Whether you’ve become an investor recently or have decades of experience, you’ve probably noticed that real estate investing is exploding with popularity.
For you, that means you’re getting more and more competition. Flippers, wholesalers and rental property owners all have to fight with a gang of other investors over the same amounts of leads.
Luckily, you can make great money in your market without competing with others…
…if you invest in something the competition isn’t investing in.
Today’s guest Michael Rogers’ makes most of his money from self-storage facilities. In this episode, you’ll find out how he markets his business to attract leads for multiple investing opportunities.
Show highlights include:
To get the latest updates directly from Dan and discuss business with other real estate investors, join the REI marketing nerds Facebook group here: https://adwordsnerds.com/group
Need help with your online marketing? Jump on a FREE strategy session with our team. We’ll dive deep into your market and help you build a custom strategy for finding motivated seller leads online. Schedule for free here: https://adwordsnerds.com/strategy
Check out Michael’s investing business here: http://sellmichaelyourhouse.com
Learn more about Michael’s self-storage business: http://chandler-property.com
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: Alright, hello, everybody and welcome to this week's episode of REI Marketing Nerds. As always, this is Daniel Barrett, here from AdwordsNerds.com, and this week I've got a really fun interview. Now, Michael Rogers, you may not know him. He's an investor. He is out in Tennessee and he is doing both kinds of typical real estate, or I should say traditional, real estate investing as well as storage. [0:01:04.3]
Now, the difference here is that I actually had the pleasure of mentoring Michael a little bit. Michael was part of our Search Click Convert Bootcamp, and was able to turn what we taught him into actual cash flow and deals very quickly. And Michael's one of these people, he's an excellent implementer. He is really, really execution-minded, and he's got some really interesting ways of approaching the online marketing space, even before I met him. So I think you're going to get a whole ton out of this interview, and I hope you enjoy the rest of my conversation with Michael Rogers.
Alright, everyone. I'm here with Michael Rogers. Michael, how are you?
Michael: Doing good, Dan.
Dan: Yeah, man. It's a pleasure to have you on the podcast, and you, we got to know each other through one of the coaching programs that I ran. So, I have the pleasure of knowing a little bit more about you than our average guest, which is pretty awesome. [0:01:59.8]
Why don’t you kind of give us a little bit of an introduction because you have sort of a, a more varied business model than a lot of investors that come on the show. So give people a little bit of context about you and kind of investing in real estate you're involved in.
Michael: Yeah. So I would say I started right out of college, and this is probably around 2000-2001, went through and invested kind of just a little bit, some duplexes, triplexes, up through about 2008 and I sort of didn't go into it too heavy so I didn’t go into it too heavy, so I didn’t have a lot, but I kind of learned, just, I think, you know, early on I paid too much. I didn’t pay a lot too much, but…
Michael: … I paid to where I was getting any, making, really making any money after I backed out on my time working in the properties and I learned pretty early on that there was a difference between having a part-time job working on properties and having an actual profitable investment. But when the downturn hit in I guess between 2008, 2010, I was really in a good position. I had good credit. I had money set up. [0:03:03.0]
I had good relationships with banks. I was able to pounce at that point. Where a lot of people were having to pull back, I was able to kind of hit the gas, and that's when I got in and bought, I'd say within about 2 or 3 years, I bought 3 self-storage facilities, very small facilities in town, but they were at deep, deep discounts, and I also bought several houses that were bankruptcy or foreclosures, and then that started drying up, and I got in, I got, I'd say I got an InvestorCarrot website maybe 2013, 2014, several years ago.
Michael: And then I kind of grew that and did a little bit of Adwords on the side, and early on, that was very, very good because there weren't many people doing it, particularly in the smaller market I was in. I am in Chattanooga, Tennessee, or in that area. And I would say about two years ago, I don't know if you remember this, but we actually had a call, me and you did, where I reached out and just did a 30-minute call and we kind of talked about where my firm was. You gave me a few tips and said, eh, you really don’t need me right now, you know, for the number of deals you are doing and your situation, I think you'd probably be better off just kind of holding pattern. [0:04:03.6]
And I kind of followed you around on your Facebook. You had me pretty well retargeted on Facebook and so forth. So I was, you know, seeing all those different things and I don't know, three or four months ago, you had a bootcamp for Adwords and Facebook, and I, you know, I followed you for several years and I liked what you were saying. I'd say, I'm not a beginner level when it comes to SEO, and Adwords, I'm probably a little bit higher up but I'm by no means really, really good at it or anything. So I knew enough to know that you were a white hat, top SEO/Adwords kind of person as opposed to these people who were, you know, buying cheap links and doing things that are in the short run, you're going to do well on but in the long run, Google is going to put you in the penalty box and you're going to be in trouble. So that's when I reached out and I signed up for your most recent bootcamp for the Search Click Convert, which was for Google and Facebook ads. And that's how we got to where we are now. [0:05:00.6]
Dan: Cool, man. Yeah, so you are, you still have the self-storage stuff going right now, but you're also investing, right. So are you like wholesaling or flipping? In the investing side, like what does it look like?
Michael: I do some wholesaling. I do just very few flips. And then I do some buy, fix up, and rent. So I've got a little small portfolio of residential rentals. Self-storage is probably my biggest thing. And that was another reason why I signed up for this program. The main thing I was focusing on was getting leads for, you know, the motivated sellers, but and the side thing, I also do Google ads for self-storage, and that, because people are renting self-storage, most of the time they're Googling it and they're looking for self-storage Cleveland, Tennessee or something like that. So I wanted to make sure, for SEO, I showed up on the page one. And then also for the ads. So it's profitable to do that, so that was one of the other reasons I wanted to sign up for that bootcamp was so that I could learn about and apply it for two different types of investments. [0:05:59.9]
Dan: Yeah, that's cool. You've got multiple places you can use the basic principles, and if anything, I think it's… I mean, investing is kind of a brutal world for SEO, so it should be, if anything, even more kind of impactful in your self-storage stuff, which is pretty awesome. What was your, and you can be honest, no one is listening to this except you and I. What was your experience with the bootcamp? Because look, like to give people some context, bootcamp was like, it was a three-day live event we did where we taught a specific Google ad strategy for motivated seller leads. It included like a Facebook retargeting strategy, right, so we got into that stuff. And it's pretty intense, right. It's like three really intense days where there's a lot of upfront work. There are six, I think, ongoing coaching calls plus a Facebook group, and you know, I made it so obviously I think the content is really good. But it's pretty, it can be a lot for people that come in and don’t have a lot of like technical background. So like what was your experience in the bootcamp, kind of digging in to Google ads and actually putting some money on one? [0:07:13.8]
Michael: I mean for me, it was exactly what I needed. Like I said, I'm not a beginner beginner, but I'm by no means an expert, you know, at all. So it was really good for me and you're correct, those first three days, and this is something that I've used Google ads, I've used Facebook retargeting before. But I came out of there, there were four hours a day for three days in a row, and I was mentally exhausted each day. And I'm sure you remember, the whole time, you know, I was very engaged in it and you know typing new questions and asking, I'm sure I was driving you crazy because I was asking more questions than anybody, "What is this? Why are you thinking this? Why do you do that?" And I was trying to learn, and for me, it was a huge payoff. And I think, one of the things I did that I'm not sure everybody did, is I really looked at it as, you know, this is a pretty big investment from a financial standpoint so I'm going to be as prepared as I possibly can. [0:08:08.7]
I'm going to be as engaged as I possibly can. I'm going to get my money's worth, and so I really engaged in it and made sure I was fully prepared, made sure I was at every single, all three of those day's events. I think some folks, I'd read and they'd be like, "Oh, I'm not going to be there the first couple of days; I'll just watch the recordings," and I was like, oh, that's kind of surprising to me. You pony up that much money and not be there for it, but you know, everybody is different. And for me, it worked out. I think it was exactly what I needed. My Adwords spend has come down. I've got more of a niche. It's more narrow. It's more focused, the click through rates are much better. The conversion rates are much better. And so, it's just worth it, and you know, I told you I already had a deal but it came back from, I think they initially came in, they clicked on the website and then they got retargeted, followed around for a while, and then they clicked on and filled out an ad, and then I just closed on that one yesterday. [0:09:05.2]
Dan: Wow, awesome! That's super cool. So you got the return on the investment. You got the return on the investment pretty much for the bootcamp, is what you're saying?
Michael: Oh, yeah, yeah. Many times over.
Dan: Yeah, I mean. I think you are right in the sense that, you know, as much as I do this and as much as I try to tell people this, a lot of people come in and they just kind of expect it to be a magic deal machine that just kind of you turn it on and you never have to look at it again. Right? And you know, it's like, I always think like I get all these comments on my ads that say like, oh, you know, you say you're going to get me like two deals a month or whatever, and this is a scam. And I say like well, it's not a scam because I'm not saying like it's some easy, push a button thing. It's actual work. It's real marketing. You have to, you know, either work with someone that can do it for you or be able to put in the time yourself. But the mechanics are pretty basic. It's exactly the same as it would be in your self-storage business where somebody types in like I want a self-storage facility, and you're either there or you aren’t. [0:10:12.9]
Michael: Yeah. I totally agree with that. I think, you know, the key thing you're giving is a methodology, and here is a plan you can execute. And it's not something you're going to figure out on your own. I mean, like I said, I'm pretty decent at SEO. I'm pretty decent in understanding Adwords. I would never have figured out this particular plan. You're giving me a free cookie cutter plan of here's how you do it, and then here's how you monitor it and make changes based on that. And you're not going to figure that out on your own. And so that's what you're really giving. But you gotta do the work. I mean, you're going to have to follow up. You're going to have to make sure you learn and learn how to implement that plan. And if you don’t do that, you're not going to get anything. You know, you're correct. It's not, you're not giving people deals. You're giving them a class that teaches them how to do this on their own, and if they want to really hustle, they've got the knowledge at that point to take
Dan: Yeah. So how many deals did you do from your ads?
Michael: From this program, I've done one. I just closed one on this one.
Dan: Alright. That's awesome then. Yeah, I'm super, super happy for you. I think that's awesome. Tell me a little bit about the self-storage business, because I know like a lot of investors, the self-storage is on their radar as potential kind of way to expand the reach of their business. Actually, my uncle owns a couple of self-storage facilities in Indiana. So he's very into it. Talk a little bit about what that's like and how that business model is either similar to or different from kind of what investors typically do.
Michael: Personally, I think it's like any investment. It's just what do you pay for it and what are you going to get back in cash, cash flow. So it's you make your money when you buy it same way as if you're buying these houses that you're going to flip for wholesale or whatever. So I was able, I was fortunate enough to buy them when it was a little bit out of favor. [0:12:00.9]
It's much more in favor right now, so if you're trying to buy them, it's a little harder to find good deals. I haven’t been able to find any good deals in the last several years, but it's been good for me. The pluses of it are you don’t have as many type of repairs that you have to deal with. It's a little easier if somebody doesn’t pay to get rid of them as opposed to having to go through the whole court process, the evicting a tenant that's in a residential unit. And that standpoint has been very good. The downside of it is, is you're dealing with people that you're getting $50, $75 apiece from and so in order to get as much revenue as you would get from a typical single-family house, where maybe you get $1000, $1500, instead of dealing with one person and one person's set of problems and issues, you're dealing with 10 or 15. So you've got more volume, so you've got to have systems and software to keep up with it, but overall for me, it's, I really like it. [0:12:54.1]
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Dan: I mean, do you feel like, how much are you getting into the management of the actual like day-to-day business?
Michael: I'm here. So, I don’t think I mentioned this at the beginning of the program, but I spend, I'm a CPA by trade. I spent 15 years in corporate. About two years ago, two years ago, I stepped out of corporate and I work full-time just on my own. I've got an office at one of the three facilities and that's where I run the self-storage, the residential, the SellMichaelYourHouse.com website, you know. So there's a lot of downtime so I can do different things, whether it's working on my marketing or managing a property we're updating. So I'd say I'm fairly involved, probably more so than I should be. [0:14:14.1]
Dan: Why do you say that? I mean, is the goal to be removed from the day-to-day entirely? Or do you like? I mean, because it sounds like you like the actual running of the day-to-day, which is a pretty incredible skill to have.
Michael: Yeah. I think that's, you know, it seems to be the real trend in everybody, if you're talking to people that are entrepreneurship in real estate is making it to where you're not the, you know, you've got a business that's separate from yourself. And you know, I've not done as good a job at doing that, having more to where I could just step out and somebody else could come in. You know, it can be done, and you know, people that are going to grow and get really, really big, you know, that they're better at building those systems and making it to where they're not needed for all those different roles. Does that make sense? [0:14:57.4]
Dan: Yeah. So do you feel like your, how much of your time spent as a CPA do you kind of directly use and apply inside your investing businesses?
Michael: Well, directly, not a ton for the CPA. It was good, you know, and the nature of where I started out in public accounting and public accounting is when you're working for a CPA firm, and I did auditing. And so we were going out and looking at different businesses, you know, financial statements, how, you know what businesses did well, what the good ones did, what the ones that didn't do well. And you just learned a lot about business. And it's really good because I can pick up a set of financial statements and understand how that business is operating. You know, I can pick up pretty quickly if somebody's giving something that doesn’t make sense. So that's been helpful, and it's been helpful for dealing with banks, you know, when I'm getting financing or something. I know what they want. I can give it to them pretty quickly. So that side of it has been very, very helpful. Now on the day-to-day stuff, you know, as far as taking somebody's payment or something, you don’t have to be a CPA to do that. But it's been, I'm glad I did it, though. I think it has helped. It gives me a good background, gives credibility when you're dealing with financial matters. [0:16:05.4]
Dan: Well and I also, just, I think, too, there's just a certain mindset to it that I, like I don’t have that I wish I had. You know, like I have a very good kind of CFO person in my life and he brings a mindset to things that I just don’t necessarily have at my disposal. So I think it's like, even if you don’t directly apply it all the time, it's always kind of there in the background as a kind of mental model you can compare the world to.
Michael: Is that Yasin
Dan: Oh, Yasin is my partner in the coaching program. He is amazing. He is like a marketing wiz kid. He is very, very good at kind of understanding how to connect with people, figure out what their issues are. But the CFO guy I kind of work with is more on the agency side, but everybody's got something different that they bring to the table, which is pretty cool. Tell me about SellMichaelYourHouse.com. Now this is your investor kind of motivated seller site. You are investing in Cleveland, Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tennessee - that's correct?
Michael: That's correct - yep. [0:17:18.0]
Dan: Alright, cool. So like tell me a little bit about that side of your business. Like, what does your market look like? How do you, like, how have you applied your kind of like SEO background to the site? Because I know you've been an InvestorCarrot client for a while, so you've had a site up there for a while. Like, how's that been for you and kind of what have you done or have you done stuff in the past that you felt like was useful for you?
Michael: Yeah. For me, they've been great. I really like InvestorCarrot. You know, they don’t pay me anything to say that. I just …
Dan: They don’t pay me anything either, but I do like them, so.
Michael: Yeah, so. I've used them, I found, you know, matter of fact I had my other website. a Chandler-Property website, Chandler-Property.com, that was all. And I had a group that had been hosting that website and developed it and everything and I just had, and I was paying a ton more a month just for them to host it and keep the bugs out of it. [0:18:06.9]
And it got to where there was just so much issue with it that I just went ahead and moved over to InvestorCarrot and built that out on InvestorCarrot. You know, that's 2 weeks ago. Because the value, the price and the ability to do tracking and create landing pages and just to work it was just… there was so much more value. And then, and so I've been really happy with them. But for the SellMichaelYourHouse side of the things, yeah, I initially hired a guy to do some, I guess make my website very specific to those markets - Cleveland, Chattanooga, Ooltewah, which are all in the Chattanooga, Tennessee/Southeast part of Tennessee market. And I think that did pretty good, and then after you get to a certain point, after you've kind of dialed your website in, create all your landing pages and stuff, really for SEO, it's about getting back links and not just back links where you're just trying to get these cheap spammy back links or get everybody to comment back to your website, but getting legitimately good articles, like in your local newspaper where they're mentioning your business and creating a hyperlink back to your website, or some sort of article that you're writing in a trade magazine related to self-storage or something. [0:19:15.5]
And to do that, it takes a tremendous amount of time to do it and do it right, but the value you get out of it -- it's free, free marketing, people search for on Google is very good. So that, you know, I think that's how I spend my time trying to work on SEO.
Dan: Yeah, well, and then you make two really good points, which is, this is something I haven't even really thought about in a while, but Carrot, as a service, which and I've said this before, like I'm a Carrot partner, which means they refer people to me, but I don’t make any money by recommending them. I'm not an affiliate partner with them or anything like that. They do a lot of work behind the scenes that people never see that is purely like, oh hey, like the form plugin you used went out of date three weeks ago and now you have a Russian dude selling, you know whatever, drugs on your website. [0:20:05.6]
There's a ton of stuff that goes into the backend of keeping all that up-to-date. And they really do a very good job about that. But for other folks that are kind of listening to this, I highly recommend them. So Michael's website is SellMichaelYourHouse.com. I think this is something I've kind of told you before, but I think you've done a really good job of customizing your site, making it your own. I think the things that you've included, so you included like really prominent testimonials. I like how you change up your copy. You did a really good job like adding additional graphics and like the video you have is high quality. You know, you've got pictures of yourself like closing with you know clients and you've just done a really good job of making the site your own and adding things that drive up conversion, good for SEO. [0:21:00.4]
So I would definitely recommend that people go check out the site because I think it's a really good example of like, you don’t have to do like some kind of mind-blowing graphic design thing to your site. You have to include things that are actually effective and useful. Can you talk a little bit about getting testimonials and like photos with sellers and stuff? Because that's a huge thing and I think very few people actually do it.
Michael: Yeah. Now that, and you're right - that is kind of a keeper. I think the personalizing the website, because a lot of what you're doing when you're doing this business is it's a connecting with a person that's selling their house because most of the time, they're going through some sort of event that's, you know, there's a death or there's something going on. And it's about connecting with them and making sure they feel comfortable with you and that you're able to solve their problem. So the more you can personalize your website to where there's photos of you, you know if you're comfortable with putting a photo of you and your family, some people aren't and that's totally fine. But I think you really need to make it to where they can relate that you're a human being. And particularly for me, I'm not doing virtual wholesaling where I'm all over the country. [0:22:03.8]
They're going to meet with me. They're going to talk with me. And so I really try to make that a prominent thing because this is about the connection, and so I do think that's very important, a very important thing. What was the second part of your question? I missed it.
Dan: Oh, no, I mean. I think that was perfectly fine. I mean, I think it's, the whole idea of having a seller land on your site and being able to see real people, real photos, like real names, you know what I mean. It's like one of the things I noticed on your website is like you've got a testimonial where somebody says, you know, everything you read about Michael's company is true. He's the one you're dealing with. Right? And it like, so many investor sites, they're so generic. Nobody knows who they're dealing with when they call, and I really think it drives people away. There's already a fair amount of anxiety on the part of the seller. So definitely, if you're listening to this, and you've got a Carrot site or you know you’ve got an investor site, go check out Michael's site. It's SellMichaelYourHouse.com. He's done a really good job of kind of making things his own. [0:23:09.2]
Michael: And that was your … I'm sorry… your second part was the testimonial - how do you get those. Ask for them. When you get to closing, you know, say hey, how was this process? Did I do what you wanted me to do? Did I make it easy for you? Was there something you think I should have done different? And if they're like, hey, no, it's great; you did a wonderful job. Then say, you know, would you be willing to, you know, if you're comfortable doing it, would you be willing to you know, take a photo, and I need to work on getting video testimonials. That's really the next step that I should do. But and if they say, "Yeah, that'd be great" and say, you know, one thing that's been really helpful to me is that you don't mind, ever giving, you know, give me a review online. It helps me get, you know, great customers like you. And a lot of people will do that. Some won't, and that's fine if they don’t, and I don’t hound them or anything. If they do it, great; if they don't, they don’t. But I do think you're right, I think people being able to see other folks that have had interactions with you and found that you did what you said you were going to do is very important because this type of business has a lot of people that come and go, that aren't necessarily able to close when they say they're able to close. So you want these people to feel comfortable that you're going to do what you say you're going to do, and they can see other people that have had that experience. That's helpful to you. [0:24:17.2]
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think, you've done a really good job of kind of making that a systematic part of your business that I think is, you know, if I could offer a piece of advice to people listening it would be to do just that. So Michael, like if people want to follow up with you online and kind of learn a little bit more about you, I know you've got SellMichaelYourHouse.com, we have talked about that. You've also got your self-storage business, which is at chandler-property.com. Anywhere else that they can follow up with you, or should they just hit those sites to track you online?
Michael: Yeah. Or you could go on LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn. That's a good place to find me, and you know, connect. That's probably the best way to get a hold of me, is LinkedIn.
Dan: Alright, cool. Well, you're on LinkedIn. I don’t go on LinkedIn because it scares me, but other people go on LinkedIn, should, and they can look up Michael Rogers. They will find you over there in Tennessee. [0:25:08.8]
Hey, Michael, thank you so much for coming on the show. It was an absolute blast, and I had a really great time having you in the bootcamp. You're a really great person to have in there because you asked so many questions and that just helps the whole group get better. So I really appreciate that, and I appreciate you coming on the show.
Michael: Alright. Thanks, Dan. Thanks for having me.
Dan: Alright. My pleasure, man. Alright, talk to you soon.
Alright, everybody. That was it for our interview this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, you can follow up with me. I'm on Facebook. We have a free Facebook group called the REI Marketing Nerds Facebook Group, very creatively titled. You can get there by going to Adwordsnerds.com/group. Tons of really smart investors in there sharing tips and tricks, and I post in there every single day of the week. And I hope you will join us. So once again, that's Adwordsnerds.com/group, and I will see you guys next week. Thanks.
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