Branding and Marketing; the Secret Sauce to Growing Your Business

Episode 6:

Sharon Vornholt has been investing in real estate in the Louisville, KY area since 1998. In addition to being a full time investor, she is the creator of the Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog and hosts a popular podcast called “Let’s Talk Real Estate Investing”.

Sharon writes articles for a number of sites for real estate investors, and she is regular contributor to REI Wealth Magazine. She is also a coach, a mentor and hosts several live events every year.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why you have to get your name right from the very beginning
  • Why you need your website name to be a .com
  • What do you stand for?
  • The website as a credibility builder
  • Real estate branding: if you don’t create your brand, other people will create it for you
  • How to create and keep happy customers
  • Sharon’s event: Branding, Books and Beaches
  • Using direct mail marketing in 2016
  • Using text message marketing
  • Writing an authority book to promote your brand
  • How to pick the price point for your book
  • How to get great reviews of your book




Mitch: This is Mitch. And you we got a great show for you here today. I have a wonderful guest, her name is Sharon Vornholt. She is the founder, promoter, the head bottle washer, everything that goes with LouisvilleGalsRealEstateBlog.com, she’s been doing this blog for over 6 years. She’s a wholesaler, professional wholesaler and has done her fair share of deals. Keeps the cash flow coming in through wholesaling deals and also, she likes to teach people about the real estate industry. She’s had similar courses one called, R.E.I Marketing Mastery. Today, we’re gonna talk about marketing.

How are you doing, Sharon? How are you?

Sharon: Am doing great, Mitch. Thank you for having me on.

Mitch: Oh, no. It’s always my pleasure. We go back a few years, huh?

Sharon: We do. Just a few. Back to your first book, I think. [LAUGHTER]

Mitch: [LAUGHTER] Oh. We’re gonna talk about that, too. How to deal with books and stuff like that. I have some homework to do here, though. I have to pay homage to my sponsors real quick. I have to get in the way and I’ll right back to you.

Sharon: Absolutely.

Mitch: Okay. This episode is brought to you by LiveComm.com, what if you could capture the phone number of every person whoever called your business, what if you check the success or the failure of every marketing endeavor effectively and affordably. And, then imagine you can be able to text all those prospects, in one single mass text for less than a nickel. Am not talking about a nickel per person in the text. I am talking about all your customers. You know, say about 4-5 or 6 thousand customers, and send them a message and you pay less than a nickel. That’s what I’m talking about. I use this feature to sell my houses and for lots of other reasons to track my marketing, check it out livecomm.com, be sure to watch the 4 minute video on the front page.

This episode is brought to you by Moat Note Servicing these people will help you collect your payments. Are your payments are falling way behind? Do you bred collections? Are you sending out your yearly analysis to all your payors? Is record keeping not just your forte? If you answered, yes, to any of these please, think about contacting moatnoteservicing.com. Shannon is the founder, she’s been collecting for over 20 years, and she’s collected tens of thousands of payments in her career. She’s licensed, she’s bonded and she’s made this service affordable for you. And she can even show you how to get your payer to pay for this collection service. So, contact Shannon at moatnoteservicing.com, because, you should be out making deals.

All right, how do I do there, Sharon? So, I can regular online professional DJ- disc jockey host?

Sharon: I think you are good at damn path, Mitch. [LAUGHTER]

Mitch: [LAUGHTER] You know what, I am trying to do these people a good job because they support and they make this show possible and so, you kind of do them a good job. They are both great companies, I wouldn’t put them on here if they weren’t. Also, today’s show notes, you’ll be able to find everything you wanna know about Sharon. You’ll also be able to find her upcoming advanced or webinars or whatever she has to offer at the 1000houses.com/sharon and today’s topic we’re gonna talk about marketing and real estate branding and so, boy, is that a huge subject, isn’t it, Sharon?

Sharon: That’s a huge subject, but it is often overlooked at especially in our real estate, Mitch.

Mitch: You know in my book, “My Life in a Thousand Houses: 200+ Ways to Find Bargain Properties”, the first 30 pages were devoted to setting yourself up correctly in the very beginning, so you didn’t have to go back and re-brand or change phone numbers or change your addresses or the names of your company. I think one of the most important things that people don’t understand, the most basic thing that they don’t understand about marketing is, and you have to get your name right. The name of your business right.

Sharon: That’s really important. You know, it is all about creating your presence in the marketing place, in the market place. So, marketing is the engine that drives your business. And it’s all the things that you said you do to get your business and all the ways that you get whether its direct mail, all the ways that you have listed in your book. But, branding is all about perception. It’s all about how people feel about you and your business. So, you have to tie marketing and branding together. And if you start building a brand right from the beginning, which is what people most people don’t do, as you know. I was guilty of that. But, if you do that right from the beginning. If you have given it some conscious thought, it will enhance all your marketing efforts.

Mitch: I agree. You got to think of it upfront.

Sharon: Right.

Mitch: I, personally think your real estate branding starts with a name. And I think that your name has to say, what you do and how to get more information. And in today’s world. We have the internet. So, tell me what do you think about this, because I haven’t asked you about this. I think, your name is a dot.com name, always. I mean, when someone says, what’s the name of your business. You should say, “You know, its sharonbuyshouses.com”. I mean, that’s the name of the business, because the reason why, I like that those kind of names is because, if the only thing on the billboard is mitchbuyshouses.com, then, (a). They know what I do. (b) They know my name, my personal name and (c) They got the website that they can go to, to find out anything else they want to find out about me and my business, and even my phone number.

And by the way, what is easier to remember, mitchbuyshouses.com or 21066942, you know what I mean?

Sharon: Yeah.

Mitch: You know what I mean. No one can remember phone number.

Sharon: Yeah. It’s always your name now. You know, back when I started which was a long time ago. People didn’t think about that but, I tell everybody, “You should have your name.com”. And if your name is gone, like Mitch Stephen was gone, it might be mitch.stephen or you may get some variation of the name. But, the longer you wait. The harder it is to get your name, because people have figured out this one out. But, yeah, you are ultimately are your brand. So, people have to, they need to remember your name.

Mitch: It’s–I think people make this mistake. It doesn’t take a lot to correct it. You could get mitchstephen@gmail.com or mitchstephen@yahoo.com or Ibuyhouses@yahoo.com. But, why are you promoting, every time you send that out, you are promoting yahoo and Gmail. Why don’t you get your own name. Mitchbuyssa.com. You know it is, mitchbuyshouses.com, it is mitchbuyssa, I live in San Antonio. You know, just try all the different variations until you find it, but, every time you send out an email, you must do these days, thousands of thousands of times, a year. Wouldn’t it be nice if what you did and your company, was in your email return address, you know? Mitch@mitchbuyssahouses.com. I mean, that’s a free form of advertising, am gonna send emails whether or not what my name is. Why wouldn’t I want to advertise Gmail?

Sharon: Right.

Mitch: They seem to have enough advertising.

Sharon: Right. Everybody– and all you have to do is to get your domain name, to get your email or you know, sharon@sharonvornholt.com. You know– people, big companies have known about name recognition forever. If you stop and look at some of the big brands and this is one thing you wanna do when you are promoting your name though. Is that, you wanna be sure that it embodies the way you want people to feel about you. Like, think back about some of these brands. Like, the

Dollar Store. They are the cheap guy. Domino’s pizza, they’re the fast guy. Levi’s jeans guys are the dependable midsize guy. Mercedes is an expensive guy, so, when you are building your brand around your name, you need to be consciously thinking about, “What do I stand for?” and, I mean you have done that successfully. Certainly. But, not everybody has been able to kind of nail that down.

Mitch: Well, I think that’s an excellent point. So, in real estate branding, what else can people do? What I like about the way the world right now with the internet. So, there’s a lot of little things that you can do that don’t cost you anymore any less at the end of the day, to speak of. I mean, there’s a lot of one-time expense work for me 24 hours a day, 365 days a year kind of things. Most of it, and I think one of the most important parts is your website that your URL goes to. It has to look professional. And it has to state your case and give your mission statement and start to develop, how– just like you said, how your customers look and feel about you. Are you gonna be the cheap guy, you’re gonna be the mid-sized guy, or are you gonna be the expensive guy. Are you the fast guy? And so, you let that website further drive that theme. My theme personally, depending on the business we are in the house selling business. My theme is, “I can help you find a house for the same price per month as you’re paying for rent”.

My cashforhouses.net website, when am buying houses, I took that for and try to get it more meaning and I say “We always give you at least four different kinds of offers to buy your house”. You know the cash offer, the little bit of down payment, and carry the rest– the big down payment carry the rest, or I’ll give you market price that you got to give me, my terms, no matter what they are. So, those are the four offers. I try to tie those four together with my name. So, I don’t know if I have done a great job with that. But, what I hate about my names, and I will tell you, both of them, cashforhouses.net, and the dot.net was a big mistake. Whoever has cashforhouses.com, is getting a lot of business from me. Thank goodness they are not my tab. And my other, the house selling business, which by the way, buying and selling houses are still completely two different websites, two completely different names, in my opinion. Do you agree with that?

Sharon: I, absolutely agree with that. It should be two different sites.

Mitch: Yeah, because you are dealing with two completely different motives, two completely different emotions, two completely different customers. Who don’t even remotely want the same thing, one guy wants to get rid of the house and one wants to get into the home. You know, getting rid of the house and getting into the home. Is right there, it is a big difference.
So, my house selling site is, homes2go.net as well. So, I made not only the dot.net, what is homes to go stand for?

Sharon: Yeah.

Mitch: Do I sell furniture? Do I sell motor homes? I mean, what is it that I do? And you don’t really know. The problem is, I’m not saying do what I did. I am saying do as I say, because, I have already bought and sold, hundreds and hundreds of houses and have all this good workout there, before I have it figured it out, that my names are completely stupid.

Sharon: Well, you know. That is not something that you can fix in the sense, you can always leave your homes2go.net, psyche there– you could market it, you could also start to rebrand under your different name and do a redirect. So, yeah, we’ve all made those mistakes, for sure. But, I think you do need to think about those things when you are starting out, because when your website is so important, people use to think it was optional. And I still go to R.E meetings, every now and then. Where they say, “Well, you probably got to get a website, now you should have one years ago”.

Mitch: [Laughter]

Sharon: You know, because, sometimes 60-70 percent of the people now, begin their search online. Now, well, I do a lot of direct marketing, it’s still a great source of lead. If somebody wakes up in the middle of the night, they’ve lost their job, they can’t make their house payments, and whatever keeps them up in the middle of the night. They’re going to start to search online. And here’s the other thing that happens. If you send out a postcard or a letter to someone, used to be that person picked up the phone and they called you. That was the automatic response.

Now, there’s another step in the middle. They’re gonna go online, they’re gonna check you out online. And what they see online, the real estate branding you’ve done and the marketing you’ve done, all of those things that you put together on your website, that’s probably going to determine which person they’ll gonna call out of that stack of direct mail that directly sitting on their desks or their counter top.

Mitch: I couldn’t agree with you more, ’cause the website is like a credibility builder. If nothing else, it’s like “Wow. Are these guys really in business”? And they look at your website, and they see a bunch of broken links, or it’s not just impressive to go out, you know. If that’s the way they’ll gonna have their store front look on the internet. Then, they’ll probably run their whole business like that. I don’t think I really want to mess with them. I am gonna go to this other guy, “Look at that, his glossy, he’s got some videos, he just said “hi” to me. You know, everything’s clean and neat. And looks like very professional. Credibility.

Sharon: It’s all about perception. You know, you can give the appearance of being the biggest guy in town and may be not the biggest guy, but you’re the best planner. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do a good job. But, it is all about creating that perception, and that thing that causes people to really start working on their brand is that, they see visible in the market place. They realized they are the best kept secret in town. You know, maybe they have a good reputation and in their small circle, but they are not well known, not counting friends and family. They’ve been at– whatever they’re doing for a while, and their small amount of customers are happy but, they just don’t have enough of them. So, they feel like they are doing okay, but they are not doing well. But, the big thing is, they began to realize they are losing after the competitors, whose marketing is better and they are better well known.

So, that’s where people really say,” What I’ve done here”? Because, if you don’t create your brand, other people will create it for you. It’s what they say about you when you go out of the room, it’s another way of putting your brand, so your brand is– you know, is a lot of things, it is how people feel about you. That overall feeling that you give. But, it is also what they say about you when you go out of the room. So, you really wanna be very purposeful in creating your brand.

Mitch: Yeah. I can’t stress this enough. In the past, if you had a disagreement with a customer and you could leave them– and you just can leave it just to that– unresolved. In today’s market, with the internet and the ability of the people to post things about you and your business at will, without your permission, and with no recourse to them. You cannot have an unhappy customer that is one of the reasons why Angie’s List is so successful, right? Because, why you should be able to trust people on Angie’s List, at least at the extent of Angie says that they [Inaudible]. If they leave an unhappy customer or something unresolved, that customer will report to Angie’s List and kill that advertising effort.

Well, it’s been said and heard it a lot, customers are threatening to post outside, if people don’t get this right or don’t come back and correct the problem, or don’t honor their worthy, or don’t honor their word. So, make no mistake. You can’t have this mistake right now. You can’t get violent with them. You might be able to get violent with them before, and just have a disagreement. You have to make a reasonable resolved, I’ve done this all my life. It is paid hugely for me, although, it has costs me a lot to get there. I don’t let people be unhappy. Even if it costs me money. They’re not gonna be unhappy.

Sharon: And you are right about that, guy. You know about one thing to know, most of the people, small entrepreneurs don’t have the situation that let’s say you are a Hyatt hotel and you had a really bad experience with Hyatt, and then go on to– even on Facebook or Twitter and do #Hyatt. Terrible experience. I will guarantee you, you are going to get a call from the Hyatt hotel saying, “How can we fix this”? Because, they have people monitor social media, and they realized the importance of that brand and their unhappy customers and that the whole snowball effect that it has, they actually have people that monitor those things.

Mitch: Do good business and make sure you have happy customers and don’t leave things unresolved. That’s the rule of 2016– the rule of internet and tweeting and whatever else is out there. Thousand avenues.

Sharon: Absolutely.

Mitch: So, you’re gonna venture out in the future and one of this event, you are teaching people how to start their branding story. Tell me about what this event entails and what you’re teaching people to do to get started on the right foot.

Sharon: Well, we’re gonna talk about the real estate branding components needed to up level your brand. We’re gonna assume that people have a website and they have started to build up some kind of brand but they are not really well known in their marketplace. So, you know. Coming back to this event, branding books and bridges.com, it is what it’s called. They’ll gonna have a clearer vision of who their target customer is. And their brand. They’ll gonna know what their branding compasses. They’re going to have a fully custom tailored branding and marketing plan for their business. And they’re going to have fully mapped out outline of their signature book. They’re gonna start writing their book after the event. We’ll gonna have a photo shoot. A video shoot, where they’re going to make a 2-3 minute, professionally edited and produced video.

So, it is going to be a great event and they are going to wave the physical components needed to up level their brand. So, if you go back and you start– we talked about your website, we’re gonna talk a lot about your compelling story. This is something that everybody needs to really get nailed down in their website. And it is one thing you did so well in your books. Well, I love your books so much. You told your story, intermingled with real estate, how you grew your real estate business. Now, people are probably saying, “Well, I’m not Mitch Stephen. You know, I don’t have that story, or I don’t lived out in the streets or having your fatal illness, I don’t have that kind of story”. [LAUGHTER] But, everybody has a story. And at the end of the day, people might not remember much about you, but, they will always going to remember a great story. So, crafting your compelling story, getting that on your website, you know– letting people know who you are is critical to the success of your business. So, that’s one piece of it. You know, you talked a little bit about your customer avatar. You know exactly who your customer is. You know when you are selling houses to them, and helping get them into a house, instead of being a renter. So, it is amazing to me, but how many people that don’t know actually know who their audio customer people is. Wouldn’t you agree that you– they think everyone is a customer?

Mitch: Well, I think it takes a lot of thought. Because, today the cost of advertising is so expensive. It has reached enough people to find those small percentage of people that want to do business with you and do it now. You can spend a lot of money, if you don’t know who your customer is, you are wasting a lot of advertising. I know people used to say, “You don’t put fires on the doors of the neighborhood”. And I say, “You can do that, but you know, what are the chances these people wanted to sell their houses right now, today”? Why don’t we find out people who are in foreclosure or behind their taxes, their property taxes, or find multiple reasons why these people have more of a chance? And so, we’re more directly targeting, our advertising dollars, and right? So, if you don’t know who your customer is, how can you begin to target them?

Sharon: Yeah, so that’s one reason why direct mail marketing is still so effective. Because, you can really niche down for anybody that, you know “Certainly, I love probates”. Probates are a niche where people almost always wanted to sell their house but the ways are more difficult to get which makes it a better niche. But, let’s say you go on to, a list source. Let’s say, I want you to get a list of upstate absentee owners. I can say, ” I want only people that have these types of houses, I want them to have 50-100 percent equity, on houses between whatever I decide. We’ll say, 50 and 300 thousand dollars”. But, you can get very specific in your criteria, so that you at least have a better shot of getting that lead. But, you have to know who that person is. Who your audio customer is, for that marketing campaign, like you said, it might be taxed people behind on their taxes, but you get to be very clear on that, all your marketing will be much more successful.

Mitch: You know these are one of the reasons I’m gonna take it– opportunity here to plug, one of the sponsors of the show here. The livecomm.com. I love that company because, it directly finds my customers and I can directly hit them for pennies, so, if you imagine, I put like 20 signs when I have a house for sale, I put like 20 bandit signs around the neighborhood, and I put this livecomm phone number on it, whoever calls it I capture their cellphone number. And then, it is put automatically into a text distribution list. So, let me tell you about targeting. So, right now, there’s a huge unsubscribed button whenever you sent out a text and anyone who doesn’t wanna be there shouldn’t be there. And I even send out that says, “If you already found a house, and you are no longer looking for a house, please send unsubscribe”. ‘Cause, I don’t want to send out a bunch of messages for people who don’t make any difference. Even that being said, I have over 40 to a 100 people who have called on my owner- financed- houses- for sale- signs. 40 to 100 people.

Sharon: Wow.

Mitch: 40 to 100 people that I can text for less than a nickel, I can hit all 40 of them, just to say things like, “Hey, I just got a–I just put another house on the market with owner financing, click here the link to learn about the house”. You know, I can hit 40 to 100 people who have called me,

Wanting to know about my owner financed houses. It doesn’t get any direct more than that. It is a bull’s eye, right between the eyes of my customers and it is hugely cheap, 5 cents to send out that message to 40 to 100 people. That’s why I love that business, so. You keep trying to up your ability to hit your prospects directly, until you find things like livecomm or least source with a certain amount of criteria, that you can put in that completely narrows down and throws out all the trash, so that you are not wasting advertising dollars or efforts on people that don’t care. Well, I just had to talk about livecomm, because it is such a direct hit.

Sharon: I think that’s a –a great idea, you got them bottled them down to where you worked out the whole financing thing, which I’m hoping– you know, encourage people to look at your model and figured it out for themselves. They kind of getting scared of you know– by Dodd- Frank and all of that. You know, livecomm, for what you are using it for, you can’t beat it for the price.

Mitch: Well– if in so, you know, a lot of things that we are gonna talk about here is not only just about real estate. I mean, you can begin a pizza place. I mean, if you need to reach out to all your customers because you are slow on a Tuesday night at 7 o’clock and your delivery guys are sitting on their butt, and doesn’t have any deliveries. I mean, what if you could text every single customer that you ever called and ordered a pizza and say, “Hey, you know, I am gonna throw in an extra medium pizza when you order large”. I mean, the phone’s gonna ring immediately, that text’s gonna go out, I don’t know how many people you think that pizza delivery company– how many people you think they have in their database.

Sharon: A lot.

Mitch: Five thousand? Eight Thousand? I don’t know. You can hit all those people in a split second and then your phone should start ringing in less than 30 seconds. If– the offer is any good at all. And if there’s any amount of people in your text distribution list. Your phone should start ringing in 30 seconds. So, this is not just for real estate and branding is not just for real estate. So, when we are talking about these ideas, and we are leading it back to, real estate because, that’s what Sharon and I do. That’s our passion. It doesn’t mean that this doesn’t work for your day job, you know.

Sharon: Now, this absolutely, it doesn’t make any difference if you are a pizza delivery person, or if you have a small shop selling shoes and using teenage girls as your audio market. You have to give these principles down path and they work for any business. And they are necessary for all businesses.

Mitch: Well, and so we are talking about, you’re also gonna teach people to write about their own book and tell their story. Because, a book is a really, all that it is. Is a great business card. If you are doing it with the intention to generate business and having that in the back of your mind, when you write. I cannot tell you how writing my first book, My Life in a Thousand Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom, changed my life. I cannot tell you how many ways it has changed my life.

Sharon: Well, yeah– you’re writing an authority book, is the ultimate way to up level your brand, especially when it comes to real estate branding. You’re absolutely right. There’s no way to put it, a price on this. Are you gonna get rich from your book? Probably, not. It is a marketing piece. And it is a calling card. And it makes you an instant authority in your market place, as you will know. I mean, as you look at your competitors for a minute, I don’t care what business what you are in or what area you are in. How many people do you know that have an authority book? Not very many.

Mitch: You know, I’ve got to tell you, that when I told people I wrote a book. They look at me and say “So, you are an author”? And the level of credibility they give you I can hear it in their voice. I was amazed how much credibility they give you as an author. You know, even if they don’t have read the book or they didn’t even know what it was all about. You know, when I tell people that I authored a book, much less three books, yeah. They give you so much credibility. So, I don’t wanna take over your show. Talk to us about how writing a book less intimidating, because, it is a daunting thing to sit down on the first day with a blank piece of paper and go, “okay, here I go”.

Sharon: It is a daunting task and I think there’s statistic somewhere that said 80-81 percent of people would like to author a book but 9 out of 10 people never finished it. So, you are definitely in the minority. And one of the things we wanna do at Branding, Books and Bridges, was to give people a starting point. While, we are going to talk about all aspects of branding and getting to pieces done, and one of these pieces is the book. So, we’ll be spending time on people will get their book outlined. They’ll decide which type of book they’re going to write. You know, you wrote a specific type of book, some people write more “how-to-books”, that’s a big topic there. But, you know, they’ll decide on what type of books they’re going to write. They’ll gonna get their book outlined. And then, we’ll not gonna leave them hand dry, so that they’re 9 out of 10 people that don’t finish their book. We’re going to have 3 months of Balmain play calls to kind of crack the whipping and keep the people on track so they get it done. Because, it is a daunting task. But, I think the hardest part, is getting started, like most things. It is simply getting started. Getting your outline, deciding what you are going to do and then figuring out how to fill in those blanks and those chapters.

Mitch: Yeah, I think the outline is half about– the outline will change and morph. Whatever I set down to write a book– or whatever I contemplate writing a book, one of the things that lets me know whether I go ahead or not, is how robust and how full and how exciting is my outline look. Do I wanna write about these things? Is this good stuff? Do people wanna seem to hear like about this stuff? So, in the first book that I wrote. I never planned to write a book. I didn’t have a Sharon in my corner, telling me how important it was. There was nothing logical or planned about why. I had a tragedy happened in my life and I learned later that it is a natural phenomenon. It is a human nature for a lot of people that if you have a tragedy, you wanna catalog your life. And so, I sat down “My Life in a Thousand Houses Failing Forward to Financial Freedom”, as a coping mechanism. It was grief. It was one hundred percent grief. And I didn’t know that. I later learn that’s what I did. Because, who in the world would write an autobiography, no one knows me, I am no one from nowhere. Who cares about Mitch Stephen? What will possess me if I write an autobiography, if it was what it was- it was a natural tendency–psychological that thing that happened when you suffer from tragic loss? And so, the second books were more planned and more methodical like you were talking about, Sharon, like, a reason for doing it– for customer reasons. Because, I saw what that impromptu did for me. I didn’t write that book for money.

Sharon: Right.

Mitch: I didn’t write it for credibility or for my own personal branding. I didn’t write it for any logical business reason. I wrote it for completely different reason. But, I saw what it did for me. And I thought, “My gosh, what if I actually wrote a book and focused more of finding a client on the book. In the book, I didn’t even focused on the first one, it wasn’t even on my mind”. What if wrote, what you call it– an authority book? With the intention to actually pull some people out of the crowd and say,”Hey, that’s me or I need that”. You know. And so, “Two hundred plus ways to find bargain properties”, sorry about that lay, it was how to [Inaudible] kind of book, but, much more valuable information, you know. And the last book “My Life in Thousand Houses The art of Owner Financing”, you know I charge $ 50 for that book, it is worth every penny. Anyone says to me, “Why so much”? So, you are not ready”. [LAUGHTER] If you are not ready, don’t even think about behind it. You are not ready.

Sharon: Great Answer.

Mitch: And then, it is all different philosophies. I mean, honestly, there’s two ways, there is priced value possession, so it keeps the prices high, so that they have perceived the high value. Or you can give them away, so that there are as many as humanly as possible out in the streets. How do you feel about price possessions or volume?

Sharon: Well, I think it all depends on what you are going to use it for. Now, you have built a name for yourself, so, I think it is perfectly reasonable if you wanna charge $ 50 for your book. If I am just trying to build a brand, maybe I have a local recognition and I want to take that bigger, then I may write a book solely for the purpose of marketing, forgetting my name out. I might–I would certainly sell it on Amazon, may be on my website. But, it would be priceless and I would definitely think about it giving it away. I would probably send it to Mitch Stephen and say,”Hey, I’ve written a book, how about having me on your Podcast”. You know, you use it as a way to get your name out there.

Mitch: Yes.

Sharon: Now, I think after how we met. You know, I remember exactly because to this day, am not really sure why I did what I did. But, so a typical messages been divine intervention, Mitch. Because, you were giving away the first hundred pages or something of your book. And I’ve signed up to give that, but here’s the real thing which I’ve never been able to figure out in there. It said,” What’s your phone number”? That was a time, how many years was that? When I– when you wrote that book?

Mitch: It was in 2008. It came out in 2008.

Sharon: 2008. Okay, so I was blogging in, I was just blogging longer than what I thought. So, but, anyway was that time, and for some unknown reason, I put my phone number in there. It was about 30 minutes later you called and said,” You know I was gonna call, right”? [LAUGHTER] So, I remember, that day. Well–

Mitch: Well, that was my– way, to make an impression.

Sharon: Yes.

Mitch: And I’ll tell you why I– the books done so well and– the reason why I had 181 five star reviews on the book, and I’ll tell you this. This is like a trade secret everybody. I will give you some niche here. Is, when someone downloads–when you give away your book, in my case, I just want to give away the 100 pages because, I still was very interested to see if I could sell any book, so I didn’t want to give away the book away, but I wanna give away to get people interested. Either way, I would capture an email address by giving away the part of my book, which was part of the battle. I need to collect email address, find out, who in this world is interested with what I’m talking about. So, that I could communicate with them further in the future.

And so, I put the phone number in because this was my idea, that I wasn’t famous and no one knew about me and no one care who Mitch Stephen was. And, I was gonna introduce myself to them by anyone who downloaded the first hundred pages of my book, I would immediately get a

Text, with your phone number, their phone number. And I would try to call people like, the minute it hit, the minute they downloaded the hundred pages, and I would be calling the people and I could hear their printer printing out the hundred pages of my book at the back ground. And I’d say, “Hi, this is Mitch Stephen, and I wanted to thank you for downloading the pages of my book”. And people would act like Brad Pitt called them or something.

Sharon: [LAUGHTER]

Mitch: I did it the first time and the person on the end of the line was amazed and couldn’t say enough about the fact that I called them. So, I thought that was very interesting, let me see if– so I called more and more people, it got to be pretty fun because it is quite an ego trip when people are impressed that you are an author and you called me. And so, I would tell them, “If you ever wanna discussed part of the book once you are finished, if you ever read the whole book and you wanna discuss it, you have my phone number now, please call me and we will spend few minutes to discuss, what stood up in the book for you”.

Sharon: It was a brilliant marketing and branding strategy.

Mitch: Well, the people who called me. Not a whole lot of people called me compared to the amount of time, I made those phone calls. But, the people that called me, no one who called me that hated my book. They all — they wouldn’t call me if they didn’t loved the book.

Sharon: Right.

Mitch: So, when the people called, they told me that they were fan of the book, that was number one. Then, I was able to ask them, after we talked a little bit about of the book, and I would say,”Hey, if you really wanna do me a favor, am not famous, by any fix of imagination, no one knows me, and the only reason anyone reads my book, is because of the 5 star review from a reader just like you. Would you go to Amazon and give me a 5 star review”? And of course hundred percent of the time they did it. A hundred percent.

So, that was a marketing technique to brand that give a lot of 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Sharon: Yeah. That was a great marketing strategy. And you know, you can tell, I still remember all these years later. So, it obviously made an impression. But, you know, we are back to the whole thing about, it is up to you to build your brand, because if you don’t build it, somebody else will put up a word about you. You very intentionally built your brand. You got your name out there. You didn’t happen by magic or happenstance. So, that’s what people need to know is that, it is really up to you once you’ve got your business going on a little bit, take it all up to the next level. It really is your job to do that.

Mitch: Well, I really wanna thank you for calling on this pod. We can talk for hours, and we have before. We could talk for hours and hours and hours. But, I want everyone on this call, you wanna learn more about, branding and writing your own book and using it as a calling card in masterful way of marketing. Go to 1000houses.com/sharon and there you’ll be brought up to date what’s going on, in her world, it should be ever green and should be current so, even if the events passed, future events will be added. Also, I wanna say thank you to livecomm.com, and Moat Note Servicing for sponsoring this episode. When is your book coming out, Sharon?

Sharon: I am working on it, Mitch. But, I’ll be– you will be the first one to know.

Mitch: All right, we will do a little book introduction when you have it finished.

Sharon: Awesome.

Mitch: Appreciate that you’ll be on it. Thank you so much for taking the time and talking about to us about marketing and branding books.

Sharon: Thanks for having me again, Mitch. It is always a pleasure.

Mitch: Bye. Thank you.

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