Real Estate Investors Care What Other People Say about You, Not What You Say about Yourself
By Adam Gower Ph.D.
From a young age, we’re taught that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us. Unfortunately, that rule doesn’t apply to your company. Words can be exceedingly harmful to your business, or they can be your greatest asset for onboarding new investors.
You can control a lot of things about your image online, but the one aspect you may not be paying enough attention to is what the voices outside your company are saying about you.
Ignoring this could be costing you investors.
Getting the Outside Perspective
Today’s investors and customers are researchers in their own right. Before making any significant purchase, they take their time to read about and understand as much as possible of the opportunity they are considering. One challenge for you is that they’re not doing all their research on your website. A lot of their knowledge about you comes from what other trusted sources are saying.
Your say and your voice doesn’t always come into the mix until they’ve already mostly made their decision. Many people today put their trust in the opinions of third-party sources over the marketing straight from a company spokesperson. The third-party source is seen as less biased, as long as it’s not perceived that they have something to gain from speaking about your company.
Trusted third-party sources are usually those that are already providing value to their audience. They’re Facebook groups, subreddits, forums, high-quality review sites, influencers, etc. that have already built up some clout and have a reputation for speaking their honest opinions.
All of this goes back to a basic concept of marketing: word of mouth makes an impact. Online, word of mouth looks a little different, but it works in the same way. Would you rather trust the salesperson knocking on your door to sell you a product or your best friend who tried the product and recommends it to you? In today’s world, your website is like a door-to-door salesperson and third-party sources are the trusted second opinion.
Directing the Funnel
As you reach out to people and try to make to strengthen connections, you have to pay attention to where people are in their journey.This journey is a sales funnel with many broad ranges. The very top of the funnel is people who have never heard of your company. As you go deeper into the funnel, into the relationship investors are developing with you, people may have heard about you without truly knowing what you do, then they may have some knowledge about your company, and at the very end of the funnel you have investors who become advocates.
For people at the top of the funnel to reach the bottom, they need to see messages about you that portray the right information. They’re looking for a specific kind of information that meets them at their current level. Your job is to make sure the right information is reaching people at the right time in the right place.
Who’s Talking about You?
Do you know where your company is being talked about up and what’s being said about you? This should be part of your online marketing efforts. You should try to be aware of what’s being said about your company and the general opinions expressed by others online, and to be responsive to those.
Understand where your message is spreading organically and what that message is, so you can fill in the gaps and work to correct unflattering perspectives to paint a more complete picture of your company. If you don’t know who’s talking or what they’re saying, you’re a step behind the people you’re trying to reach out to. Their first connection to you is most likely to come from an outside source, with the first visit to your website being when they’re close to making a buying decision or when they’ve already made that decision.
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Impacting the Narrative
Just because something is coming from an outside source doesn’t mean you have zero control over what’s being said. Approach outside sources as a sponsor or partner, submit guest posts, keep up your social media accounts with supporting content, and look for every opportunity to influence the direction of the conversation.
What we’re talking about here is not participating in shady practices or trying to lie to investors. It’s just being aware of what people are hearing about you and working to make sure they hear something positive first instead of something negative. This isn’t about being overly promotional or polished either, but is instead about providing the kind of value people are looking for at their current point in the buyer’s journey. From there, you can move forward.
People are getting their information from multiple sources. Learn where your target audience goes and work to get your content in front of them there. If they then move on to do a search on you for more information, make sure they’re finding something that gives a credible look into your company and your value proposition. When they finally get to your landing page, they should have found enough information about you from other sources to formulate a complete picture and be able to make a decision.
The brutal truth in online marketing is that other people’s opinions about you matter more than your own words. As beautiful as your content on your site looks and as eloquent as it may be, it won’t be as compelling to an investor as hearing a good review from a trusted outside source.
Keep an eye on what’s out there about your company and do what you can to turn that into something favorable – it will benefit you in the long run.
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