Real Estate Investing Marketing: Bandit Signs
A very popular medium used among the real estate investment community to attract distressed sellers is the use of Bandit Signs. A bandit sign is a printed sign, typically "18x24" or "12x18" that can often times be seen on street corners with language such as "we buy houses cash". Bandit signs are a less expensive alternative to a billboard and they have the ability to generate more exposure than billboards do since they can be placed all around town. These displays are used to catch the attention of motorists, walkers and runners as they move past the sign. Over the past several years, these signs have received a bad wrap throughout the community due to governing ordinances making these signs illegal in certain municipalities across the country. Even though these signs have received a bad wrap, they do have the power to generate highly targeted leads for your real estate investment business. In this blog post today, I want to give you some detailed insight into how to create a system revolving around bandit signs to make this marketing medium a staple within your plan.
Before we can start receiving inbound calls from motivated sellers, we have to design our signs. The composition of a typical bandit sign is 12x18 or 18x24 inch corrugated plastic board. Corrugated plastic is the preferred material among real estate investors as it is cost effective, weather proof and is carried by most sign manufactures. The size that you choose will depend on how you determine you are going to place the signs in your market. If you decide that you are going to hang your signs on corner poles, it is a good idea to go with the smaller 12x18 because there is less of a chance that the wind will blow these signs off of the pole. If you plan on placing your signs in the ground utilizing stakes, you can try out the 18x24 as it will display larger font and a clearer message.
The message on our bandit sign needs to be very clear, short and to the point with a call to action to direct our interested parties to a phone number to contact for our service. Since our goal with the signs is to attract motorists who are driving by or who are stopped at stoplights (signs), we need to make sure our message is clear and easy to read. Below are a couple of examples of bandit sign messages that you can utilize for your signs. Remember all marketing is based off of testing, bandit signs are no different. You can test messages, colors, sizes, etc to measure which are creating the best results.
"We REALLY Buy Houses"
No Obligation Cash Offers
We Buy Houses CASH
Hassle Free Process
We Buy Houses
Any Situation - Any Condition
We Buy Houses CASH..FAST!
I Buy HOUSES
Our goal is to get our signs in front of as many potential prospects as possible while ensuring that our signs can be seen, read, understood and action taken. The placement of the signs are very important. Obviously we do not want our signs in the middle of roads where people are driving 35+ MPH because they will not be able to clearly read them and take action even if they are interested. Our goal will be to place these signs in high traffic areas, where motorists are either driving very slow or stopped so they have a chance to make a phone and see what our service does. Here are some locations to think about placing signs.
Lowe's / Home Depot / Other Big Box Stores
Wegmans / Grocery Stores
Highway & Thruway On Ramps
Stop Light Corners - Busy Intersections
Stop Sign Corners - Busy Intersections
Busy Parking Lots
Get creative with your sign placement in your target market to try and get as much exposure to your signs as possible to folks who will have the ability to read and call the suggested phone number on the bandit sign.
I am sure at this point, you are wondering how much are these signs going to cost me. We are here to tell you that if this system is executed properly, it will be one of your best marketing performers, resulting in the lowest cost per lead/appointment/offer and closing for your business. At a high level, you can expect to pay anywhere from $.90 to $1.10 for 12x18 bandit signs with no stakes. For 18x24' bandit signs, you can expect to pay $1.30 to $1.50 a sign. If you plan on utilizing stakes to place your signs in the ground, you can expect to pay anywhere from $.25 to $.35 per stake depending on the size of the stakes that you get.
These are strictly the costs to produce your bandit signs, if the placement of the signs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1.50 - $2.50 per sign that is placed. This will depend on the price that you are able to negotiate with the person that is hired to place the signs. We will get into this a little bit more when we talk about the current system that we have in place to streamline this process and make this medium a consistent lead source for our business.
If you have read any of our previous posts on direct to seller marketing you are probably aware that tracking and measuring your marketing results are extremely important in having success as a marketer. Before we begin placing our signs that we created to the public, we have to make sure that we have a tight tracking system in place to measure the success of our bandit sign campaign. In order to properly track your results, we recommend that creating and customizing a CRM for your real estate needs. We utilize Podio as our CRM of choice because it is extremely customizable to fit your real estate needs. The first step to successful tracking, will be to head over to CallRail and create a specific phone number for your bandit sign campaign. You will use this phone number on your signs to direct possible prospects to call you. Once we have our phone number created, we will link our Podio account to our CallRail account so that Podio can begin tracking all calls received through this campaign. This is very high level detail as to how this work to get proper tracking set up. It is far more complex, if you guys are interested in learning more about how we have this setup in our business, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and we would be happy to help.
Once we have our tracking established, we will have viability into important metrics that will allow us to view performance of the specific campaign. This will allow us to A/B test certain variables of the bandit signs, such as message, size, locations, color, etc. Within our dashboard, we should be able to see our cost per lead, appointment, offer and closed deals.
For every marketing medium that you test, you will have to create a system surrounding it so that you can ensure consistency, results and scale. Your systems will allow you to streamline all of the activity required to efficiently get your signs placed weekly and generating inbound calls consistently. Bandit signs can become very labor intensive, so part of the system produced will require you to delegate the placement of the signs. As always, we only talk from our experience, so here is the system that we have in place to consistently work this medium.
1) Establish a relationship with a printing service
2) Create your CallRail number for tracking
3) Create a bandit sign template by designing your message, size and color scheme
4) Add your CallRail number on the sign for a call to action and tracking
5) Order signs (if possible - 3 months worth) If you plan on placing 150 signs per week, then order 1,800 signs
6) Put together a playbook for the sign placement position
- Week 1: 3 zip codes
- Week 2: 3 zip codes
- Week 3: 3 zip codes
- Week 4: 3 zip codes
- Place 40-60 signs per zip code every Thursday night on busy interestions, highway/thruway on ramps, high traffic locations, intersections with stop signs, intersections with stop lights, busy parking lots, etc.
- Take a photo of each sign that is placed and upload all photos into dropbox folder for that specific week. Position will be paid off of number of photos taken of signs weekly.
7) Hire a person to place signs for you every Thursday night. Position will pay $1.50 - $2.50 per sign depending on if the person is placing stakes into the signs as well and receiving delivery.
8) Person will take photos of each signed placed and upload into a shared dropbox folder.
9) Photos will be reviewed and payment will be based on total signs placed that week. Target is 150 per week.
By implementing this system, you will be essentially delegating the labor aspect and creating consistency for the medium to get an accurate picture as to if the medium is producing results or not.
Wrapping It Up
In conclusion, bandit signs can be a very profitable marketing medium if executed properly. This is definitely a medium you should test if you are a real estate investor looking to source off market deals. Before you begin executing your plan, make sure that you determine a budget and spread that budget over 8-12 months so you can get a large enough sample size to see if this medium is producing results for you. If you are on a tight budget, you can place the signs yourself and relinquish yourself from those additional costs.
If you guys have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we hope that this blog post added value to your marketing journey.