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The Innovator's Edge: Eric Brewer's Strategies for High Volume Success

Want to know how a small town real estate investor did over 400 deals last year? Eric Brewer lays it all out - the good, the bad and the harsh truths about scaling a business. No corporate fluff, just straight talk on his "innovator's edge" strategy to unlock hidden profit channels. Eric gets real about hiring nightmares, getting rid of B and C players, and the critical leadership skills most entrepreneurs are missing. If you're trying to level up your real estate operations or any business, Erik's hard-won wisdom on standards, accountability and becoming an exceptional leader is must-listen material. Fair warning: This podcast will likely make you reassess what an "A Player" really means. "Eric Brewer is a real estate entrepreneur and community leader based in central Pennsylvania. With over 17 years of experience, he has built a thriving real estate empire as the CEO of Brewer Method and Integrity First Home Buyers, completing over 3,000 transactions and pioneering 1,500 novations. Eric's commitment to excellence extends to his community, where he supports sellers, vendors, and real estate agents. As a devoted family man, he cherishes spending time with his loved ones and nurturing their growth. Eric Brewer's legacy inspires through his dedication to others and meaningful relationships." 0:00 - Introduction 1:24 - Eric's Background 6:02 - Innovations Strategy 10:10 - Lessons Learned at Different Stages 14:05 - Hiring and Retaining Talent 20:50 - Becoming a Great Person to Attract Great People 24:30 - Defining and Upholding Standards 31:15 - Common Thread People Struggle With 39:20 - Challenges of Middle Management Thanks for listening to Collective Clicks!

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Discover the secrets to scaling a real estate business to seven figures using PPC marketing strategies! Join Aaron and his guest as they dive into optimizing campaigns, targeting high-profit markets, and balancing rural vs. urban strategies. Whether you're new to PPC or a seasoned pro, this episode offers invaluable insights to boost your ROI and drive success in real estate.

"Hello, welcome back to another episode of the Collective Clicks podcast. This is another episode in the series with Aon and Michaela Gant from Southern California, who took their business from local to national. With PPC as the primary channel, they were able to generate seven figures in revenue just from PPC in their first year. This time, we're going to talk about the marketing decisions they made over this time period to help them get the best quality leads and the most volume of leads possible to grow to that seven figures in revenue."

"Aon, Michaela, I'm super excited to talk with you guys about marketing, um, choosing a marketing channel, which is something we've kind of touched on in a few of the other videos. But I think it's an awesome experience to go deep and talk about how you've done what you've done. Obviously, we work together on this aspect. It's the aspect I'm personally most passionate about, most knowledgeable about, and it's really interesting for me to learn how you view it and why you've chosen to execute on certain elements of your strategy. So, um, anyway, with that considered, what are the things that you think about when choosing what marketing channel you're going to go after? Obviously, you have experience with outbound channels like cold calling and texting. It seems like mail's been good to you. Um, PPC, Facebook ads—what is it that you're looking for?"

"Inbound leads, hands down. We want inbound leads for our primary source of revenue now. Obviously, there are different types. I mean, a bunch of stuff, but what we want to do and what I've seen—because our primary business is marketing and sales—is, as they always say, that's literally every business: marketing and sales. If I went and we talked about how your business is doing and how you've really done a great job of dominating the space and being a top provider for real estate investors, it's like... and obviously, yes, you are very skilled. You have the data to help us get to the next level. That's why we love having you guys as part of our team. But it's also that you really got yourself out there. You really marketed your company out there to get yourself known, right? So marketing is huge."

"I think if you're going to start any business, you need to be really particular about how you're going to market and who you're going to work with. The market, right? Obviously, in this case, do you want an in-house or, you know, using a marketing agency? But we've been really, really seeing a lot of good results with your company, and that's PPC and direct mail."

"Yeah, okay, now that's helpful. That's helpful to think of. So inbound is primarily what you're looking at, and then you've got a few channels that can fit in there, like PPC and SEO."

"Mhm, which we need to do. It's the next one."

"Yeah, good news is I came here to upsell you today."

"There you go, you came to sell something."

"I'll leave with the contract."

"Was that a part of the script?"

"Yes, this is the part where you say, 'Yes, I will give you more money.' So, okay, inbound marketing channels are what you're looking at, and then obviously PPC has been the one that you've chosen to focus on the most, which isn't an unusual choice considering the inbound nature of the lead. It's just a completely different conversation with sellers, which I'm sure is what you've noticed as you've grown to seven figures in PPC revenue over the past year. This is a huge accomplishment. Not a lot of people go that channel alone."

"Yeah, not a lot of people go with PPC alone as a marketing channel from zero to seven figures in a single year. There's a lot that plays into that. So, yeah, I just want to pick out those different things. We've changed a lot over this time period about how we're doing things. I know something that we were talking about before is like you've got to have the vision and be willing to give it the time and follow the process, but that doesn't mean that you're unwilling to make changes during that time. You’ve got to be working on the right things. What are some of the big changes that we've made to the PPC marketing over the past year?"

"Like us personally, or what we've seen you guys change?"

"Well, I could probably speak a little better to what we've changed, unless you notice anything in particular that you really want to mention. But I guess what I'm thinking here is budgets are a big factor, like locations. I know we've made some major changes in terms of that, and that's something I really want to dig into because there's a lot of strategy behind why you target this market versus that market and how those different things worked for you."

"Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there, but when I think of PPC strategy, I think of two things. Number one, you have the parameters. Parameters are just rules that we have to live within, like we have this budget, these markets, this kind of ad schedule, whatever. And then you have optimizations, which are like adjusting keywords, changing bids, improving landing pages, changing ads. When I think of what a business owner needs to know about their marketing, they need to understand parameters, not optimizations. That's why a lot of the changes you'll notice, and a lot of the stuff we talk about together in your marketing, it's all parameter stuff. The reason is optimization is what we do; it's not what you have to worry about. But if we're talking mainly about budgets, locations, that kind of thing, what kind of changes have we made?"

"Yeah, obviously that's what we look at on our business side. You're going to give us the most high-quality PPC leads there are, right? On the back end, because you know, we've talked about that, you know the difference between a really cheap PPC lead and one that's not necessarily as qualified as you would want it. You know, regarding negative words, positive words, whatever. And the leads that you guys give us have been fantastic. What I see on my end is you're right, I have control of the budget and location. This past year has been a lot of testing and understanding where I want to focus. And a lot of entrepreneurs, including myself, are going to want to change things, get their hands dirty, and mess things up."

"My wife would say you're messing everything up."

"We've told you that a few times too. We should have Jeff in this conversation. Where's Jeff? I love that guy."

"No, it's been fantastic because we want to try things out. When we first started with you guys, we were doing $10,000 in ad spend a month. I could be wrong, but I think that's what it was. I think so too. And we were just here in Southern California. We got our first deal in two weeks, which gave us $40,000."

"I know you hate me saying that."

"That's not the message. I mean, if you have a good sales process, that was a one-call close, but it happens. Expectations are a whole different thing. Let's dig into that next, but yeah, continue."

"We did have that, and just a couple of months later, we decided to open up a couple more markets. We were in Southern California, then we decided to open up Texas, and then we decided to open up everything south of the United States. We're talking about metro areas."

"Yeah, we did pretty tight radiuses at first, trying to stay away from anything rural and keeping to the main metro areas. The idea behind that was if we could get a deal in this metro area, we could move it. We could dispo it. Then I decided to open up a lot more metro areas all around the United States, and then I decided to open up states. We really went broad with a lot of changes, and currently, as we're filming this, we're still broad. I think we're hitting in like 14 different states."

"And we're doing deals every single day. The idea every time we strategize is, 'Aaron, if we go this broad, can you dispo them?' You're asking the right questions to your client to not steer them wrong. You're not just saying, 'Okay, Aaron, just do that.' You're setting the right expectations. Just like your core value says, you're a truth warrior. 110%, you're a truth warrior. You're going to tell me the truth about what to expect and what can go wrong. Sometimes you might even say, 'Hey, I don't know if it's a good idea,' but in the end, you're going to let your client decide."

"Letting your client have that final say, right? You give them the best advice you can, but sometimes they have to do whatever they want to do."

"Exactly. It’s kind of like an attorney. An attorney's going to give you the best advice, you're paying them for their time, and they’re going to give you the advice, but you’re going to do whatever you’re going to do."

"Yeah, so we decided to open up because what we were looking for was... well, obviously, we made another video where we were spending up to $330,000 a month. Right now, this month, we're spending $20,000. The sweet spot has definitely been about $25,000-$30,000. The idea behind that is we’re spending about $10,000 per acquisition rep nationwide. So, we're at $94 per lead right now on a nationwide campaign. We have debated on setting up another campaign to go directly into our own backyard, which we might, you know, go up to $15,000 to $20,000 per rep."

"But when it comes to marketing, don’t be afraid to spend because every dollar you put in, you should be getting five to seven back, especially if on the back end everything is set up to get it to the finish line. So, when we go into 2024, that's going to be our main focus: putting our marketing dollars into the right marketing machines, ATM, to get that return we expect to get. And that’s going to be, again, PPC and direct mail."

"Yeah, one thing you're thinking about that's really positive is you're not thinking about it as, 'Do I want to do a California campaign or a national campaign?' You're thinking, 'Well, could we test?' A lot of our clients have the 'burn the boats' mentality where it's like, 'I was doing this, and now I'm doing this, and now I'm doing this,' and then at some point everything crashes and burns. You just don’t really know if it's because you changed the market, or if it's because your team stopped working as well. You don't know what it is. Marketing is full of good ideas that don't end up working."

"Right, we should be open to trying things. If you're going to be in business and be an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid of failure. If you are, you’re not going to last very long. We’ve taken big steps that haven't panned out, but we learn from it, adjust, and keep going."

"I like to think about it in terms of asymmetric bets. I'm conservative, I don't want to, you know... there's this psychological concept of loss aversion, where if you take a dollar away from someone, they'll be a lot unhappier than if you gave them a dollar. People are more afraid of losing than they are happy to gain."

"Absolutely."

"For me, I just have to look back at my business and think that every single good thing that has come has been through some type of bet. None of them had a 100% guarantee of the results I was looking for, but they were what you'd call asymmetric bets, where the upside is larger than the downside. For example, marketing: you could say, 'I need to spend $10,000 a month on this marketing campaign for six months and I'm risking $60,000.' A lot of people would stop there and say, '$60,000, I'm out.' But then you have to think, 'What's the downside? The downside is limited to $60,000. What's the upside? Maybe I could figure this out in such a way that I generate a million dollars in revenue this year, which could set the stage for $3-$5 million in revenue the next year, and for a decade I could get awesome returns and scale this really far.' That’s the upside."

"Right, and with an upside like that, the risk is very acceptable."

"Exactly. I think people go wrong by not taking enough bets. They put all their eggs in one basket or aren’t willing to take those asymmetric bets. People are quicker to buy a lottery ticket than to spend $10,000 a month on PPC. Which one has a higher expected value?"

"Isn't that crazy?"

"Yeah, but it's the world we live in. The cool thing about business is you can start a business and create a cash machine. In wholesale, you can create a cash machine. Houses are always depreciating every single day, and there are deals everywhere to be found. No matter how many deals there are, you’re going to be a deal finder."

"Oh, absolutely. What would you say your mindset was going into PPC in the beginning?"

"Excited, you know? I think that's the issue with a lot of new people that try PPC. They have this high expectation, like, 'I'm going to start PPC tomorrow and make a million dollars.' That's where expectations get steered wrong because they hear all over social media that PPC is the best marketing channel, which it is. But if it doesn't work or if they're not able to close the leads and get it to the finish line, they think it's not a good place to put their marketing. You’re going to get leads. Some people think, 'I could cold call, get three cold callers, get a bunch of leads in the first week. I could spend the same amount on PPC and get five leads.'"

"It takes a lot less leads to get a contract, and that contract could net you a lot. Plus, you're going to have better quality conversations because they’re reaching out to you. Even if they're not a fit, you had a great conversation because they reached out to you. If it's not a fit, you part ways peacefully."

"I think there's a misconception that people think PPC leads are all lay-downs, but they’re not. There are one-call closes, but there's work the acquisition team puts into that. They spend half an hour or an hour on the phone, getting it to contract. You still have to put in the work to sell it. There's a disconnect where people think, 'Oh, they're hot leads, it'll be easy,' and forget there's still a lot of work to make it come to fruition."

"I totally agree. My personal opinion is that the idea PPC leads are lay-downs is misguided. Just because you can be at 10 leads per contract doesn’t mean you will be. You have to work them differently, and it takes skill. Maybe they spent an hour on the phone, and you call that the work, but what about all the training they did for six months every morning? That’s the work. Maybe cutting down the trees is easy, but sharpening the saw can be hard."

"Right, exactly. I like that. How do you know if a marketing campaign is working or not?"

"The easy answer is to say KPIs, you know? Because you get a bunch of contracts but nothing has fruition into revenue. It comes down to KPIs. Three months later, can I look back at what I spent and see if those deals closed? In our CRM, we see a lead when it came into the system, so when it turns into a transaction, we see how long it took to close from when it was created in the CRM."


"No, that absolutely makes sense. So obviously, KPIs about performance and stuff like that. What do you do when it's early? Let's just say it's been—let me give you a scenario, right? Let's just say somebody out there sees this video, they start working with Bitman Collective, right? They start generating leads and they're wondering after a month, after two months, are they on the right track? Is it working? How do you think they can know if they're on the right track?"

"You know what's funny? Because I was talking to Jeff about this, and we were talking about a client. He didn't give me names, but he sometimes uses clients as examples. And he spends like $2,000 a month, and I think out of that month he got like two opportunities, right? That's $2,000 spent. To me, that's not a lot to get a good return. It's kind of like the lowest we would ever take. We say like be really, really careful that you give it a lot of time because the less money you put into it, the more time you need to see the results. I would say, you know, it goes back into your KPIs. You know, how many of these leads—okay, so you look at collectively over the past three months. You should always look at 90-day increments. How many of these leads came into my system? Because again, you should have a filter in your CRM. All right, how many leads have we contacted? How many leads have turned into opportunities, and how many leads have turned into transactions? I mean, I hope that answers the question."

"Yeah, you're looking at a funnel, basically."

"Yeah, and to me, it's just like when I first started. So now I don't talk, I don't call the leads, but when I first started with you, I was the one on the phone, so I get to kind of feel the leads, hear the leads, touch the leads. You know what I mean? And I got to know the quality of these leads compared to other types of leads, so I knew it was working because these leads were amazing. You know what I mean? But also, I was obsessed with making sure I got the contract. So if it was right down the road, I'll go to the—I’ll go to the dang house. You know what I mean? Unfortunately, nationwide we don't get to do that. But when a lead comes in—going off track here a little bit—you need to be crazy obsessed when a lead comes in. So my team will call them four to five times. I say you need to call them, you need to send obviously an email, voicemail, texts. Everybody needs to be calling them. And then they stay in our bucket, our new bucket, we call it 15 days of pain. And in that 15 days of pain, you're blowing them up every single day."

"Love the branding."

"Yeah, I think there's a lot you have to look inward on within your business to see if it's working. You have to see, am I getting to these leads quickly? Am I actually having quality conversations? One metric we have our acquisitions and dispo teams put in is how many quality conversations you have. And a quality conversation for us is 10 minutes or more. You know, that goes to show, are you guys actually having in-depth conversations? And then seeing how many it takes for you to get it to a contract and then get it to close. So I think it's hard to just look at it from the outside. You have to look at what you're doing internally to nurture those leads. Are you taking three days to get to the lead, or are you calling it within 30 to 40 seconds?"

"Yes. Let me ask you this: How would you tell somebody or ask a new client how they think the campaign's working? Like if I say, 'Hey, if you want to come join and obviously pay for our services,' it's almost a question to them. How will you know that our marketing or this service has been of value to you?"

"Yeah, I mean, we often ask those questions because it kind of reveals—like for us, retention is the biggest metric. Like do we start the month with however many clients, and how many clients do we end the month with minus the new ones we added on? That's our number, right? Because it shows, are we adding value? Do people see a reason to continue working with us? And with that being the case, we're always digging into—like I remember as part of your sales process, you talking about going through the things that blow deals up front because you're saving yourself the pain of those things being a problem later. I don't want to be on a different page. But yeah, I'm asking you a lot of questions. I'm asking out of genuine curiosity, but I've thought through my answers to these things a lot because obviously, this is what we do. And because that is a very good question: How do I know this campaign is actually working? Even when it comes to going from our backyard to slowly opening up our campaigns because we wanted more leads at a cheaper cost no matter where they were going. It's like, how do I know that this actually worked? Obviously, you're going to look at how much money am I bringing in per campaign each month, obviously. But that's a good question."

"Yeah, for me it's really about two different types of metrics. Number one is the leading metrics. Number two, lagging metrics, which I'm sure you're crazy familiar with. The biggest problems that we see our clients making is that they look at the lagging metrics too early. And what happens is the lagging metrics always look bad really early. Like you could bring in a new sales guy and after two days be like, 'Oh, his close rate's 0%. Worst sales guy ever,' right?"

"Ever, yeah."

"But we all hear that and we laugh because it's like, that doesn't make sense. But a lot of people don't really realize what it takes in terms of sample size to do good marketing. So in the spirit of understanding how long does it take or like how long do you have to give it before you look at lagging metrics, I hired a data scientist recently."

"Oh, wow."

"And basically gave them the question, because it's really a statistical question. Like every time we buy a click, there's a certain percentage likelihood that someone becomes a deal. And then there's an amount of time that it would take for us to get enough data to understand how the campaign's actually performing. It turns out there's all these—like I don't want to take you back to your college diploma. And I don't know, Michaela, if you did his statistics homework too or if it was just the spreadsheets."

"So anyways, there's lots of statistics stuff, but think of it like—okay, I don't want to get crazy deep into it, but I'm getting deep into things, so we're just going to talk about it. Think about there's this thing called simulation-based inference. It's a statistical concept. Picture it like I'm here and I'm just flipping a coin, right? I'm just flipping my coin over and over again. Well then you can start to ask yourself the questions like, well, how many times do you have to flip a coin to know that a coin is actually fair? It's an interesting question when you really think about it. And the answer is there is no answer because there's always going to be a bell curve around that 50%. Slightly higher, so it's always going to be 50% of data above, 50% below. So then you have to think, well, how many times do I have to flip the coin to know with whatever percentage confidence that the coin at least gets me heads 40% of the time, for example? And then you've got this wide bell curve around the 50%. It just gets more and more narrow over time and eventually, 90% of the bell curve is above the 40%. Hope that makes some sense."

"So the question that we tried to answer was to know that I'm getting a 5x return on—or to know that I'm assuming like a coin, we know it's going to get 50% long-term, right? So with the marketing channel, assuming it's targeted towards a 5x return, how many dollars do we have to spend on it to know with 95% confidence that it gets at least a 4x return? Does it make sense, like for the problem? The answer was—I'm trying to remember exactly what it was—I think it was $145,000 is the number of how much it takes statistically, which doesn't take into account that you get better at it over time or that you make pivots or changes where the algorithm learns. It's just like even assuming it was working just like a coin does from the very first flip, you still have that probability of a 50% chance of success. Patient vs impatient mindset, assuming it works exactly like a coin, it was like $140,000 or $135,000, $145,000, it was somewhere in that range, just less than $150,000. And I was a little bit shocked when I saw that. But the crazy thing is a lot—so we do, we measure. People, of course, quit working with us, for sure it happens. You work with enough people, it'll happen. That never happens to us. When a seller signs a contract, they're with us forever."

"You don't have sellers ghosting us?"

"Yeah, lifetime contracts is what we should start doing with our clients. As long as you're in business, you will pay us. I like to try to enforce that. So we did that and the number one reason that people stop doing this marketing is poor ROI. That's the number one reason. Occasionally there's like, 'I didn't like this person on your team' or whatever, those things "It's just like who can invest money better. There could be a version of me that goes and buys a lottery ticket and then wins the lottery and makes like, you know, 1,000x what I bought all my lottery tickets with and stuff. Then there's a version of me that was in the stock market and then loses like 20% over 2 years on the S&P 500 in a recession. I'm more comfortable with the second one, the second version of me, not the first version of me because what I'm focused on is making good decisions, making smart bets, right? And in my opinion, a bad bet that turns out good isn't good behavior. So that's where for me, it's like, it's never been about the outcome, no, it's been about playing the game the way the game deserves to be played. It's more of like a process than a results orientation."

"Yeah, and I think it's honestly a really good mindset for marketing because you have to accept that you'll lose some of those bets."

"Yeah, but the game is can you make those asymmetric bets where the upside equals this and the downside equals this."

"Yeah, and the opportunity wouldn't be there if you didn't take the bet. Yes, there wouldn't be the chance to get, you know, a $40,000, $60,000 assignment fee if you didn't make the bet."

"100%, yeah. I mean, it's scary for a lot of people to say, you know, like our average monthly spend in marketing this year was probably, like, altogether just in marketing spend. We're not talking about overhead, we're not talking about subscriptions, all that stuff, we're talking about probably about $30 grand, right? $30 grand a month."

"Yeah, tell that to you four years ago."

"Oh, it would, it was, yeah, you would have been no for sure, but you're playing a bigger game."

"Well, next year our plan to spend per month is $70 grand, right? So you need the marketing budget of the business you want, none of the business you have."

"Exactly, people set marketing based on topline revenue. You need it to be based on the topline revenue that you're going to have at that time."

"Exactly, did you hear that? That's exactly the truth, and that's exactly what we're going to do this next year. But it goes back into your risk now, right? It's not that we know now that as I spend this, my team, our processes, it goes back to the levers, it's going to handle it. It's going to be able to handle that inbound stuff."

"It would be scarier to spend that bigger marketing budget if we didn't have the foundation of the team that we have because we know that they can lock it up, we know that dispo can sell it. The risk tolerance, I guess, is a lot lower because there's faith and trust in our team."

"Yeah, no, you're not doing anything new, you're just doing more of what you've already proven works, right, just at a higher level."

"Do you know what the metric impression share is? Have you heard that metric?"

"I've heard you say it before."

"Yeah, you've probably heard me say it before, you might have all over the podcast."

"Yeah, sure, I'm sure."

"Impression share is basically, think of it like market share for Google. It's like what percentage of what you could be getting are you getting with your budget, and where it's really telling is it tells you kind of contextually how many leads are you getting in a campaign compared to the number of leads that you could be getting."

"Here's the thing that's really exciting about your situation to me. If we look at the impression share on your campaigns, it is very low. A lot of people would view that actually really negatively, they would say I'm only getting a small fraction of my potential. I view that as you just did seven figures in PPC in a year with getting a small fraction of your potential. What does that mean your potential is?"

"Yeah, it's really, really high."

"And that's what naturally happens when you expand into more markets is that ceiling goes up and up and up because now you can spend whatever you can spend in this market plus whatever you could spend in that market and that market and that market. You can add those together, and it's this really high number."

"But not a lot of people, like for anybody listening to this, I encourage you to think like right now, do statewide vs metro area targeting. You have a lever in your business that you know you can pull and get more leads, right? A lot of people don't."

"Yeah, that's the really cool thing about PPC, in my opinion, is the availability of those metrics and the total scalability of the channel. Like if you told me you need 10 times the number of leads next year, I could absolutely make a plan to make that happen and I know it's possible."

"Especially if you're flexible on like what markets they come from or something like that, like it's, right? I mean, until like we've done that 10 times the number of leads thing like several times. You're not going to bump into the issue of like there not being enough leads out there."

"And that's just, it's insane potential, right? If you really think about it, like you figured out how to make something work on a small scale and then the only thing between there and this higher level is just multiplying more of what you're doing. And that could be done on the ads, that could be done in the team, and you'll run into new challenges, right? Like you'll go from being a leader to leading other leaders."

"Yeah."

"And you'll go from a small team to a larger team and you'll grow from $20,000 a month in ad spend to $200,000 a month in ad spend."

"There you go."

"And those are all like, like it's different, like it does change, but it's like that's the power of marketing, right? It's the ability to like scale a business. I'd bet to say 90% of businesses in America don't have that lever. If they needed to 10x their lead flow next month, they wouldn't have a way to do it."

"That's the first thing. I think a lot of companies, not just obviously wholesaling or real estate, but a lot of companies do. My mom has been in marketing forever. She's her Masters and everything in it, and she always says it's the first thing that every company wants to cut out."

"Yeah, that is exactly what happens."

"Yeah, I could tell you, like market shift last year, which is actually ironically when we started working together, which I didn't really piece together, that that was like, that was an interesting time in your business. You were cutting cold calling and scaling way back on like, you know, cold calling, texting, and jumping into a new marketing channel at $110,000 a month in Q4, the worst season in real estate right after like interest rates went from rock."

"A good idea, I need a hotter lead, I'm just kidding."

"Yeah, talk about risk, like you, you're just like layering on every possible unknown at the same time. And that was, I mean for a lot of people Q4 of last year was a tough time. I remember looking into our system and seeing how many credit cards failed from the clients that we were building, like spiked like November of last year, and like calling up these people and just like I don't, I just don't have money."

"Yeah."

"Like my business is just broke."

"We felt it too, everybody felt it."

"Yeah, everybody felt it in some level, even if you were doing okay from return on investment standpoint. Let's just say you're flipping, you're used to selling things in 30 days, now it takes 90 days to sell."

"It took a little bit longer, yeah."

"You just took your 30-day revenue and just spread it over 90 days, right? The people banking on it being returning in 30 days didn't plan for it in May."

"Yeah."

"So cash conversion cycles became like a really real thing. It was, and there were real issues in PPC too because people started like going online to search for, like they have their property that's been sitting on the market for 90 days. That was something you were getting blown up, including us. You were getting blown up by us about all the leads that were coming in that were listings and we like, we don't want your crap. And you guys obviously fixed it really quick."

"Well, there's multiple elements there. There's like some things that we did to optimize for and understand where they're coming from. But then there's also like, you know, now the market, that's just less common now than it was then because then, you know, the realtor told me I'd get an offer in a week and then now it's been a month and I haven't gotten an offer because when the realtor told me that, that's how."

"And then now that's not how it works anymore, you know, it's just a, you know, you know what they say, like, like down markets, okay, up markets, that's fine. Just the transition from up to down is hard for a lot of businesses. But I guess my point with that is we have clients come marketing and we had clients not. We even had clients double down during that period, and it was really interesting to see the businesses that did really well versus those that didn't."

"I even have one client, love them to death. They still haven't marketed all year, they're still just working old leads. They cut with us and I guess they just financially could not afford it, and they're playing this game, and they're just still like playing with these like $10,000, $20,000 months and just barely making payroll because they didn't want to lay off too much of their team and all this stuff like 12

months ago."

"Yeah, they're playing a different game now."

"They're just stuck in the cycle now, right? Because like now, they're on this treadmill, like, we got to make enough money so we can afford to market so we can afford to make more money and now it's."

"But do you think, okay, when I hear that, I think they, because that 20%, 80% rule, like they just didn't find what works for them."

"I think they just didn't have the faith to go in on it."

"Yeah."

"And to be clear, there were people marketing in Q4 of last year, like I just said, that really struggled because the market was really tough."

"It was a new channel for us."

"Yeah, that was one of the bigger challenges is like it takes some time to get up to speed and figure out what works and everything. So you were still kind of figuring it out, even when you were, you know, doing that, but you had the faith that you knew that you had to invest in it to get it to the point where it would be working really well."

"Yeah, yeah, it was scary. I would probably not do that today, you know? Not at all."

"Well, you don't have to because you already made the investment. You already have the learning curve and everything."

"Yeah, it was scary, dude, it was crazy."

"Yeah, it was, and we knew we were playing a long game, but if it doesn't work, if the markets aren't there, we're not going to get any return, like you just get burned."

"But I'm going to tell you, one thing that we did, I think we did well, is we surrounded ourselves with the right people. You know, like yourself, you know, we talked to Justin. Justin always had a lot of faith in PPC, and we had to, the first time we made the switch, it was based off of trust, right? We trusted you, we trusted Justin, and we're like, okay, let's give it a go, and like, you know, we'll make adjustments as we go."

"Yeah."

"And that's it, you know, that's what we did."

"But think about it, I mean we're getting a crap ton of leads. So, but think about that. What do you think most of the leads are coming from? They're coming from towns, they're coming from cities, like you know, where people are living. So, that's something you also have to think about, right? People are not just all coming from these random little areas, you know what I mean? Because there's nobody there. So absolutely, we get leads all the time in metro areas, towns, and statewide. You're getting leads from cities, so it's like cities within the state."

"Exactly, where people are living."

"Yeah, fair enough. So yeah, I totally understand what you're saying. I think there's an element of budget here too. Sometimes if people go at it with a small budget, like let's just say I have three grand and I'm spreading it across the whole United States, what am I going to get there? I'm going to get a ton of leads, like there's nothing wrong with that, but I'm probably going to get some of those most rural leads versus a lot of people I know that are doing really well with statewide campaigns. They do have a little bit of a larger budget, which means that they're getting the bad ones and they're getting the good ones. Then you need an acquisitions checklist for like it has to fit these criteria for me to pursue this as a lead because if you pursue everything, then you know, they can waste all their time with all these leads that'll never actually dispo. So you kind of have to understand what's going to be able to be disposed of. It has to be within like however many miles of a town that has at least whatever population, for sure, or you have to look at InvestorLift and find this many cash buyers nearby."

"Do you guys do something like that or does your team?"

"No, I actually don't. I think that's a fantastic idea. I'm actually probably going to look into it more. It sounds like you're basically doing it because you're saying like you have to be able to disqualify leads, but maybe systematize it more. And that's probably due to it just being the past few months that you guys are doing more rural marketing and you probably feel that pain eventually and build the process around it. Let's talk strategy then. I think it's an interesting case study to look at your situation because you've got a backyard where you get awesome spreads. You have specific rural targeting that's working well for you. You're getting a five to six times return, so you don't want to get rid of that necessarily, but could we do it with less work? What if we move to a situation where we're doing $30,000 spreads on average, and with that, we can achieve the same revenue with fewer deals and maybe with the same team, right? Achieve more revenue. Very real things to think about."

"100%. I'm just blurting out a strategy and I want you to tell me what you think about it or how this solves or doesn't solve the problems. I like the idea of running two campaigns side by side. I think the biggest thing that you do within Google is target different costs per lead across those campaigns. I think the mistake that people make is they target rural Texas and Southern California in the same campaign, and what happens then is you don't get many leads from Southern California and you get a lot of leads from rural Texas because what that campaign is going to do is it's going to bid the lowest that it can and still get leads because you're telling Google you want as many leads as possible. It doesn't mean you can't get leads in Southern California, but you're not going to win those auctions very often. So ideally, you have your Southern California campaign, you have your rural campaign, you might want to consider getting a third campaign if the goal is to get spreads up. If you could target a bunch of areas that have really high assignment fees similar to Southern California but just other markets. The thing about California is it has the largest assignment fees. I don't know anybody anywhere that has larger spreads than you can find in Southern California, but you can increase it significantly if you're staying in places like the top cities in Florida, Texas, and the DMV area. There's a lot of markets that have high ARV and high spread markets. You could have a campaign targeted to those areas where you're not necessarily touching the rural stuff, but you'd have a significantly lower cost per lead than you would in Southern California. Assuming you have a dispositions process that works everywhere, you would likely have a lower cost per lead and then a lower deal spread, but maybe a little bit lower on the deal spread and then a lot lower on the cost per lead. So a disproportionately positive return on a campaign like that. Any thoughts on something like that?"

"100%. Like I said, I think we were kind of doing that just a little bit, but are you talking about setting basically a radius around the big metro areas? I think it was Robert Wiley who said someone was targeting places that had airports or NFL teams."

"Yeah, they don't have an NFL team then, yeah. Which is interesting. I mean, Utah doesn't have an NFL team, but it's a great market. But I get the point where it's like, and then you have Green Bay, it's not a huge market at all, but it has a huge NFL team. So it doesn't perfectly correlate, but yeah."

"Yeah, maybe targeting like five huge markets would be great, you know what I mean? We have good healthy spreads, like split-testing the campaigns. If you move into a couple more markets, you get a significantly lower cost per lead, but there are good spread markets out there. But I think the pain that you're feeling right now, based on how your marketing is set up, that makes you think to go from a bunch of states to Southern California, you're playing way over here and way over there. I'm suggesting maybe playing in the middle a little bit too. There might be some good middle ground, and because you have a bunch of states where there's a high variance in the profit per lead, like the profit per deal, you have some Midwest states where you're going to do slim spreads and you've also got areas like Dallas Fort Worth that are awesome markets with large spreads. If you put them together, you're just naturally going to find more leads and more deals in the areas where there's smaller spreads because they're the less competitive areas. If you just have a campaign that still targets a lot of areas but you set the bar for like, I will not include any area in here that doesn't have a spread at least this high, then you start to play in that higher spread game, but you still get the benefits of a cost per lead to a more national campaign. Of course, you have a higher cost per lead than if you're going really rural, but it plays in between the two things you're talking about."

"Yeah, 100%. I've been thinking about it all year, figuring out the right way to dial it in. But the really smart thing you're doing is not burning the ships, saying, yeah, I have a 5-6x return on this rural campaign, but I'm going to completely ditch that and jump into this new thing I'm excited about. That's the impulse that a lot of entrepreneurs have that you kind of have to be careful about. There's a time and place for that."

"Well, like I said, we're really ramping up our direct mail campaigns. At this moment, we're sending out 30,000 pieces of postcard a month. We want to get that up and going, get a couple of deals under our belt, and then we're going to start playing around again with our areas."

"Totally makes sense. Would you do direct mail in many markets?"

"No, just Southern California. It's a lot harder to scale by the time you figure out how to do the data in a lot of different markets versus PPC, it's really easy."

"Yeah, and I know, like I said, we're excited to do some bigger deals this upcoming year."

"Totally makes sense. Anything else on marketing? What's the secret to marketing?"

"The really interesting thing about marketing for a business like this is here you guys are doing seven figures in revenue, and you don't even have a marketing person for me to talk to. It's really common in this industry, even if you're growing a lot. If you leverage the right partnerships with good vendors, you don't need a marketing person. They call it a marketing and sales business. I was talking to a friend of mine, Vance Courtney, the other day. He was in the Collective Genius in the same group you were in for a time. What he told me is people call it a marketing and sales business. I don't agree; it's just a sales business because you can outsource marketing, but you can't outsource sales. If you really think about it, you're just running a sales organization. If you get good vendors for marketing, you can outsource transaction coordination. You're just selling deals to buyers, buying them from sellers."

"True story."

"Yeah, which is super cool. Any last comments on marketing? Anything you could do better or others could do better?"

"No, just like I said, that is a position in itself. We do plan on probably bringing on a marketing director after probably 2025. It's just still needed in this industry, but you can go a lot longer without."

"Well, that's awesome. Super grateful for the time you guys have invested into this and for having me out here. Thanks for talking all things marketing."

"Thank you, it's been a ton of fun."

"Awesome."

"Brother."

Guest Episode

Scaling to 7 Figures with PPC Marketing: Aaron and Miquella Gaunt

Ready to dominate with PPC? In today's episode, Brandon is joined by Aaron and Miquella Gaunt, a power couple from Southern California who took their real estate business from local to nationwide in just one year, all through Pay Per Click Marketing. In this chat, Aaron and Miquella open up about the specific moves and mindset shifts that allowed them to scale to 7 figures with pay-per-click ads as their main marketing channel. We dig into topics like choosing the right markets to target, setting realistic expectations, budgeting for marketing spend, and more. If you're an entrepreneur looking to scale your business rapidly through digital marketing, this is a conversation you won't want to miss. 0:00 Intro 0:48 Choosing a marketing channel 5:52 Inbound vs outbound leads 8:48 Changes made to PPC marketing strategy 15:46 Evaluating if a marketing campaign is working 24:59 Patient vs impatient mindset 30:16 Determining a healthy marketing budget 34:53 Statewide vs metro area targeting 42:31 Balancing rural and metro area leads 49:41 Role of a PPC Manager Thanks for listening to Collective Clicks!

Want to learn how a small-town real estate investor closed over 400 deals last year? Eric Brewer spills the beans on scaling a business with his "innovator's edge" strategy, revealing hidden profit channels and essential leadership insights. Whether you're in real estate or any business, Eric's no-nonsense advice on standards, accountability, and leadership is essential listening for anyone aiming to elevate their game.

"Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Collective Clicks podcast. This is your host Brandon Baitman, and today I'm joined by Eric Brewer. Eric Brewer's company flips or wholesales over 400 houses every year. Today he shares with me some of the lessons that he's learned over that process through implementing different exit strategies and developing as a leader to help his company grow. Welcome to the podcast Eric, how you doing?"

"Doing great man, how are you?"

"Hey, fantastic. Excited to talk with you again. I can tell you, you're one person every time we talk I learn something and I appreciate that a ton. So I'm excited for you to be on this podcast, mostly selfishly, mostly just because I want to learn a few things from you."

"Cool, well I'll do my best not to let you down. We'll see how we do."

"So for people listening to this podcast that might not know you, might not know who you are, your background or anything like that, could you share just a little bit about like, you know, who are you? What have you done? Like the history of how you've gotten to where you are today and then you know, what are you doing now?"

"Yeah sure. So I am in York, Pennsylvania. It's a relatively small rural area about 45 minutes north of Baltimore, Maryland, and about 30 minutes south of the capital of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. And then about 3 and a half hours east of Pittsburgh and an hour and a half east of Philadelphia. So if you sort of triangulate that stuff, I am in the southern east portion of PA closer to Baltimore than really any other notable area. I am a real estate investor, been doing it since 2006. Currently have roughly 40 plus employees. We operate in three markets within two hours of our home office here. We did just north of 400 real estate deals last year. I got my start really in business in the automobile industry. Went out of high school, went into the army, got out of the army, got into the car business, spent eight years in the car business. Really learned how to sell there, learned how to manage, learned a little bit of marketing. Got burned out. The car business back in this would have been the late '90s early 2000s was very demanding from a schedule perspective and it's never been known as like the most enjoyable atmosphere to either sell or buy in, right?"

"I think uh most people that sell cars don't love the experience and I don't know, Consumer Reports said a couple years ago that like 98% of people that bought a car didn't love the experience as well. So I was, you know, that was catching up to me. The hours were weighing on me and I was about to have my first child. So in 2005 I left the car business, did some soul searching, decided to get into real estate, started my real estate career in finance. Was basically cold calling refinance leads at a mortgage company and after doing that for about six months, my previous mentor from the car business got into real estate, knew that I had made the transition out of the car business and called me. And uh a couple days later we partnered up and in February of 2006 we started flipping houses."

The Innovator's Edge: Eric Brewer's Strategies for High Volume Success

Want to know how a small town real estate investor did over 400 deals last year? Eric Brewer lays it all out - the good, the bad and the harsh truths about scaling a business. No corporate fluff, just straight talk on his "innovator's edge" strategy to unlock hidden profit channels. Eric gets real about hiring nightmares, getting rid of B and C players, and the critical leadership skills most entrepreneurs are missing. If you're trying to level up your real estate operations or any business, Erik's hard-won wisdom on standards, accountability and becoming an exceptional leader is must-listen material. Fair warning: This podcast will likely make you reassess what an "A Player" really means. "Eric Brewer is a real estate entrepreneur and community leader based in central Pennsylvania. With over 17 years of experience, he has built a thriving real estate empire as the CEO of Brewer Method and Integrity First Home Buyers, completing over 3,000 transactions and pioneering 1,500 novations. Eric's commitment to excellence extends to his community, where he supports sellers, vendors, and real estate agents. As a devoted family man, he cherishes spending time with his loved ones and nurturing their growth. Eric Brewer's legacy inspires through his dedication to others and meaningful relationships." 0:00 - Introduction 1:24 - Eric's Background 6:02 - Innovations Strategy 10:10 - Lessons Learned at Different Stages 14:05 - Hiring and Retaining Talent 20:50 - Becoming a Great Person to Attract Great People 24:30 - Defining and Upholding Standards 31:15 - Common Thread People Struggle With 39:20 - Challenges of Middle Management Thanks for listening to Collective Clicks!