Writing ads for the motivated seller (part 1)


 Let’s face it, the market is getting hot, especially in metro areas. And as more and more investors enter the scene, more and more advertising is seen. Regardless if that advertising is any good, they’re all copying off each other and saying the same thing.
And now, your usual message is getting less effective. In fact, “We Buy Houses” has become a mantra and the sellers are well aware of it. It’s so “normal” now, that it stands out like the background mall music that no one pays attention to.
As a copywriter for high volume real estate investors, for Investor Carrot, and for my own business, I’m here to tell you that you can write better copy to a motivated seller that’s unique and persuasive; different from the mantra that’s posted all over your city.
It starts with the fundamentals. Fundamentals that have been tested and proven for decades (even one hundred years). And surprisingly, those fundamentals aren’t based off how good of a writer you are.
It first starts with what makes an ad effective. And you’ll be surprised, it’s not sassy phrases, or puns that impress. Ironically, good copywriter sometimes isn’t sophsiticated or meant to impress. It’s meant to sell.
Before we actually get into writing copy, we introduce the 2 most important components of advertising: the offer and the market/list.
So let’s get to it…
The 2 most important parts to advertising.
I’m not talking about the headline, or the story, or the guarantee; those are tactics. I’m talking more the offer and the market. 
These two are funadmentals that can make or break a campaign. And even more important, it can change your campaigns for the better.
The first fundamental, the offer, may not sound like much, but if everyone is giving the same offer in your market, but you come up with THE offer that strikes a chord with your seller and is different from the usual “I’ll buy your house for cash”, then your messages get read and more importantly they get response.
The Offer
What di I mean by “the offer”?
The definition of an offer is something you give of value in exchange for something else of value from the buyer/seller.
Example: “For $297 (a $300 discount), you get the thing-a-ma-jig widget. And if you order within 24 hours you get the wig-a-ma-wig widget with it. “
Ok, so that’s an example of a standard “offer”; again, you get something of value for the exchange of something else of equal or greater value. (Isn’t that the whole premise of capitalism?)
Your offer doesn’t always have to ask for money for your product.
You can give a free report for their contact info. You can give a cash offer when they call or fill out the form. You can give a free consultation when they call or fill out or you form.
An offer needs two things:
In needs a perceived value greater than what your prospect is giving away.
And has to be something that the reader is even interested in.
That’s all common sense, right?
But a lot of us mess it up. It goes wrong when the wrong people are looking at the ad. Or you didn’t explain the value in what you’re giving away. Or, you didn’t make it as easy as possible for them to get it. There are a number of ways you can mess it up.
One example of messing up an offer is trying to sell an A/C unit to an Eskimo. Wrong audience, wrong offer.
So, how do you use this for buying houses? Well, if you’re in a competitve market and willing to test new ideas to keep your edge, you can create a whole new offer to attract different sellers in different stages of their motivation.
The easier way to do this is to create a soft offer and a hard offer.
Dan Kennedy in his “NO B.S Direct Marketing” book (highly recommended) he explains that there are two types of offers: Soft offer and hard offer. A soft offer is much easier for people to opt in to (like downloading a free report).
While a hard offer takes much more effort than a soft (like asking COLD traffic to call you).
For 99% of the homebuying ads out there, they use a hard offer. These hard offer usually attract two types of people, the ones are VERY motivated, and others who are price shopping. How about the ones in the middle, who know they have a situation coming but are a little too shy/afraid/timid to get on the phone with someone just yet.
What if you can capture the contact info of those people to get on your follow up? Something that is much easier for them to opt-in to like a downloadable report will mean that you have the contact info of a future seller.
However, this relies on two things: that you have an impeccable follow up system, and you have a soft offer that they actually want. If any of those two are lacking, then the whole campaign fails.
There’s a second way to beef up an offer and that’s creating a unique selling proposition (USP).
A statement, a tweek in your business, or a new service that no one is doing or saying. Now it doesn’t have to be necessarliy new. It can be something that most people do but you’re the one that brings it out in an offer.
For instance, here’s a real life example of a USP: “Cash offer in 7 minutes”. Now that may not be so “awe-inspiring” for the real estate investor, but it sounds fresh to the home seller.
It doesn’t have to be a cash offer. Perhaps you do equity splits with sellers often,  you can bring that out in a message and ultimately your offer. Or you often do creative financing. Or you specialize in divorce leads. Whatever you do that might seem unique and you can intertwine into a fresh offer.
When it comes to copywriting, it’s said that the offer makes up 30%-40% of the success of an ad. Do you want to know what makes up 50%…?
Your market research.
2. The Audience – Market Research
“Give me a hungry crowd and I’ll wipe the pants off your hamburgers stands”
That was said by Gary Halbert when he was teaching a college course. He asked the class, “If you had a hamburger stand, what would be the one advantage you’d want to beat the competition?” There were various answers in the room like, “location, best patties, best prices, etc.” But then Gary interrupted and said, “No! I have one quality that will out-perform every single one of you… A HUNGRY CROWD!”
What’s this have to do with Real Estate? Everything
What’s this have to do with an ad? Everything
“Marketing” is about knowing your prospect.
Too many people get caught up in their service/product when the widget they’re trying to sell isn’t something the audience even wants.
So then, the business owner gets frustrated that he’s getting no quality bites with all the marketing he’s sending out, and not sure if he’ll even hit the quota for this month (sound familiar?).
In REI, we often just put up bandit signs anywhere, send direct mail to all homeowners in an area with 30% equity, target general homeowners with FB ads.
These general, blanket type of market will get a small-time investor broke fast.
Narrowing down your target to a specific prospect is what all successful mail-order companies do. In fact, Gary Halbert, in his book the Boron Letters, shows his unique way of narrowing down a market, in which he cuts the list using 9 different criteria!
We can do the same as RE investors. Instead of a broad market, we niche down to a specific problem.
Ask yourself these questions to find that perfect prospect to market to:
– What’s the motivational situation I (or other investors) come across the majority of the time? Tax default? Probate? Seniors needing to downsize? Unemployment? Foreclosure? Tired Landlords, who’ve gone through countless evictions?
– What’s a common phrase I hear from motivated sellers?
– What do the sellers fear the most?
– Is there a location that seems to have a lot of motivated sellers?
– Is there a common “year-built” that might have more motivational situations?
– Is there a common “years-owned” that might have more motivational situations?
-Any type of event, economic turns, or political policies, that warrant people to move ASAP?
-I s there a type of asset where there’s more need to sell and fewer buyers (mobile homes, one bedroom, etc)
Those questions are just to show you that you need to figure out who your BEST prospect is.
The other part of the equation to market research is knowing where the real estate market. In real estate, where the market is (is it a seller market or a buyers market?) can determine how you come across to your prospect.
Here’s an example: Here in Southern California in 2018, RE prices are slowly rising. There are slightly more buyers than inventory, and there are a lot more real estate investors in the market as well.
And a lot are mailing.
So the prospects are very aware of the “I buy houses” message  so you’ll have to come up with something fresh. They may even be skeptical of it, so having more credibility and believablity in a message or sales pitch is a must.
All this in combination creates a specific message for a targeted seller.
 Imagine, your house is on the verge of being taken away due to a tax lien. And you get the usual “we buy houses for cash” postcards every week and you’re slightly interested but you tell yourself “yeah sure”. Then you get a “lumpy” envelope. In it, you find a silver dollar, and a personal letter addressed to you. This letter doesn’t sound like the usual impersonal messages you get. Instead, it address exactly what you’re going through, and how it can be sovled (and it even ties the silver dollar into the story).
Why is that letter going to get response..? Mainly because it’s a personal letter. 
Lumpy mail is expensive, but if you have a small list it’ll be worth it if you get a huge increase in response. On top of that, you have a personal letter, that’s MORE than “I buy houses” (which is very impersonal). You might even have a compelling offer like, “call me at this number to see exactly how homeowners get their house back after the county takes it”. That’s just an example of a different kind of offer targeted to a specific audience.
To continue… 
I know, I haven’t even gotten into the actual writing part. But, in order for me to get into some writing techniques, I have to talk about fundamentals above first.
All this may seem daunting, but I assure, it’s not a big deal. There really isn’t much to it if you just sit and think about it and apply some of the above techniques.
I guarantee you, you’ll stand out.
We’ll continue another day on how to write persuasive copy.