On Wednesday, October 19th 2018, Esmeralda Carrere, Marketing Manager at BrickFunding, was invited by Katipult, a tailored Crowdfunding Solution, to collaborate on a webinar for Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms and introduce the following topic: How to market well your platform in order to attract retail investors and raise funds for your projects?
In case you missed it, here is the complete Webinar video:
In order to grow and attract retail investors as a Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform, it is essential for the company to have a global vision on the elements to manage. Around the Platform gravitate its website, projects, SEO, statistics, communication, affiliated marketing, customer service, etc.
Once the company defined its business and identity, it must own a website. Whether the Platform chose to build its own from scratch or use a turnkey crowdfunding software, the website needs to integrate crowdfunding technology.
Katipult is an expert in this field and mainly provides digital investment management and crowdfunding software for real estate Platforms. It proposes an all-in-one solution and allows companies to design, setup, and manage their Platforms.
On a marketing aspect, the website must reflect the identity of the brand and be attractive for new leads. In order to do so, it has to be User Experience friendly - which means give the user the most intuitive and pleasant experience - and provide the most accurate and complete information.
It helps visualizing the website as a store. What kind of the products are exposed? How? What does the customer see first? How should this make him feel? Applying those same questions to the website can be helpful to design the customer path.
Storytelling and Values
In order to communicate according to the Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform identity, the method of storytelling is a great tool, which allows the Platform to connect on a deeper level with its client. Indeed, readers will be more interested if there is something they can relate to. The company should show its identity through its story and share its values of trust and safety.
It is important to have a clear message and make sure that there is a logic to it.
This consistency and good storytelling must be applied to every platform the company is going to communicate on: in the “who we are” section of the website, on the blog, through the emails, on social medias, etc. The tone of voice used must follow the communication strategy established by the Platform.
Whenever we think of communication, our minds go straight to social medias and press. Indeed, it belongs to communication but there is more to it that mustn’t be forgotten.
There are two categories in this communication strategy: internal and external. Internal communication is as important, if not more, than external communication. Indeed, if the message isn’t clear for the Platform’s team, they won’t be able to deliver the good information using external communication.
So, in order to have consistency, the communication strategy has to be discussed internally and be followed by the team with external communication.
Social medias belong to both categories (internal and external). The Platform’s team social presence, on LinkedIn more particularly, can help building the trust value of the company. Linking the LinkedIn profiles to the team members presentation in the “who we are” section demonstrate respect and proudness of the team and its background. It reassures the customer, who can check the abilities of the team if he wishes so.
In order to create a good a communication strategy, there is few questions the Platform must answer to. As a person would do preparing to go somewhere and meet with people, the platform has to think about how does it want to be perceived? What does it want to reflect? How does it want to look like? What should it say? How?
Once the communication strategy is established the audience can be reached thanks to social media but also though press and partnerships. The most used social medias, for external communication, are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. The company has to post regularly on those platforms following its communication strategy.
Also, organizing events around the platform will create news that press could communicate on, and increase its visibility. Press reviews give credit to the Platform and strengthen people’s trust. Each collaboration, event or project, with partners is an opportunity to enlarge exposure.
It is gratifying for the Platform to showcase the main media articles written about it. Indeed, for example, if the NewYork Times published an article about the Platform, it must appear on the Platform’s website. This media is a good reference and will complement the trusting and professional image the Platform wants to give.
Also, exhibit testimony of happy customers will add value and reinforce trust in the Platform. The others investors will be reassured and more likely to invest.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It includes a list of techniques to obtain the better ranking possible on search engines results pages. Google is the most used one, but following the good SEO behavior for this one will also work for other search engines.
It is the Platform’s choice to own a blog or not, but it is a great generator of content that will help with the SEO. It is then highly recommended to own one and generate articles regularly. Once a week would be ideal but once a month would be a minimum. The Platform’s image would suffer from a lack of consistency within the publications.
The blog is a great asset for the SEO. It allows the platform to generate content and implement links in the articles that send back to the main website pages. People are more and more likely to integrate the blog onsite so the customer can navigate easily between projects and articles.
The way we implement content on a website, within the code writing, is very important for the SEO. There is a list of elements to take into consideration such as (non-exhaustive list):
- Keywords: Group of words, “Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform” could be a keyword, for example. It is important to highlight the keywords using the <strong> attribute and positioning links under those.Lore ipsum
- Meta-description: It is an HTML attribute which allows to create the short description of the business that we find underneath the clickable title link in a search engine results page. If this concise summary is too long to appear entirely, it will affect the SEO of the website.
- Site speed: A slow website will affect the SEO
- Responsive: The website must be responsive or it also will affect the SEO.
- Backlinks: When another website mention the Platforms with a link redirecting to the platform’s website, it is called a backlink. The higher the ranking of the website mentioning the Platform is, the more the Platform ranking will increase and so its SEO.
Google: Search Engine, Ads and Analytics
In order to increase the traffic, visibility must be increased. Organic referencing is indispensable but usually isn’t enough for a young company trying to get known, due to the competition.
Google promotes companies’ websites with sponsored top ranked clickable link in its search engine results pages, thanks to its software Google Ads. It allows the Platform to establish paid campaigns to get this spot and decide who to target, with which keywords.
Google also owns a series of free tools such as Google My Business, Google Analytics or Google Data Studio. Managing these, the Platform can get to know better its audience, have a look on the traffic and interpret results in order to act on it, following a marketing strategy.
It is important to regularly take a look at the website data in order to understand what could be improved.
Traditional vs digital marketing
Before the digital era, people were using different tools to do marketing (such as events, flyers, calendar, etc.). The digitalization helped with the automation of marketing processes and gave us insights with Key Performance Indicators on the campaigns.
Anyhow, traditional marketing is still used nowadays and we can more efficiently measure its results thanks to the digital. When we where only sending a calendar or a brochure with a note to our clients, we are now able to add a coupon with a special code which will allow us to retrace the provenance, analyze the results and measure the efficiency.
The cost of traditional marketing is generally higher than digital marketing but it is sometimes a necessary expense. The Platform wants its customer to feel special and unique. With the association of digital and physical marketing, the Platform could create actions to generate wishes of loyalty from them.
The Platform can work with affiliated partners in order to increase its visibility and sales revenue.
The affiliated partner role is to promote the Platform’s project to investors. The investors then purchase on the Platform, which will be able to track the sales and see how much investors the affiliated partner brought. The Platform will then give a commission to its Partner.
If you are a Platform interested in finding an affiliated partner, learn more about how BrickFunding could be this partner for you.
A big part of attracting leads to invest with a Platform consist in inspiring confidence. This feeling can be transmitted showing the investors they can contact the Platform in many ways.
On the website: When a customer log in, he must have access to a personal customer portal, where he should be able to contact you if needed.
Also, it is more and more frequent to have a Live chat on websites. Those conversations can be linked to a Help ticket in order to keep track on the issues the customer had and were solved.
On social medias: In the Platform’ communication strategy, social medias are a great asset to keep contact with its customer. People are more likely to ask questions or express their concerns on social medias, like Facebook and Twitter.
Via messages: The Platform must indicate their email address and phone number to be reached easily. This could damage the trust value of the Platform if this information is hidden. The least thing a platform want is to appear as a fraud.
Also, the Platform must be attentive to online communities and forums. Investors may share opinions on the Platform on those online places and ask questions from time to time. It is important not to leave those questions without an answer.
Not to miss on this opportunity to clear some doubts, it exists tools as Mention that send notifications whenever the Platform’s name is quoted. And because managing all those tools can be overwhelming and take a lot of time, it is recommended to use a CRM to centralize the information.
Key Steps to Create an Attractive & Successful Real Estate Project
- Give a detailed description of the project and the Platform
- Attach pictures, plans and/or videos to this description
- Offer a complete data to the investor, for him to do the right choice, with accurate and specific information (CoC, TIR, etc.)
- Ease the investment thanks to secured and innovative payment services
- Inform the customer while doing a follow up of the investments
- Communicate about the projects on every way possible using social medias, affiliated partners, etc.
- Be sure to answer the customers concerns and questions while offering an efficient customer service