Podcast Episode 324: Missy Galang, Director of Revenue
How DiversyFund Raises $Millions by Crowdfunding Their Real Estate Projects
Missy is a marketing professional with 13+ years of experience in the B2C and B2B sectors and has been killing it over there at DiversyFund where she handles all their digital marketing.
Having used their systems to raise $5 million at the corporate level, DiversyFund has built an in-house team of 5 people to manage all their digital marketing. Find out in this episode exactly how this leading company does it and see below for more links to Missy's online profiles.
What You're Going to Learn
* Personal vs. corporate branding in real estate crowdfunding
* Finding more real estate investors on social
* Using partnerships to syndicate real estate online
* Partnership best practices in real estate crowdfunding
* Creativity always wins when crowdfunding real estate online
* You shouldn't over-complicate your video production: Use your phone!
* Educate your investors with creative content
* How to get more YouTube views for your real estate projects
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
Personal Vs. Corporate Branding in Real Estate Crowdfunding
Adam: Let me ask you a question about DiversyFund, what you guys are doing. I have one main question - how do you get such humongous numbers on your social media? Craig, for example, has 120,000 IG followers on Instagram. 700,000 views on YouTube videos. Some have 34 views; some have 700,000. What's the secret to your success?
Missy: So, I wouldn't say that there's really a formula to it, but the way we approach our marketing in DiversyFund is a little different. Obviously, it's a mix of paid and organic, but we have an internal brand team that takes care of the DiversyFund brand. We realize that, these days, it's really important to have a personal brand, as well.
The first thing that people look at, when they look at a company that they are interested in investing in, they look at who the founder is. That's just how you vet things, so we knew that it would be very important to build Craig's personal brand. He has the personality for it, like people like Gary Vee, and Tony Robbins, who have such a big follower base on social media. We knew we wanted to do that for Craig, so we do also have a person, in-house, that takes care of that now, full time.
Adam: How do you do that, though? How do you go from zero to 120,000 followers on Instagram?
Missy: For both DiversyFund, and Craig's personal brand, it's about authenticity and being able to build a community. It really starts with figuring out your values as a company and as a person and putting it out there. Then, once the content is there, you want to drop people ... You don't want to have nothing on your page, and then try to do paid ads, and drive them to your page. You have the content in there, and the people will come.
Obviously, you do certain things, like you boost your posts and things like that, and you join groups and all that stuff. Sometimes, in the beginning, you might even want to pay for engagement to get it going and things like that, until it grows organically. So, it really is a process of putting out the right content and attracting the right people.
Finding More Real Estate Investors on Social
Missy: We find that it's actually easier to get followers on Craig's personal brand, because he talks about a broader ... It's about leadership, the mission of the company, of bringing wealth-building opportunities to the 99 percent. People relate to that a lot, so we find that it's easier to actually do that with Craig's brand.
For DiversyFund, it's all about ... We do a lot of paid media across multiple platforms, like search and social. It's always there. We also do a lot of partnerships. Our goal is to build a community, a large community of investors, and to do that, you just have to be able ... You can't rely on your own network. You can't rely on your own paid efforts, because that can only go so far, unless you have a giant budget, and you throw money everywhere, which is nice to have, but we don't have that ...
We partner with people who already have communities. I think what works for us is we have this vetting process for our partners, no matter where they are - if they're bloggers, YouTubers, or whatnot; these different types of influencers. We partner with them. We have an honest conversation about what we're about, what our mission is. If it's a match, what happens is that they talk about your brand in an authentic way, and that's what we want. It resonates with their audience, and that's what brings them on to- brings traffic to our site.
Using Partnerships to Syndicate Real Estate Online
Adam: Let's talk about partnerships because that's really interesting, actually. Was that something that was in place before you came, or is that something that is an initiative that you've developed?
Missy: That's new. When I started, it was totally different. When I started, we had everything done by agencies. I felt like if we wanted to control our message and how we optimize our marketing efforts, we wanted to bring everything in-house. Little by little, we brought paid media in-house, we brought content in-house.
We had to scale that and optimize that first. Then, we just ... It just came naturally. We talk about influencer marketing is something that we want to do, but, if you think about it, influencer marketing ... I have a ton of experience in the CPG space, and for that influencer-
Adam: What's CPG?
Missy: Consumer packaged goods - e-commerce, consumer packaged goods ... That's what I have a lot of experience in. I've done a lot of influencer marketing in the past. I would say it's easier there, because you can just find influencers who are interested in beauty products, and they post about it. But something like this is fairly new, so what we thought about is we can't just pay somebody to post something about us and have it resonate with people. We tried it, and that doesn't really work out. We felt like we had to make that shift and really, really build relationships with partners. We actually hired ...
At first, I did it myself, looking for potential partners, doing research. You look for bloggers in the personal finance space. You look at where your competitors are and try to reach their networks, as well, because they've already done the research. I had conversations with these people, and we've seen some of them ...
We've built really close relationships with some of them, and we've seen that that really worked very well for us, because they tend to look out for our best interest, too. They ask us the questions that their audience might be asking them; they tell us the concerns that their audience might be having. We have the conversation with them, so they know how to address it, so you see it's really authentic.
We see that that worked, and since we saw that we had a few partnerships work out that way, we now have a full-time person who is just outreaching to partners and looking for these people.
Partnership Best Practices in Real Estate Crowdfunding
Adam: How do you measure results with a partner?
Missy: It depends on the platform they're in, and it depends on ... For instance, we have a lot of bloggers. We have a network of bloggers working with us. So, for them, we give them a tracking link, and we track the traffic that comes from them. Sometimes, we do have contributors who are able to write for publications. For those, we can't give tracking links, so we do the best that we can and look at referral traffic on Google Analytics.
For social media - and now we're kind of evolving. We're seeing, you really ... Attribution is always something that's difficult to do in marketing, so we do our-
Adam: Attribution - explain that concept.
Missy: Attribution of where your audience really came from, or where these numbers-
Adam: Oh, I see. Okay.
Missy: For instance, a person could have seen a Facebook ad, and then didn't convert, and then did a search, and converted through a search, or saw a Facebook ad and just did a direct search. It's something you can't really measure, because then you'll see that they just came directly. Or, for example, if you're working with an Instagram influencer, for instance, they could have mentioned you on a post; even if you give them a tracking link, and they put it in their bio, people don't necessarily click on those. They could have seen somebody said it and then searched for you directly.
That becomes challenging. Obviously, we have different ways of partnering, like either it's a straight fee for them, or they have a cost per acquisition, or something. In some platforms, it's difficult to measure, like Instagram, for example. We work with Instagram influencers; that's something that I found that they don't actually want to do tracking links too much, because it's hard to measure.
For that, we try to be creative. We try to do things that are typically done in the e-commerce world for us. We give them discount codes that if you use 'Missy20,' you get something, to be able to give people the incentive to use those codes and track those. So, that's how we measure them.
Adam: In terms of real estate crowdfunding, what does a discount code look like? Is that "Invest $1,000 and get an extra 50 bucks, or something?"
Missy: Yeah, things like that, because we really ... You can't give out a percent because of the SEC, so we have to be a little creative there.
Creativity Always Wins When Crowdfunding Real Estate Online
Adam: What do you find is the most effective between influencer marketing, paid ads, and just general social media activity ...?
Missy: That's obviously a complicated question because what's effective now might not be effective in the future. That's what we're seeing that's happening. What I appreciate with our founders here, Craig and Alan, is they're so open to experimentation, which I love, so we're always looking for different platforms.
But so far, just answer your question. what works really well for us, currently, is paid search ... Paid search, because when people are searching, they're already at the lower end of the funnel, and they're ready to convert. Social, we do paid social, and we tend to experiment in different platforms - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, pretty much everything there. So, we do that, too - paid efforts we can rely on.
What we've seen working in terms of partnerships is if you do a full-on campaign. For instance, we did a whole launch on lowering our minimum to $500, which is a big thing. We wanted to do a whole big shebang ... We worked with multiple bloggers to announce it. We worked with multiple influencers to announce it on social media. We did the entire launch within one week of everyone posting at the same time. I think it's just the scale of it, that people tend to discover you that way. Now, we're on the mode where, every month, we should do some sort of big campaign. That's what we're seeing that's really ...
Adam: That's challenging, Missy!
Missy: Yes, it is!
Adam: Hang on a minute! Wait a second! Every month ... Look, I can understand reducing a minimum to $500 is big news ... That's a serious event. How do you come up with events every month that you could do a similar-scale launch? Give me some examples of other kinds of launches, or monthly promos that you've done like that?
Missy: They're not necessarily all promos ... In marketing, they always say that your target market is never everybody. But in our case, since we want to reach the 99 percent, it is, so the campaigns that we do now, I know the $500 thing was a big deal. The campaigns that we do now, for example, it's like do we want to focus on a particular topic?
Do we want to reach ... We know women don't invest as much as men do, and that's why companies like Ellevest exist ... You tap into their psyche and what's really important to them- about, "You can't do anything about the pay gap, right now, but there is also an investing gap, and that's something that you can control ...".
For that, then we know what types of influencers or bloggers that we can tap into, if we wanted to launch something like that. Then, eventually, if it's a different message for a different target market, then that's another campaign. If we wanted to do ... Everybody does challenges, like 15-day wealth-building challenge, things like that. So, we always come up with different ways.
I know it's a big challenge to do, but we have a team internally, and what we do is we brainstorm every month and come up with ... The team pitches their ideas and the best one- the best idea wins, I guess, and they get to run that whole campaign, no matter what their position is.
Adam: Wow! What a lot of fun that is!
Missy: Yes. Yeah.
You Shouldn't Overcomplicate Video Production - Use Your Phone!
Adam: What are the different components of content production?
Missy: I do come from a creative background, and that's why I felt like it's really important to have it in-house for that agility, because if you have an idea, you can just go on and do it. For social media, you just have to be really fast. We do have a social media person in-house who- she's also a writer and takes care of all of our social media messaging. We have a visual designer. We were lucky enough to find somebody who is so versatile. He does video, graphic design, motion graphics, photography - pretty much everything - which is so hard to find. He can do pretty much anything.
We do have a green room in here, in our office. It's very small; a small green room. Both Craig and the team uses it. So, if Craig wants to shoot a video, he's in there all the time. You don't really need fancy equipment. It's just basic lighting. We have a DSLR for higher-resolution stuff, but a lot of times, we can shoot things with our phones.
Adam: Do you really? That's fascinating!
Missy: Yeah, because we've done that before ... It depends. It depends on where you are. For Facebook, we see that it's the more organic-looking videos that work; it's more the real people. What they say is you scroll through Facebook not to look at ads, but to look at your friends' feeds, so you have to make it look like that.
Educate Your Investors with Creative Content
Adam: What is your process for deciding what ... Apart from the creative, and from the campaign, because you also do a lot of educational content, don't you?
Missy: Yes, a lot of educational-
Adam: Tell me, what is the process behind that? What are the best practices for a real estate sponsor, like you, to be ... What kind of content to put out there, on the educational side.
Missy: On the educational, we do a lot of that ...
Adam: Actually, before I even ask you that, why do you have educational content? I mean, I know the answer, but what's your view of that?
Missy: Our goal is to build a community. There has to be a reason that people keep coming back to your site. You have to provide value. People have to trust ... Whether or not they're ready to convert now or later, you have to provide some sort of value and build that relationship with your community.
Since this is something we are trying ... What we're trying to do is to democratize investing in alternatives. Companies, like Acorn, and Stash have done a good job in having people more comfortable investing in apps like that. Something like this is not something that's been available to people in the past, so it does take a lot of education. They need to understand what they're getting into. That's really important for us to put that ... We can't give financial advice, but we can provide content out there.
For us, best practices, we try the best that we can ... The way I structure content planning is we try to plan things ahead of time. The goal is to be a quarter ahead, in terms of your content calendar, because there are things that you can plan out, like the educational content. You know you're going to have to have the 101 stuff; you know that you're going to have to have some sort of educational pieces of content on real estate, investing in multifamily, things like that and why it's important. Those things, you can plan ahead.
Even best practices of all these weird holidays on the calendar, like National Donut Day, or whatever. There's a National Day for everything, so we try to be creative, and plan ahead - how can we use those things to make our educational pieces more interesting?
Those things we plan ahead of time. We produce them ahead of time. That frees us up to actually be agile in case something is trending right now. We can say, "Hey, I can use that," whatever is going on in the world and create a piece of content about a certain topic. We do plan ahead in terms of topics for educational content.
For a lot of them, we do have freelancers to help us write, because I'm not an expert. I joined the company without any real estate investing background. We hire a lot of experts to write content for us. We partner with a lot of content creators to work with us, and we just plan it ahead.
How to Get More YouTube Views for Your Real Estate Projects
Adam: I have a YouTube channel that I'm building up and been putting a lot of work into optimizing. I noticed that, like I said, you've got ... Some of your videos have high hundreds of thousands of views. So, how do you do that? Is that paying for engagement? Is it PPC? Is it marketing on other channels? How do you get to that kind of number?
Missy: For YouTube, I think you search some keywords that are similar to what you're about and see who pops up. Then you look at those people's engagement stats, and then you can sponsor on their site, so you get their audience ...
It's the basics of being able to find where your audience is, where they're interested and what they might be searching. You look at people similar to you and saying the same messages and try to tap into their markets through ... Like if you want to sponsor on their paid ... You do paid efforts through YouTube-
Adam: Oh, I see ... The reason the views are so high is because you've created a video, and you then put-
Missy: We boost it, yeah.
Adam: You then tape the show up on somebody else's channel.
Missy: That's similar to you. I think that's what works, because then you want to have a relevant audience who is interested in what you're talking about.
Adam: I see. Very good.