You're listening to the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of Ad Words Nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: Hello everybody and welcome to SEO and IPA, this is the fun semi-weekly, semi-annual hangout where we talk about email marketing, entrepreneurship and more for cool real estate investors of all shapes, stripes and colors. And as always with me is the brains behind the operation, officially the only reason that anybody ever listens to this show and now head of the SEO division at AdWordsNerds.com, it is Patti Dalessio. Patti, how are you, my wonderful friend? [0:01:14.2]
Patti: I am fantastic, my wonderful friend. How are you?
Dan: I am doing so well, and for people who have not heard this thing before, I want to give just a quick bit of background. So Patti and I met a long time ago and became fast friends, and we started doing this a weekly kind of SEO Google Hangout back when we thought that Google+ was going to be a dominant social network of choice. We did this weekly hangout called SEO and IPA where we would each taste test a beer and we would talk about SEO news, Search Engine Optimization news. We should have kept it going, it's been sort of dormant for a while because we both have been working on AdWords Nerds and working with real estate investors specifically, and so we sort of stopped doing it. [0:02:03.1]
We thought we would bring it back into the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, universe, to give everybody a taste of this incredible chemistry that we have, and also because we are doing SEO September. So all September basically this year we are going to focus in on Search Engine Optimization for real estate investors and really help people up their SEO game. Our goal for this whole thing, like we're going to help real estate investors across the world whether they work with us or not to raise their game, get in the SEO universe and really make some headway because it is so incredibly valuable. So that's the whole pitch for what we're doing now. Patti, welcome. Obviously we've done this many times, but this is your first time on REI Marketing Nerds. So, welcome, super happy to have you.
Patti: REI Marketing Nerds, yes, yes. [0:03:00.9]
Dan: And Patti, in case you guys don't know, she's been working at you're working at AdWords Nerds for like two years now.
Patti: I think so. Really?
Dan: You're grimacing on the video.
Patti: I can't remember. At least a year and a half I think. Right? Yeah.
Dan: I think we're like two years in.
Patti: Two years?
Dan: About two years. One of the things that's super cool is Patti alongside Jeremiah who's also on our SEO team, essentially at this point has done more SEO for real estate investors than pretty much anybody in this industry. She came into this with a deep, deep SEO backgrounds. So like real quick for people who aren't familiar with you, what was your kind of SEO background before you specifically came, started working with real estate investors?
Patti: Yeah. I was a project manager for a large consultancy with doing website builds for big clients like Lego and United Airlines, like they had big clients.
Dan: I didn't know you worked with Lego.
Patti: I did.
Dan: I'm jealous. That's amazing. [0:04:01.9]
Patti: It was pretty cool. But you know, fast forward a bit. I had kids.
Dan: Oh okay, got you. So you had kids, so your life ended and everything was over. Got you.
Patti: Yeah. No, but I did, I worked for a friend who needed help, he had a small company, he was doing all PPC, he was doing all AdWords, Bing, didn't have an SEO on, and I was like, "You know what, I don't think you need to pay for every single click to your website." I self-taught myself this, this was I think eight years ago that I got introduced to that, got into, learned analytics while on the job and then kind of dove into SEO as a response to that, to that there needs to be a better way to do this than buy every click. Yeah, so I've been doing it for myself for a long time now. [0:04:59.7]
Dan: Yeah, like you're background was in computer science in college, you went into project management, sort of website building, then you moved into SEO like you said, and you were essentially running your own consultancy which is called Reinvent Interactive, and that's when we met. Basically I was like, "Can we please work together in some capacity?" for like seven straight years, and then finally we sort of found a way to do it at AdWords Nerds, because when we started building the SEO team at AdWords Nerds I was like, you know, you're basically the only person that I wanted to have do that, and you've basically been in charge of that all project, it has been awesome.
Patti: Yeah, and we're getting really great results, so it's been fun.
Dan: So today, we're going to do a series of these episodes, basically the whole month and we're really going to try to move the needle for the average real estate investor, you're listening to this, basically you can think of this month as kind of like sort of SEO almost like master class, and we're going to be posting stuff in our Facebook group, we're going to be posting stuff on our blog, we're going to be doing shows here. [0:06:08.6]
So I wanted to kind of kick things off today by just getting into why SEO is so important and why it is so critical. Because I think investors as a whole can be very impatient, they're very result oriented, they want results now, and that's kind of led to a systematic, I don't want to say people are ignoring SEO, but I think that investors undervalue SEO. Do you think that's true?
Patti: Yeah, absolutely. I think our job really could be, maybe we can accomplish within September, Dan, we can demystify this whole SEO thing. I think people get very confused about what it is and what they can do to improve how they rank. I don't know, I think we can do it, I think that should really be the charge.
Dan: Let's start there. Let's first of all define SEO so that people, we know everybody's kind of on the same playing field here, there's a lot of real estate investors who are not super technical, so if you're listening to this, that's you. We'll define SEO, and then let's get into like why it is so important. [0:07:12.6]
People know like AdWords is my baby, Google Ads is where I've made my bones. Is that a saying? I don't know. Anyway, it's where I got started. I love Google Ads, but I think SEO is probably the most critical marketing channel for investors over the next five to ten years. I really think that. Let's define it first, like how would you define SEO. SEO acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you had to describe that to real estate investors not super technical, how do you describe what that is?
Patti: Yeah, I would say it is the actions and tactics and work that you do to improve the ranking of your website in search.
Dan: So when you say like "in search", what do you mean for someone who is like, "Well what does that mean exactly?" [0:08:05.6]
Patti: In Google, when you google your services, your brands, your offerings you want to show up, you want your website to rank there above your competitors, and there are things that you can do to your website on and of your website to improve how you're sowing, if you're showing. Now there's a lot of lot of places that you can show. I think Google search and search results themselves, but yeah, it's those actions and tactics that you do to improve that.
Dan: When someone types in your business name you want to show up first obviously, but if someone also types in "sell my house fast" r someone types in "home buyers in my area", something like that, you want your website to show up there, so that I just naturally click on you and find out your phone number and your contact information rather than evil camp tiger claw investors across the lake who are your competitors or whatever. [0:09:06.8]
Patti: That's right, that's right. And if you're not on that one, if you're not in the mix, just know that there is something that you can do about it. You can move from page three to page one. That's what we're talking about. What is thing you can do. What is that stuff.
Dan: And I would point out, so we're kind of transitioning now into why this is so important. One of the things I would point out, I think people know this but maybe they don't think about it. When someone finds you in Google or Bing or whatever, but I mean mostly it's Google, I don't say like, "I'm going to Bing that later." nobody says. We say "google". When you decide to Bing something on your phone or whatever and you type something in and I click on your website and then I contact you and sell my house to you, because I found you, you didn't pay for my information, you didn't pay to get me on your website, you didn't pay for me to contact you, you don't pay for that lead, it's free. [0:10:10.5]
So that's really the big, kind of important thing to know about this, is like contrast that with running Facebook ads, or of course, by beloved Google ads, you are not paying for every lead.
Patti: Right. Yeah, and I think if you put yourself in the user's perspective, the searcher, I never really thought about it exactly like this, but it's almost like it was their choice to click you, this wasn't interruption marketing, this wasn't some marketing that they had to move around or that pressed upon them, that was their looking for an answer, they had a series of results and it was a choice to make on that page. They chose you. I think that there's something, there's some credibility in that. Where they didn't like your catchy ad or you had a dog on a poster so that's what conned them into clicking, it's like you are the answer to their question. Right? [0:11:01.5]
Dan: Yeah. Can I tell you a really funny story about this?
Dan: This is really funny because this is literally exactly what you were just talking about, this happened to me. I went to a doctor recently, I had wanted a doctor to like look at my blood test because I have heart disease in my family and I'm very proactive about my health, so I like take all these blood tests and I'm like, okay, I'm going to go do this person who's like Men's health, heart health endocrine expert. Someone in that space, and I'm literally just, they're like a concierge doctors, so you pay them just to like look at my blood test, like sit down with me and tell me what's up.
Dan: I didn't realize you could do this, but you could do this, so I was like cool. I googled "men's health heart Connecticut", whatever, whatever I googled, and I found this dude and I looked at his Google reviews, he had really good Google reviews and I clicked on his website, the website said kind of the right stuff and I googled his name after that and didn't find anything that was like "this guy murdered my dad", so all sort of checked out. [0:12:08.1]
I was like, cool. He was the one that I chose based off all this research that I did, and I went to the office and sat down with him, and obviously very smart dude, but like talks... Like so people say I talk fast, alright, this dude talks really fast, and even said at one point in our session and, he was like, "I know that I come across as a little manic, I'm on the spectrum of like manic." So like bipolar, manic or whatever. He's talking a mile a minute, he's switching subjects like a million times. Like I'll ask a question and he'll like kind of not answer it, it's taking like 10 minutes to circle back. I came away from him being like... And by the way, all the blood tests were fine, it was great. But I came from him being like he was like, "We can keep working together on like a monthly basis if you want to be super, super proactive." [0:13:03.8]
I was like, okay, I have to make that decision. I was talking about it with my wife and I was like, "You know, his personality is kind of like, he comes across as like so hyper and like so manic and sort of weird." And she was like, "Are you sure about this dude? Like is this dude legit?" I was like, "Well, I did a bunch of research on him and I know he's legit." And then I thought about it, I was like I didn't really do any research. All I did was google and be like he has like five good reviews on Google and no murder reports also on Google, but to me in my head I had totally vetted the doctor, I know he's legit, even though several things about him are like not the most legit thing in the world that I've ever seen. So it's really funny, like the of depression that that gives to you. So you imagine if you're a seller, you're a home seller, you're doing these big transactions, big deal, everyone's telling you're going to get ripped off if you sell to a real estate investor, and how do you solve the problem of not having a lot of information? You google it. You just google it and you read what you read and that kind of informs your opinions. So it really does skew how you think about that whole relationship. [0:14:24.1]
Dan: Do you agree?
Patti: No, you're right.
Dan: I just told this long story to like off the subject a bit, but it's on my mind. This literally happened like two days ago.
Patti: That's funny.
Dan: But it's powerful.
Patti: I'm thinking about choosing a doctor, there are other sites that can help me through that. Right?
Dan: I know. He showed up on like Health Grades, all fine. But this is all that stuff is SEO. Right? Understanding where people review you and trying to get good reviews there. Making sure that websites that say bad things about you don't show up, making sure that your website and things that say good things about you do show up. All this falls under this umbrella of SEO. [0:15:05.5]
Patti: That's right. And also within context of your location, right? So is it near me, is it insert state name, insert city name, insert metro. You need to be there, you need to show up and you need to be within context of where your potential clients and customers are looking for you.
Dan: Absolutely. So like transitioning officially into why this is important, right, so we talked about one, really sets the tone for the whole relationship, people do a lot of research online, that kind of informs how they feel about you. I mean the other thing is just like on the pay per click side, on the advertising side of the internet there are a lot of structural changes that are happening right now that are raising prices. In fact, I talked about this before, I talked about this of this podcast, I've talked about this in the Facebook group where prices for motivated seller type keywords have risen consistently every year since 2008, and I don't really foresee that changing. [0:16:07.2]
Google does things, like Google has consistently changed their search results in a way that drive up the cost of ads for advertisers, because again, that's how ads, Google makes money. It's the same thing on Facebook where Facebook has a real problem with not being able to show enough ads. They know if they show ads all the time you will come on Facebook, and they kind of do all this experimentation to find that out. So they are systematically raising the price per lead. So structurally if you rely on just paid traffic, and again I'd love paid traffic, but it's like if all you do is rely on that, your cost per lead is going to go up and we are right now in a housing market where profit margins are slimmer, they are a lot more kind of thin deals going around because of the way that the housing market is acting right now, so it's like you are being squeezed in multiple ways and you never want to be just limited to a single marketing channel. Right? [0:17:11.5]
Patti: That’s right, that's what I was going to say. Like you're not going to just pick one, or if the result page of Google is this thing, you don't want to just limit yourself to right near and you could. You want to kind of show up in the map pack, there I am locally. There's all my reviews showing up, there's my organic listing straight to my website.
Dan: Yeah, you can list multiple things on a single page, and so you can even not just try to get the tops pop, but take multiple spots away from your competitors, yeah.
Patti: Yeah, and we may talk about this, here's a vocab word for the month of September, it's an acronym, it's SERP. So that's your Search Engine Result Page. Let me talk about how you're ranking in your SERP, it kind of encompasses the whole the...
Dan: To hear that word spoken aloud makes it impossible is to take anyone seriously. It's like, "Sir, sir, you have to make sure that your SERP is correct. That you show up in the SERP." I can't take that serously. [0:18:15.1]
Patti: You're not going to use it? We can just say search engine result page.
Dan: I will use it, but I will chuckle every time.
Patti: So the result page is what happens after you put rich keywords in, you hit go and then you've got your search engine result page. It kicks your rankings and all your other placements. Don't limit yourself, have SEO. It's important, and you know everyone knows it's important, everybody's googling themselves and their competitors and all their stuff all the time.
Dan: I think everyone knows it's important, but I also think that people, I think investors in general don't realize the effect that investing in that channel can have on their business. Like one of the things that we were talking about before this call when we were sitting down and thinking like what are the advantages of SEO over any other kind of marketing channel that investor will use, one of the things is the motivation level and intent level of the searcher.
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Dan: So can you talk about why are organic leads, your SEO leads so prized by real estate investors?
Patti: Yeah, we sort of touched on it a little while, you know, just a minute ago when we were talking about needing that search for intent. [0:20:01.2]
So if I'm the motivated seller looking for someone to help me sell what I've got going on, being there when that search is looking for you no matter what the keyword is, I think that we know what, you know we have a good handle I think over anybody else as to what he keywords that the searchers are looking for. Anyway, being there, doing their research, having that choice between you, your competitors, some national brands, that's another thing we can touch on too, is who we're really competing with in this landscape, but having someone go click, go to your website, maybe even leave, Dan, maybe leave, maybe come back to it like the next day, over the weekend, whatever, search again, there you are again, that brand impression, having you show up, seeing that name, "Oh, did I see that on a billboard? Did I see that on a sign in the neighborhood?" Maybe something with social, maybe something with paid. Having that kind of holistic view of your name keeping, kind of keeps coming up, that brand impression is really important. But yeah, but being there when someone's looking for you, clicking that, looking at your website within context of others that are... [0:21:15.5]
Dan: I think it's you're catching someone in the moment.
Dan: If you send someone a piece mail, whether or not they're interested in selling your house, you have no idea, you have no control over when they see that or the context when they see that, but if someone comes on Google and they type in "sell my house" you are catching them in the moment they are... This is really the moment at their highest motivation level. Because they took the action to seek out a solution to that problem. So if you can get someone in that moment, they're ready to go, this is not a situation most of the time where someone's going to need months and months and months of follow-up. I mean sometimes that's the case, but in that moment where they are searching, like if I go online and I'm like "pizza near me" I want pizza. I'm not doing research for six months from now, like this is why I'm searching this. Right? [0:22:16.0]
Patti: That's right, that's needing that intent.
Dan: Exactly, so that's what we're talking about. When we talk about searcher intent it's like what's intent for someone to type this into Google, it's to solve a problem. So if you can get someone in that moment, they're more likely to turn into deal than a lead that you got for example in response to a postcard where they're like, "I see this postcard, maybe I'm curious about it, maybe I'm not." You just get much higher motivation. Do you see that as being the case?
Patti: Absolutely. And I think if that combined with, you know a lot of times we'll talk about follows and nurturing leads like in other marketing, kind of like what this needing the searcher intent at the different levels, I think this audience, what's important for these real estate investors isn't getting them kind of like up here in the funnel. [00:23:03] Those are highly motivated, highly actionable, not only the language, the keywords that they're putting in tell us that they're really looking to solve this solution, looking to partner up with somebody now, it's not a long pipe line. For sure.
Dan: So I think another reason that investors, if you're not doing SEO or if you've kind of been doing SOE in kind of a haphazard or a lackadaisical way, I think another reason you really need to think about this channel and you need to think about investing in the channel, again, it's like doesn't have to be with us, but this could be just on your own time, this could be... You know, doing anything, is the fact that your competitors are doing this. Your competitors, I will guarantee you if you go into any market, if you look at the most sophisticated, the most successful investors in your market, they are investing in this channel, and that is a serious competitive advantage. [0:24:05.0]
I've put this out, like I think a lot of people don't think about this, even if paid traffic, so ads, or direct mail is your primary marketing method, so even if you're like, "Look, I don't even do SEO, I don't care who's there. I do all Google ads or I do all whatever." What ends up happening is that your competitors that invest organic traffic get those low cost to free leads. What that does is allow them to undercut their advertising costs. If you are, let's say getting a 100 leads a month and you are paying X amount of dollars for that and your competitors are getting 100 leads a month from ads, but they're also getting 50-100 leads from organic for free, that essentially cuts their lead cost in half. And they can reinvest that money to outbid and out-compete you. So this organic source of traffic, even if it doesn't end up been your biggest source of traffic, even if it's not your primary source of leads, it allows you to like severely upset kind of the competitive balance. [0:25:13.3]
A lot of people who do ads kind of come to me and they say like, "Look, my competitor's paying like so much for these leads, like how is it possible that he's paying so much for these leads?" and I'm like, "Well you know, they're probably getting organic leads too and using that to cut their costs." It's a huge competitive advantage to have this space, own this space when your competitors aren't doing so.
Patti: Right. I will help argue that organic, your placement in it, how you're found, how you show, what that stuff looks like when someone searches for you, your name, whether or not you're at the top when people are searching in your area, is assisting both in that paid and non-paid. Right? [0:26:00.0]
So say I search, I click on a paid ad, I go to it and then I'm researching that company, just like you did with that doctor, right? You started with the service, then you found the doctor, now you're searching the doctor. Right? So what if nothing showed up? What if you had to go to page two or three to find something about this guy? You really want to show, and it's a little hard to track that. As much as I'm... I'm talking about the assisting. It's kind of hard to track where someone goes once they leave your site and kind of where...
Dan: I think we see this in our own business, and I think a lot of investors who find this, so a lot of people who listen to this podcast for example, like I would bet money that the vast majority of people who listen this podcast have seen something else from me online. Whether that's an ad or a Facebook post or whatever, and a lot of people that come into AdWords Nerds to work with us will say stuff like, "I saw you online for like two years and it's just finally time for me to go." We very consciously... The reason that we do this podcast and we have the Facebook group and we send out emails every day, run ads on Facebook and on Google, the reason that I do all that stuff and the reason that we put out so much free stuff, so a lot of this is not even sales pitchy stuff, it's just free content, free material, it's because I know if people see us everywhere they will come to know, like and trust me over time. [0:27:27.0]
If I constantly prove that I'm willing to deliver value, people will come to trust what I say, and so if I tell someone, "Hey, you're a good fit to work with us." they will believe me because I have a track record. Right? So very similarly, if a motivated seller is going online and they see on Google, then they see you on Facebook, then they see you, you send them a postcard and then they see you on a billboard and then you do a radio ad and then you like show up, you're outside their bushes in the middle of the night peering into their window and they're like, "Hey, it's that guy."
Dan: Maybe not that, but there's accumulative effect of all that, those pieces add up to more than the some of their parts. Is a kind of like what you would say? [0:28:10.0]
Patti: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. When I said it's a little hard to track, I didn't mean, very little of this is actually hard to track. If you do it right you can track all of this, all of visitors where they came from, where they were before they got to you, whatever, but it's nailing down that emotional trigger that caused that client to kind of choose you. Where were they exactly? Well okay, so they saw the ad, they clicked this, they did that, they did this, they came to Google, they came in the door organically, whatever. It's getting those touch points right and making sure that your visibility, your brand impression, everything is tight, that you're showing up.
Dan: Yeah. You're kind of touching on this, we sort of mentioned it before, but all this ties into if you're doing direct mail organic's a big part of that picture too. Can you talk about like for investors that are primarily doing their marketing with direct mail? Which is great, like I always say like people expect me to not like direct mail, I think direct mail's an amazing marketing channel for investors, been proven over time. [0:29:13.9]
So if you are investing in direct mail, how does organic search, like people going on Google, how does that affect that, or do people go on Google and look up the postcards that they get, like what is the connection there?
Patti: I would imagine. If you were just, something came in mail, something sounded too good or is this real or I need to get out of this house, this sounds like it's right for me, but it seems to good to be true. Aren't you, you're googling that stuff. I would love to do a study, Dan. Imagine doing this where we send out the same number of postcards, one has a website, one has nothing to be found online and see if that phone's ringing and if those leads are coming in. Wouldn't that be interesting?
Dan: Yeah, I mean I think it would be cool. I think you'd get a lot of people too that are searching for like "Dan Barnett home buyer scam" and stuff like that. Right? [0:30:08.9]
Patti: That's true. Yeah, yeah. They're researching just like you did with the doctor. Right?
Dan: Exactly. I mean I think it's... Everybody, especially as we start to get into the situation, which is where we are now where the people that are primarily selling homes are primarily the younger boomers to Generation X. These are people that are very comfortable with the internet, very comfortable with the idea of googling to find research on something and see if something's legit. I think you just know that if you are sending out direct mail you are getting people that are doing research on you who are trying to figure out if you're legit. So same thing, like I googled the doctor's name and checked out reviews and checked out the website because I'm like is this legit. Like if I'm going to give my blood to some dude, like I want to know what does he do with it. You know what I mean? You think about home selling where some people are just they're in a situation where it doesn't matter and they're looking for any way out of it, but the vast, the hugest part, the biggest percentage of that market is going to need some kind of reassurance that you are not just some rando stealing their house. Right? [0:31:22.1]
Patti: Exactly. On top of that, if you think that through, what would somebody want to see on a website? This goes more to conversion rate optimization, but what would they want to see on that website if they got this postcard, they're researching you, they land on your website, some of the tactics or some of the content on the site could really push them over from just getting them to fill out that form to get them to take that action could be what? Some social proof? It could be some reviews, it could be some video testimonials where they're looking at someone that's in their same area, in their same location, it's near them and their process and why they're motivated to sell. I think all of those sort of subtle touch points are what's going to enable that lead to pull the trigger, you pick up a phone or fill out the form. You know? [0:32:15.1]
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean I think we've kind of covered a lot, just today we talked about structural changes driving up costs, we talked about the higher intent of the leads, we talked about competitors taking a serious competitive advantage if you don't get in there, we talked about the effect of direct mail, we talked about the ecosystem effect of kind of be everywhere, we've talked about a ton of stuff. I think the main takeaway I want people to get from this, and remember, we're spending this whole month on this subject. We're going to get deep into what's SEO and how to do it well and how to get results from it, but the thing I want investors listening to this to take away is that this is a huge potential source of leads and deals. [0:33:02.2]
It is a massively important marketing channel, it affects everything else that you are doing, it is tied into everything, this is how people research, how people find information, how they solve problems. If you are not in this organic marketing channel, if you're not in Google when someone types something in, if you are not doing SEO, you don't exist for the vast majority of people, and that is not a sustainable position for a real estate investor to be in. We got into 2020, I mean literally 20, we're going to year 2020. Like it's the future already.
Patti: This is the world works.
Dan: Yeah. It's how the world works. So just don't, I want you to just realize you don't have to spend a bunch of money, you don't have to spend a bunch of time, but have a plan, have something in place. So over the next couple weeks Patti and I, we're going to get into this, we're going to help you develop this plan to make sure you are here in this, probably the most important marketing channel of all for real estate investors going in the next five to ten years. [0:34:14.2]
So Patti, you're amazing, as always, you are incredible and you're going to be here for the rest of the month helping people do this, so I just want to say thank you and I really appreciate you coming to do this and I'm very happy that this audience finally gets to hang out with you and spend some time with you.
Patti: Yeah, great, thank you. This is awesome.
Dan: Cheers, everybody, we'll be talking to you soon.
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