Koh Samui, Thailand – Opportunities in Real Estate Investment

Koh Samui, Thailand continues to yield interesting options for would be property investors. With the majority of Thailand real estate being purchased with cash, as bank finance being almost impossible to obtain, the underlying valuation of property and land is being maintained, although due to most investors being foreign investors with a portfolio of assets, there are now some nice prospects for those with investment capital who are ready to consider increasing their property portfolio.

For the medium term this Island and top 10 holiday destination continues to be a favorite investment centre for major branded hotels and spa resorts. Conrad Hotel and the recently opened Ibis are amongst several being built as this tropical Island continues to grow in popularity. There are also several luxury villa resorts being planned by major property companies, seeing a bright future in the luxury destination market. Popular destinations such as Chaweng, Cheong Mon and Bophut continue to attract vacationers from around the globe, despite the recent political troubles in Thailand.

The current world financial crisis in late 2008 has gives property buyers opportunities as several sellers are forced to reduce price to make a sale in these difficult conditions. There are several options available, both new off-plan and resale properties that now are providing buyers with significant cost advantages. The market now coming up to the high season is quite flat, with bargain properties appearing as sellers discount in order to stimulate interest.

We are seeing discounts by as much as 40% off some resale units where the owner is seeking to quickly release the cash in a property. One specific example of this is a four bedroom newly completed villa in Bang Makham, originally for sale for 25mThai Baht (715k US$), this has been discounted for quick sale at a little over 15m Thai Baht (429k US$).

Developers are realizing that to maintain and promote sales they must offer special discounted prices to offset the strong advances of the Thai Baht against a host of currencies (example: The GBP has fallen from 63 to 51 Thai Baht since September 2008, a drop of almost 20%). Developers and creative marketers are also promoting by adding in some creative financing plans, including sometimes extended payment terms over 3 years. Others are giving longer terms of up to 10 year private finance deals with down payments of 40% – 50% of the full purchase price.

Examples of one specific special promotions is new pricing being introduced by Samui Emerald Condominium at Plai Laem, Koh Samui, where they are actively promoting their first class product through sale of leasehold units, a 44sqm fully furnished unit can be bought for a little over 50,000 GBP (2,640,000 Thai Baht) at the time of writing this article. The foreign buyer in this case would need to set up a Thai company, in order to purchase one of these special units.

Take a look at Koh Samui, Thailand, whilst the market has some interesting opportunities available for the savy investor.

Multi-Channel Marketing: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Attract New Customers

Marketing great Dan Kennedy tells the story of a very successful chiropractor who built a million dollar a year practice. Whenever anyone asked the chiropractor what method he used to attract 30, 50 or even 100 new patients a month, he had a very telling answer.

“I don’t know of ONE way to attract 100 new patients” he said, “but I do know 100 ways to get ONE new patient, so I use every one of them.”

How many ways do you have to attract new customers?

If your customer-attraction methods are limited to just a tried and true few, here are 5 Marketing Channels your small business may want to consider:

1. Email - Small business owners are learning what successful internet marketers have known for years. Email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business. By email marketing we’re not talking about buying a list and sending SPAM. The most effective way to use email marketing is to make an informational offer, like a free report or a webinar, in order to collect the email addresses of prospects that have expressed an interest in the types of products or services that you sell. If you can provide great content to your prospects in an email or e-newsletter format, and build your list over time, you’ll have a great market for your wares.

There are some great email/e-newsletter platforms that are inexpensive and easy to use, including Constant Contact, iContact, Mail Chimp, Awebber and Campaigner.

2. Direct Mail - Many small business owners have made the mistake of discontinuing their direct mail campaigns in favor of social media marketing. While social media can help grow your business, it’s more of a platform to have conversations with your prospects (fans) so that they’ll feel good about your business and make a purchase sometime in the future. Direct mail is still the preferred channel for prospects who receive marketing from local businesses and business owners like direct mail because it generates sales and it’s measurable. And now with programs from the USPS like Every Door Direct Mail, direct mail is affordable too.

3. Search Engine Optimization - Lately some marketing consultants are telling small business owners that it’s not that important for their websites to achieve a high organic ranking. Don’t believe them. It is important however that you not rely solely on organic search rankings to promote your website and your business. If yours is a new business venture or you haven’t really focused on search engine optimization, your goal should be to build a better organic ranking over time, while utilizing some of the other channels that may have a more immediate impact.

4. Pay-Per-Click Ads -These are the paid ads that appear on the top and on the right side on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

PPC ads are a great way to compete against established companies that have achieved a high organic ranking in your business category, because your ad can get “first page placement” right beside the high-ranking organic ads.

Here are some PPC ad guidelines:

• Google and other search engines run promotions offering free ad spend (usually $50 – $100) when you open a Google AdWords account and spend your first $25.

• Your PPC ad should link to a separate landing page or squeeze page specifically designed to promote your offer. (If your PPC ad sends a prospect to your website they’ll get distracted by your other web pages and not focus on your offer.)

• If competitors in your industry are repeatedly running PPC ads it means their ads are working. It also means that you should be running PPC ads too.

• Small businesses owners on a tight budget can learn how to create great PPC ads by taking advantage of free on-line training.

• Google offers some great tutorials on their PPC AdWords program. However, you should know that Google’s AdWords default settings are designed to maximize clicks, so that Google can make more money. Check out independent and objective training sources for help on setting you your PPC campaigns.

• Don’t waste money by attracting visitors who are not legitimate prospects. Using broad keywords or keywords that have double meaning means you’ll have to pay for unwanted clicks.

• Start with a small budget and test your ads to make sure they’re working, before committing additional dollars.

• If you have a big PPC ad budget you’ll want to consider getting a professional to run your campaigns.

5. Mobile Marketing - 95% of people who have smart phones or tablets use them to find local businesses. That’s why it’s important to reach out to them by sending promotions, special offers and discount coupons, as well as product, service and special event announcements.

You can use push notifications, text messages and multimedia messages to target mobile customers and persuade them to come in to your store or buy online. However you need to obtain the user’s phone number and they must “opt in” to receive your messages.

Here are four platforms that can help you integrate the mobile marketing channel:

1. Foursquare - If your small business can be categorized as retail, food and beverage, nightlife, the arts or outdoor activities, then you should consider Foursquare. In fact if you do belong to one of those categories you’re probably already on Foursquare, the mobile marketing app where customers talk about their experiences with local businesses. Foursquare boasts that they currently have 50 million users and nearly 2 million business listings.

2. Mogreet Express - This text message service lets you create campaigns using text or video messages for mobile customers. You simply choose a one word name (keyword) for your campaign and Mogreet Express will partner your campaign name with a code. Then mobile users can text your keyword to the numeric code to take advantage of your offer.

3. Huzah Media - This multi-purpose mobile marketing platform refers to themselves as “the mobile app for small business”. It lets you manage customer loyalty programs, place mobile ads and even build your own app.

4. Scan Life - QR codes haven’t quite caught on as many predicted, but then again that’s only one of the ways to use Scan Life. This platform lets your customers get more information about your products and services by scanning QR codes, photos or ads. Once they do they’re taken to interactive web pages where they can watch videos or read more about your business.

Remember, your customers use various channels to get information and make purchases, so to reach more customers and maximize sales, your small business has got to have an effective presence on multiple channels.

Just make sure that before implementing any new marketing channel you consider the cost to implement, the investment of time for you and your staff and of course your ROI.

Scared Senseless – My Beginning Into Real Estate Investing

I want to talk about what I did when I first got started in flipping properties. I guess getting started is probably one of the biggest hurdles that anyone will encounter when they start out discovering how real estate investing works especially if this is your first time investing in real estate opportunities.

So, I am going to take you through the process in how I got started.

I ordered a course off e-bay and although it was used, the course was a very informative course. The only problem was I had no one to consult for questions that I had. The course was very informative but I had no one to mentor me. I still had a lot of questions so I was a little hesitant on a couple of things but being the risk taker that I am I forged ahead. I even went as far as asking a couple of my realtor friends for advice about the wholesaling process.

They told me they had never heard of such a thing. The course that I bought off e-bay informed me ahead of time that little to none of the realtors in my area would know about or even had heard of the process of wholesaling houses.

Knowing that this was a little known process gave me more encouragement to forge ahead. The first thing I did was order 50 bandit signs which are the signs you see on the side of the road that state, “We Buy houses”. You may see these all over your area. I ordered 50 of those and actually at the time I overpaid which I did not know and it cost me 250 – 300 for those signs.

I basically stopped at the first sign shop that I came across which was actually at a Wal-Mart locally so I started putting signs out on Sunday and started receiving calls actually that Monday of course and I was amazed at that point that the tips I learned in the course I bought worked that fast. I could have stopped at that point and felt like it was worth the cost I paid for the course. That may sound sad but you have to understand that I have tried many different businesses and none of them usually had panned out as far as making a profit.

Anyway I entertained the calls that came through. The first two calls that came in were deals. One was a lease option which could have been a wholesale opportunity but I was so green at the time I could not see it.

The second call was these two sisters. I really had no idea about the ARV (average repaired value) I had just a general idea about what houses would sell for in that area I was able to get that house under contract for $20,000. I was so afraid to even put the house under contract. I searched around on the internet and finally just came up with the idea to go with a one page contract. This contract would not be so intimidating for me and also for the seller.

You always have to remember that even when you are in this business and doing 3 or 4 deals a month that the seller may have only done 1 or 2 deals in their lifetime. This was an interesting deal because when I showed up this was in 2003 I had a 1995 Toyota Celica so I definitely did not look like I had enough money to buy this house cash.

When I walked in that house I guess it was just the way I presented myself they thought I was going to write them a check that day but obviously I wasn’t. I explained to them that the process of a deal would include putting it under contract and doing a title check. This was the first thing deal I did and from that point on and now I have done over 350 real estate deals.