The bottom line of your business realizes the benefit of the recorded content you create to use for marketing. In this episode, Scott Carson, aka “the Note Guy,” host of the The Note Closers Show Podcast, talks about starting his success on video to syndicating as a podcast with a monthly download of 32,000. Scott reveals the secret to looking like you are “everywhere” without doing a lot. He also explains how hitting different media types or touchpoints drives his business and how authenticity is key to increasing your listeners. Providing valuable information to your audience while entertaining them proves to be Scott’s formula for owning the distressed real estate note investing niche.
Listen to the podcast here:
A-Ha Moment Marketing With Scott Carson
I’m with a very special guest, one of my favorite people in the world, but also one of the best podcasters that I know and that is Scott Carson of the Note Closers Show. Welcome, Scott.
I’m honored to be here as always. You’re also one of my favorite people, so right back at you.
We’ve come a long way in a few years, haven’t we?
We’ve known each other for a few years now for the most part. The first year I said, “No,” when you were trying to say, “You should do a podcast.” I was like, “No.” Finally, I was like, “You’re probably right.” Even though I was throwing out a lot of content beforehand, the preconceived notion in my head was it would be a lot of work and you guys have obviously taken all those fears away. I can’t even think what my business would be like without my podcasts.
A huge part of your identity out marketing your business to the world is all wrapped up in your podcast, isn’t it?
It has. We’ve never been afraid to market. I’m one of the better marketers in my niche of real estate investment, especially my niche of buying and selling distressed debt, which is what my podcast is all about. I’ve never been afraid to do video. We did webinars for years. I look back and I had my first GoToWebinar on April of 2011. We’ve been doing webinars almost weekly for eight-plus years. A couple of years ago, we converted from doing hotel events and educational seminars from live in-person to live via Zoom like we’re doing right now with this stuff. We’ve always been not afraid to throw stuff out there.
That is one of the big things I want to highlight. There are a few details I want to make sure we cover. You recognize and realize and what I mean by that is not mentally realize, but the bottom line of your business realizes the benefit of the content you create that you record and you use for marketing. Isn’t that right?
That’s totally right, Tom. I can pinpoint the exact date that I had the whole a-ha moment of it.
Share that with me. Is this like the date that Doc Brown came up with the idea of the flux capacitors?
It’s exactly like that. We’ve been doing videos for a while for training calls and things like that. I’m not afraid of making an embarrassment of myself and do stupid crap online. We were at an event, I don’t remember where it was. Kevin Harrington was speaking at. He got up on stage and talked about, “You need to do video.” This was October sometime of 2016. I’m like, “I’ve toyed around with this video stuff. Let’s be more serious about it.” At the same time, Facebook Live was coming out. I was like, “We’re going to do it.” I come back to the office talking about tips. I’ll start doing an almost daily video on Facebook Live and we’ll do it about what’s going on at WCN, We Close Notes for the day. We started doing that and they were like eight-minute videos of something we were doing. I’m trying to be a fly on the wall.Podcasting is the last unchartered place for true freedom of speech. Click To Tweet
It was right around the Cubs won the World Series too. I’m wearing a Cubs jacket and I’m sitting outside with a rubber ducky in front of my shoulder. We started doing daily videos like that. I’m going to be myself and be goofy and we’ll share some nugget to touch base with our tribe every day. That’s the whole goal, is to touch base with a tribe. About this time is when you and I met for the first time and you’d already seen some of the videos that we had saved because we had hundreds of videos on Vimeo and a bunch on YouTube. I looked at YouTube as like the second class. I’ll put it on there because I had originally had a YouTube account. It got shut down a few years back. We talked and in 149 episodes of doing these Facebook Lives, I was seeing 100, 200, 300, 1,000 views on that Facebook Live. I was like, “We need to take this a little bit more seriously.” We’re putting them up on YouTube and everything. You’re like, “You should do this.” I was hesitant first because I had a couple of my students who start a podcast and they were doing well with it.
I’m like “That’s their good thing. I don’t want them thinking, I’m trying to steal any of their thunder.” I find out that between May of 2017 they said, “We’re not going to do the podcast anymore.” I was in the Dominican Republic with one of them for a party. I remember coming home the next week and you were the first phone call I made like, “Let’s get this thing rolling.” We’re coming up on our second full year. August 21st was when the first episode showed up on iTunes. We’re coming up on our 500th episode in our first 23 months. It’s all included video. Looking at the numbers and case studies of videos help us double our amount of audience. I’m saying we’re a very small nichey aspect of real estate investing, but we own that niche. There’s nobody that does not own the niche as I do with what we do with the Note Closers Show.
You do own the niche. In distressed real estate note investing, you are the guy. Anybody in real estate investing in any facet of it has heard of you and knows you are the guy. An interesting thing that I learned from you maybe early on when I met you is that while that’s true, you can’t do it all. You teach others how to do it and you have this great word, you know the word I’m thinking of, it’s coopetition. I love that word. It’s like, “Yes, other people can be doing the same type of business you are and maybe there is some competition, but there are also opportunities to cooperate and help each other. You’ve built your business around that concept.
It goes back to when I went out on my own and left working for a guy in a company that I worked for five years. We started a mortgage company together. I was coaching his students. When everything hit the fan in 2008, I left that side and went to the non-performing notes side when everything was hitting the fan. I started dialing for dollars, calling banks. I would get deals that I had no clue what they were because I’ve been in Austin, Texas but I have stuff in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Tampa, Florida. I would start reaching out online and say, “Do you mind driving by?” Fast forward a couple of years later, I sold everything here in Austin, Texas and jumped in the truck. I’d drive around for like 30 weeks and hit a lot of baseball parks.
That turned into three-and-a-half-plus years and it helped us build a community of all these real estate investors that I was meeting driving around and speaking at clubs. It built this great thing, “There’s plenty to go around, plenty of deals. Here’s exactly how I do what I do. Either you’re going to do it or not do it. If you get it list in from a bank, great. Hopefully, I’m the first guy you call so we can do more deals together.” That coopetition thing is one thing I’ve always prided myself on. I didn’t coin the term. My buddy, Joel Markovitz, coined the term a while back, but I’ve given him credit more than three times so I can claim it as my own.
You definitely resemble that word, embody it even though maybe somebody else came up with a name. I heard it from you first. That’s all I know.
That’s what I love about podcasting too. I’m a huge fan of it because a lot of people have that same thing in real estate. It can be cutthroat whether you’re a realtor or a mortgage broker, a fix and flipper, landlord. The note space is pretty friendly. It’s a small niche of rebels, as I like to say, out there. With podcasts, you have so many different ways to do it now and it’s so much easier than it was years ago based on the people that have been around a longer than two years. That’s why I love it because I love the network no matter where the somebody who’s doing a podcast on Twitch TV like Misclick who I’m friends with and to you, guys doing something on 3D printing. We can learn something from everybody. I’m a big believer that podcasting is the last unchartered, unscreened last place for true freedom of speech out there for the most part.
It’s definitely unfiltered. There are certain media conglomerates and networks that are producing shows that are probably governing themselves. NPR has rules where they broadcast on terrestrial radio and satellite radio. They’re rebroadcasting that stuff on podcasting. You have to understand fuels into that type of show. It’s going to be filtered through some lens, but for those of us that are independently doing this, it’s completely free speech. That’s what I love about it too. I agree with you, especially when there’s so much out there in our media that is controlled, skewed and programmed. There’s a lot of words we could use there. Scott, you have achieved a huge milestone. Why don’t you share that with everybody?
We average about three-and-a-half-episodes a week. We are cranking out episodes on a weekly basis, three to five episodes sometimes more for things like that. I usually average around twenty episodes a month for the most part. I’m a numbers junkie in my line of work.
You’re a data hound.
I want to track what’s coming in, where am I getting views from, who’s watching what? We hit a big number when it is on the 30th of July when it’s being recorded. We have exceeded our biggest month yet. It was 29,000. We’re now past 32,000 downloads for the month of July and trending to hit 34 to 35 by the time tomorrow wraps up. We’re excited about that because that’s crazy. I looked back at the numbers. The first year, we averaged around 11,600 downloads on an average monthly basis. Ten months in second year, we’ve almost doubled that number of had hit over 21,000 downloads on an average monthly basis. We’re pretty excited. We hit our first $30,000 download, which is great because I’ve got some tickers and some of my sponsorships. That means their sponsorship fees go up.
I’m sure our audience would be very interested in that. That’s another facet of this that is important for people because how to monetize a podcast is one of the most common questions that we get. I’m always very upfront with anybody I speak to in the whole industry, whether they’re my clients or not, that you can absolutely monetize a podcast. You can monetize it from episode one. There are probably 50 different ways you could do it. It’s a matter of what’s a good fit for your show in your market.
The biggest thing is I see that a lot of times people are like, “How do I get more listeners? I’ve done ten episodes.” I’m like, “What’s your show about? How big is your niche?” Sometimes having too big a niche, you’re lost in the sound and having a smaller niche, you can cater to those people. When we started doing this, I didn’t expect to monetize this for a while. Luckily for me, we started having some traction because like I said, my friends stopped doing their podcasts. They let the big vacuum that we filled in and we marketed it everywhere. Within our first six months, we had a couple of sponsors that were paying us $1,000 a month. We would have them on one episode a month. We share a lot of things with them. We help promote their events and email, stuff like that. They were vendors that we use religiously that we were referring. My first bit of advice, if you’re using a service or a vendor of some sort in your podcast or your business, reach out to them and offer them up potential sponsorship. It could be $1,000 a month. Two sponsors almost paid for what we have as far as costs along the way for the most part.
That’s the thing. Some people want to ask if their podcasts can be a moneymaker and have it be their job. That’s where they make all their money. Some people do that, but they have a lot of support teams. It’s like the primary thing that they do. Our philosophy and I think it is similar to yours, Scott, is that we have businesses that are operating and generating revenue in another way. The podcast can support that business, help market that business. You also can make some money on the show itself to at least cover some of the costs. Sometimes that goes beyond that. Haven’t you had three or four sponsors in a given month?
We have roughly five sponsors now that are paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 a month. The first year I was like, “$1,000 a month. I’m excited.” That’s $12,000. That would be $24,000 if you got two, $36,000 if you’ve got three. I was like, “Okay, cool.” As we started seeing some traction, they start reporting back like, “It was great. We’re getting people that are calling us. They heard us on your podcast.” They’re telling me that. The second year of my contract, I changed it so that we put some stair steps in there based on a number of monthly downloads. Basically, if we hit 20,000 downloads, their sponsorship goes from $1,000 to $2,000 a month. After that it goes to 30,000 in a month, it goes to $3,000.
It’s proportional to your reach, the downloads of your episodes. Scott, I want to make sure everybody understands the 30,000-plus downloads you’ve gotten this month, which is great, congratulations by the way, is across all of your library of podcasts that you’ve done in the last two years. It’s not the ones you publish this month, isn’t that right?
That’s for the downloads from all the Note Closers Show podcast. Now I have two alternative little smaller podcasts that we put out for the heck of it. We do a coaching call monthly, sometimes weekly with our students called Note Night in America. That’s gotten 50,000 downloads since we started that. We’ve got a couple of special-purpose ones where we took online summits. We turned those into its own like a special-purpose podcast with 20 to 30 episodes called Note Camp. That’s over 50,000, 60,000 downloads since we started that one too. It’s pretty exciting. We throw those up. I don’t watch those, but it adds more content. One of the things I always like about it is you and I were at an event, it was PodFest a while back and one guy was talking about owning the iTunes search. If people look for you and they see one image of you on these other shows, they see your main show and another one. You own that search stuff.
When people go on to iTunes, search for a podcast and in your case, they might type in real estate investing if they don’t know what note investing is. Real estate investing is a keyword in the description of every variety of your show that you have on iTunes. Instead of your one show coming up and a whole bunch of others for people to consider, if they type in something in search, that would bring up one of your shows that brings up all your shows and you dominate the results. That’s brilliant.
That’s the idea. Don’t get me wrong. Some other podcasts in my niche have popped up and it was funny. I saw one of them was like, “My show has been gone. I haven’t done an episode in a year and I got 13,000 downloads.” I was like, “It’s probably because I got this many downloads and you show up.” She’s like, “You’re probably right.”
What that says is you may be carrying the niche on iTunes. You’re flying at Mach one and the wind in your wake is pulling other people along too. There’s interest in the niche.
I’m fine with that. I’ve got some students that have launched a couple of podcasts that are doing stuff. They’re getting 3,000 to 6,000 downloads a month, which I’m happy for him especially our niche, the more the merrier because you never want to know when somebody’s going to run through some pod fade. That’s the thing. I’ve always looked at because people always ask me like, “Five days a week, how do you come up with episodes?” I’m like, “Half of it’s going to be some content, some nuggets from my neck of the woods or I’m going to bring on a vendor or a student or somebody that’s relevant to what we talk about, whether it’s notes or entrepreneurship or marketing, so that we can constantly keep a good blend going. I do not always have to carry the load as far as content. Are the numbers 650,000 or 700,000 podcasts out there?There are 700,000 podcasts but only 18% are active. Click To Tweet
The latest data ticked over 700,000, but the data also suggests that maybe 18% or so are active. The others, as you say, have pod faded or have stopped publishing new episodes.
That’s 18% of the episodes in the last year. I saw that too. That’s the thing that looked like because people throw stuff up doesn’t mean they want to stick to it. We’ll also hit another milestone of our 500 episodes for our podcast too, which we’re pretty stoked about. We are in the process of moving offices. We may end up doing some live celebration, do a live episode with cupcakes and things like that and bites from our local investors out for fun of it. We may jump on and treat it as another day. Who knows?
Scott, another thing that I want to highlight for our audience is that you were doing video first. Now that’s very unusual in the podcasting world. A lot of times people started with audio first because they’re a little reluctant to do video. I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say this because my own partner, Tracy Hazzard, said this when we started our first podcast. She’s like, “I don’t want to do video. I don’t have to have my hair done every time we sit down and record. I don’t have to worry about my makeup. What am I wearing? What’s on the video behind me?” You and I have dealt with what’s behind us. We have a good consistent backdrop that supports our brands behind us. You can control that environment. It’s probably a little easier for men, I would agree than women. We don’t care what our makeup looks like or how much hair we have or don’t have as the case may be.
You’re already doing video. YouTube is the number two search engine. You’re on Vimeo. You’re doing Facebook Live and you were doing Facebook Live when it first came out. Your videos were getting pushed everywhere because Facebook wanted to promote Facebook Live. You still found value in publishing as a podcast. Can you help share with our listeners some of the differences you’ve found, the unique benefits that you’ve found as a company and as a podcast by not just staying in the video but also syndicating as a podcast?
Yeah, I’m a big believer that no matter what field you’re in, we all are media companies these days. Media is everywhere. I’ll give you an example. My avatar, my audience is a little bit older crowd. 45 to 65 is our ideal clients and not a lot of 45 plus. They are listeners to the podcast, but it’s not that they’re main thing. They like video. They like to read. They still listen to the radio in some cases. The way I looked at it is that I wanted to be anywhere I could see have eyeballs at. Whether they’re one of the 375,000 downloads we’ve had from our show or they’re one of the 6,600 people that view a YouTube video each month or they’re one of another 7,000 or 8,000 people that watch us on Facebook live each month.
I wanted to capture those eyeballs and those ears from the 33,000 people listening each month. The thing is as people get older, we have more people moving to the podcast. They like to listen to it. They’re more engaged. We see this all happen a lot. That’s why I wanted to capture any type of place I could have it at. If you do, you do a quick search online. I did this for the other night for a marketing thing. If you look at the top 100 websites that Americans visit, Google is number one. YouTube is number two. Facebook is number three, sometimes one and three swapped. You go down to the audio side and there’s only one true audio podcasting thing in the top 100, and that’s Spotify.
That’s the only one getting on iTunes, not any of the others. That’s way down in the 80s. I was like, “I need to have eyeballs on the other things I can get to.” That’s why I started looking. Video has always been good for us and it allows for people to build rapport with me. They see how I act. They see that I’m goofy. They see that I talk with my hands. They get a feel for they know me. That’s helped out tremendously especially if you’re trying to monetize your podcast or trying to use your podcast to help you pay the way for adding clients, whether you’re in coaching or workshops, which is stuff that we do. We have a high-priced coaching program.
It’s one of the most valuable things of being in one of those spots because sometimes people hear me on somebody else’s podcast or they’ll jump over and listen to me, but they’ll jump over and binge watch on YouTube. I get that all the time. They’re like, “I had binged watched you. I watched your whole replays from a workshop on YouTube.” That’s the way I look at it if somebody is going to listen to us for three to six months before they pull the trigger. Unfortunately, a lot of podcasters, they get pod fade before six months goes by because they do not see instant gratification. I look at it this way. Every deal, every video we do, every audio thing, it’s a tree that we’re planning. It’s a seedling. It’s going to take it six months to a year for it to grow. By that time that grows, I’ve got a nice forest of content.
There’s probably no place else they’re going to go when they want to invest in notes, if they’re an investor or if they’ve gotten to the point where they’re ready to learn how to do it, to start to go on and do a similar type of business that you are, there’s probably no place else they’re going to go either. Now the video, a lot of people have moved from podcast to video because video gets more view on social media especially. I’m curious what you think, Scott. I’m personally of the opinion that it doesn’t matter to me if you started first as a podcast or first as a video. You started to say people either want to watch, listen or read. Google’s algorithm knows what you prefer. They can serve you up the more of the content you tend to consume more first. If you’re serious about marketing yourself everywhere, you’ve got to be in all three places. What have you seen about your website now? Every podcast is converted into a written blog and that catches Google’s algorithm another way. How have you seen the effects of that and prove your business over time?
We look at numbers. We were getting some views and stuff like that, but we’d get maybe 1,500 hits to the website, 1,700 hits the website on a monthly basis, which is not bad since we started doing the episodes and throw the written blogs up on. The full transcripts, not show notes, full transcription, the SEO juice, the Google juice, as we like to say, has absolutely escalated our numbers. The last time you and I looked, it was like close to 9,000 or 12,000 views on a monthly basis. It’s the website.
I’ve had people reach out to me like, “You’re everywhere. We googled your stuff and you popped up everywhere. What are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m trying to maximize everything that I can.” That doesn’t mean I’m recording three or four things. I’m using Zoom pretty simply here to recording the episode. It gives me the video. It gives me the audio tracks that I can shoot over to you guys to edit. The video, I upload that via a couple of cool tools that I use on a regular basis is Repurpose.io from my Facebook page to my YouTube channel. I also use LiveLeap.com that recognizes when I share my video to Facebook, it’ll automatically share it across other pages.
I have a personal page of 5,000 and I have a business page of 33,000. I’ve got 16,000 people on LinkedIn. It goes to LinkedIn. Scott Carson is going live. I’ve got 9,000-plus people on Twitter still. It says the same things. The thing is I want to spread my web across everywhere I can and trying to do it with the video aspect of it makes it the easiest thing. Zoom, I can do it one place. It gives two different things. I can go the audio side or go straight to the YouTube video site too.
Here’s the value. I have two different tools I look that need reports, different levels of things. You’ve got your unique site visitors are up 67% in June. June is the latest data I have. You had more than 9,000 unique visitors to your website in the month of June, unique visitors. That’s an amazing statistic and what you want. For traffic sources, 31% of your visitors are coming directly from Google search. That’s a direct result of the keywords. Those are people that didn’t know you, who likely didn’t know you had a video series, didn’t know you had a podcast. They’re searching on Google for their areas of interest or their pain points. Your post comes up, they go to your website. They learn, “He’s got a show, let me listen. He’s got video, let me watch.” You’ve got them at that point. They’re on your turf, on your website. That’s the name of the game.
That’s basically a 400% difference from what we started off when we’d have 1700 unique views. That’s the big thing about having a podcast and adding that side to it.
How long are your episodes usually, an hour-ish or are they less?
We always shoot for at least 30 minutes, but somewhere between that 30 and an hour. It’s maybe 45 minutes on average.
The average person speaks about 150 words a minute. You have guests up to 200 or 250. There are a lot of words. There’s a ton of keyword-rich language that otherwise would be locked inside your podcast MP3 file or your video MP4 file. Google does not know what that is. They don’t pay attention to it in search. The only way you get it is through your blog post. That is the key. You are a shining example, Scott, of hitting all those different media types, touchpoints, ways people like to consume media. It drives your business, doesn’t it?
It totally does. It’s driven it so much that we have in the last year completely changed in how we do some things around here. I’ll give an example. I had a podcast episode with a student of mine interviewing him. He came from hearing me on my podcast, jumped over and started watching. He basically called me up, “I don’t want to spend $1,000 in a class. I want to write you a $15,000 check.” When I hear that I’m like, “Let’s do two things. Let’s crank out more episodes and let’s try to get myself booked on other shows too to help out with that as well.”
You had an interesting initiative you’ve done in 2019 regarding that. Where were we when we talked? Was it at our private mastermind in December that you’d decided to do that or when was it?
That was definitely when you guys and a bunch of other people came into Austin for a couple of days. I talked about that. That’s the goal that I can handle. I have somebody part-time, that’s what they do. They jump online, LinkedIn and other places. I give her some guidance. She goes out and search for other real estate podcasts and reaches out to them with a little short video, like a two-minute video along with some copy-paste. Logs into my LinkedIn and it goes out as my VA to track it down. I set a goal for myself. They’d be interviewed on 100 podcasts in 2019.
How many have you done so far?
I am over 60 to 70.Don't try to be like anybody else or try to copy anybody else's message or podcast show. Click To Tweet
We’re a little over halfway through the year.
I know I’ve done over 50. I had the first month booked. I was a guest on two or three. The thing I look at is when I walk into my office each morning, my big focus is, “What are we doing for marketing?” That’s become a big staple in our marketing budgets and marketing actions each day so that we’re doing something each day, an hour, whether it’s me doing an episode or me appearing on somebody else’s podcast, we try to do one of those at least each day if we can.
Do you do any paid marketing like Google Pay Per Click or Facebook ads or anything?
It’s a big zero.
Everything is organic what you’re doing. I want to make sure that it’s clear to people. You’re spending an hour a day doing this content that is time and there’s money involved in producing it. Not huge dollars, but that is how you’re driving business. I would expect you’re getting a very good return on your time spent.
We see at least one person a month is signing up for our mastermind or our coaching at $15,000 a pop. You think about that one person a month that is coming from that. I always ask them, “How’d you hear about me? How’d you come across me?” In the last nine months, it’s always been, “I don’t remember. It was either the videos or somebody else’s podcast or your podcasts.” It’s always one of those three things. What’s funny about this is I hear from our audience, they like this stuff. They crack up at it, that I do these noise things and the people that I have on and I’m on other people’s stuff that I do that people love it because it breaks up the monotony of people rattling on.
You’re providing very valuable information that is going to help them, but you’re entertaining at the same time, isn’t it the classic edutainment?
That’s why I laugh most of the time. I’ll laugh at myself. Even I’ll be out doing a solo episode, I will laugh at myself. I’ll call myself stupid. I make fun of myself. I try to do that as a way to realize that, “I’m a normal guy. Doing his thing and it is what it is that you love me or hate me. I don’t care either way. I prefer that you like me, but it’s not going to stop me from being me. I’ve got my own message. That’s a big thing. I can tell people out there. I’m not trying to be like anybody else and trying to copy anybody else’s message or show. I’m going to be Scott Carson on the Note Closers Show.
That definitely comes through. As we all know and I certainly tell all of our customers, especially new people who are starting a podcast that the right audience for you. In 2019 and even going into 2020, listeners want authenticity. They do not want someone to put up a performance. They can tell if you’re not real with them, if you’re not being you, it will come through and you probably won’t have listenership that increases significantly. Now you’ve mentioned, you’ve got sponsors who are sometimes three, four, five a month. You’ve got this tiered pricing. I like how you’re doing the flat-rate pricing. You’re not doing a price per $1,000. There are 1,000 listeners, 1,000 plays. You’re doing a price per 10,000 plays.
That’s a little bit different, but it’s great and it’s proportional. It’s pretty easy accounting. You don’t have to go do some math at the end of the month. It’s pretty simple math. “We hit this many plays. We did 35,000.” The contract means you pay $3,000 and they got 5,000 listens to a bonus. They wouldn’t pay unless you hit 40,000 or something. You’ve got the sponsorship. You got the mastermind. Now don’t you have other things you do like boot camps and things that are at a lower cost?
I do things at a much lower cost. As I was going to like PodFest, Podcast Movement, Traffic, I’m always talking to people, “How do you sponsor? How do you get monetized?” People are like, “I show up at events and I sell t-shirts.” It’s not like a $20 t-shirt. That’s way too much work. I’m like, “Let me think about something.” I heard somebody talk about a membership site and we’ve always had coaching and we do classes and training that are like anywhere from $399 to $700, $800. I wanted to build residual income because I’ve had people that listen to the show religiously and they’ve been to a workshop or two they want to repeat. I said, “Let me try to monetize that with a podcast.” We started a membership for our podcast and our training. We call it a WCN Membership, We Close Notes membership. It’s $97 a month. They get two extra webinars that we do, coaching calls each month. They get a swag bag each month, which is funny because when I bring guests on that have books, I asked them to donate $100.
You don’t even have to pay for some of the swag.
Sometimes I’m paying. I’ve got t-shirts I’m paying for.
It’s not always. Obviously, you’re going to pay to ship it to the people and all that right.
We’re doing a nice big Arctic 30 ounce like Yeti Mug that I bought at a discount. Instead of paying $30 for it, they offered it a bulk discount at $7. The stuff that we send out to fund t-shirts, stickers. It ends up costing us about $30 to $35 per person is what we put it out. That means we’re still netting roughly $60, $65 a month. When you add that you’ve got 100 people that signed up for it, that’s an extra $6,500 each month that’s rolling in automatically. We added six figures to our bottom line on the growth side offering that membership up. We only offer it up once every quarter. It’s a scarcity thing around events. I had an event, we had ten people sign up at $97 a month.
You don’t let people sign up all the time. You have windows they can sign up. The scarcity makes them more interested in taking advantage when you offer it. That’s brilliant. I’ve experienced some of that scarcity marketing as well. Tracy and I were speaking at an event. It was a multi-day event. We made an offer. It was a significant discount, but they had to take advantage of it before the event ended and that worked. I see how that would work for you. That’s another way you monetize. I believe you also have from listeners of the podcast, gotten investors who want to invest money in notes?
I have to be very careful with that because we get people that call in. I have to interview them and take them through the process. I have a couple of conversations so I’m not violating any. I’ve turned probably as many people away from that we’ve gotten people to invest with us because they weren’t a fit. That’s the biggest surprise because people say, “I’ve been following you. I want to do this. I got $100,000 in my self-directed IRA that I want to put the work. Can I do it with you?” I’m like, “Yeah.” We’ve probably raised close to $1 million from the podcast.
Of invested income, that’s not revenue to you. That’s revenue that people are investing in notes that you manage and make a profit on in the proper way.
Yeah. You either give them a flat return on their money or they’re partnering up on some deals. It depends on where they fit in and what experience they’ve gotten and credibility and things like that too.
One of the things I want to mention in case a lot of the audience doesn’t understand distress note investing. We should paint a little picture of it. We have to take too deep a dive. What I like about it, Scott, is you’ve provided a public service. I see it in many ways. When the big bank, financial institutions in 2008 crashed, obviously a lot of people got underwater on their mortgages. The big banks, even though they had the ability to make a modification of their mortgage, reduce the amount owed or reduce the payment to a point where the bank would still get money and the people could stay in their house, maybe get a reduced payment. The banks had no desire and no mechanism as I understand it. These are huge bureaucratic institutions and they didn’t have an employee who could give it the time of day. Enter Scott Carson as an example where they would prefer to sell that. You have a lot of options to do whatever you want and try to turn it into a positive thing for the homeowner and you still make money and so did your investors.
The thing we always like to say is that we like to rehab the borrower versus the property. The banks are too big. They’re like the Titanic. They’re too big. They’re not agile, mobile. Their staff, they were never meant to deal with all these foreclosures that happened a decade ago. The employees are making $10, $15 an hour. They don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to the borrowers on the phone. There’s a lot of companies that go out and buy debt and big funds. Fannie, Freddie. Goldman Sachs has been a big buyer in the last couple of years. We’ve filled in that very living on the crumbs side of the pie. We buy debt from banks and hedge funds. We buy it at a substantial discount, usually $0.50 of what’s owed or value the property, whichever is less. That gives us a lot of flexibility to work with mom and pop borrower to try to keep them in their house as we can.
About half the time we’re pretty successful at modifying or doing a trial payment plan, something that’s a win-win-win. It’s a win for us because we get them re-performing. It’s a win for them because they’re back on the right track versus a nightmare. They’re back the whole dream of homeownership. It’s also a win for our investors because we’re also often able to offer them a pretty good return on investment. Whether it’s through a performing note or if the borrower won’t play ball with us. We’ll start the legal process to foreclose and take the properties back. That’s the route that we go.If you're thinking about starting a podcast, do it. Click To Tweet
I know you well enough over the last several years, Scott, to know that you would prefer to keep the borrower in the house. It’s always not only the path of least resistance for you and the path to profitability faster because you have to spend money going through the foreclosure. You also are a good person and you’re trying to do the right thing and help families recover from whatever circumstance it was that got them where they are. Some people I understand have been through the wringer and can’t see a path forward or don’t want to be helped. You’ve got to do what you got to do because you’re in business to make money at the end of the day.
There were 15 million homeowners underwater in 2010 at the peak. Everybody knows somebody who’s been through a bad thing. Everybody has got their own country-western song, something that’s gone wrong. It’s a matter of trying to fit through that. People are still losing their homes. People are losing jobs and getting outpaced by inflation or deflation and things like that. I make more money when I can keep them in the house. That’s good to know. It’s good to know that way, but they foreclosed. We’re buying at a point where we’re going to end up winning. I’d rather work with them and be there at night on shining armor versus their enemy. I’m very empathetic.
I lost my job. I was out of work with a property, who came close to losing the foreclosure. Luckily for me, the bank was willing to work with me. We were able to keep the house and get our assets out of slang. I empathize that with people, but every note we buy is a different country Western song that you got to fit through it. Listen to the borrowers. It’s one of the biggest things. Work your way to find a solution that maybe is not your best solution, but it’s still a win. What I love is there’s like a puzzle. There are multiple ways to skin the cat and make it work for all parties involved.
Thanks for sharing that, Scott. It’s very helpful because I know a lot of people out there probably do know what it means to invest in distress debt, but others I’m sure will not. We spent so much time talking about the positive effects of podcasting video on marketing yourself up there. People are saying, “I want to know what this note thing is. Now they know so thank you.
That’s the thing it helped us use the word niche. A lot that’s helped me get booked because there are a lot of real estate shows. We do something a little bit different. I usually have pretty high energy on most days. I can make people laugh and people like the noise machine come on. Who doesn’t like the sound machines?
The last tip we should share is something you’ve done uniquely that I’ve not encountered anybody else who’s done it, but because you put so much content, so many episodes every week when you’ve gone on vacation, because I think it sounds like, “This guy works hard.” Some people might say, “He works too hard.” You take your time off. You take care of yourself. How many weeks did you take earlier this year on vacation?
In the middle of May, May 10th to June 6th, we were gone. We took the trip off. June was our number one downloaded month though too while we were traveling, which was fun. We had 29,000 downloads that month. We had a lot of episodes. We took a little bit extra time, some extra ones. We settle all up. We’ll lug them all in the system that you guys do and we’re able to have them prescheduled.
Did you have some guest hosts too?
We did that in 2018. When we took our three-week trip, we had eight guests, those that came on and did the live episodes and that did well. It was a nice thing. This year what we did is we had already prerecorded a lot of stuff. What I did is I used Restream.io to go in and preschedule or pre-launch those episodes. It looked like I had a live podcast going as I normally do.
You mean like on Facebook Live video?
Yeah. They would see us doing that. “Why aren’t you in your office?” They’d see Instagram in Barcelona or in Cannes and be like, “Where are you?” It kept it going live because I didn’t want to lose the momentum because I had learned before in the previous year when I took two weeks off, when we went to Hawaii for a week, week-and-a-half to celebrate Steph’s birthday. I didn’t do anything for those two weeks. That was the worst month of downloads I’d ever had. I was like, “I’ve got to keep doing consistent stuff and stay out there in front of everybody.”
Now that you have these sponsors, you have not only the desire to stay in front of everybody, but you have a financial interest in making sure you have enough content for people to consume because your sponsors are going to do better and you’re going to make more money from them.
The sponsors, the ones that we have on a regular basis, they love it too. A couple of them are starting their own podcasts because they’ve seen the power on it that are starting podcasts with you. They see that like we did two episodes for one of our sponsors and we filled up a class of 60 spots for them, basically in a week and a half. Another one gets referrals every week or so. They’re getting somebody to call us where it’s like, “I heard you on Scott’s podcast.” Another one, they want me to sponsor their big expo. I’m like, “I’m not good.” They’re like, “Never mind. We’ll give you a free table and a free speaking spot and all this other stuff when we’re charging everybody else $5,000 or $10,000 for speaking.” I was like, “I appreciate that. Thank you. I will pass.” We’re still feeding them clients every week that they absolutely love. Our sponsorship is a very symbiotic thing that as long as I’m busting butt, they’re going to keep busting butt for me too.
That’s wonderful to see because I know a lot of these companies. They’re not in competition with you in any way. They’re completely complimentary. Each of them, that starts their own podcast, has a whole new audience. Now there are some that will overlap with yours. There’s a whole new audience of people of a much wider range of potential listeners that they’re going to all gain. One of the most exciting ones. I’m thrilled that we’re launching very soon as for our friend Meryl Chandler, Are You F*able, which means fundable for those of you that may be wondering, are you fundable for your business. I’m not going to go into too much detail or what that is. Keep an eye out for it. All of us are going to be screaming that show over social media as soon as it launches here. He is a recording a ton of content in preparation. He’s going to do incredibly well that many different ways and are monetizing his show from episode one.
He’s got his book dates coming out with it and they’ve tweaked up their whole program to the last year, partially because of the podcast. They saw a lot of stuff. They went from a different pricing model to more of the virtual online stuff. We’ve helped coached them along quite a bit. They’re seeing, “God, I don’t want to do as much work and we’re getting a much higher retention rate because we’re educating our clients a lot more on the front end with the episodes.”
Scott, I am very happy for you. I’m very happy for the Note Closers Show having 32,000. Let’s hope we hit that 35,000. It would be a great number to see here before the end of the month. I’m happy that you decided to take that first step toward podcasting a couple of years ago. I’m not a pushy guy. I’m going to let it be. If it’s meant to be, it’s going to be.
You should have pushed me a little more out on that boat trip over the side. San Diego Harbor says you’re good to start a podcast. Big kudos you guys because you do a lot of the heavy lifting. Your team produces the show. You get it up. You’ve got it spread out anywhere. Kudos to Alexandra for making all the little tweaks on the episodes that people could click in like and follow and getting things uploaded to iHeart Radio and Spotify and all these other channels too, to help cross-pollinate it. The ego bait that you send out to the listeners and our guests, my guests love that. You’re taking a full episode and creating a full blog. I crank out a lot of episodes, but I’m willing to bet I might be the one that gets a better bang for the buck with all the work that you do per episode.
We’re very happy to do it. It’s what we do. Thank you though. You are a great example for not only future aspiring podcasters but existing ones in how to get more out of their show.
If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, do it. Start throwing stuff out there. You’re getting it right in your groove, but the thing is you never where somebody is going to hear from. I see so many true podcasters like, “I can do video.” That means you’re not a true podcaster. Why would you not want to be on the second largest search engine? Why would you not want to use these free resources? Tweak one little thing to see so much growth will happen. That’s my best advice to anybody that’s reading this and thinking about that.
That’s great advice because everybody is looking for, “How am I going to market this? How am I going to get people to watch or listen? How am I going to monetize it?” That’s what this entire episode has been about. It’s a great case study. Thank you, Scott. I’m looking forward to a great year with you. We’ve got some great things going on. We got this mastermind in Orlando coming up in October for podcasters. That’s going to be fun.
I’m excited about that. 50 to 100 podcasters are coming together to share best practices. It’s going to be awesome.
Can people still sign up for that?
Yeah, we still have spots available.
That’s a special unique thing. That’s not one of these major podcasting conferences that everybody and their uncle goes to. We want serious podcasters looking to take what they’re already doing seriously to the next level and share ideas, be completely open about it. We’ll have some fun at Epcot while we’re there. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Scott, thank you so much. Thanks for being on Feed Your Brand. All you readers out there, I hope you’ve got a lot out of this. This has been fun for me. I hope it was as well for you.
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