Let’s start with three pieces of good news (and goodness, couldn’t we use it!).
One: Everyone wants to make more money, no matter how much they have.
Everyone wants a reliable source of passive income and would like to see their wealth grow and this applies as much to high net worth (accredited) investors as it does to everyone else.
And if you’re a real estate syndicator, then you’ve already got what everyone is already actively looking for—an offer of passive income (preferred return) and wealth building (your equity multiple). So that’s good news as half the job of raising money is already done—you’ve got what they want.
Two: You also know what your investors don’t want. They don’t want to be pitched to over long and tedious lunches or meetings. And that’s good too because, if you’re anything like me, you would prefer not to sit through those meetings doing all the pitching. The time and energy spent nursing investors through the learning process could better be spent doing something else. Like finding new deals. Or spending a day at the beach.
Well, that’s good news too because crowdfunding your deals help make this possible.
If you can make it easier for investors to learn who you are and about what you do, you'll make it easier for them to accept your pitch without either of you having to go through the traditional mating ritual of an in-person meeting that no one really wants to do.
Three: There is a massive macro-socioeconomic shift to working from home, or at the very least to working remotely, and nothing could be more complementary to raising money online. This not only affords you considerably more freedom, but it also allows you to work with a much larger network by capitalizing on these overarching changes to the way people interact.
Getting your foot in the door
Of course, even keeping these three things in mind, success is still not guaranteed. Although prospects are naturally inclined to want what you have, they are nevertheless cautious of anyone trying to sell a real estate deal because you’ll be lumped in with the ‘great deal on swamp land in Florida’ crowd. The biggest challenges you face will likely be at the beginning, when your main task is getting your foot in the door and establishing credibility.
At first, the burden of proof is on you to show that you are "real" (in a world of "fake"), that your projects are legitimate, and that you are trustworthy enough so people begin wanting to invest with you.
In practical terms, this means that you’ll have to expose a potential investor to your brand and your name multiple times before they even consider making an investment. Online, what that means typically is that they'll need to see your name and brand six to ten times before they'll actually introduce themselves to you by signing up to your email list.
Throughout the remainder of this series, we’re going to walk through how to create an online ecosystem that delivers those six to 10 impressions so these sorts of essential interactions can actually take place—and in a way that doesn’t require you spending all your time online.
How to start building your investor list
The process of building a list of prospects and converting them into active investors using automated systems to do all the work for you, requires three core components.
- Call to action
- Sequence of emails
The first thing you need to do to construct an ever-increasing list of interested investors is to effectively develop your brand. Because you are not personally interacting with these investors, your brand will serve as your de facto face and likeness.
Developing your brand has three components—a brand guide, a tag line, and a mission statement.
Start by establishing a brand guide. Your "brand guide" is a formal document you create that has three parts: a logo, a color scheme, and your preferred fonts. These will be used on every piece of content you create, so be sure to choose wisely.
From there, you will need a tagline. In marketing lore this is known as the "big idea." The big idea is a concept developed in the early 20th century by marketing legends Claude C. Hopkins and Robert Collier, and then popularized by advertising great David Ogilvy.
Your tagline should be definitive of who you are and the "spirit" of what someone will gain by associating with you. Some of the classic taglines are Nike’s "Just Do It!" or Apple’s original "Think Different." Your tagline should be aspirational and inspirational at the same time and is not an easy thing to come up with. Run a search online for "real estate investing," and look to look at other companies’ taglines—the major crowdfunding websites are a good start.
Ruminate on what defines who you are and your values and remember, always, that whatever it is should be focused entirely on speaking to the inner voice of your prospect that is asking, "What’s in it for me?"
These will help attract the attention of people who land on your website and who are skimming the material you send them. If you’ve managed to get them to visit your website that is already a major win—but you want them to stay and that’s where your tagline grabs their interest.
Second, you're going to want a subheading of some sort, that provides an extra layer to your tagline. Ask yourself, what benefit does your website offer prospects? Your subheading is going to spell that out. Here’s an example of that.
Fundrise, one of the largest crowdfunding platforms, uses the tagline "Welcome to the future of real estate investing," and then they follow up with "Simple, low-cost, and more powerful than ever." Nice.
A call to action
The one thing almost all sponsors miss on their website is a prominent "call to action" that explains how a prospect can get more information. Prospects need hand-holding through the process. Don’t make them search around your site for a contact form—put it front and center, above the fold i.e. without needing to scroll when they land on your home page.
Make sure it is in a bright color so it stands out and boldly let them know that by clicking on that button they can LEARN MORE or GAIN ACCESS to some valuable information. This might include a white paper, investment guide, eBook, newsletter, or case study, for example.
Then connect that button to a simple form so your prospects can tell you where they want you to send the valuable information and, voila, you just added a prospect to your list.
An email sequence
From there, the next thing you’ll need to develop is a sequence of emails that quenches your prospects thirst to learn that you are the answer to their investment needs. You’ll want to have—at a minimum—three emails you can send them to help them learn more about who you are and how you can help them.
These you set to go out automatically as soon as soon as someone opts-in to your form. The content of these emails should be educational. Offer your best insights into real estate investing. Address investors’ primary concerns of the day—like the impact of Covid on your type of real estate. Talk about your background but only in the context of knowledge you have acquired and are sharing with your prospects so they can be better informed.
You will build goodwill, trust, and likeability—three key components to any relationship that predisposes prospects to investing with you before you even pitch them.
Help your prospects achieve their goals
With the right branding pieces in place, the proper lead generation tools, and a good follow up email sequence, it will be easy for you to demonstrate to potential investors how you are actually able to help them. Building a brand is something that certainly takes time, but if you keep projecting your brand’s basic components, communicating effectively, and creating opportunities for action, you’ll be off to a great start.
However, while having the bones of a great brand is a step in the right direction, the next thing you’ll need to do is create a path to access your content and brand components. In the next installment of this special series, we will discuss how social media and funnel building will help increase your brand’s visibility and elevate you to being recognized as an industry leader.
Adam Gower, Ph.D., who is an authority in real estate crowdfunding and is known as the creator of the Investor Acquisition System, combines a lifetime of experience in real estate investment and finance with best-of-class digital marketing tactics, techniques, and strategies to help crowdfund real estate syndications. Find out more in this new book, SYNDICATE or at GowerCrowd.com