By Dennis Henson

Signs should be a major part of any real estate investor’s marketing campaign. Used correctly, signs will pay for themselves many times over and they are invaluable for getting the word out and bringing in interested buyers and renters.

Bandit signs can also be used to help you find new investment properties and drive people to your website, 800 number, cell or office phone.

When it comes to marketing real estate, the number one thing that leads to a contract is when a prospect walks into and falls in love with your property. Your goal should be to use signs effectively to get as many prospects inside your property as possible.


Initial Signs
signOne of the first things to do after purchasing an investment property is to place a sign out front to let every prospect who passes know how to contact you. This simple act could drastically cut down your holding costs and you may even be able to avoid any fix-up costs. Some buyers are looking for homes that need fixing in order to create sweat equity.

Your initial signs should make a simple statement such as “Home For Sale” and your phone number. After you have completed the fix-up process you will want to change out the signs to give a better description of how you want to market that property—but you shouldn't wait until the fix-up has been completed to place the first sign.


Informational and Directional Sign Campaigns sign
Once your property is ready to market—market it with gusto! Using informational and directional signs will bring prospects into your property. Remember-in this sign campaign—more is better.

At this point I recommend you hire some inexpensive high school part time help. Prepare the signs for your campaign. Get a map of the area and carefully plan your sign strategy. On each of these signs put the property address and your phone number. Make sure your message can be easily read from a distance. Use very dark ink and bold letters that will stand out. Then, in smaller letters, put a little basic information about the property--number of bedrooms, bathrooms and garage spaces, sq. ft, and price. Add nothing else—keep it simple and easy to read. You don’t want your prospects to have to get out of their car to read your sign. Attach signs to an easy to place holder or stake.

If local laws permit--place the signs with your message and directions near well-traveled intersections close to the property. Be aggressive--put up 20 to 30 signs. Place one sign on the corner of each entrance street to the neighborhood, and one at each end of the block and at any intersecting blocks where a prospect must turn to reach your property.

Put up signs everywhere. Your goal should be to attract a prospect’s attention, lead them to your property and make it as easy for the prospect to find the property as possible. You may resist this tactic, but putting up signs is an excellent way to get prospects into your property.


Bandit Signs
signBandit signs are the ones you see at intersections that have a simple message such as “We Buy Houses”, “Cash for Houses”, “Lease/Option to Buy”, “Rent-to-Own”, “Sell Your Home In 7 Days”, “Avoid Foreclosure”, etc. Where local laws permit bandit signs are used to help you locate new investments and set up a steady stream of prospects. There's always a pool of people looking to sell and to purchase properties. The problem is the pool is constantly changing—so the goal is to attract constant supply of properties to purchase and prospects that are ready to buy.

Caution
Bandit signs are controversial because they are not the most attractive form of advertising and can cause street corners to look cluttered. Because of this clutter many communities have band the use of bandit signs. For these reasons only use a bandit sign campaign as a last resort in your advertising program and be sure to check with local law enforcement before beginning any sign campaign.

If you choose to do a bandit program success will mainly depend on:

• Location
• Size
• Getting Noticed
• Message
• Uniqueness
• Saturation

Location
Your bandit signs need to be where people driving will actually have a chance to read the sign, not just be able to see the sign. So the key locations are high congestion areas where traffic is forced to stop! The best spots are at 4 way stops that have a lot of traffic. Every person must stop, then go, then stop, then go; until they actually reach the stop sign, they have plenty opportunity to read your sign and write down the number. Stop lights are not as good, while many people do stop and the traffic also backs up but then everyone takes off at one time.

Size is important
If signs are too small to read from a distance, you’ve wasted a lot of time and may have missed out on some good prospects.

Be memorable
Try to put something memorable on the sign like “Call 1-800-BUY-HOME” or “Visit www.BuyaHome.com. You goal is to get the prospect to:

Notice the sign
Read the sign
Get your contact information
And contact you

Message
Get your message across in as few words as possible for example “STOP FORECLOSURE”, “Cash for Homes” or “I Buy Houses”.

Be different
Good locations will always have other signs so be creative and competitive; use bright colors and new shapes to draw the prospect’s attention. Put recognizable shapes on your signs like a house, a stop sign, a caution sign, a red light, etc. Brighter colors always attract attention. By making your sign look different from all the others it will get the attention of more prospects.

Saturation
Repetition is the key to get your message across. The more times they see the sign the better the chance they will contact you. And if they missed your information at the last stop--give them another opportunity at the next one.

Be frugal
Sturdy plastic corrugated signs work as well as metal ones. They cost much less and are much easier to transport. Signs have a way of disappearing… You can save a small fortune by keeping sign cost as low as possible.


What to look for from your sign company

Your real estate sign company should:

• Be convenient. You shouldn’t have to drive to a sign shop. You should be able to get the highest quality signs without ever leaving your home or office.

• Be reasonably priced. Signs have a way of disappearing so you should look for a company that offers inexpensive but functional signs.

• Offer volume discounts. Your price per item should drop as you increase your quantity.

• Make the process simple and easy. They should have design tools that let you design your own sign and even upload your own images!

• Have little or no setup charges. You shouldn’t have to pay very much if anything for artwork or setup.

• Have a number of products. Find a company that offers a complete line of sign products.

• Provide quality products. Good quality signs stand out and help you get your message across.

• Have multiple colors available. You should be able to upload your own full color graphics onto your sign or banner without increasing the price!

• Be available Fast. In real estate marketing TIME IS MONEY so your sign company should have next day shipping so your signs can arrive quickly!

You can find all this and more at BuildASign--just follow this link...

sign


I hope this article will help you in your quest to build wealth through real estate investing. For more articles on real estate investor training, visit my website at www.dennisjhenson.com. Also on that site, you may sign up for free reports, articles, and e-books and find free forms, documents, MP3 downloads and much more. Also visit www.turbo-bidder.com for a great real estate investing tool.

Thank you,
Dennis Henson