This is episode #396, and my guest today is Danny Johnson. Danny is a successful real estate investor out of San Antonio, TX, but also a web and online lead generation expert in the real estate investing industry.

Today we talk all about why your online presence matters. Even if you aren’t doing traditional advertising online yet. The internet isn’t a fad, and no matter what you’re doing in this industry, buyers, sellers and everyone else is researching you online.

If you haven’t yet built your online presence, or have a presence, but have been neglecting it…this is a must watch show.

Please help me welcome Danny Johnson to the show!

Highlights of this show

  • Meet Danny Johnson, San Antonio real estate investor, podcast host, and technology entrepreneur.
  • Learn why every real estate investor needs to focus on their online presence.
  • Learn the fundamentals of starting your website and presence.
  • Join the conversation about the importance of online ratings and reviews.

Resources and Links from this show:

Listen to the Audio Version of this Episode

FlipNerd Show Transcript:

Mike: This is the Expert Real Estate Investing Show, the show for real estate investors, whether you’re a veteran or brand new. I’m your host, Mike Hambright and each week I bring you a new expert guest that will share their knowledge and lessons with you. If you’re excited about real estate investing, believe in personal responsibility and taking control of your life and financial destiny, you’re in the right place.
This is episode number 396 and my guest today is Danny Johnson. Danny is a successful real estate investor out of San Antonio, Texas, but he’s also a web and online lead generation expert specifically in real estate investing industry. Today, we talk about why your online presence matters. Now, even if you aren’t doing traditional advertising online yet, the internet is not a fad. No matter what you’re doing in this industry, buyers, sellers, anyone that can potentially want to work with you is researching you online. If you haven’t built your online presence yet or if you have a presence but you’ve been neglecting it, this is a must watch show. Please help me welcome Danny Johnson to the show.
Hey, Danny. Welcome to the show.
Danny: Hey, thanks, Mike. Glad to be on.
Mike: Good to see you again. It’s been a while.
Danny: Yeah, it has. Good to see you too. February, I think, was what we were talking about.
Mike: Yeah. I saw you at an event in February, ClickFunnels event. Obviously, we were talking about this. You were on the show before. It was like two years ago, September of 2015, so a little over two years.
Danny: Yeah. It’s scaring me how fast time is flying by. I can’t believe it’s been so . . .
Mike: I know. The cool thing is there’s a lot of wisdom being created over this period of time, right?
Danny: Oh yeah.
Mike: I’m excited to talk about online. We’re kind of starting the new year here. We’ve had a series of shows on people getting started, setting their action plan in place, getting ready to take the world by storm. For those that haven’t embraced their online presence, that’s what we’re going to talk about today, so it’s exciting stuff.
Danny: Yeah, looking forward to it. I think it’s super important and not enough people and it’s surprising me who hasn’t—I’ve got a lot of high-level friends that have been doing big level investing across the country and to find out hardly any of them generate the majority of leads from online. It’s kind of crazy.
Mike: When your grandparents are active users of Facebook, then you know you need to have a solid presence of your business online.
Danny: Absolutely.
Mike: Before we dive in—everybody that’s listening today, we’re going to give you an action plan at the end of where to get started, how to start building your business online or even if you have a web store right now and you’ve neglected it for a while, it needs to be updated and you need to focus on generating leads online because that’s clearly where things are moving. Danny, if you could, just give us an introduction, tell us a little bit more about you and your background before we get started here.
Danny: Okay. So, I started flipping last week. No. My wife and I have been flipping houses for 14 years, I think, now since 2003. Always here in San Antonio, it’s a great market to be flipping. What is that four or five hours south of you in Dallas. Great market, we love it here. When I got started—do you want the beginning, how we got started talk?
Mike: Sure, give us the whole thing.
Danny: So, my dad was a contractor when I was growing up. He was actually doing the work for a house flipper here in town. I remember as a kid going over and shoveling stuff, what I found out to be later was the asbestos shingles on the floor that I’d be grinding up and shoveling into wheelbarrows not knowing that that’s what that was. No problems yet from that. We’ll see in the future. He was doing that for a long time when I was growing up. So, I had some experience as a kid on these jobsites, on these houses fixing them up. My dad was a smaller contractor. He wasn’t like the guy driving around in the giant F350 and managing crews. He was doing the work. I learned early on the type of contractor typically you should be looking for to work with as a house flipper just because it just works out much better that way. You don’t have the huge overhead of a big GC.
So, I went to college to be a software developer because I didn’t want to shovel asbestos style, right? I got my computer science degree and started working for a defense contractor in San Antonio, working in the skiff, which is basically a room without windows and locked doors and all this kind of stuff, so all these fluorescent lights and everything. The people I worked in that skiff with would listen to The Proclaimers, I think is the name of that band, that “I Would Walk 5,000 Miles” song. That song would be on repeat every day all day long, I don’t know why. I had to have my headphones on the whole time. It was driving me crazy.
While I was there working on that job, my father actually started being mentored by the guy that he was working for and started flipping houses himself. So, it was amazing to see every time I talked to him this new life he had. He was just so excited and so pumped about everything. He couldn’t stop talking about the success he was having and everything and just changed his whole life, really.
It got me excited about it. So, I was watching some VHS tapes that he had in the garage that he had ordered or whatever. It was like Carlton Sheets I think is who it was, training on VHS tapes. I popped them in excited, “I’m going to learn this business too.” I guess he was making these phone calls cold calling trying to get terms on people selling FSBO. I remember being so disgusted going, “Man, I can’t do that. That’s not something I want to do. I don’t want to be calling people and asking if they give me terms and all this stuff I didn’t understand.” So, I boxed those up. I put them back where I found them. I was like, “Maybe I don’t want to do that.”
Some time went by and my dad kept having success. I said, “I’m going to try this again and ask for his help and see what we can do,” and started doing the business part-time. During lunch, I’d take off and check on the rehabs, evenings and weekends. Anytime we weren’t at work, we were working, but it didn’t feel like work.
We were doing all this fun stuff. We were driving around town, finding all these areas you didn’t even know existed in your city and just amazed by some of the housing stock and places where people are fixing up houses. It was exciting. It took us a little over two years to go full-time. I was one of the people that struggled with going full-time. I was like we’re kind of consistently finding deals, but it still was a little bit scary to me. I wanted to steady paycheck. That was always my fallback.
Mike: That was the engineer in you.
Danny: Yeah. Maybe so. So, it took them letting me go from work—so, it turns out they did find out that I hadn’t really been doing much at the office other than learning how to flip houses. But hopefully, they’re not listening to this. That was so long ago, anyway. So, my wife worked with me there and said, “You want to go downstairs? I need to tell you something.”
She told me, “Your manager came to me and said they were going to let you go and wanted to ask if I could break the news to you.” He figured it would be really hard.” I smiled really big like, “This is awesome. This is what I needed.” I was excited about it. She said, “He told me I was going to do everything I could to fight to keep you on,” and I said, “No, no, no.” I went and talked to them and said, “Hey, don’t do that. I’m ready to go.”
They let me go. Usually people would be down and out, but I was super thrilled knowing I wouldn’t have to get up and go to work the next day and I would just be [leave some 00:08:33] business. That was hard. Just like when you’re so used to doing the business so long part-time, you find ways to be efficient. You find ways to do the things that matter and cut out the garbage that’s a waste of time, because you have to. So, when you go full-time, it’s kind of weird because you have that extra time and you feel like you’ve got to fill it and you start filling it with those things that don’t . . .
Mike: Were not as critical.
Danny: Right. It’s like a waste of time mostly, designing new business cards. Who cares? Stuff like that. So, it’s amazing when people are thinking they need to go full-time because they don’t have time to be able to do this stuff, I was like, “You can kind of do it part-time, really, until you really get good at it.” Depending on your circumstances, if you’ve got small children at home that you’ve got to take care of, maybe it’s a little different.
It is pretty amazing and that was a struggle going full-time to find what to do with my time at that point. It’s good to do it for long enough to make sure your system is in place to do everything efficiently and really get maximum benefit from that.
Mike: It’s funny how there’s a lot of real estate investors that they want—when people jump into the business or people get into the business, we want freedom. Financial freedom is one thing, but it’s also freedom of our time. A lot of us feel guilty when we’re not that busy and it’s like, “I need to stay busy to like justify myself,” or whatever, right? It’s weird, isn’t it?
Danny: Yeah. There’s like that fear that if you don’t, things are going to fall apart. So it’s like you got to go [inaudible 00:10:09]
Mike: But you’re not even working—like you said, you tend to fill it up with stuff that’s not like mission critical, it’s just stuff to keep your busy or starting websites or other things that are just going to distract you, right? I don’t know anything about that.
Danny: Yeah, you get in there try to do it yourself, right? Some of the early things like getting in and being scared, sending out that first marketing piece, putting out the first bandit signs, which are illegal in a lot of places, so make sure it’s fine where you are if you have to get a permit or something to put them out. But I remember being scared to death like doing those things and putting up maybe 12 bandit signs and thinking, “Oh man, my phone’s going to ring off the hook.”
Then you find you’re not going to get any calls. You might get one. Just doing a lot of that marketing stuff and getting used to talking to people and knowing you’re going to probably go to some people’s houses and not know exactly what to say or how to answer questions that they ask you, but just going and—one of the things that helped was in the beginning, even if it was like the furthest from a deal because they owed so much or something, I’d still schedule a call and go there to the appointment because it made it easier for me. I was like, “I know there’s no way I can buy this house.” So, I can go and not have that weighing on me of whether I’m going to have to pull the trigger or not and try to put this thing under contract.
So, you can walk through and get used to talking with sellers and find out what they’re asking you and all that kind of stuff without fear of missing a deal because you know there’s no way there could be a deal. Now, obviously in prior circumstances, you don’t want to waste their time. That can help.
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Danny: So, I can go and not have that weighing on me of whether I’m going to have to pull the trigger or not and try to put this thing under contract. So, you can walk through and get used to talking with sellers and find out what they’re asking you without of fear of missing a deal because you know there’s no way there could be a deal. Obviously if they’re in dire circumstances you don’t want to waste their time. That can help.
Mike: Yeah. Well, let’s dive into talking about people building their online presence. So, It’s pretty widely discussed that direct mail and things like that are kind of the foundation of lead generation, but that’s obviously quickly shifting and there’s a lot of folks that have kind of ignored their online presence for way too long. But let’s just talk about why you have to be online these days.
Danny: Yeah. So, the perfect example of this is I was at my dentist’s office weeks ago and I walked out, I was leaving there and there was two people standing outside, a man and a woman. I heard just as I was passing them, I heard the man say, “I don’t know, I looked for them online and I couldn’t find them. So, I got on Facebook and I couldn’t find them either.” Then the woman responds, “I guess we’ve got to find somebody else.” I was like, “Wow, how many people are saying that about things? How many people are doing exactly that now?”
It’s so easy to find out about who you’re working with and who you’re going to be looking to use and all that kind of stuff. At my house right now, we’re looking at having a pool built. So, what do we start with? Obviously, we’ll go online. We research everything. We check reviews. Then we get appointments with the ones that seem to have the best.
Mike: Yeah. You probably want to see pictures of their work, all those things. I would eliminate people that don’t have pictures of their work.
Danny: Right.
Mike: You kind of want to see what they’re capable of.
Danny: That’s a good point.
Mike: Go ahead.
Danny: For our industry, what type of houses they buy, reviews from people that use them. They want to hear from people, not just some text, but a video of somebody saying how awesome the experience was. It goes a long, long way. So, what’s happening, I think that I can’t be 100% sure, but my feeling is that the people sending a lot of direct mail that are seeing these declines in response rate, this has something to do with it because when you send that postcard or that letter, what are the people likely doing more and more. They’re saying who is this. They’ll go online.
Even if you have your domain name on there, I notice so many people, I tell them a domain name and I’m sitting by them. You would think they would just punch that in with a dotcom and go, but they type it in and hit search. It’s like searching. This is happening whether you put the domain name or your business name or something and they’re going online to find you. So, if you’re not there, who are they finding? They’re finding your competition and your competition might have reviews and your competition might have that information and what do they end up doing?
Mike: Going with the competition.
Danny: Right. You’re driving business to your competition. This day and age, obviously being the founder of LeadPropeller, that’s what we kind of provide are these online presences that are super easy to set up. But really, it doesn’t take much to have that and just have it there just to have a backup there and be there and really, what I tell more and more people—please excuse me, my mouth is kind of dry—as time goes on and people get more and more reviews, honestly, generating thousands of motivated seller leads like myself or our own business for over 10 or 12 years, just in the last maybe two years tops, I noticed people starting to get reviews for their websites and stuff like that, which is crazy, not testimonials, but I’m talking about reviews.
So, when you type in something and you see a maps thing on Google and they show you the business with the reviews on it and that might just be because that’s become available in that amount of time, but it’s still at the point where in most places, people don’t have a whole lot of them or any at all. But what happens is more and more people catch on to this and they start to build those. If you wait two years from now and you look and your competition has got 30+ reviews, how hard is that to compete with those guys?
Mike: Yeah, you should be able to catch.
Danny: If you don’t start now, you don’t start working on it. Google is pretty smart too. You can’t just go and have people leave you those, going around with an iPad or something like that getting people those reviews. They’ll get rid of them. We’ve had legitimate reviews left for us that got removed from Google for whatever reason. It just kind of sucks. But it’s just one of those things that happens.
Mike: Just call Google and say add it back.
Danny: Yeah. That works well.
Mike: More and more, people are searching for everything online. I’m even to a point now—this is outside of our industry, but if I’m at a store looking for something, I’m like they kind of have what I want, but that’s not really want I want, I’ll go straight to Amazon. Sometimes I’m buying a product or something I want while I’m in a store, like in the aisle for that thing. It’s just not exactly what I wanted or sometimes I just look and it’s a better price and I don’t have to carry it home now. So, I think more and more, people are—we probably do all of our Christmas shopping on Amazon or online. It’s just the way of the world these days, right?
Danny: That’s what we’re doing that makes it so nice and so much easier too. One thing with the pool, doing the research on that that I noticed too is we didn’t just Google it either. We looked on Facebook because people can leave the reviews on Facebook. So, we got on there too to see, because if you’re just on somebody’s website and you see their testimonials, unless they’re like a video one, you’re kind of like who knows who left that or whatever. Seeing it on Facebook and then even asking around on communities on Facebook, like we have a local one here and we asked other people like who have you used, who do you recommend? Some of the ones we were considering using, we decided not to because people said stay away from them.
So, reputation, number one, in any business is key. You never want to do something that doesn’t go along with what you said you were going to do. So, that’s number one. Number two is making sure you have these presence and these places so that people can do that and recommend you and all that kind of stuff.
Mike: Why do you think so many people in the real estate investing industry haven’t focused more online? Is it because they’re small, maybe a one-man, one-woman band, just don’t have the resources or capacity to kind of get to it? Why do you think people haven’t put more focus online?
Danny: Talking to a lot of our clients, LeadPropeller, it seems to be just that it’s daunting. You don’t really know if it’s going to work for you, how much is it going to cost, how long is it going to take, what to expect, what are the things that you’re going to need to do. The whole thing is sort of like I don’t understand it, so I don’t want to get involved in it and I don’t have the time to learn it. I don’t want to learn it.
I think that’s the biggest problem. We can provide the website. It’s got the content already in it. You can get your domain name through us and have it set up within minutes, but then what do you do from there? You’ve got to be able to drive traffic to it. I think that’s the piece that scares a lot of people. We offer services to do that for people. I think that’s probably the big thing is they’re not exactly sure what to do once they have the site.
Mike: I think with services like yours, it’s easier than ever these days because people don’t have to figure that out themselves. There are solutions out there now.
Danny: Like we were just talking about, really, it doesn’t take a whole long time to get a site and then set up, what you want to do for people listening, you’re talking about these reviews online that are not just on your website, but once you have a website, set up a Google My Business page and that’s where you can get those reviews from people on Google for your business.
So, once you have that going and you’ve got a little bit of momentum, when people type in your brand, it’s going to pull up on the page and hopefully show up your website and show that Google My Business listing over to the right side. They’ll be able to see those reviews and all that kind of stuff on there. If they’re on Maps or whatever, that will show up on Maps too, the reviews on there.
So, the Google My Business and then the Facebook Business page. So, set up a Facebook Business page as well. Even if you don’t have a website, set up that Facebook Business page just to have that presence and then start posting some things about what you do and people that you’ve helped to start getting the online assets built up so that you have something there.
Mike: I think like everything, people just need to work it into their processes to say, “Here’s how I do this.” Every once in a while, there’s something that I say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m not even doing this yet. It’s come up a couple of times over the last few months. I was about to say something. I was like, “Why am I still not doing that?” Like have my title company capture reviews. I don’t go to a title company. We do everything via FedEx and have notaries in my office.
I never go to the title companies. I have tons of sellers that I never see. I have acquisitions guys that are contracting with them, my office managers managing the communication and they close the title company. I’m talking to the title company, if anything. It’s just giving the title company some incentive to say, “I’ll give $20 if you ask this person to go while you’re sitting at the closing table, go to this link and fill this out.” Once they’re closed, good luck getting anybody to do anything. Once they’ve sold the house, they’re done, right?
Danny: We’ve had some luck getting some with some automated emails that go out afterwards, a series of maybe three or five with simple instructions. One thing you want to be careful about with the title company thing, if you have them using some sort of IP address or something from one computer that’s the same that they’re getting all these from, that’s when they magically disappear sometimes.
Mike: People think that’s fake because there’s somebody else that just left another review from that same location yesterday or last week or whatever.
Danny: They’ve got to log in to their own Gmail account to do it. So, having them do it on their own phone, something like that, doing those kinds of things can help.
Mike: Well, let’s kind of jump into an action plan. I really want people to take action. If they’re hearing this today and they’re like, “I’ve been meaning to get my website started. I’ve been meaning to update my website, make it mobile friendly,” let’s start to talk about what people can go do today to take action to start not only updating or completing their online presence, but then how to create content and how to focus on generating leads. Where do you recommend people start?
Danny: Okay. So, the start obviously is the center of it all, the website. If you’ve got a website already, great. That’s awesome. I’m going to give you some tips that you can do to enhance that website to get more out of it. If you don’t, all these things I’m talking about are already built into the websites that we provide at LeadPropeller. But basically, at the center of the strategy is the high-converting website. What makes it high converting are those things that we’ve been talking about already, the things that people are looking for when they go to your website.
Let’s just imagine we’re some seller that wants to sell our house and we’re looking for somebody to buy it. So, they get on to Google and type, “Sell my house fast, Dallas.” Then up comes Mike’s website. When they get on a website, what are they thinking? Who is this? What is this about? How does this work? Are they somebody I want to work with? Do I trust this person, whoever’s behind this website? It’s kind of these things they may be thinking about as they go through this.
From the beginning, having that call to action about what you want them to do needs to be very clear. So, a lot of times, it’s having that short form up at the top of the page with like an arrow to it or something that says get cash offer. So, they know exactly what they can do and what they should do to accomplish what they’re looking to accomplish. Beyond that, having the things for credibility.
So, it’s testimonials, video testimonials, text testimonials with pictures of the person that left you the testimonial. The Better Business Bureau accredited business logo—I wrote that off for so long saying, “That’s garbage. That’s not something anybody cares about.” It’s sort of like the car commercials with what’s that word they’re always giving?
Mike: I know what you’re talking about. But I can’t remember it either.
Danny: That’s going to drive me nuts. I’m sure somebody’s screaming it right now listening to this because they know it. J.D. Power and Associates—what is that? Who gives that out? What does that cost? That’s kind of what I felt about the Better Business Bureau thing. Until we started using it, we used it on all the direct mail, we used it on postcard. I don’t know how many sellers would call us and tell us that they went with us because of that, because we were an accredited business. The other mail they got or the other websites they went to, the people weren’t. So, it still holds a lot of weight.
When you consider a lot of who we as investors in San Antonio buy from, it’s typically people over the age of 40, 50, 60, right around there as like who we’re typically buying from. I still value those things as being a real legitimate measure of how credible—people can easily go to those websites and tell about how bad of a service you had. That’s why they like seeing that you’re accredited. There’s nothing bad against you on there.
So, the next thing for credibility is you have those. You’ve got the testimonials. But then having yourself. “Who’s behind this website?” I think is a question a lot of people ask. Whenever I look across LeadPropeller sites at the pages that people are going to, obviously the homepage gets a ton of traffic. The second most visited page is usually the about us page, which is just telling you they want to know who is this, like what is . . .
Mike: Who would I be talking to? Who am I working with here?
Danny: Right. So many people can set up a website and have no idea who’s—maybe one person’s got 20 websites. They don’t know. But when you do that and say who you are and show who you are and why you’re doing what you do, it goes a long way because people want to connect with you. They want to trust and feel like it’s somebody that they would want to do business with.
I think that was a mistake I made early on doing websites, having a website was I made it real corporate. I felt like it had to be super professional because I was the cash house buyer and I needed to be this business guy. Reading what I had written on that early website, I was like, “Who would even want to read this? It’s garbage. It’s such a sales pitch.” It’s nothing that really helps do anything other than just turn somebody off or bore them to death.
Mike: You’ve seen that people want to work with people more so than a corporate brand, is what you’re saying.
Danny: Right. I think you can have the brand, but put personality behind it, put a person behind it. It just goes a long, long way. We’ve got a customer, Alex, in Las Vegas, and he’s got a picture on his about us page of him and a girlfriend, I think, and his dogs with sunglasses on. He’s got dogs on a separate picture with two dogs with big bright orange sunglasses and stuff. You would think, “What is he doing? That’s so unprofessional.” No. The people see the guy loves dogs. He’s a likeable guy. He’s got some information about himself, his core values. It just goes a long way.
Mike: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s counterintuitive to what I think a lot of people think initially. They think, “I can’t compete with the big brands. I can’t compete with some of the big people out there.” You’re not the first person I’ve heard say that. I’ve had conversations like this before. People want to work with who they think is going to knock on their door. If I had my picture on my website, I wouldn’t probably—I have acquisition manager, so it probably wouldn’t be me knocking on their door, most likely, but they still want to believe it’s like a local person. They live here. They work here, their family is here. I’ve heard that over and over again.
Danny: Yeah, for sure, it works. Your case is the same as mine. It’s interesting because what we did was on the about us page, my wife and I and one of our daughters and then we have pictures of our team underneath with a little bit about them. I’m not the one going either. I don’t talk to them on the phone. I don’t know most of the houses that we’re flipping because the team is doing it. When I see the testimonials or the reviews on Google because I’ll get an email, almost all of them say Grayson or Landon, like people on the team, they were awesome. It’s all under Danny buys houses, but it still works. It’s all the team.
Mike: That’s awesome. So, let’s talk about one of the other things that scares people away is the idea of doing paid advertising or having to create content, some of the things that people that are really focused on it spend a lot of effort and maybe a lot of money on those things, but in effort to not scare people away from even if you’re not going to spend a lot of money or you can’t create a bunch of blogs or create a lot of video content, you should still do these things, maybe talk a little bit about paid advertising or SEO or kind of content creation stuff.
Danny: Okay. This touches, again, on you’ve got the website and you want to send traffic to it. Now, we’re going to talk about these things and most of these things don’t happen for people right away. They don’t just get a website and start doing all this stuff and start having success. You’ve got to start somewhere. I think starting with having that presence, having to Google my business, the Facebook business page and doing those things gets you set up and gets you going so that further success, as you have time to do it or hire somebody else to do it is easier to do, but generating this traffic—so, for free traffic, what I’m always recommending is Craigslist ads to do free traffic because you’ll go on Craigslist and look for houses wanted or houses for sale, houses for rent and see other investors’ ads in there.
The majority of time, the guys will post wants maybe for a week and then quite just because it’s like, “I didn’t get anything, so I’m going to stop doing it.” Hire a VA to do it for you repetitively—you’re going to get some of them flagged. Don’t freak out and quit. Set up new accounts and keep going. Most of the time, people flagging them are just competitors and you just have to outlast them.
Mike: You’re saying post ads that say that you buy houses and try to send people back to your website to fill out a form and generate them that way.
Danny: You can’t have links on there. What you do is put in the text but then also create an image. You can use Canva,, I guess it is. You can create graphics really quickly and easily for free and put your logo or whatever and your website and phone number on those ads, put a call to action to call you. You want people to call you above everything, if you can. So, you can post those, not just doing the posts either that are like, “We buy houses,” or, “Sell your house fast,” but the ones that are related to the situations that somebody might be facing.
If you can speak to them about the problem they have, they’re going to see you as the authority or the person they want to talk to over the guys that are just saying, “We buy houses.” I still think having the majority of them be, “We buy houses,” “Sell your house fast,” or, “Cash house buyers,” or whatever work great. But have one that says, “How does this we buy houses thing work?”
So, if you see all these ads of, “We buy houses,” and one of them says, “How does this thing work?” The people are wondering, “What is all this we buy houses?” Who are they going to click on? You’re going to show them how it worked and be the guy or gal that educated them.
Then the other one is facing the circumstances. Typical circumstances that we see, the ones where obviously foreclosure, even though we don’t get a whole lot of foreclosure stuff ourselves, a lot of inherited stuff, a lot of inherited properties that need a lot of work. I think that’s the vast majority of circumstances where we buy these houses.
Mike: Are you still talking about Craigslist? Running ads for circumstances, getting divorced, need to sell your house, try to identify with somebody that might be reading it.
Danny: Right, like splitting up and want to sell that thing quick and just having a couple ads like for these different things like that because you never know. I don’t know if you can get away with it. Obviously, like you said, I’m not doing this right now either, even though I should be because you get so busy with other stuff. The ones where people are looking of contractors that need some repairs on their house or something, it’s like if you can get away with putting an ad in there that’s not so blatantly out of the category, it’s like house need a lot of repairs? Here’s the solution.
Mike: Don’t fix it. Sell it.
Danny: Right. Give them an option. There’s a lot of different things you can do with the Craigslist ones. It’s funny. I had done a webinar a couple years ago where I talked about doing these Craigslist ads. Believe it or not, at the time, I wasn’t even doing them myself. I had already quit doing them. I was busy with other stuff, doing SEO and all this other stuff.
A local investor here in San Antonio called me and said, “I loved your training. I got my first deal by running Craigslist ads.” I said, “Really, tell me about the deal.” She’s like, “I want to make $100,000.” I was like, “Are you kidding me?” Had I been doing them, I would have maybe got that because it was right here in town, right here in San Antonio. Congratulations. That was awesome. It really does work. Obviously, not everybody has that success. You don’t just land something right away. But they can be had and they are had.
Mike: It’s like everything. You’ve just got to be consistent.
Danny: Right. The other source of traffic you can get is with SEO, search engine optimization. We get this question all the time. Are your websites SEO? Are they search engine optimized? Yes, they are, but here’s the thing with search engine optimization. We could do as much as we can on the websites themselves, but there’s outside things that need to happen usually to rank whenever you have competition and most everybody has competition. I think this is what keeps a lot of people out of this because they think maybe the only way is through SEO and it takes a while and there’s competition. Who knows what works and what doesn’t? I don’t know how many times I spent evenings in my earlier years of getting my site ranked.
Once you get to the top, it’s not as hard to stay there than getting there. But getting there was so frustrating. I remember like evenings in bed on my keyboard, my laptop, doing these things, like what else can I do. I do all this stuff? I get these back links. Then I come back and check like a month later and it’s like my site is dropped in the rankings and I’m like, “Did I hurt my site? What happened?” You never know. Usually, it’s just a matter of waiting longer. Then the site ends up showing up.
SEO is something—so, the sites come really well optimized as much as we can, which is necessary because a lot of times, you can rank for certain things, long tail keywords and that means longer keyword searches, not we buy houses, but something like how to sell my house that I inherited or something like that. It might be a little bit easier to rank for. But SEO, the big key with SEO is time. If you’re going to do SEO work, we offer it here professionally, even with the professional, a lot of times in these bigger markets, what you’re looking at is usually at least 8 months to 12 months to see that.
So, it’s an investment. Here’s the big thing that’s so good about that. That’s what keeps most people from really working at doing it. Then once you’re at the top, it’s so much harder to get you dethroned. It’s really not impossible to do it. It’s just a matter of committing and knowing that that investment is going to go in and do that. So, the majority of my leads right now come from organic ranking. I’m not paying anything to have my site show up in those rankings. Google does that for me, but it takes work to get there.
If you’re spending in our service, anywhere from roughly about $1,000 to like $1,500 a month, if you look at $10,000 of that, what is that going to cost you? But if that gets you to the first page and gets you up to the top three positions, like how many deals can come from that over time? It’s just a no-brainer. But I think that commitment of spending that monthly money without seeing those results yet keeps so many people on the sidelines, right?
Mike: There’s a lot less competition in that space.
Danny: Right. So, it’s tricky. One thing that we do that really helps people with that is every month, we do a report and it shows all the ranking movements. So, you get to see the progress. It’s not just like, “I don’t know what’s happening. They tell me it’s working. I don’t know.” You get to know that it’s working.
Mike: That’s great.
Danny: That’s free stuff. Then PPC, so if you want to start using a website to get leads and deals right away, the best way to do that is with PPC. The reason is the people going online to search for things related specifically to needing to sell a house—I’m not just saying sell a house, but needing to, having the circumstances that causes them to want to find somebody like you to make them an offer to have that house go away quickly. So, when you do pay per click, you get to show up at the top of the search results in the ad spots on Google. So, when you do a search, those top ones are ads, top four, you pay to get there.
Now, there’s an algorithm involved, of course, so it’s not just as easy as out-spending everybody, which is kind of good because if you’ve got a good website that Google thinks is very relevant, you pay less to be higher placed. So, it’s actually really nice. But the key with PPC is just like the SEO I was showing you, 8 to 12 months, knowing that it takes that long with a service doing that to get there, then you find success, whereas most people don’t know and they put the money out there that this is expensive. I don’t see anything happening. I’m quitting. That probably happens 90% of the time. Or more, people put the money in and stop when it’s horrible to stop. It’s like doing just a little bit of direct mail at a time and never doing enough to make a difference.
Mike: I was about to say the same thing. That’s a common thing. I didn’t see any results or I spent all my money and now I’m done.
Danny: Right. It sucks because it takes the faith, right? It takes having done a deal or two to know that that’s going to come back and you’ve got that money to spend on it, say I’m going to spend it no matter what, just make sure this works. But with PPC, you do—I had a talk with my friend, Paul [Laposa 00:41:39] because he was doing some pay per click and he stopped and I said, “Why’d you stop doing pay per click?” he said, “I wasn’t seeing the results. I wasn’t doing it.” I was like, “How much were you spending?” he told me and I said, “Paul, what is a deal worth to you? What is a deal worth to you?” He said, “I don’t know. For me it’s typically about $20,000, $25,000, maybe $30,000, just say $25,000 on average between wholesales and flips.” “Okay, how much are you willing to spend to get that deal? What do you typically spend to get a deal on other sources that you’re getting deals from?”
This varies all over the place for different people and everything, but we on average are sitting at $2,500, $3,000 per deal. Some people in Houston I talked to are spending $4,000 or more depending on what they’re doing. So, if you say, “Okay, if I’m typically in direct mail spending $3,000 to get a deal,” and you’re telling me that you’re putting $500 into AdWords for the month, like why do you expect that to work? Maybe in the early days when the other people weren’t doing it and the competition wasn’t there, you could get it, right? That could work.
So, if it’s $3,000, why aren’t you spending $3,000? If you can get the deal for $3,000 through AdWords as well, which is totally doable in most places, $500 a month, how many months is that going to take? Six months. But you gave up after the second month. So, that’s what’s happening here. So, if you want to look at numbers wise, you’re saying, “How do I know if that’s going to happen where I am?” and all that kind of stuff. Is just on average, a website that’s converting well will probably get like 10%, 10% to 20%, usually closer to 10% conversion rate. So, the amount of traffic coming there, 10% of those people become a lead, 90% won’t. We’ll get into talk of what to do with the 90% in a minute, but the 10% that do, you get 100 people going there and 10 of them become a lead, how many leads do you typically need to get a deal? That’s all over the place. It depends on the investor, right?
Mike: Right, of course.
Danny: But if you get one deal out of every 10 leads, it becomes a deal. With AdWords, that tends to be a little bit better because the people are actively looking, you’re not just blasting direct mail hoping somebody’s like, “Oh, maybe find out what they offer.”
Mike: Right. They searched for, “Sell my house fast,” or something else.
Danny: Right, typically. So, if the 100 people came to your website, 10 of them became leads, you took 10 leads and got a deal out of it, now you’re looking at how much is it going to cost me to get the 100 people? That’s 100 clicks you need to pay for to get enough traffic to get the deal. That works out to where if you’re looking at $3,000, you can spend roughly on average about $30 per click, which is pretty good for some of these keywords and a lot of these competitive markets, sometimes a little bit higher. Sometimes lower. But when I look at what we do here in San Antonio, we’re looking at roughly in that range of about $25 on average to $30 per click.
Mike: Okay. So, therefore a lead is costing you 10x that, roughly.
Danny: Right. So, about $300 per lead. It varies like $200 to $300 and then up to getting that deal. So, it’s always kind of like moving. But just to put like an idea of what to kind of expect. So, if you go in expecting that you’re going to have a budget of $50 a day, you’re probably not likely so to very well. That ad spend is going to get burned real quick.
Mike: Right. Well, let’s talk real fast about retargeting. So, this is something that’s becoming more and more popular now, a lot more common now for real estate investors. Real estate investors are usually a few steps behind the rest of the world form an advertising standpoint, for sure.
Danny: Which is amazing knowing how much we can profit per deal.
Mike: Maybe that’s part of the problem, you make so much money that you get a little sloppy. Let’s talk about retargeting, just what that means, just playing off of what you just said, nine out of ten people to your website don’t actually fill out a form.
Danny: Right. What can you do? If they go to your website and they leave, a majority of investors are saying, “Whatever, I don’t even know that happened. I don’t know that that many people weren’t submitting the form or calling me.” So, you’ve got to think about why, like why didn’t they. So, probably the majority of the time, I would figure the person is just not ready yet.
It’s like they read through it. Maybe it looks good, but they’re just not ready. They’re still thinking about what they what to do—reaching out to somebody can be kind of had for people to do. Even submitting a form online, there’s some trepidation. Even if you’re really credible, I think a lot of people still struggle with that because they don’t want to admit this problem or situation they’ve put themselves in.
Mike: They’re still in denial a little bit.
Danny: What do you do? What Google and Facebook have allowed us to do is to be able to track them. So, we can put a pixel or do analytics tracking to find out who came to the website. After they submit the form, we can have something that says, “Okay, this person submitted the form, they became a lead, so we don’t want to retarget them.” The people who didn’t, they came to the website and they didn’t submit the form, we can find out who they are, not individually, but we can remarket them. They won’t let us know who they are because that’s just creepy. But they’ll let us remarket them across the internet.
So, with Google, it’s like I’m sure everybody’s kind of been creeped out by this or annoyed by it, where you go to Amazon and you’re shopping around a couple days later, on every website you go to, the product you were looking at is on there. It’s the same principle. Amazon tracked you and now they’re marketing you because they know you didn’t buy that thing. Facebook uses the pixel. So, if they came to your website and they didn’t become a lead, you can have it to where when you’re on Facebook, they can see your ad show up, so they can see you there as well.
The way that this best works that we found, at least, is starting out with doing Facebook. Almost everybody’s on Facebook. The thing is they came to your website, they left, they didn’t become a lead. But you can gently remind them. That’s the key is gently. Never set a frequency of where they’re going to see you every single day multiple times. It’s going to annoy you and piss you off. The key is doing it subtly. It’s like maybe once every day for the first week or something.
Then after that, once every three days, five days or something like that. It’s because they’re not ready. Maybe they didn’t see the ad, maybe they did. But the last thing you want to do is annoy them. So, setting those frequencies on there is the way to go so they’ve given it some thought. If you’re the only person retargeting them, which in a lot of cases, you are, you’re top of mind above anybody else whenever they do get ready or circumstances change over time. It’s the same principle as doing direct mail, where a lot of times, everybody’s so concerned about what their letter says, when I think a lot of times, it’s more of just like when that letter landed.
Mike: Timing.
Danny: You’re not going to say some magical spell in your letter that’s going to convince them to call you over some other letter. It just says, “We want to buy your house.” It probably has a little bit to do with it, but not probably enough to be measurable, I would think. So, it’s more about sending the people who have success for direct mail multiple times to the same list. What you’re trying to get there is not have them remember you, which is good because over enough time even after you stop sending, they can keep them and call you.
But it’s more of hitting them right when they need it, right when they got chewed out by that tenant that called them a piece of dirt and is calling them every name under the sun and won’t get out of their house and they don’t know what to do, whereas three months ago, they were paying and everything was great. So they had no need for that card that went straight into the trash, but now, they’re going to need it and they’re going to call you.
Mike: They kept seeing your brand and now they subconsciously even, “I see this person everywhere.” Right?
Danny: Right. Mix it up. Don’t just have the same ad. It could be different reasons also if you didn’t convince them enough that you’re the person that they want to work with, credibility maybe wasn’t there, that they saw when they were there, they were just there quickly, have some testimonial ads, have those kinds of things, have the stories, have ads that you’re showing in front of a house you just bought and you tell other people circumstances of how you bought it, why you bought it, how you help them. If you have a testimony from them, having that at the end of that quick video that’s only one or two minutes, it’s just awesome. It works really well.
Mike: Back to the reviews and stuff, it’s that social proof of you’re telling me what you can do. Now somebody else is actually advocating for you.
Danny: Even if you don’t have the testimonials, showing people—everybody loves the house flipping shows. Everybody loves watching people knock over walls and make something ugly pretty, so even just having those where you’re showing people what to do, we’re all fascinated by that and we kind of want to know—I’ve even found myself, even though I could care less about plumbing, I’ve seen something on YouTube where this guy’s showing this thing of how to fix his plumbing thing, and he’s just talking about his business, but he’s showing how to fix this thing and I’m like, “This is brilliant marketing. It doesn’t seem like it would be.” I feel like this guy knows what he’s doing. He taught me something. That taught me something thing is what really made me pay attention to it. I think there’s more there. Sorry my voice is going out.
Mike: That’s what happens when you sing karaoke all weekend long.
Danny: I wish that’s what it was.
Mike: Danny, this is good stuff. Maybe just take a minute and tell people real high level again, if they want to take action or beef up their website or they want to start their website, real high level what they should be focused on in terms of building an online presence and brand.
Danny: Yeah. So, real high level is having a website, first of all, making sure that you’ve got the credibility factors in there, the Better Business Bureau, the testimonials, even if they’re not from sellers because you’re a new investor, getting them from friends and colleagues. Don’t say you bought a house from them. Don’t lie, but have them speak about your character, speak to your character. That just goes a long way. It’s amazing.
Other people, if you’re using a title company, if you’re using some mortgage broker, stuff like that, all those people have left us awesome testimonials. Have those on there. Make sure you’ve got a clear call to action on your website. Then work on getting traffic to it. Work on doing those Craigslist ads. Look into doing SEO. We have training for SEO and stuff like that through LeadPropeller. Then I’m doing a webinar and maybe I can mention that in a little bit, where I can explain a little bit more about how to have success online through these different paid and free traffic sources.
Then the thing is just being consistent and having it be one of those things. So many investors, we get caught up in the whole shiny object thing where we’re like, “That’s the new hot thing. I’m going to go do that.” Here’s this other thing. I’m going to do that. It starts getting hard, so I’m going to start doing this other thing. Really, when you talk to the high level guys around the country doing really big business in flipping, they typically are just masters of a couple things. They’re not doing 20 different marketing strategies. They’re doing a couple that are working really well for them and they stick to it.
Mike: Yeah, you’re right.
Danny: So, having that and choosing to be the thing that you maybe do. But like I said, even if you’re not, it’s something that needs to be there because this thing where people are going along. It’s sort of forcing everybody to do it. It’s a good thing. We can be frustrated by it and say, “I don’t want to. I don’t understand. I don’t want to do it.” But it’s good for everybody.
When that person needs you, just like when we were looking for somebody for a pool, it’s so nice to be able to have something from somebody else or see their website but then also see these things from Google My Business where people have left reviews, Facebook and having these other ways to vet companies. You can use that to your advantage if you just embrace it and be that company that’s vetted so that everybody wants to work with you and you get that leverage.
Mike: That’s good stuff, man. The internet is clearly not going away. If you thought it was a fad. It’s not going anywhere.
Danny: Right.
Mike: Awesome. If folks want to learn more about you, obviously you create websites for people and help them build their presence. Tell us more about how they can get ahold of you or learn more.
Danny: I have a blog at It’s also a podcast on iTunes. Then our website, you can get a website set up within minutes, just go to Check out the demo. You can check out some demo videos and see what it’s all about. Then I’ve also got a webinar that’s teaching more people because that’s the thing. People get to us and say, “What do I do?” We have training in LeadPropeller but I wanted to offer something more in the way of a bigger picture strategy to give people the high level view of what they should be doing. So, I’ve got this webinar at You can check that out for free, the web training.
Mike: Sounds good. We’ll add links in the show notes. Danny, great to see you.
Danny: Thank you, Mike. It was good to see you.
Mike: Thanks for sharing your insights with everybody here today.
Danny: No problem. I hope everybody takes something from it and puts it to use to really help gain an advantage in their business and got to foster [inaudible 00:56:50]
Mike: That’s awesome. As we’ve been talking about here, we’ve had a few shows lately where we’re talking about the importance of taking small steps. If some of this seems overwhelming, just carve it up into small steps and just get started really is the key. You’d agree with that, right, Danny?
Danny: Absolutely.
Mike: Awesome. Everybody, this was show number 396 with Danny Johnson. I hope you appreciate today, I hope you learned a few things. I’m going to add the links down below here. You’ve got to get online. Even if you’re advertising offline, people are going to look for you online.
Even if you don’t put your web address, they’re just Googling your name and trying to see what they could find. Somebody just said that to me that they saw some stuff I was doing, they literally started to Google my name to see what they could find out about me. The guy said he totally stalked me and then he wanted to work with me after that, after whatever he found. I don’t know what he found, but good, bad or ugly, people are looking for you online.
Everybody, if you haven’t done it yet, please go on to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, YouTube, anywhere where you’re watching us or listening to us right now and give us a positive review, subscribe if you haven’t already and leave some feedback. We’d appreciate that positive feedback is what fuels us to keep moving forward here. So, Danny, thanks again for being with us today.
Danny: No problem, Mike. Thanks.
Mike: Everybody, this is show number 396. Thanks for being with us. We’ll see you on another upcoming show. Take care.
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