Of course, none of that can happen if you don’t have access to a cache of investors ready and willing to dive in on your syndication offering. That makes developing a list of qualified, interested investors every bit as important as scouting out your next deal.
In today’s post, I want to help you establish your public persona as a real estate syndicator. More importantly, I want to show you how to get the kind of attention that’ll help you build a strong list of potential investors in no time.
Before you dig into branding yourself, you need to build a team. Multifamily real estate investing is a team sport and you can supplement any deficiencies you may have with people on your team. When you’re putting together your team you need to be sure you have the following things covered: income and net worth sufficient to qualify for debt. Multifamily ownership and/or management experience on your team to satisfy potential investors, brokers and lenders. Once you’ve put together your team you’re ready to brand.
Overview: The Bicycle Model
Thanks to the internet, marketing a business is easier than it’s ever been. With little more than a web browser, you can get your operation off the ground in a matter of days.
To be as simple as possible, let’s think about marketing in terms of a bicycle:
- Frame – Strong, straight, and sturdy, the frame is what holds everything together. Without it, you won’t get far. When it comes to marketing your syndication business, your frame consists of your overall brand image.
- Wheel Hub – This is the critical point of contact where the wheel fixes to the frame. If the hub is deficient, the bike won’t move. For our purposes here, you can think of your website as the hub of your marketing operation.
- Spokes – A hub won’t do you much good if it isn’t securely attached to the outer rim of your wheel. In terms of marketing, the spokes are the various channels you’ll use to connect people to your website hub.
With that basic framework in mind, let’s flesh out each of these parts.
The Frame: Branding Your Syndication Business
For millennia, farmers have used a hot iron to mark out their livestock from all the others. Eventually, “branding” made its way into modern marketing as the means by which we mark ourselves out from all our competition.
As a business owner, you have a brand whether you know it or not. The name you carry, the clothes you wear, the cards you hand out, the way you talk about your business—all these elements come together to constitute what other people perceive as your brand.
In developing your own brand, here are some of the most important things to consider:
Naming a new business venture can be one of the trickiest branding decisions you make. You want something compelling, but not so complicated that it doesn’t easily roll off your tongue.
As important as your name may be, try not to overthink this part. If you’re truly stuck, pick two words that resonate with you personally (Blue Sky, Mountain Spring, Desert Run, Sandy Beach, Ocean Wave, etc.) and then add one of the following:
- Equity Group
Don’t skimp on this one. Your logo will speak volumes about you and your brand. Invest in having a simple, yet attractive logo designed by a professional.
Every business has a story to tell. What’s yours? When it comes to developing marketing collateral and pitching potential investors, you’ll need to offer a compelling story that sets you apart from all the other investment opportunities out there.
Spend time learning how to describe your mission. What is it that gets you up in the morning? Think big about your place in the real estate world. Invite investors to share in that vision. That’s how you convince people to trust you with their money.
The Wheel Hub: Building Your Website
With the essential elements of your branding in place, you’re ready to build a website that effectively puts words to your syndication business.
Don’t know how to build a website? Not to worry, there are a number of inexpensive or free platforms (SquareSpace and WordPress, to name a few) designed to help people with no experience put together professional-looking websites in minutes.
Real estate is a people business. Potential investors want to know who you and your team are. When you’re asking them to trust you with their hard-earned money, you need your website to establish as much of a human connection as possible.
Perhaps more important, however, is your business’s story. This includes your mission/vision (see above). It also encompasses your track record (past acquisitions, recent results, investor testimonials, etc.) as well as your investment methodology.
When it comes to web marketing, there’s more to cultivating potential leads than directing them to a landing page and converting them with a hard pitch. You need to take your time and provide plenty of value—proving to investors that you’re both knowledgeable in the field and committed to enriching their lives directly.
Practically, this means populating your site with valuable information. Whether that includes PDF guides to investing or a regular blog, come up with creative ways to overwhelm your potential investors with as much value as possible.
Your web site should have no dead ends whatsoever. Using internal hyperlinks, design every page to lead to more content. Ultimately, you want to direct web visitors to a contact form or landing page designed to capture, at a minimum, their email addresses.
The best way to capture contact information is to offer something valuable in exchange:
- A free guide to real estate syndication.
- Weekly newsletters.
- A short webinar
The sky is the limit on the number and nature of collateral pieces you hand out. Just create something of value and “sell” it in exchange for email addresses. This is an incredibly simple, yet powerful way to build up your list of potential investors.
The Spokes: Marketing Channels
With your website firmly established as a hub, you’re ready to start building the spokes that attach it to the outside world. Each one should drive people back to your website. From there, you can further develop relationships with your potential investors.
These are some of the most important spokes to consider:
In-person connection + digital cultivation = meaningful conversion. Using your website to develop the relationships you initiate in real life can be a powerful and efficient way to recruit investors and “warm” them in advance of your next offering.
This is going to take a lot of talking to strangers at networking events, on airplanes, or at your kids’ soccer games. To get started, you need to perfect your elevator pitch—that short, compelling response to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
Grab a pen and paper; here’s a quick way to craft your own elevator pitch:
- Identify Your Goal – What do you want your pitch to accomplish? Unless you think you can close your new contact on the spot, design your pitch to create enough interest for a potential investor to visit your website.
- Tell People What You Do – Find a clear and succinct way to tell people what you do. Be specific. “I help regular people outperform the stock market” works much better than “I make dreams come true.”
- Distill Your Unique Value Proposition – What sets you apart from every other real estate syndicator, hedge fund manager, or stock broker? Be sure to include that in your elevator pitch.
- Pose a Question – Don’t let your pitch hang in the air. Come up with a thought-provoking question meant to lead either to further conversation or to a little soul-searching on the part of your contact.
- Tie It All Together – Using what you’ve jotted down above, tinker with your notes until you’ve got a short, sweet pitch. Say it out loud and with a stopwatch. Keep massaging it until it rolls off your tongue naturally in under 30 seconds.
There are only so many hours in the day and so many new people you can meet. Thanks to the internet, however, you can leverage digital marketing to draw in more potential investors than you could ever hope to meet in person.
Here are three ways to use the power of digital media to scale your outreach efforts:
- Email Marketing – As I mentioned above, one of your website’s primary goals should be to capture contact information. Using that contact information, you can develop a broad email list. Systematically distribute regular newsletters and other valuable offerings (free webinars, seminars, video guides, etc.) to stay in regular contact with your potential investors. Concentrate on value and encourage people on your list to share your content with their friends.
- Social Media – When developing valuable educational content for your website and email lists, be sure to advertise those offerings on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). Link those social media posts back to your website, where visitors can download resources for free after submitting their email address.
- Paid Advertising – Using Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, you can direct targeted visitors to specific resources on your website. This allows you to leverage the power of long-tail keyword advertising to deliver high-value, high-conversion traffic straight to your website.
Customer Relationship Management
For each email address you record, it’s important that you store that information in a reliable database. From there, you can establish a plan for follow-up with that contact.
Not only is this good marketing, but if you’re doing a 506(b) offering it will help you prove to the SEC that you’ve established a pre-existing relationship with your potential investor and that there’s been a sufficient passage of time between your first contact and your pitch.
Recording and systematically developing customer relationships in this way doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are software applications designed to make it quite easy. Here are a few of them:
Of course, I haven’t spoken the final word on marketing your real estate syndication business. There’s plenty more to learn on each one of the elements I’ve laid out above.
Still, with what I’ve shared above, you’ve got everything you need to get your name out there as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve learned everything there is to learn about marketing. That will never happen.
Instead, put these basic pieces together and start working on your investor list today. With a little perseverance, you’ll have a solid list built in no time.
Want to know more about real estate syndication?
I’ve devoted an entire module to syndication in my Lifetime Cashflow Academy course and coaching program. It is actually taught by one of the best syndication attorneys in the business. Not only will you learn more about marketing, but you’ll learn all the technical ins and outs of putting together a successful syndication deal.