Buying investment properties takes a significant amount of attention. Unfortunately, managing the marketing efforts that bring you closer to new properties takes a lot of attention, too. If you have trouble dividing your time between these important tasks, automation may be the answer.
Finding motivated sellers involves a lot of different tasks.
It’s possible to use software tools to partially or wholly automate these important tasks:
- Researching leads
- Performing outreach
- Managing social media
- Running ad campaigns
- Measuring your results with analytics
First, let’s look at how you can automate the work of finding new leads.
It’s not easy to find motivated sellers. That’s why, for many companies, this process is a task that eats up dozens of hours a week. The process for a real estate investor may include some or all of the following tasks:
- Collecting leads from a variety of sources
- “Scrubbing” leads to remove those that are outdated, badly priced, or otherwise bad fits
- Setting up leads for contact
The first stage of this process is relatively easy to automate because the major property search sites have all recently added email or text instant notifications.
Depending on the property search site you prefer, you can:
- Set up daily or instant alerts on Redfin
- Set up instant alerts on Zillow
- Get alerts to your phone on the Trulia app
Most of these examples will also allow you to set strict criteria for the notification that you receive.
Depending on the site, you can filter the notifications you receive by price, location (even down to the zip code), or property type (such as home, townhouse, or condo).
The filters help you automate the second step. If you set them up properly, the leads you get will be qualified when they arrive. You may have to do some experiments to get them right.
Finally, these alerts will allow you to reach the qualified listing in one click. That means you’ve now streamlined the final stage of researching leads: You have their contact info in front of you as soon as you’ve followed the link in the notification.
If you’re still spending time browsing through pages of property results, that’s something you can fix today. Set up notifications, and start using your time on only the leads that fit your criteria.
Naturally, you won’t find all of your leads on property listing sites. We’ll cover how to automate ad campaigns shortly.
For now, when you’ve found motivated sellers (or places that are likely to have them), you need to target them with outreach. That process can also be automated.
Outreach refers to all the methods you use to contact motivated sellers who may consider you as their buyer.
One of the most time-consuming steps in outreach is crafting the message you’re going to send to your leads. You can partially automate this step (for yourself or your team members) by creating tried and tested templates for all of your most common scenarios.
That way, you can simply copy-and-paste the message into an email or message box with some minor changes.
If you frequently contact motivated sellers, you’ll want to build a library that includes:
- An introduction email for interacting with a seller for the first time
- An information email for interested sellers who want to know more about you/what kind of houses you buy
- An email inviting them to fill in a date on a calendar for an open house
- A polite message to withdraw interest in a property without shutting down the possibility of a deal in the future
Not all of your marketing targets will be reached through email/message outreach. It’s increasingly possible for real estate investors to make connections with people on platforms. That’s a task that can also be automated.
Managing social media
Social media is increasingly important to real estate marketers who want to reach motivated sellers first. Major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn help you interact with interested leads, share content that builds your brand, and show off your properties.
Managing your social media profiles can be an exhausting amount of work. You need to post any new content you create to each of your accounts. You also need to keep track of any private messages that might turn into leads.
Fortunately, there is now a world of new tools that are designed to help you manage your profiles. You should test out some of the following popular examples:
These tools include a wide range of functions, including:
- Showing you your social media feed from all accounts
- Alerting you to emerging trends
- Putting the messages from all of your accounts in one interface
- Letting you schedule and post content to all profiles simultaneously
Most of these programs have a subscription fee associated with them. It’s worth testing to determine whether they can save you more than the costs.
Not all motivated sellers are going to be reachable through email or social media. Online advertising remains important to marketing. It’s also easy to automate.
Running ad campaigns
Running an ad campaign requires a significant amount of work. A significant amount of this work can now be automated thanks to some tools that have recently appeared on the market.
The following example tools can help you automate a number of the tasks that are involved in creating and managing ads:
Using some of these modern campaign management tools, you can:
- Automatically narrow down audience segments to target
- Split-test different ad formats
- Collect data from your efforts
One of the biggest drivers of automation in advertising is the expansion of retargeting (also known as remarketing) as a tactic.
Retargeting refers to the process of targeting people who have already shown interest in your ads. For example, if someone has clicked on your ad in the past, they will be served with another ad if they didn’t convert the first time.
Once retargeting has been applied, it is effectively an automated process. You won’t need to make adjustments to your audience or message, because the only people targeted are the ones who have already expressed an interest.
No matter how you’re reaching motivated sellers, you need to know how effective you are at doing it. Analytics is an important part of marketing, and you can automate the reports you receive for fast insights.
Measuring your results with analytics
You don’t have to spend a significant amount of time every week creating reports to understand the effects of your marketing efforts. Thanks to some helpful new tools, you can automate this work and save hours.
This feature, available now with many marketing software tools, can turn live data into organized reports based on your set criteria.
Most of the tools that automate analytics are full-campaign management tools. The reports that they automate are taken from the data that is created by other features. Some free tools, like Google Ads, are now capable of this feature.
Across the market, you have many other options. You’ll need to test them to determine which ones work best in your operation. Some examples of these programs include:
Some of these examples are only effective at automating reports from a certain type of marketing activity. For example, some of them may only be able to automate reporting from email campaigns, while others may be able to automate data gathered from across multiple channels.
By the time that you’ve mastered turning data into reports with automated tools, you’ll have an entire operation that is nearly ready to run on its own.
Enhance your campaigns with real estate marketing automation
Now, you know some ways that you can automate your marketing efforts to save significant amounts of time.
With enough preparation, you can save some of the time that you’re spending on researching leads, performing outreach, and making connections on social media. You can also simplify the process of running ad campaigns and measuring the results of everything you do.
Use what you’ve learned to take time back for yourself. You can use the time you save to expand your other operations—or just make some more room for yourself and your family.