Like I always say, we’re not in the real estate business. We’re in the marketing business. No one knows this better than Ryan Smith. He’s been in this game for a long time and is an expert on direct mail. He spent his early career doing cybersecurity in the military and later got into wholesaling locally in Florida. His company LeadSmith offers done-for-you marketing services, training courses, and consulting for house flippers and wholesalers.
Consistency is key when implementing a marketing strategy. There’s a rule of seven that it takes on average seven touches before someone sees you. Many people start a marketing campaign and give up before their strategy has a chance to take off and hop over to something else. Sticking with it will eventually yield results. Ryan and I discuss his messaging strategies, which lists are great when you’re first getting started, and why direct mail works, even amongst today’s technological advancements in marketing.
Ryan’s direct mail campaigns are some of the most unique I’ve ever seen. He’s sent me everything from popcorn bags to giant playing cards. Check out his company LeadSmith by clicking the link below.
Joe: Welcome. This is the Real Estate Investing Mastery Podcast. Hey, what's going on, guys, Joe? Joe McCall here with the Real Estate Investing Mastery Podcast. Great episode. Today we're going to be talking with a good friend of mine, Ryan, who does a lot of direct mail and he's really, really good at marketing. One of my favorite subjects to talk about in the real estate investing world is marketing. You know, I said this 100 times, right? We're not in the real estate investing business. We are in the marketing business. So I wanted to bring an expert on today to talk to you guys about marketing. And he's been doing this for a long time. He's got a lot of experience. I love what he's doing. I've been getting some of his direct mail and I'm thinking, Oh my gosh, the stuff still works. It's working on me, right? So we got Ryan Smith today. We're going to be talking to him. I want to tell you a few things right now, real quick. We are broadcasting this live on YouTube and Facebook. So if you're watching on YouTube and Facebook, please say, hi, tell us where you are from. Let us know if you have any questions or you know anything you want to ask in the chat. Type them in the comments, whether you're on Facebook or YouTube right now, and we can bring them up and show them to our guests. Ryan here and I'll answer my as best I can as well. And later, it's going to be released as an audio podcast. So if you're listening on audio right now, what's up? Appreciate you all. I think right now as you go to Spotify and you do a search for real estate investing, I am number one or number two on. I don't know, Ryan, if you if you use Spotify or not. I'm just wondering, can you check for me, Ryan? Because I don't know of Spotify is just telling me that because they know it's my podcast or if they know that I'm subscribed to it. But Spotify has now become the number one podcast player. And so if you're on Spotify, you do a search for real estate investing. You'll see songs and playlists and podcasts. And so if you go to the podcasts, look for real estate investing podcast and you should see us on there. You should see Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast on there. And so that's cool. I appreciate all y'all listening on the audio podcasts, on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Those are the two biggest ones. A lot of the other ones are still active. My favorite podcast player is actually pocket casts in case any of you all care. But our our downloads have been my downloads have doubled in about the last, I'd say, four to six months. So it's amazing. It's awesome and it's just really, really growing. I don't know what's going on. Maybe we're coming out with some good content. Finally, maybe that's what it is. I also wanted to tell you something to this podcast is brought to you by my book. Some of you have bought this. Some of you haven't. It's a big, thick book, and I wrote it as kind of like not. I don't want to call it a devotional, but it's like a daily read where you can. You know what you're sitting on the John or something? You can get this book and read a couple of chapters a day. It's just two pages. It's called REI Secrets Daily Nuggets of real estate investing wisdom to help you get more leads and close more deals. And it's a great little book, and I do a lot of podcasts from my car where I'm driving and I'll talk about something that's on my mind or deal I just looked at or something like that. So I turned those into chapters for this book and you can get it for free. Just pay a few bucks in shipping and handling, go to REI secrets dot com. Can't buy it on Amazon, so forget about looking there. Go to REI Secrets dot com to get this book for free. Just pay a little bit of shipping and handling. Cool. Are we good? Let's bring Ryan Smith on. What do you say, guys? Hey Ryan, how are you?
Ryan: Hey, what's up Joe doing? Great? How are you doing? Really good.
Joe: Glad to have you on the show. Did you look at Spotify? I saw you look in there.
Ryan: Yeah, I did. You're on the first page. So if you Type in real estate investing, your podcast is right there on the first page. It was on the first page for me. I might have looked at it a little bit. I don't use Spotify that much, so I hopped on real quick and typed it down and you were right up there towards the top.
Joe: So you guys listening right now, if you can just keep on listening and Spotify to keep that ranking high, I'd really, really appreciate it. Spotify is a good app. I pay the 10 bucks a month or whatever to get ad free on Spotify. If anybody from Spotify is listening, you can be a sponsor on my show. All right, I'll talk about Spotify all day long, but glad you're here, Ryan. We've got a few people here as well. Jeffrey on Facebook. What's going on? And Scott, do you know Scott?
Ryan: I don't. I don't think so.
Joe: OK, Scott says St. Louis, well, he's in St. Louis, St. Louis, in the House deal machine and prop stream for mailers. We're not going to talk about that because sometimes, well, we're going to talk a lot about marketing and what Ryan Smith has got going on. And so I'm glad to have you here, Ryan. I got a piece of mail from you recently. There's Chris. Hey, Chris, what's going on? I love this feedback here.
Ryan: Yeah, this is awesome. Hey, Chris. Hey, Scott. Ryan, you've been in the business a while
Joe: And you love marketing like I do talk a little bit about your history, how you got started in the business.
Ryan: Yeah. So I started off my early career jump around to a bunch of different jobs. In my mid-twenties, I joined the military and I was in the military for one enlistment and in the military, I did cybersecurity, basically. So when I got out, I taught that topic to the military, but I always knew that I wanted to do something else and I had a strong data background. And since I did that, part of the business attracted me. So I learned about wholesaling. I started diving in and learning more. And funny enough, you were one of. Probably two or three people that I really latched on to to learn the business and, you know, to learn the word tracks and learn how to market and to do all these little things and all these tricks. A lot of that stuff came from you, and over the years I've bought your books and courses and seminars that you've put out and things like that. And you know, it's awesome to be here talking with you, but I just really appreciate you putting in all that time and doing all those things because it allowed me to learn and use those things to become successful at that, right? Yeah, absolutely.
Joe: So where do you live? Where in the country are you?
Ryan: I live just north of Pensacola, Florida, in a city called Pace. I started off wholesaling by myself. I did that for a while. There was a local company I joined, started wholesaling with them. I did dispositions for a couple of years. I did marketing for a year or so. Probably did four or five hundred wholesale deals during that period of time. Got a lot of experience. And then we launched our marketing company back in 2019.
Joe: So you launched this marketing company, it's called LeadSmith, right?
Ryan: Yes, sir.
Joe: LeadSmith. And let's talk about marketing. I always say we're not in the real estate investing business. We're in the marketing business, and I've found that if you're I found this early on, right? If you're not marketing every single day, your business is going to die a slow and miserable death, maybe a fast and miserable death. And I found out early on, you need to get your marketing done for you in spite of you. It's easy. I tried to time block it out. OK, I'll spend every Thursday and Tuesday trying to do my own marketing, whether it was direct mail or at the time, I was doing a lot of texting and doing voice blasts. Even, believe it or not, this was back in 2008 09. Okay, I would. I would try to get that stuff scheduled, but it would just never get done, where sometimes I would do a bunch of marketing, get a bunch of leads and then get overwhelmed with the leads and shut the marketing down while I work those leads. And then after a couple of months, I get some deals. I sell them. I make some money, all excited and I turn around and my pipeline is completely empty and I'm freaking out because now I got I don't have any more leads, and it's not like a little switch that you can just turn off and on and leaves instantly start coming right? It takes time for those leads to build. So not just real estate, but this is apply. This is applicable to every business. Marketing is the most important skill that a real estate investor needs to learn. Would you agree with that?
Ryan: Absolutely 100 percent. Just having that constant flow of people to talk to and opportunities and leads is is a must. So, yeah, that's of utmost importance. You need to talk to as many people as you can.
Joe: All right. The more leads you can get, the more sellers you can talk to, the more sellers you can talk to. The more offers you can make, the more offers you can make, the more deals you can do. All right. So you started this marketing company. Why did you do that? Talk about that. Yeah.
Ryan: So if you go back several years ago, I was seeing a lot of the bigger players in the wholesale space and how they were going about marketing, and they were having to generate a good number of deals each month. And what they were doing was they were using tactics that that had a lot of leverage and that they could scale quickly so they would go out and buy a big list and run marketing campaigns to these big lists. But what we found was, yeah, they're getting all these deals every month, but there's a lot of little stuff that's hidden in those markets that they're missing by going after these broad, broad groups of people. If you take the time and go after these smaller little subsets of people, you can really pull in some more deals. And the problem was the time aspect that you talked about. Most people don't have enough time to do it or they lack the knowledge. So I thought, Well, what if we just came in and created that system for them?
Joe: Interesting. Yeah. So the system is, can you explain the system a little bit more? You're not just pulling large lists of high equity or absentee owners, you're really narrowing it down. Is that what you're saying?
Ryan: Yes, absolutely. So yeah, we're going in there and using a lot of different style niche less that you're familiar with and that your viewers have heard about. I don't know of any like secret list that nobody else knows about or anything like that, but we do, you know, list stacking and we have we're double filtering all of our data to ensure that, hey, it's not listed. It didn't just sell, you know, all these different things that four or five years ago, I don't think you had to be quite as on your P's and Q's as you do these days. But I think you I think you have to be a little bit smarter about your marketing spend now than you did back in 2015 2016 timeframe.
Joe: OK, so let's talk about what's working today, and we're specifically focusing on real estate investors looking for deals. You know, wholesalers, anybody that's looking to buy their own properties to fix and flip and rehab and buy and hold, you know, so we're looking for we're not going to be we're going directly to the seller, right? We're not talking about buying deals from the MLS or buying deals from other wholesalers. We're talking about going directly to the seller ourselves, right? Yeah. What do you see is working today?
Ryan: Consistency over time is really the big thing. And. I think there's there's a couple of different pieces to this. I think it's consistency over time and it comes down to what you were talking about a minute ago was not like hitting the gas, hitting the brake, hitting the gas, like create a plan, get the lead flow coming in, realize that the first time you talk to somebody, they're probably not going to be willing to sell their house for 50 cents on the dollar. It's going to take a while to create the relationship, to nurture the relationship, to show that you're serious, that you're real, that you are here to stay and it's consistent follow up over time, staying in front of them. And, you know, really just treating them like humans is really the thing that makes it all go as far as you want to talk a little bit about lists as far as like what I've seen work good with lists.
Joe: Well, yes, and I want to talk about this consistency thing over time. It's really important that people understand this. It's not just send a bunch of letters or postcards or do a bunch of text, and then that's it. You move on to the next list or the next county. I want to get into the lists or the different types of mail, but like the consistency. Talk about an example of that. What does that mean? How frequent do you contact them and when do you stop?
Ryan: Yeah, that's a great question. Great questions. So as far as consistency goes, you know this. But in marketing, there's a rule of seven and it says basically the gist of it is in order for someone to even realize that you and your company exist, they have to see you seven times on average. And it doesn't have to be the same type of message, whether it be direct mail or all text messages, it can be a mixture of all those things. But if you look at the data, over 80 percent of your sales are coming from the fifth touch and beyond, and the bulk of the people that are newer go in. They send around a postcards, they don't get great results and then they don't do it again. Then they hop over and do something else. They kind of get shiny object syndrome. And I'll tell you, if it came down to sending a one batch of postcards, you could almost just set the money on fire if you're only going to send one batch of them. It's just not. It's just not a good play. You want to do this consistently over time. Stay in front of them. We're targeting people that should have higher motivation than most. We touch them every single month. Hmm.
Joe: Very good. When you're touching them, are you sending the same mail piece? Different types of mail piece? Are you? Are you targeting them on Facebook ads?
Ryan: So I do use similar mail pieces. I do change up the messaging a little bit, but the general, the general message is the same. I have done a lot of Facebook ads in the past. I had quality issues. It was just you had to work through a lot of low quality leads, at least from what I was saying. So I'm not actively using Facebook right now. We're really heavy on direct mail space.
Joe: I love it. I love direct mail. Hardly not. I wouldn't say hardly anybody is doing it. But compared to what used to be like, very few people are doing it now and it's awesome. So let's talk about the consistency is important. You mail them frequently. I totally agree. If you're if you're just going to mail them one time, forget about it. Don't know where that can mail them consistently. But at the same time, you don't want to send 10000 postcards a week or a month to the same list. You really want to focus on narrowing it down to a typical seller that is more likely to sell. And this, by the way people forget, is one of the biggest benefits of direct mail. You are targeting specific homeowners in specific zip codes who have meet a specific criteria, and you can't do that on any other medium. You really can't. All right. So talk about some of the indicators that tell you a homeowner is looking to sell soon.
Ryan: Yeah. So typically what I do is the first thing that I think you need to establish is your budget. So you know what? What do you feel comfortable with over the next few months that you could spend consistently and then you pick a channel and see how much activity can I do with this budget when it comes to direct mail? My philosophy is if my budget is a thousand dollars a month, I'm going to figure out how many people can I get in front of four thousand dollars a month and then I want to build the absolute best the list that I can give us. However, many people that is and stay in front of those people consistently. So that's my ultimate goal when I get in there. But what I'll do is start digging into those areas and seeing what types of information are available. A lot of the counties have good information on the public records that you can get to. There's all these different sources of information. So what we'll do is go in there, see what's available, start pulling a lot of different lists and then stacking them and saying, you know, what does this look like? You know, how can we get the best X number of leads possible and the levers that we can use on that to to lower and raise the list are things like length of ownership. You know, let's say that you're a range of the stuff you're targeting is zero to three hundred thousand, but the list is way too big. Tighten it up. So where most of the sales are that you are getting, so if they're between one? One hundred and seventy five tighten up the list that way. Look at your equity of the deals that you've been doing and see, do most of these people do? They barely have 30 percent equity or most of them close to free and clear. When we've done that in the past from the ones that we've done, a lot of them were had 90 percent plus equity in the deal. I ran another test earlier this year. I took all the wholesale bills that we had been a part of, and I was trying to look for anything that was weird but consistent throughout. And the weird thing was that the average length of ownership on all the deals that we had been apart of was over 17 years, seven years. Yeah. And I just thought that was so, so weird. So we use pieces of information like that. So if we have a list and we have a thousand people on it, but we need it to be five hundred. I'm just going to raise that length of ownership up where I've seen it work really well this year.
Joe: Awesome. Are you seeing as much competition in this market today as what you saw three or four or five years ago? You know,
Ryan: A lot more. Oh, not. No. Not as much. Direct mail. It seems like a lot of people have gone more cold, calling this a mess. A lot of pay per click, stuff like that or less paper clicks. Not one. But some of the cheaper marketing methods. Cold calling, SMS.
Joe: Yeah, OK. You know, let's say you got somebody in a competitive market like Dallas Fort Worth, Nashville, Tennessee, and they're wanting to get into that market and start doing direct mail, start doing deals. What are you going to recommend to them in an expensive competitive market like that?
Ryan: Yeah. So if it was me, what I would do is look and see where you want to market to what, what, what do you want your target market to be? And really dove in to that area and see what type of information can you get from the county records? What type of information can you get when you go to the county? All these little things and what you can do is identify certain types of events that are occurring in your area and how to get that information. So if you can figure out, hey, they post code violation lanes, you know the third third week of the month, then you can be ready to go on there. Take a look at those when they post them. And the thing that you have that the big companies don't have is speed. So I mean, you can look at these things, take down the information and you can literally get in contact with these people right out of the gate where the companies that are doing $20 a month. They got too much stuff going on. They're not going to mess with it. So I would start finding those little opportunities and I would own every one of them, like in Nashville. I'm the code enforcement lean, dude. If anybody gets a code enforcement lean deal other than me, they're working really hard. And I would master that and then I would move on to the next one, and I would do that and just build it up. I would also start thinking about I would start thinking outside the box. When I first started wholesaling, the wholesaler that was in my market had a marketing budget that was light years beyond anything I could afford. And one of the things I said to him was I said, Hey, what do you do with your return mail? And he said, Hey, it's it's over in a corner for six months and then we get tired of looking at it. We throw it away. And I said, Well, would you give it to me? And I'll try to find these people and we can, you know, split the deal? They said, sure. So, you know, using little opportunities like that where they don't have time to mess with it, you have you have this exact information. You know, if you can find this person, you're the only person that's going to be talking to them. So start trying to think outside the box and don't do the exact same thing, everybody else.
Joe: That's really good. When you do direct mail for people, do you help them skip trace the returned mail?
Ryan: We do. Yep, absolutely. Yeah. So. So it's funny. We just so we just ran a campaign for a client. It went really well. But I mean, they have a ton of return mail. So there's a couple hundred pieces we have now that if we can just simply get in touch with them, you know, we have a good chance of buying those properties, too. So I think that one thing people miss on marketing is this you spend the marketing dollars, your goal is to do deals and to get a high ROI. But not only should you be getting that information from your marketing, you should also be getting a data advantage as well. You should learn more. You should be able to spend better next time. All those things should come from any money you invest in your business. And I think some people miss that and they just pay attention to, Hey, I got two deals out of that. Was it worth it or not? Wow.
Joe: OK, let's talk about, you know, you did say there's no magic list, but kind of where do you start with when you when you're oh, by the way, I was gonna say this, I forgot talking about owning a list and you gave an example of code violations. You also should look at those of you listening to evictions. A lot of county or states have public records available in their courts, from the courts and the websites. And so you can actually find online who are the where are the evictions happening? There's also judgment. Like, if you go into Missouri, at least in St. Louis County and St. Charles County, you can find judgments from the city car Discover card specifically. I see a lot of them. You can also see and target credit cards even. You can also get local utilities will not just notch code violation, but it's like they'll go and file a judgment in the county, records in the court systems for unpaid utility bills. I love those those are and those must either manual. You can't just download that. You have to go in and look every day or once a week and copy and paste this information into a spreadsheet. But oh my gosh, why isn't everybody doing that if it's available online and you can get it? So I know those are real good examples. I think of finding a specific niche in your market and diving deep into that, right?
Ryan: Yeah, I think those are great points. And to add one thing to what you were saying as far as the evictions are concerned, I know here in my home, in my home market, a lot of times when you look at the eviction paperwork, the actual owner fills out their phone number on it and says, OK, here's my bank address. Here's my phone number. I mean, you talk about speed. You can literally call them right after it gets posted. So, yeah, I'm with you. There's a ton of great info hidden in there, and really all you have to do is go in there and figure it out once, create a simple video of how to pull it and then hire somebody to, you know, Hey, on Tuesdays, please go and pull this list whatever they have and then email it to me. And that's it.
Joe: All right, good. So in addition to those really niche lists that you can get manually when you're looking at a county or something you want to market to. What are some of the lists that you can pull from data providers that you like to start with?
Ryan: Absolutely. So my favorite one, Evers the pre foreclosure list, and it's not necessarily people that are actively in pre-foreclosure that have auction dates. It's anybody that's been in pre-foreclosure, past, present and still owns a house just because if they've been in foreclosure in the past, they have a much higher likelihood of entering there again. I've bought a lot of super expensive list and, you know, mortgage layouts and all that kind of stuff. And one thing that I've noticed is even when I go out and buy those super fancy list, they still have a lot of the leads that were from my when I stack them. A lot of the leads are from my pre list, so I really like that. The other thing that I really like is right now is the mailing address vacant list. Different from the vacant house list, as long as it's a absentee owner. But this is where they pulled the mailing records from the county. They identify which mailing addresses are vacant. Then you download that list, skip trace it and then you go and get in contact with those people at the new address.
Joe: So you're not talking about the property address being vacant. You're talking about the mailing address being vacant.
Ryan: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yeah. And that one is far. So the the downside to that list is it's not going to be massive. The upside to it is the bang for the buck and the return that you get on the spend. Our polls just about anything else that I've seen. So it's really good.
Joe: And I remember when I was, I was first getting started. I've never done this, but I've wanted to because I heard somebody else talking about it one time and they were talking about finding the quick, clean deeds, finding property owners that have had a quick claim deed filed where it's transferred. Ownership is really what that means. Right to transfer. Yes, sir. Deed title from one person to another one. Have you? Is that ever been a list you targeted?
Ryan: I haven't done it on on a large scale. So one thing, one thing that I do like to do a lot is whenever you go into a county, there are certain events that occur that they consider a sale, even though it's not a traditional sale like you would see on the MLS. So, for example, let's say that somebody passes away, they leave a house to somebody else and that air gets the house. Well, a lot of times in the county records that will be considered a sale, but it's not really a sale, but it'll have some kind of placeholder there as the sale amount. And if you can identify what that placeholder amount is in my home county, it's 100 bucks. But if you can identify what that is, what it allows you to do is go in there and see all the different types of transactions that have been quick claimed deeds or transferred in some method where somebody is getting a property without paying full price. So that's a good way to go about doing it, too. But yeah, you're all over it. I think that's a great idea.
Joe: The great thing about that, too, is if you look for only homes that were last where the last market recording date was 10 years ago, you're going to miss those ones that had a quit claim deed or transferred within the last year. And it may be a probate or prefer, you know, a probate deal, right?
Ryan: Absolutely. So I don't want to go too off of here. But so one thing that we do is whenever I build like the best list that I can. And a lot of times what you'll see as you go out and you pull data from all these different places and you bring it back and even though you use the same. Parameters across the board. The results are a little bit different, and when you look at it in another system and you filter it, even though your RV range that you're searching for is one hundred to three hundred thousand, you'll have properties that show up that are five or six hundred thousand dollars. So when you take it through that extra filtering step, one thing that you can do is look at those recent sales. And the whole reason why I'm bringing this up is with the recent sales. A lot of times you'll see a recent sale, but it'll be a sell like we're talking about here, where it's really a, you know, just a probate or or it's somebody that's getting a house left to them so you can quickly go in there and say, Hey, did this sell for full price? Leave it on the list or take it off?
Joe: Some people listening to this are kind of overwhelmed. Maybe even.
Ryan: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Joe: No, they're probably saying like, OK, that's awesome. I don't even know where to begin to find those lists, and we'll talk about that in a minute. I want you to all know that Ryan has a business that helps you with that, and we'll talk about that in a second. Let's talk about actually the the direct mail pieces. What are you seeing that's working today? Do those ugly yellow postcards still work? Do you do? Or glossy, colorful photos, postcards and letters working now? Today, what are you? What are you? Some of the trends that you're seeing?
Ryan: Yeah. So as far as the trends, we sent postcards a lot for years. I mean, that's what we stuck with ugly, not shiny, just basic message stuff like that. And it worked well. But over the years, we've just seen the responses drop or drop a drop in a lot of these big cities. You know, it's like a quarter of a percent response for postcards, so you got to send 400 of them just to get a call. The good thing about postcards is typically as long as the person isn't calling to opt out, a lot of times are pretty good leads. We have switched everything we're doing over two letters just because of how the response rate has gone down with postcards. And even though the price is more expensive for a letter, the the final KPIs are a lot better, even even with the higher cost. With the letters, the as cost per call cost per lead, so on and so forth.
Joe: So what kind of letters?
Ryan: So what we're doing is we are creating letters and we're you're trying to make them look as much as a communication between one person to one other person as possible in order to do that. We are using just a forever stamp. A lot of times when you look at the data, it'll have the mailing address and we'll have the mailing zip dash and then the last four digits. Well, if I'm telling you a letter, there's no way I know the last four digits of your zip code. So I mean, going in there, removing all that stuff. So I mean, it really looks like it's from one to one. And then when
Joe: So the envelope is handwritten.
Ryan: No, I haven't been. We're not doing handwriting. We can do handwriting font. I have done a ton of handwriting in the past and it helps. But it's it's expensive too, so it's hard to it's hard to do it at scale, at a reasonable price unless you use a handwriting fort.
Joe: OK. Sorry, I forgot where I was going. We're talking about letters. You're making it personal, like you're sending it to one person, another person. That's unique tip. You don't put those last four digits on there, because if you're sending if you're actually writing somebody a letter, you're not going to write that in.
Ryan: Yeah. And especially, you know, not everybody's as savvy as you are with direct mail, but I guarantee you that I have a lot better chance of getting that letter opened up without those last four digits with you than I would if I sent something that looked very commercial.
Joe: OK. All right, good. So then the letter itself typed handwritten, yellow.
Ryan: Yeah, typed, and a couple of different things. I think a letter gives you more space to tell your story, to differentiate yourself from everybody else in the marketplace to tell why they should call you instead of someone else. I think the other piece is giving people multiple different options on ways to reach out to you. You know, some people just scared to pick up the phone so, you know, have have a phone number in there. Say you can call text, you can email me here, you can go to my website here, whatever it is, you know, give them a lot of different options so they can do their research and then reach out to you in a way that's comfortable for them.
Joe: One of the things that I do in my land investing is I tell them, just call our 24 hour recorded voicemail with the reference number on the letter so that each letter has a reference number. And I need that because when they call and give me that reference number and it does really go to voicemail, but I'm able to pull up so much more data because a lot of this vacant land doesn't have an address. So I can pull up from the spreadsheet. I can pull up the GPS coordinates the owner, the APN number, all of this data on that property, right? So have you found and this is something, not something I've tested, but just from what I remember hearing back way back in the mid twenty five timeframe, like when you can has a twenty four hour recorded voicemail on your letter, it performs better. Is that still the case or what do you what have you found with that?
Ryan: I haven't tried that recently, but I love the idea because it lets the person know that there's not going to be anybody to talk to, you just get the extra information and that's it. So I love I love that strategy and having it as another option for them to get in contact with you. All right.
Joe: So you still give them a website and an email? Yes. Yes, it's interesting. That's something I should try to. I'm always I've thought about that a lot in the past thinking I want their phone number. So like is, then if I get if they call me, I can follow up with a text message and and I can also call them if they hang up. And I found that a lot of the hang ups are just as good of leads as not.
Ryan: Interesting. Yeah. So you're calling your calling those back, the people that hang up. They just started up conversations.
Joe: Mm hmm. Nice. No, I don't do that as much as I used to when I was doing this. A lot doing a lot of direct mail. Yeah. In fact, looking back, if I remember my numbers, you know, just as many deals came from the hang ups as people that we actually talked to. Really? That's incredible. Well, and that's kind of why I like the 24 hour recorded voicemail thing. Yeah, because I think it does get me more calls when we're doing land. Last campaign I did for vacant land. We had a three point three percent response rate. Wow. And it was a white postcard, kind of a mini sized postcard with old typewriter font. Yeah, probably. Looking back, I should make it with fewer words, but I had a black reference number at the very top right. And I just said, Hey, do you want to sell your 4.2 acre lot in Jackson County, North Carolina? Mm hmm. We're a group of investors. We buy properties. If you call this twenty four hour recorded voicemail and leave a message with the reference number. We will send you an offer and three point three percent on a postcard. I'm pretty happy with that.
Ryan: Yeah, that's incredible.
Joe: And I've done it before where I've gotten 10 plus percent with letters, and that was to A.. It's a long story, but I was sending two properties that were really small quarter acre, half acre, and those types of sellers out in the middle of nowhere are much more willing to sell. But now I'm targeting probably five to 50 acres in that range anyway, so I don't get as many responses with that. Sure. But yeah, I love direct mail. It actually really works.
Ryan: Yeah, I do, too. And I love it. I love the ability, like you mentioned earlier, that you can you can target a specific person and put a message in front of them, and it's not an email that they're going to ignore. You know, you have a chance to get in front of somebody, whoever you want. It's really the world is your oyster when it comes to direct mail.
Joe: And there's no laws against it.
Ryan: No, no. You're not going to tell you something every single day and spend a dollar and stay in front of you.
Joe: I've heard that I've not seen anybody get in real big trouble with it, but I've heard the hammer is coming down soon on cold callers and telemarketers. You know, people that are sending a bunch of text and you know, it still works. I hear people, I see people on YouTube where it's still working, but I'm also thinking, man, like, how much longer is that going to last? And is there going to be that one person you text that's going to be so mad? They're just collecting these people and they're going to be part of this huge lawsuit? I don't know. I've heard other people say, Listen, bring the lawsuits on. I'll pay the five $10000 fine. I don't care. I'm getting more deals from it. So maybe there's maybe there's something to that, but I'm also hearing complaints from them that are doing a lot of these text messages that every week they're having to change their messaging because the the cell phone carriers, Verizon and AT&T are filtering them out and blocking these numbers. It's just getting it's getting frustrating, you know what I'm saying?
Ryan: Yeah. Oh, one percent. Yeah, I think I think the state of texting as if you're doing it. Yeah, it's probably got a life. You know, it's probably nearing its its life cycle. You know, I don't see it hanging around to awful long just for just for those reasons. I mean, it just becoming too difficult a few years ago, you could say, and kind of however many messages you want, you didn't have to change it up that much. And now the numbers get burned really, really quickly.
Joe: All right. So let's talk about what the messaging is in the letters or postcards that you're sending. What are you saying to them? Is it the same? What's the thing that used to be really popular? We buy houses. No, no. We'll buy a house regardless of equity. Now what was it? Sell your house fast and close on any date that you want. We'll buy your house as is for a fair price and close on any date.
Ryan: On the date of your choice or something like that?
Joe: Yes date of your choice. Yes, you know what I'm talking about.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, I know that message. That's not exactly what we say, but yeah, so a few different things. So the first thing that I try to do is personalize each one. So like, for example, I will put like the date that it set all that kind of stuff. It'll be to a specific person. And then at the beginning, I try to make that person realize that, hey, I'm a real person. This letter was written recently. And like, I breathe the same air, you do that. What I want that first little paragraph to grab hold of them, then I want to tell them a little bit about us. You know, hey, we're a local company here in this city, you know, just like you try to use some of the local lingo, if possible and just lay out like, Hey, here's what we're trying to do. We were looking through the county records your house, whatever street is right in line with what we're looking for. Don't know if you've ever thought about selling, if you have or if you are now. We would love to chat with you. There's no obligation. We'll give you an offer, then that's it. So kind of something like that and not not high pressure, but hey, we're interested. And then the consistent messaging from there is a, you know, we're still interested. We're still here. Even if you're not ready right now, we're going to be here whatever you are. So just say the letter will be here and then follow up, follow up, follow up, like crazy. I'm glad you brought that up. So in addition to so earlier in the call, we were talking about how many times you usually have to touch these people before you can actually close a deal. And I'm amazed at the number of people that pay all this money every month to get all of these leads into their CRM. And if they don't close on that first call, they stop. And I guarantee you a ton of your listeners have gold in their CRM if they were just consistently follow up with these people.
Joe: And more than just that right, it's also sending multiple pieces of mail to the same person, even if they've not called you right. So if you have a good list, if it's not a return mail piece, you're mailing them how many times?
Ryan: I'm keeping track of the numbers and I'm mailing them until they tell me to take them off. Pretty much. I mean, I've just consistently hitting that list over and over and over again, keeping track of all the KPIs and what we do with the KPIs. As we set up, we set up a limit right at the right at the beginning. Hey, 3.0 is an acceptable alive for this campaign. If it drops below 3.0 like a three to one for every dollar I spend, I get three back. If it drops below that, we need to figure out is it a problem with the implementation of the marketing channel or is this not a good marketing channel here? What's the problem if we can't figure it out, then kill it? So that's kind of the strict guidelines that we give and we roll. Was it from there?
Joe: OK, let's talk about when they call. Do you answer the phones? Why does it go to voicemail? Do you? How do you handle that?
Ryan: Whatever we work with a client, we always ask the client to assign us a unique phone number. So any time we market with somebody, it goes into their system. But whenever I talk to somebody, that's usually one of the main things that we talk about as far as if you were going to send direct mail, having live answer is absolutely crucial. It doesn't have to be you, but it needs to be somebody. There's a lot of companies out there that can provide the service for a reasonable price, but with how competitive things are today, you can't afford not to answer the phone when it rings.
Joe: I knew a guy who would put twenty four hour recorded voicemail on all of his postcards, but would still answer the phones a lot because it got more calls, and he said he never had anybody complain.
Ryan: Really? No. He must have been a good talker.
Joe: I don't know yet of sales floor of guys, OK? I think he also kind of bent the truth sometimes, but I know he deals. You would also call the hang ups. And every time somebody called in, they hung up or they didn't answer when they answered or they couldn't get to it. They would just call without even any kind of apology or any kind of explanation. Just go right into the call. Hey, I see you call just a minute ago, do you have a house you're looking to sell? And wow, that's great. Did really, really well. That something to think about?
Ryan: Yeah, no. That's great. I appreciate you sharing that.
Joe: What are you seeing with your clients in terms of average cost in marketing per deal that they're seeing with direct mail right now?
Ryan: Yeah, it's all over the place, depending on where you are. I would say from what I've seen and I'm going off going off numbers in my head here, but I would say on average across the country, not a super competitive market. If you're doing a decent amount of deals each month, I would say somewhere around 4000 or $4500 cost per deal, money spent wisely. I think that that's it. Now there's going to be a lot of people that are doing one Dilla month and they're able to get the cost a lot lower. But yeah, once you start getting to a point where you're trying to do multiple deals and you're not like shoestring, all of the work, you know, you basically either spend $4000 wisely or you do the equivalent of four thousand dollars worth of work, is my opinion. So assuming that you're not doing everything yourself, about four grand is kind of a good jumping off point.
Joe: The average the average profit in a deal, what are you seeing with your clients?
Ryan: I've seen it go up. It's it's probably somewhere around 17 18 thousand on an average assignment just kind of blended across. You're San Diego's in Dallas are going to have bigger assignments than your Pensacola is of the world, but there there's fewer deals there. The cost per deal is a lot higher.
Joe: Definitely. It's a it's a very positive return on your investment with. Yes, sir. It's obviously going to be more expensive than cold calling or text blasting, right? Yeah, it's it's still something that if you're serious about doing a lot of deals, you need to be focusing, focusing in on, and you can also save a lot of money if you do it yourself. Yeah, that's true. OK, so I wanted to ask you about the future of this business, the future of marketing. What are you seeing in the next twenty twenty two and maybe the next few years going forward?
Ryan: As far as what I think the marketing space is going to look like?
Joe: Yeah, you know, marketing, what are deals, you know? Have you thought about, OK, well, if we if inflation gets really high, if we go into a big recession, if the market housing market finally cools down, what's your projection on the housing market, but also the future of marketing? Is it going to be, you know, the same old, same old that we've been seeing the last few years?
Ryan: Yeah, that's that's a great question. As far as the housing market, I'm not savvy enough to give it a give give feedback on that. But what I can tell you is I think that there is a huge opportunity coming when the housing market crashes and, you know, things become available for pennies on the dollar. I got to see, you know, several years ago, I got to see a lot of these properties that were selling for, you know, twenty thousand dollars in my market, which I realize is not possible everywhere. But you know, those same houses being worth 100 grand today, no problem. And you could pick them up like hotcakes a few years ago. So I think that I think that that is one strategy to keep in mind. I think the other piece is once the once the market shifts and the prices go way low, I think that part of the strategy is finding private money is is really something to keep an eye on.
Joe: Interesting finding the private money, in fact, reminds me too. I know I know what a lot of people that maybe have the time to handle calls to be get on the phone, but don't have the money to spend on marketing. And there's other people who have the money to spend on marketing but don't have the time to be on the phone or don't want to be on the phone. And so one of the things that I encourage people to think about is wherever you are on the spectrum, try to find somebody else on the other, the other opposite side. And maybe just like finding private money, maybe you could find somebody that can invest in the marketing and you can partner on some deals to get it right. Maybe find somebody who already has done a bunch of marketing, is sitting on a bunch of old leads and follow up and call their old leads for them.
Ryan: Yeah, I love all that. I love just the different approach to everything, you know, think about, think about developing a relationship with a real estate attorney. You know, what could that produce over time? Yeah, it's going to take a while to while to create the relationship, but potentially that could become a source of one or two deals per month for the next few years. So I love all those different ways of doing things that are outside the box.
Joe: Ryan, we're going to wrap this up here. Do you have any sage words of advice for? I want to ask you for advice for two different types of people, the beginning investor and the guy who's already doing deals. So what kind of advice would you give to the beginning investor? Listening to this podcast is thinking about marketing like this?
Ryan: Yeah. So when I was first starting out, I had an old timer. I was talking to this old timer who had been in the business for a long time, and I was just I was just listening to what he said and I said, Yeah, you know, I'm starting to wholesale or whatever else. And he said, he said, I bet you can't get to 50 no's in a row. And I said, Well, what do you mean? He's like, I bet you can't get 50 no's in a row. And I said, OK. And it completely shifted my mindset from every time I pick up the phone and talk to somebody and get told, No, I get destroyed. Know, I'm like, Man, you know, I can't do this to, Hey, that was one. This dude said, I can't get to 50. Let's see if he's right, and it completely changed the game for me. I love and I didn't make it to 50. And he was right so that one little mindset shift made all the difference in the world for me. And I knew that getting the know was just part of the process. So I got a yes. I knew I had to get some no's. I had to earn my dues and then I'll get my yes. But it was a game changer for me.
Joe: I love that. That is really that's a goal is to get to 50 no's.
Ryan: Yeah, that's that's what he told me. And it was completely the weirdest thing I've ever been told, but it made so much sense to me. Thanks.
Joe: What advice would you give to the beginning investor? I mean, the the experienced investor who's already doing some deals.
Ryan: Start tracking your numbers better. Know each marketing channel what it costs to generate a call and appointment a deal. Know your are alive for each marketing channel. Hey, one, we. Spend money on cold calling for every dollar we put in. What is the amount that we get back every single channel? And the other thing is, everybody in your CRM touch them once a month. If if they haven't told you to go away, touch them once a month, it could be anything. RBM direct mail SMS. It doesn't matter.
Joe: Sage sage advice. Cool. So Ryan, the name of your company is lead Smith, right? Yes, sir. Lead Smith. And I'm going to type this in the URL. What is the URL for that?
Ryan: www.Lead Smith RE. com.
Joe: Ah, let's see if I got it right here. Dub Dub, Dub Dot Lead Smith RE dot Com. Is that right? I think you have to type in the WW W because if you don't, it might not work. Type in WW W Dot lead Smith R e dot com talk about what the company does, right?
Ryan: Yeah, so we work with wholesalers and flippers across the country. We help them run. We help them run direct mail campaigns. We can help with data, we can help with setting up systems to track KPIs and things like that. But mostly what we're doing is is running direct mail campaigns for people and generating leads for companies. We handle it up until the time the phone rings and then they answer the phone and monetize the deal.
Joe: OK, very cool. And looks like you have a lot of different other things on your website as well. You have some courses on how to do wholesaling deals. You have some training on Facebook ads for agents.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. I've created some, some smaller courses. They're very inexpensive, but they should should pack a lot of punch.
Joe: Awesome. And I got a letter from you. I'm just curious how how are those letters doing? You're sending letters to investors saying, Hey, do you want some help with your marketing? How is that marketing channel doing for you?
Ryan: It's great. I've run a lot of Facebook. You know, we talked about Facebook ads for real estate investors. I've run a lot of Facebook ads for my company looking for wholesalers and flippers and things like that, and I can't get as granular on Facebook and get in front of the right people as I can with direct mail. So, you know, I've mailed you countless times over the years, but one thing that that you would be amazed about is if you looked in my inbox right now, I guarantee you on the front page of my inbox, there's at least one email that said, Hey, I never respond to this type of stuff, but I'm responding to yours or, hey, I got your stuff for the last couple of years, I'm finally calling or whatever it is like. It happens constantly, but it's that rule of Seven's inaction. Like, they don't just make up the rule of seven. It's actually there for a reason. So beat that list up and you get to talk to Joe.
Joe: I'm looking at I think this is one of yours. Yes, it is the popcorn bag. Yeah.
Ryan: So that I mean, something like that, something that people can do, even if you don't have a lot of money, you know, be different.
Joe: Can I share this on right now on the screen below? Would you mind a little? No, I don't mind at all. If you're watching this on the YouTube, then check this out if you're not watching this. If you're listening to this on the audio podcast, go to my YouTube channel. I'm gonna try to share this here and see if you can see it. All right. This looks like it's working. This is the I got this popcorn bag and the open it up here. I took pictures like this is amazing, and here it's the letter. Do not read this unless you are sick and tired of wasting marketing dollars and you just talk about what it is that you do in your business. And then there is a here's the deal. Here's how you contact me. Get on the call. Talk about how we can help you grow in your business. And if you're not happy, we'll give you $100 of free gift card. And I skeptical good. I would be to check out what some of our clients are saying. So you're doing direct mail to get clients to do this, for which I think is amazing and awesome. Yes, sir.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you. Yeah. That's awesome that you say that. That's super cool.
Joe: I thought it was amazing and unique. Have you ever done something like that for sellers, for motivated sellers?
Ryan: I have. I used to. When I when I first started, I used to go after pre foreclosures that had an auction date scheduled and I would I had like a six letter series that I would send them, so I would figure out their auction date. I would back it off 10 days. I would schedule out six mailers to evenly go out between today and their auction date minus 10 days, and they would all be crazy. It'll get a lot of calls, but I don't know. That's that's a tough. The pre-foreclosure with auction dates, that's a tough customer to work with. A lot of times are in denial.
Joe: So, you know, I got another letter from you in July of 2019. Whenever I get direct mail, I love keeping that stuff. I take pictures every added into Evernote. I have a swipe file that's just loaded and I have another letter from you. It was a $2 bill was attached to it. Mm-Hmm. Where did you learn these things from was a Dan Kennedy.
Ryan: That one was, yeah, that one was originally, I think, a Gary Halbert thing. However, I think he was the one that did the one dollar bill and I thought, Well, what kind of twist can we put on it? That makes a little bit more interesting. So I ordered the two dollar bills, but yeah, we got a lot of different did I said you the playing card one?
Joe: A big giant playing card? Yeah. Yes. Yeah.
Ryan: I sent you some crazy stuff. I sent you matchbox cars and I don't remember flashlights.
Joe: And really, hopefully, hopefully you're getting your ROI on this because this is not cheap to send this kind of mail.
Ryan: No. But if you know if you know who your client avatar is, you can afford to spend more because the the marketing waste that I have on those mailers is almost nonexistent. Like, even if you don't call me, I know that I'm just pinging you. I'm top of mind. You got to see it again. I put it on my work. It'll come to fruition eventually.
Joe: So here we are on the podcast. If you want it done for you, go to lead Smith RE dot com. WW W Dot Lead Smith, RE dot com. So I'm just curious, though, you're sending direct mail to investors that are doing deals and stuff like that. How do you, if you don't mind Sharon, how do you find somebody who is doing direct mail for deals?
Ryan: Yeah, so that's a great question.
Joe: The secret sauce you don't want to share.
Ryan: Oh, I'll tell you. I'll tell you anything you want to know. I don't. I don't. I don't subscribe to the secret idea. So here's how I did a couple of different ways. The first thing is, you've got to figure out who who already has my clients like, what company already has my clients. So if you can identify who also has your clients and you can figure out where they congregate, then you have the ability to get in front of them. Well, who's the biggest website provider for investors?
Ryan: Yeah, I would. I would think so, too. So if somebody is on investor care, you know that they're spending money on their company each month, you know, they're actively in the business. They're not going to keep spending money every single month on that if they're not actively doing it. So, you know, you can just run a simple search and just say, Hey, we buy houses in Jacksonville, Florida, and every single wholesaler is listed there like that. That's one way you can do it. The other way is the any time that I get like a really nice piece of direct mail on a property that I'm getting that that I have, I'll look that person up. I'll go back to them. I know they're paying two or three bucks for one of these letters they're sending because they're so fancy, and then I'll just find them to find them that way. And then the other piece is people like you. I'll just do research online, find out your home address, and I really like to email people at their house rather than their business, just because you don't have to deal with the gatekeepers. Awesome.
Joe: Super cool. I love it. And here I am finally talking to this guy that sent me those pieces. I mean, I remember them the popcorn bag, the playing card, the two dollar bill. I don't I kind of remember vaguely a car.
Ryan: That would have been that should have been the first one. But it was it was 2019.
Joe: OK. Yeah, awesome. And I was looking in my swipe file in Evernote for playing card. I search the word playing card and I couldn't find it.
Ryan: Oh, OK. OK.
Joe: But you know, when I look up your name Ryan Smith in my Evernote, there was are you in that mastermind called War Room by any chance?
Ryan: No. But I I'm friends with a lot of people that are.
Joe: OK because for some reason. Ryan Smith was I have a PDF document of something from war room and it just you showed up in the results. Or maybe it was a different way.
Ryan: That one's not me, though.
Joe: OK, well, cool. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. Ryan WW w dot to make sure you do the dub dub, dub dot lead Smith, L-e-a-d-s-m-i-t-h, RE for real estate dot com lead Smith, RE dot com. Get some great information about what's going on there, what Ryan's doing and we've got some comments here. Just want to look real quick, Chris. Thank you, Ryan. You're very welcome to. Somebody here wants to turn two hundred into two thousand in four months. Well, if you only have 200 bucks, you don't want to probably do direct mail. I'd recommend maybe driving for dollars. Yeah.
Ryan: Or do that eviction thing that Joe was talking about.
Joe: Oh yeah, the eviction thing is huge. And skip trace them in column. Yeah, Chris, I have received money such as the dollar bill on several occasions. I still have them.
Joe: Dave is asking here, Did you hear that prop stream is no longer running comps? I did not hear that. I'm surprised that's the case. I'm surprised. Do you do you like prop stream Ryan if you use them?
Ryan: I do. I'm I'm pretty critical of data and I've I've done a lot of testing and I'm impressed with them. I think they have a great product for the price. And yeah, I like them.
Joe: Chris says, I've never seen a popcorn bag for mail. Jessie says I want a popcorn bag.
Ryan: Amazon. Amazon. Is that where you got them? Well, I did the first time, but when when I started getting doing bigger lists, I order from like a restaurant supply company. But yeah, I started off with Amazon.
Joe: Are you is your mail done in-house or do you have a third party you hired to do that?
Ryan: We used to hire it all out. I actually have the stuff to do letters now, so we do all the letters in-house. But yeah, we used to we used to outsource it all. But now we do everything in-house.
Joe: Sharon says, I love that. I bet you can. I bet you can't get 50 no's in a row. Oh, nice. That's awesome. Sharon, again, phenomenal information. Thank you so much. Scott is asking, Hey, tell me about Lead Smith.
Ryan: Yeah, so yeah, we work with we work with wholesalers and flippers across the country. We help drive leads into your company. Using direct mail. We can customize the campaigns to the location, the the buying criteria that you have. Yeah, just hit me up. If you want to talk about it, I love to love to discuss it with you and tell you, tell you more about it and see how it fits with your plans, your goals.
Joe: Chris, thank you. Ryan Scott says great info. Jeffrey Hoskins Great value. Thank you. And then Dave's clarifying prop stream. Yes, it's supposed to go into effect today. Okay, interesting. We'll see
Ryan: I didn't know that.
Joe: And if that's still okay, because I mainly use Zillow and Redfin for my comps anyway. Yeah, when I'm looking at properties. All right, cool. Thank you so much, Ryan. Have a good rest of the day and we'll see you all later. Take care, guys. Appreciate you all.
Ryan: Thanks, Joe.