Why (and how) Newsletters Still Work ft. Dustin Matthews http://www.100commissionrealestate.com/dustinmatthews
💥NEW IN THE KNOW VIDEO 💥
Why (and how) Newsletters Still Work ft. Dustin Matthews – In The Know
I’m sitting down with my buddy Dustin Mathews to talk about his ninja strategies and crazy success with newsletter marketing. I
👉If you want to know how to engage your database and stand out, watch this video.
Here is how the video breaks down:
0:25 – How To Grow Your Business With A Print Newsletter
1:02 – What we’re sippin’ on
1:31 – Why use a newsletter, isn’t that old school?
3:10 – Junk Mail vs A Newsletter
4:42 – Ninja Strategy #1 The stamp trick [Do This]
4:59 – How To Get Through Peoples “Junk Mail Filter”
5:50 – What Makes A Successful New’s Letter
6:30 – Pick a Theme and Always Include A Price $$$
9:13 – Ideas For A Neighborhood Newsletter
10:18 – The Main Content For Your Newsletter
10:55 – Ninja Strategy #2 “Features and Recognition”
12:10 – Ninja Strategy #3 “Passive Selling With Testimonials”
12:54 – Getting Referrals
14:17 – Nailing your Calls To Action
15:30 – Can’t I Just Email It Out Instead Of Mail?
16:54 – How Much Is This Newsletter Going To Cost?
18:52 – Sprinkle Some Love On It
19:95 – Ninja Strategy #4 How To Get It Done For FREE
21:24 – Step 1 To Making This Happen Today
22:15 – Dustins Book [You Need This]
Want more In The Know with Oliver Graf? Check out these episodes:
Sell 100+ Homes Per Year with These Prospecting Tips – https://youtu.be/W0ZKfxcvLIQ
Ten Commandments of a Real Estate Top producer – https://youtu.be/3rpgfu40Jng
How to Leverage Your Title Rep to Grow Your Business – https://youtu.be/paPmuQp6sAw
If you are an agent and ready to earn 100% commission with the fastest growing real estate company on the Inc 500 list, visit us here – http://www.100commissionrealestate.com
Oliver: Welcome to another episode of In the Know. Today, I’m gonna be talking to one of my all time favorite dudes, Dustin Matthew. And we’re gonna be talking about how to create a high converting newsletter for your business, why it works and how you can do it all for free. So let’s jump right in and let’s get started.
So, pretty excited about my guest today, Dustin Matthews. He’s a long time friend and mentor. He’s just written a book with Dan Kennedy which is pretty awesome if you guys know who Dan Kennedy is, he’s pretty much a legend in the copywriting and marketing world.
What we’re gonna be talking about today is newsletters and how you can leverage newsletters to grow your market and get more clients in a specific farm or area that you work in. Before we jump into that, we are gonna be enjoying a couple adult beverages today. I’m gonna be trying the Fall Brewing Company Plenty for all pilsner, that’s a local beer out of North Park, here in San Diego, so a big shout out to them.
And then Dustin is gonna be trying the Uncaged-
Dustin: Gotta go uncaged.
Oliver: Pinot. So there you go, we can get started and kick this thing off.
Dustin: Let’s do it. Super pumped to be on the show.
Oliver: Good, very excited to have you. The cool thing about a newsletter is that it’s something different. Right? Like no one’s really doing it anymore and it kind of seems obvious and maybe a little dated but I think the fact that nobody does it is kind of the magic and why it works. So why don’t we first talk about why a newsletter?
Dustin: Well, I think it’s funny ’cause on the table we’ve got old school newsletter next to iPhone and mobile and so I know you guys are getting inundated with mobile and technology and all that. And absolutely, you know, the question is not should I do or? It should be and. Like what can I do?
For old school, I’m thinking newsletter and the reason why is that’s physical touch. So if your marketplace is … skew is a little bit older or maybe they are young but they’re just inundated with social media, you gotta show up differently, right? That’s the name of the game is how do you get someone’s attention. So I’m a big fan of the newsletter because it’s high touch, once a month, mail it out to your prospects.
Paper goes places like-
Oliver: You can pass it to a friend.
Dustin: You can pass it to a friend, I leave them on the desk sometimes. So I’m a big fan of the old school because no one’s doing it. So if everyone’s doing social, if everyone’s online, do that and you should think about showing up in other places.
Oliver: To your point, right, the social stuff is super important and it’s a huge high leverage activity but when you’re sending out something like this, it’s more of a personal touch.
Oliver: Right? And the tips we’re gonna share make it really easy to do. It’s kind of a streamline process, there are certain things that you wanna have in there that will kind of add a lot of value. And let’s just touch on the junk mail versus a newsletter.
Dustin: Yeah, absolutely.
Oliver: So how do you differentiate the two?
Dustin: Well, junk mail often comes like if you are over the trash can. Like it neatly folds together and it’s right there and it goes easy into the trash and so to stick out, obviously, ’cause that’s the name of the game. Like you can have an awesome newsletter with great content and everything but if people don’t open it, you’re in trouble.
So what do you do to get it opened? And so number one is send it in a big obnoxious envelope and so it can be big or like you guys do, you send it in a big black envelope to get out and cut the clutter.
Oliver: Yeah, so that’s I think a good distinction. Right, with junk mail, you don’t wanna blend in, you don’t wanna send just another piece of junk to someone. So this is something that we really put a lot of love into and also, to your point. You know, send it out in something that’s a little bit different.
Like we bought sparkly gold envelopes, this newsletter here is actually called In the Black and we send it out in an all black 8×10 envelope and we actually put a stamp on the front that says Open and Read.
Dustin: Yes, yes.
Oliver: So we’ve gotten really good feedback on just it getting through to people and them actually opening and reading it which ultimately is the goal.
Dustin: I think a big thing on that is, you know, a lot of people wanna cut corners. So if they are gonna direct mail, I get it, like it’s an expense, right? So we could do social and that’s free but you know, who knows if they’re seeing it. And so what I would say is don’t cut the expense where it comes to the stamp, the postage stamp.
And so if some people, you know, you’re mailing a bunch of them, you can do the little indicia, which is that little thing that’s printed there, but put that stamp on there, make it crooked because again, it’s all about just catching somebody and them saying, “Is this junk or not junk? Is this valuable or not valuable?” And so that stamp, old school, putting it on there a little crooked, if you can get your mailer to do it, mission critical for getting it opened.
Oliver: Yeah, so part one is getting through people’s junk mail filter, right?
Dustin: Yeah, absolutely.
Oliver: So the ways you do that, big envelope, sparkly envelope, hyper colored envelope, real stamp. We also do handwritten labels. That’s something that you don’t have to do yourself, you can outsource it. There is services like task rabbit where someone will come over, pick up your list and hand write three, four, 500 envelopes for you to send out. And it think that’s the way you get through the junk mail filter, right?
Dustin: It just has to look personal. I know, it’s not the card from Grandma but that’s what I like to think about. Is this something that would pass off as something from somebody I know? Somebody that I love? And so if you can engineer that effect, then that’s mission critical.
Oliver: Why has your newsletter been so successful? And then let’s kind of walk through it and kind of dive right in.
Dustin: Let’s use this, this is such a good example here.
Dustin: So, I love it right here. So it’s called In the Black. So having a name, right? Having a name, whether it ties into your own personal brand or you make it quirky like this, In the Black, right because this particular newsletter is about making money and it comes in a black envelope so there is a theme to it.
And so at the end of the day, you’re just trying to get a mind share of your person, your prospect, you know, can you just take one more extra second where they remember you? And so I love that you themed it.
Oliver: Okay. So get a name.
Dustin: Name or a theme, maybe you’re the realtor that does this, you are high end so maybe it needs to look high end, maybe you love baseball and so maybe it’s baseball related. There is no wrong thing, it’s just about being consistent which, I don’t know if I gave away the secret there, but it’s about just really being consistent so you can have brand repetition so people know and remember you.
Second thing I like here, I don’t think you can see it on camera is the price. So this was one of your favorites, right?
Oliver: Yeah, every time I got one of Dustin’s newsletters in the mail, it always had a price at the top. And I was like, “Why is this guy sending me mail with a one page, two page newsletter with a price of $37 on it?” And when he explained it, it actually made a lot of sense and so we now do it as well and tell us what you told me those few years ago about why you put the price on there.
Dustin: Well, I’ll tell them in just a second. I gotta share this story. So this is hilarious. So I had a newsletter, it was called Dirty Talk and the reason why I named it this I was selling into the real estate space, real estate coaches and trainers. That space, not actual houses for this newsletter. And so I called it Dirty Talk because I was appealing to alpha males and so I needed something edgy that would get their attention.
And I always envisioned this, however, I always envisioned like the gatekeeper or the spouse or just somebody that gets the mail, like you, like this came to you, Dirty Talk, and kind of giving you like what did you subscribe to? What is this thing? And so that was the effect. I was just trying to get that edge factor to get people’s attention.
And so I put a price on there whatever it was in the year and the little secret tip there is, every year I increased it $10. So it started of as 29 and then this thing ran for five years so eventually it got up to the final price. And so I remember, I got a phone call one day and this guy is like, “who the heck are you? Why are you billing my credit card once a month?” I said, “Wow, wow, wow, this newsletter is free.” And then his demeanor completely changed over the phone. He’s like, “Well, then keep it coming.”
And so that’s the lesson right there because this guy thought he was getting charged for something and so he thought that there was a value to it and so he was being charged for that value and so the lesson is, if you just send a newsletter in the mail here, people make their own judgment, is this valuable, is it not? However, subconsciously, if they see a price on it, it gets that extra split second of attention and that’s what I’m trying to get. It’s just that extra second to get my foot in the door so then people consume what I have to give them.
Oliver: So you’re basically attaching a value to it, it kind of lowers people’s resistance, pique interest ’cause people are gonna be like, “Wow, what is this, $37, I need to read-“
Dustin: Investigate this.
Oliver: Yeah, I need to investigate this further, exactly. All right, cool. If you’re talking about a neighborhood you could do things like upcoming events in that area, you could talk about new homes, developments, just any of those kinds of things, right?
Dustin: Yeah, deliver value. And that might mean talking about the neighborhood, it could be just talking about what’s going on in the world. It’s a classic copywriting thing to be entering the conversation and people’s minds. So if it’s election season, great, if it’s something that happened in the media, talking about that. If it’s summer, we’re going into summer and that’s on everyone’s mind, you just wanna tap into that because that’s what people are kind of thinking about. And so it’s easier to have a conversation there.
And, when you do the content, we live in such a visual society so you know, on this newsletter, we’ve got pictures all throughout and so people are drawn to pictures. Especially of people because they wanna see, is that my picture, do I know that person there? And so I love delivering the goods in terms of value, putting pictures in there to really bring it forward to them.
Oliver: Yeah, I love that. So again, the content piece, this is kind of the main piece of your article. What we do a lot of times is repurpose blog articles that we’ve written.
Dustin: Smart, yeah.
Oliver: There’s also just finding other people’s good content and sharing it in a way that is digestible. So, if for example, our big newspaper here, the Union Tribune, if they did a piece on the city that you’re working or the neighborhood that you’re working, that could be something that you can include excerpts from. You could repurpose it and recreate it and turn it into your main content piece for a newsletter.
Dustin: All right. So a ninja strategy is to feature somebody and you don’t just have to feature just one person, you can feature multiple folks. I like how you’ve done it here. So featuring one of your clients or vendors or you know, businesses in the area. The reason why you do that is because when people start to get this, they’re gonna flip it over and they’re gonna open it up because they wanna see, did I make this month’s edition. And so it’s like if you see a list of names, I think back to high school, you know, when you’re auditioning for a play or a sports team, they post the list and everyone gets there ’cause they wanna see if they made the list.
And so it’s that same phenomena in the newsletter. They open it up and I remember having stories of people saying, “Oh man, am I featured this month?” I said, “I can’t tell you, you gotta open it up.” And so it’s good because you wanna have that behavior, you want people to consume your information.
Oliver: I’ll add to that. It’s just the importance of the recognition. So the people that you feature, like for us, we feature an agent of the month ’cause we’re a real estate brokerage and we wanna give recognition to someone that did something cool that month. But it could be client stories, it could be different vendors in the neighborhood, businesses in the neighborhood. Just different things that would tie the community together in the market that they’re working.
Dustin: Absolutely. You know, the other thing that folks can think about putting in there are testimonials. So if you have an amazing case study, if you have something that people are saying awesome things about you, then absolutely, that should be incorporated in. Because you know, I can sit here and tell you how awesome Oliver is and Big Block.
However, if I have someone else or a third party, someone that you know or a member that’s in your tribe or your community saying awesome things, then it just makes it a whole lot easier and more receptive to that.
Oliver: Another easy way to do it is if you’re collecting Yelp reviews, just doing a screenshot of your Yelp review and just dropping it right in there ’cause people will see that and automatically associate Yelp with credibility. And I think that’s just an easy way to kind of tie it all together.
Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about referrals, that’s big in your guys’ world, right?
Oliver: Yeah, definitely.
Dustin: So referrals. So what you wanna be talking about is referrals, so people that have made referrals, you wanna give them shout outs because one, it makes them feel good, right? It’s another mention for them. But also, two, it shows the rest of the world or the community where you’re working, it shows them that referral activity is applauded and is a good thing ’cause sometimes people feel a little weird, like their name’s online or the reputation’s online and so if they see that wow, three people made referrals this month, then that shows good behavior, that shows it’s safe to refer here and so it shows that. And so that’s how you generate and simulate more referrals.
Oliver: Yeah, I love that idea. That’s something that we’ve incorporated as well. We do all the agents that join our brokerage, we have a section where we just give them a shout out. Hey, look at all the agents that have joined this month. And that way, when they get it, they’re like, “Oh, cool, I’m in it.” They see their name in it and also, to all the prospects that we send to, it shows that, “Oh wow, so and so moved over there and this person moved over there. And oh wow, look, all these people have moved over there.” And now all of a sudden it just piques their curiosity as to what’s going on over there and hey, maybe this is something that I wanna be a part of.
Dustin: Yeah, yeah. You know, the other thing that’s most important, a lot of people do … they get this idea that they’re gonna do this newsletter and they deliver the value but they drop the ball when it comes to call the action. So I always say, you’re gotta be promoting yourself. Now, you don’t have to be obnoxious like the car sales person that people think of but you wanna make mention.
So if you’ve got a free report or if you need to remind people to go get an analysis on their house, you gotta remind people, you can’t just expect them to know, “Hey, I’m a realtor and this is what I do.” You just have to have subtle calls to action in there. And so make sure throughout the newsletter, that you’re putting different ways that you deliver value.
Oliver: Yeah, I love that. And some of the different ways that we’ve incorporated that on our newsletter is we basically incorporate the entire bottom quarter to a basically an advertisement of our Big Block. I would suggest doing the same thing. It just advertises your services, you know, get a free home report, get a value estimate, any of those types of things that you offer.
And then also ways to get in contact with you. And not just phone and email and website but we put all of our social media links on there ’cause we wanna, back to the concept of FaceTime and being everywhere, we wanna be able to engage with us on those other platforms and just continue to close the loop on people becoming part of your tribe.
Dustin: Now, Oliver, they always ask me this. Can I just email it?
Dustin: And the answer is, “Yes, you can.” But how many emails do you get? Like seriously, like 100 emails a day or 200 emails, maybe even more and so do you wanna compete with that? And so that’s why it’s important, you know, take the content that you are producing if you are on the blog and put it into something physical. Odds are, people are gonna miss it and a big part of our community, they’re gonna miss it because they’re just inundated online.
And so take that same information, then you’re creating that content, put it in print form and deliver it to them so they can consume that way.
Dustin: But the big thing, if you are gonna commit, you can’t commit for a month. You have to let this thing roll for at least three to six months and give it the test and then evaluate at that point. So don’t do this if you’re only gonna do it for one month. If you know that’s you, don’t do it. Save your money.
And the reason why is it’s a brand play. Nike doesn’t just run one ad on TV and McDonald’s doesn’t just run one. Multiple like radio or it’s the same thing, it’s multiple touches. And so it is a high touch, it’s an investment in your client, it’s an investment in building the relationship but man, you go six months, a year, many years and it can really make a name for you in your marketplace, generate leads and get more referrals.
Oliver: Love that. And just to add to that. Let’s talk about that for a second. So what sort of a cost should they be expecting and how many / how often do you think they should be sending, what do you recommend?
Dustin: Yeah, I would say, just to tackle the easiest one first, I would say once a month, get this out in the mail and I wanna go back to when I first started my newsletter. So my girlfriend, fiancee at the time, helped me and as far as I remember, being in an apartment, we’re in a condo and we were in a club house and it had this copier machine, I swear it was like a 1990 Xerox machine with 5% toner. So this thing was the worst possible thing.
And so I was doing it on a budget, so I get it. And so I’d print, I make one copy, I printed at Kinco’s, make it real nice and then I’d go to this 1990s Xerox machine, I put it on there and we would make copies and the quality was horrible, it was faded, if you make a copy of a copy of a copy. That’s what it looked like but it was important because I got started and I made a commitment to keep doing it.
And so, if you’re gonna outsource it or do it yourself, I mean, generally, you wanna be around $1 per piece and that’s to print it, that’s to get the envelope, that’s to get the postage out. And so that’s where you wanna be. Obviously, if you run a lot of quantity or if you use an outsource service, you can go down in cost or you can go up in cost. And so the important part is like, listen, if you’re thinking about, “Hey, I don’t know if I wanna fully commit to this,” give it a shot. Come up with 50 names, that’s what I did when I first got started. 50 names and it’s not the quantity, it’s just the consistency of just keep doing it.
And so for me, back to this newsletter Dirty Talk, within the third month, someone gave me a call because a speaker had canceled and they said, “Hey listen, I need you to come out and do one of these interviews or do the speaking gig.” And so I was able to do it. And I’m not saying it’s gonna happen that quickly for you in your world but it was the fact that I just stayed in touch with my marketplace and stuff started to happen.
Oliver: and you’re doing it in a way that’s a little bit different, right? You’re not just sending out the same stuff that every realtor sends out to their farm, you’re building something that’s custom, that’s to you and ultimately, like this is kind of love project. You know what I mean? It’s not like we personally put a lot of love into creating these and I know, you do as well. And I think that’s what people take notice of and that’s what makes them wanna open the next issue when they get it.
Dustin: Yeah, oh yeah.
Oliver: Right? I remember one thing you used to do is you put everyone’s name on the envelope. And so every month it was like, “Oh, did we make the envelope, are we on the envelope? Where is it? We gotta be on the envelope.”
Dustin: That was a lot of fun. Originally, it started off on the back page but then I kept adding names to the list and then I had to go to the envelope and then I just couldn’t put everyone’s name on it. But yeah, it made people feel awesome.
Oliver: So that’s things you can do with your sphere of influence, you can do with prominent people in your neighborhood, in your area, with people that give referrals. And once you’ve given one referral, you go on the list and then all of a sudden, that list starts to grow and grow and then people find themselves wanting to be on the list, even though it’s just a newsletter that you’re sending out every month.
Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. I got a ninja strategy, it just popped into my head. And the ninja strategy was sponsorship. So along the way, when I was doing my newsletter-
Oliver: Oh yeah, that’s good.
Dustin: I was like, “How on the heck can I make this for free?” So two ways I did it. Number one was sponsorship. So I found a business that wanted to ride along with me. So we put either an insert into the newsletter or we put an ad like you did on the back there.
And then the second one is affiliate and so what I would do when I didn’t have a sponsorship and I said, “Hey, maybe I can get some of this cost back.” Even though I would have paid for it, time and time again, because I believed in the long term. What I said was, I put in a flyer in there and it had a special link on it or I’d set up a special arrangement so that anyone that bought to or went to the website of this person I was promoting, I would get paid on it after the fact. And so I figured out ways to try to monetize this thing in more ways than just building my own brand.
Oliver: So based on what you just said, number one secret, hey just get out there and actually do it. Number two, do it with consistency because over time, I promise you the ROIs there, I can’t show you the data but I can tell you the reactions from people that you’re gonna get. Like real human beings interacting with you is gonna be very impressive and well worth the money that you’re gonna spend, especially when you get to sponsors to cover the entire cost of the mailing.
Do you have any final thoughts before we bid farewell?
Dustin: I got something. So you know, whatever your goal is, you know, it can be to do newsletter or it can be to get more listings, let’s go way out, you know on that field. Let’s say, lose weight. So let’s say that’s your goal for this year. Whatever your goal is, here is what I want you to do. I want you to take one small action a day, and a small action is like read a newsletter or research or call somebody that’s the expert in whatever it is that you wanna conquer in this world. And so just take one small action a day ’cause over the course of a year, that’s 365 actions and so you’ll be amazed at where you end up.
And the secret is this, oftentimes it is doesn’t take you an entire year ’cause you’re building momentum by just stacking all the actions on top. So whatever your goal is, go take one small action a day and you’ll get there a whole lot quicker.
Oliver: I love that. That’s a great way to wrap things up. I think this is a very smart man and those were very wise words. I would also encourage you to pick up his book, The No BS Guide to Powerful Presentations. Where can they get this if they’re interested?
Dustin: Simple. Nobspresentations.com, you can get it on Amazon but go there first ’cause it’s got all the resources on how to give better presentations and be an influencer.
Oliver: Perfect. Well, really appreciate you coming out. Cheers.
Dustin: Cheers, look at you.
Oliver: It’s been an absolute pleasure and we’ll look forward to doing this again, now you’re In the Know.