In this webinar we provide you with actionable tips on ways crowdfunding platforms can be leveraged to efficiently raise funds and attract new investors.
In order to provide you with key insights, we'll be joined by top experts from Brickfunding, one of the leading search engines for real estate crowdfunding investment opportunities worldwide.
We will cover specific digital marketing tactics that can help your organization increase its investor base. Some of these include things such as:
- How to create an evolutive website that is able to utilize crowdfunding technology, be UX friendly and can attract users with its look and messages
- The importance of value-driven storytelling that allows for an approach that changes the way marketing of real estate investments is done
- Basic and more advanced SEO tactics that can be used by both internal or external resources
- How to maximize exposure and get active referrers with affiliate marketing, referrals and search engines
- How to create a successful communications strategy including PR and social media
Read the full webinar transcript here:
Katipult: Welcome everyone. Today we are going to talk with Esmeralda Carrere from BrickFunding. Pleasure to have you here. Maybe you can start out explaining what BrickFunding is, what you are doing and what are you experts in.
Esmeralda: Yes. So, I’m Esmeralda and I am marketing manager at BrickFunding, which is a global aggregator specializing in real estate crowdfunding investments. We are based in Madrid and it is actually 7 PM here and I am very happy to give you some insights on what you could do with marketing on order to market your platform well and to have more investors.
Katipult: Sounds very good. Very excited to have you on and I hope the audience is ready to get some quick pointers here. You made a very nice presentation, so maybe we could start by going through that and see if there are any questions that pop up and I’ll go ahead and ask them. Then you can of course answer them and if you have any for me I’ll be happy to answer them as well. As usual, we will be doing a short QA round at the end of the webinar, in about 45 minutes, so feel free to have your questions there.
Esmeralda: I hope you are ready. In order to market well your platform you’re going to need two elements and that is what we are going to talk about. So, there is your platform and you are going to need to manage a website, projects, communication, marketing, analytics… a lot of things. We are going to go through them and I’m going to explain to you how to manage those. So first, create a website. Once you realize what kind of real estate crowdfunding platform you want, you must create a website because that is going to showcase what you will do, your products. Whether you choose to build your own from scratch or use a turnkey crowdfunding software, your website needs to integrate crowdfunding technology. Since Katipult proposes these types of service, maybe Brian you could tell us a bit more about the technical aspect of it.
Katipult: For sure. So, what we mean by having an investment platform is to have users sign up, whether they are issuers and investors or only investors and really provide a platform for them to access the marketplace where investment opportunities are available for them. That’s of course whether you are doing a whole intermedia platform or you have issuers as well. Besides that, there is following your investments, there’s the dashboard that shows users relevant information for that specific user. Besides the whole backend of this platform we also provide design services. That’s going and identifying all of customer’s needs. We do custom designs and then add that to the backend of the platform of course, or we can go in and use the existing framework and brand that with our customer’s branding asset, that we are providing of course. There is a lot of custom we can do, if you want great customer user experience we can do that as well. We have a whole in-house design team so we can provide you with a full solution. For marketing of all of this, this is where we come in as well.
Esmeralda: On the more marketing side, your website must reflect the identity of your brand and has to be attractive for new leads. In order to do so, it has to be user experience friendly, which means give the user most intuitive and pleasant experience. Also it has to provide most accurate and complete information. It needs to show your purpose and identity. The navigation must be fluent and intuitive. The information shared must be of good quality and complete. That’s a must. You have to look at your website like a store. You have to be careful of what you expose, your product, but also how you expose them and how you want your customer to feel when they come inside. The look of your website is very important but also what you provide and the experience the customer is going to have whenever he comes into your store. Let’s talk about the “how” now. How you are going to make things appear and how you are going to project this image you want, thanks to storytelling and values. So, how are you going to transmit the right information to your customer? Well, the method of storytelling is going to help you in that sense. Research shows that when someone listened to a character-driven story their brain immediately fills with oxytocin, which is a love hormone. It’s very important to try to have a clear message and show your identity through story that your customer can relate to. You have to tell your story of your company and show the values of your platform. of course, because you are a real estate platform or want to be one, it has to show trust and safety. You have to appear like you can be trusted because you are handling money so it is a must. Readers want something to relate to and they want to make sure there is also a logic to it. Whenever you are going to tell this story about your company, about what you do and how you managed to build that platform and why, it is very relevant to tell this clear message and logic to it through every platform you’re going to showcase this story. So, it is on your website by saying who you are in the part “we are the website”, but also get your emails. When you are going to write the emails, you want to adopt a certain tone of voice, you are going to decide who you are and so you’re going to decide how you are going to talk to your customers. Emails and also a blog, if you want to have one. This storytelling is never-ending, whenever you talk to press it’s the same thing. You have to keep the logic to it and have this storytelling going. Now I’m going to talk about the communication strategy because it’s linked to it. This way of speaking, this tone of voice you wanted to use, it’s going to spray through all of your communication. I separated internal and external communication because we talk a lot about external communication to media in general, but I think internal communication is as important if not more important than external, and it works for all companies really. Internal communication is primordial, it is very, very important because if the message isn’t clear for your employees and your coworkers, then the message you want to spread isn’t going to be any clearer. In this logic you have to keep doing meetings and explaining to your coworkers what strategy you are adopting and what tone of voice you want to have. If the message isn’t spread to the person handling your social media for example, then you are going to have a lack of consistency, which is the keyword of this whole presentation actually, because consistency must lead all your communication and marketing strategy. So meetings, of course, I know it is hard sometimes because with all the work we have we have to keep doing those meetings every Monday for example, but it is a must really, it is something important to do. I put social media in both categories, because I thought about Linkedin, because usually in part of who we are, most of real estate crowdfunding platforms and platforms in general, when they showcase who they are and they showcase their employee they put their link of Linkedin. I think that’s a good idea to keep that going because it shows that you are proud of your employee and you are not afraid of showing the background and reassure the reader really. They can check the abilities of your team if they wish. To really add the value of trust you want them to resonate with you. Now let’s talk about external communication and social media, press, partnership. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram are the five more important ones. You can think about your company like you think about yourself. Whenever you want to present yourself in public, you ask the same questions: “How do I want to be seen, what do I want to reflect, how do I dress up for it, what should I say, how should I say it?”. Those questions are very important. It is very important to ask those questions to yourself. Once these criteria are defined, stick to them and use social media consistently like we talked about earlier, so on every social media communicate a certain way. With press, adopting same manners and trying to be present because it also gives credit to your platform. Also use partnership to build visibility. We talked a little bit about content with storytelling, but we are going to go even more behind the scenes with SEO. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It includes a list of techniques to obtain better ranking on search engines result pages. Google is most used, but following good SEO behavior for Google, it will also work for Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. Whether you decide to own a blog or not, it is a great generator and it will help for the SEO. I highly recommend you to have one blog and generate an article regularly. Once a week would be ideal and once a month would be minimum. If not, it would be better to not have a blog, because otherwise it will not show what you want to show, it will give the customer the impression that you are not regular in what you do. Better to not have one if it is like that one. The blog is a great asset for your SEO because you can implement links in your articles that send back to your main website’s content and there is a big question people ask usually: “What would be better for my SEO, having another website dedicated to my blog or integrate my blog in my website?” If you search for it on the internet, you will find both options. Before everyone recommended to have one apart from the min website because it would create more powerful backlinks to your website, but actually it would be violation of SEO rules for Google. Now it is basically the same, so it will depend on your marketing strategy. Personally, I would advise you to have it on site, so your customer can easily visit your project after reading an article for example. I used earlier words like “behind the scenes” because it is the way you are going to implement your content within its code writing is important for the SEO. The keywords are very important because they are going to be used for your ranking. You have o choose your keywords very accurately in order to have the identity of your platform showcased. They keywords can be one word but it won’t have enough effect. Usually they are a group of words like “real estate crowdfunding platforms”. It will help you to be ranked in the Google search pages and it is very important to remember to use a strong tag. It is very technical, but it is very important to be very careful about keywords that you use and to be able to put them on your website to help your SEO. Be careful of having H1 tags for the page titles, the meta description. The little description you see, for example on Google, you have the name of your website and under that you have the description. This is the meta description that you put in the code of your website. If it is too long and you see dots, well Google doesn’t like that, so he is going to try to punish you for that so your ranking isn’t going to be as good as it can be. Also, if the speed of your website is too slow, it will also not help you with the SEO. If you are interested in the list, you will have the presentation afterwards. In order to increase your traffic, you want to increase your visibility. It is very important to talk about this main giant because he is kind of really the market. We saw with the SEO that you can increase your traffic thanks to the use of well targeted keywords. But simply publishing content aimed at keywords with the highest traffic usually isn’t enough for a young company trying to get known due to the number of companies listed. The competition is real. Google offers to promote your company and have sponsor top ranking, thanks to his software Google ads. It allows you to establish paid campaigns and decide who you want to target. Google owns a series of free tools, my business, analytics, ads, data studio to get to know better your audience and have a look at the traffic and interpret results in order to act strategy wise. It is important to regularly take a look at your website data in order to understand what you are doing right but also what you are doing wrong, in order to improve. Google tools will help you with that. Now let’s talk about marketing. I wanted to focus on traditional and digital marketing. Before digital we were doing marketing thanks to flyers and we were sending calendars and brochures and we were doing merchandising, but with the arrival of digital, now we have websites. We can show content, we can send emails, make campaigns on social media. There are a lot of tools that we have. The main difference between the two of those techniques in marketing is that one provides you feedback on the results you have. You can see what results you have. The main, traditional one, is a harder one. It is harder to get results and to know which customer came to you thanks to that. Now, thanks to digital, it is possible to have those results. You can still send a flyer, but put a coupon with a promo code, such as winter 28 I don’t know, so it would then provide a special rewarding on the website and you can now see who used the coupon and know from everything you send what are the returns. Gifts can generate wishes of loyalty from your customers, so it can be both digital and physical. It is very important to have that in mind because you still want your customer to be special and I think hat, even in real estate crowdfunding, there is always a way to reward the better investor, the one who is most loyal to your platform. it is also possible to do automated personalization, which is great thanks to the emails and you get to have better connection with your customers. Now I’m going to talk about affiliate marketing. How to get maximum exposure and get active referrers? What is it? How it works? Basically your platform is going to promote a project thanks to affiliate partner and then the investor is going to invest through that in your platform and you will be able to track sales and give the commission to the affiliate partner. That is what we do at BrickFunding. We are a global aggregator specialized in real estate crowdfunding investments. We provide descriptive profile page with all the information about the platform with links to different projects and to their platforms. Depending on the collaboration plan, you can showcase your project on our website, but if not you still have your descriptive profile page and people can chat with you, you can chat with your investors to see if you can have a special bond with them. Also we work with data actualization, an API system, so the actualizations of projects are done every day. Then we provide a special place called platform manager to track your traffic and to see who is coming from funding and how much traffic they are bringing to you. This is basically what we do. In order to have this consistency that we’ve talked about and to provide trust and share the values you want to share, it is great to showcase testimony and references on your website, for 2 reasons. Testimony first: testimonies of customers are going to add value and trust to your company and platform because it is going to reassure the investor that they can trust you. Also, it is going to reassure your partners and partners are two things: the press, because whenever you have an article going out to the press it is good to link, it’s going to help the SEO also because the link is going to backlink to your website and also it will show, for example if the New York Times is talking about you, you better say that NYT is talking about you because it is a very great reference. It shows that you are very professional and that people can trust you, partners too. Then, attend to the investor. It is very important to show your investor that you are here to help them. There are a lot of ways to keep contact with your investors. First of all, the main thing is when they create a profile. They have this customer profile that must be intelligent, understanding and it has to be simple for them to use. If they want to contact you, it must be through it. Then there is social media of course, because whenever you are going to communicate through this medium it would be helpful for your customers to reach you through social media which are less and less considered unprofessional. If they use Twitter for example, it would work as well as email. Then messages through emails, calls, SMS… It is very important for them to know that they can reach you so you don’t feel like a scam. It is very important to keep this trust and value. Also, online community. I put that here with discussion forums because in order to manage your communication and your image, it is very important for you to know when someone talks about you or your platform. it is hard sometimes to keep track of that and that’s why there are tools lime Mentioned for example, who alert you whenever you are mentioned. It is good to answer and not keep those questions without answers and stuff like that. Also, live chat on websites. It is more and more frequent that there is live chat on website that can help the customer and it is linked to help tickets because usually you have that on your website and someone answers directly with a chat and he is on the site. It is the best way of turning this visitor into a lead. If you answer correctly to his questions he can request further assistance down the road and then you can turn it into a help ticket that can allow you to keep track on whatever issue that you had. To handle all these tools you must use a CRM. As a website you can create your own from scratch or you can pay for a service like Hubspot or SalesForce… There are a lot of CRMs on the market right now. I think it is a must, because if you want to have this consistency and you want to not get lost in your strategy, you must be organized and this helps a lot in order to do so. So, in order to recap a little bit: how to create an attractive and successful real estate project? Well, first of all, the description of your project must have a detailed description. When there is a lack of description the investor is less attracted to it to invest, it doesn’t seem trustworthy. Then a picture, because it is always more attractive with a picture.
Katipult: What is a picture worth versus a video for example?
Esmeralda: Videos are very more likely to attract investors but I specified pictures because usually the there are projects not showing any pictures or videos or plans, and they are not attractive to people. Even if the rate is great they don’t appeal as much as when they have a video. The video is always better than a picture. Then, of course, complete data. It is very important to have complete data. I put in “easy investment” because once all this data is shown and the person wants to invest in the product, then of course he is going to need to subscribe and answer a couple of questions considering the country he is investing in and all the regulations. But, after all of these regulations, it has to be easy. People want to go fast and to be able to invest securely, but easily and fast, so that’s something to take into consideration. Then of course, follow-up of the investments. They want to receive notifications whenever the project is complete or once they can collect their benefits. Also, good communication and marketing are there to make the investor happy so he can come and talk highly of you. Communication and marketing will be in the whole process when you have to communicate about it and be help with affiliate marketing through people like us as BrickFunding and also through all the other. Through Google, if you made a campaign on Google AdWord, it is good to communicate a lot about your projects. After this round there is customer service that is very important because customers are the ones who are going to talk most about your company. If they are not happy you are going to be heard about it but not in the way you wish. So that’s it for the presentation. I hope I was clear enough and that you understood everything. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask them.
Katipult: If anyone has any questions please type them into chat and we can go over them. I’d like to ask a bit about internal hires for a platform, for example. Do you need to hire a social media expert for marketing purposes?
Esmeralda: I think it depends a lot on your budget and on how big you want to be. If you want to be a big platform, like a national platform or a European platform, if you already have a network. I think depends on a budget. If you have a budget it is always nice to have someone in charge of marketing and communication inside your team. This way it would be very clear and the message would adopt the way of talking about the whole team. It would be best. If not, if you don’t have the budget, there are communication agencies. For the blog you can also have someone in charge of writing the blog and handling the social media, because you are doing one post a day, one post a day is a good amount. You can do more of course, but one post a day and then interacting the whole day with the customers and writing an article- there is one person who can do all of that.
Katipult: Can you ever do too much? Can you post too much and provide too much information? If you are on social media every day, if you post constantly throughout the day, can you ever do that too much?
Esmeralda: Yes, you can talk too much about a subject at some point. Once you said it all, what are you going to say in the other days? It is good to activate your community and to talk a lot, but I think that in the writing process for example, posting 15 articles a day is not a great idea.
Katipult: You want to focus on one thing and not too many things. Esmeralda, have you done any ICO marketing?
Esmeralda: Not yet, we are thinking about it. That’s funny because we actually talked about it in a meeting a few days ago. We wanted to integrate moiré of a coin based, more of a Bitcoin vibe into our marketing. But, the answer is not yet.
Katipult: That’s actually something worth considering. Maybe we can talk about SEO. I know what SEO stands for, but I have a hard time actually identifying how to grab these words from your website. Is there a non-technical way of saying that?
Esmeralda: Yes, I could try. It is right that SEO is very hard sometimes to understand and also it changes all the time because of the algorithm of Google. SEO is basically the way you want to be ranked in Google pages results. You have to write knowing that the words you are going to use are going to define the keywords of your platform and they are going to define the ranking you will have. It is easier when you own your website and you know which tags you put in and the way you phrased everything, because it is in the code itself of your website. I know for example that if you use WordPress, you can also have access to that and it is SEO friendly because it is already made for you to appear. WordPress has a link with Google that helps you to be ranked in a good way. Whenever you use special text to have your keywords showcase, then it is always better I guess.
Katipult: We can take a question from Will in Wisconsin. And yes Will, you can engage Katipult separately from BrickFunding. We can always collaborate in a way there. But yes, we will upgrade your platform separately and then we can get to working with BrickFunding as well.
Esmeralda: Yes, to work together you are working separately.
Katipult: You can send an email and we can speak a bit more about this. Maybe if you can type your email privately in the chat or I can do that here… So, Esmeralda, is there anything else you want to share with the audience?
Esmeralda: Is there any information they want to hear more about? Maybe I haven’t been clear on some points, if they want some clarification?
Katipult: It will probably take a while. But otherwise, we will be sharing this presentation here, their contact information…
Esmeralda: If you have any other questions, we put the emails in the presentation so you can reach us if needed. I’ll be happy to answer your questions about marketing and communication. If I can help you then I’ll be happy.
Katipult: Perfect. You will have our contact information in the presentation as well. If there are no other questions from the audience I say we wrap it up now. I want to thank everyone for joining, I want to thank you Esmeralda for hosting this webinar. It’s a pleasure and when we figure out another topic we can work with you and set up another webinar.
Esmeralda: Sure, I’ll be happy to join another webinar. Thank you for listening to me and I hope I was clear and you learned stuff.