In the earlier sections of this special series on how to crowdfund your real estate projects, you have learned how establish your brand, optimize the structure of your website, decide what to write about and started to attract your prospects’ attention.
Now it’s time to add some high-octane fuel to the tank so you can reduce the amount of time it takes to work the system, while increasing the amount of visibility you get ten-fold so prospects become irresistibly drawn to contacting you.
What we did in the last part of the series was to create topics for the content you’ll produce that are centered on concepts and jargon in commercial real estate that you know very well and that speak directly to your value proposition.
You pulled out terms and ideas from those materials that you already use the most—your pitch decks, offering documents, PPMs etc. By creating content around those core documents everything you produce educates prospects (and existing investors) to the nuances of what you do and how you do it. When you come to pitch them on a deal, you will have already pre-empted most questions a prospect might have by teaching them how to see the world through your lens of experience.
It is important that you do it this way because anybody can go online and research any of the terminology of commercial real estate and see it in a gazillion different locations with one Google search. However, when someone lands on your website, it is time to turn on the charm and start building a relationship with them by preemptively answering every question they may have. By seeing how real estate terminology is applied in practice and seeing how understanding this terminology can help them achieve their goals—and by doing it in your voice and from your perspective—you will help your prospects understand real estate investing and they will come to rely upon you for guidance.
This predisposes prospects to trust you and actively want to invest with you for two reasons.
One, on a pragmatic level, you’ve demonstrated that you are not a fake presence on the web, that you have a real business, a real thought process and can be trusted enough to be taken seriously. And two, on a deeper level, by delivering a steady stream of high value educational materials you trigger a natural human instinct that your prospects will want to reciprocate in some way. Not a sense of obligation, but a gratitude that makes reciprocation in the form of investment an easier decision when you come round to asking them.
Finally, you want to create the content yourself because if a prospect is looking at your website and considering investing with you, the last thing you want them to be doing is trundling off online to research basic real estate investing terms. If your prospect does that, they’re going to land on someone else’s site and, if that competitor of yours has done a good job of providing educational content, your prospect (or worse yet, existing investor) could end up investing with someone else and not with you.
Supercharging your investor pipeline
There are three ways to create content; one, write it, two, record video, and three, record audio. After many rounds of trial and error I’ve figured out that recording video is by far the most efficient way to start creating content, as counterintuitive that might seem.
Before explaining why video is optimal, I would say that you should produce content in a way that makes the most sense to you and is the most natural and easiest for you. The key is to get any content produced and out into the ether, no matter how you do it, so do what is easiest for you.
However, my recommendation is to use video because when you record a video, you are creating three forms of content in one; video, audio, and by transcribing the audio, you are also creating a first draft of the written form too that you can readily edit into a finished format.
Then here’s what you do—and this is my favorite trick. Once you’ve had the audio transcribed and edited into a readable article, go over the article you produced and highlight some short notable quotes and some longer sentences.
Then using a platform like Canva, take your "notable quotables" and create branded, eye catching images that you can post on social media. You’ve seen these already when you’ve scanned LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook, only you’ve most likely seen someone posting some other famous person’s quote. Well, create the same for yourself! From a single article you should be able to capture at least five to 10 quotes. Oh, and be sure to use your own property photography for the backdrops to your "notable quotable" images. This will serve you well by tying even more back to your website, your value proposition and continues to build consistency across all your online presence.
Plus, if you have recorded video or audio you can use that too to create a half dozen short one to three minute clips from the longer sentences that you highlighted and these are perfect for social media distribution.
Here are some illustrative figures to see how this works. The typical person speaks at a rate of about 150 words per minute. This would mean that in a 30-minute recording of a teaching session, say using Zoom, the typical person will speak about 4,500 words. From this session alone, you should be able to generate six to 10 "notable quotables," six to 10 short video clips and at least a couple of articles.
Already, we are quickly seeing how you can turn one piece of content into 10 to 20 pieces of content, all unique, all hyper-focused on your value proposition and all ready to go on to social media.
Plus, as you cover more 101 level topics and build off these by diving deeper in subsequent content, finding new topics becomes easier. And for each one you produce a video about, you can amplify your voice by factoring the content with "notable quotables," short video clips and multiple articles. Produce one topic per week, factor the content, and before you know it, you’ll have a couple hundred pieces of content all working for you, driving traffic to your site.
What is particularly exciting about doing this is that, as time goes on, everything builds on itself and become an asset to your company and you’ll find that you can generate a critical mass very quickly.
Getting the word out
Finally, once you've created all this content, what happens next? Well, of course, you need to start distributing it. Distribution, ultimately, is what enables your content to actually be seen and read. It is what enables you to reach your ideal prospects.
Begin by putting your content on your website under your ‘education’ section that we discussed earlier in this series. Embed some of your "notable quotables" into articles and include a couple of short videos segments. This provides rich, multi-media content to your articles, enhancing the user experience and keeping prospects on your site longer. Here’s an example of how we do this at GowerCrowd. Importantly, providing layers of content like this will also help your prospects see you actually demonstrating your knowledge by providing them with value while not actively pitching anything to them.
Now you’ve housed your content on your website, take those dozens or ultimately hundreds of pieces of content and using auto-posting systems like Sendible (which is what we use), start punching everything out in a continuous stream on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook at minimum, while also posting all your videos on YouTube.
Each post that you make on social media should have a short blurb about how reading the main article will benefit the reader, together with a link back to the article on your website. And, of course, each article on your website has a lead generation form (or two) embedded on the page for when your prospects are ready to engage with you by handing over their name and email address.
A few things happen when you do this.
The first is the obvious elevation in visibility that you now have on social media. Fully branded, high value articles are becoming more frequently seen by your prospects. Once this happens, they will increasingly be inclined to click through to a page on your website where they will learn more about who you are and how you see the world.
This process creates a content "bait plume" on social media. Constantly out there, attracting the attention of prospects, increasing traffic to your site. Then, once you start to be seen more often, merely the fact of being visible with high value content in this way will help you establish yourself as a source of authority that is worth quoting and worth learning from. You become seen as a thought leader and your articles will be shared and reshared both on social media, but also by other sites, further amplifying your visibility and reach.
And the best bit? The whole thing runs on autopilot. You can set it and forget it. Add more content as often as you can and the power and reach of your online presence keeps growing incrementally every time you do that. Add podcast interviews you do as a guest this same way. Create articles from those, produce "notable quotables," and drive traffic from social media back to your home page.
Everything builds on itself and before you know it, you will have created a lead generating machine. The more consumable, user-friendly content you create and post on social media, the more prospects will visit your site and the longer and more likely they will want to stay there and learn more.
Expanding your distribution will help bring more people to your site and thus increase the value you create by making the content in the first place. Every social media channel you engage in—LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.—is yet another possible way for people to discover who you are and how you can help them.
And this entire process helps prospects get to know you, like you, build trust in you and prepare them for investing with you when you’re ready to make that request. It almost completely eliminates the need for those initial in-person meetings where all you’re doing is rehashing the same stories about your background and experience each time you meet a new prospect.
In fact, each social platform can be used to reinforce the other platforms even further. A Twitter post, for example, might direct a prospect to learn more on your YouTube page. This positive feedback cycle helps fuel your machine, providing content, reinforcing your brand, and, of course, providing plenty of Calls to Action along the way.
Two things to keep in mind
Now you’ve learned how to create and distribute incredible content that directly reflects your value proposition. But before we move on, there are two important things to remember:
Number one, all your content has to be informative, has to add value to your prospects’ lives in some way. It must be high value and educational and not just pitch, pitch, pitch.
Two, the way to create this kind of content is to constantly think about what drives your prospects’ needs and wants, understand their motivations, and always keep these motivations in mind. Ultimately, all your prospects are thinking about is ‘what's in it for me?’ So, don't just shout louder and louder about how great you are. Show how you can provide value that will directly improve their lives.
This engine will create a steady flow of qualified prospects who self-select by filling out your lead-generation forms for you. Now that your engine is running and you have all the pieces in place, you are well on your way to creating a process where your Investor Acquisition System can sustain itself.
Now that we’ve gone this far, in the next and final installment of this special NREIOnline series, we’ll take a closer look at how the work you’ve put in can continue producing tangible dividends for you for as long as you want it to.
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