JF1418: Using Digital Marketing to Increase Your Real Estate Investing ROI with Will Deane
Will became an expert in his field by happenstance. In his words, becoming a digital marketing expert “just kind of happened”. We’ll get tactical advice from Will of what we can do to expand our business and/or brand. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Will Deane Background:
- Successful entrepreneur as a digital marketing and eCommerce Expert
- Has built and scaled several multi-million dollar businesses
- Say hi to him at https://www.unstoppable.co/
- Based in Austin, Texas
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
First off, I hope you’re having a best ever weekend. Because today is Saturday, we’ve got a special segment, like we normally do, Situation Saturday. Here’s the situation – you need to do a better job at digital marketing.
We today have a guest who is an expert in digital marketing. He has built and scaled several multi-million dollar businesses. He’s a successful entrepreneur as a digital marketer and e-commerce expert. How are you doing, Will Deane?
Will Deane: I am doing great, Joe. I really appreciate you having me on your show.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, looking forward to our conversation. So I guess it would be good to start if you could just let the Best Ever listeners know a little bit more about your background, and then we’ll get into using digital marketing to increase our real estate investing business ROI.
Will Deane: Absolutely. So I’ve always been an entrepreneur, and I never woke up once like “Oh, I wanna be a digital marketer.” It kind of happened by chance. I’ve built an e-commerce company in 2011 that I ended up selling after a couple years, and throughout that process — which was in the building industry… But throughout that process I was always hiring different contractors and marketers and people to kind of help us scale, and I realized that the only person that can really be in charge of their destiny, of their company, or growing, is myself.
So I’ve decided to take that role on, on learning everything I could back in the day about buying traffic, social media marketing, to get clients and customers. Then once we ended up selling the business, I would get a lot of colleagues and friends asking me “Hey, how did you do that? Could you help me with ours?” and really what it turned into was I had to hire to help other businesses, and then it kind of turned into an agency on itself.
So that’s the short story of how I got to where I am today and how I fell into the marketing scene.
Joe Fairless: What’s your area of expertise as it relates to digital marketing?
Will Deane: I would say it’s pretty vast. When we first started, it was more so on the performance side. Really a lot of e-commerce brands came to us because they wanted tangible ROI… And after we were able to prove ourselves, like “Hey, we’re gonna be your best salesmen online”, we got heavy into the brand side of things… Because brand establishes trust, and ultimately trust is one of those things that makes people want to buy from you or want to work with you.
So we do brand, we do e-commerce, we do local business, we do pretty much everything you can think of if it involves online and scaling online… But a lot of people think digital marketing really is traffic, and it’s way more than that. It has to do with building relationships online, so there’s a lot of different pieces that go into it.
Joe Fairless: Yes, I love that approach. So what are some tactical things that we can do to build relationships online, based on your expertise?
Will Deane: I think that putting a personal touch on things is probably the most important. A lot of the brands you see out there, whether infomercial late-night, or you’re getting targeted online – they’re using a character or some type of avatar to establish trust. There’s a spokesperson per se, and that spokesperson is somebody that’s supposed to relate to the customer, or at least establish a personal connection between the business and the consumer or the other business that’s ultimately gonna buy or work or use their service.
So I always tell people, don’t try to go out there and sell… Go out there and try to add value, and then establish a personal connection. And I know that’s easy to say and harder to do. I would say try to not think too far ahead when getting online and doing any type of marketing. Try to just work in the Facebook groups or work with your e-mail list or work with your connections or Instagram or locally, and actually get to know them and start a conversation… Because that’s where it really goes – it’s all in the conversation that’s gonna help you grow anything online.
Joe Fairless: How do you start a conversation with an e-mail group?
Will Deane: I wouldn’t say e-mail group, but like your e-mail list. Let’s say that over time you’ve been able to collect an e-mail list because they’ve been interested in your service… You know, one of the best ways to do it, even though you’re a business or a contractor or somebody offering a service, is to not go and reach out to your e-mail list with that service first. Go reach out to them with something that might help them.
If you’re in real estate, for example, and you had a listing – or whatever it is – as opposed to just telling people about the listing or telling people about a new construction that you have going on, tell them about something in the area that’s interesting, that might pique their interest about how the rates are lower.
Give some value to people to get them to pay attention… Otherwise, you just are approaching them so much so with “Hey, listen to me, buy from me, work with me” versus “Hey, I’ve got really good insight on this stuff. I’m gonna help you out. Even if you don’t work with me, I’m still here to help”, and that ultimately is gonna create a deeper relationship and then clients.
Joe Fairless: Do you have a case study or example about it, that illustrates that point?
Will Deane: Yeah, sure. On the building side I wouldn’t say as much so, but I can definitely correlate that to an e-commerce site, and I’ll even go as far as to clients that we have. Almost every single client that we have is a personal referral. It’s somebody that’s been told by their friend, “Hey, you’ve gotta work with these guys. They’re really honest, really straightforward.”
So whenever I go out and I prospect or I decide to go look for more clients or more business, usually what happens is I find that I’m approaching somebody after I’ve seen their marketing. So I see somebody online that I’ve been targeted by, or maybe there’s something not right about it and I’ll reach out and say “Hey look, I love what you’re doing, I love your brand, I love everything about it. I’m not here to tell you how to run your marketing or any of that stuff, but I have some extra time and I’d love to point you in the wrong direction, because I think you could be doing this a little bit better.
If you ever need somebody to lean on to help you kind of gauge that stuff, I’ve been in your shoes before and I’ve built a business, so I would be more than happy to help you on your way. Don’t think I’m soliciting my services to you, because I’m not trying to charge for this… I’m just literally coming to you and trying to point you in the right direction because I think you could be doing something better.”
Obviously, it’d be great if they worked with me, but I’m genuinely coming from a point of “I wanna help these guys out”, and what ends up happening is that comes back to me. Almost every single client I’ve got has been able to lean on me for questions and ultimately they wanna work with us, because we’re very transparent and we do provide that value-first approach, if that makes sense.
Joe Fairless: How scalable is that approach?
Will Deane: I think that on a corporate level it’s not as scalable. It depends on what the product is. I think that it does kind of tie back to — so I’m giving you a use case that’s like me personally getting clients… So at a corporate level, at very large scale, if we had a 100-person team, maybe not… But from a business perspective, I think that a lot of businesses are so focused on just selling the offer, when they could be providing really deep content to their community, and because of the content that they provide, they become a trusted source in the community. Becoming a trusted source ultimately allows people to trust you.
Mine was super specific, but this kind of idea about not just trying to sell people, but actually helping them and providing value – which I wouldn’t say lowers the trust threshold, but really people are more attuned to opening the e-mail, because they’re not just getting a sales e-mail. They’re more attuned to paying attention, because they might actually learn something from it, as opposed to being sold at.
So as a business, a corporate business or whoever you are, trying to help or provide value actually seems to work really well, and I do believe is kind of the turning point in the next few years of how businesses are going to be able to scale.
Joe Fairless: I love the approach. Let’s say that a Best Ever listener is listening and they’re like “Yes, I’m on board, Will. I agree, the brand establishes trust, I wanna build the relationships, and I am confident that over time that will result in the business.” So let’s go one level deeper and more specific… What are some tactical things that we can do to implement that advice?
Will Deane: Some tactical things are get to know your niche and your customer better. I think that depending on what real estate niche you’re in – is it just investing, is it building, is it all the above? …really understanding the customer, the area, what you invest in, and then trying to come up with — I guess trying to be a resource for the people that you’re working with. Don’t just try to sell them.
Obviously, if you have a great offer, that’s gonna sell itself, but try to find things that are gonna help the people you could potentially work with, and that will kind of help you grow. I know I’m being a little vague when I say that, just because there’s so many different niches within the real estate investing side of things, but trying to go deeper… If I put myself in somebody’s shoes that I guess was looking for investing in housing communities per se, I would try to find who are the people that are buying these properties, and I would try to be a resource of information to help them make those decisions… And ultimately, because we’re a trusted source, helping those people, they’re coming back and they’re taking a harder look at our company and what we provide and what we offer, if that makes sense.
Joe Fairless: What are some ways that we can get to know our customer better, that you’ve implemented?
Will Deane: Aside from the value-first approach, I think that a big thing that I’ve seen – and I’ve worked with a lot of people – is personal branding. So you have a company, but people are ultimately working with a human, so getting your face out in front of your business is really important. Otherwise, people are just reading a piece of paper or a web page, and I think that a lot of realtors, a lot of investors that I’ve talked to and I’ve worked with – they close more deals when they are sitting down in person with their clients. That’s a personal touch.
One of the ways that that kind of relates back to marketing and some of the guys I’ve worked with before is you keep advertising your company, which is great, you should, but when is it time for you to put your face out there as well? I think that doing that really adds that personal touch and people are more attuned to that and they’ll give you their information, their phone number they’ll fill out a lead form, or they’ll come to you and ask you questions. Being able to connect with people on the other end is gonna get you those deals.
Joe Fairless: Anything else that we should talk about as it relates to increasing the ROI of our business through branding and digital marketing that we haven’t discussed?
Will Deane: We could talk about specific platforms. I think a lot of people — I don’t know how skilled everybody is at digital marketing, but Facebook is a really great platform for people to start finding different projects or buyers or lenders in the real estate side.
I used to work with a very highly talented hard money guy in Los Angeles, and his main source of clients and transactions and deals off the MLS really came through digital stuff we did on Facebook. So if you’re just starting out or you don’t really use digital marketing or online resources, I would say look into Facebook, look into your local community, join a bunch of different Facebook groups. There’s tons of information in different real estate Facebook communities and groups that can help you kind of get a leg up… And then find some professionals or somebody you trust or a personal resource or referral that could help you guide you on how you might be able to use the Facebook platform to increase your leads or deals.
Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you and learn more about your company?
Will Deane: Absolutely. Unstoppable.co. Follow me on Instagram, @willdeane, or just google me. I show up pretty quick. I’d be happy to help and point you guys in the right direction if I can help in any way.
Joe Fairless: Will, thank you for being on the show, talking to us about how we market ourselves online and how by focusing on building relationships, taking a long-term approach, we’re gonna get more business. And the tactical one-two punch for how to do that is first we’ve got to get to know our niche and customer better, and then once we do that, it’s simple – we’ve gotta be a resource for people that we’re working with… Help them get whatever they’re looking for, whether they work with us or not… We’ve got their back. When we approach it that way, things are gonna work out.
I’m really grateful that you were on the show and talked to us about that… So thanks again for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Will Deane: Absolutely, Joe. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.