I get this question all the time, and it’s extremely hard to answer. Even my wife doesn’t really know what I do! My most common response is in a joking tone, “Hmm…what day is it?”. The life of an online entrepreneur is not easily defined, as we have the ability to market any product based on a basic, universal framework…and being an entrepreneur, our passion and desires for which way we want to steer the ship, literally, almost change on a daily basis. When you create a system that generates true passive income, it affords you a lot of time to think of other ideas and other things you can use creative marketing to sell.
So, if you ask me what I do, I will say that I am an internet marketer, meaning that I create marketing systems to generate leads & send them to other people to process for me (I am ambitiously lazy…meaning I don’t really want to have to work to create income). When a sale is made (not by me), I get a certain percentage commission and the fulfillment company sends me a check. Once this system is built, it affords me time to optimize that system, and ultimately build another one with a different product.
Here are the most basic bones of any online marketing system, followed by further explanation of how our system works for our primary brand, “Funding For Flipping”:
- Lead generation (Facebook, Google Adwords, YouTube, etc)
- Landing page + email list
- CRM + automation
- Fulfillment company + (ideally) sales floor
- Ongoing email autoresponder with additional, relevant offers
STEP 1: Lead Generation
As of the writing of this post, we exclusively use Facebook ads. As a Facebook user, you see ads like ours all the time. Some are obvious, some are more “native” (natural) looking, depending on what they’re promoting. If you see something in your newsfeed that says “Sponsored” (see image to the right), that’s an ad someone is paying for. They’ve “targeted” you in some fashion, whether it be your age/sex/location, pages you’ve liked, or other specific behavior. Yes, they watch and monetize EVERYTHING you do. This is one of the ways Facebook is able to generate billions of dollars of revenues, while keeping it free for you as a user. When you fill out your profile with general information and then start liking things that explain who you are, Facebook is able to sell that demographic information to people like me. For instance, we might target 35-45 year old males who have liked the page “The Property Brothers” (from HGTV). It’s our job to learn who our perfect audience is, and that’s the only “real” work we do once the campaign is initially set up. Thankfully, we’re at a position where we’ve hired someone to do that for us, so we literally don’t have to do anything anymore.
For anyone actually interested to become an internet marketer, please note that it is a TERRIBLE decision to use only one lead source (don’t put all your eggs in one basket, etc). We’ve currently got both Google AdWords and YouTube ad campaigns queued up and about ready to launch in order to get more leads, but also to minimize the risk we’re running by only using one lead source. What if Facebook decided to ban our ad account (they did in March!)? You get the point. Furthermore, the goal of an internet marketer is to build an email list through multiple lead gen avenues (Facebook, blog + SEO, Google Adwords, YouTube, etc), as a way to not be reliant on ANY social media or other advertising platform once the list is built, but that’s an entirely different topic.
With any paid advertising, you pay a certain amount of money per day to serve ads to different audiences in different ways. Each platform is different in how it works, and has its own pros & cons. We’ve scaled our spending much higher than we ever anticipated because the results we’re seeing are so profitable, so we’re adding more and more “leads” to our “list” every day.
BOTTOM LINE RESULT: We spend money every day to present an ad in front of a specifically targeted group of Facebook users. In the case of our “Funding For Flipping” brand, it’s specifically real estate investors, but this concept can be used for an unlimited amount of products/brands. Our consultant, and software he uses, modify/optimize our ads whenever the conversion numbers tell us they need to be (no effort on my part, aside from talking to him once in a while to monitor results).
STEP 2: Landing Page + Email List
If you were to see our ad (see above) in your newsfeed and click on the link to “Learn More”, you’d be re-directed to a “landing page” on our website – http://www.fundingforflipping.com/loc-info-1. We are charged by Facebook every time that happens, but it’s fine because that is our goal. Ideally, you are intrigued by our ad enough to click the link. Once presented with our landing page, ideally you are intrigued enough by what we say to have you click the “Send Me Details Via Email” button and enter your email address (this is what happens 50-150 times per day…and growing…for us). Alternatively, we offer a phone number for people to call since a lot of people trust that more than submitting their info online (for us, it’s the same end result). This phone number is routed to a sales floor (not us), and will be covered in Step 4.
BOTTOM LINE RESULT: 50-150 new leads are added to our list of email subscribers every day through paid (and organic) advertising (no effort on my part)
STEP 3: CRM + Automation
CRM stands for “Customer/Client Relationship Manager”. There are a wide range of options out there (and more new ones every day), but the essence of it is that it stores/organizes your business contacts and allows you to perform a variety of different activities with them (set tasks, send emails, etc). Once someone visits our landing page and enters their email address for more information, it’s automatically entered into our CRM which has a variety of advanced automation set up. The most basic and important functionality is that it sends an email to the operations manager of our fulfillment company with all relevant contact information, and a phone call is scheduled with someone on their sales floor. This is a bit unique in the basic internet marketing arena, because most internet marketers will sell a digital product that doesn’t actually require human intervention. It works both ways, and my intervention is unnecessary in both instances!
BOTTOM LINE RESULT: We gather, organize, bucket, and automate a variety tasks with every lead that comes in (if by “we”, I mean my computer…I set it up one time, and the system runs our business every based on the automation I set up months ago)
STEP 4: Fulfillment Company + Sales Floor
We created a brand called “Funding For Flipping” because, in this instance, we’re specifically targeting real estate investors. However, the company that actually provides the funding program/service is in a different state and we’ve never met anyone there in person. We found a way to send them leads, and they’re happy to pay us. We’re essentially nothing more than a lead source for them, but the power is in the fact that Dan and I didn’t have to actually create a product/company ourselves (although that’s also a very viable option)…we let someone else do all of that, and we both win! The company that facilitates the funding product we’re marketing has their own staff in place to handle all of the incoming and outgoing calls required to keep up with our leads, and they enter them into their own CRM to keep track of those tasks. We’ve been given access to a back-end system that shows us the status of all of our leads, their operations manager emails me daily with a summary of “closed” deals, and their accountant emails me weekly with a list of deals we’re being paid on. The commission rate was established long ago through a few conversations with the owners of the company, and we’re all happy about the arrangement.
BOTTOM LINE RESULT: A fulfillment company takes/makes all the calls, processes the deals, closes the sales and issues us commission checks. We find happy clients who need this product, the fulfillment company sees a ton of additional revenue, and we make a percentage commission for facilitating the business.
STEP 5: Ongoing email autoresponder with additional, relevant offers
It took 1400 words to explain the true answer to the question “What do you do?”, and I hope it made sense. But there’s more! We did everything in steps 1-4 in order to sell one product, and as a business owner, you have you ask yourself…”How can I make more money with these leads?”. We have 50-150 real estate investors every day giving us their email address to request more information about a funding product to help them grow their business. As a marketer, we’re constantly thinking about supplemental products that we can offer to these same people! As long as we continue to offer value to them (free educational content, helping them grow their business), they will continue to trust us, and read our emails.
Welcome to the concept of an email autoresponder. Dan and I have done a good amount of research and found 6-7 additional products/services that we can offer to this same list of people now that we’ve got 50-150 new emails per day (whether or not they actually followed through with our original offer of a funding product). Additional funding programs, coaching/training, credit repair, business incorporation/tax services, real estate broker licensing, etc. All things that they might not have known about…all things that we can offer them and receive a commission on if they end up buying it. If they get sick of our emails, they can opt-out at any time and move on with their lives.
BOTTOM LINE RESULT: We offer additional valuable services to our list of subscribers in order to create additional profits with the same people we attracted with our original offer for funding on Facebook.
Hopefully, if you’ve actually read this whole thing, you now understand a little more about “what I do”. The simple answer to this question is that I am a licensed real estate broker in the state of IL, and an internet entrepreneur.
This particular post is all about ONE of our brands. We have (and will continue to) duplicated this process with a variety of different products and services, spanning numerous different industries and audiences. Currently, we’re very heavily invested in the real estate industry in general, touching both the investor side as well as growing our brokerage business (buying and selling home) with these concepts.
We also find a great amount of fulfillment in helping other people understand these concepts, and are glad to talk with anyone who wants to dive into this world themselves. Feel free to read another article I wrote with some recommendations for a few things to study to get started down this road.