Learn how to use simple online advertising to find deeply discounted quality properties that no one else knows about. There are three primary ways of using the internet to find these properties. First, is having a business website to let the world know what type of real estate investments you are currently looking for. Another is running advertisements on craigslist and in major online newspapers for the cities you are interested in investing in. Finally, there is using advertising to put feet on the street looking for unlisted real estate in any city you want to invest in.
There's more to it than just putting up an ad saying: "I buy houses". What you want to do is called "split testing". There are a few variations to this but basically you fine-tune the message over time until you have the one that delivers the most and highest quality leads. Craigslist is free so you can run two or more ads (split testing) at the same time without it costing you a penny.
Writing Your Advertisements
What you do is keep tack of which advertisement is delivering better results. Your results can be measured either by the quantity or quality of the leads delivered. Start with a variation in the headline. How the headline reads depends heavily on your particular investment strategy. For instance, if you are looking for a rental house in a particular neighborhood, you run a headline similar to: "Seeking to Buy Rental House in Parkland Neighborhood". A variation on this headline would be "Want to Buy Discounted Rental in Parkland Neighborhood".
Now, keep track of the results. If all you are interested in is quantity, it's as simple as asking the person that calls which ad they are responding to and tallying them up for the different ads. If your business has more than one telephone, you can use different phone numbers for the two ads and keep track of the tally that way.
If you want to measure the quality of the ad, you need to develop your quality criteria. Did the caller understand that you are looking to buy at wholesale or did they think you were offering retail? Is the house they want to sell actually in the Parkland neighborhood or was it half a mile away in an area you aren't interested in. And of course, you can measure both quality and quantity.
Keeping Ad Costs Down
There is another small variation you can use if you are paying for the advertising. The internet is still a wild frontier and adverting policies vary greatly. Most major metropolitan newspapers are completely free to advertise in but others charge $50 and up to run an ad for a month. Most small market and rural newspapers do charge to advertise. If you are paying, only run one advertisement at a time instead of two. You still keep track of the results but you also keep your advertising costs down.
This can be taken a step further by measuring the days of the week that provide the best results and then limiting your advertising to only the days producing the best results. Over a fairly short period of time, you will dramatically improve your results and of course, that means finding the best of the best investing opportunities.
Take this to the next level by advertising for birddogs in any location you want to invest in. Run ads saying you pay a finders fee for real estate investment leads that turn into closed deals. You don't want to pay them just to send a list of properties for sale at their location. You want them to send the hidden deals.
Here you are looking for word-of-mouth deals. It might be a relative or a friend they know that needs to get out of a good property in a hurry. Or it could be a person that is constantly driving through neighborhoods and regularly spots desirable investment opportunities. Who you are looking for are mail carriers, utility meter readers, repair people, garbage collectors, and taxi drivers. Of course, you'll accept hot leads from anyone but targeting these types of people greatly improves the odds they will generate hot investment opportunities before they are listed for the world to view.
Using these simple and inexpensive but highly effective marketing methods will bring in great deals that you won't find any other way.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.