coming from—which means you won’t know how effective your marketing campaigns are.
To maintain a professional presence, you need to have a system like CallRail to manage and track calls for you.
STEP 3: PRINT
Once you have a good call system in place, you can start thinking about your printed marketing pieces (letters, postcards, etc.). One great option for print mailers is REWWPrintMail—but you can use any service that works well for your needs, of course. Everyone is on a different budget, but I just want to present this info as food for thought.
REWWPrintMail offers pre-made postcard and letter options that you can download and customize with your info. If you don’t want to waste time making your own templates, this is an awesome option. It’s a little bit pricier than a site where you design your own template—but remember that your time is valuable!
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Using a well-made template really is a great option.
If you do decide to print and put together your own pieces:
Bonus Tip: The “forever stamps” for postcards are cheaper than the “forever stamps” for letters. Save some money and put that toward your next campaign!
STEP 4: SLY BROADCAST
Phone marketing is another important piece of the puzzle. I highly recommend using SlyBroadcast, which is an awesome resource for this next step.
This site is named “SlyBroadcast” because you can send a voicemail that goes directly to the recipient’s cell phone—and supposedly, it’s not going to ring. It should go straight to the person’s voicemail.
In my experience, there are some flukes to this process; every once in awhile, the person’s phone will ring once or twice and display “unknown number” as the caller…
The good thing is this: The voicemail will reflect the accurate number that you want people to use when they return your call (this will help you track where the call is coming from).
I would suggest sending only about 100 voicemails at a time and here’s why: If people get a missed call, many of them will call back right away—which can put you in a stressful spot of fielding a bunch of phone calls all at once. So, in other words, DON’T send voicemails to 1,000 callers in one shot.
But, this process DOES work; and I’ve gotten some amazing leads from this system. Think about it this way: Most people check their voicemails, but not everyone will read a direct mail piece before they toss it in the trash.
So, a voicemail can be a highly effective marketing tool.
When recording your voicemail, my biggest tip is to record on QuickTime or a similar audio software option. Don’t record on the phone, because your voice will sound very “far away” and echo-y; basically, it just doesn’t sound professional.
Here’s an example of a voicemail (of course, you want to tweak it for your own business needs and market…):
“Hey, it’s Josh. If you’re considering letting the bank foreclose on your property, I ask that you call me now. I have a full-time team, including a real estate attorney, that is dedicated to helping you find a solution. Best of all—it’s free of charge. Don’t give up just yet. Use my resources and experience to fight back. I hope to hear from you soon, and you can reach me at 555.555.5555. Thanks and have a great day!”
Now, that phone number you provide in the voicemail is the Call Rail tracking number; so when someone calls this number to reach you, you’ll know that they’re responding to the mass voicemail you sent out.
SlyBroadcast does a great job of tracking all the phone calls and results. It will show you, for example, if someone didn’t have a voicemail box set up, so they didn’t receive your message. It’s an amazing tool for making your marketing process more efficient.
STEP 5: REISKIP
Before you upload your list of recipients to SlyBroadcast, you will need to use a skip tracing service to gather those phone numbers.
A resource such as REISkip (a mass skip tracing company) is helpful when creating your list of recipients. Simply upload your CSV file list to REISkip, and within 48 hours, they will skip trace your list for you. Make sure your CSV file is organized exactly in this format: first name, last name, address, city, state, and zip code).
Having those categories combined or out of order will cause delays.
Once the list has been skip traced, REISkip will send you an email with a list of all the recipients they were able to find (along with their phone numbers). Then, you upload that list to SlyBroadcast, and those will be the recipients of your voicemail.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
As you can see, there is a LOT of technology involved in this process. And, although it will cost you, the results are almost always worth the investment.
Plus, these systems will save you a significant amount of time; as an investor, you don’t want to spend your time manually researching and compiling lists, and then entering phone numbers—one. by. one.—into a system. Even paying a virtual assistant to do this work can be expensive and not nearly as fast.
So, consider which systems are right for you, your budget and your business goals.
As you continue to build your business, you’ll be able to invest even more in your marketing budget. But it’s important to start somewhere!