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 AdWords 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: All right, hello everybody, and welcome to this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWordsNerds.com. How are you? [00:55.5]
Listen, if you aren't ready for an absolutely fantastic episode, you need to buckle in. This episode is an in-depth interview with Damon Remy from REI BlackBook, but we are not here to talk about online marketing automation or anything like that. We are here to talk about SMS, text marketing.
If you are not aware, there are major regulatory changes coming down the pipe right now that are going to infect—or affect, I should say, but infect works, too—going to affect how you use text messaging in your marketing. There are investors, clients of mine, right now, getting fined tens of thousands of dollars for marketing over text in the wrong way.
In this interview, Damon is going to go in depth, not only on the history of text marketing, so that you understand where we are right now, but going to go into the regulations that are taking place and talk about what the landscape of text marketing looks like for investors in the future. [02:05.0]
This is a truly—and I mean this sincerely—very important episode. If you are doing any kind of text marketing or you're ever thinking of doing text marketing, you've got to listen to this episode. Without any further ado, let's get into my interview with Damon Remy.
Daniel: All right. Hello everybody. This is Daniel Barrett and I am here with Damon Remy from REIBlackBook.com. How are you, Damon? What's going on, man?
Damon: I’m good, man. I’m good. To be candid, I’m heading into relaxation mode and ready to go to the lake, to be very truthful.
Daniel: Are you, seriously?
Damon: Oh, yeah, man.
Daniel: Are you going on “vacation” vacation or what's up?
Damon: We just got a place at the lake, lake in the Ozarks, man.
Damon: And we just got a new boat, just family time on the water, dude.
Daniel: Dude, right now, you can't see us because whenever we're on Zoom, but right now my desktop wallpaper is a picture of a lake house. [03:08.2]
Daniel: That’s my big goal for the next five years. It’s to get a lake house or share a lake house with my cousin or whatever, whatever I’ve got to do, because the last couple times I’ve been up to it, I was never really a lake person growing up or whatever, but the last couple of times we took a week or two out on a lake and it just is immediate decompression for me. It is wild.
Damon: Yeah, dude, I love it. Sincerely, man, jump on a plane and bring a family, bro. No kidding, man. Anytime you can come in.
Daniel: I would love that.
Damon: I’ve got to tell yam, lake in the Ozarks is not quite like the show Ozarks, though. I keep seeing the Ozarks show on Netflix. I mean, I’ve been around.
Daniel: It’s not going to be like that?
Damon: Yeah, I haven't seen any meth yet, do you know what I mean?
Daniel: You’ve got to bring it. I mean, it’s not just going to be there.
Damon: Oh. I’ll eventually learn. I’ll get it. I’ll get it figured out, man. I’ve just been doing it wrong, geez. [03:58.5]
Daniel: All right. For people who have not, because you've been on the podcast before and they can definitely look up those past episodes, but for anybody who is not familiar with you and maybe not familiar with REI BlackBook, which is a truly—and I mean this sincerely and I’m not just saying this because you're on the show—an extremely impressive piece of software that does a lot of stuff. Give people just kind of the elevator pitch of who you are and what REI BlackBook is all about.
Damon: Yeah, so the backstory, man, and the reason it does so much is because we needed it to do so much, right? I was in the mortgage business. We focused on real estate investors, and much like you do for your clientele, it's always like, How do we provide more value for our clients, instead of trying to pitch mortgage rates? Everybody's got the lowest rate in town, right? So, how do you compete on a commodity?
So, we started providing tools to real estate investors and it was a pretty simple premise: hey, man, if I could help you do more deals, help you stay more organized and I can help you exit those deals faster, then you're going to come back to me for more financing, right? [05:04.3]
I’ve got to tell you, man, it worked like gangbusters. We started to build out websites and CRM tools, and just marketing, really marketing automation to help them find more deals, and that was working like gangbusters. We gave it away for free here. I’m from St. Louis, so it was in the St. Louis market, gave it away for free, so we’d get more loans and get more financing.
It worked awesome until 2008 and this little hole, the economy kind of had a challenge and we affectionately call that the “mortgage market meltdown”, right? It was all these banks. Literally, I mean, we were doing 100-plus loans a month, dude. It went from 100-plus loans a month to 10 and it was a panic button. It was like, But we looked, man, and we're like, dude, this is probably going to be one of the best times to buy real estate, but, unfortunately, we can't make money off doing loans anymore because all the banks are shutting down. So, we just pivoted and we asked simple questions like, Hey, man, it may be crazy, but what if people would actually subscribe and pay money for the software? [06:03.1]
And that's what we did, man, so I’m an accidental software guy. I had a tech background, so we were building software internally, so that's really why we started building the software. It’s because I have a deep tech background, but it started off with a simple CRM. It started off then, added websites, and then we got a phone system. It really is an all-in-one platform for real estate investors, right? Websites, hosting, all this stuff.
Daniel: Yeah, I was going to say, it's one of the things that makes REI BlackBook so cool and so special. Even with the best sort of single-use software tool that you can find for anything that a real estate investor is going to do, the challenge always comes to “How do I get stuff from one place into the other place and connect it from this thing to the other thing?” and having everything within REI BlackBook is just so cool because it opens up these really neat kind of automations and these kind of things you can build in there that are really pretty awesome and pretty unique in the space. [07:00.2]
Damon: Yeah, we try to make it easy for the real estate investor to stop, like, Hey, focus on doing what you do, which is talking to sellers, evaluating properties, making offers. That's how you make money as a real estate investor. You don't make real money as a real estate investor integrating Podio to RingCentral, right? And then when it breaks.
Then, ultimately the worst part, man, on all of that—and, again, longtime tech guy—is the data being in multiple places and not sure where your source of truth is. We try to eliminate that. Hey, we’ve got one single central source of truth and eliminate the integrations, and just kind of more turnkey automation for you.
Daniel: Yeah, I love automation. The way I procrastinate is by connecting different things with Zapier and stuff, so I love it. I’m that guy. I will tell you, it always breaks. There's never when it doesn't break. It’s that something always breaks.
Damon: It's not if. It's when, or it has it already and you just don't know about it, right? That’s the worst part. [08:03.0]
Daniel: I know. There's one that says, “Whatever.”
Daniel: Okay, so that's REI BlackBook. If you have not checked it out, it's REIBlackBook.com. Go, check it out. There's that.
Now, the reason that I invited you on the show this time around was because I was complaining online that there are all these changes that are happening right now for real estate investors in the world of text message marketing. This is something that my clients do and they've had a lot of success with, but it's not something I know much about and I was hearing all this stuff about regulation and it’s changing, and someone was like, Hey, do you know that Damon basically knows this stuff backwards and forwards? and I was like, Damon. I know Damon. That's why you are here. You're basically here to educate me and, with me, the audience, about kind of what's going on in this sort of space. [08:55.5]
Before we jump all the way to what's going on right now, let's kind of define or can we talk a little bit or kind of tell me a little bit about what text marketing is or SMS marketing is, and how investors have been using it up until now. Where does it fit in the kind of average investors marketing ecosystem?
Damon: I think most investors today are using it really primarily for texting for lead generation, right? Go get a list, right? Absentee owner, whatever the list is, let's go ahead and skip trace it. Let's append the phone numbers and then let's just send them out a blast text message. “Hey, are you interested in selling your house?” Right? And then just wait for those responses. Texting is a super-effective platform because the open rate is ridiculous. It's something like a 98% open rate and somewhere in the neighborhood of 70–80% of those are opened in the first two minutes, right?
Damon: It's super-effective open rates. When it comes to marketing, it's all about buying attention and getting eyeballs on your message, so sending out a text message like that, knowing that 98% of the folks, so if I send out 100 text messages out, 98 people were going to open it and the majority of them are going to open it up within the first two minutes. Then the response rate, literally the response rate is something like 40%, right? [10:15.8]
Texting itself, absolutely phenomenal. I know why people love to use it for lead generation. Unfortunately, quite frankly, most people are doing it wrong anyway, because they're already violating the Do Not Call list, so it's the same stuff, right? Calling or texting, you still have to go and say, Look, you’ve got to scrub those numbers against the Do Not Call list.
Then, sincerely, most folks aren't even registered at “Do Not Call”. If you're doing any sort of cold calling, any sort of texting like that, you need to. Especially for marketing-solicitation purposes, you must register at DoNotCall.gov. It's free. They will actually give you five area codes for free that says, Hey, look, here are the numbers that are on the Do Not Call list in these five area codes. Above the five, you do have to pay per zip code. I think if you subscribed to every zip code in the country, it's $18,000 a year to get that. [11:05.6]
Now, there are other ways you can, of course, go, subscribe and other software platforms will help you scrub against the Do Not Call list and stuff like that, but that's really it, man. I mean, it's super effective, super engaging. Unfortunately, even the way they historically have been doing it, most are probably still doing it wrong and violating, at a minimum, that the “Do Not Call”.
Daniel: That series of regulations that basically says, Look, if you're going to text for solicitation purposes, you've got to scrub against the “Do Not Call”, that is federal regulation, right?
Daniel: Is there then state regulation? This is not even what we're talking about now, but preexisting state regulation that's state by state where you’ve got to know that?
Damon: Yeah, there's a couple of key moments in the history of all this stuff, right? The very first legislation that regulates all of this is called the TCPA, the TCP Act, the Telephone Communications Protection Act of 1991. [12:03.8]
Daniel: A great year, by the way.
Damon: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Daniel: Fantastic year.
Damon: Is that the year you graduated maybe or something?
Daniel: I think it was ’11, but you know …
Damon: Okay, since you were saying, I think you're that old, man. But 1991, this is actually before text messaging, too.
Daniel: Right, yeah, interesting.
Damon: The first text message didn't go out until December 1992, right? Anyway, they passed this law and there was some really important stuff that had just happened technology-wise in the late-80s and these auto dialers were created. I’m talking about the old-school auto dialers and what people were doing, these big telemarketing companies, man, all big companies, right, these telemarketing departments, these dialers would literally dial every damn number, either sequentially or randomly. If I say, Hey, I want to call everybody in 314, it just starts dialing, right?
All of a sudden, this is the biggest complaint, and every now and then, the government will step in and act whenever there are a lot of complaints from Americans, right? But Congress came in and said, All right, this is absolutely a nuisance. We're going to go ahead and put a stop to this. [13:11.8]
Now, that wasn't the Do Not Call list or anything else. That was the Telephone Communications Protection Act of 1991 and there were a few key things that it really did, but a) they set times, the times that you could call, and then they also made some rules of what you could do, unsolicited versus solicited. If you're sitting in an unsolicited message, you have to follow certain rules, right? That was 1991.
Unfortunately, it really didn't curtail it. It didn't really curtail it, and so in the early-2000a, I think it was 2003, they came out. That's really whenever they started the Do Not Call list, right? They'll say, Hey, look, this stuff still isn't working, so we're going to create this national registry. If you don't want to receive these calls, you can go up out of the calls, right? Now, here's the crazy thing. As at the last time I checked, which was probably two weeks ago, there are 241 million registrations on the Do Not Call list. [14:05.3]
If you think about it just from that perspective, if I’m literally following the law and trying to be compliant, then I don't have that. That tool just shrunk dramatically, right? Massively. Okay, there are only 330 million Americans people in the U.S, right?
Damon: It's basically the one-third of America that forgot to do it, right, yeah, yeah.
Damon: Right. Now, chances are they really maybe need to sell the house, who knows, right? But if you follow the true just regulations, and that's the stuff that's been around for 20-plus years, man. That's not new. Now, here's the deal, though. That still didn't help anything.
That still did not help anything, so they came out in 2009 and they basically said that you cannot spoof. What telemarketers would do is, technology advanced and so now I can just call you and the caller ID, I could show up any caller ID number. Now, all of a sudden, it's like, how do I track this person down? All of this stuff. [15:05.8]
It really became this kind of cat-and-mouse game where the laws are on the books, but people are violating it still continually every day because it's so overwhelming and it's difficult to track these folks down, and the statute of limitation was a year. If you didn't catch you within a year.
Daniel: Wow. Really?
Daniel: Because I was just going to say, my question during all of this is like, you could pass as many laws as you want, but what does the enforcement look like? How consistent is the enforcement? What's the penalty? Sort of the statute of limitations, like you said, is very short and it takes time just to catch up to me.
Daniel: That’s interesting.
Damon: Last year I believe there were almost 4 million complaints on this stuff, right? The unwanted text messages, the unwanted calls, and everything else. They're overwhelmed, man, absolutely overwhelmed. The enforcement of it is tough. [16:02.0]
But here's what they did. In December 2019, they actually signed into law the TRACED Act. Okay, so we’ve got TCPA in the early-90s. In the 2000s, we’ve got the Do Not Call list. In 2010, you can no longer spoof the number, but again, people still did it because of like, Hey, you can't catch me, right, super hard to enforce.
So, in December, 2019, they signed the TRACED Act, T-R-A-C-E-D, and I have the acronym on my computer. I’ve got to totally switch screens, but the one word, the “C” stands for criminal, okay? But that's really important to understand, right, because they're saying, Hey, look, man, we're so tired of this crap, we're going to turn us into criminal activity if you continue.
But there are some really important things that the TRACED Act did. First of all, it increased the statute of limitations up to four years, so bad acts today can bite you in 2025, right? They increased the statute of limitations. They increased the financial penalties up to $10,000 per text message. [17:10.4]
Daniel: Per message?
Damon: Per message. I’ll tell you, man, I actually just talked to an investor the other day. He's a national speaker. I’m not going to drop his name, but actually he's like, Dude, I sent three text messages and got sued, tried to settle out of court. They would not. They would not and three text messages end up costing just shy of 25,000 bucks.
Daniel: He got sued by the person that they texted or they got--
Damon: The recipient. The recipient sued him and said, Hey, look, you don't have permission. This is a violation of the TCPA, again, of 1991, and they knew what they were doing, hiring an attorney. There are a ton of these attorneys, by the way, anytime [crosstalk].
Daniel: I was going to say I remember reading, a long time ago, so my memory might be fine, but I remember reading that there was a group of people in California who were going around and, just basically, they would go up and down the street and they would look for buildings where the ramps weren't compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. [18:14.2]
They'd be like, Cool, I’m going to sue this person, and they very much viewed themselves as I’m a warrior for justice or whatever, right? But they were really just litigating and making money and whatever, and so I was going to say, anytime you open up the sink, so there are people who are like, Awesome, because I know the rule and you just broke the rule and I can go to someone that's like, Hey, have you been texted? and sort of use that as a way to kind of get back at you and make some money. Is that the thing that happens right now?
Damon: Yeah, absolutely, man. I mean, you've got these attorneys that take these cases on because, honestly, it's pretty easy to prove, especially with the texting. Calling is a little tougher, call record, but texting is super easy to prove, right? And, yeah, you’ve got professional litigators, man. [19:00.0]
They would almost bait you into these conversations, and the next thing you know, you're five messages in and, man, now with the 10,000 fine. It'd be a $50,000 fine. It's insane. But long story short, that guy got sued. Three text messages costing almost 25 grand in attorney fees and the judge ruled in against him.
They're increasing the statute of limitations now up to four years, increasing the financial penalties up to 10 grand per message. They also then said, you know what? The problem is we’ve got to have a better way to really track this. They put that onus really on the telecommunication companies, Verizon, AT&T, all those companies. They said, Hey, look, you guys have to really go, find a way to really either prevent this or stop it.
That’s really what you're seeing right now. It's really interesting how the telephone companies are trying to spin this like they're trying to really save our phones and everything else. No, look, legislation was passed. You're being forced to do this. [19:59.0]
June 30 is the deadline where they have to have implemented this new technology, which is basically tracking technology. They call it the STIR/SHAKEN protocol and that just makes it technically easier for AT&T and everybody else to track down the violations, if you will.
Daniel: The “stir shaken”, like “shaken, not stirred,” like that? Spelled like that?
Damon: But, anyway, they're implementing new technology. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, they're all coming together and they're basically saying, Hey, look, we're going to now be able to track back—and the way they're doing that, now you're starting to see, if you're going to be texting, you're going to be calling and you're going to do these types of things, you now have to register your phone number with the carriers.
Daniel: Okay. Sure.
Damon: Yeah, so I’ve got to go register my phone number. I’ve got to tell them. I’ve got to give them either my social security number or ultimately my EIN number, so I’ve got to give them my business identity number. [21:00.7]
Daniel: Your tax kind of ID.
Damon: Yeah, the tax ID number, right, and I’ve got to tell them what industry I’m in. Then, what they now do is that's going to give you a trust score, almost like a credit score. Based upon your business and reputation, they've already built the algorithms, and they'll go out and they'll assign you a trust score.
I’ve got to tell you, I don't think that the real estate space is going to be … I don't think we're going to get a good grading. We're probably one of the biggest violators of all of the freaking unwanted messages, man. It really is, so I don't think that we're going to get a good rating, the industry, but then that will determine your throughput. Now, all of a sudden, instead of being able to send out messages at a certain rate or whatever, the carriers will then choke down your deliverability, your throughput.
Daniel: Wow. Interesting. The trust score is at the industry level or it's at the individual?
Damon: The industry plays a part of it, but it is going to be at the individual level, and you're also going to have to register it. You're going to have to give them samples of your campaigns, okay? [22:05.2]
Daniel: Ahead of time, yeah, yeah.
Damon: So, now all of a sudden, this is changing in the name of the game, and then they're also going to make it easier for consumers to report the violations.
Now, the fifth thing that the TRACED Act did is it also removed liability from Verizon and from all the carriers. It removed liability if they block a message that they feel is spam. Now they don't have any liability. They can actually block these messages and now that's why you're seeing a ton. Deliverability, already, it's down really bad now.
Damon: This almost just reminds me of email in the ’90s, right? Email in the late-90s. Everybody was like, Oh, this is rocking. I can spam everybody and sell my stuff and, man, make a lot of money. But then, eventually, they came in and said, Hey, no, we've got to regulate this, and I don't think they did a great job of regulating email, so now email is not as effective. Email, too, at one point in time had a 98% open rate, right? You opened every damn email. It certainly ain’t that way anymore. [23:07.8]
Daniel: Because you didn’t get that many, right? That has become part of the thing. Yeah, then you’ve got CAN-SPAM and all this stuff, the kind of the regulatory acts that really influenced that, but, ultimately, when you look at now today, I really love that metaphor, by the way, that connection of email to texts because when you look at the email universe today, one, the primary throttlers of your deliverability are at the server- and email-provider level, right? It's like you can't spam a ton of stuff from Gmail. They won't let you. It's not like the government is not letting you. They're just not going to let you get past that point, right?
Damon: Send and receive, right. If I’m on Verizon, trying to send out text messages and/or whatever provider, we were a big text provider, right? I mean, we do text messaging on the platform, which is why I’ve been studying and following this for so long. It’s like, okay, at the same time, they can also see that, Hey, look, you just sent the same text message to 1,000 people on Verizon. They’ve built the algorithms. [24:09.4]
You know this, man. It’s always cat and mouse. They've got a bunch of smart people, engineers designing and building all of these things to prevent the sending of that mass traffic and even the receiving side. That's really what's happening right now.
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Daniel: If you are an investor, let's say you're an investor and you're getting started now, okay, and you want to use SMS marketing going forward. The burden on you is to, for one, you've got to scrub against the Do Not Call list. [25:10.5]
Daniel: Right? Two, you've got to register with your provider and you've got to have a trust score that's high enough that will allow you to have any sort of throughput whatsoever.
Daniel: If you then do that, your deliverability will also be lower simply because of spam filtering or whatever it is.
Damon: The carrier can still filter everything else. Now, my take on this ultimately, here's where I think it's going, the summary of this. I think texting for lead generation is going to be severely impacted. Now, all this was supposed to be in place by June 30, but they're really starting to realize that it's probably a little bit tougher to take on, so I don't think we're going to see these massive changes by June 30, but I do believe that, by the end of the year, I think they're going to probably catch up. [25:57.2]
I think if you're using texting for lead generation, first of all, I’m not a big fan of that type of marketing. I don't like the annoyance. For me, personally, the first time they hear of REI BlackBook and my brand, I don't want them to be off just because I send them a text message they don't want, right?
Damon: And I know other people have a different opinion on that. I get it. Hey, look, it's high engagement rates, super-high effective response rates. I get why people do it and are still doing it. I do believe it's going to change pretty dramatically, and so really where texting is going to be going, which is what we use it for and what we've been using it for for a long time, is the follow-up.
If we can get all of this stuff cleaned up and really start implementing basically this A2P, application to person, right? Application, REI BlackBook is an application. We send text messages to a person, so A2P. Then you're hearing this 10DLC, which, really, all it is is just a 10-digit phone number, right? It's (314)-805-1111, okay, 10 digits. A lot of the text messaging was coming from short codes and stuff like that, but now it's like, Hey, look, it's pretty easy to go get a 10-digit number and texts. [27:09.0]
But really what the carriers are doing is they're basically going to separate these applications that are sending out these mass text messages, like REI BlackBook. Basically, they're going to say, Hey, look, you guys are going to have your own network, but you have to register the phone number. You have to tell us the carrier. You're going to basically get this trust score, and based upon your trust score is going to depend upon your deliverability, all of these different things.
That's what's really happening today and I believe really what they're trying to do, man, is they're trying to protect it. They're trying to protect that ecosystem, because if they don't, man, it's really going to be just like email, and I guarantee you, if you're anything like me, you probably have 10 to 100,000 unread emails that you've just never even seen and/or they don't even make it to your inbox because you never see them anyway. Right?
Daniel: I mean, put it in perspective, you're saying the open rate on texts, which is kind of the unspoiled wilderness or at least it was, was 90% or 95%. [28:07.7]
I had a client email me recently and say, “Hey, I would love to get some consulting time on our emails. We send out cold emails for lead gen and I feel our open rates are really low,” and I was like, Oh, that stinks. What's your open rate? He's like, 30 to 45%, and I was like, What the heck are you talking about? That's amazing on a cold email. I want you to teach me. What are you doing?
Damon: Where do I send the check, man? I’ve got to refund you, for sure, though.
Daniel: I know. It's a universe where low open rates are the norm.
Daniel: They are the norm, and because you know this just as well as I, I did not make this. My friend, Patti Dalessio, was the one who coined this term to me a long time ago, which is that just marketers ruin everything. We ruin everything.
Damon: A hundred percent do.
Daniel: [crosstalk] will burn it to the ground, right? In a lot of ways, I think maybe this will make the world a better place. I mean, hopefully, right? [29:02.6]
But I do think it's kind of like what you're saying, it's sort of a mindset shift away from “text is the way I reach a new person” to “when I’ve generated the lead, text is the way that I both deepen and reinforce that relationship that I train them to respond to me, that I engage with them further.”
For you guys, REI BlackBook, one of the things that REI BlackBook does is allow you to build these really sophisticated follow-up systems to use text, email simultaneously, and all this cool stuff. When you see investors using text messaging effectively and using it in a way that they can continue using it, so using it the right way, because you've said multiple times that part of the problem is we’ve just never done this the right way to begin with. What are those right ways or those best practices for the stuff that you see REI BlackBook clients doing, where they're getting the juice out of the orange? [30:04.3]
Damon: It’s permission-based, man. When I talk about this, it's like, man, how would you like to interact with a company? How do you want to be treated as a consumer? We're all consumers of something. It’s like, how do you want to be treated, right? That's kind of my rule of thumb, the basic element.
Now, what does that really mean? It means that I don't just randomly send people text messages, and I’m only communicating with people that really do want to communicate with me and they've raised their hand.
How do they raise their hand? I do some sports, some form of content marketing. Maybe I’m driving ads. Maybe I’m doing radio. Maybe I’m doing TV. Maybe I’m doing pay-per-click, SEO, whatever. They’ve raised their hand and said, You know what? I definitely want to hear from you.
Now, the truth of it is most of us, for me personally, I love to communicate via text. If I have a way to get the information and just text without having to pick up the phone and call a sales rep, right?
Daniel: Yeah, I never want to talk to anyone for any reason. You are okay. Everybody else just text me, it’s fine. Yeah. [31:05.4]
Damon: And, look, even this is limited time, right? We can't do this.
Daniel: Yeah, [unclear 31:10.1]. That’s the one I’m okay with, yeah, yeah.
Damon: It’s been a month or two since I’ve talked to you, so, okay, we could, yeah. But I think that's the biggest thing. It's like, okay, now we have to do something to create the inbound. Really, the mindset, the pivot is, Hey, look, this outbound cold calling, cold texting, and can I really pivot and start creating this inbound and then use those other technologies texting to nurture that relationship, because that's still how people want to communicate? Right?
If they go to my website and they opt in, then I’m going to send them back a text message right away and I’m going to ask for their phone number, and that's the cool thing about REI Blackbook. You literally can shoot them a text message back right away, and then engage with them in a conversation. Right? Conversational texting and everything else, I mean, that's still really what we're looking for, right? [32:03.3]
Have them text in keywords more info on this thing or that. Maybe you want to build your buyers list and you put the property out there. You don't advertise the price, but you have them text, text the keyword to get the price texted back, so now I’m building my buyers list and now I can engage with them via text messaging, right?
The reason I’m saying those is because those actually are two ways to get written permission. To really text the way you need, you need written authorization, right? It's very clear in the law that you need pre-written authorization. Two ways to do that is have them opt in on your website and/or a text and a keyword.
Now, the third way is to have them actually sign a physical piece of paper, but I don't even know how to do that anymore. You've got to have them come to my office?
Daniel: You're already there. You should probably just be asking about the house.
Damon: Yeah, we should just be talking at that point. [32:58.8]
Daniel: To make this clear to people because if you're listening to this and you're not super technical, what Damon is saying, which I think is so important to understand, is the way that REI BlackBook can work is when they land on your website, they fill up a form. They put in their phone number. REI BlackBook will text them for you and basically start that conversation.
I’ve said this a million times because I love online lead gen. This is what I do, obviously. It's my thing. I believe in that chain. But when leads are coming from the online universe as a lead source, they're coming in from the internet, that is a noisy distracting place, and the number one factor that determines how many of those leads you end up talking to and ultimately closing is how quickly did you follow up from the moment they put in their information? Because if I’m online and I enter in my information and I’m hot in that moment two seconds later, the baby can start crying. The dog can start barking. The mailman comes. It's like anything that can happen to pull me away from that moment and decrease my level of motivation. [34:11.8]
The faster you get me on the phone or the faster you get me to an appointment, the more likely you are to catch me in that moment where I’m still really motivated, right? It's like that's what it's all about. This instantaneous nature of texting or emailing that a tool like REI BlackBook can give you, it's faster than a person could ever do it -
Daniel: - and it starts that conversation. I mean, it's so critical.
Damon: And it'll do it every time, even on Sunday, right? It's like, hey, it's crazy, and that really is kind of the key, right? It is speed to lead. I saw a study done that said that, if a lead reaches out, so an online lead goes to your website, calls in, whatever they do, if they reach out, they don't talk to you live, your chances of closing that deal or actually even having a conversation decreased by 100 times if you don't talk to them and initiate, engage, respond within the first 15 minutes, 100X. [35:10.0]
Daniel: Wow. I hadn't heard that. That's amazing. That's a massive effect. That’s why.
Damon: Yeah, I mean, just think about that. Literally, if you're not reaching back out to that lead and, I mean, that's your world, man. I mean, obviously I’ve had you come in and train my tribe, audience, whatever you want to call them, my members on, so that's your world. Think about the folks that you're driving leads. So, think about the folks, you’re driving leads.
First of all, first and foremost, you spend all that time, energy, effort, the money, everything to generate a phone call, to generate that click, to generate that web-form submission, and then you don't respond? What? Then worst of all, okay, cool, let's say that we respond, but the truth of it is it's a long sales cycle. We don't get a lot of wins on the first call. I mean, it's just not like, oh, yeah, send over the contract. I’ll sign it. Right? That doesn't happen, and so you’ve got to put them into these follow-up sequences, which are crucial, man. [36:03.8]
Daniel: I mean, I think that the thing you hit on, too, is just consistency and “the” most consistent person ever is not going to be as consistent as a piece of software or a piece of technology. Right? Wherever, look, real estate investing ultimately is a human business in the sense that it is about relationship building and understanding people's underlying needs, and I really believe that.
But every part of that process, you can use technology to increase the level of stability and consistency, the better your result is going to be, right, because you remove that variability like, look, yesterday I worked maybe an hour and a half before I was like, I’m done, and I ride my bike to work. I rode a quarter speed back home and I just laid down. It was a bad day for me personally, because I’m a biological being or whatever, my blood sugar was whatever.
But if that was the piece of software, that stuff is still going, right? If you've got a tool that's doing that stuff for you. I just think that's, so it's such a critical point and I think it's really overlooked. Man, consistency. [37:15.6]
Damon: What I’ve learned, though, man, and I didn't know this before, man, that you're human.
Daniel: Yeah, I didn't know that either.
Damon: So, you had a bad day.
Daniel: I didn’t know that either. It was really when I turned 40 that that settled in for me.
Damon: For the first time ever in 40 years, you had a bad day, dude. I’m telling you, man.
Daniel: I know it's weird. Yeah, it's weird. There’s a first time for everything, Damon.
Daniel: I think let's kind of wrap this up for folks.
Damon: For sure.
Daniel: Because we can talk about this stuff forever. Let me ask you, in your opinion—and we will say, this is not legal advice.
Damon: I’m not an attorney.
Daniel: Exactly. But if I’m an investor and I’m doing SMS marketing right now, I’m doing outreach cold leads like many, many, many investors are, what do I do this year? What do I do now? How do I use this information? [38:08.4]
Daniel: Right now, I think people are still going to fly under the radar. We've been breaking the speed limit, right? We've been breaking the existing walls that have been on the books for over 30 years, right? All of that stuff. You're going to fly into the radar.
Once some of these other regulations and the enforcement really catches up, then it's going to be really risky to continue that, and I’ve got to say, it's still risky today. You can be caught. I can name three people in the last 30 days that I know that have paid at least $7,500 or more in fines and/or settling lawsuits out of court, okay, with this stuff. It’s like the new ambulance chaser attorneys, man. I mean, that's what they are doing, right?
The bottom line is, if you're doing it, just realize you're doing it and make sure you at least do it right with the Do Not Call list, right? Go register. At a minimum, do that, okay? But recognize that change is coming, and so you’ve got to start building the incoming lead gen strategies, right? You’ve got to start focusing on how do I really? [39:10.5]
And you're the master of that, right? So, it's follow Dan. Get online. There are a ton of ways to generate online leads, right? It's still some of the old-fashioned stuff, man, the old plow horse in the field. Everyone wants to go jump on the new John Deere tractor, but we’ve still got the old plow horse over here working in the background of direct mail. Certainly not sexy, but it will still plow the field and it still works. But create that inbound. Create that inbound and make sure that a) now you've got the net. You've got the place to be able to receive them, to track them, to know, and most importantly, respond and follow up, right?
That really is the nature of the game and there are tons and tons of ways to do that. In fact, man, I mean, I had you out teaching my tribe. You went through a two-day workshop and taught your pay-per-click frameworks and methodologies. You taught your search engine optimization, you know what I mean? [40:03.4]
We have what we call the 15x3 playbook. It's what happened? What should you do in the first 15 minutes? How should you respond? What's that communication? What do you do in the first 15 days? What are you doing the first 15 months?
Daniel: I love that, by the way. That structure is so cool. That's the coolest way of thinking through it, because the idea of “What do I do?” is so overwhelming. I just love the way that's structured so much.
Damon: Yeah, so we have that available, right? Maybe figure something out to make sure your tribe gets a copy of that. But the thing of it is the way we do the 15 minutes, 15 days and 15 months is because all of that is different. The sense of urgency in that first 15 minutes is absolutely insane, right?
You have to hit them quickly and the goal is to initiate a live conversation. That really truly is the goal. It's a little different, and now if you don't get them in that first 15 minutes, you should engage them, but then now what happens over the first 15 days? We're going to back off the urgency and frequency a little bit. Maybe we hit them every day, every other day. [41:06.2]
Then after those first 15 days, all of a sudden, now for the next 15 months, I’m still going to communicate to them, but now maybe it's every other week. I’m going to hit them with a text. I’ll hit them with an email. I’ll hit them with multiple different methodologies.
That's it, man. I mean, it's pay attention to inbound because those are the folks that are going to win this. I would encourage you to have three to four inbound strategies, right? Three to four inbound strategies and make sure that you've got the follow-up system. Make sure you’ve got the net in place to capture them and then make sure you’ve got the follow-up system.
Daniel: All right, for people who want to check out REI BlackBook and are curious about what the tool can do, how would they get started? What's the best way for them to kind of reach out?
Damon: Here's what we'll do, man. We'll create “REIBlackBook.com/nerds”, okay? And what I’ll do, man, is I will package the workshop that you and I did. Let me clarify that. The workshop that you did that I watched, but I was behind the camera, so I was there technically. [42:10.8]
Daniel: You were there. That counts. You were there.
Damon: I was there, right?
Daniel: Yeah, yeah.
Damon: So, the workshop that you did on pay-per-click and even the SEO, I’ll throw in those trainings and I’ll give everybody a free trial, and I’ll also include the 15x3 Framework, so that they know exactly what they're supposed to say, when they're supposed to say it on the first 15 minutes, the first 15 days, the first 15 months. Right?
Daniel: That is sick. To reiterate, just so people understand this, right? Damon not only is giving you a free trial of REI BlackBook, which is pretty amazing, you also get the 15x3 Framework, which is pretty sick, and you get the PPC class and the SEO class that I taught at Damon's group, which were both paid events.
Damon: Yeah, absolutely, and we still sell those all the time and, basically those are like, Hey, how do you build out pay-per-click because we follow your guys’ training and methodology for our website templates. It's like, All right, you want better success? You want better conversions. All right, well follow what Dan teaches. Guess what? That's how we structure our websites and everything else. So, yeah, man, that's it. Pretty simple. [43:10.7]
Daniel: I think that’s awesome. That's “REI BlackBook.com/nerds”.
Damon: Yeah, yeah, we'll just do [slash] nerds and we'll get it.
Daniel: I’ll put a link to that in the show notes if you're listening to this on the website or whatever. You can click that, but “REI BlackBook.com/nerds”, definitely reach out. I will say, too, try the software. It's awesome.
One of the things I have consistently seen and heard from my clients that work with REI BlackBook is just the level of support from your team is awesome and I’ve seen it in person. I’ve seen you guys work with folks. There's just a really, really excellent level of customer service there. That team really, really cares about the users of the software and they really go the extra mile. That's something that, personally, before I refer something is something I always look for. Because everybody has issues, it's always inevitable, even the simplest thing. I could not recommend that. [44:00.5]
Damon: I appreciate that, man. That's, honestly, probably the thing I’m most proud of, the support, the community that we've kind of built. But you hit the nail on the head already, man. It’s like, can you leverage technology to enable you to further the human connection and relationship, right?
We shouldn't try to be using technology to replace those things. It should only enhance and further make it easier for you to really truly build those connections and relationships, because at the end of the day, man, software, it really is still a people business. Real estate buying and selling houses really is still a people business. So, yeah, man, I appreciate that.
Damon: That’s awesome. Damon, thank you so much for coming on. This has been a really mind-blowing discussion. I didn't really know any of this stuff coming into it and it is absolutely fascinating. I really, really appreciate all the expertise you brought to this and all the great advice that you gave to our audience. If you're listening to this right now, “REIBlackBook.com/nerds”. You can go, get all that stuff. That is a fantastic freaking deal, so I highly suggest that you pull over the car or whatever you're doing and go, do that. [45:11.4]
Damon, thank you so much, man. Go, enjoy the lake and have an awesome time, dude. I really appreciate it.
Damon: Appreciate it, man. We'll talk soon.
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