Five steps is all you need to take to get started building a Commercial Property Investor Network! If you haven't already started the process of developing a network to fund your commercial property acquisitions start at the beginning.
Here is my five step plan:
- If you do not know how to write HTML (and most people getting started online today do not) there are plenty of good site builder programs out there. These programs literally allow you to type in what you want to appear online, click once or twice, and your site is up and running. You must have your own web site — not a "free" site with advertising, pop-ups and everything else that comes with "free". You need a web site where you can control all the content. You must also be able to look at web traffic statistics to know what is working, when and how. A good website platform to start with is Wordpress — it will allow you to add content as you go without having to rely on a webmaster.
- Give, give, give. You must give your investors information first, before they will understand your business plan. Investors do not invest blind, and you cannot market to potential investors directly. Create a lead collection system on your web site, and use an auto responder to send these leads a welcome message along with a series of 'get to know you' messages in the days following. Create relationships, based on an educational exchange of current information. This exchange can take the form of target market research, sales and acquisition information, demographics and most importantly job growth in an area. Treat these leads like gold — while you continue to develop a long term relationship with your list of investors. Teach them what you know about acquiring commercial property, and send them useful information. In turn they will invest if your plan meets their investment criteria. Know that this is a win-win relationship that takes time to develop.
- Write articles and submit them to the various article directories. These directories will promote your articles for free as they are able to sell advertising on them. Link to commercial real estate blogs and add comments to blogs that link to your site. Once you have a lead collection system in place, you must continue to send traffic to your site. Pay per click campaigns (PPC's) providers include Yahoo, Google and MSN. On their PPC platforms you can bid an amount you are willing to pay each time someone clicks to your site. You can even buy banner ads or other targeted ads.
- You cannot advertise for potential investors. This is against SEC regulations, subject to state and federal regulatin. Check with an attorney in your state familiar with commercial property transactions and make sure he/she has experience with private placement memorandums. Potential investors that agree with your commercial property acquisition strategy will invest with you if you present deals that are professional and legal. However, you can reasonably expect that if investors do not receive the return on investment you promise, you will lose investors. It is that simple. Begin with your website opt-in list, and develop a relationship with the people on the list through education. Send them useful information, do not send sales messages. Make sure your site provides useful industry information in the form of downloadable PDF’s that link back to your site.
- Assuming that you have identified a niche market (eg. multifamily, hospitality, recreation, office, or industrial), syndicate deals that provide a proven history of return on investment. You participate in a syndication by charging fees for finding and structuring the deal. When an investor from your network invests in one of your deals you are on your way to building a trusting relationship based on performance.