Marketing is Everything (LA 984)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Hello.
Steven Butala: Welcome to The Land Academy show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit: And I’m Jill DeWitt, broadcasting from sunny southern California.
Steven Butala: Today Jill and I talk about how marketing is everything.
Jill DeWit: It’s an amazing … Where would we be?
Steven Butala: You know, we were just talking before we started the show. This whole internet thing, if you’re very young, you don’t know what it was like before the internet and how hard it was to market. We all have businesses, every single one of us in Land Academy, and soon to be House Academy.
Jill DeWit: I remember with you being at a bookstore, I was looking at a magazine. This was way before Land Academy. It was just selling land. I was thinking, “Maybe we should create one of these magazines to promote our land.” I’m glad we didn’t do that.
Steven Butala: In marketing, you’re never going to sell a piece of real estate if you just purchase it and never tell anyone about it.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: So even if you sell a lot of property, just bring it on Craig’s List, and it’s free, you’re still marketing the property.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: That’s what made realtors and the MLS so popular before the internet. We’ll talk about that and get into some detail in a second here. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the LandInvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Tanner asks, “Morning everyone. I’m interested in hearing some thoughts and opinions on how to gain good credibility as a new investor. I understand the importance of having a professional online presence to begin with, but how am I able to boost my credibility beyond that? Land Academy in itself is an incredibly credible source, so is that acceptable to say that I’m a member of this group so that a seller or buyer may be able to reference that as well? Would love to hear thoughts around this. Appreciate it.” On the way in, by the way, I’m listening to my Sirius Radio and the Wharton Business School, which I talk about a lot because I just love that dumb channel. It was just, there was a little excerpt from a show that I had heard a couple weeks ago about a guy saying, “Your website, when people are looking you up, right away your appearance and how it looks and everything, it makes them real quick decide quickly if they want to do business with you or not.”
Steven Butala: In two seconds.
Jill DeWit: So number one, you better have one. And number two, it needs to look good and professional. I would absolutely put us on there. We probably still have somewhere, our members would use it. It’d say, “Land Academy certified member,” like a little image that you could put on your website.
Steven Butala: Like a stamp.
Jill DeWit: I would totally use that. And it does make a difference when people trace you to us, then it stops it right there.
Steven Butala: I mean, there’s a lot of ways. This ties right into the show that we’re talking about. So, promoting yourself and what you know and the fact that you have maybe a different or unique angle on how to buy real estate maybe cheaper, you’re going to sink or swim by that. This goes right into the topic actually. In fact, let’s just make it the topic. Today’s topic, marketing is everything. This is the meat of the show.
Steven Butala: We have all extremes in our group. I very distinctly remember having this conversation with a member about a year ago, and he said some version of this. “You guys talk about a website and you talk about all the stuff that you have to do. I really think you’re over-complicating it. I’ve sold 42 properties. I don’t have a website.”
Jill DeWit: That’s right. I did it on Craig’s List.
Steven Butala: “I sold them on Craig’s List. I didn’t pay a dollar for any of this stuff.” And you know what, he made it work. He’s still a member. He’s not a very vocal member. That’s just not his personality, but that’s fine. Then we have the opposite extreme of one guy who’s a marketing professional. He came to us not knowing much about real estate and does a full blown HGTV show about people who buy land from him, and move on it and start farms and stuff. Then there’s people like us who are in between. We have this silly little show. Does this help us sell real estate? I don’t know. I don’t think so.
Jill DeWit: I don’t think we’re in between, by the way. I think they’re following in our footsteps a little bit. Let’s just call it that.
Steven Butala: Oh really?
Jill DeWit: Oh my goodness, yes. How many of our members have podcasts now because we said, “Hey you want to do something? Go get a podcast.” I mean, we have a couple.
Steven Butala: I didn’t put us on the top end of that scale. I just looked at us like we’re doing what’s necessary.
Jill DeWit: Where do you think it came from? My argument is the person who’s doing it with one way of promoting only free, not spending money, and making it work, I think that’s great slash however, how much faster, how much better could your properties sell if you put a little marketing effort into it? I bet you’d get more money for your properties. You’d get more eyes on it, that’s for sure, and probably sell them faster.
Steven Butala: I mean, what Jill said about yourself and your website, it’s absolutely true about the real estate too. If you make your real estate look great online, and you’re excited about it while you’re narrating it, or even if you do a 10, 15 minute video, it doesn’t have to be perfectly produced or any of that stuff. People are going to get excited about it. Look at the way other people do it and just improve on it.
Jill DeWit: This is making me think of some … We’ve all seen bad videos. We’ve all seen good videos. My favorite, just talking about property selling and marketing your property first. You’ve all seen videos with an intro and a beautiful drone flying. I hope you have. If you’ve not, I’ll show you where to look, but this is what you want to do. Drone flying in the area, showing the property, showing the creek and the trees and houses in the area, what’s possible and you narrating it. I mean, that’s marketing. That’s top notch. You could do this. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. If you don’t have a drone, you could kind of do a version of it like we used to back in the day with Google Earth Pro.
Steven Butala: Yeah, just fly in there that way.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Then could you imagine horrible screen shots of well here’s the property at day, here’s the property at night. Here’s the property with snow, here’s the property without snow.
Steven Butala: Oh, the old snow property.
Jill DeWit: Could you imagine? Here’s my foot. See my foot on the property? It’s me. That’s my shadow. Sorry. You know it’s out there. You can find them and you can tell. Yeah, the whole thing is, for me marketing is two parts. Not only getting the word out in the right ways, but the right content because if you have a horrible article and a horrible video and you blast it on the planet, that’s going to still fall flat.
Steven Butala: Here’s the good news. Marketing doesn’t come natural to me. I have an accounting background. My best friend in college was a marketing major. All the way through school, I’m going through accounting, he’s going through marketing. I’m laughing at him, right to his face like, “What your learning is so stupid. It’s intuitive.” Yeah, shoot a good picture of whatever you’re selling. Yeah, get a sales force to sell your product. I mean, it’s so logical. But I was wrong. Marketing is everything.
Steven Butala: I’ll tell you, here’s the good news too. What I started to say is this. We’re in a business that you almost get rewarded for being under-produced. So, if your stuff doesn’t look perfect or your speech isn’t perfect or it’s clearly a first take and you’re getting through it, it makes you seem real. So, I don’t think the people that watch HGTV are flipping houses. I think they’re just doing it to get entertained.
Jill DeWit: That’s exactly right.
Steven Butala: It’s just a source of entertainment for that. If somebody’s watching your videos, or whatever, or have found your property, they want to buy some property. They saw it on Land Watch. Maybe you have a YouTube channel with five or 10 videos on it. They’re going to buy the property if it’s presented correctly that sings to them, and it’s priced right. There’s not so much pressure … If I’ve learned one thing at Land Academy since we’ve started it, it’s that we can choose to entertain-
Jill DeWit: Or bore.
Steven Butala: … or we can choose to sell something.
Jill DeWit: Hopefully both.
Steven Butala: And I lean more toward entertaining.
Jill DeWit: Entertaining, yeah. Here’s a fun fact.
Steven Butala: I know because I get criticized for it on the email every single week.
Jill DeWit: Here’s my fun fact. Did you know that over 25, or over 20 let’s just say, more than 20% of our workforce is marketing?
Steven Butala: No.
Jill DeWit: When you really think about it-
Steven Butala: Where’d you hear that, on the radio show?
Jill DeWit: No. I mean, our force.
Steven Butala: Oh, us. You mean the people who work with us.
Jill DeWit: Here’s what I do. You add up all the employees. You divide by the number of marketers you have. And that’s your percentage. We can do this on a spreadsheet if you’d like, Steven. Where did you get that?
Steven Butala: I didn’t know you meant you and I. I thought you meant our country’s workforce, 20% of the people are in sales and marketing.
Jill DeWit: I bet that’s even higher.
Steven Butala: No. I bet it’s lower.
Jill DeWit: What do you think? Do you think it’s lower? All right. Well, our personal workforce, it’s more than 20%.
Steven Butala: I think if you were to ask somebody who runs a McDonald’s, you would say, “Oh yeah we’re all in marketing.” Everybody’s responsible for selling and marketing. But if you ask the people who work there, they’re like, “No.”
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: “I’m just taking their money.”
Jill DeWit: “No, I’m the french fry guy.”
Steven Butala: “I’m just taking their money, and I’m not happy about it. In fact, I never wanted this job at all.”
Jill DeWit: Exactly. “Great, I get the drive-through window again. Thanks.”
Steven Butala: “I started this job as a part time job when I was a teenager, and I’m 48 now.”
Jill DeWit: “And I’m a key holder. Yay.”
Steven Butala: What’s a key holder?
Jill DeWit: I’ve heard that term, it was years ago, because one of my good friends worked at McDonald’s. You got to be up to the point where you were … There was a key holder, and you got to open up McDonald’s in the morning. That was a very big deal for my friend named Steve. Seriously. It’s a very big deal.
Steven Butala: I do everything I can to not have any keys in my life. There’s lox boxes everywhere. I do not want to be a key holder.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, no. That’s awesome. That’s so good.
Steven Butala: Marketing is also one of those things that it’s not like accounting or it’s not finite. It’s not like if you do these five things, you’re going to be successful at marketing your property that you purchase. In accounting, if you do these five things, you’re going to succeed at it. Even in having a show like this, it’s running down a checklist every episode. With marketing it’s like, I don’t know maybe this will work.
Steven Butala: Here’s what I personally found really frustrating about marketing up until like a year ago, and it stopped because you and I had a conversation that went like this. Every time we produce a piece of content, and you stick it on the internet, there’s this … This is how they trick you. There’s this hope that it’s going to go viral. And only 500 people looked at it. Then they’re bored with it and they want something else.
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that hilarious?
Steven Butala: I got over that fast because if you have 50 things out there and 500 people watched them each, then you’re good.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. What I find interesting too is you think that marketing is all about ad spend, and all the money you put into it, but it’s not. You think that the more I spend, the more this, but no. You get strategic at your spending and better with your content and you tweak your content, and that’s really how you want it. Without that, we’re forever … I don’t think it’s ever going to change. I think you’re never going to find a perfect balance. It’s never going to be perfect that you can go, “Well I guess we’re all done. We can let somebody go now because we know what we’re doing.”
Steven Butala: I personally-
Jill DeWit: No, it always changes and evolves with new platforms and people and strategies.
Steven Butala: I micro manage our click-through rate and our click percentage every day. So when you get to a certain point, you really need to do that. Let’s leave it on this. Every week we have a member call and we have an advanced member call. A couple weeks ago, we were talking about marketing and how to sell property, and a guy piped in and said, “I own a home renovation company. That’s why I’m part of your group, because I buy properties to renovate,” and all that. He said, “Five years ago, eight years ago, to get customers to renovate their homes, I had to spend a quarter of a million dollars a month.” He said, “It cost me $20000 a month to do the exact same numbers now.” So, we’re in a great time for marketing. If you can provide unique content about your property and find some attribute in that property that not a normal person sees, you’re going to do great. You’re going to sell it. And it’s very, very economical. It’s never been cheaper ever in the history of the world. Never been cheaper to start a successful small business than right now.
Steven Butala: Think about that for a second. It’s amazing.
Jill DeWit: It really is. It’s true.
Steven Butala: Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve spent another 15 minutes or so listening to The Land Academy Show. Join us next time for the episode called how men and women approach land investing.
Jill DeWit: And answer your questions posted in our online community, LandInvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: Do you have any more to add?
Steven Butala: No, I really don’t.
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that amazing? I feel like I’m always learning something.
Steven Butala: You’re right.
Jill DeWit: It doesn’t matter if you do it in-house or you outsource. It’s going to be expensive. There’s going to be a learning curve and you just have to get over it. You have to do it.
Steven Butala: You know marketing really is one of those things that never changes. How we buy real estate, and the tools we use basically stays the same, but I’ll tell you, marketing, like right now Facebook marketing, we’re in it, neck-deep in it because it’s just efficient, and Instagram consequently because of that. But there’s other places.
Jill DeWit: YouTube. It’s going to be fun. I would love to see … I can’t imagine where we’re going to be 10 years from now and what marketing’s going to look like, because 10 years ago, who knew what we’d be doing? It’s cool.
Steven Butala: You know, it’s interesting you say that. I saw an interview with George Lucas about that. He said, you know the Star Wars. He said, “Think about how movies have transformed in the last hundred years.” If you watch a movie from 100 years ago, which was about 1920-ish, it’s all black and white. Then he said, “Think about the way technology is. Think about what the movie industry is going to be like 100 years from now.”
Jill DeWit: I know, it’s going to be amazing.
Steven Butala: It’s going to be like holograms and stuff.
Jill DeWit: It’s going to be scary, really scary. Are we going to need actors anymore? We’re just going to do it all on the computers.
Steven Butala: I don’t know.
Jill DeWit: Half of it is that way anyway, a lot of it.
Steven Butala: Right.
Jill DeWit: Amazing. Wherever you are watching, or wherever you are listening, please subscribe and rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill. Information.
Jill DeWit: And inspiration.
Steven Butala: To buy under-valued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
The BuWit Family of Companies include:
I would like to think it’s entertaining and informative and in the end profitable.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes.