Rich Lennon is a local real estate investor in the Richmond, VA area. He had been dabbling in real estate for many years when he started RVA Property Solutions in 2013, but he had never owned his own real estate investing business. With RVA Property Solutions, his goal was to purchase 4-6 homes for cash per month, and either turn them into rental properties, flip them, or sell them at wholesale prices to other investors.
Play the video below to hear Rich talk about how the content we created for him helped his marketing:
After starting RVA Property Solutions, Rich quickly discovered that he faced stiff competition both from established local investors and nationally recognized franchises like HomeVestors (owner of the “We Buy Ugly Houses” brand). With no way to differentiate his business, the only way he could convince homeowners to sell him their property was to either offer them more money than the competition, or be the only investor the homeowner talked to. Partly because of this fact, Rich was having trouble getting leads for his business despite spending hundreds of dollars a month on online advertising. It also didn’t help that he had taken the “DIY” approach to designing his logo, marketing materials, and website, and thus was not projecting the most professional image for his brand.
Rich was referred to Kevin Jordan and Redpoint Marketing Consultants by the owner of the company that was managing his online advertising. The owner recognized that Rich needed to develop his brand and his marketing message in order to convert the leads that his company was generating for RVA Property Solutions, and he knew that brand development was one of the things that Redpoint Marketing Consultants specialized in.
After meeting with Rich, Kevin recommended that he enroll in the Marketing Catalyst program, which is designed to help a business create a complete Duct Tape Marketing System by taking them through a seven-step process over the course of 6-8 months.
The following study detail how Kevin and Rich, working together, applied that seven-step process to RVA Property Solutions.
Step 1: Strategy
Key Result: Creation of a unique selling proposition for RVA Property Solutions
After analyzing Rich’s business, his competitors, and the real estate investing industry in general, and interviewing some of RVA Property Solutions’ first clients, Kevin reached the following conclusions:
1. People who are in a position where they need to sell their homes for cash to a real estate investor usually have underlying problems in their life NOT directly related to their home that are causing them stress—i.e., loss of a job, death of a loved one, debt, etc.
2. Most real estate investors, including the national franchises Rich was competing against, do not do anything to help homeowners with these underlying problems.
3. Many homes purchased by real estate investors are in communities or neighborhoods that, while not yet “bad”, are not necessarily doing great. However, with a little bit of assistance, they could experience a revival.
With these three things in mind, Kevin and Rich decided to position RVA Property Solutions as a local real estate investing company that focused on responsible, respectful real estate investing. They would do this by helping property owners they purchased homes from solve the underlying problems that were causing stress in their life, and helping to improve the communities they lived in as well.
Redpoint Marketing Consultants designed a logo and tagline for RVA Property Solutions that communicated this message: “Buying Homes, Investing In Communities”.
Rich and Kevin also came up with a number of ways to support this new direction for his brand. For example, Rich committed to making a $500 donation to a local non-profit organization that was active in the community whenever he purchased a home in that community—and the donation would be made in the name of the homeowner he purchased the property from.
Step 2: The Marketing Hourglass
Key Result: Use of videos to answer FAQs from prospective clients and build trust.
Like many businesses, Rich lacked a systematic way of turning new leads into customers, and turning those customers into referral sources. With Kevin’s help, he filled in the gaps in his “marketing hourglass” in order to create such a system. The Marketing Hourglass is a concept created by Duct Tape Marketing to describe the customer journey using the steps of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. Here’s what Kevin and Rich added to the marketing hourglass for RVA Property Solutions:
• Know: Craig’s List ads mentioning his services and his commitment to the community, direct mail campaigns, and property locators who refer homeowners for a commission
• Like and Trust: FAQ videos addressing common concerns that homeowners have when selling their property to a real estate investor.
• Try: An on-site home assessment process that provides the homeowner ALL of the information they need to make an educated decision about whether to sell their home to an investor for cash, or list it with a Realtor.
• Buy: A streamlined buying process that allows RVA Property Solutions to close on a house in as little as seven days.
• Repeat and Refer: Homeowners who sell their home to RVA Property Solutions can make a $500 commission if they refer a friend who needs to sell their home as well.
Step 3: Educational Content
Key Result: Created marketing kits and an educational workshop for other real estate investors.
To assist in the trust-building process, Kevin wrote two marketing kits for RVA Property Solutions. One kit targeted home sellers, and the other was for other real estate investors and strategic partners who might be interested in working with RVA Property Solutions. The kits included frequently asked questions, a case study, a description of the home buying process, and an explanation of RVA Property Solutions’ emphasis on helping solve problems and build communities.
Kevin also created a powerpoint presentation Rich could use in a workshop for new real estate investors. Kevin then recorded the first workshop and posted the entire recording on-line on the new RVA Property Solutions website.
Step 4: Create a Total Online Presence
Key Result: Launched a professionally designed website that projected the image of a legitimate, trustworthy business.
When Rich began the marketing catalyst program, RVA Property Solutions was using a website that Rich had designed himself. While functional, it did not project a professional image, and as a result didn’t generate leads for the business. Redpoint Marketing Consultants created a new website for the RVA Property Solutions brand using the popular WordPress content management system.
The website was specifically designed to capture leads and promote Rich’s educational content.
Old Website New Website
Within a week after launching the new website, a homeowner who found the site through a Google search contacted Rich about selling her property. She specifically mentioned that the reason she contacted him was she considered him trustworthy after browsing his website and watching his videos.
Step 5: Lead Generation
Key Result: Identified a lead generation service for real estate investors that could generate 10-15 leads per month.
Before Rich began working with Redpoint Marketing Consultants, he was attempting to generate home seller leads through Google pay-per-click advertising. The problem was that he was directly competing for those leads against major brand-name companies who had been doing this type of advertising for years and had fine-tuned their campaigns, ad copy, and landing pages. As a result, Rich was paying a very high cost-per-click, and still not getting any leads.
In the process of researching the real estate investing industry, Kevin discovered that some of the companies that Rich had been competing against actually re-sold their leads to local real estate investors. Because their ad campaigns had been optimized over the course of many years, their cost per lead was much lower. Kevin found a company that could generate 10-15 leads a month for RVA Property Solutions at a very reasonable price.
In addition to this service, RVA Property Solutions intensified their existing lead generation efforts through Craig’s List ads, direct mail campaigns, and through referrals from strategic partners.
Step 6: Lead Conversion
Key Result: Created an education-based sales process that emphasized the way RVA Property Solutions cares for its customers.
Prior to working with Kevin, when Rich met with a homeowner about purchasing their property, he would simply inspect the property and make them an offer. With Kevin’s assistance, Rich created a property assessment form that he could use with homeowners to help them understand why their home might not be worth as much as they thought it was. After he assessed the property, Rich provided the homeowner with an estimate of the current retail value of the home, the estimated retail value after needed repairs were made, the approximate cost of making those repairs, and a best guess as to how long it would take to repair and sell the home.
Only after that information was provided would Rich make his cash offer. At that point he would also mention how, through his network of strategic partners, he could help the homeowner solve some of the other problems they might be facing. Finally, he mentioned that if the homeowner accepted his offer, he would make a $500 donation in their name to a charity of their choice.
This approach to sales made the homeowners feel like they were being equipped with all the information needed to make an educated decision, instead of pressured into making a decision they might regret. Rich saw a noticeable increase in his lead conversion rate after he began using this approach.
Step 7: Marketing Calendar
Key Result: Created a schedule of tasks that needed to be completed on an ongoing basis to maintain momentum
Kevin and Rich worked together to decide what marketing tasks needed to be accomplished, when they needed to be accomplished, and who would be responsible for them. These tasks included things like sending out a weekly email newsletter, updating Craigs List ads, holding workshops for local real estate investors, and sending out direct mail campaigns.
Also, Kevin set up the Zoho CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for RVA Property Solutions so that Rich could keep better track of all of his leads and see at a glance all his most important marketing metrics.
Thanks to RVA Property Solutions’ new emphasis on responsible, respectful real estate investing, Rich has found it much easier to build trust both with prospective clients and possible strategic partners. He can now compete on something other than price, and do so in a way that benefits both his customers and the community.
Thanks to Kevin Jordan and Redpoint Marketing Consultants, Rich has now reached his initial goal of purchasing at least four houses a month. He’s not sure yet what his next objective will be, but he knows that whatever it is, his new marketing system will allow him to accomplish it.