294 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Isaiah Colton Founder & CEO of Realestatenexus
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We Discuss What Are The Best Online Marketing Strategies For Real Estate Agents In a Crazy Market?
More Isaiah Colton
I’m a small-town country boy raised on a farm. Growing up, I never imagined I’d be good at sales or marketing. I definitely never imagined building a business in real estate and owning several companies. I’m a bit of an introvert in the sense that I like being alone but when I do get around people I enjoy myself.
It was a struggle for me to talk to strangers and I will never forget the first time I had to make a cold call to a homeowner, not fun! I was terrified. I was fine working with business professionals because of the years I spent working my way up to V.P. of sales for a marketing company, but engaging with homeowners was a different story!
But I had to make it work because my wife was pregnant and I had to prove to her it was a smart idea to leave my corporate job for a new venture. She gave me six months!
I immediately went to a Tony Robbins convention and one thing stood out to me…he said, “success leaves clues.” What he meant was to find the best of the best in the industry and model them, then when you have a foundation, build and innovate.
Isaiah: Yeah. Awesome. I appreciate the introduction. First and foremost, I love the service that you guys offer. It’s so needed in our industry because part of a great marketing plan is to make sure you have great technology to help power your marketing plan. A lot of leads go untouched and unconverted because they don’t have the right systems in place. I love first and foremost, what you guys are offering. That’s why I was excited to be on this podcast.
Just a quick story about my background. I got involved in real estate kind of unexpectedly. I kind of tripped over it and I didn’t really ever intend to be in residential real estate. What happened for me is in 2014, I made an investment in a brokerage, and I had a really strong sales and marketing background. I was, full-time making six figures as VP of sales for a fast-growing online marketing company. I was excited about that investment. But then over time I was kind of frustrated at the results the brokerage was getting.
I kind of went to my wife. I said, look, I know this is the worst timing ever because we just had a baby. But I said to her, I said, look, I got two choices here. I can pretty much just, let this brokerage keep going the way it’s going, or I can kind of scratch my itch, which I had a really entrepreneur bug. I really want to just go full-time in this brokerage. If you give me the opportunity, I know I can make this thing work and make it, and have it be successful. She kind of looked at me like I was crazy at the time. But after some convincing, she goes, look, if we can make a living for our family and you can get some traction in six months, all I had asked is that we reevaluate in six months.
I’m like, yes, let’s do it. I took on the challenge. I left my corporate job and basically took over the role of operations for the brokerage. In all my excitement of growing the brokerage, I went and signed up to all these lead generation companies thinking that was going to be the end all be all. That’s how you scale your business. If you have enough leads coming in, everything else will work itself out. Well after spending about 10,000 hours a month or so, for a couple of months in a row and realizing that the leads weren’t converting the way that I thought they should, and really trying to have an effective follow-up system and all that other good stuff that come with an overall arching marketing plan, end up very frustrated in that process.\
I kind of took a step back and I just took a deep dive into sales and marketing. I went to every single convention related to sales and marketing that you can think of all the big names.
Isaiah: SMS. Yeah.
Robert: SMX. I think it stands for some of the Southwest marketing expos.
Isaiah: Sorry no, I haven’t been to that.
Robert: It’s a digital marketing specialist thing. Like Neil Patel.
Isaiah: Neil is awesome. I’ve studied Neil. He’s great. I don’t know if you ever heard of digitalmarketer.com, but that’s another great resource, but Russell Brunson, I actually personally get mentored by him, the other big digital marketer. But I dug into some of the classics like Dan Kennedy. If you’ve ever heard of Dan Kennedy before.
Robert: I have. He’s a classic man. You’re not kidding.
Isaiah: I just spent as much money as I possibly could just really getting educated on it. I rolled up my sleeves. I got on the phone and I started prospecting. I started calling these leads for myself because I wanted to get real-life feedback on whether the leads were bad or whether they were not, or what was wrong. It was my marketing plan. I roll up my sleeves. I got in the trenches and what I found is I started setting around three or four appointments a day. We started crushing it particularly on the listing side of the business is what I’m gonna talk about today.
Is how to generate more listings specifically within your marketing plan, because it is a crazy market out there, and make a long story short, that was the beginning to us having a lot of success. We did 151 transactions our first year. Then we got this really, we got our marketing plan really honed in. Our follow-up really honed in and it got to the point where we had agents coming to us, wanting to pay us for our advice. we launched a broker-to-broker referral program that was revolved around a sales and marketing strategy that I launched. Then three years later, we hit the Inc 500. Number 308, as far as the fastest-growing companies in the country.
We ended up moving like over a billion dollars a year in real estate through this referral model. Not only did I have a chance to grow a brokerage, which we have about 200 agents right now in our brokerage, but I also run a massive broker-to-broker referral program that is really just really focused on lead conversion and lead follow-up. It’s really kind of been an exciting venture. I come, I have a unique perspective to bring to the market. That’s why a lot of people like Michael Hellickson like to have me a part of their group because we can have really in-depth strategies where I’ve had an opportunity to work in the trenches.
I know what it’s like on a day today, but I also know what it’s like to scale a big company with over 150 employees. That’s a little bit about the background. All that said, I made a ton of mistakes along the way. What I want to do is share a formula that I’ve developed for people to succeed and thrive in with their marketing plan because it is, Jonathan said, it is freaking crazy out there, especially if you’re trying to generate listing leads, right. It’s a crazy market. We gotta be smart. We gotta have a strategy. Yes, go ahead.
Robert: I’m really excited to get into that, but before we do, I actually want to just really quickly allow John to introduce himself to the audience so that they know who he is. John, guys, for those of you listening to the sound of my voice, and I am sorry for that because I don’t have a voice made for the radio, or podcasts, take us as it is, but my co-host is pretty incredible. He convinced me to come onto this show about a hundred episodes ago. I was just an SEO guy plugging away at blog posts and doing the things that SEO guys do, which is really not getting in front of cameras and not be on podcasts.
John and his partner at the time said that they’d really like to have me here. Anyway, he’s done some incredible things. I’ve looked at his platforms and he’s building out a lead generation system for Facebook. It’s called the Mail-Right system here. That’s on top of another successful business he has done what is called LMS learning systems on WordPress. John is really kind of like a Jack of many trades inside the entrepreneurial and digital space, just like you Isaiah. John, go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.
John: I’m gonna keep it really short cause because you did a great job. I want to hear what Isaiah is going to say. I’m the founder of Mail-Right. We’re going to give you more details at the end of the show, and then I’m just gonna put it back over to you Robert, and let’s really get into this because he’s got a ton of knowledge.
Robert: You got it. Isaiah so forgives that brief departure, you’re about ready to tell us that you have a system that you’ve made a lot of mistakes that you have a lot to share with us. Go for it.
Isaiah: Yeah, absolutely. for the audience, I call this the REN success formula and it’s an abbreviation for Real Estate Nexus, which is the name of my corporation. This formula encompasses basically a full 360 sales and marketing plan. The reason why I call it a sales and marketing plan, first and foremost, the number one problem, I believe that our industry has, is they go out and develop a marketing plan. But they forget that it requires a human being to interact with that marketing plan for it to be effective, AKA follow-up, meaning your marketing is going to get you to do so much, but it still requires a sales process attached to it.
First and foremost, if you are out and you’re looking to develop an effective marketing plan, it first and foremost has to factor in that technology is going to give you leverage. A marketing plan and social media is going to give you leverage, but the number one problem in our industry is people aren’t upfront. You still have to go into your systems and follow up with these leads to make sure that they convert all the way through the pipeline. Anybody who tells you any different, I would suggest has another agenda. Meaning they either haven’t been in the trenches, they don’t know what it’s like to build real estate, or they’re just trying to push a service that just isn’t reality.
I like to start off with why I call it a sales and marketing plan because it has to factor in the whole process. Does that make sense to you, Jonathan? How am explaining that?
Jonathan: Totally. With that, here’s where it starts. It starts with lead generation and if you look at your marketing plan, a lot of people are like, well, I get asked this question all the time. Should I be generating leads? How much money should I spend to generate leads? What lead sources should I be looking at if I am going to invest the money? They’re all great questions. One of the mistakes that I made is not understanding the type of leads that I was investing in. I got all excited and I just signed up to these programs that have really good pitches. I’m like, yes, I’m excited. But the problem, the mistake that I made was not being educated enough on what the sales cycle, the natural sales of those leads are, depending on how they come in.
I was sitting here making all these assumptions like, oh, this lead generation company is good, or this lead generation company is bad, or I’m frustrated with this one or this one’s working. I really didn’t know why, and I didn’t really have any business acumen behind what I was actually doing and why I signed up to them in the first place. The first lesson with your marketing plan is you have to categorize the lead types that you’re signing up to, based on the sales cycle. I’m going to give you a general overview, how we do it. We have what we call an A list, a B list, and a C list. Now, by the way, no matter where these types of leads fall, none of them are bad. They just have different sales cycles. Meaning different lead conversion cycles that we have to be aware of and pay attention to. For example, I’ll start at the top with what I consider as a top of the funnel, a C list type of lead, right.
It’s important in this market to know this, so you know what your return is going to be and what your cash cycle is going to be. On your C list, I would put there like, maybe like a list of geographical data, or like, if you’re going to do some geographical farming and you go out and purchase a list of leads that you really don’t know where they stand, but you want to go farm the neighborhood. Or maybe you’re going to do some just-listed prospect around the neighborhood. That would be what I would consider a C list. It’s something that is very top of the funnel. You have to do a lot of digging to figure out where they stand and they’re very cheap, but it’s a lot of work.
That’s usually the tradeoff. That’s one example. There are other examples of what would go on a C list. But I’m going to shift for the sake of time to what we would call a B list. A B list is somebody who came in through what I call forced registration. Forced registration, a good example of that would be Google pay-per-click or maybe a social media lead. Let’s use social media as an example, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook, their intent wasn’t to go looking for an agent on Facebook. Or their intent wasn’t to go looking for properties on Facebook.
Psychologically, they’re usually a little bit further out in the conversion cycle because somebody put up an ad in front of them, and it interrupted their day and their pattern, but they were intrigued enough to click and submit their information. But usually, that type of lead that forced registration type of lead has a longer sales cycle. Now, is that bad or good? Well, it’s neither bad nor good. You just have to know what it is.
Robert: Hold on one second. We’re going to continue down this pipeline, but we’re going to go to break. When we come back, Isaiah, we’re going to let you jump right back into explaining force registration. The expectations of somebody once they’ve forced registered for something on Facebook or someplace else. I love this conversation. I’m not saying much because I have not much to say. You’re doing a great job. Ladies and gentlemen, please stay tuned. This is gold. We want you to mine them there hills. All right, we’ll talk, we’ll see you in a moment.
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Robert: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, we are here with Isaiah Colton and he is literally laying on some deep wisdom about lead types. He was just talking about force registration and Facebook. Just pick it right back up, Isaiah.
Isaiah: Absolutely. We were talking about social media, like how it falls into a B type. The reason we believe it falls in the B type is that they had a pattern interrupt and then they put their information in, but they actually actively weren’t seeking after an agent. Because they weren’t seeking after an agent, they most likely have a longer sales cycle. I get asked this question all the time, are social media leads good or bad. The answer is, they’re neither. There’s no really bad lead generation type, as long as what you’re dealing with. Social media leads are great. You just have to know what you’re dealing with.
What I find is that once what you’re dealing with, then you can effectively develop a conversion plan or a marketing plan to follow up and convert them properly, making sure that you’re going to get your ROI, which we’ll talk about a second. Then what you have is what you call you’re A list. An example of an A list would be your sphere of influence. That should always be on your A list because that’s going to be for the net dollars you put in, always going to be if you nurture the relationships properly, you’re going to get the most out of it.
Another example, which I’m really excited about. I want everyone to really please focus and pay attention to this part, because it’s the biggest shift in 20 years, in my opinion, that’s happening in the lead generation lead conversion space. If agents don’t jump on this, the second they get done with this podcast, listening to this podcast, they are crazy in a loving way. Google just came out with a service not too long ago, where they’re really starting to push it, which is Google local service ads. Here’s why the local service ads are so important why we consider it part of your A list and why this is the most important lead source you need to figure out how to tap into, in my opinion, in this market.
They are going after search in a huge way. You’re like Isaiah, they’re already in search. I don’t know what you mean. Well, we all know Zillow just made a huge shift where they’re becoming a brokerage. Their intent is to really like to go after the brokerage space. What happened in that process is they had to join all these MLSs. As they joined, the MLSs they’re faced with an ethics issue because it says that you can’t ever make a bad comment about another agent. Now Zillow, literally to stay in line with the local MLS rules, has to take down all of the reviews. They have to take them down.
Because they have to take them down, Google saw this transition that’s happening, how all these agents are getting frustrated with Zillow. They’re like, hey, look, we have this local service ad that is coming out and we’re doing it in different industries, but we’re going to put a hard press on doing it with real estate agents because of what’s happening with this disruption with Zillow. Basically, they came out with what’s called a pay per call service, where if you optimize your business profile the right way, and you sign up to Google, local service ads, and you get a bunch of reviews and you follow the process and the guidelines you can actually show up ahead of all of the SEO of all the organic placement, right at the top with your phone number, right there with your phone number right there.
What’s happening is when they click to call one of the hottest leads on the planet that you can get, because think about the psychology. They did a search, and then they not only search, but they called. What that’s doing for the game is literally hundreds of millions of dollars are going to go from Zillow to Google, in my opinion, because of this phenomenon. I think it’s the biggest thing that’s happened in 20 years.
Robert: Hold on. Normally I would be saying nothing, but you’re deep in my territory as like an SEO guy, because that’s search engine optimization. I’m just going to add a couple of comments so that I feel like the topic has been discussed in all its dimension. Yes, the hyper-local search packs have absolutely been present. I did a tutorial for my clients on them. I want to say maybe three weeks after it came up. A couple of things that I’d like to add to what you just said. Hyperlocal search results only come up when you’re doing searches that relate to hyper-local such as realtors near me, realtors in the city name. There are many searches about 85% of real estate searches are not going to trigger the hyper-local search results, just so that everybody knows.
Yes, the conversion rates that we’ve been seeing because I talked to my clients who I have coached into doing the service. so I want to give some numbers for those people listening. I agree it’s a very hot lead. Right now on average for every client I have participating in hyperlocal, we’re not seeing anything less than 10 to one returns at the moment. Now my expectation Isaiah, which is just a personal opinion, but I’m going to throw it in because people are used to hearing my opinions on the podcast.
My opinion is is that this is going to diminish over time. There are many markets where this hasn’t fully penetrated. Now LA, where I live is already wildly competitive in the hyper-local search. One last little footnote, which we’re not going to cover on this show. You can get increased positioning, not only through bidding, which is something that they do on like a hyper-local, they’re saying how much you’re willing to pay per call, just like Google does with everything.
It does affect position a lot. However, it is a misconception that it is the only ranking that they’re currently using for hyper-local search paid search packets. They are benchmarking based on their usual hyper-local services signals, which are citations, number of reviews, responsiveness to reviews. Do you have a YouTube channel that is connected into your, your core Google business account? If you have all of these things, my experience has been so far, my clients get top three positionings far more frequently than any other people that I see, mostly because we’ve optimized all these other things that relate to hyper-local.
That is just my commentary, Isaiah. I just want to make sure it is super exciting. It doesn’t affect the vast majority of real estate search, but the search that it does affect it does impact greatly in my opinion.
Isaiah: Yeah. Robert, I’m glad you mentioned that. That was kind of where I was going to go next with it. Does that SEO and optimization of your Google business page become even more important for it to work effectively to your point? I have people that will sign up to it and they’ll say, well, it’s not working. All the reasons that Robert went over are the reasons why it doesn’t work as effectively as it could. But it’s worth putting the time and energy into it to figure it out. I’ll give you a couple of case studies here. One of our mutual friends and clients that we coach, he’s been working with us for about 90 days.
He really focused on doing all the things that Robert just went over with you. Which we don’t have time to really drill too deep down in this podcast. But he got in one month, 23 phone calls off of the service and he landed 11 contracts, of which six of them were listings. Were actually listing focused phone calls. Now there is a first-mover advantage on this, just like Zillow. There is penetration like Robert was talking about. Where once it gets saturated there is going to be a diminishing return. That’s why it’s important to act on it. Just like with Zillow.
For example with Zillow reviews, in the beginning, they were just taking reviews in like crazy. If you just went out and you asked your brother, your sister, your mother, you could go on Zillow and you could organically get placed on Zillow very high just by going out and get a bunch of reviews. It was kind of like the wild, wild west of reviews. There was some regulation on it. Those agents that did that for 10 years or more had a top ranking on Zillow and would get a bunch of free phone calls. It’s a little bit like that with Google, it’s going to change fast. Like Robert was saying, this is not the end all be all. This is one strategy of many lead generation strategies to consider looking into.
I would put them as right now on the A list. Now, Robert, is there anything else you want to add for clarification before I move on to the next part of the marketing plan?
Robert: No, would like to say though, and John will circle back around to this, but Isaiah, I want to plant this seed in the middle of the podcast before we ask you to stay on for some bonus content, but however, John I’d love for you to make a footnote and also Isaiah, I would love to maybe have you back and talk about specifically about hyperlocal like lead generation as its own standalone show. I’m in agreement with you. I think this is a major cornerstone of any lead generation strategy it’s cheap, it’s effective. It’s fantastic in every way, which means it probably deserves its own platform, like for us to talk about it by itself.
Jonathan: The interesting thing as an observer of this conversation is, Google’s done this with another major advertiser [inaudible 27:14] it’s always had a kind of strange relationship with rating, in the restaurant, the travel industry, because it always seems, always, in the end, seems to have a falling out with one of its major partners. That’s what seems to some ways what is happening with Zillow, isn’t it? Google doesn’t owe them any favors. When we go for our bonus content, I love Isiah to give some insight of how important is to get reviews on your Google business page. But we’re coming up to close the podcast. Back to you, Robert.
Robert: All right, we’re going to go to for bonus content, but John, if you don’t mind I would like to maybe either have an additional topic or steer the end of the conversation because we’ve just focused on Google my business and I do believe that it deserves its own show. Talking about reviews and its own show.
Isaiah: Could I have 30 seconds more just to wrap this conversation up? Is that okay? This is where I think the big error happens and that’s where we go out and we generate, we get our lead generation right. But then we don’t get what I call database marketing right. That’s really where if you want to scale your business and you want to have a great foundation that needs to be part of your marketing plan. When you’re laying out your marketing plan, you need to find as many channels or as many ways to communicate with these leads as possible. I recommend that you have a system or a marketing hub or develop this ASAP if you’re going to be spending money on lead generation, or you can do automated testing, you can do automated email.
You can launch a Facebook re-targeted campaign. Making sure that video is integrated with your process to be able to do that. Then also have a formal strategy where you’re constantly communicating with your database and that’s how you win in today’s world. Then what you do is you look at all of the leads that are interacting with you and your database. That’s where you come in if you make time every day to go in and look at who’s interacting with your database, those are the leads that you’re going to convert that no other agent is going to convert. If you follow the simple formula, you can double your transactions in a year or less.
Jonathan: I love it. We don’t normally do this and no, I haven’t spoken to Robert, but I know you’re a very busy guy, but if you can find the time next month, we would love for you to come back on the show and talk about super local. I think we really delve i n that. I will contact you and your secretary because I know you’re very busy, but if you can find the time, we’d love you to come back because it’s really important. Back over to you, Robert.
Robert: Guys, we’re going to wrap this show-up. We’re gonna go into bonus content if Isaiah has the time and is willing to stay with us for 10 more minutes. Isaiah, what I would like to touch on you actually were doing a good job of completing each other’s thoughts. I was going to say, what are the tools that you’d recommend to have somebody inside the lead optimization process? Can you lightly just add it in the four or five things. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like you to get a little specific with this though, because there’s a lot of text messaging services and options out there.
There’s a lot of email services and messages out there. I’d like to have you throw down some recommendations. If you have any specific services that you’d like to use inside the high touch approach you just described. I’d like to save that for our video bonus content if you’re willing to stay with us for 10 more minutes.
Isaiah: Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to talk about it.
Robert: Lovely. All right. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this has been another episode of the Mail-Right lead generation show. I think that we’ve done a great job if I do say so myself or I should say Isaiah has done a great job. It’s been an honor to have him on the show. Isaiah, how would you like people to look you up it should they be so inclined to do so?
Isaiah: If you want to check me out and learn a little bit more about REN. You can just go to isaiahcolton.com and you can learn more about what I do and what my platform is about. I do have a free gift for everybody that wants access to the sales and marketing plan that I’m speaking of, which will give you every single strategy and tactic you need to execute on a marketing plan. if you would just go to www.salesandmarketingplaybook.com, you can get a three page or you can get a 300-page download of all the strategies that I’ve used to build our brokerage 200 agents and above and as well as scale our broker referral program, they’re all there. The content is yours along with a really cool productivity dashboard tohttps://episodes.castos.com/6057b98242e734-49255389/294-Mail-Right-Show.mp3 help get you on the journey here to a strict start, streamlining your marketing activities.
Robert: All right. Just so everybody knows, I have signed up for Isaiah’s free gift. It hasn’t yet arrived. Expect a small delay when you do sign up. I’m anxious to get into your material when it does arrive in my inbox and we’ll be reviewing it myself for my own edification. Not for any other particular reason. I’m interested in what you have to say. Jonathan, if anybody wanted to reach out to you, sir, how would they about doing that?
Jonathan: Just go to the mail-r.com. Just contact us we’re always up for a chat.
Robert: Lovely. Ladies and gentlemen, you can do the same with me at inboundrem.com and hit the contact me form. But really, if you want to learn something about real estate SEO, if you want a lot of great free information, I hate that word free, it implies that it has no value. I’ve been spending about 10,000 hours out of a passion of educating real estate agents on how to get better value out of their real estate lead generation systems about adjusting their paradigm when it comes to how they think about marketing. You can find all of my thoughts on that journey on my website.
You can also find my personal story for those of you that might be interested. Thank you for tuning in. We really appreciate it. Stay tuned for those of you who are going to go with us for the 10 minutes of extra content, it’s going to be on our video YouTube channel. This is the Mail-Right. Do that search inside YouTube. That’s where you’ll find the additional 10 minutes. We’ll see you then.