Direct Marketing and Hiring an Employee

This week was a busy one as it ended our 2-week stay in England, included packing, 2 flights back to Pensacola from London, New Years eve and day, and a lot of work. If you have ever flown on a 10 ½ hour flight with an 18 month old that won’t sit still, you know how long that trip felt. However, he has adjusted well to the time change and we are almost back to normal now at home.

I have spent the last week focusing on two things.

  1. Planning and finalizing my marketing plan and budget for the year.
  2. Hiring a full time lead manager / assistant.

This full time assistant position stemmed from my desire to start a large marketing campaign directly to sellers in my area via direct mail and Internet advertising. If you have read my previous post on goals, you will know that I originally planned on just hiring a VA, but that changed quickly. In order to put my planned marketing campaign in place, I need someone to answer the phone when it rings. When those sellers call, I don’t want them to get a recording and just hang up. So, I decided to also budget for a full time lead manager that I can train to answer the phone as well as help out on other tasks inside the company.

Marketing

Let’s start off with the marketing campaign and planning. I started by deciding what kind of homeowners I wanted to target and why. There are so many filters you can use to add or remove names from your mailing list but I didn’t want to get too focused and shrink the sample size too much. Some of these options include city or zip code, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, type of home (SFR, MFR, etc.), amount of equity, year built, year of purchase, home value, age of owner, and the list goes on and on. I use a company called List Source to provide my list and for every different criterion you add, the price per name goes up. Once all of the criteria are input into their system, it will tell you how many names are on the list. You can then adjust your criteria to make the list larger/smaller or you can just buy a partial list if you don’t want to pay for the full list. On average, you will be paying about 15-20 cents per name on your list so you want to make sure you use the criteria that will give the best ROI. Back to me, I settled on 2 different lists and the plan was in motion.

From there, I looked at different types and ways to send the direct mail. There are a lot of different mailers that can be used for this and all of them come with plusses and minuses. You can send a typed letter, handwritten letter, postcard, zip letter (like the ones that say you have a check enclosed), etc… The key is to get the recipient to read the mailer and be intrigued to call. So, I settled on a plan for the mailers and decided to use a company called Yellow Letters to do all the work of producing, stuffing, stamping, and mailing the letters/postcards that I will be sending. To save costs, you could certainly do them yourself.

There are a few other things that I needed to budget out for the year as well. These include a phone system that I can use to track the inbound calls and ring the different phones that I want to ring when the sellers call. For example, I want different phone numbers for each mailing piece and each list criteria so that I can track what is working and what isn’t. There are phone systems out there, which do this for you to save time and organize it in an easy to read structure. Also, I needed to setup my Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system efficiently such that when the person answering the phone inputs the lead, it sets off a string of tasks automatically for me (or others) to perform. This will also save me a ton of time moving forward. I settled on Podio for the CRM and Globiflow for all of the workflows and automation. I’m sure there will be more as I move forward such as business data storage (dropbox, google drive, etc…) and an electronic signature company to reduce the time spent signing, scanning, emailing, etc…

With all of these systems set up and the marketing plan in place, I finally had an idea of what would be required each month for marketing. From there, I worked out the cost for the year and it was obvious that I needed some help to get all of this done.

Lead Manager / Assistant

So what do you do when you need to hire someone? I went to Craigslist and posted an ad for a job opening. The title looked something like this, “Real Estate Investor Looking to Fill Admin/Assistant Position.” By the way, did you know that Craigslist charges $15 to post a job opening? I think it is even more expensive in larger markets. Well, I paid and it is a good thing I did because the resumes and applications started rolling in quickly. And, this was all done around Christmas and New Years. I didn’t plan it this way specifically but it was a great way to see who was dedicated and quick to respond to emails and following up. I had a few highly qualified applicants who were responding to my emails on Christmas Eve, bonus points there for sure! So, I spent the week going through resumes and speaking with potential candidates for the job via email.

Once I got through all the resumes (a total of around 50 applicants in a week and still rolling in), I picked 6 applicants to do a phone interview with and see how they were to deal with on the phone. I also told them what the job would entail and a little bit about me and what it is I do to see if this industry is even something they are interested in. From there I narrowed it down to 2 and I will be meeting with them in person today to see if they will be a good fit. We will also be touring one of my upcoming renovation project and meeting with some contractors so they will get to see what that is like. I still have a few that I am speaking with on the phone this week so the search isn’t fully complete unless someone just really fits today. There were so many great candidates that applied, it was a much more difficult process than I could have expected.

I will share some more details about the assistant position and the marketing next week. Why do all this marketing? Easy, to buy more houses!

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or send me an email. If you like the post or know someone who will, please share it and pass it on.

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