How to write Ads to Motivated Sellers That Cut Through The Clutter
REI Copywriting 101 – With REI Author, Aaron Hoos and Former Investor Carrot Copywriter
Every day, motivated sellers and cash buyers receive tens of thousands of direct mail ads from real estate investors hoping to grab their attention.
So how do you punch through the endless clutter?
Copy expert Aaron Hoos believes your campaign’s effectiveness comes down to the marketing and the writing, and he’ll show you in this interview formulas, principles, and techniques to IMPROVE both and increase your response with all your marketing.
Growing up with a real estate contractor for a parent, Aaron spent his weekends tagging along for home visits. When he began a career in marketing, it’s no surprise that Aaron ultimately decided to combine his love for writing with an industry he grew up in.
Today, Aaron works exclusively with real estate investors to develop marketing campaigns with a focus on targeted copy. He’s authored several books including, The Real Estate Investing Copywriter’s Playbook, and is dedicated to helping investors stand out in a crowded market.
In this podcast, Aaron walks us through his process for crafting targeted copy while outlining strategies for bypassing competition and improving SEO.
You’ll also hear…
- How to bypass your competition with this under-used marketing strategy that Freelance copywriter Aaron Hoos uses every day with his wholesaling clients
- How to identify your target audience and create copy that addresses their needs
- The three types of “underlooked” audiences that you can use tomorrow to stand out from the masses
- How to evaluate the competition to create high response marketing
- How to improve SEO for video and website content
- Aaron’s go-to resources for determining effective keywords
- How to interpret keyword data to find out what sellers are searching for
- Aaron’s formula that’s guaranteed to produce effective, targeted copy
- Why investors should write short books and ditch postcard advertising when targeting motivated sellers
- and much more…
Listen in to these two former Investor Carrot Copywriters chat about marketing and ways to increase your lead generation…
Looking for another free resource to increase deal generation? Check out our free book here “23 Unique ways to find deals” and get Paul’s free valuable Daily Newsletter on marketing, selling, mindset, and business skills to grow your REI business.
(Some of these may contain an affiliate link where I might get paid some “coffee-money” commission… only those resources I highly recommend I attached an affiliate link)
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz –
Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/) for keyword research
AnswerThePublic.com for keyword research
Keyword Planner for keyword research
Marketing Expert Interview Series: Aaron Hoos, Freelance Copywriter and Marketer
How to Write Ads to Motivated Sellers That Cut Through The Clutter
REI Copywriting 101 – With REI Author, Aaron Hoos and Former Investor Carrot Copywriter
Paul: Aaron Hoos, what’s your story and how’d you get started in real estate?
Aaron: Good question. I was born into real estate, really. My dad was a general contractor, and on the weekends he would go and work in the homes of investors and bring me along to hold his tools. And along the way I went in a different direction, worked in finance for awhile, but realized what I really loved to do was marketing and the industry I really loved to do it for was real estate investing. So it kind of brought me back in after a brief departure from it. So I started doing some marketing for some financial and real estate companies back in 2005 approximately, give or take a little bit. And then just more and more as my interest and expertise grew, I started focusing in exclusively on real estate investors. I was doing my own deals and yeah, this point now I’m working only with real estate investors and I love it.
Paul: And you’re working exclusively with real estate investors doing what? Marketing or copywriting?
Aaron: I actually do a little bit of both. So, I mean copywriting I absolutely love, but often people will come to me, not just for the copywriting, but they need some marketing expertise to help them kind of build a whole funnel. If it makes sense to do it, I’ll even write a book for them because I think all pieces can have copywriting in them. Right? So not just your social media posts are not just, you know, for entertainment, but they do have some copy possibilities as well. So I tried to bring a copywriter’s sensibility to all types of different marketing that I do.
Paul: I completely agree with that. Article writing, little Facebook posts, everything has a purpose. So everything brings some copywriting elements into it. Okay, so these investors, what are they going after? Do they go after motivated sellers or something completely different?
Aaron: Yeah, quite often I’m working for wholesalers. That’s probably my biggest area of clients. I do work with some others as well, but wholesalers are probably the biggest. So they’re looking for both motivated sellers and cash buyers. So for the motivated sellers, they’re looking for, you know, usually to build that audience, send out postcards or have some other types of marketing to bring those in. And then the cash buyers, they’re looking to build up cash buyers list.
Aaron: And also often once they got to a certain level, they’re looking to extend beyond that to get clients and get into info-marketing, get students, that kind of thing. So they’re kind of moving into the guru space. So really I would say that my biggest clients typically have three different audiences that I’m marketing for motivated sellers, cash buyers, and you know, potential students.
Paul: Okay. And they’re campaigning the funnels that you create for them. Is this like a multifaceted type of campaign? You have postcards, something with their website. How do you usually conduct that for them?
Aaron: It really depends. I don’t do a lot of postcards anymore. People do come to me for postcards, but I’ll try to, you know, there’s lots of proven postcards out there. And to be honest, the costs to get me to write like a 10-word postcard and then test it, that against something that’s already doing really well, that can get pretty pricey for a lot of investors, so I just steer them away and kind of point them to some other things.
Aaron: But what I will try to do is build a funnel and a campaign so that they are using these multifaceted approach just as you’re saying, so for motivated seller for sure. We’re looking at postcards, video I think is something that a lot of investors should be doing and aren’t doing enough of. I think that’s a real simple low cost way that they can get into a marketing that’s not just in the mailbox. There are some other social media and paid marketing opportunities, but I think the simplest ones for any investor to do are like direct mail and video.
Paul: And how do you link those? Are you telling them they should put a link on the letter?
Aaron: Some do that. I really like a phone or text for direct mail and for sellers. You’re marketing to sellers, whether it’s direct mail or over video. I would do phone or text because a link is not bad, but often you’ll just get people who are shopping and they’ll click a link. Maybe they’ll put in their email. In my experience, I’ve done some wholesaling. In my experience, the emails are, you know, they’re going to bounce or people only go to the library once a week to look up their email or whatever. So I think phone or text for a motivated seller who is truly motivated, they want the answer right now. So I’m a big believer in phone or texts for motivated sellers on your postcards and in your videos as well.
Paul: So how do you get the video to them with the, you text them the video, you said?
Aaron: No, like video marketing. Like on YouTube.
Paul: Okay. So they’re sellers somehow are, this is cold traffic. They’re somehow ending up on YouTube and watching the videos?
Aaron: Yeah. So here’s my big tip. If any listeners are looking for what’s the simplest way? Maybe they don’t have money to send out postcards. I would get the video on your camera, and I would record one, two-minute video every single day. I would upload it to YouTube, and I would call that video something like, if you live in Cleveland, Sell My House, Cleveland, Sell My House for Cash, Cleveland or something. And just rotate through a few of those key words.
Aaron: Do that every single day forever in a short order. There are some competitive markets but video is still wide open, and in short order, you should be getting some good traffic to those videos and some calls as well. So they don’t have to be long or complicated. They can just be you and your face and talking about why someone might want to sell their house to you and just make sure it’s a keyword-rich title in your video. Upload it to YouTube and that’s a good online strategy if you don’t want to or if you want to augment your direct mail.
Paul: That’s awesome and you don’t need a website for that at all. I mean if your YouTube channel can have the contact info right there, your phone number, right?
Aaron: Yeah, it’s great. I mean, I love a website. I don’t know that a lot of motivated sellers are going onto a website to put their email address. And you and I both are familiar with Carrot. I love Carrot. I think they do amazing work, but there’s some competitive markets out there, but YouTube is a great way to bypass the most competitive markets because you know everyone in Cleveland is fighting for Sell My House, Cleveland with a website. There aren’t enough people doing videos that say Sell My House, Cleveland.
Paul: Yeah. And it’s easy to do. You don’t need to spend too much time on a video. Yeah. And it makes it easy. With the YouTube app, you can just do a live recording right then and there and it posts. That’s awesome. And your clients report good results with that?
Aaron: Yeah, we’ve got some good stuff. I ran up writing some scripts for them, but really like, it’s funny, I’ve given people all the ideas that I don’t do. But yeah, it’s just such an easy way to get to the top of search because Google, they own YouTube and they’re promoting a YouTube videos right up at the top. So it’s great to do. Very simple. And yeah, my clients can do it without a lot of effort and copy write [inaudible 00:06:38] a script for me every time. They can cycle through a bunch of scripts and that’s working out real well.
Paul: Okay. So, and you’re investing today still or no, you’re full time doing some writing?
Aaron: Oh yeah, I invest, but I’m just passive casual investor. I own some properties in Cleveland right now. I had some in Pennsylvania for a little bit, but I tried to stay hands-off. I’d love to get back into doing some flips, and I did a commercial deal once, and those are fun, but they’re so time intensive and what I love to do is writing. So it’s kind of, I feel like that’s what I was put on the earth to do. So I prefer just to do the writing, let the cashflow pile up without my effort.
Paul: Do you remember your first deal?
Aaron: Well, I’ve been involved in a few different ones and so not always kind of solely owned by me. Some were partnerships, some I just was managing. So a little bit complicated. My first, let’s see, I bought some rental properties, I don’t even remember, it was years ago. So that one was, that’s a little fuzzy now. I did some wholesaling for a bit. Yeah, I don’t remember my first deal specifically. It was, just a little fuzzy now. It’s just a long time ago.
Paul: Okay. Back to writing. So what’s approach you take to writing a letter and targeting a motivated seller?
Aaron: That’s a good question. Let me tell you first what I think happens incorrectly and kind of the approach that I take that I’ve seen some good results with. So a lot of times you get a motivated seller, they’re going to open their mailbox and they’re going to see your postcard and like 10,000 other postcards that are probably all the same, right? They may be they look like they’re handwritten. They say third notice on them or something like that. There’s there’s a bunch of them and they work, but there’s a lot out there and the more investors that pile into competitive market, the more postcards fill up your client’s inbox and they all kind of look the same. So I think postcards can be great approach for a less competitive market. But if you’ve got a lot of investors in your market, I would say the approach that I’ve taken that works well with my clients is to look at your best deals that you’ve done in the past.
Aaron: Now, if you’re a brand new investor, it’s a little bit harder to do. But if you’ve done investing for a little bit, look at your best deals just in the past year and identify the ones that made you the most money that were most fun to work with or most profitable or easiest. You know, the, the motivated sellers are like, yeah, let’s do a deal.
Aaron: And then figure out what’s common about those investors and then write something that speaks to them. And so I’ll give you a, I’ve done a few different angles of this, but one that really stands out for me that had kind of the best reported results on was I worked with an investor. He was in a highly competitive market and we looked at what his past deals were, which ones were the best ones, which ones did he do, you know, did he resonate with the most?
Aaron: When he already sat with them at their kitchen table, they were excited to do a deal and they really felt that he was helping them and we found it was sort of middle-aged mothers of family members who weren’t paying their rent in a second home. They were freeloading family members. So we built this whole freeloading family member postcard campaign. So it wasn’t just a matter of hey, we buy houses. It was like, are you a frustrated mom whose adult children should be paying rent but aren’t. And you deserve flowers for Mother’s Day. Not a call because the toilet is leaking.
Aaron: And it went over really well because it cut through the clutter and these moms are getting these mailings, you know, a bunch of them are saying We Buy Houses, We Buy Houses, and then they got one that spoke directly to their problem. And so it was a neat campaign to dig into that kind of data and find something that really truly helped someone and spoke to them and yeah, my client loved it. As far as they know, he’s still using it. Yeah, he got some good results out of it.
Paul: That’s an amazing tip and looking broader than the actual tip you gave, it’s about just speaking directly to one person-
Paul: …rather than the whole blanket marketing, which in my experience has never worked for me. I’ve spent probably about $20,000 on direct mail using what the usual advice is with no deal with that amount spent and using the approach of, hey, just sent a 30% equity homeowners and right in there we buy houses, or I’m looking to buy your house.
Aaron: Yeah, they were those postcards and the handwritten letters, they can work, but they’re good in less competitive markets. The more competitive your market, you know the worst economy is the more people become investors.
Paul: Yeah. Have you heard of Eugene Schwartz, right?
Paul: In his book, Breakthrough Advertising. Have you read it?
Aaron: No, I haven’t.
Paul: Okay. Yeah, it’s kind of hard to get to. It’s an amazing book, and it talks about how there’s five different stages in the market from very competitive to absolutely not competitive at all and how you have to shift and become more creative as you move through the stages. Man, it’s just like in real estate. It makes sense completely in real estate as well. Those easy postcards. I buy houses or I’ll buy your house works in Midwest or places where there’s very little competition, but you need to become creative when, I remember door knocking for probate leads, and I would ask them about their market, like are they getting postcards, letters, whatever, and they’d come out with a stack of letters and say, this is what I got this week. And all from the same people. So do you ever write Google ads?
Aaron: I did years ago, it’s not something I’ve really followed up on Google or Facebook. I liked them both, but both just changed so much, and you know, compliant, they’re always tweaking their compliance rules, and it’s hard to keep up with that to be honest. You know, I’d rather sit down and write some long form sales letters, a book, a website, and then I work with a couple other companies who will, who focus in and specialize on that.
Aaron: They’re more on top with the compliance. And then that frees me up to focus on my sweet spot.
Paul: Okay. And how do you incorporate the book with wholesalers?
Aaron: So these are the three ways that I would use a book. So I’ve mentioned earlier the wholesalers to clients who come to me as wholesalers looking for my writing, usually are looking to market to three different audiences.
Aaron: So they’re looking for motivated sellers, cash buyers, and let’s say students to become a guru. And so each one of those could benefit from a book. It needs to probably be a different book for each audience, but for motivated sellers, you should be writing. It doesn’t have to be a big book, but it should be something like a how to get the most money for your house or you know how to spare your credit. You know what to do about your problem house, that kind of thing. And it can be a super simple book. It’s maybe 75 pages to a hundred pages, even if no one reads it, here’s what’s going to happen. So you can go door knocking, or you can send out your postcards and you’re like, get my free book. What it does, it just helps you stand out from the 10,000 other postcards.
Aaron: If you’re standing there at the door and they hand you that stack of postcards that are, look what else I’ve got. Like that’s fine. You’ve got 10,000 other postcards from 10,000 other investors, but I wrote the book on the problem that you’re facing. Here it is for free. You can get books printed real cheap and even if no one reads it, it’s such a massive differentiator.
Aaron: So that’s what I would do for sellers, for cash buyers, for anyone listening who happens to be a wholesaler looking for cash buyers. Yeah. Write a book on how to retire early, how to augment your income with cashflow, that kind of thing. And then for students. Yeah. You could do something similar to the cash buyers, like kind of a how to retire early or how to make more money, quit your job type of deal.
Aaron: Three books, real simple to write. You could record them on a weekend and get them transcribed and printed up through Amazon. A real simple way to get it done. A way to differentiate yourself.
Paul: Okay. And do you ever work on their mailing list at all or do you ever give them any advice on their mailing list? And do you have any advice on mailing lists?
Aaron: I don’t do a lot of work on mailing lists. Like often I’ll write, and then hand it off to them, and I’m willing to do it. And I have, but often, you know the first projects I’m doing are usually just like I write something and I hand it off to them and they take care of it. I don’t want the liability of handling someone’s mailing list. That said, though, like when it comes to email, I used to do a ton of email to cash buyers for my clients, and I kind of backed away from, I’m now just focused purely on writing and I’ll get like an assistant or something to handle the email side of it.
Aaron: If you’re talking about mailing lists for direct mail, yeah, typically I would just hand off a letter and let them take care of it and that just keeps everyone from mailing back and forth access to direct mail lists. For email, yeah I’ve done that. I do that quite a bit.
Paul: Okay. Now do you ever evaluate the competition before you start putting together a marketing piece for them?
Aaron: Yeah, 100% and I mean a lot of my clients are coming to me in competitive markets, so I do spend a fair amount of time digging into who are the best or the biggest marketers. And it depends on what it is that they’re looking for. You know, if they’re looking for website content, then I’m digging into Google searches and keyword searches and which keywords have some opportunity and then it’s a little bit harder for everyone if they’re looking for a direct mail, you know, unless they’re kind of going out to look at who’s actually doing the mailing.
Aaron: But yeah, I try to do as much competitive research as I can.
Aaron: Because that’s the way it’s going to differentiate you, right?
Paul: Right, right. And you mentioned keyword. So what tools do you use to look up keywords?
Aaron: I’m always kind of testing to see what keyword tools are working right now. So for a real simple one, I like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest’s real simple.
Aaron: Yeah, I use a version of it in Moz, M-O-Z, .com. I use that one, AnswerThePublic.com is one I’m really interested in lately. So you just type in like a keyword that you’re looking for and it comes up with a ton of different ways that people are searching for that kind of a word. It’s a little bit different. It’s not quite the same as like an Ubersuggest, but it’s really interesting. It just kind of gives you some angles that you maybe didn’t consider, kind of like Ubersuggest, but it’s real focus on the stuff you type in, right?
Aaron: If you type in, we buy houses or something, then all those key words are built around, we buy houses something. Whereas I find with AnswerThePublic it’s a little bit different. You know, it’s kind of looking at what are some other words that people are searching for.
Paul: Cool. And I’ve used Keyword Planner. Do you use Keyword Planner for click rates and seeing what people are actually clicking on.
Paul: Okay. And with all these tools, I mean, what are you looking for? Are you looking for search volume? Are you looking for what’s popular right now? Trends?
Aaron: I don’t often look at trends a lot actually. I guess I’ve been in the industry too long and I see the trends come and go. What’s popular today, you know, is not going to be popular tomorrow. Then will be popular again the day after. But yeah I’m looking for keyword volume. So I’m taking that data. But then looking a little more qualitatively at what are some investors that are using that data and is there an angle for us to work in that. So it is a bit quantitative by looking at the keyword, the search results there, but then also qualitative and where’s the gaps once people are searching for that.
Paul: Okay, cool. What’s the formula you use before you start writing?
Aaron: I’ll use a chart actually, so I’m going to try to describe it here because it’s not just the formula. I actually use a chart. Anyone can use this if you want. I think I talk about it on my website.
Paul: You do.
Aaron: Okay. Okay, awesome.
Paul: And in your book, by the way, everyone, he has a book.
Aaron: Yeah. Real Estate Investing Copywriter’s Playbook. Yeah. And it’s on my website too. I mean I teach it, I think I’ve talked, talked about it in videos too, and I’ll be talking about it more in the coming year, but the chart basically goes like this, so five rows and it follows a very simple formula of what any type of writing is.
Aaron: So the five rules spell out, the word Harpo. So H for headline, and A for anxiety, the anxiety that your reader is experiencing. And R for remedy. So what remedy are you providing. P for proof and O for offer? So a headline, anxiety, remedy, proof, and offer. And people just need to run through that. That’s kind of the process of every single sales letter out there.
Aaron: And then that’s the vertical side of the chart. And then the horizontal side of the chart is T-R-U-E, which stands for trust, ROI, urgency, and engagement. And basically you just go to each block in that chart. And so what’s the trust you want to build in the headline? What’s the trust you want to build in anxiety? What’s the trust you want to build in remedy? And then what’s the ROI you want to build in the headline? What’s the ROI you want to build in anxiety, and so on.
Aaron: So it’s a basically 20 blocks. You just fill out a couple of lines, a couple of words, keywords in each block and it’s your sales letter, your postcard, your website is going to come together real fast.
Paul: Awesome. Okay. And they can get a visual on this one from your website and your book, right?
Paul: Where can they find you?
Aaron: They can find me at realestateinvestingcopywriter.com but it’s probably easiest just Google it or if you feel like typing it in, it’s a long URL, but type it in, and you’ll get to me. And I’m on Facebook and Instagram as well. Pretty easy to find realestateinvestingcopywriter.com.
Paul: Okay, that’s Aaron Hoos, H-O-O-S. All right man. Aaron, take care. Have a great day.
Aaron: Yeah, you too. Take care.
Paul: All right, see ya. Bye.