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Wanna Piss Off The RE.net? Succeed with Online Sales Letters

I forgot how much I love Copyblogger.  Greg Swann is echoing its posts on a scene in the sidebar.  I just clicked over to the one which explains that the death of ugly long-copy is overexaggerated.  That article links to an article that asks “Is Your Tribe Holding You Down?”  When you read about “the Cool Kids”, does it remind you of the RE.net?  A few wealthy tech guys and a whole lotta bloggers with a real estate license, pontificating about how consumers “might” behave.

Then there’s the “IM crowd” who remind me a whole bunch of the BHBU grads.  Speaking of which, where are all the BHBU graduates lately? I think I know the answer to that because I’ve talked to a lot of them on the phone.  The BHBU grads are JUST like the “IM” crowd Copyblogger talks about; they’re hella busy.

If  you’re all worked up, you can skip the rest of this rant and yell at me.  Otherwise, keep reading

THIS burns my ass- agents and originators marketing the way the “cool kids” tell them to rather than doing what they KNOW works.

Take a look at this.

EEEEWWWWWWWW” says the RE.net (usually over on ActiveRain).

Okay…but what about this?  This agent is using long copy techniques in a her video.   Is what she is doing much different than this?

Check this! This Unchained graduate is  inviting people to register for free homebuyer education courses (and building a HUGE opt-in database).  If you think he’s a genius, he’s not.  He ripped a page from the Dan Kennedy playbook.  (Scott will admit that, too- ask him in a few weeks at Unchained)

Here’s another example of ugly marketing.  I don’t know how many agents have told me that they have inventory problems.  Could you turn to CraigsList to find properties, that aren’t listed,  for your buyers?  Before you criticize the messenger, consider the message.  Few agents reverse prospect for home buyers.  While we talk about single property websites, nobody is discussing single-buyer websites.   Think old-school cover letters, accompanied with offers, to tug at the heartstrings of hard-hearted sellers…on the internet.

Which is more important to you:  popularity with the cool kids or bankable results?   If bankable results are the goal, then you might consider how to improve your copy to “sell” on landing pages in addition to “educating” on blogs.  Now the “cool kids” might suggest that an ugly,  long copy sales letter violates the spirit of the interactive web.

Don’t you listen to a word they say.

Still here?  Good.  I think you’ll qualify for the Lambo one day.  Proceed.

The best thing about online marketing is that your message can be segregated yet inextricably linked (for SEO purposes).  You can be “selling” a white paper on one landing page while “educating” consumers on a blog post and both could be part of the same domain.  I had this conversation with Sean Purcell last fall.  Each blog post is like a landing page or a door to your site.  You can attract some consumers through one door and other consumers through a separate one.  The goal is to get them inside.

Try some ugly, sales-letter, long-copy landing pages as doors.  You might lose some of the “cool kids” as friends but you wouldn’t have been able to fit them in your new Lambo, anyway.

PS:  Here’s an example of a Bloodhound who made a killing with an ugly landing page (and he saved a few lives in the process).

PPS:  Here’s another Bloodhound, not in the real estate industry, who could teach you (and me) a whole lot about writing persuasive copy (on and off of the web).  Look at his examples, subscribe to his blog, and read every word he writes.

Related posts:
  • Bleg: What kind of Direct Mail letter works best?
  • How to succeed at failure . . .
  • Blogoff Post #74: Five ways to piss off an entrepreneur . . . ?

  • 21 comments

    21 Comments so far

    1. Brian Brady April 11th, 2009 8:34 pm

      PPPS: You didn’t think I was gonna write all that stuff and forget the call to action, did you?

      At this point, you have three options:

      1- Click away and find the “cool kids”:
      http://activerain.com/
      2- Reserve your spot at BloodhoundBlog Unchained:
      http://unchained.bloodhoundrealty.com/?page_id=6
      3- Tell me how wet I am, below.

    2. Broker April 12th, 2009 5:37 am

      Brian, good points in your post. I have to say though I would be much more interested in BHUC if the marketing for this event wasn’t always about bringing down others and the way they do business. Bottom line is that if I want to learn how to be successful I want to learn from successful people. There are many “cool kids” who do far more business than the creaters of BHUC.

      While your students are learning all of these “cool” marketing techniques some of us “cool kids” are just busy selling houses.

      The RE business has changed. Single property web sites and pretty signs will not sell property in this market. Buyers want the cheapest properties on the market. Price is what sells in this market.

      Sellers need agents that can negotiate short sales.

      Buyers want cheap houses.

      It’s not complicated.

    3. Brian Brady April 12th, 2009 7:22 am

      “Single property web sites and pretty signs will not sell property in this market. Buyers want the cheapest properties on the market. Price is what sells in this market”

      Say what? Bryant, price is what sells in EVERY market and but a component of a good marketing plan.

    4. James Boyer April 12th, 2009 7:45 am

      I think I am with Brian on this one. Single property websites are just one tool in an agents tool box of things to be done to get his/her real estate listings sold. I have for the most part stopped reading over at active rain, it is just getting to hard to find good content there anymore.

    5. Madison homes for sale April 12th, 2009 8:11 am

      I’ve stopped following the sheep on AR. It’s akin to swapping sales tips and horror stories with your colleagues at the office. It may make you feel good – even productive – but ultimately it’s time wasted because it’s not an income-generating activity. Not only that, the more you blog and comment there, the more you work to keep your own content down in the SERPs. Pretty self-defeating. And now they’re charging people to do that to themselves! Now that’s just plain silly.

    6. Tom Royce April 12th, 2009 10:17 am

      I have always seen Active Rain as the real estate agents water cooler. And my experience is that water cooler folks never seem to get it done.

      Just sayin’…

    7. jay seville April 12th, 2009 10:38 am

      I have no idea why any agents spend any significant amount of time posting articles to AG (agentgenius)–who just refused to publish my straightforward counter on some dress for success crapola somebody posted using my own shorts and flip flop model of success as an example to make my points–or to AR or to Bloodhound for that matter.

      If you’re selling lots of houses or blogging for leads on your own dowmain whose got time to post regularly to any industry site? It seems like throwing away money. However the content is appreciated so keep on posting and inspiring me. :)

    8. Broker April 12th, 2009 12:36 pm

      Actually Brian that’s not true. In 2004-2006 it was financing that sold houses. I could price a house anywhere I wanted within reason and it would sell. The market was not price driven at all. It was greed driven.

      Prior to about 2001 it was very much about the marketing. There were quite a few homes to choose from and you had to make your listing standout.

      In the current market, at least ones that are heavy with REOs and Short Sales, it’s all about the price.

      The lowest priced properties are the ones that are selling. Right now price will trump marketing all day long. Banks and pre-foreclosure sellers want the property sold quickly they don’t care about maximizing the selling price. They just want it to go away.

      Now having said that I do still use video tours and syndicate my listings BUT I do it to attract buyers.

      The consumer needs experienced pre-foreclosure agents. They could not care less where and how I advertise their property. What they want to know is do I know how to negotiate short sales and do I have investors standing by to purchase their home before they get foreclosed on.

    9. Frances April 12th, 2009 12:48 pm

      Single buyer websites… Very interesting concept. Anyone actually doing this?

    10. Brian Brady April 12th, 2009 2:13 pm

      “Now having said that I do still use video tours and syndicate my listings BUT I do it to attract buyers.”

      Don’t you need a buyer to sell a home?

      “do I have investors standing by to purchase their home before they get foreclosed on?”

      and how might you find those buyers?

    11. Broker April 12th, 2009 2:42 pm

      Mostly I find my Buyers through advertising in the UK on UK property sites. And I have a partner in France who is a builder in Bulgaria that advertises for Florida property. I get the buyers as a joint venture.

      Between us we generate 15-25 buyer leads a day. Most suck but a few are good.

      The bulk of my listings are sold by other agents. My buyer’s agents are selling REO listings that I don’t have listed. My listings right now are short sales.

      I personally only work with Internet buyers that purchase sight unseen. I have a little “make an offer” button on my foreclosure site that is starting to generate a couple of sales a week. They make an offer and I send over a contract. Gotta love it when that happens.

      Brian I actually agree with your post. I don’t agree with the constant belittling of anyone who doesn’t do it the BH way. It’s a cheap way to sell a product. And you ARE selling a produce. Just like the other “vendorsluts” to quote Greg.

      But hey you are certainly entitled to do what you choose. I still like ya :)

    12. Brian Brady April 12th, 2009 3:01 pm

      “I don’t agree with the constant belittling of anyone who doesn’t do it the BH way.”

      It’s not belittling, Bryant. It’s a stern reminder to market YOUR way. If my tone appears to be direct, it’s because I think the “cool kids” do a tremendous disservice to agents and originators by “belittling” salesmanship.

    13. Broker April 12th, 2009 3:22 pm

      OK Brian. I gotcha. Fortunately I aways do things my way.

      Enjoy the rest of Easter.

    14. Greg Swann April 12th, 2009 3:26 pm

      Bryant: > It’s a cheap way to sell a product. And you ARE selling a produce. Just like the other “vendorsluts” to quote Greg.

      I’m ready to stop. I keep thinking that the only way to get through to people is to crush them in the marketplace. Most won’t learn to act in their own behalf even then, alas, but that’s not my problem.

      Brian: > I think the “cool kids” do a tremendous disservice to agents and originators by “belittling” salesmanship.

      The more I think about this, the more I think they’re Judas goats, not so much ‘“belittling” salesmanship’ as actively robbing practitioners of their chance to achieve real independence. And that again leads me to think that my own safety, going forward, is best served by getting as big as I can as fast I can, divil take the hindmost.

    15. Kevin Sandridge April 12th, 2009 9:12 pm

      Have to chime in here. As an attendee at Unchained Orlando this past year, I can attest to one simple fact: The BHB Folks aren’t about doing things cheap – they’re about doing things smart. Bang your head against the wall all you want… but they get results. So – use what they’re telling you… or don’t. Greg – don’t give up the ship, though we might not follow your every step at all times – I for one – keep your trail in my sights always.

    16. Teri Lussier April 13th, 2009 4:43 am

      Broker Bryant-

      >I have a little “make an offer” button on my foreclosure site that is starting to generate a couple of sales a week. They make an offer and I send over a contract. Gotta love it when that happens.

      Ooo. That idea is a keeper. Thanks so much for dropping that nugget here. Too bad you won’t be at BHBU, you would have soooo much to share, and with the way you think, you could use BHB ideas and put your unique spin on it, and WOW! I, for one, would love to watch your mind in action.

      And Brian- REBlueBird? Wow. Another brilliant idea- thanks for pointing out that one.

    17. Broker Bryant April 13th, 2009 5:21 am

      Kevin, By cheap I’m referring to the “bring others down to bring myself up” attitude. In my opinion that is a cheap way of marketing and turns many people off.

      Why not sell the product based on it’s own merit? Why does it always have to be “we are better than Inman and people that particiapte on ActiveRaion are sheep and goats” Is the product not good enough to stand on it’s own? That’s the impression I get.

      I have been a very active member of AR for almost 3 years. I have also read BHB since it’s beginnings. I have learned from both but by far have learned more from AR. Why is that a bad thing? Why does that make me a sheep?

      I’m not a part of the RENet. I work for a living full time all the time. I sell houses AND I teach a lot of people how to do the same. What I don’t do is belittle people to lift myself up.

      There are MANY ways to excell in real estate. The key is to use them all to open up your mind so you can apply & adaptthings that work for you in your specific market.

      “Nuggets” can be found every where. Inman, Agent Genius, Active Rain and BHB ALL have value.

    18. Greg Swann April 13th, 2009 7:04 am

      > “Nuggets” can be found every where. Inman, Agent Genius, Active Rain

      No one said they can’t. Brian can speak for himself, but I criticize Inman and AG, in particular, because both seem to exist to sell out their audiences to their advertisers. This is a very 20th Century way of thinking, and no one thought twice about it then. Being a Bloodhound is about thinking twice. If you don’t like that, that’s fine. At the top right of every page is a warning that we’re not for everyone. But whether anyone likes it or doesn’t, I will never cease to point out what I see as being venal behavior.

    19. Madison homes for sale April 13th, 2009 7:34 am

      In the case of AR the behavior is especially egregious now that they’ve started charging their members to be sold out to their advertisers! If that’s not sheep being led to the slaughter, I don’t know what is.

    20. Daniel, The Real Estate Zebra April 14th, 2009 5:03 pm

      >I keep thinking that the only way to get through to people is to crush them in the marketplace.

      Duh, Greg. :-)

      I’ll use myself as an example. . .at our brokerage, as a team, we believe that we provide the absolute best real estate brokerage services that can be found in our market area. We should be crushing our competition. Our market share should be 100%.

      It is not.

      That is not because the other brokers in our area are nefarious or misleading consumers. It is because we have failed to convey our belief to enough people in a manner effective enough for them to see it as the gospel truth that we believe it is. That is not the fault of other brokers, and it is not the fault of our prospective clients for not “getting it.” The fault is ours.

      The responsibility for remedying the issue lies with us, and requires a sharpening of salesmanship skills so that we can sell the people what they really need– our services.

      Salesmanship is far from dead. Never will be. It will just change and evolve, just like everything else in the universe that needs to survive.

    21. Scott April 15th, 2009 10:40 pm

      Wow Brian, you never fail to stir the pot do you? Excellent post by the way. Unchained is about as pure a guerilla marketing experience you’ll ever experience. There’s so much talent and insight here that your mind will spin for the next 12 months. If it doesn’t, you were not taking good notes :)

      I’m stoked about the agenda this year. See you in Phoenix