Marketing help

Hey guys,

I have been reading about REI for about 6 months and have started some marketing campaigns since the first of the year.

Every Friday, I would put out 10 bandit signs and 10 flyers in high traffic areas. The signs say “I Buy Houses 512.485.1817 24 hr rec msg”. The flyers go into more detail, but basically direct them to my voice mail as well. Feel free to call the number and give me your thoughts.

In the 4 weeks I have been doing it, no one has left me a msg. Is that normal? I have had several hang ups, so someone is calling at least.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? Is there a strategy to placing bandit signs and flyers other than just “high traffic” areas?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


It’s difficult to say what’s going on here as there are many variables involved.

And yes, as strange as it sounds, there actually is some skill involved in putting bandits out. You could also play with the sign message to see if slight changes make a difference. Colors can make a difference as well. You might try red text on yellow coroplast or mix it up a bit. Who’s going to call after seeing one bandit sign? Not many.

Ten signs is not doing bandits. If you ask your callers, many of them will tell you they called after seeing the third or fourth sign since they were finally able to see the number or write it down, or whatever. Many callers will tell you they just kept seeing your signs week after week so they decided to call.

I called the message and it didn’t make me want to leave a message. It sounds scripted and read. I think you’d be better off just leaving a simple message like “This is Name, I can’t get to the phone right now, but I’m very interested in talking to you about your property, blah, blah, blah.”

If you’re trying to screen out the calls because you’re getting to many to handle, that’s one thing. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case here. If you can’t answer the phone because of work or something else, it might be worthwhile to play with your message and make sure you’re notified of any messages so you can call them right back.

If you’re going to do flyers, then do flyers. Response rates are going to be low so you need to put some serious numbers out there. When I was doing flyers, I was doing 2,000 per month to get perhaps 10 to 15 calls. Occasionally, I still get a call months later from someone who saved the flyer, but my point is that putting 10 flyers out is not doing flyers.

Marketing is not a science and there are so many variables you have to keep testing, even after you find something that works. Track the numbers and keep testing, in an effort to improve your results. I’d also consider getting more than two methods going.

Anyway, there’s my two cents…

Great info and feedback on the msg. I will try a different message and see if that helps.

I tried doing 1000 flyers a week to indivuidual houses for a while, but it got too expensive to do as I wasn’t getting any deals after 8 weeks. I only got about 8-10 calls and only 2 actual visits to potential sellers. I could try going back to that and see what happens…maybe I need a different message.

The flyers I am talking about putting out now go on telephone poles on the corners of busy streets/bus stops with pull tabs. They are much more cost effective, but not sure if they are more effective in getting people to call me.

As for bandit signs, they are black lettering on yellow background. They worked to get the attention of a neighborhood “do gooder” who promptly took several of them down! Do you have a particular message that has worked for you in the past? How many would you suggest putting out each weekend?

Great site and it has been helpful in finding info.


I think you may have answered you own question.

I never use an answering machine because I believe in the human touch when dealing with human beings.

You said you have gotten hangups on your machine which tells me your advertising has been effective to have them at least call. This is what advertising is suppose to do; make the phone ring. Now it is up to you to answer that call.

Sounds like you need a script to talk to these sellers and there are courses listed here that can help you with that.

Best of luck

John (LV)

As I said, you’ll just have to test. :flush

Why would someone call you over some other bandit?
Did they even see it?
Black on yellow should be fine. Play with the message and track your results. Play with the quantity put out and track the results.

One time expenses like car magnetics, your telephone pole flyers, and networking are great and should be part of the program, but not necessarily THE campaign.

Try direct mail. Try the Greensheet. Try this. Try that. There’s no magic bullet and even when you find something that works pretty well, that can change with time.

It’s been my experience that I have to have numerous methods going at the same time because I never know which one will hit this week. And unless you have some way to measure your results, it’s difficult to adapt and improve.

A good portion of your marketing campaign requires repeated contacts regardless of method. Therefore, I’d suggest sitting down and figuring out what the budget is. Then design a campaign within your finances that will get you the most bang for the buck.

Sorry, I haven’t given an actual answer, but if this issue were black and white and I knew the answer, I’d just sell the info and retire. :dance


Glad to meet you.

As John (LV) said you are getting hang ups, the reason is many people will not talk to an answering machine. I did a test on this using caller ID and found that percentage wise people ‘do not’ leave a message, so you are wasting your marketing effort and dollars doing it this way.

The reason is quite simple, when a motivated seller calls they need help right now, not later, so they will move on to the next investor who answers the phone.

I have a post card that I send to prospective sellers that has proven very effective, if you give me your e-mail address I will send it to you. This is not a substitute for what your overall marketing effort should be, however it is one more thing to help the beginner.

Marketing and advertising is what is going to separate you from your competition in today’s market as far as getting leads, after you get them now that is another story in what you can do with them.

John $Cash$ Locke

Great responses and I will take the advice and apply it.

As for direct mail, where do you get your lists? I have been to the courthouse to look up evictions/bankruptcies/divorces/taxes owed, but it seems like it takes a lot of time. Is there a more efficient way to get those names?

I would love to see the post card…send it to

As for the answering machine vs. live person…I work another job full time and there is no way I could do that. Have you tried using an answering service or would making the message sound more like I just missed the call (as Tim suggested) be better?

Last question (for now!), does your web site generate many deals? I currently do not have one and wasn’t planning on getting one. Should I?

Thanks for all your advice guys…I owe you a lunch/dinner when I get my first deal! :flash