Coming from a design background, one of the first things I noticed when I entered the real estate syndication industry was just how dated most of the websites were.
I found it SO hard to believe investors entrusted these folks with their money.
A lot of the companies we’ve spoken to say they rely only on their existing list. While we’ve spoken to others that say that “if they tell you they don’t need more investors, they’re lying!”
And what better way is there to attract new investors than to have a killer online presence with a site that does all heavy lifting for you in your sleep—from generating and qualifying leads to sending out emails.
We needed to learn more—do all real estate syndication websites look like they’re from the Netscape era? We were committed to finding websites of real estate syndication firms who do it right—those whose approach we can model.
There are a few very simple elements that go into a website to be able to consider it objectively “good”.
Is it easy to understand? Is the information easy to digest quickly, while driving with one hand and fighting off your children in the backseat with the other? Is the text easy to read or are the colors giving you a visual migraine?
Is there a clear call-to-action? Is it clear what the next step is in the process? Do you want me to drop a note in the suggestion box (fill out a contact form), or is there a smooth onboarding experience?
How does it look on mobile? It’s so common for websites to break down when viewed on the phone. Why? Because it’s a pain in the butt to design for so many screen sizes out there. Most website designers don’t bother—a grave mistake!
And lastly, are you going to stay top-of-mind? Staying top-of-mind means that “they think of you when they think of blank.” To stay top-of-mind, you must leave a very good impression, one that’s better than the rest. (Hint: Set your website up Remarketing!)
We’ve created a running list of good websites we’ve run into on our journey and we’d like to share our thoughts on 6 of them with you, in no particular order.
A well-backed Financial Tech company that poses its real estate syndication services as an app. We’ve seen a couple of companies make this play. These guys are in the lead.
Cadre's website homepage in Q1 2020.
Cadre’s website design was one of our biggest inspirations. It’s super clean and they strategically use color to guide visitors down the path. They position themselves as a tech company in the FinTech space, which has a “funded startup” feel. I think it’s great that they used video on their homepage to demo the experience as well. If you want to see a really great investor onboarding experience, just go ahead and click “Get Started”.
In mid-may, Cadre.com transitioned from having a dark themed landing page to a light theme. I’m curious to see how this impacts their conversion rates, but it’s cool that their design language yields to both. Personally, I prefer the premium, exclusive feel of dark themed sites.
Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, in my opinion, have some of the coolest projects in the real estate investment industry—bespoke, memorable, authentic.
It’s a relatively small, but impactful website that lets its unique portfolio do most of the talking.
Adventurous Journey's website homepage in first half of 2020.
Excellent photography of their projects that can be found throughout the site. As well as their team portraits that portray an approachable, moden, and professional team.
There’s no doubt that including an “Invest Now” call-to-action in their main navigation will yield positive results. The only way to get a hold of them now is through a “Contact Us” link in the footer. Very simple, yet very impactful fix. Talk about value-add.
The man himself—Grant Cardone makes the list. During our research we literally watched his website update in front of our eyes. Old site.. hits refresh ..new site loads.. OMG!
Just goes to show that you have to stay on top of your digital presence, which is something Mr. Cardone has benefited from tremendously.
Cardone Capital's website homepage in first half of 2020.
Cardone Capital takes advantage of many things that make a great website—a clear call to action, awesome photography, testimonials, and using a platform like CrowdStreet to house their deals.
Their website is static. What this means is that every time someone has to make a change to the site, they have to dig through the code. Building the site on a platform like Webflow would allow the admins the ability to make changes easier and faster.
An institutional-grade investor with AUM of ~$25 Billion, their website matches these facts. It gives off an aura of excellence and instills rock-solid trust for their clients.
Harrison Street's website homepage in first half of 2020.
We really like the use of video backgrounds on their site. The movement keeps a visitor’s interest and gives a sense of real time economy. A company whose focus is on creating impact does a good great job of letting visitors know about it through slogans and blog posts.
Aside from there not being a clear call-to-action when you land on the homepage, there’s a contact link in the website’s navigation that goes to the contact page, which then has a link that opens up my email client so I can start typing an email. Institutional-grade or not, create an onboarding experience that welcomes new investors into your world. You can learn more about them and the best part is that it requires absolutely no more effort on your end to set up and facilitate.
Origin Investments is a premium syndication offering investment opportunities in funds. Their use of color instructs visitors of the next steps and they have a smooth onboarding process.
Origin Investments' website homepage in first half of 2020.
Awesome video and photography that really elevate their presentation. Why wouldn’t someone invest in someone who invests in themselves? They use a salmon color to indicate calls-to-action; use large, clear numbers to showcase experience; and design each website section to stand on its own.
Origin Investments website has a Google Remarketing Tag installed, which allows them to run advertising campaigns on YouTube, Google, and their partner network for people who have ever visited their site. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn give you the same power if their tag is installed on your site. Don’t miss out by not communicating with those who’ve expressed interest in your company and its offerings—it takes a consistent relationship to build trust.
Morongell Capital who put a lot of thought into their website layout, carefully guiding the experience to a singular call-to-action: “Invest with Us”.
Morongell Capital's website homepage in first half of 2020.
They picked a great font. It’s readable, stable, and recognizable. They have a color palette that creates a pleasant contrast, subtle animations that load as you scroll, and a brief investor qualification form that you can see in its entirety so you know exactly what to expect.
The graphics should all have a mobile-equivalent. If a person is visiting the site on his laptop, the screen is horizontal, but if a person is viewing the website on their mobile device, the aspect ratio becomes vertical. If you use graphics on your website (and you should), make sure they look native on mobile. This often requires having two versions of the graphic that are served when most appropriate.
Earlier today I was just corresponding with a syndicator on LinkedIn (TIP: Connect with me) who shared his website URL with me. I perused the site for a bit and thought: “Not bad!”
There was something familiar about it, but I didn’t think twice.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post later in the day when I realized that this syndicator’s website is virtually a one-to-one clone of one of the websites we referenced above, from their font choice, to colors, and copy.
The worst part is that this syndicator probably doesn't even know that they paid money to a freelance web designer who completely ripped off another company’s website.
Now, imagine if their investors found this out. Which site is the real one?? All of your brand equity down the drain.
Connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message with a link to a website you like the most in the real estate syndication space.
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