Marketing budget amount

For those that are doing direct mail, billboards, cold calls, post cards etc…, what amount are you averaging on your monthly marketing campaigns?

Just looking for some figures…if you care to break down further as to how much each item is costing, that’d be great too.


I’m doing cold calls and free online marketing exclusively. My feeling is why pay when free leads are just as good?

I have found that the amount of money you spend is a direct correlation to the amount you want to earn per deal…

The steeper the discounts the more money it takes…

Here is an article I wrote in 06 maybe 05 it might help…

Michael Quarles

I hold to the philosophy that a successful marketing campaign should use various methods or marketing pieces to numerous types of prospects for lead generation. In the case of real estate investing, the methods can range from billboards to television; newspaper ads to direct mail. All of these methods have a single goal and that is to place name and what it is you offer to your prospect types. And the top six prospect types (your different audiences) you need to promote to are: FSBOs, Expired, Nod�s, Absentee Owners, your Farm and FRAOs).

As I was writing my module on classified advertising and while doing the research I gathered “I Buy Houses” type ads in EVERY major newspaper published across the country. It was amazing to see the different styles and trigger words that were used� of the nearly 600 ads I found 7 didn"t even put their number in the ad, I wonder if they received any calls? I would have thought that the newspapers would have asked “Do you want to include a telephone number?” maybe not,3 of the seven didn’t have either email or a website to go to. They must gather sellers through osmosis�

A properly constructed marketing plan, although expensive, will reward you handsomely. And let me state that the least expensive ad may be the most costly ad to place.

In my experience there are 4 great types of advertising media that the investor can reap rewards from� Remembering that the goal of most advertising is to generate a call to action response or create a brand awareness and I am not so certain the average investor understands the necessity of brand awareness… Mainly because they are treating this business as a part time endeavor and not a full time profit center�

So here are the types of advertising medias that have proven to me to be outstanding with percentages

of your business will come directly from display ads. Assuming that you create an ad that speaks to the needs of the seller. You will find that Newspaper Display advertising creates an incredible call to action, so make sure you can handle the lead response rate. It is not a great branding media and way too expensive for self-promotion�You can however create a branded image, be careful to understand the difference between an image and an emotion. An example of a branded image would be the Pepsi can� You can see it in your mind right now� An emotion would be Coors Light ads, you�re either seeing hot females dancing on the dance floor or a peaceful steam of water in the mountains. Its very difficult to create emotion in a one dimensional advertisement. Real estate brokers and builders try emotion adverting with pictures of families at the top of their ads… Basically saying �don�t you want to be happy like these nice people?� And because the reader only has a single sense working their absorption rate is not nearly as good as TV.

If you�re running display ads, when possible buy placement and always buy color� Now I know placement runs on average 25% more and color runs about the same percentage but it is well worth the expense. Black and white ads are really nice but have terrible reader retention and although they�re a call to action type ads you can, through color, build an image� The placement is powerful because it does two things assuming you place correctly� 1) tells people where to go to find your ad next time and 2) positions your ad as a focal point�

Never run an ad under the fold… The fold is the middle of the newspaper where they fold it and under it is the bottom� You have searched a newspaper for the sections headers like sports before and as you flip through to find one you see ads�. If you were under the fold you would not see these ads.

Try and run full-page ads, never anything smaller than half page and a page killer ad seems to work very well� In fact running a cycle of the three works well… The problem on half page ads is that you will have competition for viewer ship because the paper will put at least one other ad on the same page and you can�t buy placement. Both the full page and page killer ads are by themselves… BTW a page killer is a 5 column x 12 inch or so ad. They take up a majority of the page therefore no other ads will be with you�

Only run in the real estate section and on Sundays… However there are Sundays that you never want to run an ad on and I go into detail in one of my modules.

Think seriously about not running between thanksgiving and January 2nd� This time tends to be a down period for real estate…

of your business will be generated using this media… Unlike the newspaper there isn�t a lot of call to action in TV unless you�re selling something, which is why it�s a favorite for car dealers and furniture stores. You can however tell a story and speak directly to a demographic… Your infomercial should outline the reason the seller should call you over using a real estate agent or refinancing their house. Remember who are customers? They�re distressed sellers� So you have to speak to that aspect�

I believe that you should run your infomercial first, prior to 60/30 sec commercials, and always run it the same time everyday except Sat and Sunday… I like 6:30 pm; it seems to be the best half hour after news but before primetime� Running it at the same time will give you a calling card the seller can go to� Speaking to the distressed situation will allow you to answer the objections before they ask them� Remember we are known as thieves, your infomercial will deteriorate that image and make what you do mainstream�

Cut your infomercial up in to 60 second and 30 second commercials� Doing this will tie into the brand awareness and the image built by your infomercial� After a viewer watches an infomercial 2 to 3 times and then sees the 30 second commercial they will trigger the entire infomercial in their minds… The particular commercial may not be the distressed focus but the viewer will recall what specific distress category that they fit in.

Run your 60 s first and then cut down to 30s� You should rotate the programming type. I rotate monthly… One month will be comedy and Oprah the other it will be CNN and HGTV type shows… ALWAYS run a 30 second commercial between 7am and 7:30 am morning news highest rated show�.

TV will generate calls far after you stop your campaign� The branding is incredible so take advantage of it�

Unless you need to feed your ego or are a beautiful person hire your actors�. You are good at what you do and the same goes for them� Don�t use a well-known spokes person as your lead� They need to be unrecognizable to the public.

Important note: It is important that you obtain a release from the actors in the infomercial/commercial do not rely on the production company to obtain them and don�t take their word for having them�

Never run book ends� Which are two 15 second commercials placed on either side of another commercial.

Unless on a freeway rotate your boards every 45-60 days 45 being better… And always hang them in the area you want to buy houses in� NO exceptions� exception being a well-placed billboard at your local auto mall will work very well�

On your freeway boards make sure they are not too outside of the general traffic� No edge of town boards�If you could get a board by a junctions that would be great�

Your boards should look like your newspaper advertisements � Same color and feel. The only issue is that you cannot display as much information� You only have 3 lines to put information on so pick your trigger words wisely� When designing a board cut it into 3 sections and place your pitch within them� At 80 miles an hour your message needs to be read and retained�

Always use a vanity number on your boards� I took a survey with one of our boards to find out which vanity number worked better�

NEVER use the color blue in your board�. The sky is blue and you don�t want travelers to miss your board in the skyline� The best color for us was our red and yellow� But black letters on a yellow board stand out for a mile�

MAIL 9%�
Hands down the best advertising method for the beginning investor�
If you have a limited advertising/promotion budget it might be wise to start with direct mail activities. I see direct mail, if done right, to show the most effective response in ratio to promotional dollars spent.

Direct mail is simply promoting to your audiences through the mail.

Depending on you�re budget, you may want to advertise to one or all of the six prospect types mentioned above. If you decide to limit your prospect mailing to just a few prospect types, the list below shows the prospects you should promote to and their position of importance from top to bottom. (This list is prioritized in the order of importance that you should follow. For instance, if you only plan to promote to three prospect types, then send to Foreclosure/NOD, Expired and FSBO, as they are the top three on the prioritized list.)


For Rent

Imagine for a moment that you walked into a convenience store to buy a fountain soda. If there were only two choices of soda brands, it would be easy to decide which one to choose from, and the competing vendors would have a 50 percent chance that you would decide on their product if everything were equal.

But what if when you got to the soda fountain machine there were 24 product choices to choose from? How then would those vendors capture the largest market share possible? We could get very complex and crafty about this, but the fact is, the answer is very simple. The smart venders would own as many of the choices as possible.

In terms of marketing to different types of prospects, in order to be successful, your message will need to be different with each type. This is because you have to reach the mindset of each of your prospect types. In other words, you have to connect with them by saying what they want to hear.

Different people respond to different messages, especially when they need something and you�re offering a solution. The familiar saying, �misery loves company,� is accurate in that if you�re willing to talk to someone about a problem they have, you�ll likely make a new friend who will often go from a speechless frown to a very interested chatterbox.

When it comes to marketing to others and getting them interested enough to call you, it boils down to talking about things that are on their mind, being interested and letting them know that there�s a solution. This can be accomplished in writing through direct mail activities. And the odds of getting a response can be increased through a series of mailings using letters and postcards will increase the likelihood that the prospect will call you.

The two key components when prospecting via the mail is to get the prospect to read your message and cause them to take the action that you dictate. When sending letters, there�s a third component: getting them to first open it.

Large companies have gone to expensive methods to trick us into opening their mail. When we do we find out we�ve won nothing or it wasn�t a real check inside the envelope. They will use every trick in the book and so should you.

Having your mail opened and your message read is the key to successful marketing! Without it you cannot obtain your Key Objective: GETTING A PROSPECT TO CALL YOU.

Today�s competitive market has house sellers being bombarded with many offers from Realtors, lenders and investors, so you must use every resource available in order to survive. And the more effective you are than your competition, the greater piece of the pie you will hold.

When you attend a presentation boot camp you will learn terms like �mimicking� and �embedded� commands. These are examples of powerful techniques you can use to persuade a seller to take the actions you want them to.

Your letters and postcards need to enforce those same techniques. it can take years to perfect these techniques and a lot of wasted income trying them out with your mailings. By the way, an embedded command is a fancy word for putting a �call to action� within the body of the letter.

In recap I like mailing a series of professional letters a series of postcards and a series of �Mary Letters�

round out the balance� with that said, and although we ask every caller how they have heard about us, don�t believe for a moment that just because of the limited response rate that you shouldn�t market this way� I have been out on calls where the seller told my money line operator that they saw my TV commercial only to get out to the house and see one of our postcards� There is a tremendous linkage in advertising assuming you follow a routine and system…

Medias I don�t do�

Radio and bandit signs�

Radio is too hit and miss from an audience standpoint and too image building for what we do� I tried it and it failed�

Bandit signs work great for us� I have never put one up but have bought houses from sellers who told me that they found us off a bandit sign� I love that we have created a presence so powerful that our competition is paying for part of our advertising budget�

Now if I were starting out I would definitely put bandit signs up� If you do make sure you is the same premise as the billboards and design a sign that can be read and retained instantly� Cute shapes and figures on a sign are too confusing �. Limit it to trigger words. And a VANITY number�

As you are well aware the Internet is becoming the place to start for many consumers searching for information, and the Internet has flourished in the real estate industry. Consumers who are looking for housing have made the Internet their first choice for viewing and finding information about housing and you should take full advantage of this.
The Internet is a great place for those sellers to find additional information about you and your company without the burden of calling you. You should have a professionally designed Web site made as soon as possible.

Michael Quarles

Wow, Awesome material Michael.

What are your experiences with successions / probates for a mailing list?

Thanks for the article, but I was really just curious to see what the active investors here are spending on marketing monthly.


That article what launched my career while back. I read it, saved it to my HD, and referred to it over and over (still do) when evaluating my marketing.

Steve, to answer your question my budget varies from $6k/month to $100/month. I’ve tested, and tested, and tested till I found what worked for me. I have incorporated marketing strategies from Michael, Cash, Roop, Kennedy, and others.

What I have realized is that it wasn’t the cost of the marketing, but rather the other factors…

The year I did 226 transaction I spent 50,000 one month other months got close some were a lot less… In todays market and with only wanting to do a deal a week my budget is considerably less…

On direct mail I am currently sending out less then 200 letters per day times 22 days a month times .55 cost is 2420.00

My Newspaper ads run 750.00 for the circle ad and 450 for the line ad cost 1200.00

My Infomercial is right at 240.00 per half hour and I run 7 days a month currently 1680.00

So I guess I am spending 5300.00

Give or take a little…

Good Luck

BTW Michael,

that article is great. thanks!

You’ve said a lot, but you have not said a single useful word

To you maybe… I will try to spell it out for you next time

wow… I have read many post on this site, and all have been great. this site has given me the confidence to invest…and continues to, when i am down… I must say this post is by far the best I have read…I willl save to my HD and use as my marketing bible… again its post like this one and the others that make this site the best REI site… thanksl to all… and best of luck… oh yeah… happy holidays to all…

Well I guess since you were not clear the first time, you wouldn’t mind elaborating on the following:
“What I have realized is that it wasn’t the cost of the marketing, but rather the other factors” – What OTHER FACTORS, PLEASE ?
I am not picking on you, I just don’t understand why would you consider posting if you don’t really share any specific information?

I did not elaborate because I talked about it many times in the marketing section.

There are three criteria to any mailing:

  1. The Target Audiance, who you are targeting. Preforeclosures, old houses…etc.
  2. The Media. This is basically the letters, post cards, ads in the paper, radio
  3. The copy. This means the content of the letter, which, at least for me, is probably the most important piece.

For example, your target audiance could be Pre-foreclosure. Depending on your area, you may want to find lots of competition so you may need to find the right media to get them to read your copy. Yellow Letter is one way, although it is starting to get utilized more and more by investors. You could use an oversized postcard and put your copy on it.

Now that you found motivated sellers (preforeclosure list for example) and got your media in their hand and they are looking at it, what you say in it should make them want to pick up the phone and call you. Put yourself in their shoes and think of all the things they are looking for… maybe quick solution, I will make up all the back payments so you dont have to, it will cost you absolutely nothing. Then a good strong call to action…

Copywriting is an art in itself… it requires mastery and lots of testing.

Hope this helps.

Market, Media, Message :cool
Thanks, Fadi !

Exactly… thats what Dan Kennedy calls it.

This is an excellent book about Message by Joe Vitale

This book by Dan Kennedy covering Market, Media, Message somewhat