Jeff Sibbach | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Jeff Sibbach

Background:  

The Sibbach Team is a Scottsdale, Arizona, real estate team at Realty One Group. The Sibbach Team is ranked in the top 1 percent of real estate agents in Maricopa County, based on sales volume.

The Mistake:

Instead of sticking with what was working, I continued to search for new ideas.

Years ago, I spent a lot of time doing research on marketing ideas — Google ads, blast emails, paper-based marketing — all different types of tried-and-true tactics in the real estate industry. 

I first started doing Google ads in 2006. I was buying pay-per-click ads that drove traffic to my website and was then trying to convert those leads. At the time, I was paying 30 to 50 cents per click and I had a decent amount of success.

However, instead of reinvesting back in the business, I continued to search for new ideas. I would take the money I made from my pay-per-click advertising and I would invest in door hangers, postcards, community events — all these other marketing tactics.

With pay-per-click, I was making $6 for every $1 invested. It wasn’t until 2011 that I realized that pay-per-click was responsible for 50 percent of my revenue every year.

I had incrementally increased my pay-per-click budget from $300 per month to $400, $500 and then $600 per month. At that time, it probably represented 10 to 15 percent of my marketing budget. 

When you find something that’s successful, go all in.

The Lesson:

In 2011, I made the decision to go all in, spending all of my marketing budget there and the results have just skyrocketed my business.

When you find something that’s successful, go all in with it. It’s hard because you’re not always sure. Even though I was having success, it took me five years to commit. If I had done that right from the start, it would have been massive, considering the success we’re having now.

I’m still doing it, and this year we’re going to do $50 million in business off the pay-per-clicks. Back when I started it, I was only doing $5 million annually. That’s a pretty massive mistake.

I learned a tough lesson from not going all in once I found something that worked really well. I was always trying to look for the silver bullet somewhere else when I already had one in my back pocket.

Follow Jeff Sibbach on Twitter at @sibbach.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Sibbach

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